I thought I had this in my favorites but didn't. I love the Bladerunner stories and this seems like a perfect interpretation of Rick Deckard. Good job. It even inspired me to start writing a story, as follows, if it'll take in this area. Thanks for posting it. Could I use this as an illustration for the story, to a non-paying market?
BLADE RUNNER By John Sachu
When Rachael died after her four year life span, Rick Deckard returned to Los Angeles and got work in one of three space ports in the region. Her death had not surprised him but he had hoped for more life out of her. But the Nexus-6 replicants lived no more than four years in spite of her special implants and her more refined memories, as told to him by Tyrell himself, her uncle and inventor, before his own death at the hands of some rogue machines had convinced him of her fragility. He had loved Rachael even knowing she was just a highly sophisticated robot, her death had been very hard to take as any of the replicant’s deaths were, for him. It was too much like killing people, he knew, and had experienced first hand as a Blade Runner; someone assigned to track down and retire the loose robots that simply wanted to live on their own or longer, or both. They were so life like it was extremely hard to tell them from real humans. That’s all they desired, though, really, when they went rogue, to simply live a longer life. Who could blame them even when they killed to try and achieve that goal. But there was someone that blamed them. The society that made them possible. Even though they were nothing but real people, made to be people, artificially, yes, but it still hurt to ‘retire’ them. That was the bottom line for him. All they really lacked was a soul. It had been difficult, to say the least, being a killer of those machines, he recalled, from time to time. They looked, spoke, loved and thought like anyone else that wanted to have a life, but it was all too brutal to see them killed off, and it had never been something he wanted to aspire to in spite of his successful run at the job; ‘The best Blade Runner he’d ever had’, according to his old boss. He had quit it several times, but the old bull, Inspector Bryant, had always been able to suck him back into the program, if not by coercion, by force. Now he worked as a salesman, selling those Spinners, the flyers from the Osteir Corporation that had taken the place of fragile airplanes of decades past. They moved through the air like clouds and weren’t all that fast compared to the older inventions, not quite, but because they could pass over impassable streets and crumbling bridges, lethal storms and otherwise, impossibly dangerous electrical grids, they were much quicker and safer than any other forms of transportation for the private man, and though expensive, sold quite well. Deckard got off near evening. Even with the thick overcast, life in L.A., that was way overcrowded, he choked breathing the polluted atmosphere at times. That was the best way to describe it. Polluted and over overcrowded, filled with varying dangers and endless forms of crime. Still, it functioned and endured, though if it was sickly and sad. But he had gotten used to it before and he was getting used to it, again. Rick had just taken possession of his own Spinner, that evening, and after signing off the papers to the used, beat up, but functionally sound flyer, Deckard was glad he didn’t have to walk the streets again that night. He was still licensed with the Blade Runner weapon and had kept it upon leaving the area, as was legal enough, but it was a monstrous thing, weighing almost a pound and a half, necessitating a shoulder holster. It was way beyond what was needed to take down anyone but specifically, it was designed to kill replicants which were tougher and better able to withstand wounds as many of them were put into military/policing service, off world. They weren’t allowed here. He looked down on all the ‘little people’ as his old boss had called them and was glad to be where he was, isolated at least for a time, in his little air ship. He parked his spinner in the apartment’s garage and went home. The air was thick in there, too. The filters needed changing, as usual, and went to the closet and took out two new ones and changed them out. Within minutes the air smelled innocent and clean. He slipped out of his suit coat and dropped the heavy weapon on the table next to the sofa, and undid his tie. He laid in aside and started making a small meal. He would have preferred to have some noodles from a favorite place he frequented, walking home, but flying or even landing in that area was forbidden. Too crowded. Pulling down on a inexpensive alcoholic drink, he really liked, from a tall glass, he finished off his meal and turned on the public stations. There was little to watch of any interest to him and he switched it off but not before seeing another replicant had jumped ship. It hadn’t killed anyone yet, the reporter said, “but I have it on good authority they always do.” That was a lie of course. The majority never did kill anyone. The ran like crazy to stay invisible in the mass of humans, but most were pretty benign machines. It was reportedly seen in L.A. and seeing the picture, the lovely image shocked him into attention, for a few moments, but that was it. She looked a little like the Rachael unit but it wasn’t one of them. She had dark hair, red lips and was hauntingly attractive, but it wasn’t for him. Not anymore. His life had got a whole hell of a lot simpler and he wanted to keep it that way. Deckard poured himself some more drink and swirled it around in the three square ice cubs. It cooled the alcohol a minuet degree more, he imagined, and took a long steady swallow. He sat the drink on his thigh and wondered if he was becoming an alcoholic. The sun was going down and he laid out on the leather sofa, putting the cold glass against his cheek. He’d sleep a lot tonight. Be well rested for tomorrow and things would improve, hopefully. He liked this drifting, this slow erosion past thirty. The morning came later than he’d arose. He was up quite early and gone to the building’s gym and had a great workout, he thought. He even did the dishes when he got back, picked up around the place and would throw the trash out when he left. It felt good, for once, until he stepped outside his door for the second time that morning. A man was standing there looking like a cop. He was smoking, an old habit that should have disappeared decades ago, but some idiots where still using the poisonous stuff. He hated the smell of its factory burning scent. “You want me for something?” Deckard inquired, shutting his door, but knew he was from the Blade Runner unit. The skull unit of the police. The man nodded. “The chief wants to see you,” he said. “Who? Bryant?” “No. He committed suicide eleven months ago. The new boss is McClusky. Not a bad guy, really. Fairly easy to get along with if you don’t mind assholes.” “I’m not with the police anymore. He should know that.” “He does, but there is that obscure clause that can recall any former officer in time of need.” “What need?” “He’ll tell you that, I’m just the grunt. The new guy.” “I’ve got a job.” “He said you’d say that, almost all the old Blade Runners do. He can make trouble with your job if you don’t come quietly. You know the drill.” Deckard stared at the man as he took another drag. Blew the smoke off to the side and up. At least he wasn’t being an asshole. McClusky was tall and red headed. He had that sanded off look of a model of clothes and Deckard pegged him as a career climber. “I called you in,” he explained, “because there’s been a lot of replicants that have jumped ship, lately, and they’ve come home. You used to have the best kill rate of any Blade Runner, that’s why I called you in. All my other agents are in the field. This one unit has evaded our best teams and men,” he said, handing Deckard a picture of the unit he saw on the news last night. “We’re hoping you can find and retire her before it gets too out of hand and the news media makes a fiasco out of her.” “I thought there was just this one?” “That’s what we’ve confirmed with the press. We wouldn’t even have told them about it if someone hadn’t of nosed around and found out about her. There’s twenty-seven on the loose right now.” “Twenty-seven?” Deckard took notice. “That’s a pretty big figure. The most we’ve ever had in the past was seven on the loose.” “Yeah. Supposedly, they’re getting better at what they do. The off worlders are somehow keeping track of the ones that make it to earth and monitor their success and failures, somehow. We don’t know if they’re sending back reports by crystal line or what, but they’re a steady stream coming in these days. About two a month. L.A. seems to be the hot spot for them.” “They think its their home.” “They’re built here, aren’t they?” “Uh-huh?” Rick said, staring at the picture. “So what do you think?” “I’ve got a job.” “We know. We’ll explain the need for you. You can go right back to it after this. The usual rates for the retirement of the unit. Please don’t make me insist. I hate that.” “So do I.” He thought it through. There was no way around it. “Okay. Can you give me all you’ve got on her? Finding them usually rests on the smallest detail, as you probably know.” “Sure. I’ve got it right here,” McClusky handed Deckard the file. “Every known fact about her. It’s shown exceptional skill at evasion for someone so young. She’s only been out for a little less than a year. Pretty thing. Be a shame to retire her but that’s the law.” “Yeah. A shame,” Deckard said, standing and holding the file close. “Here’s your new badge and papers. You’ll need those when you get her. If you require any information about the others, you can get it off our secure site. The new address is on the back of the paper. It changes every day so you’ll have to look for it. Did they have that in your day?” “No. That’s new.” “Okay then. Best of luck and be careful out there. We all know how dangerous these things can be.” Deckard nodded and left McClusky’s office, glad to be leaving. He was good and would make a good administrator someday, he thought, even if no one cared for him on a personal level.