The Chinese Secret

The Chinese Secret
by Ellie Dauber © 2003

August 14, 1998

Dr. Xaochien stood on the control platform watching the men marching into the stadium. They marched in rows of ten, heads held high, the cream of the army of the People's Republic of China. Row followed row followed row, until almost 40,000 men stood below him on the field.

Amazingly, these men, from the lowest private to the senior officers, were stark naked. Only identification tags, "dog tags" the hated Americans called them, identified each soldier. Each tag listed the wearer's name, rank, and specialization. These were not ordinary soldiers. They were specialists in covert operations, sabotage, espionage, assassination, guerilla warfare.

Xaochien heard footsteps. Major General Lipyang had joined him on the platform. The general was a hero of the revolution, his crisply starched uniform bearing ribbons from campaigns that dated back to the War for the Liberation of Korea. His steel-gray hair and craggy features made him the sort of "general from central casting" Xaochien had seen in movies when he had been studying medicine in London all those years ago.

"Is the device ready?" Lipyang asked.

"It is, General. The radiation generator units have been placed to sweep the field in all four dir--"

"I did not ask for a technical briefing, Doctor. I asked if the device was ready to effect the transformations."

"I... I am sorry, General. The machine is like my child, and you know how a parent loves to brag."

"I do, and that is why I will ask one more time before I have you replaced by someone who will answer my question."

Xaochien stiffened. He didn't need or want to know where he might be taken away to. "I apologize, General. The device is ready. Power is at maximum. The men have received the preparatory injections. I will begin the process as soon as you say."

"Thank you, Doctor." The General smiled. For a moment, Xaochien imagined that the General's teeth had all been filed to points. It was a silly idea, but, somehow, he didn't want to look too closely to make sure that it was only his imagination.

There was a microphone on a stand at the front of the platform. The General walked to it. As soon as they saw him, without requiring a command, the men on the field all snapped to attention.

The General nodded, acknowledging the respect he had just been shown. "Soldiers, you are about to begin a long term assignment. You will not see your families again for perhaps twenty years. You will not see your country again for that same time. Do not fear for your families, for your country will protect them and care for them. And do not fear for your country, for, when you return to it, it will be the predominant -- no, the only -- power in the world. It will be the master of the world.

"Our enemies, those who would destroy us, will, themselves, be destroyed. And that will be your doing. That will be the result of what we begin here today."

"In the next few minutes, strange things will happen to you. You will be changed beyond your imaginings. You will be so changed, in fact, that you will lose yourselves. You will fear this as it happens, but you will not be overcome by that fear. You are the finest soldiers our nation possesses, and you are trained to go beyond such fear. I have no doubt of this, and I salute you for the courage that you will show this day as well as on that future day when you find yourselves again and truly begin your glorious mission."

The General's heels snapped together, and his arm rose in perfect, practiced salute. "For the glory of the Revolution and of our nation." He lowered his arm, and stepped back from the microphone.

"Doctor, as I understand your device, it takes thirty seconds to begin its effect once it is activated. Is that correct?"

"Yes, General."

"And once the device has been activated, it cannot be stopped until some five minutes have passed?"

"Yes, General; it is a result of the need for certain components to be... shall I continue with the explanation?"

"No, I just wanted to be certain. Activate the device."

"Yes, General." Xaochien flicked several switches on a control panel. The digital indicators on the panel shifted slowly upward from zero to 100 percent. An odd, high pitched humming was heard from various places all along the borders of the field. Yellow bands of energy formed. They swelled and moved like living things, joining together into a ring that swelled to cover the entire field.

A few of the men, very few the General noticed proudly, flinched. He was even prouder that not a single man broke ranks and ran. It was just as well; there were marksmen outside the field to stop the escape of any man who did run.

"The effect will begin in about ten seconds," Xaochien said.

"Just enough time," the General said. Before Xaochien could move, the General leapt off the platform and ran onto the field. "See you in twenty years, Doctor," he yelled, as he ran out to join his command.

Xaochien didn't know what to do. How could he explain the loss of the General to the rest of the High Command? There was no way to stop the transformation. Cutting power to the device would create a surge overload that would kill him and every other person on the field. He shuddered as the energy field grew more solid, as if becoming a yellow tin roof, and shutting off his view of what was happening to the men below.

Still, he did not need to see the transformation to know it.

The men could not move. Neural impulses from their brains to their voluntary muscles were blocked. They could breathe, their hearts continued to beat, their organs to function, but that was all.

Now the men were growing smaller, thinner. Their prized muscle tone was lost to them. They probably looked like teens by now. Even the General was growing younger. His hair was no doubt black again; the wrinkles earned from his long life in the military, smoothing out.

The men were sweating now, feeling the pain of bone loss, as their skeletons reduced in size and the tendons shifted and flowed to keep their connections with the smaller bones.

The men were even younger by now. Except for the tops of their heads and eyebrows, there was no trace of hair. They were now going back through puberty, the hormone levels of their bodies shrinking even as those bodies did.

By now, some of the men were no doubt feeling great fear. No man could look at his own shrinking body, but he could see those around him. It did not matter, certainly not to Xaochien. No man could run; none could even cry out. The field kept them immobile throughout the transformation.

“The average physical age of the men was now about eight,” Xaochien thought. "Now the true transformation begins."

Within the field, the men -- the boys... the little boys -- felt odd sensations at their groins. Many fought the paralysis of the field to look down, but it was no use.

Which was just as well.

If they could have watched, the little boys would have been horrified.

Their male organs were small now, as was to be expected of small children, but, now their penises shrank even faster down to less than an inch in size. Their scrotal sacks emptied, as their immature testicles moved up into their bodies to begin a transformation to ovaries. Future sperm production would now be given over to the creation of eggs.

Other organs rearranged. The flesh of the scrotum tightened to become two lips, as a small indentation appeared between them. By the time the former soldiers were physically reduced to the age of three, their penises had sunken into the new opening to become clitorises. The soldiers were now female down to the very genetic level.

Yet, had anyone been able to see them, there would have been little sign of surprise or shock, even though such facial gestures were possible under the effects of the device. Brain cells were affected by the device as well, as was the capability to acquire and use information. Simply put, the soldiers were slowly losing any awareness of ever having been adults.

The effect continued for a few moments more. Then, as if by magic, the yellow barrier disappeared. What met the eye were 40,000 babies, all healthy and all no more than six months old. A few began to cry, others managed to lift themselves enough to start crawling. Near the front of the mass of naked infants, a single child sat fighting to free herself from the uniform of an adult, a uniform it no longer understood.

A cadre of nurses and aides wheeled carts out onto the field and began to collect the young ones. They would be taken to more than four score hospitals around the nation where they would be cared for while they waited. In the next five years, their nation would gain a great deal of hard currency from the payments U.S. citizens would make to adopt them. The transformation device was used at a much lower level to keep them young enough to be the babies that Americans wanted to adopt.

* * * * *

June 19, 2016

Cindy Fuller looked down at what she had just written in her diary. The pretty college freshman had gotten home for summer break the week before. She was glad now that she hadn't told her parents about the odd dreams she'd been having. The psychologist at school had said not to worry. It was common for adopted children to dream about their biologic parents, especially as they reached adulthood and were more able to seek them out.

Cindy's adopted parents had changed her first name to that of a recently deceased aunt as a way of making her more a part of their family. That happened to a lot of Chinese adoptees. Cindy had grown up answering to her new name. She'd had little interest in her native country. She was raised to be an American, and she was proud to think of herself as one.

It had been a shock a few weeks before to suddenly dream of herself as an adult in some sort of uniform in a place with what she somehow knew were Chinese ideograms on the walls. It was more of a shock when, a few nights later, she found that she could read them.

Now she understood why.

Dear Diary,

The dreams came together last night. I know what they mean and who I really am.

What's more, I know the mission of my men and myself. I grew up the second time here in America, and I understand it in ways that I could never know as a member of the General Staff back in China. I know its strengths and its weaknesses, and I now remember enough of my military skills to know how to make the most of those weaknesses.

My forces, the 40,000 under my command, are scattered across this nation.

No doubt they remember as I do.

The signals to mobilize -- to begin what we were sent here to do -- are easily communicated.

We can do it, do what we were sent here to do. We could weaken this nation so greatly that it would fall helplessly into the control of Mother China.

Yet, there is a flaw, a fatal flaw in the plan.

We grew up here the second time. I grew up here the second time, and I find that I have grown to love my new life in so many ways that I never loved my old one. I am content, happy to be Cindy Fuller. I would much rather be her, a pretty, young woman, than be General Lipyang.

I like dressing up in soft, clinging clothes, putting on makeup, shopping. I prefer to be the feminine creation that Xaochien's device and all of my experiences in this country have made of me. Wearing pinafores, playing with dollies, giggling with my girlfriends while we listened to CDs of boys bands, these things more than balance the hard years of military life that shaped the man I was. He is as dead as if Xaochien's device had killed him.

Besides, if I try to destroy the country, I won't have time to go to the lake with Jeff Reynolds this weekend. "Playing house" with that hunky stud of mine will be a lot more fun.

* * * * *

An article in the June 15, 2003, Philadelphia Inquirer said that over 33,000 Chinese babies had been adopted by Americans and brought to the U.S. Most of these babies are girls. The officialexplanation is that Chinese culture values boys much higher than girls, and these female babies were ones whose parents might otherwise have abandoned them to die.

Now you know the real reason.

And the reason why their insidious plan won't work.

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