He sensed the drone scrape cells from his skin. Just a few were needed for a complete DNA analysis. Out of the corner of his eye he read the name ‘Z-Tech Cerberus I’ painted on the drone’s metallic underbelly. Maurice closed his eyes and willed himself into something like a trance. As a scientist working in the industrial section of Z-Tech, he knew the machine was analyzing his skin cells and when it discovered he was not at the Hive Complex…or at work, he stood a very good chance of being zapped with an uncommonly large voltage usually reserved for the undesirable classes.
He could tell by the beeps and whistles sounding from Cerberus I that the initial results were calculated.
Heart rate: 80 bpm
Blood type: O+
Height: 1.98 m
Weight: 51.1 kg
ID Number: 63MX4R_hss
“Why did the drone register me as 63MX4R_hss?” he thought. He had never been chipped before. Z-Tech kept prodding him to do so, but something about the process bothered him.
He felt the sensor remove from his body and recoil back to the drone. It flew away. Maurice relaxed.
Sometime later he heard voices on the plaza. He rolled over and gasped. The Can Man was lying beside him. His eyes stared directly into Maurice. A thin mucus covered them.
The Can man was dead.
Maurice rolled away and emptied his stomach. A minute later he left the tarp in time to see the first people emerge from the Hive Complex. “Something is different about them,” he wondered. “Their eyes. . .they’re glazy…hollow…lifeless.”