Convergent (Part One)

Tobias: chapter 5

I call Christina the next morning, unable to rest my mind after Caleb left. My entire body feels heavy, like his confession has literally weighed me down until I can barely stand anymore. Christina doesn't pick up at first, but when she does, I think she knows it's me.

"Hey," she says.

I sigh. Set my jaw. "Hey."

An awkward silence ensues. I try to think of something to say that doesn't sound accusatory, but she beats me to it. "I'm sorry, Tobias," she says. "I had to."

"Why?" I ask, my voice flat in an attempt to keep my tone under control.

"Because it feels right. I can't think of all those people dying for nothing."

"How do you know Caleb is even telling the truth?" I hiss. I bite my lip. "We can't trust him. You can't trust him. Please, just…we've both lost enough, Chris."

I hear her intake of breath on the other line. She's one of the few people who can relate to me on what we've both endured, but after I point it out, I feel like it's a low blow.

"Yeah, I get that. It's why I have to go," she urges. "I feel like I'm…living in vain. Have you ever asked yourself why us? Why we lived? Maybe this is why. Maybe we can help stop this."

"Or maybe we'll only make it worse," I say. The fear at the prospect of losing another dear friend tears at me from the inside.

"I'm sorry," is all she has to say. "I'll talk to you if"- she pauses. "I'll talk to you when I come back."

Then the line goes dead.

I grip the phone tightly in my hand, lowering it from my ear. Then I do the really immature thing and hurl it across the room. To my dismay, it doesn't break.

My entire life has been consumed by battle; of combat strategy, attack, correct aim and fire. I've fought in wars. I've killed people. I have a lot of blood on my hands, but there's a part of me that misses it. I miss feeling like I'm doing something, rather than living without purpose. I once wished for peace, but now, I no longer know what to do with it. I don't know what it means to me without certain people to share it with. I thought just living is honor enough to those who have sacrificed themselves for it, but I guess the point of battle is that it's always in repeat and that we participating in it can hope for a someday when we no longer have to fight. When those we've taught to fight no longer have to.

This one thought is instant. It's this one thought that makes my decision.

I pick up the card up from the coffee table and dial.

THE MEETING area is located on the corner of Bevington Blvd, which takes me exactly ten minutes to get there by train. I can take a car, but it's somewhat comforting to feel the roar of the metallic beast hurling down the railways again. It also feels surreal and a part of me is shocked that I'm actually doing this.

I jump off on a grassy knoll, landing roughly on my knee. Obviously, I'm a bit rusty, but I'll work on perfecting my landing later.

The sky today seems darker; bleak. As if it knows what we're going to do and decided to match the sky to the mood of things. Even this part of town holds with it a similar depressing atmosphere; walls coated in runny browns, green garbage bins overflowing with junk covered with flies.

I wrinkle my nose as I walk up to a particular building on Bevington; a dilapidated warehouse with a barn-like door. I'm about to pull it open when Caleb suddenly emerges, pushing it back and motioning for me to enter. I step around him, greeted by the aroma of sawdust and liquor. Shelves have been shoved to the far sides of the walls, stacks of boxes littered in random piles around the room. To the back is a short, dwindling staircase that has lost too many boards to make it safe and at the base of it sits Christina, Cara, and Matthew.

I'm rewarded with a bewildered look from each of them.

"Tobias," Christina says, standing up. "I thought you said you weren't coming."

I shrug. "I changed my mind."

She looks at me suspiciously; gives me a face I've learned to mean she doesn't believe me. "You're actually agreeing to this?"

I nod tightly. Christina was Tris's friend, as is she my own and something despises the thought of watching her walking into a potentially dangerous situation without me having her back.

I wonder if she hates idea of me coming, but then she smiles.

"Nice to see you again, Four," Matthew says, his voice full of uncertainty. I approach him and shake his hand.

"All right," Caleb begins, pulling out a small, flat screen. I watch as he turns it on and fiddles with a few buttons before the room is suddenly filled with a blue light. Out of the screen projects a large, three dimensional blueprint, extending about the width of each of us together.

"Now, the Erudite quarters have been relocated to the downtown Chicago area, which is to the south side of the gate." He wipes his forehead on his sleeve. "It has three back exits but only a single entrance. The building has a total of four stories, each guarded pretty much around the clock. It also has a built in pressure system which when activated will trick the alarm."

"Wow," I hear Christina say.

"The security system is always rebooted though at a single hour each week. That hour starts tomorrow at exactly 10:45am. Now, Matthew's job, as I have already discussed with him, will be to sustain the security system and break into the original database. He'll then transfer that computer information to my own and before the pressure system reloads, two guards will have to be taken down by Christina and Tobias."

"Do they have to be of the same weight?" I ask, feeling my level of caution rise.

Caleb looks at me, deciding. He says slowly, "a few more or less excess pounds should not make a difference."

"Should not," Cara breathes. "That's reassuring."

"But if you have to take down more guards, leave them there. A severe decrease in pressure will also set it off." Caleb continues, ignoring her. "If the alarm is triggered, and that's unlikely, you'll have a three minute timeframe between having an escape route before total lockdown."

"What if people see us without the alarm?" Christina asks.

Caleb bites his lip. "It'll be set off on command."

"Oh, awesome."

I look at the blueprint, suddenly unsure. "And what will you be doing during this rendezvous?"

"I will be locating the serum samples."

I give him a questioning look. "How?"

He pulls something else out from a bag and hands them to each of us. "Ear pieces."

"Will the Erudite be able to pick up on the frequency?" says Matthew.

Caleb shakes his head. "They shouldn't be traceable by computer unless retrieved and tested on. So, if any of you get caught, destroy it before they get it."

Christina and I share exchange glances, hers one of bewilderment, mine one of uncertainty. "You'll be doing this where?" she asks. "Outside in the car?"

"Oh no," Caleb says. He points to a section of the blueprint, at the base of the dimension. "I'll be beneath the building, using the transferred information to sort from and locate the serum."

Matthew crosses his arms, staring at the print wide-eyed. "I'm surprised it's transferrable data."

"Ah," Caleb holds up a finger. "Only during the system reboot because that is also the time they insure the security of their software and records. So you have a window, Matthew."

"And if we get caught?" I ask the question undoubtedly weighing on everyone's mind.

"I don't know," Caleb admits. "Tell them nothing or this entire operation is doomed."

"We should have a bigger team. More manpower," Cara says, but Caleb shakes his head. "Smaller groups are better for undergoing these kinds of missions. More heads run a greater risk of someone telling the Erudite we know what at least one leader wants to do."

"And who's the leader?" I inquire, narrowing my eyes.

I see the color leave Caleb's face, but he tries to play impassive. At first he doesn't respond, which only heightens my suspicion.

"Caleb, who are the leaders?"

He lets out a breath, one I didn't know he's been holding. He glances at me reluctantly. "That's just the thing, Four," he says. "No one knows who the leaders are."

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