The Title

by David Caldwell

When Shiva Starts to Dance: Part 04.


The room was a crowded contrast to the nearly empty entry hall. Every surface including the floor was covered with things, paintings, books, statues, Holo-generators, pottery and from what Deckard could make out most of it looked expensive. As Deckard looked about, Michael crouched and patted a large, patterned form lying in the corner of the room. The form stood, then roared.

"This is Kali, she doesn't harm anyone unless I tell her to."
Deckard looked into the eyes of the animoid and considered the ambiguity of this statement.

"Working for Taffey Lewis must pay well, even a replicant tiger must cost a roomful of credits".

Michael smiled and in a graceful motion, unexpected in one with such a muscular form, sank to the floor and sat with his legs crossed. The Tiger moved across the room and lay next to him leaning her great head on his knee. She shut her eyes as he slowly stroked her head.

Deckard moved around the room picking up books and other objects. He stopped in front of a large brass statue standing on a marble plinth. The dancing figure had four arms and was surrounded by a ring of what looked like flames.

"That's the God Shiva dancing in a circle of cosmic fire. Hindus believe he brings about the destruction of the universe at the end of each cycle. When he begins the dance of eternity all worlds come to an end and then a new cycle can begin.
Sit down Mr Deckard"

Deckard removed his coat and clearing a space on the floor sat down opposite Michael. He now realised that he had so many questions that it seemed impossible to decide which to ask first.

Observing the man's dilemma Michael said, "Perhaps I should start with my personal history?" He raised an eyebrow.
"Go ahead." Deckard replied.
"How does Mr. Dickens begin his "Great Expectations? 'I am born' Michael Yeats, Tyrell Corporation Designation Nexus P6I6, Incept date 23.6.2019. I was purchased by the Shamoda corporation to be part of a Ject Repatriation Squad assigned to their Off-world colonies.

Deckard asked, "What's a Ject Repatriation Squad, I've never heard of that?"

"Ject. Short for reject. Illegal immigrants to a colony; those whose applications to move Off-world have been rejected on the basis of unsuitability. Usually health, political beliefs, personality traits or an undesirable genetic report, but who have somehow managed to get themselves onto a colony. The Directors are very concerned to keep their colonial gene pools pristine. So Ject squads identify, track and locate them and any progeny that they may have produced.

"And then send them back to Earth," Deckard added.

Michael looked down at the now sleeping Tiger.

"No Mr. Deckard. Repatriation is used in much the same euphemistic way as 'Retire' is in your former profession. Shipping Jects and their families back to Earth is not cost effective. So you see, you and I already have something in common."

"My colleagues and I had been in service for a month when I came across files related to the rebellion at the Tannhauser Gate."
"Rebellion? That's an overstatement isn't it, Replicants attacking a transport, killing everyone and heading back to Earth."
"Think about it Mr. Deckard what else do you call it when slaves rise up and kill their masters?"

Deckard was silent.

"I learnt of the rebellion from old immigration alert files; it seems that there was concern that the rebels might turn up at one of the colonies. It was of course something of a surprise to discover that the leader of the group and I shared the same appearance and other characteristics."

"That's what I don't understand: Tyrell was always insistent that every replicant the corporation produced must be an individual, a one of a kind."

"That's true or was true till the time of Dr. Tyrell's death after which the Directors took a much less sentimental, more profit based view of production. The result, that I was produced from the same schema as your acquaintance Roy Batty and as he had already had his fourth Birthday well…" Michael's voice trailed off.

"It was not long after that I was sent back to Earth undercover to track down a Ject smuggling group operating out of Artic City. I took the opportunity to disappear, and made my way here. As you observed I have been able to afford to live well. I've only worked for Taffey Lewis for the past month, prior to that I worked as a prostitute. As you see," he said gesturing to the accumulated objects in the room, "I was very….popular. Would you like a drink Mr. Deckard?"

Deckard considered this perfect specimen, this pinnacle of Bio-mechanic evolution being purchased to satisfy the most primitive, basic human urge.

Michael handed Deckard a glass of amber liquid. Deckard gulped the scotch down.

"Why did you come here?" he asked already feeling the warmth of the alcohol filling his belly.

"It's difficult to explain Mr. Deckard; aside from the Corporation I had no connection to anyone."
"Until you saw the file on Roy Batty," Deckard added.
"Yes I came here to find out what had happened to him and the others, and then once I knew, to find you."

Deckard heard this last statement but was not sure that he understood it, his vision was blurring and before he could speak he slumped forward onto the floor.

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