“So,” she began as I pulled myself off the floor, “how shall we start? With your last rights that no longer exist or your explanation of everything you know about the High Order and all its affiliates?”
Sore and wobbly on my electrified legs, the disappointment and rage of being abandoned by the closest friend I had forced me to realize that I had nothing left. Nothing left to fight with. Nobody on my side. I was done listening, done obeying the rules, done trying to pretend that I could actually come out on top victoriously and be called a hero. Or even just a “good guy.” In a game that you’re meant to lose, there’s only one chance at survival. Improvising.
I stood for a moment, keeping my balance, and stared straight at Sam. She looked back, unblinking, waiting for my answer.
“Oh, I dunno,” I started nonchalantly, “I’d rather start with your surrender and your explanation of what the blazes you’re all up to.”
I knew she’d nod again, and in the concern of keeping my mind sharp, I drew strength out of some reserve deep in my cells and pulled my feet off the ground. The lightning popped and sizzled around me, frying the air. Heat built as it searched for me, for some living thing to course through and turn into a blob of cooked mush.
“Well?” I asked innocently. “Do you surrender or not?”
Sam nodded again. The energy tumbling, darting, zapping through the room was almost too much to bear, like being stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm covered in armor. A thought crossed my mind: Bring it on.
“Hoy, Sam! How’s Raven doing? I haven’t seen him for a while. Is he still tagging along after his sweet, big sister?”
The walls were turning white-hot from the pressure. The control panel man was yelling something at Sam. The shock wave burst out of my chest. I saw the walls crumble, the glass shatter, and Sam tumble away, shielding her face.
I stood triumphant in a pile of rubble, under the horrid Generator, in the room where every lie began.
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