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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 45)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(45) by James Dashner
  • “What are those?” Mark asked. He glanced over at Alec and saw a wide-eyed, almost crazy expression on the man’s face. “Based on that look, I’m guessing you know exactly what they are.”

    “Oh, yeah,” Alec said in a tight whisper. “I do. I really think I do.”

    “And?” Mark was almost bursting from curiosity now.

    Instead of answering, Alec leaned down and grabbed one of the objects from the box. He lifted it up—the thing was the size and shape of a rifle—and examined it, turning it in his hands. It appeared to be made mostly of silver metal and plastic, with little tubes spiraling down the long shaft of its main body. One end was a gunlike butt with a trigger, and the other end looked like an elongated bubble with a spout popping out. There was a strap to sling across your shoulder.

    “What is that thing?” Mark asked, hearing the awe in his own voice.

    Alec was just shaking his head back and forth, in obvious disbelief as he continued studying the object in his hands. “Do you have any idea how much these things cost? They were way too expensive to ever make it to the actual weapons market. I can’t believe I’m holding one.”

    “What?” Mark asked, filled with impatience. “What is it?”

    Alec finally looked up and met his eyes. “This bad boy is called a Transvice.”

    “A Transvice?” Mark repeated. “What does it do?”

    Alec held the strange weapon up as if it were some holy relic.

    “It makes people dissolve into thin air.”

    CHAPTER 49

    “Dissolve?” Mark said skeptically. “What is that supposed to mean?”

    “Well, it won’t matter much if these things don’t even work.” Alec inspected the box for a minute, then removed a bulky black thing with silvery latches. He took his precious items and moved past Mark, out of the storage room and into the hallway and beyond. “Come on!” he yelled when he’d disappeared.

    Mark spared a last glance at the menacing, almost magical items shining inside the box, then took off to catch up with the man. He found him back in the cockpit, sitting in the captain’s chair, admiring the weapon in his hands. He looked like a kid with a new toy. The black thing he’d also retrieved was sitting on the floor. It looked like a cradle for the weapon. Some kind of charging device, perhaps.

    “Okay,” Mark said as he sidled up to stand behind Alec. “Tell me what that thing does.”

    “Just a sec,” Alec said as he placed his toy in the long cradle bay of the black thing. He pushed a button on a small control pad on the side. Something chirped, then hummed; then there was a gray light emanating from the entire body of the weapon itself.

    “We’ll charge her up and then you’ll see what she does,” Alec announced proudly. He looked up at Mark. “Ever heard of a Flat Trans?”

    Mark rolled his eyes. “Of course I have. I live on planet Earth.”

    “Okay, wise guy. Calm your shorts. Anyway, you know how expensive those things are, right? And how they work?”

    Mark shrugged and took a seat on the floor—the same spot where he’d fallen asleep at some point a million years ago, it seemed. “It’s not like I’ve ever used one. Or even seen one. But I know it’s a molecular transporter.”

    Alec barked a forced laugh. “Obviously you haven’t seen one, because you don’t have a billion dollars. Or work for the government. Just one of those devices costs more than you could count to in a year. But you’re right, that’s how they work. Breaking down molecular structures and then reassembling them at the receiver point. Well, this bad boy of a gun does the same thing, except it only does half the job.”

    Mark looked at the charging weapon and got the chills. “You mean it breaks people apart? Splits them into tiny little pieces?”

    “Yep. That about sums it up. Throws them into the air like the tossed ashes of the dearly departed. For all I know they fly around for the rest of eternity screaming for someone to put them back together again. Or maybe it’s just instant and over. No way to tell. Maybe it’s not such a bad way to die.”

    Mark shook his head. Modern technology. The world had some pretty cool stuff, but it didn’t amount to much when the sun decided to wipe out most of civilization.

    “So I guess that’s it, then?” Mark asked. “Didn’t seem like there was anything else in that room.”

    “Nope. So … let’s hope these puppies work.”

    Mark told himself to make sure he didn’t shoot his own foot. “How long till it charges?”

    “Not long. Just enough time for us to pack up some supplies for the rescue mission.” Talking like a soldier, Mark thought. “Then we’ll test it out while we charge one up for you. Maybe a spare for the road.”

    Mark stared at the charging device until Alec dragged him to his feet to help prepare for their journey.

    *

    A half hour later, they had backpacks full of food and water and some clean clothes they’d found hidden away in the small barracks section. The first Transvice had been fully charged and was firmly gripped in Alec’s hands, its strap across his shoulder, as they opened up the ramp door of the cargo hatch. They’d done a cursory search of their surroundings and didn’t see anyone close, so they’d decided it was safe to test the new fancy weapon.

    Mark winced as the hinges of the ramp squealed open, and he looked over at his proud partner.

    “Holding that thing a little tightly, aren’t you?” The Transvice glistened with shine and, now charged, put out a faint orange glow.

    Alec gave Mark a look that said Give me a break. “These might look fragile, but they’re far from it. We could drop it from the top of the Lincoln Building and it wouldn’t break.”

    “That’s because it’d land in the water.”

    Alec twisted and pulled the Transvice up so that its business end—that strange little spout coming from the long bubble—was pointing straight at him.

    Mark flinched in spite of himself. “Not funny,” he said.

    “Especially if I pulled the trigger.”

    The ramp door thumped to its open position on the cracked pavement of the cul-de-sac in which they were parked. A sudden and stark silence fell over the world, broken only by the distant cries of a bird. Warm, humid air engulfed them, making it almost hard to breathe. Mark coughed when he tried to pull in a deep breath.

    “Come on,” Alec said, already stomping down the ramp. “Let’s find us a squirrel.” He swept the weapon back and forth as he walked, looking for any interlopers. “Or better yet, one of the crazies who might’ve strayed over here. Too bad these things have to be charged or we could get rid of this virus problem in a jiffy. Sweep these old neighborhoods nice and clean.”

    Mark joined him on the ground below the Berg, wary that someone might be watching from the ruined homes surrounding them or from the burnt woods beyond those. “Your value of human life brings tears to my eyes,” he muttered.

    “Long-term,” Alec replied. “Sometimes you gotta think long-term. But they’re just words, son. Just words.”

    Being in the suburbs was really unsettling Mark—he’d grown used to life in the mountains, in the woods, living in a hut. This abandoned neighborhood just made him feel odd and uncomfortable. He needed to steel up his nerves before they set out to do the real business at hand. “Let’s get this test over with.”

    Alec started walking toward a brick mailbox that was half destroyed. It looked like someone had smashed into it with a car or truck during a frantic attempt to escape.

    “All right, then,” he said. “I wanted to test it on something alive—it works much better with living, organic material. But you’re right … we need to be quick about it. I’ll try zapping this pile of br—”

    A door slammed open in the half-crumbled house closest to them and a man came out of it running straight for them, screaming at the top of his lungs. His words were indecipherable, and his eyes were full of madness, his hair ratty and matted; sores covered his face, as if he’d been trying to claw through his own skin. And he was completely naked.

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