A dignified end.
Tonight, again, the halls of the Grand Gallery are as silent as the grave.
Anubis, set to their work, tears a hunk of clay off the block, rolling it out on their desk as they glance, concernedly, at the list taped to their lamp. Dear god, since when did they ever have a list? Curation had been a rare occurrence, before. It would have even been strange to be working on one statue, but there are twelve now, twelve dead, waiting for their turn to rest, without even space to lie. The cabinets in the morgue only fit three bodies, but there are nine more. For now, they have been placed in a vacant room of the Gallery, blocked off from the main display halls, covered in shrouds which fail to hide the stench of burnt plastic. The entire Gallery reeks of it, now. Reeks of their failure.
They can hardly stand to look at the bodies. If they had only succeeded, so many years ago, if they had only let Apep rest, then these twelve souls and those already on exhibit would have been alive. Those humans would have been alive. Even if a few truly had known he wasn’t dead, did the rest have to die, too? They could have stopped this.
All they can do now is give these techs a proper memorial, but is this even proper? Lying on the floor in an empty room? They look down at what little they have shaped of the clay figure so far, hands trembling.
They cannot even do this correctly.
The tradition of Curation in modern-day Argensa only dates back around twenty-eight years, after the crash of the Barque. The ground control operator of the doomed Barque mission, Anubis, forlorn after the death of Apep and infuriated by the treatment of his corpse, resolved to find a way to immortalize the dead, hoping that someday they might get the chance to honor their fallen love the way he would have wanted. Up to that point, death was viewed as terrifying and unfortunate, as the only techs who had died were either murdered by humans or had committed suicide. Its reputation has only gotten more feared, with any sign of injury or reminder of the possibility of dying forever being met with pure panic by everyday techs.
Before Anubis took the reins of funereal practices in Argensa, the dead were often melted down and left as bricks of metal, with nearly nothing but their names and dates of creation and death listed. Anubis took on this backlog and remade each brick into a sculpture of themselves before their death, researching their lives and penning poems about each, installing them in a massive art gallery.
When the body first arrives at the Grand Gallery, it is stripped of all metal, with more scarce components (the gold in circuitboards, etc) being recycled, while the rest is melted down in a massive crucible. The weight of the metal is noted, and Anubis then sets to work creating a sculpture, often of the tech themselves or something they dearly loved in life, with that exact volume. The brick of metal is brought out and placed on the desk to "watch". Once the statue is finished, a mold is made, and the metal is melted down again and cast. The statue is polished to a brilliant sheen, and a short poem about the dead is written, and engraved on a plaque. The statue and the plaque are finally set on a pedestal, in their final resting place, the halls of the Grand Gallery.
Components and tools
Metal from dead techs, clay for sculpting, a crucible to melt them, materials to make the molds.
Anubis is the sole observer and executor of these lonely rites, and lone keeper of the Gallery. Their status as gravetender has made their appearance somewhat of a grim omen, and they are hardly seen. Some techs believe that Apep's death drove them mad, though they will tell you that they merely realized a niche left unfilled, and wished to give those left behind something more to hold on to.
Any time a tech dies, the process of Curation begins anew.