Aviary, Part 2

John watched as Archie walked out through the airlock-style doors. He lifted a finger and the little owlet stepped obediently on. Soft feathers, warm to the touch. It had a budding personality. John lifted it to face height and stared at is huge eyes. Somewhere in that walnut-sized skull was ticking the engine of a lifetime of work.

He wondered, not for the first time, how it all worked. Whether his creation thought like any other owl. If he let it out into the wild, would it thrive? Would it interact with the others? Evidence suggested it would not. His creations seemed to only enjoy the company of people. Other animals were tolerated. Members of their own species were attacked on site.

Why was that? It was at odds with any aspect of nature. Certainly, John and his technicians had needed to change quite a few things to get the docile results they’d looked for. But why this inherent animosity?

The owlet chirped and flew off into the artificial forest of the aviary. It landed next to a robin that studiously ignored it.

John stared at the pair a moment then squared his shoulders. Back to the lab. Maybe today he’d figure it out.

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