“How?” Brenda asked, before Thomas could speak.
“I’ll let Gally explain that.” Vince gestured to the boy.
“Okay, think about the Right Arm,” Gally said. He stood up. “These people aren’t soldiers. They’re accountants, janitors, plumbers, teachers. WICKED basically has their own little army. Trained in the finest and most expensive weaponry. Even if we could find the largest stash in the world of Launchers and everything else they use, we’d still be at a huge disadvantage.” Thomas couldn’t imagine where this was going. “So what’s the plan, then?”
“The only way to even the playing field is to make sure they don’t have any weapons. Then we might stand a chance.”
“So you’re going to steal them somehow?” Brenda asked. “Stop a shipment? What?”
“No, nothing like that,” Gally responded, shaking his head. Then a look of childlike excitement came over his face. “It’s not about how many you can recruit to your cause, but who you can recruit. Of everyone the Right Arm has gathered, one woman is the key.”
“Who?” Thomas asked.
“Her name is Charlotte Chiswell. She was a lead engineer for the biggest arms manufacturer in the world.
At least for the advanced weaponry that uses second-generation technology. Every pistol, Launcher, grenade—you name it—used by WICKED comes from there, and they all rely on advanced electronics and computer systems to function. And Charlotte’s figured out a way to render their weapons useless.”
“Really?” Brenda asked, her tone full of doubt. Thomas found the idea hard to believe also, but he listened intently as Gally explained.
“There’s a common chip in every weapon they use, and she’s spent the last several months trying to figure out a way to reprogram the things remotely—to jam them. She finally did it. It’ll take a few hours once she starts, and a small device needs to be planted inside the building for it to work, so our people who plan to hand over the Immunes will do the job. If it works, we won’t have weapons, either, but at least we’ll have a level playing field.”
“If not an advantage,” Vince added. “Their guards and security detail are so trained in using those weapons that it’s second nature by now, I’m sure. But I bet they’ve grown lax in hand-to-hand combat. Real fighting. Sparring with knives and bats and shovels, sticks and rocks and fists.” He grinned mischievously.
“It’ll be an old-fashioned brawl. And I think we can take them. If we didn’t do it that way, if their weapons were still working, we’d get destroyed before it even got going.” Thomas thought back to the battle they’d had with the Grievers inside the Maze. It had been like what Vince just described. He shuddered at the memory, but it sure beat going against full-blown weapons.
And if it worked it would mean they had a chance. A rush of excitement hit Thomas. “So how do you do it?”
Vince paused. “We have three Bergs. We’re going in with about eighty people—the strongest we could find in our group. We’ll hand over the Immunes to our contact inside WICKED, plant the device—though that’s going to be our hardest task—and when it does the job, we’ll blow out a hole in the wall and let everyone else in. Once we’ve gained control of their facility, Charlotte will help us get enough of the weapons running again to stay in control. We’ll do this, or every last one of us will die trying. We’ll blow up the place if we have to.”
Thomas took it all in. His group could be invaluable in an assault like this. Especially those with their memories intact. They knew the layout of the WICKED complex.
Vince continued, and it was as if he’d read Thomas’s mind. “If what Gally says is true, you and your friends will be a huge help to our planning team, since some of you know the facility inside and out. And every extra body counts—I don’t care how old or young you are.”
“We have a Berg also,” Brenda offered. “Unless Cranks have ripped the thing to shreds. It’s just outside the Denver walls on the northwest side. The pilot is back with our other friends.”
“Where are your Bergs?” Thomas asked.
Vince waved his hand toward the back of the room. “Thataway. Safe and sound enough. Everything’s close. We’d love to have another week or two to prepare, but don’t have much choice. Charlotte’s device is ready. Our first eighty people are ready. We can spend the next day or so letting you and the others share what you know, make final preparations, and then we move. No reason to make it sound any more glamorous. We’ll just go in and do it.”
Hearing him say it like that made it more real for Thomas. “How confident are you?”
“Boy, listen to me,” Vince said, his expression grave. “For years and years all we’ve heard about is the mission of WICKED. How every penny, every man, every woman, every resource—how it all had to be devoted to the cause of finding a cure to the Flare. They told us they’d found Immunes, and if we could just figure out why their brains don’t succumb to the virus, why then the whole world would be saved! While in the meantime, cities crumble; education, security, medicine for every other malady known to man, charity, humanitarian aid—the whole world goes to pot so WICKED can do whatever they want to do.”
“I know,” Thomas said. “I know all too well.”
Vince couldn’t stop talking, spilling thoughts that had obviously churned inside him for years. “We could’ve stopped the spread of the disease a lot better than we’ve been able to cure the disease. But WICKED
sucked up all the money and all the best people. Not only that, they gave us false hope, and nobody took the care they should’ve. Thought the magical cure would save them in the end. But if we wait any longer we’ll run out of people to save.”
Vince looked tired now. The room fell silent as he sat and stared at Thomas, waiting for a response. And Thomas couldn’t argue with what the man had said.
Vince finally spoke again. “Our people selling the Immunes could certainly plant the device once they’re inside, but it would be a lot easier if it was in place when we arrive. Having the Immunes will get us into the airspace and permission to land, but …” He raised his eyebrows at Thomas as if he wanted him to state the obvious himself.
Thomas nodded. “That’s where I come in.”
“Yes,” Vince said, smiling. “I believe that’s where you come in.”
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Chapter 7||Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10||Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Chapter 13||Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Chapter 16||Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20||Chapter 21||Chapter 22||Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
|Chapter 25||Chapter 26||Chapter 27||Chapter 28||Chapter 29||Chapter 30|
|Chapter 31||Chapter 32||Chapter 33||Chapter 34||Chapter 35||Chapter 36|
|Chapter 37||Chapter 38||Chapter 39||Chapter 40||Chapter 41||Chapter 42|
|Chapter 43||Chapter 44||Chapter 45||Chapter 46||Chapter 47||Chapter 48|
|Chapter 49||Chapter 50||Chapter 51||Chapter 52||Chapter 53||Chapter 54|
|Chapter 55||Chapter 56||Chapter 57||Chapter 58||Chapter 59||Chapter 60|
|Chapter 61||Chapter 62||Chapter 63||Chapter 64||Chapter 65||Chapter 66|
|Chapter 67||Chapter 68||Chapter 69||Chapter 70||Chapter 71||Chapter 72|
|Chapter 73||Book 1: Maze Runner||Book 2: Scorch Trials||Book 3: Death Cure||Prequel: Kill Order|