The door opened and I ran towards it clutching the metal pole that had held my IV as a weapon. "Whoa! Stop, stop!" A voice shouted from inside a blue hazmat suit. "I'm not here to hurt you, I swear!" I slowly lowered the pole, but didn't let it drop completely.
"Who are you? Where am I?" I asked.
They slowly pried my fingers from the pole, one my one, and I reluctantly let go. "Please, just come up stairs and let us explain everything." I nodded and walked into the hall. I glanced in the windows of the other rooms; just two doors down from me, Monty had his cheek pressed against the glass. I stopped. Fingers lightly pressed into my arm. "You'll see him soon."
I was led into an elevator. As soon as the doors closed the person unzipped their hazmat suit, I realized it was just a girl who didn't look any older than me. I resisted the urge to ask questions as we rode up to the fifth level.
When we reached the level and the doors opened again, I was assaulted with a cacophony of voices. At my surprised look the girl smiled at me. "Welcome to Mount Weather." I looked around; there were so many people. Most of them carried on with their business but a few smiled at me.
There was a door at the end of the hall, which opened right in front of us. A man in a suit smiled broadly. "Hello, I've been waiting for you." He motioned for me to join him inside and after a moment of hesitation the girl came in as well. "I am sure you have many questions, but allow me to introduce myself first. I am the president of this community, but you may call me Dante."
"I'm Maia," I mumbled. "Maia Farrin."
The girl's timid expression changed dramatically. "I'm Maya too!" I looked at her surprised. "With a Y?"
I shook my head. "An I."
"Still, that's funny, isn't it?" Dante gave Maya a look and her smile dropped. "I should probably get back down to level three. It was nice meeting you, Maia."
Dante waited until she left before continuing. "Maya is one of the lab techs in charge of getting your people through quarantine."
"Quarantine?" I asked confused.
"Yes, that is where you were. Level three is home to our hospital and laboratories, level five is residential and community," he explained. "While you were out we ran tests to determine the levels of radiation in your system. Fortunately you and your friend-"
"Monty," I supplied.
"You and Monty both appear to have DNA that has evolved to process strong amounts of radiation, we assume the rest of your people will have similar DNA structures. This is why you were all able to survive here on the ground."
"And the grounders, they're like us too?" I asked, I had never been very scientifically inclined but I had read books about biology and chemistry.
"Well, yes, and no. Through natural selection, the people you know as grounders, evolved to be a body of people that can handle the Earth's radioactivity. Your people, on the other hand, evolved because they were exposed to space's radioactivity."
"The grounders, you separated yourself from them," I noted. "Why?"
"We may live here, on the surface, but our people never experienced the evolution their people did. Mount Weather is our protective bubble from the radiation outside, that's why you had to go through quarantine."
"If you people didn't evolve then…the ground is still toxic to you, right?"
"Yes, if we were to go outside of this facility we would die."
"Why am I here?" I asked, finally getting to the point.
"We want to help you, it is not safe for you out there. Teams are being dispatched to retrieve the rest of your people as we speak."
I suddenly remembered everything that had been going on prior to my blackout. "They need your help as soon as possible, the grounders are planning an attack on our camp. When I was captured we were searching for two of our friends who'd been abducted by them. There are hundreds of grounders, my people may not be able to survive that without help."
Dante looked alarmed. "We knew tensions were mounting between you but we weren't aware how urgent the situation was, I'll have more teams sent out immediately. Would you be able to draw us a map of your camp? We know we were getting close when we found you and Monty, but-"
"We'd made it pretty far by that point. I'd say we were at least three miles northwest of camp. I'm not sure putting a map in front of me would help, I don't know the land much better than your people do."
He nodded. "Three miles northwest, I'll tell my teams. We will bring your people back here safely." He stood up. "And Maia, you are not a captive here. Make yourself at home."
After Dante had disappeared, I'd been taken to a dormitory. There were rows of perfectly made beds, just awaiting my friends to fill them. I could hear the creak of the floor when I stepped, and my bedsprings when I plopped down on them. It was a little creepy being the only living thing in this massive room, but it was the first time I'd been alone since following Bellamy back into camp weeks ago. The voices from earlier were diluted, but still audible.
My eyes fell on a train case that waited next to my bed; a note on top explained that if I would like to get changed there would be dinner served in the main dining room on level 5 at 6pm. For the first time since I'd been put in solitary, I had a clock. My stomach growled and I popped open the train case, who was I to turn down dinner. The case filled with clothing and jewelry and shoes nicer than anything I'd ever owned on the Ark.
I touched one of the dresses; the fabric was soft and slipped right through my fingers. It brought back memories of my mother tirelessly stitching gowns for the upper class girls who needed a new dress for this ball, or that symphony, very rarely there was a comet watching party and everyone went all out for those.
I chose a fairly simple yellow linen dress. Linen was one of the most durable fabrics; if it was taken care of properly it could last for ages. My mother always told me if I was going to save my money for the sale I should go for linen. Expecting me to save money for a piece of fabric was probably asking too much out of an eight year old. Even with a seamstress for a mother, I still blew my weekly allowance on fresh fruit; at least I was a healthy eight year old.
After I was changed, I went into the hall. Surprisingly there was no guard or escort; maybe Dante had really meant it when he said we weren't captive here. I followed the voices to the dining hall. "Maia!" Before I knew it I was being scooped up and hugged tightly.
"Monty, you're killing me here," I groaned. He let me go and smiled. "How's your face? It looked a little squished the last time I saw it." He rolled his eyes and I patted his cheek. "This food smells amazing, I'm starved."
Maya waved from a table in the back and I motioned for Monty to follow me to her. "Monty, this is Maya," I said.
He nodded. "We met earlier."
"I bet you're both starved, when's the last time you had a proper meal?" She asked.
Monty and I exchanged a look. "Never," we said in sync. At her puzzled expression, I added, "Prisoners don't exactly get fed five star cuisine. And before that, we weren't exactly the kind of people that dressed like this." I said motioning towards our freshly pressed, new clothing.
Monty noticed the plates of food heading our way. "We didn't eat like this either."
"I don't know how it is here, but on the Ark, the rich were rich and everyone else was, well, not."
"We're a community," Maya told me. "We all work together."
I had a sudden pang for our camp, we may have been dysfunctional but we worked together. "Has there been any word on our people?" I asked.
She shook her head, "No, but the first teams should return before nightfall."
As if on cue, Dante walked into the dining hall and locked eyes with me. "Maia, your people need you."
Over the next twenty-four hours teams returned with members of the 100. I was tasked with identifying them and providing as much information on them as I could. I barely had a moment alone with Monty, and I couldn't help but feel that was the point. Maybe it was just because I'd been on the run for most of my life, but I couldn't help feel like something was a little off about these people. However, I agreed Mount Weather was safer than the outside world right now, so I didn't push it.
At the end of the day there were forty-eight of us in here, including Monty and myself. Dante assured me teams were still scouring the area for survivors from the attack.
One by one the kids were screened and brought upstairs. They were given guidebooks and maps and their questions were answered, but each of them looked to me for assurance that they should trust these strangers. I felt Dante's eyes on me everywhere. I had no reason to feel threatened, but I was certainly being watched.
"New batch coming in," Maya told me.
A couple of kids walked upstairs and I recognized one immediately. "Jasper!" I flew at him and he screeched before realizing who I was.
He engulfed me in a massive hug. "Robin Hood, you're okay!"
I frowned, "Will you ever stop calling me that?" I asked.
"Never." He kissed the top of my head and let me go. "This place looks pretty sweet, huh?"
I bobbed my head. "Wait till you try the food."
Keenan, the girl in charge of assimilating the new kids, waved at me. "I think I can handle it here, if you and your friends would like to get lunch."
I smiled at her, and then Monty and I led Jasper to the dining hall. I made a beeline for the table in the back of the room, but Monty grabbed my arm. "A few of the kids are sitting over there, we should join them."
"We need to talk, alone," I told them. They followed me and we sat down alone. "We took inventory down there," I told Jasper. "Most of us are missing. There are 48 of us here now."
"A lot of kids died in the fight, you guys got lucky," Jasper said, shaking his head. "Before you ask, Octavia is okay. She was hurt but her grounder took her away."
"He'll take care of her," Monty said with a decisive nod. I nodded, more to assure myself that Octavia would be all right, than anything else.
"What happened?" I asked.
"They attacked, like we knew they would. They would have overtaken us too but Raven had the idea to use the rocket fuel in the drop ship to launch it. It created a ring of fire around the ship, and poof, fried grounders."
"That's pretty badass," I said approvingly. "Very Raven." I groaned. "Raven didn't deserve the way I treated her the last time I saw her." Monty gave me a look that screamed, "I told you so." I paused. "Last night when I made my rounds she wasn't here, unless she's come in with a team this morning…"
"Murphy shot Raven," Jasper said. "She wasn't doing good."
"Maybe she's in the hospital instead of quarantine," Monty suggested. "That would make sense, right?"
"If they brought her here, they would have been able to save her," I said.
"If she was even alive when they found her," Jasper said.
"But there's a chance she's alive," I insisted. "She has to be. She can't die thinking I hate her."
Jasper took a deep breath. "That's not all. The fire from the launch killed the grounders, but it wasn't just grounders outside."
He went silent for a moment. "Who?" I pressed.
"Finn was out there," he said. "So was Bellamy."
"So Bellamy is…" I trailed off not wanting to finish the sentence.
"Alright," I said quietly. Jasper and Monty shared a look. "We um, we have something else to talk about."
I cut Jasper off. "I said alright, okay? Let me just compartmentalize for a minute." I stared at them waiting for one of them to comment. "I don't think I trust these people. Something about them just rubs me the wrong way."
"Are you sure you're not just being paranoid?" Monty asked.
I groaned. "I don't know. Honestly. I've been so scared to trust people for so long that I'm not sure I know how to do it anymore. So yeah, maybe you're right. Maybe these are honestly just a bunch of great people who want to save our sorry asses. Or maybe they've got something bigger planned. But they're watching me."
"Of course they are. Until Clarke wakes up, you're our leader. If you wanted to you could make them regret ever taking us in, or you could be the one that settles everyone in peacefully."
"So maybe just keep the paranoia to yourself, huh?" Jasper said punching me lightly on the arm. Plates were set in front of us and Jasper's eyes grew. "This looks amazing."
"Dude, it is," Monty said.
As they both dug in, I shook my head. "Yeah, you're right. But, at the first sign of something shady, I'm pulling the alarm."
Monty stopped mid-bite and looked at me, then at Jasper and then back to me. "I just told you that you're in charge and you didn't even bat an eye."
"Look around Monty. Who else would you want our people turning to?"