Prime Cognition

“Load her up,” the tech said as the coroners brought in the next one. They did as they were told and brought the corpse in. Rigor mortis made it seem like she halfway levitated. They set her on the metal slab and left without a word.

“Alright. You get this one,” the tech, his name tag read Kyle, handed the wad of cords to Jason who also wore the standard white jumpsuit and orange gloves. Jason kept his mask on while Kyle left his on a hook by the door. The small room was filled with the table, which looked to be supported by a tree of wires and was now occupied by the corpse, and a wall of screens that displayed everything from prime cognitive function to the time of day and weather (even though they were several stories underground and on an “uninhabited” planet).

“Come on,” Kyle urged him on. Jason took the bundle and started applying the pads to various points on the dead woman’s body and connecting the wires accordingly. Just like training. Kyle didn’t pay Jason any mind. He was focusing on the body itself. “Seems a waste, you know.”

“How so?”

“Look at those tits.”

Jason glanced at them briefly without thought and quickly turned back to the task at hand now eerily aware of the woman’s nakedness and pallor.

Kyle continued observing the body. “I wonder what she did when she was alive.”

Jason kept his mouth shut and finished applying the connections. When he was done, he went to the workstation on the right-hand side of the monitors and began the “rebirth” process.

“You think she was a stripper?” Kyle asked. Finally looking away from the woman.

Jason only replied after realizing Kyle was waiting for him to answer. “No.”

“You’re probably right. She’s good looking enough that she probably didn’t have to do much to get by. But I hear Earth isn’t as bad as it used to be.”

Jason watched the monitor as the machines cycled through. Electrical pulses were being sent through the woman’s body at different intervals and strengths to get measurements and densities. The program knew how to read through the rigor mortis for accurate duplicity.

“Too bad they don’t let us have a little fun before we send them to the incinerators,” Kyle murmured to himself. Jason wheeled around in the chair and stared at him.

“What?” Kyle tried to play innocent.

Jason raised his eyebrows and sighed before turning back to the monitor. “I knew you were a sick fuck, but I didn’t expect necrophilia to be on your fantasy list.”

The monitor for prime cognitive function fluctuated between 60% and 80%. When it went above 90%, preferably above 95%, he’d pull the trigger and they’d be done. Then he wouldn’t have to listen to Kyle’s perverted inquiries.

“It was a joke. You know I’d never do that. She’s stiff and blue. There is no way that would feel good. Maybe if we got them a few days before they’re ‘buried’…”

Jason didn’t see it, but he could hear the smile on Kyle’s face. He kept his eyes glued to the monitor. It was reading 88% and climbed slowly to 89% then 90%. He hesitated on pulling the trigger in case it decided to jump higher. The 90% held steady for a few seconds then dipped back down to 88%. They never made it above 92%, he thought. He knew that it’d only get back to 90% one or two more times before the chances disappeared.

“Come on, you’ve never been curious,” Kyle rambled behind him.

“Nope. Never.” Jason focused on the screen but answered in hopes of shutting him up. It climbed back up to 90%. He pulled the trigger and the lights went off.

“I hate this part,” Kyle said in the dark. After a long thirty seconds, the lights flickered back on. The monitors came back online one at a time. When the screen for prime cognitive function came back on, it read 95% in solid blue letters.

“What the fuck?” Jason whispered. His stomach rose into his throat.

Kyle glanced around him at the screen and his eyes widened. “You’ve got to be kidding me. You got a ninety-five? Goddammit. That’s pretty much a perfect. They’ll let you off planet for that. And give you a solid pay bump if not a promotion. You lucky bastard.”

Jason didn’t say a word. In the brief silence between them, six hundred and fifty-nine terabytes of data were released from the servers below the small room and transferred via hardline to the central processing unit further within the planet where it was compressed into a single file titled: Bethany_Werther_95%//789e34. It was then sent further on to the core of the planet where the organic drive was located. The file was loaded onto the drive and the population counter increased by one.

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