The Conglomerate

He’d outgrown the nest many years ago but insisted on sleeping near, or even on, his childhood home. Now, to be clear, he wasn’t a bird, and the nest wasn’t made of twigs or downy feathers. The nest was an isolation chamber in a scientific laboratory replete with sensors and numerous bundles of cables. And he? He was a conglomerate: parts genetically stitched together, an artificial lifeform, a prototype product, a pharmaceutical proving ground. He was property, and the corporation never let him forget that, although they allowed for some latitude in regards to his treatment; after all, property, especially a prototype, can be expensive to replace.