The main character, Luke, lives in a society where children like him, a third child born into a family already having two children, are considered illegal and should not exist. When he was younger of course, Luke did not understand why he had to stay hidden, assuming that it was because he was younger than his older brothers. By chapter ten, Luke understands the reality of his existence and quickly becomes frustrated by his status and inability to enjoy any normal freedoms.
Being particularly frustrated one night, Luke watches his brothers happily making fun at his expense and briefly wonders what it would be like if one of his brothers were to die. He wonders if he would be able to step into his brother's place as the second child in the family and enjoy a life of freedom. This thought disappears from his mind as quickly as it came. Luke immediately feels guilty for thinking, even for a moment, that there could be a positive impact for him if his brother passed away.