Rick Deckard is back in Harry Bryant’s office to discuss his meeting with the Rosens. Bryant tells Rick that Dave Holden is still alive, though he’s in critical condition. Rick will try to hunt down Polokov, the android who shot Dave—Polokov works as a trash collector now. Rick promises to retire Polokov today. Bryant also mentions that there’s a Soviet police officer on his way to San Francisco—his name is Sandor Kadalyi. Kadalyi is in the U.S. representing the Soviet Union, which also has a strong interest in retiring Nexus-Six androids.
In Dick’s version of the future, the Soviet Union is still in existence (in actuality, the Soviet Union would collapse a year before the novel is set). By this point in the book, Rick has a clear assignment: hunt down the androids and retire them, one by one. And yet Rick is already beginning to have some doubts about the morality of his assignment.
Rick travels to the Bay Area Scavengers Company, where Polokov is likely to be. Junk collectors and scavengers are common in San Francisco—if they didn’t haul away trash, the entire world would quickly be buried in it. Rick asks a switchboard woman at the company where Polokov is. The woman says that he’ll be at work near Daly City. Rick next flies to Polokov’s apartment, which is empty. Frustrated, Rick returns to the police station, where Bryant tells him that Kadalyi will arrive shortly. He also mentions that Rick’s next victim may be a Miss Luft, a supposed opera singer from Germany.
In the future, most of the world is garbage, quite literally. In the present, garbage collectors are often looked down upon, but in the future their job becomes a more crucial necessity. Rick runs through the steps of hunting down Polokov, increasing the suspense of this chapter.
At the station, Rick gets a call from Rachael in Seattle. Rachael tells Rick that she’s considering working with Rick—he could benefit from an android’s insights. Rick says this is a bad idea, and hangs up.
We can sense that Rick and Rachael haven’t seen the last of each other. But for the time being, Rick is still committed to the idea that humans and androids are separate species—and shouldn’t mix in any way whatsoever.
As he’s climbing into his hovercar, Rick sees Mr. Kadalyi, the officer from the Soviet Union. Kadalyi proudly shows Rick a new laser gun he’s acquired from Mars. Slowly, Rick realizes that Kadalyi is actually Polokov. Rick tells Polokov that he’s disabled the laser gun, so that Polokov can’t shoot him. Polokov tries to break Rick’s neck, but Rick is too quick: he shoots Polokov with his pistol, blowing Polokov’s head open. Shaken, Rick calls the police station and says that he’s retired Polokov.
Rick can only force himself to shoot Polokov—seemingly a living, breathing human being—because Polokov is going to shoot him first. For the time being, Rick doesn’t really have to confront his own doubts about the morality of bounty hunting: for now, it’s a kill-or-be-killed situation, and Rick chooses the former.
Rick gets a call from Iran. Iran tells Rick that she’s sad and tired, and Rick impatiently says that he has androids to retire as soon as possible. He remembers considering divorcing Iran two years ago, and regrets not following through with his plan. Rick hangs up the phone and thinks about Rachael Rosen. He doubts that he’ll need her help to track down the androids, but he’ll reevaluate the situation after dealing with Miss Luft. He researches some information about opera before going to see her.
Rick’s confrontation with Polokov seemingly hasn’t affected him at all in his views about androids being the enemy. This points to the fact that Rick really believes the dogma about androids—he sincerely believes that androids aren’t people, don’t have feelings, etc. But the fact that Rick is considering working with Rachael suggests that he’s having some doubts about this dogma.