Xu—like most Feiru—spoke some English, and said, “Yang and Wallace will take you from here.”
The female nodded at Xu, and the security officer left. Once alone, the man at her side reached out a hand to shake. “I’m Gregory Wallace.” He motioned to the woman at his side. “And this is Crystal Yang.”
The man’s Scots accent reminded him of home. “Giovanni Sinclair.” He shook and released Wallace’s hand. “Are you two going to give me a proper tour? Xu was less than forthcoming.”
Wallace handed him a clipboard. “First, while you’ve been given top level clearance, I need you to read this nondisclosure agreement and sign it. Once you do that, we’ll answer any questions that you might have.”
He took the clipboard and read the one page document. He’d seen similar agreements before, although this one was stricter. Gio was prohibited from sharing the information he learned inside the facility for life. If he violated the agreement at any time in the future, his case would be decided by the Feiru High Council. Penalties included up to a death sentence.
If this was the kind of protocol that had been used with all of the AMT researchers then no wonder the general Feiru population didn’t know anything.
Careful to keep his face expressionless, he skimmed the important details one more time and committed them to memory in case he needed to figure a way out of it later. Satisfied, he signed his name at the bottom.
Wallace took the clipboard and nodded. “As you might’ve guessed from the form you just signed, this section of the AMT system is top secret.”
It would be best to play ignorant. “What kind of research do you do here?”
The woman motioned for them to start walking. “Given your clearance, I’m guessing you know about the experiments being conducted on the first-borns?”
“I’ve only recently acquired my clearance. I know there are three types, but could you give me a quick overview?”
Wallace took over. “Each first-born is as
signed to one of three types of experiments during their first year inside the AMT, and continue undergoing treatment for life. The three experiment tracks are: psychological, gene therapy, and breeding.”
Luckily, Gio already knew about the breeding experiments, so he could keep his expression bland. “Is that what you do here?”
Yang shook her head. “No, we do something much more important. We raise the children born inside the AMT compounds, and monitor them for genetic shifts. Our ultimate goal is to use them to eradicate elemental magic.”
The pair must not yet know about the other abilities emerging, and he wasn’t about to share it with them. “What happens to the non-first-born children born inside the AMT compounds?”
Wallace motioned for them to turn a corner. “The records aren’t always kept up to date with which first-born is bred with who, and each of the three experiment tracks have their own set of secrets, so it was decided to just transport them here, for everyone’s safety.”
“Have any of the children shown dangerous side effects that could endanger others?”
“Not yet,” Yang answered. “But would you want to risk everything the AMT Oversight Committee has worked so hard to protect? Here we can monitor them closely, in case something goes wrong.”
So the children were guilty until proven innocent.
To mollify Yang, he said, “I’m just trying to understand what goes on here.”
They reached another door that required both Yang and Wallace to put their thumbs to a scanner to unlock it. Once the door opened, Wallace motioned both Yang and Gio ahead of him.
They walked a few more feet before Yang opened yet another door—he had to commend them on their security protocols—and Gio followed. Inside the small room were computers, chairs, and monitors. Yang did something on a keypad, and a screen lifted from the inside to show a dormitory-style room with six sets of bunk beds. The beds were empty, but as he scanned the room through the glass, he noticed twelve children sitting around a table, drawing pictures. They all looked to be between the ages of five and ten. “Are those some of the children?”
“Yes. This is group 5A.”
He wondered if the children were raised with serial numbers from birth, but now wasn’t the time to ask that question. “How do you raise the children? Are they brought here as infants?”
Yang replied, “They’re moved to this facility at eight weeks of age. We have a special wing for the infants, but once they’re two years old, they’re transferred into a room with other children. The interaction with others their age helps keep them preoccupied. They’re also allowed to play, draw, sing, or any other number of harmless hobbies.”
“But what about social interaction with adults? Or an education?”
Wallace gave him a strange look. “An education is the last thing we want to give them, or they’d start asking questions. We treat them well, but we do what we think is best for them.”
It took everything he had to keep from reacting to Wallace’s words. “Who decides their activities or their upbringing?”
Yang answered, “The AMT Oversight Committee.”