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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Fever Code (Chapter 45)     
  • The Fever Code(Maze Runner Prequel #0.6)(45) by James Dashner
  • Thomas felt his knees go weak, and sat on the floor to hide it.

    Aris finally said the words no one else could.

    “So…we’re just going to kill them all?”

    “They’ll die anyway,” Teresa said immediately, shocking Thomas out of his thoughts.

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” he said, standing back up. He looked at his friend, wondering if this was some attempt to relieve her of guilt or if she’d really grown such a hard shell around herself for protection. “We have to think this through.”

    “No, Tom,” Teresa snapped. “It’s be tough now or everyone dies later.”

    Thomas slumped back to the floor, so dazed his vision had gone a little blurry. He had no response. She’d also cut off their mind connection. All he could do was look at her.

    “I’m sorry,” she said, the fierceness melting away. “I’m sorry, Tom. Really. I just…I know this whole thing is awful, but it’ll be less awful if we just accept it and get it done.”

    “She’s right,” Dr. Paige said. “The four of you will be adults soon. You can handle this. We know exactly where the infected are—you just need to go from room to room and inject them.” She gestured toward the backpacks. “We’ve packed guns, and we have Launchers for you as well. Just in case. I need to stress that. Just in case. I think you’ll be able to do this to them as they sleep. And I’ll have guards posted, despite the risk of infection, if things go south.”

    The room went silent for a long time. Dr. Paige was at least allowing them a moment to think through it.

    “Count me in,” Teresa finally said.

    “Me too,” Aris added.

    “The ends justify the means,” Rachel said somewhat bitterly. “It should be WICKED’s official logo. They should have a giant banner draped across the front entrance. The ends justify the means. But I’m in.”

    “Well, it’s true, isn’t it?” Aris asked. “If you could save a billion people by killing a million people, shouldn’t you do it? You know, hypothetically speaking? If you really had that choice and said no, then aren’t you actually killing a billion people? I’d rather kill a million than a billion.”

    Now it was Aris’s turn to get a perplexed look from Thomas. It seemed like the world had started spinning in the opposite direction.

    Dr. Paige nodded at the three who’d accepted her challenge. “Thomas?” she asked.

    He didn’t respond. He stared at the floor.

    “Tom?” Teresa said. “I need you with me on this. With us. Please.”

    He didn’t feel well. He didn’t feel well at all. He stood up. His thoughts raced as he searched for the perfect words. He knew that they would do what Dr. Paige needed them to do. They’d come too far to turn back now. He had friends out in the Maze, Chuck to think about, a world to think about.

    He’d do it. The Purge. It had to be done. And now he needed to say something smart, something profound, something that would bind them together and start the terrible journey.

    “This sucks.”

    231.05.05 | 4:15 a.m.

    After the four of them had agreed to the mission, Dr. Paige went to get a few security guards to give them instruction on the syringes and weapons and to go over the best plan of attack to coordinate the entire effort. While they waited, Teresa reopened their connection.

    You okay? she asked.

    I just…I don’t know how I feel about this.

    She paused for what seemed like forever, and he could sense her mind racing. He waited, even though he wanted to say more.

    Look, she finally replied. That word always meant she was about to reveal her soul to him. Remember when I told you everything about where I came from? When my name was Deedee?

    A sharp pain came across with that name, so strong that Thomas had to shift in his seat. Yeah. I remember.

    It was a horrible place, Tom, she continued. I can’t even…it was horrible. I saw countless people catch the Flare, remember running from Cranks, remember…The point is that I keep telling myself that so many parts of the world are like that right now. So many little girls, just like I used to be, are watching it happen. Dying in the middle of all those horrors. And WICKED wants to save the world from that. Save all those little girls and all those little boys.

    I know, Thomas said. We all saw bad things.

    Not like I did. I was basically at ground zero. The infected were concentrated in one place and the virus hadn’t been diluted yet. We’re going back to that as it spreads. One day the whole world—every town and city—will be like it was in North Carolina. And then everyone will be dead.

    Thomas stood up, wishing he could somehow escape this depressing talk. I get it, Teresa. I get it. We need to find a cure. You really think I haven’t heard this speech a thousand times?

    He could tell she was frustrated with him. Tom, the speech isn’t empty. We have to find a cure, and we can’t look at things in the short term anymore. We’re talking about extinction. All that matters is the end result. How we get there…we just do it. Okay? Whatever it takes.

    So we kill them? Thomas asked. That’s what you’re telling me? The four of us are going to walk around these buildings and just slaughter every last person who has the Flare?

    Yes. That’s what we’re going to do.

    Thomas tried to offer another solution. Can’t we just move them to the Crank pits?

    Seriously? You think they want to be thrown into a cage with monsters? Tom, you’re not even thinking straight. A wave of frustration crashed through their connection, powerful enough to make Thomas wince.

    So we kill them. It felt like letting go of some vital part of being human.

    We make sure Dr. Paige can get these facilities under control, keep both mazes running. It’s not about killing anyone. It’s about saving.

    Thomas sighed. I’ll do my best. What else was he going to do?

    She came over to him, leaned in to whisper in his ear. “This is so important,” she said. “The most important thing in the world.”

    “Yeah,” he breathed. “Because WICKED is good.”

    A few minutes later, the door opened. Several uniformed guards came in, followed by Dr. Paige.

    “Let’s get you prepped,” she said. “Time is running out.”

    231.05.05 | 5:44 a.m.

    Thomas’s backpack was heavy. He and his friends had full packs carrying everything they’d need. Two guns each, replacement cartridges for the Launchers they had strapped across their shoulders, and enough syringes to put down a zoo full of elephants. Better to have too much than not enough.

    They ran through the hallways of the complex to their first target—Chancellor Anderson. A good man with whom Thomas had never had much of a problem. A good man who was now utterly insane. They had to take care of him first before heading down to Sector D.

    They’d been running for a good five minutes when Aris halted and held a hand up. Teresa almost ran him over before she stopped.

    “Did you hear that?” Aris whispered.

    Thomas listened, trying to pick out something unusual over the hum of the ventilation system and the sound of their heavy breaths from running.

    “Nope,” Thomas said, even as the others shook their heads.

    “Just keep listening,” Aris responded, his gaze shifting to the ceiling, as if what he’d heard had come from above. “There.”

    A low wail, like a child crying. Now that he heard it, Thomas couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed it before. High-pitched, sad, it echoed along the corridor, making it impossible to tell what direction it came from. Thomas imagined a child at the bottom of a well.

    “Maybe it’s coming through the vents from Sector D,” Rachel suggested.

    The pitiful noise ceased.

    “Or it could be one of the kids,” Thomas said. “Dr. Paige has them all hiding somewhere.”

    Teresa spoke up. “We need to get Anderson resolved before we can think about anything else. Let’s go.”

    Aris had no objection. The four of them set off running again.

    The door to Anderson’s office was closed, not locked. Teresa stepped forward and opened it. Thomas held his breath, half expecting the man to jump out at them like a zombie.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire