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Baseline Test machine in LAPD Headquarters (by Daniel Rowe)

The Baseline Test is an examination designed to measure any emotional deviance by Nexus-9 Replicant models (and perhaps previous models). To be "Off Baseline" would be considered a failure of such test.

Overview

The Baseline Test constitutes a part of police protocol in the Blade Runner section of the force. Officer KD6-3.7 or "K" is subjected to the Baseline Test twice, failing the examination the second time.

Unlike its predecesor in the Voight-Kampff Test, the Baseline Test is conducted by an unseen questioner (perhaps another police officer) who recites the examination through a machine opposite the subject under questioning. Throughout exam, which is rather short in comparison to the V-K Test, the questions, with the intonation and tempo in which they are asked, are rather impersonal.

The poem that begins the test and is quoted word-by-word throughout is from Vladimir Nabokov's novel Pale Fire. It is implied that the length and content of the test is based on the Replicant's response time, becoming longer if their response is slow in the first few lines and using more of the poem.

Role in the film

Officer K is first seen taking the test after he retires Sapper Morton, a particularly grueling retirement that left him severely injured. He passes the test with flying colors and is given his bonus.

He later is forced to take the test again when he is caught outside of Stelline Laboratories, apparently having strayed from his initial mission to find and kill Rick Deckard and Rachael's child. Having been emotionally compromised by the assumed revelation that his false memories actually happened, K fails the test and is left to be debriefed by Joshi. After K claims that he completed his mission, Joshi gives K forty-eight hours to return to his baseline and retake the test, although she is privately aware he will use the opportunity to escape.

Excerpt from The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 by Tanya Lapointe

"In the original Blade Runner, the Voight-Kampff method was used to distinguish Replicants from humans. In this film, a more advanced technology analyzes a Replicant's operational stability. 'The Baseline is designed to test the effects of a Blade Runner's job on his brain and psyche', explains Ryan Gosling. 'Because they have to kill their own kind, they constantly need to be assessed as to whether their work is having some kind of moral impact on them'".

Lapointe's book also reveals that the version of the test shown in the final cut was actually a rewrite done by Gosling himself.

The Baseline Test: LAPD Officer K (Pass)

Interrogator: Officer K-D-six-dash-three-dot-seven, let's begin. Ready?
K: Yes, sir.
Interrogator: Recite your baseline.
K: "And blood-black nothingness began to spin... A system of cells interlinked within cells interlinked within cells interlinked within one stem... And dreadfully distinct against the dark, a tall white fountain played."
Interrogator: Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: Have you ever been in an institution? Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: Do they keep you in a cell? Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: When you're not performing your duties do they keep you in a little box? Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: Interlinked.
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: What's it like to hold the hand of someone you love? Interlinked.
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: Did they teach you how to feel finger to finger? Interlinked.
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: Do you long for having your heart interlinked? Interlinked.
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: Do you dream about being interlinked... ?
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: What's it like to hold your child in your arms? Interlinked.
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: Do you feel that there's a part of you that's missing? Interlinked.
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: Within cells interlinked.
K: Within cells interlinked.
Interrogator: Why don't you say that three times: Within cells interlinked.
K: Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked.
Interrogator: We're done. "Constant K"... you can pick up your bonus.
K: Thank you, sir.

The Baseline Test: LAPD Officer K (Fail)

Interrogator: Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: Have you ever been in an institution? Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: Do they keep you in a cell? Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: When you're not performing your duties do they keep you in a little box? Cells.
K: Cells.
Interrogator: Interlinked.
K: Interlinked.
Interrogator: (darker than before) What's it like to hold the hand of someone you love? Interlinked.
K hesitates.
K: Interlinked.
Joshi, watching from her office, sees an anomaly detected.
Interrogator: Within cells interlinked.
K: Within cells interlinked.
Interrogator: Dreadfully.
K: Dreadfully.
Interrogator: What’s it like to be filled with dread? Dreadfully.
K: Dreadfully.
Interrogator: Do you like being separated from other people? Distinct.
K: Distinct.
Interrogator: Dreadfully distinct.
K: Dreadfully distinct.
Interrogator: Dark.
K: Dark.
Interrogator: Within cells interlinked.
K: Within cells interlinked.
Interrogator: Within one stem.
K hesitates again.
K: Within one stem.
Interrogator: And dreadfully distinct.
K: And dreadfully distinct.
Interrogator: Against the dark.
K: Against the dark.
Interrogator: A tall white fountain played.
K hesitates again. Joshi sees an emotional response has registered.
K: A tall white fountain played.
Interrogator: ...You're not even close to Baseline.

The Full Baseline Test (questions only)

This version of the test is never shown in the movie, but was filmed and is reprinted in The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049.

A blood black nothingness began to spin.
Began to spin.
Let’s move on to system. System.
Feel that in your body. The system.
What does it feel like to be part of the system. System.
Is there anything in your body that wants to resist the system? System.
Do you get pleasure out of being a part of the system? System.
Have they created you to be a part of the system? System.
Is there security in being a part of the system? System.
Is there a sound that comes with the system? System.
We’re going to go on. Cells.
They were all put together at a time. Cells.
Millions and billions of them. Cells.
Were you ever arrested? Cells.
Did you spend much time in the cell? Cells.
Have you ever been in an instituion? Cells.
Do they keep you in a cell? Cells.
When you’re not performing your duties do they keep you in a little box? Cells.
Interlinked.
What’s it like to hold the hand of someone you love? Interlinked.
Do they teach you how to feel finger to finger? Interlinked.
Do you long for having your heart interlinked? Interlinked.
Do you dream about being interlinked?
Have they left a place for you where you can dream? Interlinked.
What’s it like to hold your child in your arms? Interlinked.
What’s it like to play with your dog? Interlinked.
Do you feel that there’s a part of you that’s missing? Interlinked.
Do you like to connect to things? Interlinked.
What happens when that linkage is broken? Interlinked.
Have they let you feel heartbreak? Interlinked.
Did you buy a present for the person you love? Within cells interlinked.
Why don’t you say that three times? Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked.
Where do you go when you go within? Within.
Has anyone ever locked you out of a room? Within.
Within.
Where do you go to when you go within? Within.
Where is the place in the world you feel the safest? Within.
Do you have a heart? Within.
Stem.
Did you pick asparagus stems?
What comes from something else? Stem.
Have you been to the source of a river? Stem.
When’s the first time you gave a flower to a girl? Stem.
What did she look like? Stem.
Is it a slang word for people’s legs? Stem.
Have you planeted things in the ground? Stem.
Have you ever been in a legal battle? Stem.
Within one stem.
Dreadfully.
Is that an old fashioned word? Dreadfully.
Did you ever want to live in the nineteenth century? Dreadfully.
What’s it like to be filled with dread? Dreadfully.
Do you think you could find out all the answers to all the questions? Dreadfully.
Distinct.
How good are your eyes? Distinct.
Do you have a particular personality? Distinct.
What separates somebody from somebody else? Distinct.
Who do you admire most in the world? Distinct.
What was your most shameful moment? Distinct.
Dreadfully distinct.
Dark.
Were you afraid of the dark whan you were little? Dark.
What’s it like to hide under a bed? Dark.
Did they keep you in a drawer when they were building you? Dark?
Was it dark in there? Dark.
Do you have dark thoughts? Dark?
Did they program you to have dark thoughts? Dark?
Do you think it’s some kind of corruption these dark thoughts? Dark.
Maybe it’s a spot of rust or something? Dark.
Who’s the darkest person you know? Dark.
What is it like when someone gives you the silent treatment. Dark.
Who did you get your darkness from? Dark.
Against the dark.
What kind of power do you have against the dark. Against the dark.
Do you think there is such a thing as evil? Against the dark.
Do you think you can protect people against the dark. Against the dark.
Why are these things happening? Against the dark.
Do you prefer the day or the night? Against the dark.
When is the last time you saw a starry sky? Against the dark.
What’s your favorite part of the moon? Against the dark.
Fountain.
Have you seen the Trevi fountain in Rome? Fountain.
Have you ever seen the fountain in Lincoln center? Fountain.
Have you seen fountains out in the wild? Fountain.
What’s it like when you have an orgasm. Fountain.
Have you read the Fountainhead? Fountain.
White Fountain.
Is it pure white? White Fountain.
Is that a metaphor? White Fountain.
How did the white Fountain make you feel? White Fountain.
A tall white fountain played.
When you were little did you ever fall into a Fountain? A Tall White Fountain.
Do you like fire, earth, air or water. A Tall White Fountain.
Do you like skipping around in the water? A Tall White Fountain.
A blood black nothingness.
A system of cells.
Within cells interlinked.
Within one stem.
And dreadfully distinct.
Against the dark.
A tall white fountain played