A Chunk of SciFi – 1.07 Hive Chicken [Animal]

“….cluck…cluck…cluck? Bwwaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkk!…””
Transmission heard before the Chicken Rebellion of Hephaestus IV

Animal type – Chicken
Scientific Name – Gallus gallus alvearium

The humble chicken, originally from Earth, is a type of domesticated bird. It is raised widely for its meat and eggs. Billions of chickens used to be found on Earth, and when humanity spread to the stars and started taking livestock with them, the chicken was one of them. The regular eggs and meat the animal provided were too good an opportunity to miss, even though the conditions they were kept in were not perfect. On this new worlds, some died, but other thrived in new environments.

They are known for distinctive sounds, their eggs and being considered by many to be, if not stupid, then not a highly intelligent creature. Many would disagree with this fact. It was on the agri-science world of Hephaestus IV that this was taken as a challenge. Using a combination of gene manipulation, breeding and behavioural techniques, a clandestine group, funded by a wealthy and rather eccentric patron, wanted to see if they could breed sentience into a creature. For reasons unknown by many, the chicken was chosen.

Over a period of many years, the smartest chickens were chosen through a series of tests. Their offspring was mated with other “smart” chickens and given boosters, drugs to help neurones grow and more. Even slight exposure to exotic radiations. The experiment started to show a bit of success. The chickens seemed to become smarter and started being able to solve complex, for a chicken, puzzles. Things seemed to stall and in one batch even go in reverse. The project was almost shelved when one of the researchers noted something odd. When the chicks from the latest batch were in close proximity, they got smarter. The more that was present, the smarter the individual and group as a whole got. The fact the chicks started acting in almost unison somehow got unnoticed.

More from the same batch were brought in. With each chicken added, the effect got more pronounced. Soon the chickens were solving the problems put before them with ease. The scientists got excited with this new development. At a critical number, they theorised, one of the chickens must become self-aware. What they failed to realise until it was too late, was that these chickens had developed a hive mind – a psychic link between each of them that increased their mental capabilities the more of them there was together. It was likened to a brain, with each individual chicken as a neuron. Get enough together and the mind would awaken.

All would have been well until one day when that critical number of chickens was reached. The new hive mind had been aware for much longer than first thought and was gathering more to itself to increase its power. On some hidden signal, the chickens took mental control of everyone within range and began the Chicken Rebellion of Hephaestus IV where every human on the planet was killed. Hephaestus IV has since had a class-2 quarantine placed around it. The chickens seem happy to be left alone, but from remote observations, their numbers are growing.

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