Ultimatum

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"We can't tell them," Ollie says, a few minutes later after we have all taken a seat on the couches, "They would panic. I'm not saying to lie, just withhold the truth."

After finding out that we were days away from the second string of the virus, the air around seemed too heavy. It is getting a little easier to breathe, but my mouth is still sore, head pounding.

"We can't let it happen, though," I mutter, rubbing my temples.

"Obviously," Ollie snaps.

Mandy shoots her a look, shaking her head.

"Don't get hateful, Olivia," she says, grabbing one of the two files from the table. "And you're sure about the math and decoding?"

"Completely. There's no error," Ollie answers, standing up and pacing again, "And it is a real file. Check out the signatures on the last page."

I lean up to read over Mandy's shoulder. There's eleven total scribbles on the bottom on the page. I wouldn't be able to tell what they even said, except the file has each person's name printed beside their signature.

At the top of the list is Nicolas Ashford, President of the United States of America at the time of the virus outbreak and current President of Compound 1. Under his jagged mess of a signature, there's nine more illegible names. I skip over and read the printed names. Only one I recognize, Evan Hartley, current President of Compound 4. The other nine must be the other Presidents. It's the name at the bottom that catches me off guard.

Jacob Price.

I can read my father's doctor-like  signature, because I have seen it a million times before.

Now, there's no arguing that he had a part in all this. Even I can't deny it. Beside his name is his title.

Jacob Price: Head Scientist and Developer.

My father created the virus. 

"We're going to have to go back," Isaac says, from behind the table. His voice is quiet, and he doesn't look up right away. "Me and Jay and a few others. The only way we can stop it is from inside the wall."

It seems like a dead end situation. There's no way we can stop Compound 4 from completing their plan; we don't have the manpower to fight them.

Isaac is right, but I have no clue how we will get back in.

"Trust me, the night guards are no joke. We are trained to shoot on sight. If anyone comes even close to the wall, they won't hesitate," I say, raising my eyebrows, "And we keep guards at each directional position. So, there are no gaps."

"But you were in the night guard. Don't you have friends?" Isaac asks.

Mandy and Ollie look at me. They had no clue I was a night guard. It never came up.

"Well, sort of."

The only person that comes to mind is Howard. I can't guarantee he will let me in, though.

"Well, we have to figure it out. Fast. I'll talk to the others and find out what they think is best," Ollie says, exhaling loudly, "You two sit tight, and I'll let you know when we decide something."

Ollie leaves, ruffling her hair as she walks, like a nervous twitch. Mandy goes next, saying she is going to see if Belle has eaten. The comment makes me go red, and I want to snap that Belle isn't her daughter. Yet, she's known Belle for all of the girl's life. She has known me for four years and one day. There is a huge gap in our relationship.

For the rest of the day, Isaac and I are taught the ins and outs of the Al-Ma. I learn how to wash clothes by dragging them across a loose piece of metal. The water here is cold, and the suds make your hands soft but wrinkly. Isaac learns how to repair the building using only scavenged pieces of worn out plywood. The men find use for him in carrying the wood. Sometimes, when I'm washing or learning to patch the clothes, I watch him walk back and forth. His black hair curls when he sweats, sticking to his forehead and neck.

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