The Harvest

He slowly walked between the rows of crops, glancing at them only briefly to make sure there was nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing was. Not that there was ever any chance of something being amiss. The crops were carefully tended to by state of the art computers, keeping them in perfect health, ready to be harvested whenever anyone needed them.

That's what he was here for now, in fact. He needed to harvest one of the crops, stored somewhere in this deep tomb of sterile air and artificial light. The garden had only one sound, the rhythmic huff and puff of air as each of the crops breathed in, held it for a few seconds, and then let it out. They all breathed as one, with mechanical precision.

Could they even breath independently? He realized he didn't even know. He supposed they had to, else their lungs would be useless for transplant. The respirators simply were used to more efficiently utilize air flow to their pods.

That made the most sense, at least.

Finally he reached the place where the correct crops were kept. His patient had good insurance, so he had three of them at once. Most people only had the single government-mandated crop, though the doctor supposed that was much better than those poor people in the less-developed countries. There were even a few backward countries that prohibited them all together.

He had one very wealthy patient who lived in the States, but maintained a full five crops here. It was such a shame that he couldn't keep them closer to home. If he were to suffer a serious accident or medical emergency, there was no guaranteeing he'd make it here in time to have a life-saving operation.

Ah, well. The man paid well to keep his crops healthy and ready, at least.

The doctor carefully checked the three crops that were ready. One was clearly too young; a few years old, at the most, probably the newest crop added when his patient got his newest job. None of its organs would be viable for transplant now. All too underdeveloped and weak. At least the patient had been a cute little kid, he supposed. Well, unless the patient had been overfed in a way his crop had not been (for the crops were kept on a highly tailored diet that provided them exactly what was needed and nothing more).

The doctor checked the chart on the second crop. Probably too old, he decided. It was only in its thirties, biologically, so if he'd needed any other organ, it would be this one he'd harvest it from. But he needed a piece of its brain and brains are notoriously inelastic as they age. That's why the prognosis for partial-brain transplants was so middling compared to other transplants, because most people could only afford their mandated crop, which usually had a fairly aged brain. Rehabilitating it for a new body (even if the body was in many ways identical to the original) was a tall challenge, akin to recovering from paralysis in years past.

But the third crop, that one was just fine. It was a fully developed brain, not that of a toddler, but still young. The crop was just about twelve years old. It could have stood to be a few years younger, but it would certainly do. He looked over the crop and smirked to himself. A cute kid had become a rather gangly, rather ugly preteen.

He looked back over at the second crop. It had a rather bushy beard, so he couldn't quite tell if it looked much like his patient. Someone should really come in and make sure those were trimmed, but he supposed it didn't really matter. If the body was needed for a full transplant, it could be shaved first. Still, it made the crop look ugly.

But he supposed that didn't really matter. What mattered was the crop he was here to harvest. He looked at it again; he hoped they didn't need to remove so much of the brain that the rest of the crop had to be discarded. And if they did, he hoped they could find some uses for the rest of its organs. Perhaps fudge some paperwork, ship them to America to cover their donor organ shortage...

Oh well. He supposed that was someone else's problem. He pushed the button on the crop's bed and it slowly closed up, then vanished into a tube to be carried to the operating room.

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