Rick Deckard is sitting in a beautiful hotel room in the St. Francis hotel. He reads the files for two androids, Roy and Irmgard Baty. Roy, he learns, worked as a manual laborer on Mars. Perhaps Roy dreamed of a better life, Rick thinks—but then he asks himself, “Do androids dream?” The file says that Roy is “pretentious” and “given to mystical preoccupations.” Roy stole various drugs, designed to give his fellow androids the experience of Mercerism. Rick finds this strangely sad—it’s as if Roy was trying to become as human as possible.
We already knew about the electric sheep, but here we see where the other half of the title of the novel comes from. Rick’s point is that even androids have recognizably human emotions—they have hopes and aspirations. And yet this, by itself, isn't enough to convince Rick that Roy is human. Roy wants to be human, hence his ingestion of drugs, but this doesn't change the fact that he was created by a corporation.
Rachael Rosen walks into the hotel room, carrying a bottle of bourbon. Without greeting her, Rick explains that he’s tracked down the “leader” of the androids, along with his two remaining followers. Rachael, who seems “unsteady,” opens the bourbon. She points out that Rick promised to give up on his mission, but now it seems like he’s planning on killing Roy and his followers as soon as he can manage. Rick takes a good look at Rachael as if he’s meeting her for the first time. He notices that she’s very beautiful—her body is simultaneously childish and mature.
Previously, Rick had thought of Rachael as an object, a machine designed by the Rosen organization. Now, Rick is thinking of Rachael as a living, breathing person, with unique thoughts and feelings. And yet there’s something slightly uncanny about Rachael’s body—she’s both childish and adult, reflecting the disparity between her lifetime of memories and her short actual lifespan.
Rachael tells Rick that the last Nexus-Six that Rick retired was the same model that she is—beside the face and voice, Rachael and Luft are identical. Rachael also tells Rick that the remaining androids are, without a doubt, “huddled together.” Impulsively, Rick kisses Rachael. Rachael quietly asks Rick if he’s feeling empathy toward the remaining androids, and Rick admits that he is. Together, he and Rachael drink bourbon.
It’s not exactly clear why Rachael is interested in Rick. It’s true that she’s capable of forming emotions, but this doesn’t mean that she’s attracted to humans (or to Rick especially, whom she barely knows). Rachael seems more interested in Rick’s feelings about the case, and about androids, than she is in Rick’s looks or personality.
Rachael quickly becomes drunk. She tells Rick, laughing, that she can’t go with him to find Roy Baty—but she’ll be waiting for him to come back. Rick tells Rachael that he just bought a goat. He says that after he retires Roy, he’ll return to his wife and new pet. Rachael takes off her boots and shorts, and climbs into bed. She tells Rick to look in her purse—she’s brought him something to disable the androids. Rick finds a small metal device. Rachael explains that this device can be used to stun an android into a state of catalepsy, if only for a few seconds. As Rick feels the device in his hand, he realizes that in just a few hours, he’ll be retiring an android who looks exactly like the beautiful android sitting in the bed right now.
Rick gets emotionally intimate with Rachael, at least by futuristic standards. He tells Rachael a personal piece of news—he’s just bought a goat. Rick is finally putting together the dilemma of the bounty hunter: to be a good bounty hunter, he has to talk to androids and understand them. And yet the more Rick understands androids, the more likely he is to empathize with them and spare their lives. Unlike Resch, the psychopath, Rick can’t kill beings that he regards as living.
Rachael tells Rick, “I love you,” but Rick doesn’t reply. Rachael offers to retire one of the androids herself, provided that Rick has sex with her. Rick agrees to this, and he climbs into bed.
Rachael understands exactly what Rick is going through—she’s practically making a contract with him in this scene (much as she did when she first met Rick, chapters ago).