Dead Planet XII

Dead Planet XII

“The next day my dearest
obsessive desire of which
I was quite unaware, given
my pathological character,
was suddenly fulfilled in all
its horror. Dr. Eldon Tyrell
gave me a videoscreen call
from the ancient evil Martian
Underground City down below.”
—Romain Gary, “Hocus Bogus”

''Rick Deckard, I've got good news for you. The special Nexus 9 droidboy you met in the Hellas Park Zoo. The one named JJ—that you’ve been living with for a year. He’ll be your Escort—down into the Sub-Mars Bunker City. I wish to interview you.”

It took a second for the pin to drop. “The Martian City Underground? But I thought it was off-limits to us humans. I saw it on the vidscreen news.''

''Listen, Deckard. Hellas City is just a fake City—the real Martian City is down here below. The new Tyrell Corporate Headquarters is totally sub-surface—and you know why. It’s down here over 700-stories deep. Prepare to expand your intellectual horizons a little bit, sir. The Nexus droid knows the fastest way to get you here.”

Tyrell sounded far away—his image on the telescreen was fuzzy and full of static. Tyrell was actually here on Mars? Jaysus christ—I thought he was back on Earth—or out there on Titan? And now Tyrell wanted me to journey downward into the subterranean guts of the Red Planet—just to see him? How did I rate such red carpet treatment? Tyrell Corp ran everything—all the way out past Saturn into the Oort Cloud Belt.

I breathed in deep—with all the strength my lungs could give me. I closed my eyes—and took a big sigh. Was I gonna be punished—or executed for taking in the droid kid? Was Tyrell really the father of JJ—like those dreams he had in the droid vats way down below? Big Daddy Tyrell peering into the droid vat—and smiling at the kid? I didn’t like the way the whole thing sounded—it was like I was being setup again.

“C’mon, let’s go,” the kid said to me cooly. He already had on his Saturn snake-skin bomber jacket. And some soft desert droid-boots—I’d never seen him wear before. He had that young hustler smirk on his face again—like he knew something really big that I didn’t know.

I had this weird feeling. Like I was somehow caught up in medias res—suddenly embedded in some sort of cheap lurid Pulp Fiction novel. The kind they used to read back there on Earth in the Fifties—those crummy little funny Ace paperback double novels. Published back-to-back—and upside-down facing each other.

That’s how I felt—some kind of fuckin’ trapped protagonist in a weird Pseudo-Forbidden Planet hocus-pocus space opera novel. Without a fuckin’ clue—clueless as Mike Hammer in some skanky Mickey Spillane film noir murder mystery.

Clueless as some Raymond Chandler private dick—fuckin’ around in an old mildewed flick like The Big Sleep or worse yet Farewell, My Lovely. Except it wasn’t nostalgic LA back in the ‘40s—and it wasn’t neo-noir New York City back before the Apocalypse. It was Murder, My Sweet Now—and this was mean fuckin’ Mars. I didn’t trust anybody—especially now.

''I refuse! Are you off your rocker?” I grabbed him by the shoulder & shook him. “You think I’m fuckin’ crazy or something?”

He just stood there—smiling at me.

“C’mon, so what if Tyrell is your father? What are they gonna do to me down there anyway? Give me a fuckin’ Voight-Kampff Test—to see if I’m human?”

The kid shrugged—he lit up an electronic cigarette.

“They’ll probably get me down there Underground—with all those fuckin’ Tyrell Corporation creeps. And grill me about everything—and blame me for you being my kept boy. A goddamn stinkin’ interview? With the fuckin’ Tyrell Nexus Wizard himself? Fuck that, no way Jose. They’ll just stick us both in one those droid-vats again—to shut us up. And let us rot to death—in our own fuckin’ piss & shit down there!!!”

''Listen, Rick, drop the act, will you? You're not a bounty hunter anymore, so don’t sweat it. All those droids you offed—it was just your job that’s all. The LAPD kept you around—paid you pretty good. Because you were good at it. It was just politics.''

''Politics!? Moi?''

''Calm down. You aren’t a bounty hunter anymore. You would’ve offed me if you were. You knew I was droid—from the minute you picked he up at the Zoo. You’re the only one that knew what I really was—a new Nexus 9 droid model boytoy.”

“I must be a psychiatric case—after fallin’ for you. I should’ve know better—droids are only trouble. It’s gotta be droid karma—boomeranging back at me. For all those poor droids I retired—WTF am I gonna do now?”

“You’re not a psychiatric case, Rick. You’re a good LA detective, that’s all. You’ve got an intuitive sense—for a lotta things. Like mind-melding and stuff like that. Big Daddy Tyrell has been following you all along—see this camcorder Third Eye of mine? Embedded here in my forehead—up above my bushy eyebrows? The security services have got a file on you. It's all in there. You like chicken droids that’s all—no big deal with that.”

I almost fainted. They knew.

It wasn't BP Apocalypse or Martian Black Market or Hellas nightclubs or horror of Pinochet or Palin. It was chicken.

Tyrell Corporation Psychotechnicians were sometimes complete bastards. I felt the kid’s forehead—covering it up.

''I don't want them to see me!''

“That’s okay, I’ve got another pair of them—down here on my double-whammy.”


''That’s right, all I can tell you is all the corporate execs & their wives—they know real good who you are & what you did. You get 10 stars, Rickie boy.”

“What people are you talikin’ about?”

“All the Elite—Martian TPTB & their Nexus offspring.”

“Fuck me. Some madman has written this looney-tune script. It’s not real—it can’t be so.”

''That someone else wrote your life—or else helped them write it down.''

This was a terrible blow to my gutter-press mentality. I was cracking up—I was really cracking up. I felt myself splitting in two—half of me a hunch-backed Nortre Dame freak. The other half humping myself and laughing about it. There’s nothing so absolutely horrifying—as knowing that my wounded dignity and pride were quickly going down the shitter.

''You mean I wasn't me? Wasn't me? Wasn't me? So who the fuck was I then?''

''Raymond Queneau. Louis Aragon. People are saying you don’t exist & never did exist.''

I was suffocating. My authorial well-being and private dick identity—felt like a fuckin’ flat tire. What gumshoe self-esteem was so bruised—that I swore I’d never get down on my queer homosexual knees again. Whether for a Nexus droid—or some lousy piece of “Earthboyz are Easy” whitetrash riffraff.

I started figuring in my head—how many times I’d slaughtered JJ’s exquistely pouty lips with my greedy kisses shamelessly gnawing his puffy lower lip as the kid lost it two or three or four times on those Lost Weekends on the wiggling obscene waterbed?

A hundred Nexus boytoy wads—without a second thought about trying to save my LAPD honor…

''Alright then. This so-called droid master-journalist or whoever invented me—he’s gotta be the one to blame for everything I did to you. I thought it was all about havin’ a good time—now I feel guilty as sin but what can I do? Take your daddy Tyrell a bouquet to console him—down there in the Hellas Mars Underworld Bunker. Shit, what have I done?''

''Don't overdo it, Rick. You have stay in character—be a cool cop. That’s what you do best—bounty hunters are sharp cookies.''

''What character?''


I don't know why I suddenly thought of Robbie the Robot in Forbidden Planet. It filled me with real Krell fear & loathing. Despair with a capital D for Doom.

“They’ve got powerful droid brain surgeons down there. They’ll probably transplant my stupid fuckin’ brain—into a fuckin’ chimpanzie politician or naked ape janitor or something. I bet they got plans down there for yours truly.”

It was a wellknown fact that Tyrell Corporation could do anything they wanted. They could turn you into fuckin’ slimy slug—or a Kafka cockroach any time they wanted. They were good at doin’ the Gogol Effect—turning a guy into a Nose. Or ratchet you up real tight—and metamorphose a guy into an embarrassing Roth-like breast. A tit with legs—all dressed up & nobody to blow.

''You have your own following already, Rick.''

''What following?''

''You're a YouFuck TV celebrity—you’re on all the vidscreen porno stations & murder mystery shows. Every droid you made love to—and then calmly offed. It was all recorded by the Ganymede Gestapo—in case they needed to pressure you a little bit. Or if you balked—doing your job like a good private dick. You’re a droid dick walking Chandler character—even Mickey Spillane liked your stye.”

“Well, thanks. But flattery won’t get cha anywhere, kid. C'mon, now. Tell me will ya? What’s all this leadin’ up to anyway?”

It’s true—I may have been a pretty good Earthman private dectective—maybe even the best. I’ll admit I was at one time an awkward bugger, a blogosphere bastard & even a louche Poughkeepsie pimp.

But I did try to maintain a certain vain aura—and really tried to keep it up as best I could. It's what we in the detective business—call tough guy integrity and street smart suavity. It's the best kind of advertising. You can't buy it—but it it really sells books. Philip Marlowe had it—so did Mike Hammer...
I could hear myself saying, somewhere far away, for it was surely someboy much smarter & wiser than me saying:

''In Argentina they’ve got Borges who is the most powerful Magic Realist in the country—the most fabulous Fabulist in the Land. You can pick up any of his books—turn to any page you wasn’t. And Bingo—you’re sucked into his bag of tricks. Mirror mazes and labyriths forever. Circular cities of the dead—dying doubles creating you instead. In Mississippi they’ve got Faulkner—with all his despicable Delta tricks. With guyz like Snopes and Pop Eye—realer than warm spit & twice as mean as Nixon. Once you read one of their gutter-press novels—you’re hooked for life as long as there’s Light in August & decent whiskey in Yoknapatawpha County.

And so there I was—standing there in my Hellas City condo living room. Doing the best I could—keeping up the evasive fantasy of being somebody who really wasn’t there. I was suddenly the man who wasn’t there or her or anywhere. I wasn’t even sure I was a man anymore—I’d never given myself a Voight-Kampff Test. It didn’t work that way—you can’t use the same questions on yourself that you use on droid suspect interviewees. I knew all the questions anyway—all the fake answers that droid gangsters used. Tyrell probably had a unique set—just for bounty hunters like me. Maybe I was a droid—I honestly didn’t care anymore. I felt betrayed…

I thought of hiring a lawyer—they were cheap & easy to be had on Mars. With most of Earth in sludge & cinders—the Planetary Bar Association was desperate for business elsewhere. The vidscreen yellow pages were full of them—even more specialized than back when they hogged up most of the yellow business pages in the Terra Phonebook.

I picked Slim, Slam, Thank You Ma’am—because I knew they were good at divorce cases. Even tho my love affair with the Nexus kid—probably didn’t qualifiy me in the Martian DOMA category. I knew accusations could come roosting at homeat any time—but WTF. Tyrell corporate attorneys would make mincemeat outta any excuse I dreamed up,

Then I chose Snide, Sneer & Smirk—the best Martian attorneys this side of the North Polor Caps. They inspired confidence in me—because I'd never met them and they’d never met me. Even tho Tyrell Corp would probably buy them off—even before I could say Boo.

Finally I gave up—after all, I hadn't been charged with anything. Droid molestation wasn’t on the books—most legal beaver stalwart punters were pretty submersible characters anyway. They worked for the Mars Mob—and took kickbacks from the Titan Gang. I couldn’t have touched them—with a ten foot pole. Tyrell, TerraCorp & the Ganymede Syndicate—ran the whole Solar System racket anyway.

Even if I found a decent lawyer—they’d probably tell me I didn’t need an attorney. What I needed was a psychiatrist—or a quick subversive submarine craft run for the Oort Belt Cloud Sea and hide my sorry ass out there where nobody could find me.

It was getting on my nerves—with all these stories I kept inventing in my head to get outta this Twilight Zone I was in. Why cover it all up or even try—I’d been videotaped doin’ the dirty every possible way imaginable. There was still a lot of interplanetary prejudice and droid discrimination goin’ on even in the twenty-first century.

Android incestuous miscegenation—between father and droid daughter had already taken place. That’s how my loverboy JJ got born—pure and perfect cyborg incest and replicant guilty sexual relationships. Tyrell risked opening up a pandora’s box—all his own with his droid daughters and Nexus neices. It was like the Snopes legacy in Yoknapatawpha Country—except with Tyrell it was interplanetary philoprogentive playing-around.

I felt cornered—about being taken down into the depths of the Martian Underground. I felt trapped in a state of galactic inauthenticity—already I could hear the electric scalpels slicing up my brainstem salami. Cruel reality was on the prowl—and Martian morality was at the end of the tunnel. At one point I contemplated a louche Uranian lobotomy—in a desperate attempt to cheat Tyrell judgment.

I didn’t wanna be known. All I wanted was a clostety life—with my young droid lover in hidden corner of the universe. Surrounded by unimagined aliens who didn’t care who I was—who managed to ignore human beings as detestable no-nothings from some entirely unknown boring backwater world. Yawn.

Writing about all this—makes me feel awfully nervous. I’m afraid of Tyrell Corporation—and the whole Necon Outer Space Empire of Terran Late Capitalsim. His Excellency the Minister of the Evil Dark Oort Cloud Belt—makes me quiver in fear. All Evil Dark Oort Clouds—end up right inside you. It’s dark enough in there—without the Oort Cloud darkness squeezin’ in.

At eight that night, Tyrell called up on the vidscreen.

“You’ve decided not to let me interview you, Rick?”

“Well, Mr. Tyrell. I was hoping for some Immunity. Excuse me—I mean Anonymity.”

''I thought so—that’s okay. Say hello to my son, won’t you?”

“Of course, Mr. Tyrell. Whatever you say.”

“Genetics is kinda like a crapshoot, Mr. Deckard.”

“Yes, sir. It’s quite a seminal matter, isn’t it?”

“Let me know if I can ever help you two out.”

I said goodbye—in a cold sweat all over.

I couldn't belive I got off the hook so easy.

I felt like telling Tyrell that I’d jerk off from then on.

I’d never mess around with his Nexus son again.

I heard my pretty boy snoring in the bedroom…

What a tempest—in a Titan teapot!!!

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