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  • Home > James Dashner > Maze Runner Prequel > The Kill Order (Chapter 55)     
  • The Kill Order(Maze Runner Prequel #0.5)(55) by James Dashner
  • He suddenly remembered the workpads he’d seen in the cargo room—the ones he’d secured against the shelf with the straps. His spirits rose a bit at the hope that maybe something within those devices would shed some light on what they should do. Maybe, just maybe, there was a way to get rid of the virus somehow. Maybe there was a chance.

    He banged his knee twice—and his head once—running through the dimly lit Berg toward the cargo room. He remembered halfway there that he’d need a flashlight and went back to get it out of his backpack. Then, finally, he was standing in front of the shelf. He quickly removed the workpads and sat down to read through them.

    There were three. The first was dead. A password prevented him from getting into the second, but it flickered and would probably die soon anyway. Mark’s excitement almost crashed to a halt. But the third came to life, its glow illuminating the large room so brightly that Mark turned off his flashlight. The owner—evidently a guy named Randall Spilker—had felt no need for a password, and the home station popped up immediately.

    He spent the next half hour perusing useless information. Mr. Spilker loved games and chat rooms. Mark was almost ready to give up, thinking the guy had merely used the device as a toy, when he finally discovered some hidden work files.

    Folder after folder revealed nothing. But Mark finally hit the jackpot in a place most people would never have had the patience to find. It was a folder, marked as plainly as the rest, practically lost within a list of a hundred others that were empty.

    It was titled KILL ORDER.

    CHAPTER 61

    There were so many documents that Mark didn’t know where to start. Each file had a number assigned to it and seemed to have been saved in random order. Mark knew he didn’t have time to read every single file, so he decided to just start opening and see what he could see.

    There was file after file of saved correspondence, memorandums and official announcements. Most numerous were the personal exchanges—all copied into a few files—between Mr. Spilker and his friends, particularly one named Ladena Lichliter. The two of them worked for the Post-Flares Coalition, an entity people in the settlements had heard of but knew almost nothing about. From what Mark could gather, the group had brought together as many government agencies as they could from around the world. They’d gathered in Alaska—a location rumored to have been only mildly affected by the sun flares—and they were trying to put the world back together again.

    It all seemed very noble—and frustrating to those involved—until Mark came across an exchange between Mr. Spilker and Ladena Lichliter, who seemed to be his closest confidant, that sent an icy chill along his arms. He’d been skimming text after text, but he read this one twice:

    To: Randall Spilker

    From: Ladena Lichliter

    Subject:

    I’m still sick from the meeting today. I just can’t believe it. I can’t accept that the PCC actually looked us in the eyes and presented that proposal. Seriously. I was stunned.

    And then more than half the room AGREED WITH THEM! They supported it! What the hell is going on? Randall, tell me what the HELL is going on? How can we even THINK about doing something like that? How?

    I’ve spent the afternoon trying to make sense of it all.

    I can’t take it. I can’t.

    How did we get here?

    Come see me tonight. Please.

    —LL

    What in the world? Mark wondered. The PCC … The man named Bruce had mentioned them as part of the people behind the virus attack. Or had that been the PFC—the Post-Flares Coalition? Maybe the former was a division of the latter. Headquartered somewhere in Alaska. He kept digging.

    A few minutes later, he found a series of correspondence spliced together into one file that almost made his heart stop. The icy chills from before turned into a cold sweat.

    Post-Flares Coalition Memorandum

    Date 217.11.28, Time 21:46

    TO: All board members

    FROM: Chancellor John Michael

    RE: Population concerns

    The report presented to us today, copies of which were sent to all members of the coalition, certainly left no room for doubt as to the problems that face this already crippled world. I am certain that all of you, like me, went to your shelters in stunned silence. It is my hope that the harsh reality described in this report is now clear enough that we can begin talking about solutions.

    The problem is simple: the world has too many people and not enough resources.

    We have scheduled our next meeting for a week from tomorrow. I expect all members to come prepared to present a solution, no matter how extraordinary it seems. You may be familiar with an old business saying, “think outside the box.” I believe it is time we do just that.

    I look forward to hearing your ideas.

    To: John Michael

    From: Katie McVoy

    Subject: Potential

    John,

    I looked into the matter we discussed over dinner last night. AMRIID barely survived the flares, but they’re confident that the underground containment system for the most dangerous viruses, bacteria and biological weapons didn’t fail.

    It took some wrangling, but I got the information we need. I’ve looked through it and come up with a recommendation. All the potential solutions are far too unpredictable to be usable. Except one.

    It’s a virus. It attacks the brain and shuts it down, painlessly. It acts quickly and decisively. The virus was designed to slowly weaken in infection rate as it spreads from host to host. It will be perfect for our needs, especially considering how severely limited travel has become. It could work, John. And as awful as it seems, I believe it could work efficiently.

    I’ll send over the details. Let me know your thoughts.

    —Katie

    To: Katie McVoy

    From: John Michael

    Subject: RE: Potential

    Katie,

    I need your help preparing my full proposal for the virus release presentation. We need to focus on how a controlled kill is the only way to save lives. Though it will make survival possible for only a select portion of our population, unless we take extreme measures, we face the eventual extinction of the human race.

    You and I both know how hypothetical this solution is. But we’ve run the simulations a thousand times and I just can’t see any alternative. If we don’t do this, the world will run out of resources. I firmly believe it is the most ethical decision—the risk of race extinction justifies the elimination of a few. My mind is made up. Now it’s a matter of convincing the others on the board.

    Let’s meet at my quarters, 1700. Everything has to be worded perfectly, so prepare yourself for a long night.

    Until then,

    John

    Post-Flares Coalition Memorandum

    Date 219.2.12, Time 19:32

    TO: All board members

    FROM: Chancellor John Michael

    SUBJECT: EO Draft

    Please give me your thoughts on the following draft. The final order will go out tomorrow.

    Executive Order #13 of the Post-Flares Coalition, by recommendation of the Population Control Committee, to be considered TOP-SECRET, of the highest priority, on penalty of capital punishment.

    We the Coalition hereby grant the PCC express permission to fully implement their PC Initiative #1 as presented in full and attached below. We the Coalition take full responsibility for this action and will monitor developments and offer assistance to the fullest extent of our resources. The virus will be released in the locations recommended by the PCC and agreed upon by the Coalition. Armed forces will be stationed to ensure that the process ensues in as orderly a manner as possible.

    EO #13, PCI #1, is hereby ratified. Begin immediately.

    Mark had to shut down the device for a minute. There was a rushing sound in his ears and his face burned with heat. His head throbbed.

    Everything Mark had witnessed in the last week had been sanctioned by the acting government of the flare-inflicted world. It hadn’t been terrorists or the work of madmen. It had been approved and executed with the intent of controlling the population. Of wiping out entire areas, leaving more resources for those who lived.

    Mark’s entire body shook with anger, intensified by the madness growing inside him. He sat in complete darkness, staring into a black void, but spots swam before his eyes. Spots that formed into shapes. Streaks of fire that made him think of sun flares. People’s faces, screaming for help. Virus-laced darts shrieking through the air, thunking into necks and arms and shoulders. He began to worry at the things he saw dancing before him, wondered if this revelation had been the final push that sent him over the cliff of insanity.

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