~Against the Machine~

The attending Care-Giver glanced around the spacious room at his charges that formed group M-9985201.12. 12 being the number of male patients, in group identifier 9985201. There didn’t have to be twelve, but he certainly preferred not to have much more than that in one go. Over his years in this role he had processed many such groups, and there would, no doubt be many more – though if things worked as he was planning, he also hoped those ones might be under someone else’s care.

About 30 minutes earlier he had overseen bringing the 12 unconscious occupants of these couches from the surgical section to this, the Treatment Room, and arranged them in the places he had assigned. He left them there, and within 20 minutes all were awake and waiting. Now he had returned and, as yet, none realised he was there until he pressed a key on his master console and each bed began to move to take up the position he required. At the same time, the lighting levels came up and, as the backrest began to raise them to the sitting position, there were a few murmurs of disquiet and for the first time they saw the room properly. They saw each other. They saw him. And the fear that spread was palpable. This was the third day, and they knew, for sure, it was going to happen now.

How long would it take?



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