49 - Confessions

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My mind is scattered. Plans, strategies, and possible consequences swim around my brain like relentless leeches. "You don't understand," I mumble to Travis as we stand, fifty feet from the camp of what Diane calls revolutionaries.

"If everything I've heard about Operation 533 is true so far, then Damon will do anything to get me back, even if that means torturing the other Five to do so. I bet he'd even send armies of Programmables to search the grounds for me--which would only end badly for everyone here. These people wouldn't stand a chance against his forces. Travis, I—" I spin around and see him staring at his feet, processing the information I spew. "They need—"

"I'm coming for you," Brink's voice slithers into my head, and I gasp in astonishment. I haven't heard it in days.

"Doesn't surprise me Damon doesn't have you in lockdown. I knew Stella was lying," I sneer.

"What are they saying?" Travis asks, but I don't respond to him yet. I shake my head and linger for Brink's reply.

"What are you talking about? I left. I'm the only one who knows where you'd go out here."

He's already gone through the gate; he's running to the caves. "If you think I'm at the caves, think again."

"No? Well, if you know what's good for you, you'll meet me there."

I swallow.

"Aurora, speak," Travis presses.

Now I'm really stuck. If I don't meet him at the cave, he'll run until he does find me, and I can't let him see the people here; who knows how he'd react?

"Brink is out looking for me," I admit to Travis.

His mouth falls open. "What?"

"If he sees any of this, I know he will find some way to destroy it, or inform the others," I continue.

Travis scratches his head. "Uh, so what do you suggest? Clear everyone out?"

I clamp my teeth onto my lower lip. "I don't even know the magnitude of this place to choose that. Besides, where would they go?" I shake my head. "No. I figure I'll go to him. Everyone has to stay exactly where they are if they don't want to be hurt. To my knowledge, no one at the HQ knows this exists."

Travis scoffs, rejecting my plan. "Do you honestly think I'm going to let you go see him alone? You're crazy!"

Travis is too weak to join alongside me for this. He has to stay here where he can regenerate further. The virus has eaten his body alive and the antidote hasn't fully ran its course yet. Wearing out his body while it heals won't help him any, and bolting across Mars with an oxygen mask won't appeal to his respiratory system either. The current interworks of his body, despite what they may have been previously, are severely damaged. The only way for him to heal is to allow time to take place.

"I expect you within the next five minutes, Aurora," Brinks says in my head.

Ugh. I really, really don't want to talk with him, but I know I need to. "I have to go, Travis."

He takes my arm. "You're not going alone. I can do this. I can come with you."

I'm speechless as I stare at him and ponder the possibility of him coming. His eyes are desperate. I know he won't let up. I know he wants me safe. I know he cares. But I can't let him--he's just too fragile right now.

"I'm coming whether you like it or not, so might as well start moving," he states and steps around me.

I jog over and put my hand on his chest to keep him from progressing forward. "Trail me," I finalize. "I'm headed for the cave. If you want to come, you have to stay back. I don't know what would happen if Brink saw you...or you saw him. You can be there if things go wrong, but I don't want you to be seen. Can you do that?"

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