Reboot

Author: P Hana

Page 60

   

“Which one is Wren?” he asked.

“Me.”

“Adina, then?” he asked, and she nodded. He focused on Callum. “And you’re Twenty-two.”

“Callum.”

“Tony,” he said. He put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “This is Gabe. Leb assured us you wouldn’t kill us. Are we all still good with that plan?”

The question was directed at me.

Callum actually laughed a little, and a smile twitched at the edges of my lips. “Yes.”

Tony jerked his head and Gabe stepped back, keeping the gun trained on us as I crossed over the threshold. The wood floors creaked beneath my boots and I squinted in the darkness as Tony led us through a hallway and into the living room. The light came from a couple little lamps in the living room. The only window, in the kitchen to my left, was covered by dark curtains.

There was another human, this one lanky with thick brown hair to his shoulders, sitting on the plushy brown couch, his eyebrows lowered in a frown. He looked to be about the same age as Tony, and he watched my every move as I stepped inside.

My eyes darted to the kitchen, but it seemed they were the only humans in the house.

Tony took big strides across the living room and stopped at the kitchen table, picking up a piece of paper. He headed back to me and held it out. “As promised.”

It was a map. I took it from him and looked from the drawing of Texas to the instructions written below. The Reboot reservation was several hundred miles north, not far from what used to be the border of Texas.

“We can help you part of the way,” he said. “You can stay here until tomorrow night, then—”

He stopped. His eyes were focused intently on Callum, and I turned to see him pressed against the wall, his hand covering his nose and mouth. His whole body was shaking.

“Oh, Jesus. He’s been given shots, hasn’t he?” Tony asked.

“Yes. You—”

“Desmond, go get some rope,” he said, and the lanky guy hopped to his feet and scurried down the hallway. He emerged a moment later with two lengths of rope and headed for Callum.

“What are you doing?” I asked, jumping in front of him.

“Sit down,” Tony said to Callum. “Hands behind your back.”

Callum stepped forward like he was going to listen to this human, and I grabbed his arm, pulling him closer to me.

Desmond kept coming like he intended to push past me and I gave him a look like I dared him to try. Tony put his arm out to stop him.

“It’s for our safety,” Tony explained. “Under-sixties can’t be controlled on those crazy drugs HARC gives them.”

“It’s fine, Wren,” Callum said, running a hand down my arm before stepping closer to Desmond and Tony. Desmond gestured for him to sit and he slid down onto the floor behind the couch. He put his hands behind his back and Desmond began looping the rope around them.

“You’re in between rounds still, aren’t you?” Tony asked Addie.

“Yes.” She glanced at me. “I told them there might be an antidote? Or something to make him better?”

Desmond tightened the ropes on Callum’s wrists and moved down to bind his ankles. “There is one. We don’t have it, though.”

“Who has it?” I asked. “Is it at HARC?”

“Do you want to sit?” Tony asked, gesturing to the kitchen table. “Do you want some water or coffee or something?”

I paused. What was wrong with these humans? They seriously wanted to have water and coffee with a bunch of Reboots?

Addie started toward the table but I wasn’t leaving Callum tied up on the floor by himself while I had a cup of coffee. I sat down next to him and he gave me a small smile.

“I just want to know how to get the antidote.” I crossed my legs and met Tony’s eyes.

He actually looked sad for a moment and his sympathy made me uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to handle that look from most people, much less a human.

“It’s in the medical labs at HARC. There’s . . . no way. I’m sorry.”

There was no way for him.

“Don’t you have people on the inside?” Addie asked. “Like my dad?”

“I’m on the inside,” Tony said, leaning against the wall. “I’ve been a HARC guard for years.”

Adina gave him a confused look. “Where? I’ve never seen you.”

“I work up on the human floors, in the control rooms.” He turned to me. “But I can tell you there’s no way one of our guys can get the antidote out. We don’t have any people in medical and they search everyone before they leave.” He gave me that awful sympathetic look again. “I’m sorry.”

If he told me he was sorry one more time I’d snap his neck.

“That’s fine,” I said. “I’ll just have to break in and get it myself.”

Gabe laughed, cutting off when I turned to him. He swallowed. “Oh. You were serious.”

Tony and Desmond exchanged a confused look. Tony turned to me and seemed to consider his words carefully. “Hon, you were just in HARC for five years, yes?”

“Yes. Don’t call me hon.”

“My apologies. So if you were just there, you know the security. You might get in. And that is a very big might. But you would never get out.”

“What about in the middle of the night?” Addie asked. “Skeleton crew.”

“She’s still way outnumbered. And they’d just lock the doors. Cameras would see her.”

“We’ll find a way to cut the power,” I said.

“Backup generators,” Tony said. “They kick on in about a minute. You couldn’t do it in time.”

I clasped my hands together as a rock started to form in the bottom of my stomach. I didn’t care what they said. I was finding a way to get that antidote.

“A bomb,” I said. “What if we blew up a portion of the place? No one would miss it.”

Desmond snorted. “I do like that idea.”

“I don’t,” Addie said with a frown. “You might kill the Reboots.”

“Not to mention we’re a bit short on bombs here,” Tony said. “Listen, hon—sorry, Wren—if I thought there was a way you could do it, I would tell you. But there’s nothing you can do.” He let out a long sigh. “I mean, maybe if you had an army of Reboots. But failing that, I’ve got nothing.”

I froze, my eyes darting to Addie’s. We had the same thought.

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