A long silence followed Riley’s words, and my heart dropped at the uncomfortable expression on Tony’s face.
“No humans are going to New Dallas,” he said quietly.
“Why not?” Addie asked. “If we’re going in, we’re going to try to free all the Reboots there, too, right?” She looked at me for confirmation.
“That’s what I was hoping.” I turned to Riley and he nodded in agreement.
“You can ask around, but I’ve talked to a lot of people,” Tony said, folding his hands on top of the table. “We’re not doing another rushed raid into a HARC facility. We don’t feel like it’s the best use of our resources right now.”
I stared at him for a moment. “You mean rescuing Reboots isn’t the best use of your resources. Rescuing Wren.”
He dropped his eyes. “It’s not.”
I cast an angry look between him and Desmond. “None of this would have even happened without Wren! The HARC facility here would still be running and you’d all still be screwed if it wasn’t for her!”
“We were part of that raid, too,” Desmond said, though a guilty look crossed his face. “She didn’t do it alone.”
“And neither did you,” I said.
“Do we at least have some human support in New Dallas?” Riley asked. “A way into the facility?”
“I can tell you where the Reboot rooms are and where the control room is,” Tony said. “I have a guy inside who agreed to leave the door on the roof open, so you can get in that way. You’ll probably be able to make it past the fence in a shuttle no problem. Apparently there are HARC shuttles coming in and out of all the cities right now.” He sighed. “But that’s it. It’s too risky for any of the humans to help you.”
Addie made an annoyed sound and threw her hands in the air.
“Oh, come on,” Desmond said. “You don’t need us. Or any human help. You’ve got a hundred Reboots here. When you break the others out of New Dallas, you’ll have double that.”
“Eighty-three,” Riley corrected. “A bunch took off.”
“Get the doors unlocked, like you did last time,” Tony said to Addie, “and everything will be fine.”
“Everything will be fine” seemed optimistic to me. I hadn’t considered it before, but Wren and Addie had taken a terrible chance by going into the Austin facility. They could have been trapped inside. HARC didn’t just build locks, they built locks with steel doors with pass codes and cameras, in a facility safely behind two different fences.
Getting us inside another one was incredibly risky, even with eighty-three Reboots.
“What about the other facilities?” Addie asked. “Are you going to help us with those?”
A pained expression crossed Tony’s face, so Desmond answered for him. “No. We’ve talked to the humans in the area, and everyone agrees we should focus on rebuilding here. We’re going to make this a HARC-free zone, and work on bringing in humans from other cities.”
I ran my hands down my face with a heavy sigh. They expected us to invade the facilities and rescue the Reboots. Maybe it wasn’t even that crazy of an expectation. They’d always made it clear they wanted us to leave after we deprived HARC of Reboots. Why was I even surprised?
I glanced over at Riley and Addie. We were the only three Reboots in the house, and it was as if the humans had drawn an invisible circle around us. They all danced around it, keeping their distance like we couldn’t be trusted not to lash out and attack them at any moment. Some of them had witnessed me do exactly that, and maybe they would never see anything but a Reboot who murdered a human.
Wren had been right. I’d given the humans too much credit because I’d still seen them through my old human eyes. I’d remembered how they treated me when I was alive, when I was one of them. I’d ignored how they treated me since I Rebooted—they screamed, they attacked, they feared.
Why had I wanted to save them? Why had I been horrified that Wren didn’t? Of course she didn’t. She’d been dealing with this for five years. She knew they would never trust us.
“Okay,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest. “We’re going to take all the Reboots willing to help to New Dallas tonight. Only as many that will fit in one shuttle, though, because we’ll need the other one for the new Reboots.”
Riley frowned. “Do you think we can get two shuttles safely in and out of the city?”
“I have no idea.” I turned to Addie. “We need to explain to everyone how dangerous it’s going to be. They need to understand there’s a possibility we’ll be shot down or trapped in HARC or killed. No one has to go if they don’t want to.”
“Got it,” Addie said. “I think plenty will still want to go. Wren helped save the Austin Reboots, after all.”
“Reservation Reboots might be less inclined,” Riley said. “But I bet there’s some.”
“Tell them I will be eternally grateful.” I turned back to Tony and the other humans. “And we’re done.”
Tony raised his eyebrows.
“After I get Wren back, we’ll empty out the rest of the facilities. Or as many as we can. Then we’re leaving. Good luck with HARC. Good luck if Micah comes back. You’re on your own.”
I paced up and down the grass in front of the big shuttle that afternoon as the sun began to set. I’d already prepared the Reboots, and Riley had raided HARC for more gas. Of the eighty-three Reboots we had left, almost all agreed to go with us. The humans would have to protect Austin by themselves.
Now I just had to wait, and it was killing me.
“Callum.” Addie grabbed my arm, making me stop, and held out a plate. “You should eat.”
I looked down at the sandwich. I didn’t feel hungry, but I suddenly couldn’t remember the last time I ate. It must have been at the reservation. If Wren were here, she would tell me I needed my strength.
I took the sandwich off the plate and held out half of it to David, who sat next to Addie on the grass. He hesitated, then gave me a small smile as he took it.
“Thank Gabe,” Addie said, tilting her head toward him. “He’s the one who thought to clean out HARC’s food before it went bad.”
“They cut the power to the facility a few hours ago,” Gabe said. “But we’ve got some people working on getting it back up.”