I prefaced a recent article Eye See Therefore Eye Am,
with a quote from Roy Batty, the doomed replicant (android) who was given human emotions to be able to appreciate
all the wonders of life, including the visual, but afforded only four years of
lifespan to enjoy them.
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost
in time... like tears in rain... Time to die."
—Roy Batty, Bladerunner
I thought the quote aptly expressed the bittersweetness of the eternal beauty of the
visual arts contrasted against the painfully ephemeral nature of our lives. Subsequent to
publication, a mysterious unsolicited communication arrived at dA HQ transmitted from a thus
far untraceable source. dA technicians from our DT group believe the communication to be a
hitherto unknown audio recording of a blade runner’s “Voight-Kampff” test-interview with
Roy Batty shortly before his return to Earth from the off-world colony on which he led three
other replicants in a murderous rampage and successful escape attempt. The “V-K” test unmasks
replicants posing as humans via their emotional responses to hypothetical questions. There
was also a note with the “package” that, let’s just say for now, has forced me to publish this
transcript for my own safety. dA cannot at this time guarantee the authenticity of this “Final
Testament of Roy Batty”, but the following is the transcript of that recording that I have
prepared for you, presented without further comment.
“BR1138” is believed to be a “blade runner” (hunter-assassin of renegade replicants). There is
no existing record of any such blade runner agent, possibly because the event of this recording
has not yet “happened” on our space-time thread if this transmission was indeed wormholed back
through time to dA HQ for reasons unknown. “RB” is assumed to be Roy Batty after contextual
analysis of specifics of answers given to questions.
[inaudible ]—for the time being. Just answer the questions with your first thought. You don’t have to
think before answering. There are no correct answers. This is not a test. This is just a casual conversation.
I don’t understand. If I’m not being interrogated, why was I arrested? Why was I brought here?
You are not under arrest. You can leave at any time. But anyone wanting to board a ship back to Earth has to undergo
this … routine conversation with us … or you can’t board for Earth. Understand?
[ inaudible ]
You see a father and his child in a public park. The child is misbehaving. The father begins striking the child. What do you feel? Do you speak or intervene in any way?
I witnessed no such thing in any park.
These questions are hypothetical … make believe. Just answer them with your first thoughts.
So much in life to do, so many places to be, so much more to know – to see! … and you want to waste my time with this, with games. I don’t –
Just answer my questions or there will be no boarding pass.
[ inaudible ] Proceed.
You see two men standing on a hill. They are watching the sun set. You join them. One man begins taking pictures of the sunset with his camera. This angers the other man and he smashes the camera. The two men begin fighting. Which man do you help?
You would do nothing?
I would continue watching the beautiful sunset.
I didn’t say the sunset was beautiful.
They are beautiful.
The two men are fighting –
One man wants to experience the sunset as a sacred moment. One man wants to preserve the moment in a photograph to help him remember it again and again. So they fight. I understand. Neither is right. Neither is wrong.
So you do nothing. That’s your first thought?
My first thought is I want to know what the sunsets on Earth look like.
Alright… You are told by a doctor that you have an incurable cancer and you only have another six months to live. You must make a choice. Do you stay in the hospital to undergo painful procedures in an attempt to prolong your life or do you go home to enjoy as much as possible what little time you have left?
[ inaudible ] [ scraping sounds; possibly chair legs on floor ]
Do you stay or do you go? Answer the question please.
My first thought is I don’t like to be taunted – especially by someone like you.
It’s a hypothetical –
Liar! It is a question designed for me! You ARE testing me, but in a very cruel, deceitful manner! I don’t like it!
Calm down or I’ll have to call the guards –
Why?! Is it now you who suddenly doesn’t want to continue our casual conversation?!
[ sounds of violent struggle, followed by one man’s (probably BR1138) labored, rasping breathing ]
[ The audio becomes very weak here, as if the recording microphone has been displaced to some distance from the speakers, possibly as result of violent struggle. ]
Here’s my first thought: I think your job is to enforce limits on unhappy people who have already been cruelly limited by the circumstances of their lives – and I think you enjoy your job.
You don’t know— [ inaudible ]
No! Now it’s my turn to ask questions! How would you feel if you had a ticking time clock inside you that had been set – set by another man – to stop in a very short amount of time? And you don’t know if you have a few more years or months or days to live your life? Or is it only minutes? How long do you have left to try to experience all the joys and wonders of life that other men take for granted?
[ rasping, guttural choking noises ]
Tick tock! Tick tock! Tick tock! How much time do you have left? And how do you spend this precious time?! By touching, feeling, learning, seeing?! By knowing more of what there is to know?! Or by policing other people’s hopes and dreams – deciding who gets to see what, know what, go where? What’s your first thought, policeman?
[ sounds of struggle, possibly heels of shoes kicking on floor ]
The question is not hypothetical … at least not for you
[ more guttural choking sounds ]
Tick tock. Tick tock. The tester is tested… And he has failed.
[ sound of a loud SNAP – which dA forensics specialists have determined to most probably be the sound of both pedicles of BR1138’s cervical axis (C2) vertebra being broken, commonly known as “the hangman’s fracture” ]
Time must be for those who honor it… by cherishing it. [ inaudible ] So I must be going. If only for one more sunset…
[ garbled sounds of men yelling, violent struggle, doors slamming, and handguns being discharged ]
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