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I’m no longer invisible.

I bite back a scream.

I jump into another doorway, hoping to press myself out of sight, but now I’m both nervous and horrified, because not only do I not know what’s happened to Kenji, but I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, either. This was such a stupid idea. I am such a stupid person. I don’t know what I was thinking.

That I ever thought I could do this.


Stomping toward me. I steel myself and suck up my fear and try to be as prepared as possible. There’s no way they won’t notice me now. I haul my energy up and into myself, feel my bones thrumming with the rush of it and the thrill of power raging through me. If I can maintain this state for as long as I’m down here, I should be able to protect myself. I know how to fight now. I can disarm a man, steal away his weapon. I’ve learned to do so much.

But I’m still fairly terrified, and I’ve never needed to use the bathroom as much as I do right now.

Think, I keep telling myself. Think. What can you do? Where can you go? Where would Anderson be hiding? Deeper? Lower?

Where would the largest room on this ship be? Certainly not on the top level. I have to drop down.

But how?

The soldiers are getting closer.

I wonder what these rooms contain, what this doorway leads to. If it’s just a room, then it’s a dead end. But if it’s an entrance to a larger space, then I might have a chance. But if there’s someone in here, I’ll definitely be in trouble. I don’t know if I should take the risk.

A shout.

A cry.

A gunshot.

They’ve seen me.


I slam my elbow into the door behind me, shattering the wood into splinters that fly everywhere. I turn around and punch my way through the rest of it, kicking the door down with a sudden burst of adrenaline, and as soon as I see that this room is just a small bunker and a dead end, I do the only thing I can think of.

I jump.

And land.

And go right through the floor.

I fall into a tumble and manage to catch myself in time. The soldiers are jumping down after me, shouting and screaming. Boots chase me as I yank open the door and dart down the hall. Alarms are going off everywhere, sounds so loud and so obnoxious I can hardly hear myself think. I feel like I’m running through a haze, the sirens flashing red lights that circle the halls, screeching and blaring and signaling an intruder.

I’m on my own now.

I’m darting around more corners, spinning around bends in this floor plan and trying to get a feel for the difference between this level and the one just above it. There doesn’t seem to be any. They look exactly the same, and the soldiers are just as aggressive.

They’re shooting freely now, the earsplitting sound of gunshots colliding with the blare of the sirens. I’m not even sure I haven’t gone deaf yet.

I can’t believe they keep managing to miss me.

It seems impossible, statistically speaking, that so many soldiers at such close range wouldn’t be able to find a target on my body. That can’t be right.

I slam through the floor again.

Land on my feet this time.

I’m crouched, looking around, and for the first time, I see that this level is different. The hallways are wider, the doors set farther apart. I wish Kenji were here. I wish I had any idea what this means, what the difference is between the levels. I wish I knew where to go, where to start looking.

I kick open a door.


I run forward, kick down another one.


I keep running. I’m starting to see the inner workings of the ship. Machines, pipes, steel beams, huge tanks, puffs of steam. I must be headed in the wrong direction.

But I have no idea how many floors this ship has, and I have no idea if I can keep moving down.

I’m still being shot at, and I’m staying only just a step ahead. I’m slipping around tight bends and pulling myself against the wall, turning into dark corners and hoping they won’t see me.

Where is Kenji? I keep asking myself. Where is he?

I need to be on the other side of this ship. I don’t want boiler rooms and water tanks. This can’t be right. Everything is different about this side of the ship. Even the doors look different. They’re made of steel, not wood.

I kick open a few, just to be sure.

A radio control room, abandoned.

A meeting room, abandoned.

No. I want real rooms. Big offices and living quarters. Anderson wouldn’t be here. He wouldn’t be found by the gas pipes and the whirring engines.

I tiptoe out of my newest hiding spot, peek my head out.

Shouts. Cries.

More gunshots.

I pull back. Take a deep breath. Harness all my energy, all at once, and decide I have no choice but to test Alia’s theory.

I jump out and charge down the hall.

Running, racing like I never have before. Bullets are flying past my head and pelting my body, hitting my face, my back, my arms, and I force myself to keep running, force myself to keep breathing, not feeling pain, not feeling terror, but holding on to my energy like a lifeline and not letting anything stop me. I’m trampling over soldiers, knocking them out with my elbows, not hesitating long enough to do more than shove them out of my way.

Three of them come flying at me, trying to tackle me to the ground, and I shove them all back. One runs forward again and I punch him directly in the face, feeling his nose break against my metal knuckles. Another tries to grab my arm from behind and I catch his hand, breaking his fingers in my grip only to catch his forearm, pull him close, and shove him through a wall. I spin around to face the rest of them and they’re all staring at me, panic and terror mixing in their eyes.

“Fight me,” I say to them, blood and urgency and a crazy kind of adrenaline rushing through me. “I dare you.”

Five of them lift their guns in my direction, point them at my face.


Over and over and over again, unloading round after round. My instinct is to protect myself from the bullets, but I focus instead on the men, on their bodies and their angry, twisted faces. I have to close my eyes for a second, because I can’t see through the barrage of metal being crushed against my body. And when I’m ready, I bring my fist close to my chest, feeling the power rise up inside of me, and I throw it forward, all at once, knocking seventy-five soldiers down like they’re made of matchsticks.

I take a moment to breathe.