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Authored by Mr. Dave Ross
Authored with Mr. Tom Lemery

The Lab wasn't always a hulking ruin. It was state-of-the-art when Techno-Gadgets Inc. built it for a top-secret project. Someone in the head office had this brilliant idea: combine nanotechnology with genetic engineering to create a new generation of gadgets. The payoff could be huge. To ensure security, the Lab was built in the middle of a remote swamp. For years the Lab was a happy workplace. It was home to a team of human scientists, engineers and designers, who worked to create a bold new class of consumer products. The corporate marketing folks came up with the name Technobuggies. But we were simply known as "T'Bugs". This is our story.

The designers imagined hands-free, butterfly-like cell phones. They envisioned friendly flying flashlights and adorable lightening bugs that could light up a child's bedroom. They drew plans for super intelligent devices that could walk and talk. As their sketches became reality, the first T'Bugs were as cute as cute could be. We had big eyes and adorable smiles. It was an expensive project, but it looked like a winner. Once investors saw the first T'Bug prototypes, they funded every nickel.

The engineers invented long lasting batteries and tough carbon-fiber bodies to withstand rough play at the hands of young users. Our Nano-circuitry was indestructible and highly adaptable: we could learn. They also got some unexpected results. T'Bugs were suppose to have a never-quit-trying desire to serve. We ended up with a very stubborn will-to-survive.

However, the scientists who made us special. They combined the DNA of insects with electronic gadgetry. They brought consumer products to life. Even better, we were smarter than insects. We had minds of our own. We were intended to be amusing and useful pets. Better still, once a T'Bug was created, it could be cloned.

Everything was very carefully planned. Because of its remote location, the Lab had to be self-sufficient. Although it was far off the grid, electricity was never a problem. Fuel cells converted water into limitless power. Fully automated, the building was designed to host a breeding colony of T'Bugs. Once cloned, the second generation of T'Bugs would roam free in a large airy enclosure, tended by amazing robotic caregivers.

For the most part, everything worked as planned. However, there was one issue that created a problem. Some of us developed an independent streak that was impossible to break. In the Lab, we appeared to be well behaved and worked perfectly but when field-tested outside the Lab, we were willful and difficult to train. This became a major problem for the head office that stumped everyone.

There was a very simple explanation: music. Specifically, old Rock & Roll tunes. The scientists played an oldies station throughout the Lab. In fact, they blasted it 24/7 during our development stage. The thumping rhythms had become imprinted on our DNA. Listening to it made us happy and cooperative. Without it, we lost focus and had problems following direction. The team never made the connection between Rock & Roll and our behavior. They thought that the next generation of T'Bugs would be easier to deal with. Of course, the next generation was cloned in the Lab and had the same secret love of Golden Oldies... it was genetic.

When the breeding program failed to tame us, lawyers jumped in. The investors sued and funding dried up. The head office panicked. The big bosses at Techno-Gadgets ordered the Lab closed. As the closing deadline approached, the team couldn't bring themselves to destroy us. We were too darn cute. Besides, who knew what the future might bring? Perhaps funding would be restored in a couple of years. Two of the robotic caregivers were reprogrammed to take charge of the Lab. On the last day, the team locked up the Lab and went away. After all, the Lab was self contained and very secure. What could go wrong?

The humans never came back.

The robots turned off the music.

Some of us escaped.

Publication Date:
1548446483 / 9781548446482
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Juvenile Fiction / Science & Technology

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