Publication date: January 2012
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
Androids were obviously not human... so they claimed Excerpt Bradley looked at the Director's head. His stomach tried' to crawl up into his throat. He felt suddenly dizzy. He knew that he was betraying himself, and that would be absolutely fatal. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a few coins, and let the coins drop, as though by accident, to the airfoam carpet. "Oh-oh," he said, and immediately crouched down to recover the money. It's a basic principle of first aid, in cases of shock or faintness, to lower the head, and Bradley was doing just that. The giddiness began to pass as his circulation picked up. In a moment, he knew, he'd have to stand up and face the Director, and by that time he was determined to have his feelings under control. But how the devil could the Director's head be where it was-after last night? And then sanity came back. He remembered that, last night, the Director couldn't possibly have recognized him through the rubber-plastic false-face he had worn. On the other hand, after last night, the Director of New Products, Inc., should have been incapable of living or breathing, not to speak of using his memory-centers. Bradley had left the man's body in one corner of the room and his head in another. Man? With a violent effort he controlled himself. He recaptured the last coin and stood up, his face flushed. "Sorry," he said. "I came in to deliver that report on the induced mutation project, not to act like a horn of plenty." His fascinated stare moved down to the Director's neck and flicked away. The high collar concealed any- any mark. Any mark, such as might have been left by razor-sharp steel shearing through flesh and bone. . . . Was there a reason for the high collar? Bradley couldn't be sure. In the fall of 2060, men's fashions had changed considerably from the uncomfortable styles of a few years before, and the Director's flaring half-cape, with its gilt-braided, close-fitting collar, was far from extreme. Bradley owned one like that himself. Lord, he thought in white panic-can't the-the things even be killed?