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Mei's family came to America around 1900 so she was more American than Chinese, but her family still belonged to the Chinese community. She mostly speaks English but knows a little Chinese from her parents and people from her neighborhood

Her parents died when she was 5, so Mei and her little brother were sent to live with her uncle, the only relative that would take them

Believe it or not, her uncle wasn't exactly a bad person. He would send them to school, buy them clothes and feed them every day, he worked hard and never mistreat them

The problem with her uncle was that he had a gambling addiction. He wasn't exactly a bad gambler since he mostly kept an even balance on how much he won and how much he lost and  when he won he would treat both Mei and her brother to something. But even if he wasn't a bad gambler, gambling isn't a merciful game where everything turns out alright if you are decent enough

One day, when he was playing at the usual underground casino, he had a really strong hand. He was playing against people he had played before and knowing some of their habits made him felt confident in his hand. Since it looked like they weren't as good as his, he asked for a loan and bet it all on his hand

He lost

It was actually a typical set up where they give a guy a good hand that just barely lost to the other. It was a typical scam, but he fell for it, ending up in a big debt

Gambling and loans in the Chinese community in America are usually handled by the Tongs, a criminal organisation with some connections with the triads in china, and they weren't people you wanted to be in debt with

Since he asked for a loan in the heat of the moment, the amount of money he asked wasn't a small sum. Mei's uncle asked for so much, there was no way he would be able to pay the debt since he barely earned enough to cover the monthly interest

So, what bright idea did Mei's uncle had? He tried to do what most gamblers do in situations like that, earn it by gambling

The problem was that unlike before, he was in a bad state of mind, making him play worst than usual, and making him increase his debt even more over time

It was at that moment when he was close to hitting rock bottom than an offer came

"Give us the girl, and wipe away the debt"

Take into consideration that the kids were well fed, knew English and were somewhat educated, so their value was greater than the average street kid. Besides, having the guardians concession helped in some situations

Mei's uncle wasn't stupid, he knew that if he sold one of the kids, they would probably end up as mules or prostitution, but he didn't have much choice

If he didn't take their offer, the debt would only increase over time, so they would take 2 or even the three of them if he waited long enough. There was also the option of selling himself to pay the money or just try to run away, but both were dumb ideas

If he sells himself, who would take care of them? They would end up in their hands anyway, but if he sold one, at least, the other would still be alive

Running away? there was little hope in that. There were hundreds of ways for the triads to find them, like powered with an extremely sensitive nose, hackers, oracles, etc. Besides, when they caught them, they would sell all 3 of them, earning enough to pay the powered service so he was sure it was a horrible idea

His only option, if he wanted to save at least one of them, was to sell the other to the Tong. In the end, he sold Mei to them since Mei's brother was only 3 at the time. Part of the reason was because Mei was older but deep down he knew that the other reason was that Mei's brother wouldn't remember Mei when he grow older and that he didn't want to die

And that was how Mei ended up in the Research Facility, another unfortunate soul that ended up there because of sh-tty circumstances, but there was a little more to the story to that

"Mei Lin Sao, right?"(???) said a female voice

After being sold out and spending some time with the Tong, she was taken to some place else and told to wait in an empty room. It took a while until she finally heard a voice

When she heard someone talking to her, Mei turned around and found a woman in her 30 dressed in a lab coat. She had a pair of glasses, blond hair and a radiant smile directed at her, which didn't help Mei to calm down

"Yes?"(Mei) managed to say timidly

Even if she was afraid, after staying a couple of days with the Tong, she "learned" to answer back even when afraid

"I heard you have a little brother and an uncle? Do you love them?"(labcoat)

"I love my brother"(Mei) said honestly

She wasn't stupid, she knew that her uncle sold her to pay a debt so she hated him deep down. As for her brother, her parents always told her to look after him, and she wanted to keep that promise

"If you do some work for us, we can look after your brother"(Labcoat)

"What do you mean by look after? are you going to take him away too?"(Mei)

She didn't know what was going to happen to her, but she knew it wouldn't be pretty and she definitely didn't want for her brother to go through the same stuff

"No, we will simply send him money and make sure he lives happily with your uncle"(Labcoat) said calmly

"Ah.... and can I see them again if I work for you?"(Mei) said with a little hope

"If you do a nice job, sure"(Labcoat)

And Mei smiled, she really wanted to see her brother again someday

---------------------------------------------------

The mission they gave her was simple, they show her a picture of a girl and force her to memorise the girls face. They told her that she would wake up in a room full of girls around her age and that she should look for her among all the girls. She would be the only one speaking English so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a reason to talk to her

Later, she should just stick with her and to know each other, nothing else. If they get separated, she should just follow what the speakers indicated her

Mei didn't know why this girl was so important, but she did it anyway. It's not like she was doing anything bad, and it would help her family so she did it without any regret

And it's not like it was really difficult, she found her looking around the room she woke up, and when she approached her, it turned out she was quite friendly. She managed to stick with her for quite a while until she went to the classroom where she had to answer a lot of questions. When she finally finished with her answers, she realised that the girl was long gone, but without much choice, she just proceed with the program while worrying if she screwed up at some point and they would refuse to help her with her family

In the end, she finished all the test without killing the dog and was put to sleep while wondering if she did ok

Luckily for her, she did

From what it looked like at least, she did a good enough job, since they gave her new instructions after waking up in the research facility with the others test subjects

They told her by her phone that she would found the target again one week after she woke up and that she should get used to the place in the meantime

Mei instructions were simple, she would find her target in the same class as her one week later, and she would simply make contact with her

Afterwards, she would tell her about the "missions" in the phone, and recommended the biography and daily reports for extra points. The rest of her mission would be to ask about her past without drawing attention and report back anything she says

They promise that as long as she does all that, they would give her family $500 each month and make sure both her uncle and her brother were fine

Mei agreed to help, even if it made her feel a little guilty
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Note: Thanks Neiden for the grammar help :) sadly, a from/for mistake slip in :(
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dogber7

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