The Traitor (Divergent 0.40) - Page 3

"Hmm." I lean in closer, making a joke of examining her, but then it's not a joke, and I'm just close, and we're sharing a breath.

"No, Tris," I say. "You look . . ." I try a Dauntless expression. "Tough as nails."

She smiles a little. So do I.

"Hey," Zeke says sleepily, leaning his head into his fist. "Want to take over for me? I practically need to tape my eyes open."

"Sorry," I say. "I just need to use a computer. You do know it's only nine o'clock, right?"

He yawns. "I get tired when I'm bored out of my mind. Shift's almost over, though."

I love the control room at night. There are only three people monitoring the footage, so the room is silent except for the hum of computers. Through the windows I see only a sliver of the moon; everything else is dark. It's hard to find peace in the Dauntless compound, and this is the place where I find it most often.

Zeke turns back to his screen. I sit at a computer a few seats over from him, and angle the screen away from the room. Then I log in, using the fake account name I set up several months ago, so no one would be able to track this back to me.

Once I'm logged in, I open the mirroring program that lets me use Max's computer remotely. It takes a second to kick in, but when it does, it's like I'm sitting in Max's office, using the same machine he uses.

I work quickly, systematically. He labels his folders with numbers, so I don't know what each one will contain. Most are benign, lists of Dauntless members or schedules of events. I open them and close them in seconds.

I go deeper into the files, folder after folder, and then I find something strange. A list of supplies, but the supplies don't involve food or fabric or anything else I would expect for mundane Dauntless life--the list is for weapons. Syringes. And something marked Serum D2.

I can imagine only one thing that would require the Dauntless to have so many weapons: an attack. But on who?

I check the control room again, my heartbeat pounding in my head. Zeke is playing a computer game that he wrote himself. The second control-room operator is slumped to one side, her eyes half-closed. The third is stirring his glass of water idly with his straw, staring out the windows. No one is paying attention to me.

I open more files. After a few wasted efforts, I find a map. It's marked mostly with letters and numbers, so at first I don't know what it's showing.

Then I open a map of the city on the Dauntless database to compare them, and sit back in my chair as I realize what streets Max's map is focusing on.

The Abnegation sector.

The attack will be against Abnegation.

It should have been obvious, of course. Who else would Max and Jeanine bother to attack? Max and Jeanine's vendetta is against Abnegation, and it always has been. I should have realized that when the Erudite released that story about my father, the monstrous husband and father. The only true thing they've written, as far as I can tell.

Zeke nudges my leg with his foot. "Shift's over. Bedtime?"

"No," I say. "I need a drink."

He perks up noticeably. It's not every night I decide I want to abandon my sterile, withdrawn existence for an evening of Dauntless indulgence.

"I'm your man," he says.

I close down the program, my account, everything. I try to leave the information about the Abnegation attack behind, too, until I can figure out what to do about it, but it chases me all the way into the elevator, through the lobby, and down the paths to the bottom of the Pit.

I surface from the simulation with a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I detach from the wires and get up. She's still recovering from the sensation of almost drowning, shaking her hands and taking deep breaths. I watch her for a moment, not sure how to say what I need to say.

"What?" she says.

"How did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Crack the glass."

"I don't know."

I nod, and offer her my hand. She gets up without any trouble, but she avoids my eyes. I check the corners of the room for cameras. There is one, just where I thought it would be, right across from us. I take her elbow and lead her out of the room, to a place where I know we won't be observed, in the blind spot between two surveillance points.

"What?" she says irritably.

"You're Divergent," I say. I haven't been very nice to her today. Last night I saw her and her friends by the chasm, and a lapse in judgment--or sobriety--led me to lean in too close, to tell her she looked good. I'm worried that I went too far. Now I'm even more worried, but for different reasons.

She cracked the glass. She's Divergent. She's in danger.

She stares.

Then she sinks against the wall, adopting an almost-convincing aura of casualness. "What's Divergent?"

"Don't play stupid," I say. "I suspected it last time, but this time it's obvious. You manipulated the simulation; you're Divergent. I'll delete the footage, but unless you want to wind up dead at the bottom of the chasm, you'll figure out how to hide it during the simulations! Now, if you'll excuse me."

I walk back to the simulation room, pulling the door closed behind me. It's easy to delete the footage--just a few keystrokes and it's done, the record clean. I double-check her file, making sure the only thing that's in there is the data from the first simulation. I'll have to come up with a way to explain where the data from this session went. A good lie, one that Eric and Max will actually believe.

In a hurry, I take out my pocketknife and wedge it between the panels covering the motherboard of the computer, prying them apart. Then I go into the hallway, to the drinking fountain, and fill my mouth with water.

When I return to the simulation room, I spit some of the water into the gap between the panels. I put my knife away and wait.

A minute or so later, the screen goes dark. Dauntless headquarters is basically a leaky cave--water damage happens all the time.

I was desperate.

I sent a message through the same factionless man I used as a messenger last time I wanted to get in touch with my mother. I arranged to meet her inside the last car of the ten-fifteen train from Dauntless headquarters. I assume she'll know how to find me.

I sit with my back against the wall, an arm curled around one of my knees, and watch the city pass. Night trains don't move as fast as day trains between stops. It's easier to observe how the buildings change as the train draws closer to the center of the city, how they grow taller but n

arrower, how pillars of glass stand next to smaller, older stone structures. Like one city layered on top of another on top of another.

Someone runs alongside the train when it reaches the north side of the city. I stand up, holding one of the railings along the wall, and Evelyn stumbles into the car wearing Amity boots, an Erudite dress, and a Dauntless jacket. Her hair is pulled back, making her already-severe face even harsher.

"Hello," she says.

"Hi," I say.

"Every time I see you, you're bigger," she says. "I guess there's no point in worrying that you're eating well."

"Could say the same to you," I say, "but for different reasons."

I know she's not eating well. She's factionless, and the Abnegation haven't been providing as much aid as they usually do, with the Erudite bearing down on them the way they are.

I reach behind me and grab the backpack I brought with cans from the Dauntless storeroom.

"It's just bland soup and vegetables, but it's better than nothing," I say when I offer it to her.

"Who says I need your help?" Evelyn says carefully. "I'm doing just fine, you know."

"Yeah, that's not for you," I say. "It's for all your skinny friends. If I were you, I wouldn't turn down food."

"I'm not," she says, taking the backpack. "I'm just not used to you caring. It's a little disarming."

"I'm familiar with the feeling," I say coldly. "How long was it before you checked in on my life? Seven years?"

Evelyn sighs. "If you asked me to come here just to start this argument again, I'm afraid I can't stay long."

"No," I say. "No, that's not why I asked you to come here."

I didn't want to contact her at all, but I knew I couldn't tell any of the Dauntless what I had learned about the Abnegation attack--I don't know how loyal to the faction and its policies they are--and I had to tell someone. The last time I spoke to Evelyn, she seemed to know things about the city that I didn't. I assumed she might know how to help me with this, before it's too late.

It's a risk, but I'm not sure where else to turn.

"I've been keeping an eye on Max," I say. "You said the Erudite were involved with the Dauntless, and you were right. They're planning something together, Max and Jeanine and who knows who else."

I tell her what I saw on Max's computer, the supply lists and the maps. I tell her what I've observed about the Erudite's attitude toward Abnegation, the reports, how they're poisoning even Dauntless minds against our former faction.

Tags: Veronica Roth Divergent Science Fiction
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