The Institute was much bigger than I had envisioned.

It was a labyrinth of corridors, rooms and secret corners. The walls were plastered white, the flooring a light brown linoleum. The offices were small, the labs were large. The floors were divided up according to their 'guests'. There was one for 'traitors', one for the 'delusional', one for the 'test subjects' and one very small area for 'children'. Of course, this is not what they were officially called. But that's how it translated when I was briefly informed of the different levels.

Waiting for the elevator, my eyes fixated on the label for the 2nd floor.

Nursery.

That was probably where they had kept Max when he was young.

Max squeezed my hand and I looked up at him. He gave me a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. He was nervous. As nervous as I was. But as usual, it didn't show on the outside. On the outside he was the epitome of calmness.

We weren't going to the 2nd floor. We were visiting the 4th.

I glanced at the label, just as the elevator dinged, announcing its arrival and the opening of the doors.

Dissidents.

What Command would call traitors. The ones they would reprogram to believe that humans were to be used for their own benefit and make them follow Command's laws without blinking. The ones that had become rebels but were forced, through mind manipulation, to lose their own free will of thought and deduction.

Fortunately, a lot of those dissidents had been treated by James Dresden, the leader of the rebellion. He had made them temporarily forget what they were fighting for, making them believe that Command was correct, until their minds were unlocked at the right time. Hiding them in plain sight like a Trojan Horse.

Like they had done with my father. Locked away the information about aliens until a time when he might need it to protect his daughter.

The elevator was empty and quiet. No music to calm your nerves. Just a big metal box with buttons on the side wall.

I stepped close to Max as we entered. There were five of us; Dresden, Max's father, an Institute worker, Max, and me.

My jacket was too warm. It was bothering me. But before I had the chance to do anything about it, Max had reached over and pulled down on the zipper, opening it. I gave him a half-hearted smile, feeling stupid.

But ever since being a prisoners at the hands of aliens, small confined spaces made me nervous. I wouldn't call myself claustrophobic, but that might just be exactly what I had become.

Are you nervous? Max asked, despite knowing the answer.

I answered just to have something to talk about, Terribly.

Me too, he admitted.

He looped an arm around my waist and pressed me into his body. At first, I was afraid it would make me feel even more confined, but his proximity only calmed me.

We don't even know what we're doing. We don't know how we did what we did.

No. He was troubled. He was used to this place. However, undeterred by the fact that he had been held captive somewhere in this building and having spent time here as a child, it wasn't the surroundings that were troubling him. He was bothered by the fact that I was here. That his people were still demanding things from me. Demanding acts and favors. As if it was our duty to dance to their tune.

He was annoyed that we were still being used. That the war had not ended with the end of the battle.

Now we had to meet the remainder of Command's army. The men that Dresden and his men had spent the past two weeks rounding up. The men that were still hostile and firm believers in Command's rule.

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