Author: P Hana

Page 54


“You too,” he said, glancing from her to me.

A yell sounded from inside, and I raised my eyebrows. “What’s going on in there?”

“I don’t know. They’ve been yelling at each other since I got here. I decided to stay outside.”

Wren slipped her hand from mine and headed up the stairs to the house. I followed her with David close behind, pushing through some humans crowded near the doorway.

Tony and Desmond stood at the edge of the kitchen, matching angry expressions on their faces. There were grumpy humans everywhere, actually. Gabe, pale but still alive, sat on the couch with Addie and Riley. A white bandage poked out from his right shoulder, and he smiled when he spotted me and Wren.

The room grew silent as they noticed Wren, and Desmond ran a hand through his hair with a sigh.

“Hey, One-seventy-eight,” he said. “Good to see you.”

She gave him an amused look, since his tone said the exact opposite. “You too. What’s going on here?”

“There have been attacks on Richards and Bonito,” Tony said, crossing his arms over his chest. “Reboot attacks on the cities. And they tried to get the Reboots out of the facilities. Without any regard for human life. Word is, the cities are mostly destroyed and lots of humans are dead.”

Wren took a quick glance back at me and I shook my head.

“That’s not us,” I said to Tony. “Everyone is here. It has to be Micah and the few that stayed with him.”

“That’s what Addie thought, too.” Tony twisted his mouth around. “They were outnumbered and it didn’t go well. HARC killed all the Reboots in those facilities. And in New Dallas.”

Wren cast a horrified look in my direction before returning her attention to Tony. “All of them?”

“That’s what they’re saying.”

“What about Rosa?”

“The facility is still running, and remaining personnel have been transferred there. New Dallas was open for longer, but we think they must have decided to eliminate all the Reboots because of the attack. But . . .” Tony winced and glanced at Desmond.

“But they’ll probably be eliminated in Rosa, too,” Desmond finished. “HARC doesn’t want to risk another incident like here. They don’t want any more Reboots escaping.”

“Word is they’re shutting down the program,” Tony said. “Suzanna was the biggest supporter of the Reboot experiment, and apparently she’s dead.”

“Yep, last time I saw her she was definitely dead,” Wren said.

“She had some other supporters,” Tony continued. “But with everything that’s happened, it’s not looking good. It won’t be long.”

I took a step forward. “We need to move quickly then. Come up with a plan of attack.” The room was silent. The humans avoided my eyes, and I couldn’t say I was surprised.

“You want to let them all die,” Wren said quietly.

“Apparently it’s the smarter plan,” Riley spat out.

“Considering what the Reboots did to Richards and Bonito, it’s the only choice we have,” Desmond said.

“We didn’t have anything to do with that.” Wren’s voice was still calm, but I could hear the anger beginning to seep through. “We worked against Micah from the beginning. Callum risked his life to get word to you guys about what he was planning!”

“And we appreciate that,” Tony said quietly.

“You appreciate it so much you’re going to let hundreds of our fellow Reboots die,” Addie said.

Silence again, for several seconds, until I spoke. “We can’t go in alone. We tried it in New Dallas and it failed. HARC has beefed up their security. We need human support if we’re going to have any chance of doing this.”

Tony looked at Desmond. “They could help us take down HARC.”

Desmond threw up his arms. “We’ve been through this! I don’t—”

Shouting overtook the room again and Wren turned to me, a worried expression on her face.

“Wait.” Riley’s voice rose over the others. “Stop. Stop!” The humans fell silent as he jumped from the couch, his hand on the com in his ear as he listened to something. “There are shuttles at the fences. Several already on their way into the slums.” His eyes flicked to the other Reboots in the room. “They’re saying they think they’re Reboot piloted.”

Micah. I balled my fingers into fists.

“We need to—”

Riley’s words were lost as a giant explosion rocked the ground. I flung myself over David as the house crumbled around me.



I COUGHED AS I PUSHED PIECES OF WOOD AND DEBRIS OFF MY legs and struggled to a standing position in what was left of the living room.

It wasn’t much. The house was almost entirely gone. About half the kitchen was still standing, and some of the back wall was there, but a hole had been blown completely through the living room and I could see the sky. I spotted a few dead humans, and others were shouting and moaning beneath the rubble.

“Wren? Wren!”

I jumped over a piece of the kitchen table to where I could hear Callum yelling. He had a hand on his brother’s arm, pulling him from the wreckage. His expression turned to relief when he spotted me.

David looked fine except for some cuts on his arms. It appeared Callum had taken the brunt of the blast for him. One of his arms was cut so deep I could see bone, and the front of his shirt had been ripped open and his chest was black and red.

“You all right?” Callum asked David, taking a quick survey of him.

He nodded, his eyes wide and horrified as he surveyed Callum’s injuries.

I heard a rustle behind me and turned to see Riley, Addie, and Gabe limping out of the house. Riley shouted something into his com.

I grabbed Callum’s arm. “You have weapons, don’t you? Where are you storing them?”

“In the shuttle that’s parked by the schoolhouse.” He ran his hands through his hair as he looked around. “Some of them are alive under there. I need to get them out.”

“I can help,” David said.

I rose up on my toes and planted a kiss on Callum’s lips. No matter what he said about us leaving and not working with the humans, his first instinct was to stay and save them and I liked that about him. I hadn’t realized it at first, but I liked that he had a deep sense of right and wrong and stuck to what he believed.