Chapter 4Mature

Leicester had been holding Amanda’s hand as he marched purposefully through the silver-walled maze of corridors that wound through the Genero Facility. When they finally reached a heavy steel door he kept hold of her with one hand even as the other moved furiously over a keypad in the wall, fingers tapping feverishly a long security code that he’d memorised in anticipation of this day. Without even waiting for the two halves of the door to slide apart completely he pulled Amanda in to the laboratory with him, finally letting go as his arms opened wide to welcome the man who was already in the room waiting for them.
“Mr. Patel!” Leicester boomed, causing the man to jump, “I hope you’re well this morning!”
“Indeed, Dr. Niels,” Patel nodded and turned to Amanda, “Dr. Bell.”
“Good morning,” She replied, and as the two men engaged themselves in a computer screen on an island counter in the centre of the room, she took the opportunity to evaluate her surroundings.
This laboratory was considerably smaller than most in the Genero Facility - it was not more than eight square meters, obviously specialised for a single purpose. Steel counters lined three of four walls, and set in to them were sinks and locked storage cupboards that undoubtedly housed a typical scientists’ tools, many of which were now scattered about the countertops in the process of minor - though important - experiments. At the far end of the room was a large refrigerated storage unit that spanned the entire wall. Through its glass doors could be seen an array of glass containers; test tubes, jars and phials all marked with either printed or scribbled labels. The substances inside the containers gave them all a different colour and they had been arranged - no doubt by Leicester - in a fashion that gave the refrigeration unit a gradient from a pale, watery yellow through to red, through to a bright, acidic green.
 A few feet in front of the colourful refrigerator stood the strangest object in the room. Amanda had seen it once before - a strange cylindrical thing around 4 feet in height, its seamless surface a pristine white that reflected the harsh lighting of the room, forcing Amanda to squint at it until her eyes adjusted. Only a small, letterbox-sized pane of UV-protected glass interrupted the clean white of the tank’s side and even this window was shielded by a visor that ran the length of it. Clearly whatever was inside was either too sensitive to the light to risk premature exposure or just hideous to look at. The scientist in Amanda knew the former was the case, yet her human nature was sickened slightly by the knowledge of what had been festering inside this giant artificial womb. Curiosity took hold of her and she ventured over to the tank to see how the thing inside it had changed in the 4 months since she last saw it.
As she pressed her nose to the glass pane and placed her hands either side of her eyes to block the reflection of her own face her mouth fell open and she gasped in shock.

The End

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