Unmanned drones began delivering packages to Sean’s door about three years before the murder recorded by the Hillsboro Police Department, June 23rd, 2019. Sean was more of a manger than an engineer and didn’t really know how the drones fit into the situation until it was too late. Sean was an early adopter of technology because he worked for one of the largest technology companies in the US. As soon as companies like Amazon and eBay had unmanned drones deliver packages, Sean signed up. Sean was sold on the technology when a package of pumpkin spice flavored k-cups was waiting on his door a half-an-hour after he ordered them. He didn’t realize at the time how k-cups would connect to the incident that would alter his life forever.
When the drones first hit the air, there was a lot of fear. Rumors spread on the internet about old ladies and pets being attacked by the drones. People feared that hackers would mobilize armies of drones or at the very least steal packages. Some of the more radical websites claimed that the government was using them to spy and wore protective clothing, including the tinfoil hat that an enterprising crazy should have patented in the pursuit of gobs of money. But the drones were better pilots than people. The difference between a drone and person was that people made mistakes. Designers and engineers tested and retested the drones, to ensure the mistakes were worked out their systems before they took flight.
Once the fear of new technology subsided, the drones became a fixture of the sky, and no one looked twice, except for Sean. About four months preceding the murder, Sean always looked up, every time he left the house. He would stay in the open air for as little time as possible. Sean often ran from his car to work. A casual observer of his behavior would conclude that he was paranoid, and should probably wear a tinfoil hat if it made him feel better. However, Sean was not loony; he was average.
The incident began about nine months preceding the incident in a warehouse located in Gresham, Oregon, just outside of Portland. The warehouse was a wonderland of electronic wizardry because it was entirely automated. Very few humans oversaw a warehouse the size of ten football fields with goods ready to be shipped all over the globe. The workers had all been replaced by drones.
On a typical day, an order would come through the internet to a brain that was almost artificially intelligent. It would send an army of drones to pick the order off the shelf, another army would pack the items, and the star of the show, the aerial shipping drone, would fly the package over Portland, to the sleepy town of Hillsboro and on to Sean’s doorstep. Because Sean made a lot of money as a manager, was recently divorced, and had kids who had already been through college, Sean ordered more stuff by drone than any human in the Oregon/Washington area. Rather than go to the grocery store when he was out of peanuts, he’d fly them in. If he wanted a movie to watch, he’d order the blu-ray online.
Every product would come in packages of one or two at a time and were dropped off on Sean’s doorstep. Because the warehouse was almost entirely automated, Sean could order at anytime. Drones didn’t make overtime, nor did they require vacation time, or even a forty-hour workweek. If Sean needed to have some milk in the wee hours of the night, a drone would be at his doorstep. He felt as if he was living the dream of his favorite childhood show, Star Trek. The aerial shipping drones and the automated warehouse was the closest thing to replicator a boy could dream, given the technology. An 3D printer could print an object made of a basic material, but a drone and a yearly service fee for free drone shipping could bring him anything he ever wanted. Sean was living in the future.
Sean’s future was about to unravel, and it all started with a rose.
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