Page 14

I dress quickly, grabbing the folded clothes Warner left on a shelf for me. Dark jeans and a soft, navy-blue sweater. Fresh socks and underwear. A brand-new pair of tennis shoes.

The sizes are perfect.

Of course they are.

I haven’t worn jeans in so many years that at first the material feels strange to me. The fit is so tight, so tapered; I have to bend my knees to stretch the denim a little. But by the time I tug the sweater over my head, I’m finally feeling comfortable. And even though I miss my suit, there’s something nice about wearing real clothes. No fancy dresses, no cargo pants, no spandex. Just jeans and a sweater, like a normal person. It’s an odd reality.

I take a quick look in the mirror, blinking at my reflection. I wish I had something to tie my hair back with; I got so used to being able to pull it out of my face while I was at Omega Point. I look away with a resigned sigh, hoping to get a start on this day as soon as possible. But the minute I crack open the bathroom door, I hear voices.

I freeze in place. Listening.

“—sure it’s safe, sir?”

Delalieu is talking.

“Forgive me,” the older man says quickly. “I don’t mean to seem impertinent, but I can’t help but be concerned—”

“It’ll be fine. Just make sure our troops aren’t patrolling that area. We should only be gone a few hours at the most.”

“Yes, sir.”



“Juliette,” Warner says, and I nearly fall into the toilet. “Come out here, love. It’s rude to eavesdrop.”

I step out of the bathroom slowly, face flushed with heat from the shower and the shame of being caught in such a juvenile act. I suddenly have no idea what to do with my hands.

Warner is enjoying my embarrassment. “Ready to go?”


No, I’m not.

Suddenly hope and fear are strangling me and I have to remind myself to breathe. I’m not ready to face the death and destruction of all my friends. Of course I’m not.

But “Yes, of course” is what I say out loud.

I’m steeling myself for the truth, in whatever form it arrives.


Warner was right.

Being carted through Sector 45 was a lot easier than I expected. No one noticed us, and the empty space underneath the cart was actually spacious enough for me to sit comfortably.

It’s only when Delalieu flips open one of the cloth panels that I realize where we are. I glance around quickly, my eyes taking inventory of the military tanks parked in this vast space.

“Quickly,” Delalieu whispers. He motions toward the tank parked closest to us. I watch as the door is pushed open from the inside. “Hurry, miss. You cannot be seen.”

I scramble.

I jump out from underneath the cart and into the open door of the tank, clambering up and into the seat. The door shuts behind me, and I turn back to see Delalieu looking on, his watery eyes pinched together with worry. The tank starts moving.

I nearly fall forward.

“Stay low and buckle up, love. These tanks weren’t built for comfort.”

Warner is smiling as he stares straight ahead, his hands sheathed in black leather gloves, his body draped in a steel-gray overcoat. I duck down in my seat and fumble for the straps, buckling myself in as best I can.

“So you know how to get there?” I ask him.

“Of course.”

“But your father said you couldn’t remember anything about Omega Point.”

Warner glances over, his eyes laughing. “How convenient for us that I’ve regained my memory.”

“Hey—how did you even get out of there?” I ask him. “How did you get past the guards?”

He shrugs. “I told them I had permission to be out of my room.”

I gape at him. “You’re not serious.”


“But how did you find your way out?” I ask. “You got past the guards, fine. But that place is like a labyrinth—I couldn’t find my way around even after I’d been living there for a month.”

Warner checks a display on the dashboard. Hits a few buttons for functions I don’t understand. “I wasn’t completely unconscious when I was carried in,” he says. “I forced myself to pay attention to the entrance,” he says. “I did my best to memorize any obvious landmarks. I also kept track of the amount of time it took to carry me from the entrance to the medical wing, and then from the medical wing to my room. And whenever Castle took me on my rounds to the bathroom,” he says, “I studied my surroundings, trying to gauge how far I was from the exit.”

“So—” I frown. “You could’ve defended yourself against the guards and tried to escape much sooner. Why didn’t you?”

“I already told you,” he says. “It was oddly luxurious, being confined like that. I was able to catch up on weeks of sleep. I didn’t have to work or deal with any military issues. But the most obvious answer,” he says, exhaling, “is that I stayed because I was able to see you every day.”


Warner laughs, his eyes pressed shut for a second. “You really never wanted to be there, did you?”

“What do you mean?”

He shakes his head. “If you’re going to survive,” he says to me, “you can never be indifferent to your surroundings. You can’t depend on others to take care of you. You cannot presume that someone else will do things right.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You didn’t care,” he says. “You were there, underground for over a month, grouped together with these supernaturally inclined rebels spouting big, lofty ideals about saving the world, and you say you couldn’t even find your way around. It’s because you didn’t care,” he says. “You didn’t want to participate. If you did, you would’ve taken the initiative to learn as much as possible about your new home. You would’ve been beside yourself with excitement. Instead, you were apathetic. Indifferent.”

I open my mouth to protest but I don’t have a chance.

“I don’t blame you,” he says. “Their goals were unrealistic. I don’t care how flexible your limbs are or how many objects you can move with your mind. If you do not understand your opponent—or worse, if you underestimate your opponent—you are going to lose.” His jaw tightens. “I kept trying to tell you,” he says, “that Castle was going to lead your group into a massacre. He was too optimistic to be a proper leader, too hopeful to logically consider the odds stacked against him, and too ignorant of The Reestablishment to truly understand how they deal with voices of opposition.