* * * Aug 11, 2056 * * *
In the dim light of a quarter moon, a strange hulk of metal and meat erupted from the cover of trees and darted on mechanical legs through the forest. In a small clearing, a blur of dark figures made their age-old savage response. They nipped at ankles, leaped at the throat, and hauled the strange meal down.
At the first light of dawn, a skinny nineteen-year-old Dr. David Atland grabbed his veterinary supplies and opened the gate to slip into the wilderness park. Just inside, he checked that his shock rifle was ready to use, just in case. He expected the wolves had brought down the feeding bot and were satisfied, but he needed to check and record the amount of meat consumed. The beauty of the trail, the peaceful trill of the birds was not lost on him, but he had an empty, almost depressed feeling. Something was missing in his life. This job was why he had graduated last spring, what his parents had supported him for; but he had to admit it wasn’t enough. He resigned himself to telling his parents the bad news—he wanted to go back to school. The heady adrenaline surges of surgery training were long gone. He needed to go further and spend his life operating; not on animals, even, it wasn’t enough. To hold a human life in one’s hands—that thought excited him. After recording how much meat the tissue cloning lab should produce for the next wolf meal, Atland strode back to the house with resolve. Sitting down for breakfast, he decided to just blurt it out.
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