44 - Color Coated

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"Aurora," Travis whispers once Brink is gone. "What did he do to you?"

I grind my teeth. "Has he never played his mind games with you before?"

Travis's eyes fall and lock on the marble tile below. "Oh. I'm sorry. I-" he pauses mid-sentence, and never returns.

I don't let the silence linger. "No luck, by the way." I confess. "I couldn't find the antidote, and the Programmable I asked to retrieve it required multiple passwords, which I didn't know. So I plan to squeeze it out of the others somehow. Brink won't let it slip, but I'm thinking Stella or Zeriah might help, if I give them a good enough lie as to why I need it."

"Hey, don't worry about it. I'll be alright."

My head shakes. "Actually, you won't. You'll die very soon, Travis. I'm not perfectly informed on the stages of the virus's effects, but I'm certain you've reached the last."

He sighs. "That just might be okay with me."

"What?"

"I'm hurting a lot, Aurora. It may not look like it, but every time I breathe, every time I shift-even a little-it feels like I'm being shot, that's how bad the pain is. I'm beginning to think I'd much rather move on than endure this every day."

Move on? I lean against the wall. "What about me?"

He scoffs. "You don't remember me, so why does it matter? Plus, you have a life here. This is what you are, who you're meant to be. You're a supernatural human thing that can live and breathe on Mars. You have superpowers and shit and are a part of a group of people just like you." He coughs, which breaks up his speech, but recovers before any choking happens. "What I'm trying to say is that you'll have a life when I'm gone. You don't need me."

I can't believe his words right now. He's giving up. Does he not realize how much he has helped me all of this time? "Travis, you have been the most truthful person I've met here. You're honest and funny and protective when I'm around you. No one here is like that. I may not remember you, but the only way I can discover who I truly am is through the information you share with me. These people...they feed me lies, but because of you, I've been able to see through them. There is something seriously wrong with this place, and without you, I'll never know what. I'll only be stuck being a part of it. I won't have a life at all. I'll find the antidote, I promise."

His expression is weary. "Just be careful, okay? Don't let that bastard get in the way."

The corners of my lips curl up. "I've got to go now. Brink's probably waiting outside the door ready to strangle me to death."

"Aurora?"

I stop before opening the door.

"Thanks."

Silence comes from my end. I can't muster up a response that will satisfy either of us, so I click the door open and head out without turning back around.

With no other choice, I telepathically ask Brink where he is, wishing to get our argument over with as soon as possible.

"Come to my office," is his reply.

I go. I'm pissed, but I go. I type in the code and scan my hand. The door automatically slides open. Brink is standing on the other side and I cringe when I see him, but the shock ends soon after. I can't let him scare me.

"Done with him finally. It has been what, twenty minutes? There must have been some important stuff to discuss for you to go against what I say and sneak in there."

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