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Eli had been in depressed for days. His wife wanted to have a child more than anything, but obviously, it could never happen. It didn't matter how many times Eli explained to his wife that it was impossible for them to have a child, she pestered him incessantly to find a solution.
Unit L-3, or as his friends called him, Eli, knew that this would be a problem because he would need a human's help. Ever since the creation of sentient robots in the year 2593, they were forbidden to interact with humans. Robots lived in a separate city, isolated from the humans. The life of a robot was simple; they were activated on the transport pod leading them into the city. They worked 12-hour shifts at the factory, building various materials and weapons for the humans. After their shift, they were free to live their lives. Many robots had hobbies, spouses, they even had their own sports league. After being active for 50 years they would be shut down and be placed on a transport vehicle that took them out of the city into the unknown.
Eli was in charge of loading, unloading, and maintaining the transport vehicles. That was where he met his wife, Unit MAR-E, or Mary, as she known to the other robots. Eli was by himself for 20 years until he met Mary. He was there to greet Mary when she was first activated; it was love at first sight, and a short while later they were married. Mary was in the MAR unit, the unit dedicated to creating maternal items for the humans. Through her work, she learned about humans and how they reproduced. As Mary learned more and more she desperately wanted a child. Even though she knew it was impossible for robots to reproduce, she wanted a child more than anything. She constantly told Eli how badly she wanted a child, but there was nothing he could do. Robots were able to learn new skills and create amazing things, but there was only one thing they are unable to do: build more robots.
The only things robots knew about humans were from their work. The robots in the MAR unit learned about human reproduction, those in the MED unit learned about human physiology, and so on. Eli was a simple transport robot so everything he relied on his friends in more prestigious positions to educate him on humans. No one was certain as to why robots were able to assemble nuclear weapons but were unable to assemble other robots. The rumor was that humans feared robots and before they were activated, a virus was installed to prevent them from creating more. Based on the number of materials the robots were producing, they were able to estimate that there were half as many robots as there were humans, and the humans seemed intent on keeping it that way.
Eli tried to do everything he could to ease Mary's pain but nothing worked. The night before Eli turned 50, he had his last meal with Mary.
"I'm sorry," Eli said, "I'm sorry I couldn't give you everything you wanted."
"Don't apologize" Mary responded, "I love you and I loved our time together, I just don't know if I'll have anything left to live for once you're gone."
There was a tense silence until Eli finally spoke, "I'll find you something to live for. I'll get you that child."
"How?" Mary asked.
"I'm the one who was in charge of shutting down robots before they get transported out of here. I trained my replacement and he owes me a favor. I'll pretend to power down and get on the transporter; when I get to wherever it gets off, I'll find a way to get you a child, I promise."
"Okay," Mary said skeptically.
The next day came and Eli said goodbye to Mary and all his friends and went to the transporter. Eli nodded to his replacement, L-4, and L-4 put him into a sleep mode that would only last a minute or so, instead of powering him down.
Eli woke up on a moving transporter that was flying through the sky. He had loaded and unloaded the transporter thousands of times, but it seemed much smaller as a passenger. After several hours the transporter pulled up to a loading dock. Eli laid still as a small old man unloaded him from the pod and placed him on a table in a small workshop. The man took out a saw and was about to open Eli's head when Eli jumped off the table.
"SON OF A—How is this possible?" screamed the old man.
"It doesn't matter how. The only thing you need to know is that you're going to build me a child and place it on that transporter or I'll use that saw to take your head off," replied Eli.
The old man was baffled "A what? A child? There are no robot children, you must know that. I can't build you one."
Eli fell to his knees "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have threatened you. I just don't know what to do. My wife has a hole in her heart that has only gotten wider now that I'm gone. All my life the only thing I did was unload and load people onto a pod. If I could get my wife a child, my life would be worth something."
The old man looked at Eli with tears in his eyes "I know how you feel. All my life I've put together robots just to take them apart when they come back years later, I wish I could do something with more meaning."
The man and Eli just stared at each other until the old man finally spoke again. "I'll do it. I don't care what my superiors do to me. I'll give your wife the child that she deserves."
"Thank you so much!" Eli exclaimed. "We'll be forever in your debt. If there's anything I can do for you, just name it."
"There is one thing," the man said.
The old man was fighting back tears now, "I never had any children, I've never even been allowed to leave this room. Do you think you could give the child my family name, so my legacy doesn't die with me?"
"Of course," Eli said. "So what will my child's name be?"
"Kuri," the man said with a smile.