So here's the next project that will be posted on this blog. I'll try to post part of it at least every other day. Again, it's for your enjoyment. If yall like it, I may just make copies available in a hard format or e-book format; it depends on the reception. I really am wanting this project to work out better than Doornail did, and I'm feeling quite optimistic. No, don't get excited, it's not my other novel. That's not finished yet. This is for fun, quite rough, and for the entertainment of all, and I want you to enjoy it. With no further comments, I now present to you Sentience.
Chapter 1: Beep
Frederick Macon stared at the license tag in front of him as the hovering vehicle it belonged to pitched up and down gently. He was close to memorizing the sequence of numbers now, because he had been behind this car for two hours, both of them stuck in the inevitable afternoon traffic. He had left his job at the plant at 4:30, hoping perhaps to get home early, or something resembling early.
THE phone. The one that only rang maybe every few months, bringing word of some real money, real opportunities and skills for a 24-year-old line worker. He pressed a button on the gear shift. "Macon."
"Good evening, Macon." The female voice was familiar. He'd never met her. Whoever she was, she'd given him word of his last two jobs. "Something new for you to work on."
"Will you be sending the information in the manner we have discussed?"
"Of course." She paused. "Macon, this job may be a bit harder for you than others have been. You will need to...collect and eliminate a product formula that we have lost track of."
"Eliminate?" He frowned. Retrieval and disposal. Those were familiar codewords; they dealt with information exclusively. He rarely even had to talk to any of the people involved with his targets. He'd been off-planet once, but only because of a malfunction in one of his computers. Collect and eliminate was a new order, and he was unsure what it meant.
"Yes, eliminate. The information will be in the designated place that we discussed. Contact me again if you accept this job. Hope I'll talk to you tonight, Macon." Silence. The call was over.
Thirty minutes later, the traffic cleared. Frederick looked at the right side of the road, curious as to what the problem had been. The only thing he saw was an eagle, or at least what was called an eagle. The reptile had been hit at some point by a car that was still stalled by the road, its bumper crumpled on the end. The animal's carcass dangled by a wing from the partition, and two workers were trying to remove it. Frederick watched as the creature's wing was cut loose, and looked away just as the remnants of the animal fell to the earth, far below.
Frederick sped up, shaking the feeling that crawled through him. It was an animal, not much more. It wasn't as if it was a human. And anyway, the promise of a job waited for him at home.