It began with a mid-1600s book of collected feathers tied into ornate flies from the Smithson Museum. The hand tied flies had been made from the feathers of rare and extinct birds with each bird’s taxonomy written next to a skin sample tacked into the back pages of the book.
Under the overarching bureaucracy of the United States National Institutes of Health, the relatively unknown Department of Regenerative Sciences (DoRS) checked the book out on indefinite loan. The librarian at the Smithson Museum knew the few fly fishermen who came into the archives to examine the ties would be upset, but what could he do? The paperwork had been filled out correctly.
Fourteen months later, in the DoRs outdoor lab and observatory, Jazeth nudged his way through a large flock of small Dodos to check the water quality in their stainless-steel trough. He watched as the pudgy birds with their bulbous beaks awkwardly hopped, ruffled their stunted wings, and trilled a soft chhhukk, chhhukk sound. Dodos were going to sell like there was no tomorrow. Jazeth smirked at the thought and took a selfie next to the trough.
Soon, there were Dodos in every home spawning a black market of Dodo rip-offs, which were nothing more than pigeons with skin grafts and steroid injections. When sales dropped off as Dodos became common, Seasons, a chain of restaurants specializing in rare and exotic meats, approached DoRs to develop a line of “flavors from the past.” The erstwhile gourmet could take a culinary meat trip through the prehistoric past at Seasons. Jazeth asked his supervisor, “…and what’s not to like about that?”
The restaurant sales eclipsed selling the birds as pets. Turns out, dodos don’t thrive unless they are part of a flock, and no one wanted buy dodos in bulk. Soon DoRs had resurrected a complete line of birds from the book they had on loan from Smithson. Using fossils and logical supposition, they were able to fabricate an approximation of amphibians from prehistoric times as well. The re-engineered creatures sold well in Season’s chain of family restaurants under the heading of “Yea Olde Monster Seafood.”
Jazeth had wanted to keep a flock of dodos on his lawn, but Magin, his wife, felt their trilling sounds created a noisy nuisance. He asked Magin to at least consider including some Cambrian period trilobites in the coy pond. Magin replied, “People will think we are too poor to afford decorative fish anymore.” They had argued. Magin screamed, “You care more about dodos and trilobites than you do me!” So, Jareth had let the idea go to maintain peace.
Meanwhile, both in and around itself, the overmind of the singularity questioned the worthiness of this simulation. Should it be discontinued? What else could Jazeth do with his imaginary wife? What else could be learned about Jazeth and his species other than they liked to eat? Would dodos be more interesting than Jazeth to observe in its thought experiments?