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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Fever Code (Chapter 50)     
  • The Fever Code(Maze Runner Prequel #0.6)(50) by James Dashner
  • She handed the tablet back to him.

    WICKED Memorandum, Date 231.5.4

    TO: Fellow Partners

    FROM: Kevin Anderson, Chancellor

    RE: My farewell to you all

    I hope that each one of you will forgive me for doing this in such a cowardly manner, sending you a memo when it’s something I should do in person. However, I have no choice. The effects of the Flare are rampant in my actions, embarrassing and disheartening. And our decision not to allow the narcotic Bliss within our compound means I can’t fake it long enough to say goodbye properly.

    Typing these words is difficult enough. But at least I have the ability and time to write and edit in the small windows of sanity left to me.

    I don’t know why the virus affected me so quickly and so viciously. I deteriorated far quicker than almost all of the original group. But no matter. I’ve been decommissioned, and my replacement, Ava Paige, is ready to take charge. The Elites are well into their training to serve as the link between us and those who will continue to run WICKED. Ava herself admits that her purpose is almost more like that of a figurehead, with our elite subjects the true rulers.

    We are and will continue to be in good hands. The noble cause we began over a decade ago will see itself to fruition. Our efforts, and for almost all of us, our lives, will have been spent justly and for the greater good. The cure will be built.

    Honestly, this is more of a personal note. To thank you for your friendship, your compassion, your empathy in the face of implementing such difficult tasks.

    One word of warning: It gets bad in the end. Don’t fight the time of your decommission. I did, and now I regret it. Just leave and end the suffering.

    It’s become too much.

    Thank you.

    And goodbye.

    “What is this?” Thomas said, completely bewildered. “That’s not how it happened at all. What’s she trying to do, rewrite history so she looks more legit in the future?”

    Teresa shrugged. “I thought you’d want to see it.”

    “Come on,” he said. “We’re going to talk to her.”

    Thomas knocked on Dr. Paige’s door until she finally opened it. He was so upset he could barely catch a decent breath.

    The doctor looked surprised. “Is there a problem?” she asked.

    “Why’d you do it?” Thomas asked, trying to stay calm. He felt betrayed, confused, and above all, angry. “Writing memos from other peoples’ accounts is your thing now?”

    “It helps the others deal with our current situation, Thomas,” Dr. Paige said, her surprise transforming to a bemused understanding. “Gives them a better sense of order. It also shows how involved you are in this organization and how mature you’ve all become.” She smiled at Thomas. She looked proud of him. “And I think it’s a simple but symbolic way to create a bridge in everyone’s mind. A link. Between the old and the new.”

    Thomas didn’t know how to respond, what to say. Why would she make him seem so important? And why would she send something from his messaging account without asking? Not to mention from Anderson’s, their leader at the time?

    “This does all that,” she continued, “while having a focal point of one person. It’s the best of both worlds.”

    Still he didn’t respond.

    “You could’ve at least asked him first,” Teresa said.

    Dr. Paige gave them a genuine enough look of regret. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I got way ahead of myself.”

    “It’s not okay,” Thomas said. He turned and walked away, scared he’d say something he might regret. Dr. Paige was full of lies. Just full of them.

    Thomas went straight back to his room. He told Teresa that he wasn’t feeling well and he returned to his bed. He closed his eyes and tried to calm his thoughts, rolled onto his side, wishing for sleep. Everything felt different. He couldn’t tell Teresa what he was thinking, and almost everyone he knew or cared about was inside the maze. And now these emails. It was just weird—if Dr. Paige was devious about that, what else was she hiding from them? He wished he’d said more when he confronted her. But instead, he’d chickened out.

    And here he was, staring at the wall of his room, thinking.

    Thinking.

    That was the worst part. If only he, Teresa, and Chuck could run away and start a new life together. But then he thought of Newt. About his friend falling from the wall and how he wasn’t immune. They needed a cure. And if they found one, everyone would be released—Alby, Minho, Newt, Chuck, Teresa, even Aris and Rachel. Maybe they could all live in the same neighborhood, grow old together, sit around and stuff themselves with food and tell their kids stories about the time they’d saved the world. He pictured Minho in front of a big group of kids, acting out the life of a Runner, but for some reason he kept making giant ape movements, tickling his armpits, pounding his chest.

    If only it were that easy. Imagine Minho acting goofy in front of future grandkids and all would be well. That thought came up again—what now, more than ever, felt like the right thing to do. He wanted to go into the maze. Anything to be out of this place, back with his friends, and on to the next stage. Anything to get this cure done and done. Get to the happy future. He just wanted to lie to himself and do it.

    The future, a Crank-free world, he and his friends living in paradise.

    Talk about a load of crap.

    He let out a deep breath, and then, despite its being the middle of the day, he fell asleep.

    231.10.31 | 4:48 p.m.

    Thomas was back in his haven, the observation room.

    Over the last few weeks, the guilt and anger had continued to build, slow trickles that joined to become a deluge, and now he was drowning. There was only one way he could ever bring the air back into his lungs. Being here, watching his old friends in the maze.

    He and Teresa had grown distant lately—she seemed to have coped with her own difficulties after the Purge by throwing herself mind, body, and spirit into work, work, and more work—but Thomas didn’t mind. They spoke often enough through their telepathy to keep each other informed. Enough to know that they both were doing what was best for them.

    And for Thomas, that had been to stay out of sight as much as possible. He had to stick to the normal regimen of tests, checkups, and classes, but other than that he made himself scarce. Unless Chuck or Teresa were available to hang out, Thomas spent most of his free time in his room, reading or sleeping, or observing his friends in the maze, watching their every move. Those moves had become pretty routine, the Gladers establishing themselves in a pretty impressive little community. Law, order, routine, safety. No one had died or been stung for a while now.

    Thomas still loved eavesdropping whenever he could. Listening in when Alby, Minho, and Newt would sit down for meals. It made Thomas feel like a part of them, almost like he was there.

    And that was exactly what he’d been doing all afternoon, switching between views and microphones when one scene grew boring. At the moment, over by the east door, Newt was talking to Minho, who’d just returned from running the vast maze itself.

    “Anything new out there?” Newt asked, the sarcasm obvious. “Did a bloody Griever come out and ask for a snog?”

    Minho leaned against the stone, still catching his breath. “How’d you know? I told him maybe some other time—not really my type.”

    These two had some variation of this conversation almost every day, mocking the monotony of what the Runners found in their daily excursions. They’d started walking toward the Map Room when Thomas heard a knock at the door behind him. Sadly, he pulled himself away from the world of the maze and returned to WICKED.

    “Who is it?” he asked.

    The door opened, and Chuck’s curly head poked through. “Hey, Thomas. Dr. Campbell said I could have two free hours to help you with your notes. So…”

    “Come on in, you shank. You don’t have to act like it’s a big deal every time.”

    He and Chuck had started using some of the slang words invented inside the Glade, just between the two of them. Chuck’s favorite was klunk by a long shot. Dr. Paige said the Psychs were really interested in how the memory loss affected the Gladers. Sometimes there were surprises, like the invention of totally new words. A few of them came from Minho, who’d had quite the mouth even before entering the maze. The Swipe seemed to heighten the trait, which the Psychs also found interesting.

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