Technician JY798 stood with his hands clasped behind his back and gazed out the window at the delivery vehicle bringing in the latest batch of detainees. He was pleased to see the count was remaining steady, indeed might even be diminshing a bit. For quite some time it had been high and the workload had required much overtime. The Primary Ministry had handed down an edict many years ago that the outgoing quota remain above a set level.
This particular batch seemed more unruly than most as he watched them being taken off for processing before their souls reached the lab. Several of the severely psychotic were trying to thrash their way out of their restraints, throwing themselves against walls and spewing obscenities. He was glad he didn’t have to watch the transformation process anymore. There had been quite enough of that in training. He could still vividly recall the fear in their eyes and the rage as they were prepared for the reduction chamber. It was the dirty little secret that society knew nothing about; classified and all that.
Setting about preparing the injection moulds for the spiritual matter, he inspected each one closely for any stray contamination. The medium had to be freshly made every eight hours or less to ensure maximum stability for the journey. Watching the light above the chamber, he knew it would soon be green, indicating the batch would be on it’s way for lab processing. No matter how long he did this it was still disturbing knowing that only minutes before arrival the vials he was to process had been living, breathing beings.
No matter. He had an appointment later that afternoon with his life counselor. He would discuss the matter in depth then, he couldn’t carry this around anymore. Finally the batch arrived and he set about injecting the contents of each vial into the florescent green medium that would hold them to be taken safely to their destination. Packing the containers into the cargo boxes and labeling them, he left them for the delivery team to attend to. Feeling no less troubled than before, he left the lab and went home to prepare for his appointment.
Arriving at the Life Complex, he took the air lift to the fourth floor and used the retinal scanner to let himself into the waiting room. Perusing a digital reader he found an article on the latest holographic amusement devices and read until the counselor called him in. He arranged himself in the seat indicated and waited. The counselor looked up finally and smiled.
“I’m sensing you are a bit more troubled than usual. What is on your mind?”
“It’s work. I…well, I know what I do is for the benefit of society, but it’s been more than a year now, and I still haven’t adjusted to handling the…units.” Casting his eyes downward, he tried not to fidget.
“I see. Is it a moral issue for you, or is it about the necessity of the transformation they must undergo to make the journey?”
“That’s what I keep trying to figure out. I had to watch the process from start to finish during training, and I suppose it still bothers me. I have trouble thinking of them as being still…viable. I mean, I know that’s what my job entails, making sure the souls are safely transferred to the medium, but they were walking around in bodies just before they come to me.”
The counselor frowned momentarily and steppled his fingers in from of his face. “I think you may need to undergo a review of societal goals and aspirations. You know it was decided long ago that we could not progress as long as there were distruptive entities in our midst. We abolished capital punishment eons ago, and institutions simply aren’t a viable alternative. This was the best solution for all of the members of the Federation. The work you and the others at the Center do is for the benefit of us all.”
“I know, and i’m proud to be a part of the advancement of society. I just…”
“Yes, I see.” Dictating an appointment into the system, the counselor made some notes and then returned his attention to his patient. “You will go to this address next week and attend reorientation.”
“Alright. I suppose it’s for the best.” He got up to leave and then gave in to an impulse. “I wonder if you can tell me where these misfits are sent for rebirthing. I mean, that is the process, isn’t it? They’re sent to an inhabitable planet where they’ll be reborn and live amongst the inhabitants as one of them?”
The counselor hesitated. It was controlled information, but being as his patient was a part of the process and troubled by it, he deemed it likely that the information might be beneficial. “You must never tell anyone, but if it will help, I can tell you the name of the place. It’s a primitive planet in a galaxy several light years away called the Milky Way. I believe the planet is known to the inhabitants as Earth. It’s inhabited by primitve, warrior races far less evolved than the planets that make up the federation. It was the most suitable choice for our rejects.”
He waved Technician JY798 out of the office and called for his next appointment.