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"In WWII, they had a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think the modern equivalent of that is that there are no jaded, bored people in the high-tech industry, in the land of really good hardcore geeks."
- Neal Stephenson

Assassin Bird  
  A bird genetically engineered to accept instructions on how to kill.  

In the novel, genetically engineered animals are implanted with control devices.

The back of the head bore a small, implanted plug of the sort that on the Tortoise received a cable from the controller computer...

He then began to explain how an Assassin worked: Its handler showed it two photos, one of the intended victim, one of some landmark near which that person could be found, and released it not far from that landmark. The bird would then locate that landmark and lie in wait until the target appeared.

From Sparrowhawk, by Thomas A. Easton.
Published by Ace Books in 1990
Additional resources -

This novel is the source for the current DARPA program HI MEMS (Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) program; read more about how researchers have successfully embedded control circuits into insects while still in the pupal stage.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sparrowhawk
  More Ideas and Technology by Thomas A. Easton
  Tech news articles related to Sparrowhawk
  Tech news articles related to works by Thomas A. Easton

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