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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 38)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(38) by James Dashner
  • Alec was just picking up the flashlight he’d dropped, which was right next to Mark’s. The soldier shined the bluish light toward the chamber to the right, finding the massive shape of the Berg nestled there. Dust motes danced in the beam as he swung it back and forth, revealing scarred metal and rows of bolts and protruding edges and ridges. In the relative darkness, the whole thing looked like some alien vessel rising from the abyss of the ocean.

    “It feels a lot bigger inside,” Mark said. His arms were getting tired, but he could feel tension on the handle, the wheel inching up, then dropping back down again. “Any chance of getting out of here in that thing?”

    Alec was slowly walking around the ship, searching the Berg for something, probably the hatch door. “Best idea you’ve had all day.”

    “Good thing you’re a pilot.” There were low, dull thumps on the door and Mark imagined Bruce’s people half out of their minds wanting to get through, beating on it in frustration.

    “Yeah …,” Alec was saying absently. Soon his voice came from the other side of the Berg, echoing off the walls. “The hatch door is over here!”

    Their pursuers suddenly stopped their efforts, grew quiet.

    “They gave up!” Mark said, embarrassed at the kidlike excitement in his voice.

    “Which means they’re up to something,” Alec replied. “We need to get inside this beast and get her ready to fly. And get that landing pad open.”

    Mark looked up at the wheel and slowly let go of it, ready to grab it again if the thing moved. He got to his feet, his eyes glued to the handle.

    He jumped when a loud clang cracked through the air, followed by the wrenching sound of metal screeching against metal. He whipped around to see what had happened, but the bulk of the Berg was between him and the source of the noise. Somehow Alec must’ve gotten the hatch door to open. Mark took one last look at the wheel handle, satisfied that it was okay for the moment, then made his way to the Berg to join Alec. On the far side of the ship, the man was standing with his hands on his hips like a proud mechanic as the huge ramp of the hatch door slowly swung toward the ground.

    “Shall we board, cocaptain?” Alec asked with a wry grin. “I’m sure we can control this landing pad from inside.”

    Mark could see it in the man’s eyes: he was anxious to be at the controls of a Berg again, flying it fast and free through the sky. “As long as by ‘cocaptain’ you mean the guy who sits around watching you do everything.”

    Alec let out a huge, boisterous laugh, like he didn’t have a care in the world. It sounded good to Mark’s ears, and for a second or two he forgot just how awful everything was. But then he thought of Trina, and at the same time his hunger pains roared in his belly. So much for that.

    Alec jumped onto the hatch door just as it thumped to a stop, wide open, and climbed up the ramp, disappearing into the darkness of the ship. Mark ran back out into the main chamber to check the door again. Once he saw that they were safe, the wheel not moving, he went back and followed Alec’s path.

    He paused on the upper lip of the hatch door and took a second to shine his flashlight around inside. The Berg was spooky and dark and dusty. It looked much like the one he and Alec had boarded back in their settlement, albeit emptier. Alec was walking back and forth, investigating.

    Mark stepped into the craft with a metallic thud. It echoed throughout the dark room, and the sound triggered memories of an old movie—something about astronauts boarding an abandoned alien vessel. Which, of course, had been full of aliens that liked to eat humans. He hoped he and Alec fared better in this thing.

    “I don’t see any signs of the dart boxes we saw on the other Berg,” Alec said, pointing his light at a row of empty shelves.

    Mark noticed something tucked away in the corner of the farthest shelf. “Hey, what’s that?” he said. He walked over, shined his light, then picked up a stack of three workpads that had been tied down with elastic straps.

    “Look at this!” he called to Alec. “Workpads!”

    “Do they, um, work?” the man replied, not seeming very impressed.

    Mark wedged his flashlight in the crook of his elbow and tried one of the devices. Its face lit up, showing a welcome screen that required a numerical password for access.

    “Yeah, it works, all right,” Mark said. “But we might need your old superhuman soldier brain to hack it.”

    “Get back over—” Alec’s words were cut off when the entire Berg jolted and shook for a second. Mark almost dropped the workpad in his attempt to keep his balance. The flashlight slipped out of his arm and clanked across the floor, clicking off.

    “What was that?” Mark asked, though he had a feeling he knew.

    The words had barely left his mouth when the noise of cranking gears and scraping metal filled the air, coming through the hatch door. One of Bruce’s people must have pushed a button somewhere. The landing pad in the central chamber was rotating open once again.

    CHAPTER 41

    “Quick, you need to close the hatch!” Alec yelled at Mark. “The controls are right next to it. I’ll be getting this baby started up. We’ll crash it through the ground above us if we have to!”

    Alec ran out of the compartment without waiting for a response, going deeper into the ship. Unfortunately the light disappeared with him, leaving Mark in the creepy blackness all alone. But the faintest hint of light was already appearing from the opening crack of the rotating landing pad, and Mark spotted his flashlight.

    He picked it up, then ran over to where he’d found the workpads and strapped them back in, hoping he lived long enough to see what information they held. He clicked the flashlight to life and took a quick look around the room with the bright beam. He heard voices—shouts—over the cranking of the landing pad, and his mind slammed back to cold reality.

    They already had visitors, probably readying to drop from above like he and Alec had done earlier. He had to get that hatch closed before people tried to climb aboard.

    He ran over to it and started searching. The door was surrounded by things like cabling, hooks and the plates that linked the bare-bones machinery of the door hydraulics with the more aesthetic wall coverings of the large cargo room. He found the controls on the left side and studied them, picking out the correct button and pushing it. The motor turned on, and with a crank and a squeal, the ramp door began to close, slowly pivoting upward.

    He heard more voices, closer now. It looked like he’d have to fight their pursuers off until the door was fully closed. He moved out of direct view and leaned on the wall, looking around as if some magical weapon might appear in front of him. But he quickly accepted reality: all he had was the flashlight and his fists.

    The ramp seemed to be taking forever to close—it had only gone up halfway. Its hinges squealed as the large square of metal crept along, angling shut like the slow-motion capture of a Venus flytrap. Mark braced himself, sure that the intruders would make it to him before the thing sealed completely. He gripped the flashlight, wielding it like a short sword, ready to fight. The room outside was much lighter than before, meaning the landing pad was probably about vertical in its rotation.

    Two people jumped onto the rising ramp and started climbing aboard. A man and a woman. Mark tensed his muscles and swung his arm around, aiming for the man, but he missed and the guy grabbed his shirt, then yanked his entire body forward. Mark lost his grip on the flashlight, which went tumbling end over end outside; a clang and the crack of glass signaled its demise. Mark slammed onto the metal of the hatch and stared into the man’s face—he had absolutely no expression, not even a sign of fatigue or strain from the climb he’d just made.

    “You’re a bloody spy,” the stranger said, as calmly as if they’d just sat down for a cup of coffee together. “And to make it worse, you’re trying to steal our Berg. And strike three, you’re an ugly son of a gun, aren’t you?”

    “I was just going to say the same thing about you,” Mark replied. Everything had turned surreal.

    The man acted as if he hadn’t heard. “I’ve got him,” he called to the other person. “Get inside, stop the door from closing.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire