Author : Daniel

“Mother unit, what happens to humans when they die?” The mother unit, 523 as she was usually called, stopped in her work for a second and thought about what her offspring unit had said.

“Is 43 thinking of 1001?” She asked the question lightly, hoping not to upset the young unit.

“Yes…and other things.” He responded

“Well, there are many ideas where we go when we die. If we believe in what the ancients say, we will go to a massive kingdom where we all can live happily for all eternity.” She smiled warmly at her offspring unit, who she called 43 with deepest affection. She removed a packaged meat ration from her freeze unit and flopped it into the heat sink.

“Mother unit, since 43 started school last year, 43 has been under the impression that religion no longer applies to the modern world. The teacher unit, 45-9008-72847-282, said that…”

523 sighed and tuned him out. This was only way to handle him sometimes. He just didn’t understand.. She looked around at her son, 6 feet tall, darkened skin, bald, with a strong jaw like his father unit. She smiled warmly at him. So alive and handsome he was. “Well, what does 43 think?”

He looked quizzically at her. “That’s the problem. 43 don’t know. 43 thought mother unit might. 43 has read nearly every book in the book lending unit, however there is no answer what happens to the corpses 43 sees on the ground everywhere.”

She smiled again. So curious. Like his father unit. Ah, 1001. He had been curious too. She had been content to let things do what they did. Her waste disappeared in the cycle unit. Her rations appeared in her ration unit dispenser. Her work orders appeared on the wall unit. It was all so automatic and made sense. She flipped the meat patties in the heat unit sink. “Well, there are 96 billion humans in the world. 523 guesses there would be a few humans dying quite often. 523 thinks humanity is sending people out in, oh what are they called, geo-globes? Those things are amazing. 523 heard they can maintain humans for generations and generations.” She pressed on a patty and sniffed happily at the sizzle. “As for the people here, well…523 doesn’t know. 523 figured there was a pick up unit that removed the dead. What they do with them? How can 523 know? At least 523 doesn’t have to touch them.”

43 glared at her. “43 wonders about you, 523.” His rudeness in saying her name shocked her into listening to him. “523 doesn’t question anything. Today, when 43 went to education assessment, 43 saw 5 dead bodies yet, when 43 returned, they were gone. What happened to them?”

523 groaned. “523 doesn’t know. 523 has seen mass funerals. There’s a large oven with many ashes inside it. It’s the usual custom now. It was for 523’s mother. Not a lot of space for graveyards.”

43 frowned and looked at her. “Well…perhaps that’s it then.” He turned and walked out of the door of the living unit space. 523 smiled knowingly. She knew he would never feel fully satisfied until he exhausted every avenue of research. She removed the meat patty from the heat sink and took a bite. She chewed for a minute and swallowed, savoring the sweet aroma and flavor of the patty. She smiled. She had not eaten meat since her mother unit had died 4 years ago. She had forgotten how good it was.


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