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Chapter Thirty-Seven: Natalia

My grandfather and Molecular Officer Gaines came around my chair so I could see them both. My grandfather took Molecular Officer Gaines' chair while he chose to stand off in the corner out of the way.

"How about you start after your encounter with Delta team? I mean, the group you took down outside the hideout Jesse Gaines stashed you in."

I winced. I forgot about that incident. It'd been a life or death situation, but now those were my men and women I killed. "I almost forgot about them," I said honestly. "Should I personally send my condolences to each of the surviving family members?" The guilt was swelling inside my chest, cutting off my airway. "If I'd known who I was, I wouldn't have hurt them."

My grandfather shook his head. "All of the families were notified of their honorable sacrifice. That's enough for the families."

I nodded. It didn't seem right to me. The deaths were wasted and unwarranted. The men and women I killed never should've been near the undercover mission I was running. "Well...I was taken to a Rebel base immediately after that encounter. I stayed in their hospital for two or three days in a coma."

My grandfather kicked his feet up on the table. "What about their base. Tell me about their operations."

I cleared my throat. "There's a mixture of humans, half-telepaths, and Telepaths. All of them are honing their individual skills for the upcoming war we heard rumors about. The training of the humans was something I found particularly interesting. They're teaching them to circumvent our telepathy. They'll be harder foes to defeat but still manageable if we're ready."

I paused. "They're holed up in an abandoned warehouse somewhere. I'm not sure of the location. Jesse was good at covering the signature of the portals when we were outside of the base."

My grandfather nodded. "Jesse Gaines?" I nodded. "Seems like your boy is more of a threat than you led me to believe, Molecular Officer Gaines."

Molecular Officer Gaines looked down at the floor, not chancing a glance at my grandfather. "I assure you, we were unaware of his standing within the Rebels. He showed little potential during training before he ran off."

My grandfather rolled his eyes. "Yes. You've said that before and yet your son managed to escape Efland just now and evade capture for all of these years."

I looked down at my fingers. "I helped him escape Efland today."

"What?"

I cleared my throat. "I'm the one who opened the portal. I let him escape." I chanced a glance at my grandfather.

He was sitting there staring at me. There was no emotion written on his face; I didn't take that as a good sign. "Continue."

I picked at my fingernails. It was a nervous habit I had before going undercover. When I was Natalia the rogue, I was never really nervous. She never feared anything and she was on the run from the TWA. I was nervous and I was the princess of the TWA. What did that say about me?

"Jesse is the number two at the Rebel base behind a half-telepath. I had little interaction with her, but she's amassed a large following. I wouldn't underestimate her."

I pressed my lips together trying to think if there was anything else I missed. "Oh. Storm Officers Stein's child, Todd, is being held prisoner in the warehouse. He was safe when I left, but I can't be sure now."

My grandfather spun in Molecular Officer Gaines' chair in order to look out the window at the landscape I created. "Anything else we should know before we raid the base?"

"I..." My mind fell on one person I'd never through twice about before: Diana. She was the human who had her mind toyed with by someone powerful. She'd grown unhinged when she woke from her coma. At the time, it fortified my hunch that the Rebels were really TWA spies, a large push to lead me back home. She was the thing that came to my mind for some reason.

“Yes?”

I sat there for a moment trying to piece it all together. My mind was racing with different thoughts and memories coming from both my true and false memories. The two sets were battling for my attention. There was something important in both of them. I just needed to find it.

"There's something," I said.

I started listing everything I knew about her. Her memories were altered prior to arriving at the Rebel base. There was a wild look in her eyes when she begged me to help her. Not to mention, she'd grown obsessed with me in the short time I interacted with her. She was hiding something.

I hopped out of my chair unable to sit any longer. The unknown reason why she popped into my mind was bothering me. I knew why she interested me; it was on the tip of my tongue.

“Natalia?” I hushed the voice.

Pacing the floor helped alleviate the frustration building in my chest as I racked my brain for the answer. Why was she important. What made her special to me?

I made my way through every memory I had. I stopped at the first memory where my false and true memories were intertwined. It was the nightmare/memory I relived every night while I was undercover. The bundle of blankets in Thalia's arms was the key, I knew it deep in my bones.

I froze. "What?" asked my grandfather.

I headed for the door. I needed to get back to her. "You can't raid the warehouse. Not yet."

I reached for the door knob. "Why?"

I turned the door knob clockwise. "I found Diana."

I cracked the door a little before it was slammed shut and locked. "The Rebels have her?"

I slammed my hand against the metal door. "I have to get back to her."

I was spun around by a mini gust of wind. My grandfather had risen from his chair and Molecular Officer Gaines had moved out of his corner. "Your parents wouldn't be so careless." I laughed. "What?"

Stella’s words from the hospital rung throughout my mind. The King of the Telepaths killed her parents in front of her. She was lucky he didn’t kill her too.

“If I’m right, you’ve met Diana and you didn’t even know it.”

My grandfather shook his head. “Impossible. I would’ve sensed her.”

I sighed. He was taking away my precious time. Diana was fragile right now and in the grasp of the Rebels. "I never sensed her either. Thalia and Nate must've blocked her memories the same way you blocked mine when I was undercover. Since she was a baby, they were probably able to hide her powers too because she never had access to them. She would never know they were missing, unlike me."

My grandfather stared at me. "What makes you so sure this Diana is our Diana?" asked Molecular Officer Gaines.

I smiled. "I'm not. That's why I have to go back. How can we risk losing her again?" I looked to my grandfather. "She was abandoned too. She has to right to know she has family out there that cares for her."

My grandfather sighed as he looked down at the desk. "Fine, but we can't lock up your memories again. You'll have to go in with knowledge of who you are." I nodded. "That means you have to be on your guard 24/7. If this really is our Diana, she has more potential than any other Molecular you've faced."

I nodded. "I'll be careful."

Molecular Officer Gaines walked across the room before pulling me in close. "Be careful, little flower."

I hugged him tightly, unsure when I'd see him again. He was always like a father to me, especially after Jesse ran away. I filled a void in his heart and he did the same for me. "Always."

Molecular Officer Gaines leaned his head down to my ear. "If possible, bring Jesse back with you."

I pulled away. "Of course."

Molecular Officer Gaines leaned his head down to my ear. "If possible, bring Jesse back with you."

I pulled away. "Of course."

Molecular Officer Gaines looked back at my grandfather for a moment. "You're going to need a story," said Molecular Officer Gaines; my grandfather nodded.

"I was thinking-"

Molecular Officer Gaines' fist connected with my jaw. I fell to the ground, caught completely by surprise. His foot connected to my side, forcing the air out of my lungs. I collapsed to the ground again as I tried to suck in air.

I got to my knees. There was a sharp pain and burning sensation coming from my left arm. I looked down to see blood pouring from a rather large gash. I sat up, placing my back against the wall. Molecular Officer Gaines was holding a knife in his hands. I placed my hand into the blood flow before smearing the blood over my clothes and other arm.

I got to my feet, wincing as I did. The kick definitely broke a rib or two. "I'm so sorry," said Molecular Officer Gaines. His eyes were glistening with unshed tears.

I held onto my ribs. "It'll make it a more convincing story, but first we need to make this public. The Rebels won't believe I escaped if there isn't a story circulating about the rogue Telepaths showdown with the famous Molecular solider from the war." I smiled.

Molecular Officer Gaines returned the smile. "It'd be my pleasure."

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