“It’s very impressive,” the visitor said, marveling at the whirlwind of birds all about them, perched on branches and eaves. “But how on earth do you afford to keep all of these birds?”

“Simple,” said Eames. “The government pays for everything.”

“The same government that will audit your taxes if you underpay by a single red cent?”

“No, not that government,” Eames smiled. “The government within the government, the one that sees inefficiency and waste as a sign that things are working as intended. The Department of Defense.”

“The DoD. It pays for a bird sanctuary?”

“In 1927, the government created the Strategic Pigeon Reserve, to be used as a stockpile of trained birds and breeding stock in case of a sudden need. This was after World War I, you understand, when there was quite the acute pidge shortage.”

“And we keep them because…?”

“Because no one ever repealed it,” laughed Eames. “When a government inspector comes by, I remind them that pidges require no electricity, have high bandwidth, and unlike radios, they can reproduce themselves in the event of a nuclear war or EMP.”

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