Aviary

“Just how many birds do you have?” John asked.

“Three hundred and sixty-five, as of this morning,” Archie replied. “Reginald just arrived this morning.” He reached over to pet the little owl sitting on a nearby branch.

“And every single one -”

“A different species, yes. They get terribly jealous otherwise, the little dears. I haven’t worked out that quirk yet. Very odd.”

“How fast can your facility put them out?” John leaned over to peer at the amazingly placid owl. It accepted his hand with only a curious little hoot.

“At the current rate, a few a week, depending on the size. We have an ostrich around, took nearly a month for that one. Worth it, though. The kids love riding him.”

“What has the ethics board said about all this?”

Archie shrugged. “Nothing yet. There seems to be a giant loophole in the area of purely synthetic animals. I’m sure they’ll get their bureaucratic little ends involved soon enough.”

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