Chapter Three – To the Capitol
NOVEMBER 7, 3211
CITY-STATE – LAYER SEVEN
THE NATIONAL HOSPITAL – THE CAPITOL
Jeremy and Dr. Smith took a high-speed elevator from the Early Detection Lab to the fiftieth floor of the National Hospital. The two men met with a small group of other white coat clad doctors who were gathered on a small, outdoor flight deck.
“Senator Tate invited a nice handful of physicians and researchers to the Senate vote on the S-Amendment,” said Dr. Smith as he led Jeremy to one of the aircars.
Jeremy took a quick look at Layer Seven’s skyline while the group boarded the aircars. The massive, black building was only a few blocks away. And from this distance, the Capitol’s eternal blackness overshadowed everything around it, and although its exterior was adorned with millions of lights and mirrored glass, the ziggurat structure showcased a dark shadow and a black glow. The lights attempted to illuminate the Capitol as a bustling building of freedom, wealth, and importance, but darkness overpowered charm and serenity.
The Capitol’s design was surrounded by taller buildings that reached up into the clouds. Some were designed like giant needles, plunging their life-saving venom into the haze above them. Multiple structures sliced the puffy white canopy like a jagged blades, and others represented towering, golden, double-helix structures. But in an odd way, the Capitol was the main focal point of Layer Seven. It commanded attention.
Jeremy was the last to enter the aircab, and he felt a slight tug as Dr. Smith motioned to the driver to start the engine and ascend into Layer Seven’s hazy atmosphere. “Dr. Green, let’s go,” said the elder.
“Yes, sir. I’m sorry,” said Jeremy. He broke away from the enthralling, yet frightening skyline and boarded the vehicle. Inside, he found a seat bolted to the starboard bulkhead; he sat down and adjusted his lab coat.
“So what’s so great about this S-Amendment?” asked Jeremy curiously. “I’ve been looking it up on V-Reel all day, and I can’t find anything about it.”
“I just got a few pieces of information a few hours ago,” said Dr. Smith. So, the S-Amendment will allow us to prescreen children for their class designation while still they are still in the womb.”
“How is that possible?” interrupted another doctor with dark skin and white curly hair. “There is no genetic link that can prove if someone is A-Class, S-Class, or even D-Class.” Jeremy looked at the man’s name tag. It read Dr. Koenig: StarChild.
“Actually, that’s not entirely true,” said Jeremy with a twinge of self-satisfaction. “There isn’t a direct genetic link that indicates ‘genius status’, but there are a multitude of correlating factors both genetically and physiologically that can indicate the likelihood that someone may be of a certain class.”
“Ha! Okay, kid,” scoffed Koenig. “Sounds like a ploy to get more funding.”
“For example,” continued Jeremy, “there is a correlation in the gene CHRM2 and the ability to logically organize information. It isn’t a direct link for intelligence, but it, along with other factors, can indicate the possibility of a higher classed embryo.”
“Have you been working on this mysterious S-Amendment?” asked Dr. Koenig suspiciously. Koenig elbowed a dark-haired woman next to him. “A Harkin crony, eh? Who are you working for – the hospital or the bad guys?”
The young woman smirked, but she said nothing.
“Actually, I have never heard of this new amendment,” said Jeremy. “My research focused on genetic defects. But while I was researching that topic, it occurred to me that doctors can look for the opposite as well. They can find S-Class children before they are born.”
“Yes! That is precisely what the S-Amendment is all about,” said Dr. Smith with a smile. “And with that, we’re here. Sir, if you could park at the back entrance – the back platform, please.”
“Of course,” said the driver. He swerved the aircar to the back of the Capitol building, punched the deceleration button, and the vehicle slowly parked itself directly beside a large metal door that read “Guests and Honoraries”.
Jeremy stepped off the aircar with the other doctors. He saw four other aircars land in the same area. In all, about two dozen white coats gathered on the rear landing platform at the Capitol building.
The gleaming, bright red Seven-Point Star was positioned near the top of the pyramid-like structure. It could be seen prominently from every angle, and it flew proudly from flags iridescent and banners that marked the perimeter.
The group entered the building. The design theme continued: tiny Seven Point Stars were etched into door handles and were embedded into the hard, stone floor.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this way,” instructed Dr. Smith. He walked next to Jeremy and a few other doctors as the group made there way to the guest section of the senate chamber. Everyone lightly chatted as they moved through the Capitol.
The group continued their journey through the eccentric, maze-like hallways. Jeremy was lost in thought as he gazed upon the barrage of City-State symbols. “Extravagant,” he thought. “And I thought the hospital was elaborate.”
“Do you think it’s right?” she asked bluntly.
“What?” Jeremy snapped out of his miniature trance. He looked to his right and saw a woman walking next to him. She wore a white coat, and she was in her early twenties. Her name, according to the finely etched name tag, was Dr. Alaya Martinez. Jeremy couldn’t help but notice her smooth dark skin, intelligent brown eyes, and friendly smile. But there was also an intensity to her that Jeremy found attractive.
The geneticist in him noted that her appearance was not unusual for modern-day City-State. The population was becoming more homogenous every year. Mocha-colored skin, dark eyes, and dark hair was the norm in City-State. In fact, Jeremy’s green eyes, light-brown hair, and fair skin was something of an anomaly for the times. However, the man in Jeremy could only appreciate the ascetically pleasing nature of the woman standing before him.
“Identifying S-Classers before birth,” she said, undeterred by his obvious gawking. “Do you think that’s morally sound?”
The group rounded a sharp corner and continued down a long, illustrious hallway lined with abstract paintings that highlighted geometric shapes.
“Well,” Jeremy sneaked another quick glance at her name tag, “Dr. Martinez, I don’t think…” Before Jeremy could finish his sentence, Dr. Smith walked to the front of the group stopped at a large set of metal doors. The doctors heard muffled, droning chatter from the senate floor.
“Let the senators debate the subject, Alaya. That’s their job. Our job is to reap the benefits. More work, more money, and a better City-State,” said Dr. Smith. He opened the double doors, and the raucous sound of the chattering intensified.
“Yes, you’re right, Dr. Smith,” said Alaya as she rolled her eyes. “After you, doctor.”
“Why thank you, Alaya,” said Dr. Smith.
She extended her hand in a “stop” motion. “Not you. This new guy.” She smiled and turned to Jeremy, “What’s your name? I didn’t catch it earlier.”
The group snickered.
“What? Oh, I’m Jeremy. Jeremy Green,” he said.
“Welcome aboard, ‘Jeremy. Jeremy Green’. This will be an interesting first day on the job, right?” she asked in a facetious tone.
“Alaya, be nice,” said Dr. Smith.
“Be nice? Go tell that to some of these political buffoons,” said Alaya arrogantly. She lead the way in to the room.
Most of the group walked past Jeremy and Dr. Smith as the doctors followed her. They laughed quietly at her snide comment.
“And that’s…” said Jeremy.
“That’s Alaya,” said Dr. Smith. “She’s with StarChild, she is a whiz at computer programming, she recently joined us from a brief stint on Layer Six, and…”
“…and she’s a handful,” finished Jeremy.
“Pretty much,” said Dr. Smith. “Well, let’s go. The hearing is about to start. After you, doctor.”
“No, I insist. After you,” said Jeremy.
The two men walked through the doors and entered the senate chamber.