“Another day another dollar,” Felix groaned as he clocked into the facility. Felix was a medic for The Cube. Medics were lightly trained in medical procedures. Just enough to keep the Breeders healthy and perform the basic test, such as ovulation and pregnancy test. One that was a common practice among the ancients.
After he waved his card in front of the cue screen to see where he would be assigned his already grey countenance darkened even more. Breeding tanks, Pod 375, Flashed on the cue screen.
“Just great. Another day of watching caged rabbits,” he mumbled to himself.
Felix stopped and scanned the crowd of co-workers until they landed his friend Pepa.
“Where are you headed to?” she asked after she caught up to him.
“The breeding tanks. You?”
“Same,” she sighed. “But it’s the day after the shopping day so that is most of us are going, isn’t it?”
“True,” Felix agreed.
“This is the tedious part. I much prefer when the females are bred and watching those babies grow,” she smiled.
Felix nodded but didn’t agree. He didn’t like any part of his job. He felt more like a zookeeper trying to tame a tiger. The enhanced teenagers that occupied The Cube were smarter, stronger, and overall better than every single adult in that watched over them. Felix’s biggest fear was for one of them to realize that and start a revolution.
As Felix and Pepa wandered through the halls the soon realized that they were heading toward the same tank.
“Wow, we haven’t worked together in months,” Pepa stated.
Felix was excited to work with his friend. Even if society considered her to be a flaw in the fabric of their system because of her dwarfed arm, Felix found the corky frizzy-haired spitfire to be fun and attractive.
He had often thought of asking Pepa out but coworkers within the same department weren’t allowed to date. Felix had thought about risking it anyway. He and Pepa had talked about leaving the Cube. Neither of them agreed with the practices at the facility.
The forcing teens into breeding and selling their babies to the highest bidder turn their stomachs, especially Pepa’s.
The research showed that babies from the Cube became more stable than tube babies from the other facilities, but at what price?
The children that belonged to the Cube were no better than pedigree dogs.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Pepa declared as soon as she and Felix walked into the monitoring room.
The previous shift’s medics turned with curiosity until they saw Pepa at the door.
“Oh, it’s the bleeding heart. What has you in a tizzy this morning?” One of them asked.
Pepa pointed to the monitor, “Venus just had a baby. She shouldn’t be in the breeding tank already!”
Pepa was one of the few, if not the only, staff that called the children by their names.
The medic shuffled through the file, “She’s been cleared,” he stated.
“I don’t care if she’s been cleared or not. If she keeps getting used as much as she is she’s going to have to start carrying her inside in a grocery bag. A human body isn’t built for that much stress.”
“Well,” the medic stated while closing the folder, “that isn’t my problem, or yours. 08192051 and 10192050 bred last night, but they haven’t yet this morning. 08192051 also hasn’t taken her pregnancy and fertility test so you may want to send a friendly reminder.”
“Thanks, Drew,” Felix said as he took the file from the medic.
The other two left the room to end their shift as Felix and Pepa took their place at the monitors.
The small room had several screens showing different angles of the room and a two way locked cabinet that the females were to set their test in from the other side.
Nothing about the breeding tanks were private, not even the bathroom.
Pepa sat next to Felix going over the night before’s report
“You shouldn’t be so voicetress against this place,” he warned, “nobody cares about these kids, except for you.”
“You don’t care?” She asked.
“Well, I meant you and me,” he quickly jumped in with a reply.
Pepa sighed and turned to watch the monitors, “Have you ever assisted in a birth?”
Felix shook his head, “No, usually they hand those over to the female medics. But when I was first hired on I trained in the simulator.”
“That’s not the same,” she stated. “You should see these girls after the breeding tanks. The pregnancies take much out of them. You know the definition of a parasite don’t you?”
Felix shook his head.
“A parasite is an organism that lives in or on its host and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense. That’s exactly what a baby does to their bodies.”
“I don’t think that exactly compares,” Felix chuckled.
“How does it not compare to them? For about forty weeks the are hosting an organism that is depriving them of nutrition, cause sickness and discomfort, and changing their bodies. Yes, human life results in it but it isn’t like our ancestors. The mothers’ aren’t keeping and loving the offspring they grew. The babies are being ripped away from these young girls.”
“They learn to cope.”
Pepa looked at him in astonishment, “Some do, Felix, but some don’t. Take Venus for example. Her last pregnancy she almost had in her room. She hid the fact that she was in labor for hours!”
“Maybe she just didn’t want to be transferred to the birthing and rehabilitation center. We’ve seen that before.”
“I asked her, when we were alone, why she waited so long. She told me that she was hoping to have it by herself.”
“Why would she want to do that?”
“I asked her the same thing,” Pepa said to him, “she said, she just wanted to hold it. Now tell me, does that sound like someone who is coping?”
“Venus is still fairly new to this process. I’m sure it won’t be long before she does,” Felix tried to reassure his friend.
“They keep using her as much as they do and she won’t be alive long enough to cope.”