For some reason, the news that I can't save the infected within the Repor cripples me. I knew it was a idiotic idea, but I had held some hope. My arms fall limp, the chains that hold me clattering against the solid ground under me. I glance sideways at Lexi, whose face has dropped too. She reaches her leg out, kicking me gently with her boot.

"What now?" I ask, looking up again.

"You need to get us into the compound," Jane says, pulling a set of keys out of her pocket. She disappears behind us, and her cold hands grasp my own. The keys jangle together until the cuffs fall off my wrist, allowing my shoulders to relax. I wrap myself in my own arms, rubbing my aching shoulders.

"I can do that," Lexi says, jumping up off the ground, rubbing her wrists, "I know where all the cameras are. I've been sneaking around a lot longer than Q has. If anyone can get you into the Headquarters, it'll be me."

She grins at me, brushing her hair out of her face again. I make a mental note to ask Mom to cut her hair when we get out of this mess.

"Okay," Doctor Patel says, pulling my eyes away from Lexi, "Quinn, I'll need you to bring Jaelyn up to one of the operating rooms. I'll turn on the 'In Use' sign of whichever room we decide to use so that you'll know where to bring her."

He hands my tablet back, which I tuck into an inner pocket of my uniform.

"What about her boyfriend?" I ask, dusting myself off.

"Isaac?" Jane asks with a laugh, "Leave the goof behind. Without Isaac, she's basically harmless."

"How long have you known them?"

Jane thinks for a moment, biting her lip. Her eyes squint; her lips move as she counts.

"About three years, now," she finally answers, "Since their beginning."

I nod, grabbing Lexi's elbow. She jumps, eyes going wide.

"Be safe," I say, shaking her. She laughs.

"Of course, Your Majesty. As always."

"I'm serious. If you're caught-"

"I won't be," she says, lowering her voice, "It's going to be fine." She shoves me away from them towards the shoreline. "I'll see you soon."

I walk backwards away from them, watching Lexi absentmindedly picking twigs out of her hair. How is she so brave? I'm literally shaking. There's a possibility she will get caught, and the guards won't hesitate to drag her out to the Repor this time.

"Go, Quinn," she snaps, stomping her foot.

I realize I've been staring at her, standing still, one hand against the wall. I blink and nod, turning away finally.

I should have hugged her.

The walk to the HQ building isn't long, but the sun is setting, casting deep shadows around the city. The factories are asleep, steam spiralling out into the blue sky. Children walk home, giggling as they pass by me, papers crinkling in their hands. I pass the bunks, hear the gentle sound of water running through the thin bathroom walls. The air by the bunks smells like freshly steamed vegetables, gunpowder and sweat.

The doors to the Headquarters slide open as I approach, revealing an empty lobby. Even the receptionist has gone home for the night. With one look at the elevator, I decide to take the stairs. Any extra time I can buy for Lexi will be appreciated.

When I pull the door open, a blast of freezing cold air hits me, blowing my hair back. Is the stairwell not heated? Shivering, I start down the stairs. It's only one floor down; how awful can it be?

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