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Chapter Thirty-Nine: Natalia

"Stop that prisoner!" screamed Molecular Officer Gaines from the doorway of my holding cell.

I turned the corner, knowing I would be exiting the main building of Efland. I'd be out in the courtyard in a matter of seconds. I stayed in the main doorway for a second as I surveyed the relatively empty courtyard as the sun covered it in unrelenting light.

I sprinted as fast as I could into the courtyard. The checkpoint between the main building and gate was easy for me to jump over. There were a few outraged cries and protests from the human guards, unaware that I was escaping. They thought of me as a punk disregarding their imaginary authority.

I could see the gate in my line of sight, it was unguarded and unlocked. I was close to my goal of escaping, but Molecular Officer Gaines hadn't come into play yet. Being ready for his next move was crucial.

A massive wall of energy smashed into my back, result in me tasting the dirt littering the grassless expanse between the security checkpoint and gate. "You can't escape the TWA." I was jerked backward by my ankle.

I flailed about in the dirt looking for anything to grab a hold of to stop me from sliding backward. After failing, I flipped onto my back to see Molecular Officer Gaines miming the motion for pulling a rope. I closed my eyes. Molecules around my ankle ran all the way to Molecular Officer Gaines. All I had to do was break the bond between one molecule pair.

I went to work rubbing the molecules in the air against the molecules dragging me to my doom in a futile attempt to add heat to the bonds. In theory, it should result in the bonds breaking. Problem was, I didn't have enough time. I was a yard away from Molecular Officer Gaines getting his hands on. If he captured me, my story would never hold up with the Rebels if they tried to corroborate it with a Rebel spy. I had to succeed. I had to do this for Diana.

I charged the molecules in the air to form a bolt of lightning. I shot it right below my ankle and prayed I didn't hit myself. Thankfully, I stopped sliding in the dirt and remained unharmed by my hand. I jumped up and ran back toward the gate.

Hacking into the minds of each and every Storm and Electro on top of the wall was a piece of cake. I turned them all away from the outside and focused them on Molecular Officer Gaines. They charged the molecules in the air and were ready to strike him down at my command. The advantage was now mine.

I pushed the gate doors open with as much force as I could muster with my fractured ribs screaming out in pain with every breath. Molecular Officer Gaines ran after me like a good soldier. I commanded all the Telepaths to fire directly in front of him now. I looked back to see a red char mark in the dirt. Molecular Officer Gaines slid to a stop right before the molten dirt. I closed the gate and opened a portal back to the house I lived in for the past five years.

It was a necessary security measure I saw Jesse employ to hide the true location of the Rebel base. It was stupid because the TWA already held their location thanks to my necklace. This was only to protect my cover with the Rebels.

My house remained eerily quiet. I remembered all the times my family shared within these walls. We'd been happy here, living a simple life.

I shook my head. None of that was real, I reminded myself.

I opened a second portal to Raleigh, the location of the Rebel's warehouse. I ran my hands through my hair to add some dirt and dried blood from my hands. Ruffling my hair added a little more to the story that I struggled for my life the past day. Everything needed to be perfect before I returned to the Rebels. They couldn't question my loyalty before I got a hold of my sister.

I jumped through the portal and stumbled on the flat surface of the floor. I fell down in front of a couple of Telepaths coming back from an intense training session. Adding to the act, I attempted to get up before collapsing back to the ground.

"Get help," ordered one of them. They bought it. "What happened?"

I lay on the ground, sprawled out. "I...I was captured."

"You got away?"

I rolled over to my back, wincing as my now bruised ribs brushed the concrete. Slowing my injuries so they'd be present for a major player to see was strategic but painful."Jesse?" I asked.

"He's okay. He made it back safely." I closed my eyes. "I need you to stay with me. What's your name?"

I opened my eyes, staring up at the large lights hanging overhead. "Natalia."

"Grab Jesse." A set of footsteps smacked loudly against the concrete as someone ran. A Telepath moved into my line of sight to probably check if I was still with him. "Natalia, are you injured?"

I clutched at my ribs. "I'll be fine in a few minutes. I just need time to heal."

The Telepath crouched down so he wasn't towering over me. "You're a Molecular?"

I turned my head to look into the Telepath's golden eyes. "You ask a lot of questions."

"Natalia!" I rotated my head in the opposite direction. Jesse was running to me. "You're okay!"

I pushed myself up onto my shaky forearms. "Relatively."

Jesse slid up beside me. "How'd you get away?"

I sat all the way up, wincing as I went. My ribs weren't healing as fast as I originally estimated. Molecular Officer Gaines must've broken them more severely than I thought. "I...I overpowered the medical staff. I must've caught them during a shift change. I barely made it out of there."

Jesse was observed all the blood and dirt covering my skin and clothes. His eyes ventured to my face where a yellow bruise sat on my cheek from Molecular Officer Gaines', his dad, punch. "What did they do to you?"

I brushed some hair over the bruise, suddenly self-conscious about how I looked. "They wanted to know the location of the base."

Jesse hesitantly touched my arm. "What'd they get?"

I looked into Jesse's twinkling emerald eyes and it all seemed to click in my mind. I was no longer the helpless victim I thought would be a good act for Jesse and the rest of the Rebels. The rogue Natalia I was for the last five years wasn't a helpless victim. She was a fighter. What Molecular Officer Gaines put me through was nothing I couldn't handle. A few broken ribs, a scrape, and a bruised jaw was the best case scenario. I was lucky.

I blinked. The false memories began overpowering my true memories. I was back in the mindset of a rogue.

I pushed myself off the floor and focused all of my healing abilities on the bruised ribs like I should've done earlier. "Nothing. Do you seriously think I'd expose the base?"

"No." Jesse reached out to me. "Let's get you cleaned up." I nodded. A warm shower was exactly what I needed after the day I had.

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