The Title

by David Caldwell

When Shiva Starts to Dance: Part 12.

Final preparations

Flying over the main thoroughfares of the city, Gaff could make out the press of bodies swirling amidst the burning vehicles and shop fronts. The reality had bitten at last, the nutritition plants, the power generators, the water purification centres and the Opesynth factories were all going or had gone off line. Those that still had transport would be making for the spaceports. Gaff knew however that all that they would find would be empty bays and trashed ships.

He was glad he still had a purpose. That he didn't have to sit at home waiting for the end. He would be able to strike a final blow. He glanced over at the device resting on the seat next to him and set the Spinner's settings for the Tyrell building.

Rick had not had an opportunity to talk to Michael since he and Opal had arrived back at the lab with the rest of Shig and Odile's group. All five of them had immediately set about infusing the newcomers with the nanites. As one Replicant completed their course of treatment they were instructed as to how to begin the process on one of their fellows.

Rick removed a catheter from an arm and looked about him. It was difficult to get used to the physical perfection that surrounded him. In all the group assembled in the lab there was not one visible infirmity, not one misshapen feature or limb, not one individual who did not look to be in their prime. How would they age? Did they realise what they were taking on with this promise of more life?

"What are you thinking about Rick?" Michael asked coming up behind and placing a hand on Rick's shoulder.
"I'm just wondering about the trade offs in achieving longevity, and if we mightn't come to regret the deal eventually."

"Rick we all have had a choice about this."
"Except me." Rick said softly.
"You, any of us can choose to opt out at any stage if we want to Rick, but the important thing is it would be our choice." He leant forward and kissed Rick.

"So what happens now?" Rick said slipping his arm around Michael's waist.
Michael smiled; taking Rick's hand he led him over to the ESPER. Speaking his access code he then asked the computer for a file called Relocation. A map came up on the screen.
"Antarctica," Rick said, "Why Antarctica?"
"Think about it Rick, what are we as a group ideally suited to carry out?"
Rick thought for a second.

Michael answered himself "Terra Forming, Rick. We can reclaim this planet. Shig and Odile have calculated that the city of New Oslo in the Antarctic is the optimum location to set up the first climate and atmosphere converters."
Rick took a moment to take this in and then looking into Michael's eyes said, "There must be a least a couple of thousand humans still living in New Oslo Michael, what about them?
"Well Rick that's really up to them isn't it." He turned and walked away.

A short time later Michael announced that they were ready to start the loading of the ship. The Replicants had been occupied dismantling the lab and loading equipment and supplies onto transport sleds. The ship was on the landing pad of the other pyramid and Opal had calculated it would take two hours to do the transport, loading and pre-flight checks.

Gaff had to sit down and rest. It had taken all his energy to make his way from the Spinner, through the extensive maze of dimly lit corridors to the reactor room at the heart of the Tyrell Pyramid. He had taken wrong turnings twice and finding his way back had further sapped his reserves both in energy and willpower. Then he considered letting Deckard and the other Skinjobs go and the anger that surged up inside him lifted him to his feet and pushed him on to his destination.

Working next to the luminescent, humming core of the great machine he finished the attachment and set the timer. He had an hour to find them.

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