Author: P Hana

Page 51



Relief washed over me with such force that I started running for her right away, forgetting for a moment about Officer Mayer. I turned to see him scurrying down the hallway, throwing terrified glances over his shoulder. Riley and Beth were right behind me, the human forgotten behind us. Riley fired off two shots, but Mayer was already pushing through the door to the stairwell. Beth made a move like she was going to follow, but two officers burst through the door, and she and Riley started shooting at them.

Wren lifted her head, her eyes widening as she spotted me. I scooped her off the ground, the gun she’d been holding falling from her hand as I propped her against the wall. A woman lay dead in the room behind her. The officers at the stairwell slumped to the ground, and Riley glanced over his shoulder at me with a nod.

I pushed Wren’s hair out of her face, keeping my other arm around her waist to hold her upright. “Are you rescuing yourself?”

She laughed weakly. She was pale and dirty, old blood covering her clothes. Her eyes didn’t focus quite right, and I was fairly certain if I let her go she would drop to the ground.

“I might need some help,” she said.

“The Reboot rooms are all locked.” I tightened my grip around Wren’s waist as I listened to Addie’s voice in my ear. “They’ve changed the program. We can’t get them out. And the guards keep coming up here. We can’t hold them off much longer.”

I cursed under my breath, and Wren tilted her head curiously. “I’ve got Wren,” I said into my com. “Are they ready in front?”

“Yes,” Addie said, a hint of a relief in her voice. “The extraction team is ready there. We have to leave the Reboots for now, though. HARC reinforcements are coming and we don’t have enough people to take the whole building.”

“All right,” I said with a sigh, turning to Riley and Beth. “We have to go. They can’t get the Reboots out.”

“We can break the doors,” Beth said, reaching for her gun. “There’s enough of us. We’ll smash them in.”

“Addie said there are HARC reinforcements coming. They’re barely holding the guards off as it is.”

Beth cast an annoyed look at Riley. “We can’t even try?”

Riley peered down the hallway. “We’re going to go to the Reboot rooms and look, okay? Get her out of here.” He and Beth took off for the stairway at the other end of the hall.

I swept Wren up into my arms. “You did this with two Reboots and a few humans,” I muttered.

“Barely,” she said with a cough.

I talked rapidly into my com, telling Addie that Riley and Beth were on the way to the sixth floor. Wren wrapped her arms around my neck as I ran for the staircase.

I bolted down to the first floor and Wren only lifted her head as we entered the lobby. The front doors were broken, a few dead HARC officers lay scattered around the front desk. I scanned the space, searching for other Reboots, and found Isaac waving frantically at the front door.

“Let’s go!” he yelled.

The sound of gunfire exploded through my com, followed by Addie’s voice. “It’s chaos at the Reboot rooms. There’re too many guards.”

“Get out,” I said, my heart pounding in my chest. “We’ll come back for them.”

I couldn’t understand her response through the screaming and blasts. Gritting my teeth, I tightened my arms around Wren, pushing through the doors and onto HARC’s front lawn as our shuttle began to descend.

Thumps sounded behind me and I turned to see Reboots raining down from fourth- and fifth-story windows. A few more were running through the lobby, and Isaac ushered them all out and took off across the lawn.

A sea of black-clothed HARC officers followed them.

I ducked down, trying to protect Wren’s head with mine as bullets whizzed by all around me. Riley appeared at my right side, limping on an obviously broken leg, his gray shirt covered in blood splatters.

“Beth?” I called as we ran.

He shook his head with a grim look.

“Addie?” I said, panic making its way into my voice.

He pointed and I threw a glance over my shoulder to see Addie running behind Gabe, trying to block any bullets before they hit him.

The shuttle landed and I hustled inside, pressing my back into a corner as I slid to the ground with Wren in my arms. Reboots piled in around me, bleeding and talking loudly. There weren’t enough, and I craned my neck as I tried to see if more were coming. There were a few stragglers on the lawn, but had we lost everyone else? We’d come in with sixty and we were leaving with what? Thirty? Forty? Plus one more.

I pressed my lips to Wren’s cheek and ran my hand into her hair as I let out a shaky sigh.

“You terrified me,” I said, breathing heavily.

She smiled, leaning into my neck. “I terrify lots of people.”

I wrapped my arms around her tighter, and a scuffle at the shuttle doors made me lean over. We were lifting off the ground, and I saw Addie’s face, tight with fear. Her hands were covered in blood, pressed into the chest of someone. I stretched my neck to see.


“What do we do?” Addie asked, looking around frantically. The Reboots exchanged baffled expressions. “Who knows what to do with a gunshot to a human?”



I SHIFTED AGAINST SOMETHING WARM AND SOLID AS I WOKE UP. MY vision was tinged with purple, a side effect of something Suzanna and Officer Mayer had given me, and I squinted at the glass wall in front of me. I took in a sharp breath.

I was in a HARC facility.

“It’s okay.” Callum’s voice was in my ear, his arm looping around my stomach before I could jump away. “We’re in the Austin facility. HARC’s not here anymore.”

I slowly pulled away from him, blinking as spots appeared in my vision with the movement. I was weak and hungry and my body didn’t feel quite right.

We were in a Reboot room, on one of the beds. The other one was empty, and the room was bare except for the beds and a dresser. The facility was deserted outside the glass wall, but I could hear the nearby murmur of voices.

Callum had dark circles under his eyes and spots of blood on his white T-shirt, but he smiled widely at me and I crawled into his lap. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he pulled me close.

“I’m sorry,” I said, extracting myself and looking down at my dirty clothes. “I’m gross.”

“No you’re not.” He scooped me back into his lap. “I think you look pretty good for what you went through the past three days.”