Thomas’s heartbeat sped up to rattling thumps in his chest. He knew that the man wasn’t testing him. They’d gone as far as they could in analyzing reactions and brain patterns. Now they’d chosen the person best suited to … take apart in their effort to build the cure.
Suddenly, the Right Arm couldn’t get there fast enough.
“My brain?” he forced himself to repeat.
“Yes,” Dr. Christensen answered. “The Final Candidate holds the missing piece to complete the data for the blueprint. But we had no way to tell until we monitored the patterns against the Variables. Vivisection will give us our final data, your systems functioning properly while we do it. Not that you’ll feel any pain—we’ll heavily sedate you until …”
He didn’t need to finish. His words drifted off into silence and the three WICKED scientists awaited Thomas’s response. But he couldn’t speak. He’d faced death countless times over what he could remember of his life, yet he’d always done so in the desperate hope to survive, doing anything in his power to last one more day. But this was different. He didn’t just have to last through some trial until his rescuers came. This was something he wouldn’t come back from. This was the end if they didn’t come.
He had a random, horrible thought: did Teresa know about this?
It surprised him how deeply the idea hurt.
“Thomas?” Janson asked, breaking Thomas’s train of thought. “I know this must come as quite a shock to you. I need you to understand that this is not a test. This is not a Variable and I’m not lying to you. We think we can complete the blueprint for the cure by analyzing your brain tissue and how, combined with the patterns we’ve collected, its physical makeup allows it to resist the Flare virus’s power. The Trials were all created so we wouldn’t have to just cut everyone open. Our whole aim was to save lives, not waste them.”
“We’ve been collecting and analyzing the patterns for years, and you’ve been the strongest by far in your reactions to the Variables,” Dr. Wright continued. “We’ve known for a long time—and it was the highest priority to keep this from the subjects—that in the end we’d have to choose the best candidate for this last procedure.”
Dr. Christensen went on to outline the process while Thomas listened in numb silence. “You have to be alive but not awake. We’ll sedate you and numb the area of the incision, but there aren’t any nerves in the brain so it’s a relatively painless process. Unfortunately, you won’t recover from our neural explorations—the procedure is fatal. But the results will be invaluable.”
“And if it doesn’t work?” Thomas asked. All he could see was Newt’s final moments. What if Thomas could prevent that horrible death for countless others?
The Psych’s eyes flickered with discomfort. “Then we’ll keep … working at it. But we have every confidence—”
Thomas cut her off, unable to help himself. “But you don’t, do you? You’ve been paying people to steal more immune … subjects”—he said the word with vicious spite—“so you can start all over again.” No one answered at first. Then Janson said, “We will do whatever it takes to find a cure. With as little loss of life as possible. Nothing else needs to be said on the matter.”
“Why are we even talking?” Thomas asked. “Why not just grab me and tie me down, rip my brain out?” Dr. Christensen answered. “Because you’re our Final Candidate. You were part of the bridge between our founders and the current staff. We’re trying to show you the respect you deserve. It’s our hope that you’ll make the choice yourself.”
“Thomas, do you need a minute?” Dr. Wright asked. “I know this is difficult, and I assure you we don’t take it lightly. What we’re asking for is a huge sacrifice. Will you donate your brain to science? Will you allow us to put the final pieces of the puzzle together? Take another step toward a cure for the good of the human race?”
Thomas didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t believe the turn of events. After everything, could it be true that they only needed one more death?
The Right Arm was coming. Newt’s image seared across his mind.
“I need to be alone,” he finally got out. “Please.” For the first time, a part of him actually wanted to give in, let them do this. Even if there was only a small chance that it would work.
“You’ll be doing the right thing,” Dr. Christensen said. “And don’t worry. You’re not going to feel an ounce of pain.”
Thomas didn’t want to hear another word. “I just need some time alone before all this begins.”
“Fair enough,” Janson said, standing up. “We’ll accompany you to the medical facilities and get you in a private room for a while. Though we need to get things started soon.” Thomas leaned forward and put his head in his hands, staring at the floor. The plan he’d concocted with the Right Arm suddenly seemed foolish beyond measure. Even if he could escape this group—even if he wanted to now—how would he survive until his friends arrived?
“Thomas?” Dr. Wright asked, reaching out to put a hand on his back. “Are you okay? Do you have any more questions?”
Thomas sat up, brushed her hand away. “Just … let’s go where you said.” The air suddenly seemed to go out of Janson’s office and Thomas’s chest tightened. He stood and walked to the door, opened it and stepped out into the hallway. It was all too much.
|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|