I looked up, searching for some hint of where we were. A big, white sign hung askew on the building the van had hit, with only the letters S and W remaining. At the top of the sign was a P, surrounded by a whole slew of colors. It looked like it used to have bulbs all over it—I couldn’t imagine why—but most of them were broken or gone now.
I turned to the other side of the street, where an elaborate three-story building stood. It had big windows and columns, and it was nicer than any building I’d seen in the slums. The next building was smaller, but they continued down the street, right next to each other like these humans had to make use of every bit of space.
I squinted at a black sign with white letters on one of the buildings. Silhouette Restaurant and Bar.
Well, that was no help.
I turned and faced north. My eyes widened. That, on the other hand, was very helpful.
It was the Austin capitol. The original one.
MY WORDS HUNG IN THE AIR FOR A MOMENT “YOU’RE GOING TO want to get out of my way”—until Kyle took a step forward, gun pointed at my chest.
I lunged at him and both our guns went off, pain screaming down my left side as the bullet tore through skin. The Reboots around me yelled as they charged forward, and shots rang out from the One-twenties guarding the tents.
“Stay back!” someone yelled. “Don’t make us shoot you!”
Kyle’s fist slammed across my jaw and I hit the dirt. More bullets zipped through the air around me as the Reboots ignored the warning of the One-twenties, and my chest tightened in fear. I paused on the ground, catching myself as I started to look for Wren to help me out of this situation.
Kyle kicked me in the ribs as I attempted to get to my feet, and I let out a grunt.
“Get on your feet and put your arms up. Block the next one.” Wren’s voice was in my head as I rolled away from his boot, poised for another kick, and sprang up.
He aimed his gun for me and I realized I had lost mine when I hit the ground. He fired a shot into my shoulder but I swung at him anyway, ignoring the sharp pain that radiated down my arm.
“Confuse me. Surprise me.”
I gripped the barrel of the gun as Kyle fired again. He blinked, giving me a baffled look as I kept it steady with my shoulder. I winced as the bullet tore into flesh that hadn’t healed yet and yanked on the gun so hard Kyle stumbled. I got a grip on it and tried to swipe it across his face, but he moved out of the way too quickly.
“What have I told you? Fast.”
He made a move for the gun and I slammed my head into his so suddenly he gasped. He stumbled backward and I blinked through the sparks in my vision to grab him by the collar. I punched him once, twice, three times, until he hit the ground and tried to scramble away.
I grabbed his foot and hauled him back, glancing up at the sound of my name. Riley tossed cuffs in my direction and they landed in the dirt next to me. I scooped them up and slapped them around Kyle’s wrist. He sat up and kicked wildly at me, and I pressed my foot into his chest, shoving his back on the ground.
A scream made me turn and I caught sight of the tent just as it collapsed. The support beams folded in and the crash echoed through the reservation as everything went down.
“Move!” Riley pointed a gun into the face of a Reboot and she reluctantly raised her arms, chest heaving up and down.
“Micah’s going to kill you,” Kyle muttered, glaring at me from the dirt.
I raised my eyebrows, glancing at the scene around me. The One-twenties were on the ground, most of them cuffed as the Austin Reboots pointed guns at them. It looked as though Micah was going to be seriously outnumbered when he returned. I didn’t think he was going to get a chance to kill anyone.
The wind whipped across my face as I caught myself looking for Wren again, checking to make sure she was okay, waiting for instruction. I took in a shaky breath as I lowered my eyes to Kyle again.
“Not if I kill him first.”
The shuttle landed outside the gate as the sun started to set.
I tightened my grip on the gun in my right hand and scanned the Reboots around me. Some of our group was pretty beat up, and I cast a worried look at Beth as she finished taking inventory of the Austin Reboots.
Kyle and the rest of them sat tied up or handcuffed a few feet away. We’d positioned the twenty or so Reboots so Micah would have a clear view of them.
The rest of the reservation Reboots appeared to have split in two groups: some were hiding in tents or packing their bags, hoping to avoid all the drama. They had no interest in going to the cities with me or with Micah. The others were with us.
“Two dead,” Beth said quietly, twisting her hair around her finger as she took a spot beside me and stared at the landing shuttle.
I winced, taking a quick glance around. I probably hadn’t known them, but I felt guilty all the same.
“That’s better than I would have expected,” Riley said from my other side.
The shuttle door opened and my heart pounded in anticipation. Wren could still be in there. She could have overpowered Micah or he could have changed his mind.
Micah stepped out, followed by Jules.
My heart sank.
I released a slow breath. Calm. What chance did a few human bounty hunters stand against Wren? She’d probably already taken them all out and was halfway to Austin by now.
I stepped away from the group and strode toward Micah. The smug, self-satisfied look on his face intensified as he met my eyes, but I could see a flicker of doubt as he took in the crowd of Reboots behind me and his tied-up cohorts beside us.
I stopped in front of him. “Where’s Wren? And Addie?”
Micah pushed his sleeves up his arms. “I explained that there were rules here. Wren and Addie broke them, so I had to deal with it.”
“You dropped them in bounty hunter territory.”
He smiled at me. Smiled, like he was so proud of himself. Like he’d won. Everything in my body shut down for a split second and I couldn’t move or breathe or think.
I slowly took a step back. The gun felt heavy in my hand suddenly and I gripped it harder.
“Get in,” I called over my shoulder.
There were suddenly Reboots all around me, rushing for the shuttle, yelling. Isaac ran past me with fuel containers in both hands and immediately started refueling the shuttle Micah had returned in. A few reservation Reboots formed a circle around him, protecting him as the rest piled inside.
“Stop!” Micah yelled.
No one even paused. Micah glanced at Kyle and his other loyalists tied up on the ground again, and rage flashed across his features.