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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Fever Code (Chapter 24)     
  • The Fever Code(Maze Runner Prequel #0.6)(24) by James Dashner
  • “I’ve got a new guy coming tonight,” Minho said, not ten minutes after they’d settled in to eat their junk food.

    Thomas’s hand froze halfway to his mouth, holding a tantalizing chip waiting to be chomped. Teresa leaned forward. Newt raised his eyebrows. Alby simply said, “Come again?” Chuck didn’t pause for a second. He continued to eat as if a cure for the Flare might depend on it.

    Minho, seeing how unexpected his pronouncement had been taken, stood up and waved an arm to say it was no big deal. “Nothing to worry about, folks. He’s a good enough guy.” He stopped talking, though his eyes showed he had a lot more to say.

    “ ‘Good enough’?” Teresa repeated. “That’s the criteria now for trusting our secret to someone new?”

    The confidence and swagger that had defined Minho just twenty seconds earlier suddenly vanished. “His name is Gally. And, he’s, uh…You remember that plan I told you about. To escape?”

    Thomas felt his heart sink a little at that. He’d assumed—hoped—that Minho’s notion had died a quick and lasting death.

    “Yeah, we remember,” Alby said. “We also remember the Crank pits, and the beds we have, and the food we get, and the walls that protect us from the insane asylum they call the world. Your point?”

    “Gally’s going to help me,” Minho replied, looking sheepishly around the room. “He should be here any second.”

    With seemingly perfect timing, someone knocked on the door as soon as he’d finished his sentence.

    226.11.13 | 1:34 a.m.

    Thomas felt sorry for Gally the second he walked into the room. Nothing really stood out about the kid—black hair, tall and skinny, pale skin. He had some ugly teeth, but that wasn’t so unusual. Thomas couldn’t remember ever going to a dentist himself.

    Still, Gally seemed…pathetic somehow. His eyes, maybe. If you looked into his eyes, you could tell that something had broken inside him a long time ago.

    “Everyone, meet Gally,” Minho said. “Gally, meet everyone. Some of you know him, or at least have seen him around. I’m sure we’ll all get along peachy.”

    “Good that,” Newt said.

    Gally gave everyone a nice-enough nod, a sincere attempt at a smile. Thomas and the others did their best to return it.

    After a long, awkward silence, Alby asked exactly what Thomas was wondering.

    “So how’s Gally supposed to help with this idiotic plan to escape?”

    “I’ll let him tell you,” Minho replied, thumping the new boy on the back.

    Gally cleared his throat. “I work out on the grounds with a couple others. Mostly landscaping stuff—cutting down weeds, shoveling snow when the odd storm hits, trying to get bushes and flowers to grow. But I also do electrical work, maintenance, whatever. The three of us work under a guy named Chase.”

    “And this will help you how?” Alby pressed, making it clear how he felt about an escape plan. “You going to push Minho to the woods in a wheelbarrow?”

    Newt snickered, then caught himself. “Sorry,” he mumbled.

    Gally, instead of getting offended, smiled right along. “If anyone gets to be pushed around in a wheelbarrow, it’s gonna be me. Minho owes me.”

    “Why?” Teresa asked.

    Minho answered. “Because he’s the only way this thing works.”

    Everyone looked to Gally for an explanation. Everyone except Chuck, who’d fallen asleep on the floor, a dirty mop as his pillow.

    “Chase isn’t the smartest dude at WICKED, let’s just say that.” Gally stared at the floor as he spoke—Thomas didn’t know how to interpret that. “I’ve been setting up little things for weeks now, things that’ll help someone get past the WICKED security measures. Truth is, WICKED relies on the threat of Cranks and the state of the world to prevent us from trying anything. It’s a lot harder to get into WICKED than to get out.”

    “And what in the world do you plan to do once you’re out in the great Alaskan wilderness?” Teresa asked. “Rent a car, go find a nice apartment in Juneau?”

    “Man, you guys really like your sarcasm,” Gally said. “I mean, do you think I’m stupid? Just because I don’t sneak out and have little parties with the cleaning supplies?”

    “Gally, chill,” Minho warned.

    Gally threw his arms up. “They’re the ones who need to grow up!”

    “Hey!” Alby shouted. “Don’t come in here all high and mighty. We didn’t invite you.”

    “That’s it, I’m out,” Gally said as he walked toward the exit. Minho jumped in front of him, put a hand on his chest. Gally stopped.

    Minho looked around. “Come on, guys. Can you give me the benefit of the doubt, here? Why do you think I’ve waited months to pull the trigger? Because I’m patient and not stupid. Gally’s figured out a way to communicate with a cousin in Canada—he’s close to the border. Gally used Chase’s transponder codes. We’ll have people waiting for us a few miles into the woods—they’re already on standby.”

    Thomas couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Minho really meant it. Despite all the things they had better off than the rest of the world, he wanted out.

    “Why?” Thomas asked. That one word got everyone’s attention. “Just tell us why, Minho. We know you’re not stupid, and I’m sure Gally isn’t, either. But why would you guys want to leave?”

    “Because we’re prisoners,” Minho answered. “Because we’re held here against our will. That’s all the reason I need.”

    “But you’ll never have it half as good as we do here!” Teresa almost shouted. “And how can you just turn your back on helping the world?”

    For the first time since they’d met, Minho looked like maybe he didn’t like them so much.

    “I guess we have different philosophies,” he said. “If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. You don’t take away my freedom without asking first.”

    “Sorry we got off to a rough start,” Gally interjected. “I guess I’m just nervous being down here. But I promise you guys this can work.” He looked around at the group then and added, “Anyone coming with us?”

    His words were met with graveyard silence.

    “When?” Newt asked, breaking the quiet.

    Minho and Gally answered at the same time.

    “Tomorrow night.”

    226.11.14 | 3:17 a.m.

    They came for Thomas hours before dawn.

    Randall, Dr. Leavitt, and Ramirez. The three musketeers. Thomas knew, despite his grogginess, that the three of them coming together meant that something really bad had happened. Or was about to happen. He was on his feet seconds after they shook him awake.

    “What’s going on?” he asked.

    “I have an inkling you know very well what’s going on,” Randall replied, sharp and loud in the quiet of the night. “And that’s why you’re coming with us, right now. We need your help.”

    Thomas started to ask another question, but Dr. Leavitt cut him off immediately.

    “Come on, Thomas. Everything will be okay. Just do as you’re told.”

    “Quickly, now,” Ramirez added, the first time Thomas had ever heard the chief of security speak.

    The three men escorted Thomas through the building, often grabbing his arm at a turn in the hallway or getting off the elevator, even though he didn’t need it. They weren’t rough with him, but they were clearly in a hurry.

    They stopped when they reached a heavily fortified door. Ramirez pressed his fingerprint to a glass panel and said his name. The door opened. Randall gave Thomas a little nudge to go through.

    Thomas wanted answers, but he decided to suck it up and remain quiet. Randall was being nicer than he had the night of the Crank pits, and Thomas didn’t want to push him past some boundary he wasn’t yet willing to cross.

    Thomas looked around the room he’d stepped into. It was new to him—what looked to be a control center for security. There was a large wall full of monitors showing everything from the medical rooms to dorms to progress on the maze construction. Oddly, the video feeds for the maze moved around skittishly, as if their cameras had been strapped to the backs of very angry cats. Nestled in the middle of the room, and facing the monitors, was a deck of equipment fitted out with more display screens and several chairs perched behind it. Two guards sat there now, their gazes fixed on a monitor to the right side of the wall.

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