The Magnificent Seven - ATF Alternat Universe

Dark Secrets Unlocked

Part 5

(still 25 years ago, but a month after the events in Part 4)

"Dr. Sanchez," the gray haired man greeted, offering his hand. "It is indeed a pleasure to have you working at our facility.

Offering a slightly nervous smile, Josiah accepted the proffered hand. "It?s a pleasure to be here, Dr. Connley.," he replied. Taking in the man before him, he tried to reconcile the man he saw with the file he had read. Dr. Connley hardly seemed the powerful, imposing man his reports claimed, but then, he?d just met the man and hadn?t seen him in a working environment yet.

"I?ll tell you what," Dr. Connley said. "Why don?t you have a seat and begin reviewing and signing these papers and I?ll be back in about twenty minutes or so to take you on a tour."

"That?s very kind of you," Josiah said, trying to display proper awe and amazement. "I could hardly expect a busy man such as yourself..."

"Nonsense," Dr. Connley interrupted. "It?s no trouble at all. I?ll be back soon. You get started on those papers."

Josiah nodded and sat. Hearing the door close, he allowed himself a small satisfied smile. ?Always go for the ego stroke,? he thought to himself.

Glancing at the papers before him, he started scanning them, but allowed his mind to wander back to the meeting with Victor when he had given him the information.

"Here is everything we have, Josiah. I can?t tell you how much this means to us, to me," Victor said.

Josiah tilted his head to the side and studied his friend. He could see the stress and sense the nervousness. Victor Fitzgerald was a man who was abundantly sure of himself - never Nervous. Leaning forward, he placed his hand upon that of his friend. He noticed how Victor tried to avoid his eyes. "Victor," Josiah said, his deep soothing voice penetrating the nervousness. "I don?t want to read these now. I want you to tell me what has you so spooked."

Victor tried to pull away, but instead felt the grip tighten. Releasing a heavy sigh, he sat down. Josiah was bound to find out anyway. Taking a deep breath he began. "We were having trouble conceiving. We tried almost everything. Then, through various sources, I heard of a scientist, Dr. Connley, who was working on a program. I couldn?t find out much about it, but everything seemed to indicate he could help." Pouring himself a glass of water, he continued. "I used every source I could find to locate him. Finally I met with him in a park. He assured me he would be able to help us. I was so caught up in work, in the idea of having a child, I never asked the questions I should have."

Standing and moving to look out the window, Victor focused on something in the distance. "When we found out about the pregnancy, we couldn?t believe it. We were so excited... The day Martin was born was the proudest of my life," a smile at the memory softened Victor?s face, a light lit his eyes. His every line defined him as a proud, loving father.

After a pause, his demeanor changed, his face lost all warmth and bitterness crept into his eyes. "After Martin?s birth, we began to notice health problems, not the baby, my wife. I got worried when the doctors couldn?t find anything specific wrong with her." He swallowed, fear streaked across his face. "We thought she was dying, so I sought out all I could find on Dr. Connley and his project. What I found..."

Victor shuddered. Returning to the table, he looked into Josiah?s eyes, willing the young psychologist to believe him. "He was leading a project to develop the perfect soldier - a human stronger, faster and smarter than any other. They had been playing with genetics and have what they call the T-series. They only allow one live birth from each series to find out if they?ve hit upon the correct combination."

Josiah sat stunned as the realization hit him. "Martin..."

Victor nodded. "Martin was the one live birth they allowed from series T1426. They tested him at the hospital, but, he wasn?t what they were looking for. Yes, he seems to have some latent traits they want, but not everything. The further I dug... God, Josiah! The chemicals they feed the mothers during the pregnancy to ensure the fetus isn?t rejected basically kill the mother once the baby?s born."

"How long," Josiah gasped, thinking of Victor?s wife.

Victor hung his head. "They don?t know," he replied in a small voice. "They just don?t know." A moment of silence rested in the room before Victor continued in a small voice. "We?re lucky. Martin?s fairly normal. As I said, he has a few latent traits and managed to be gifted with the intelligence, and, unfortunately, aggression, but for the most part, he shouldn?t have a problem... At least not until he?s fifteen."

Josiah took a deep breath, things just kept getting worse. "What happens at fifteen?"

Victor slumped into his chair. "The previous series have all had meltdowns at age fifteen. It has something to do with the brain?s development. The aggression surges out of control and.." he let out a sigh. "Of the ten previous subjects, all have died."

"Oh, Victor," Josiah said, his voice filled with sorrow and understanding. His nature, however, sought to heal the wounded soul and offer hope. "Don?t give up hope yet, Victor," Josiah encouraged. "Martin is only five and you have ten years. Technology is increasing at an astronomical rate, in ten years... I have faith in you, Victor, and in Martin. Things will work out."

"Ready for your tour, Dr. Sanchez?" Dr. Connley asked as he opened the door.

Josiah looked up and smiled at the man. "Certainly, Dr. Connley," he responded, anxious to begin his investigation. "After you."

"Let?s begin the tour in the lab," Connley began. "If you look through this window here, you can see our clean room. This is where our scientists work with the various strands of DNA trying to identify our previous errors and prevent the in the future, while continuing to build on our successes."

Josiah took a look and saw a lot of lab equipment. He noted that the files were stored on computers that all fed into one central mainframe. Spotting the tape drive on it, he figured that would be where he would be able to use a tape to make a backup of the system. Scanning for security, he noted several cameras in the lab area as well as some alarms. Tricky. It would take some time to figure out how to surpass it.

"Next I?ll show you the nursery area," Dr. Connley continued. "This is where we keep the mothers and their children until about the age of six when we begin their training. As you can see, we only have the one toddler at the moment and the one baby. The toddler is from series T-1427 and the infant from T1429."

"Do they have names?" Josiah asked, cutting off the doctor. He noted the irritation that flooded the other man?s eyes at his impertinence.

"If they do, the mothers would know," he snapped.

"And the mothers are?" Josiah prompted, wanting to know, but not wanting to push too far.

"The toddler?s mother is Rosmary Coughlin. The infant?s mother is Emma Tanner," he snapped before turning to continue with the tour.

Josiah took one last look into the room. The two children had identical blue eyes, just like Martin?s.

On To Part 6
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