This is for a film class in which what would happen if Rick Deckard from Blade Runner met Vincent Freeman from Gattaca. Blade Runner belongs to both Philip K. Dick and Ridley Scott while Gattaca belongs to Andrew Niccol. Meanwhile GeneCo from REPO! The Genetic Opera belongs to Darren Lynn Bousman and Fhloston Paradise from The Fifth Element belongs to Luc Besson.
The Valid Replicant: Or how Rick Deckard met Vincent Freeman
It had been a few weeks since the death of Roy Batty, the sixth and final Replicant, that Rick Deckard had come face to face with. He still couldn't come to terms with some of the things that Roy had said to him before passing.
"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 Tannhaüser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like…. tears, in rain. Time…. to die."
His words kept swimming through Deckard's head and it made him constantly rethink his career as a Blade Runner. But it would also make him think of whether or not he was a Replicant himself. Sure, when he was a recruit for the force, he was administered the Voight-Kampff test that all recruits were given. They had told him that he had passed which confirmed that he wasn't a Replicant, but he couldn't help the feeling that maybe they lied to him. Maybe, because they saw how good he was at what he could do, they lied about the results and passed him. It would make sense since the test would definitely identify the Replicants amongst the Humans. But it was the sound of his phone ringing that brought Deckard out of his train of thought. Upon answering, he knew that he was going to be needed. There was a possibility that a few more had escaped and they needed to be retired once and for all. But what he didn't realize was that this wasn't going to be like his normal jobs. No, this case was different.
"Listen, Rick, we've got a job for you." He took notice of a young man sitting in the seat in front of the chief. This young man had a striking appearance that consisted of a nicely pressed black suit, slicked back hair, and dress shoes that shined in the office lights. His blue eyes stared straight at Deckard, but he had paid no attention. "This is Mr. Jerome Morrow, and we need you to escort him to GeneCo." Deckard was slightly confused. His job as a Blade Runner was to retire Replicants, not to become some random stranger's babysitter. Nonetheless, he had heard about GeneCo through its connections with the Tyrell Corporation. See the thing is that when Tyrell needed body parts or help with the genetic makeup for the Nexus models that he created, the company had support from other big and mega corporations that would lend a hand and GeneCo was one of them. They would supply Tyrell with whatever they needed and in return, they earn a cut of the earnings the company makes.
"And what is Mr. Morrow's business with GeneCo?" Deckard asked, his basic interrogation was a part of his daily routine when on the job.
"Matters of the heart, Mr. Deckard," he simply said. The young man smiled and this made Deckard question who this guy really was. "Don't worry; I'm not what you folks call a Replicant. I passed that…. what's it called again?"
"The Voight-Kampff test. And it's just Rick, there's no need to be formal", said Deckard. Jerome snapped his fingers in response and nodded.
"That's the one." This answer made him drop some of the suspicion that Deckard had towards Jerome Morrow, but he still got the uneasy feeling that he was hiding something. That there was more to this visit to GeneCo than meets the eye. Since he was part of the force, no matter how much he wanted to quit and never come back, he still did whatever task he was given. Even if it meant becoming someone's escort.
Once they had gotten into Deckard's flying spinner, Deckard knew that the ride to GeneCo was going to be a long one and this meant that he had to find a way to kill some time. And quite possibly find ways on dropping his ever-growing suspicion.
"I know what you're thinking. You're wondering why I want a Blade Runner's help in getting to GeneCo, aren't you?" Yes, Deckard wanted to say, but he didn't want to press the question. There was no need for an interrogation anymore.
"You said it was 'matters of the heart' so I just decided to let it slide. But if you want to kill some time, you could start by telling me something about yourself." Out of the corner of his eye, Deckard could see that Jerome sunk in his seat slightly. "What's wrong? Don't tell me that you're a boring person?" He asked, a slight chuckle escaping his lips.
"Can I tell you something? Something that I haven't told anyone and will probably never tell anyone?" Deckard said nothing but nodded his head. "My name's not Jerome Morrow." The spinner swerved slightly and it was there that Deckard almost lost control of it for only a moment at what he had said.
"Then who the hell are you?!" he yelled. Furious, he knew he should've asked the question and gone with his instinct. Deckard silently kicked himself for not going with what his gut told him. Vincent, slightly caught off guard, started to panic and responded.
"Look, calm down. My name, my real name, is Vincent. Vincent Anton Freeman and I'm what is known as an Invalid or a de-gene-erate or whatever you want to call it. But I can assure you that I mean you no harm." Vincent could see that there was a mixed look of confusion and anger on Deckard's face.
"Well then you better start explaining who you really are and why did you pose under a fake name, kid." Vincent sighed as he began to tell Deckard everything and how he ended up in this mess.
"You know how we are able to manipulate someone's genes by the miracles of science? Well, when I was born, my parents didn't put their trust in Science but rather in Faith. I was born with all sorts of medical conditions that would not only deem me unfit for any type of career but also told me that I am destined to live a short life. But I fought against that, you see. My dream was to become an Astronaut and work with the Gattaca Aerospace Program and the interview was a sample of your blood. It would tell them if you were a Valid or an Invalid. And just as an f.y.i, a Valid is someone who was born with the help of genetic manipulation and has enhanced physical abilities with a higher percent chance rate of life expectancy. And I already told you what being an Invalid meant. I got tired of the discrimination and prejudice I faced because of my genetics that I got low. I had no other choice but to buy the identity of the real Jerome Morrow who was paralyzed in a car accident but was qualified for this program. I became what's known as a 'borrowed ladder' or in reality, someone who impersonates a Valid with a superior genetic profile.
But it came with a different kind of price. I had to always meticulously scrub down whatever was left of my own DNA and brush the real Jerome's DNA onto myself in the event that I faced a random test given by the program. Nail, blood, skin, and even urine samples, I had it all. And then I heard about GeneCo through one of the promotions that the Tyrell Corporation was having and thought that this could possibly be my one last chance to fix this once and for all. When I came to this city, I found out about the idea of Replicants and what would happen to them if they were discovered amongst civilians. So there's no need for you to explain what they are to me, I already know."
"And while you were posing as Jerome, did the real Jerome approve of this?" Vincent looked at him like he had asked a dumb question.
"Of course he approved! I bought his identity! This means he can never go back to the life he once had because it is now mine." He took a minute to calm down himself and Deckard kept making sure that he wouldn't lose control of the spinner again for wanting to beat the crap out of Vincent. "But I have to ask you something. If you're a Blade Runner, which I figure to be a sort of bounty hunter, do you consider yourself a Replicant?" That was it. That was the question Deckard had been asking himself for the longest time now and he couldn't muster up the answer to it because he didn't know how to respond.
It was silence that had consumed them for a whole two minutes before Deckard spoke again.
"Kid, I don't even know how to respond to that question myself." Vincent arched an eyebrow and Deckard turned his head quickly to see the puzzled look on his face. "What?"
"Do you think that you are a Replicant, despite the fact that you are a Blade Runner?"
"Constantly," Deckard said without the slightest hint of hesitation. "There's this replicant I faced named Roy Batty, who died on his own. Replicants don't live that long, I'm sure you figured that one out. Anyways, he said something and it's made me think to this very moment, what if I really am a Replicant? How long do I have before even I kick the bucket? What do I do with myself because I've been killing others of my own kind, if that's the case? I've been questioning my own identity for weeks now and it feels like I don't know who I really am anymore."
"You shouldn't believe what someone says unless you know for a fact that it's true… Just putting that out there." This just raised another question for him. What is it exactly that Deckard believed? Does he believe that he is human and always had been or is it the complete opposite, which is what Roy was trying to tell him? Let's think about this hypothetically, Deckard thought, what would I really do with my life as a Replicant? Would I leave the force and leave the city with Rachel or do I stay and continue to kill others of my kind because I've always lived like that? Ever since his confrontation with Roy, he's been questioning the motives of Humanity. This gave him the slight idea that maybe Humanity was the bad one and the Replicants were the real humans in this case. Vincent himself asked these kinds of questions but related them to his own problems. He had already gotten into an argument with Eugene over his visit to GeneCo, with Eugene telling him that he was literally throwing everything they had worked for down the drain. What would Irene say if he tells her? What if Gattaca found out and had more of a reason to not only convict him but to discriminate him for the rest of his life?
"Vincent?" He heard Deckard say, pulling him out of his train of thoughts with a slight scare. He saw that Deckard was pointing at something and it was the word 'GENECO' in bright white and red lights. "We're here." Vincent knew that there was no turning back once he stepped out of Deckard's spinner and he figured that it was more like a now or never kind of situation. But before he could step out of the spinner, he felt a strong grip latch onto his wrist. He turned and saw that Deckard was staring straight at him. "Listen, kid, I'm sorry for yelling at you earlier. But you should know something. If it works out for you and you can fix this mess you've gotten yourself in, congrats. But, I'm not jinxing it here, if you don't, well there's always a spot for a guy like you as a Blade Runner." For the first time, in the time that Deckard hat met Vincent, he smiled. This small act even made Deckard smile and Vincent let out a small laugh. "What? You don't think you've got what it takes to be a Blade Runner?" Vincent slowly shook his head.
"I've practically spent my entire life trying to get into the Gattaca Aerospace Program and to give that up in order to become a type of rogue cop seems like a bad idea. No offence though." Deckard nodded, understand where he was coming from with that idea and looked back at him.
"I'm just putting that idea out onto the table for you. It's more like a last resort kind of thing, and if you choose to become a Blade Runner, I can train you." Deckard grabbed a napkin from the cup holder in the spinner and pulled a pen from his pocket in order to scribble some numbers onto it. Vincent tilted his head out of curiosity and figured out what he was going to do with it. "If anything happens or you need someone to talk to, give me a call." He handed Vincent the napkin and he folded it before placing it into his pocket.
"Thank you, Rick. I honestly don't know how I can ever repay for something like this since besides Eugene, you're one of the only other friends I have in this world." With that being said, Vincent thanked him again and then headed inside the building. Deckard waited a few minutes before leaving, thinking that maybe Vincent would chicken out of the whole thing and turn back, but instead he saw that this kid was serious about his plan.
Deckard went to the local Dunkin Donuts to buy a cup of coffee since the lack of sleep he had acquired was starting to kick in. The spinner was sitting in the parking lot and he thought about what he was going to do next. Would he actually go with his plan and leave the force and the life of a Blade Runner for good? Being a Blade Runner was and always has been a part of his life and to give it all up…. He kind of had to agree with what Vincent was saying about him leaving the Aerospace Program, he just couldn't do it. He took one more drink of his beverage before hearing that his phone was ringing. He thought it could be either one of three things. Rachel was calling and wondering why he wasn't home, the chief had another job but this one actually dealt with Replicants, or it was Vincent telling him that he chickened out or that GeneCo couldn't do it. He picked up his phone and answered. It was Vincent.
"What's going on, kid?" He could tell, just by listening to the fact that the young man on the other line was slightly hyperventilating that he was scared. "You can't do it?"
"No, GeneCo said that they are able to do it but it comes with a price. And yes, I don't know if I can actually go through with it."
"I hate to break it to you, Vincent, but this is something I can't help you with. You're the one who wanted to go to GeneCo in the first place and you had this plan of getting your real identity back. Now it's your decision to either go through with this or to continue living under the name of Jerome Morrow." Vincent sighed heavily on the other line of the phone and Deckard knew that this kid was going through some serious hell in his life. Deckard could hear the young man silently curse and tapped the phone against a wall out of frustration. "Stay with me, kid. Look, you go do what you have to do and I'll be there in a few minutes. Okay?" There was no response from the other line and it wasn't until a few seconds before he thought of hanging up where he heard,
"Okay, thanks again." He knew that this kid was probably going to skip out, he didn't even have to bet on it. It would be a wise decision since he had heard some of the horror stories about the other clients that had gone to GeneCo and the ending wasn't something pretty. Of course they were going to do the procedure for a price, nothing in this world is ever free, but what was he going to do? He couldn't just go back to his old life since he had told Deckard that his old name had been condemned an Invalid. He took one last drink of his coffee before getting out of the spinner and tossing it into the garbage.
Once he got back to GeneCo, he saw that Vincent was standing outside the building. He had checked his watch and it had been at least 15 minutes since he called him. This started to lead Deckard to think that Vincent really didn't go through with it. The spinner stopped and Vincent climbed into it, slamming the door behind him. "I couldn't do it, Rick. I just couldn't go through with it. I'm sorry." A silent teardrop fell down Vincent's face and Deckard patted him on the back. Quickly wiping the tear away, Vincent looked to see Deckard smiling at him. "I know now that I can't go back to my old life since it would seem like a bad idea and Eugene would kill me if I had actually gone through with it. Plus, I don't have enough money to keep up with the payment plan that GeneCo was offering."
"I know, everything usually comes with a price when it comes to business like that." Vincent looked down for a minute with a serious look on his face before turning to face Deckard again. A crooked smile appeared on his face and Deckard could get a sense of what Vincent was going to say.
"Rick, what do you know about being a Blade Runner?" Deckard let out a laugh, something he hadn't done in ages and it felt good to do so. Vincent looked confused, as if he was the one who now asked a dumb question.
"Kid, I can teach you everything I know about doing what I do as a Blade Runner. It's about time I think of taking a vacation too. Rachel was telling me the other day that Fhloston Paradise was great at this time of the year."
And it was there that Vincent made a decision that he felt proud of. He decided to not look back on his life as Jerome Morrow of the Gattaca Aerospace Program but rather as Vincent Freeman, a Blade Runner for the Los Angeles Police Department. Deckard was going to teach him how to be a decent Blade Runner, go on vacation with Rachel, and actually have time to process who he really was. If Vincent could do it, then so could he.