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The Legacy Chronicles_Up in Smoke

Pittacus Lore



  Title Page

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Excerpt from Generation One

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Excerpt from Fugitive Six

  About the Author

  Books by Pittacus Lore

  Back Ads


  About the Publisher





  Six heard someone calling from far away. The voice, faintly familiar though she couldn’t identify it, floated through the fog that surrounded her.

  “Six, wake up.”

  She struggled to open her eyes. Lights flashed, blinding her, and she shut them again. Then she tried once more, squinting until she adjusted to the brightness. After a few seconds, a room came into focus around her. She was in a bed. Someone was standing beside her.

  “Did you have a nice nap?” Nine said.

  Six groaned. Her head ached. “Where am I?”

  “HGA,” Nine said. “The infirmary.”

  Images came flooding into her mind: being strapped to a table, a syringe, a face looking down at her. She recalled the feeling of something sticky and burning flowing into her veins. Her brain felt as if it was still swimming in it. She strived to force her way out of it.

  “Try to relax,” Nine ordered.

  Six ignored him, attempting to sit up. Nine helped her, putting a pillow behind her. Six leaned back, exhausted. Her body felt drained of energy. Then she remembered something else. Her hand flew to her head.

  “He put something in me,” she said. “A device of some kind. He showed it to me.”

  Her fingers found nothing, though. No shaved area. No incision.

  “Where the hell is it?” she asked Nine.

  “Nothing turned up on the scan we did,” he said.

  Six let her hand fall to her side. “That bastard was lying.”

  That bastard was Drac. And if he hadn’t implanted something in her, what had he done? She knew he’d injected her. She had no idea what it was he’d put into her, though, or what it had done. But she felt different. And that worried her.

  “We don’t know exactly what he did,” Nine answered. “Yet,” he added. “He hasn’t said much.”

  “He’s here?” said Six.

  Nine nodded. “We grabbed him and that woman who was hunting the kids.”

  Now Six started to remember. Rena and Nemo. A lodge in the mountains of Montana. It was all coming back to her, and as it did, she found herself becoming enraged.

  “Kirk,” she said. “They killed him.”

  She looked at Nine, who nodded. A dark look clouded his face.

  “Who else?” Six asked. Suddenly, fear gripped her heart. “Sam?”

  “No,” Nine said. “Yo-Yo.”

  Rena’s friend. The one she had gone there to try and help escape. Six had been against the plan from the beginning, and this was exactly why.

  “The girls are both okay,” Nine continued. “Rena’s taking Yo-Yo’s death hard, of course, but she’s a tough one.”

  Another thought came to Six. Another jolt of worry. “If Sam is all right, why isn’t he here?”

  “Dennings used a kid with a teleportation Legacy to escape,” Nine said. “He took Sam with him.”

  “Then you don’t really know that he’s okay,” said Six.

  Nine started to answer, then grinned weakly. “It’s Sam,” he said. “He’s okay.”

  “You can’t even convince yourself of that,” said Six. “You’re sure not convincing me.”

  “He’s alive,” Nine said more confidently.

  “He was,” Six countered. “How long have I been out?”

  Nine looked at his watch. “About twelve hours.”

  Twelve hours. Half a day. A lot could happen in that amount of time. Six tried not to think about the more terrible things on that list.

  “You know I’m not Little Mr. Sunshine,” Nine said.

  Six looked at him.

  “But I really do think Sam is all right,” Nine continued. “And we’re going to find him. Okay?”

  Six thought of several responses to this but said nothing. Instead, she just nodded.

  “Good,” Nine said. “Now that that’s settled, I want you to do something for me. Use your telekinesis to hold this in the air.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter, which he held up between his thumb and forefinger.

  Six focused on the quarter. She imagined it hovering in the air.

  Nine let go of the coin. It fell to the floor with a dull clink.

  “What the hell?” Six said.

  Nine bent down and retrieved the quarter. He put it back into his pocket. “Your Legacies are being blocked,” he said.

  “How?” Six said. “By what?” She recalled again the injection that Drac had given her. What had he done to her? Apart from the headache thundering through her skull, everything seemed normal.

  “The injection . . .” she said. “Did he—”

  “Whatever he put in you, it’s interfering with your abilities.”

  “Interfering?” said Six, thinking back to something she’d seen Drac do to a kid in Texas when he’d appeared to remove her Legacy from her.

  “Like I said, we’re not certain,” Nine answered. “He hasn’t explained very much about what he did.”

  Six threw back the blanket that covered her and swung her legs off the bed. “Then he’d better start talking,” she said as she attempted to stand up. “Where is he?”

  She got to her feet, then began to fall sideways. Nine caught her and made her sit back down. Six shook him off. “I’m fine,” she insisted. “Just give me a minute.”

  “You need to rest,” Nine said.

  “I can rest when I’m dead,” said Six, standing up again. “Take me to him.”

  Nine started to argue, but Six looked at him. “Take me to him,” she repeated. “Now.”

  Nine laughed. “Okay,” he said. “I know that tone. Come on. But if you start to faint, I’m not catching you.”

  Six staggered to the door of the room. She had to fight to stay steady, but she was determined, and angry, and she used that as fuel to keep going. Nine opened the door, then led her into a hallway.

  “We don’t have a jail here,” he said as they walked. “Not officially, anyway.”

  “But?” said Six as they stopped at an elevator and Nine pushed a button.

  “But I might have put in some, shall we say, secure holding areas,” he said. “You know, just in case any of the kids got too rowdy.”

  The elevator door opened, and they got in. Nine pressed a sequence of numbers on the keypad inside.

  “Let me guess,” said Six. “They’re on a floor that doesn’t technically exist.”

  “Something like that,” Nine said as the elevator descended. “We can’t have students accidentally stumbling into areas they shouldn’t be in.”

  “Of course not,” she said.

  The elevator came to a stop and opened onto another hallway. This one was lit by overhead lights, and Six got the feeling that they were now underground. She followed Nine as he moved down the corridor, which was lined on each side with steel doors. Each one had a small window in it, as well as serious-looking locking mechanisms.

  “How many cells do you need?” Six asked.

  “Secure holdi
ng areas,” Nine corrected her. “And they’re not all used for that purpose.”

  “Oh?” she said. “What else is happening down here?”

  Nine glanced at her. “Secret things,” he said. “Midnight dance parties and whatnot. You’re not on the guest list.”

  “Fine,” said Six. “Don’t tell me.”

  Nine stopped at a door. He peered through the little window, then tapped his fingers on the nearby keypad. There was a click, and the door swung inward. “After you,” he said to Six.

  She went in. There was already someone in there, a man, and he turned to look at her.

  “What are you doing up?” Peter McKenna asked.

  Six, startled to see her boss there, said the first thing that came to mind. “Why aren’t you in New York?”

  McKenna looked at Nine, who had shut the door and was standing next to Six. “It’s difficult to interrogate someone over Skype,” he said.

  Now Six noticed the man sitting in a chair behind McKenna. It was Drac. And he wasn’t just sitting in the chair; he was secured to it with restraints on his wrists and ankles. He looked tired, but other than that, it didn’t seem as if he’d been roughed up at all. Yet.

  “Have you tried knocking a few of his teeth out?” she asked McKenna.

  She stormed over to Drac and punched him, hard. “What did you do to me?”

  Blood dripped from Drac’s nose. Unable to wipe it away, he sniffed. “Having some trouble working your magic?” he asked, then chuckled.

  Six hit him again, harder. His head snapped back. He screamed. “You broke my nose!” he whined.

  “You took away my Legacies,” said Six. “Not my strength. And I’m just getting started.”

  She reached down and took his right index finger in her hand. “I hope you’re a lefty,” she said. “Because these aren’t going to work for a while.”

  “Tell her to stop!” Drac wailed.

  Nine laughed. “Tell her to stop?” he said. “Have you met her?”

  Six applied pressure to Drac’s finger. “Okay!” he squealed. “Just let go!”

  “I can talk and hold hands at the same time,” Six said, not releasing his hand.

  Drac glanced over at McKenna and Nine again. They shrugged. “Better listen to the woman,” McKenna said. “She’s gone rogue.”

  “It’s only temporary,” he said. “That’s what you wanted to hear, right?” he added when Six didn’t respond.

  “Is it the truth?” Six asked.

  Drac nodded. Six let go of his finger. Drac curled his hand into a ball as if this would prevent her from coming after his helpless digits again.

  “How long?” she asked.

  “I don’t know,” Drac answered. “In the kids I’ve tested it on, up to a week. But I’ve never tried it on an original Garde, someone who’s had Legacies for so many years. You’re stronger. It might not last as long.”

  “Might,” Six repeated.

  “It’s all experimental.”

  “What exactly is it?” said Six.

  Drac didn’t answer right away. He looked like a little kid who was being forced by bullies to hand over his lunch money. Six reached towards him.

  “It’s a substance taken from the Mogadorians,” Drac spat out.

  Six froze. “What?”

  “Their black ooze,” Drac said. “Black goo. Whatever you want to call it.”

  Nine had advanced to stand beside Six. “Where did you get it?” he asked. His voice was tight, and Six knew that, just as she was, he was thinking about their encounter with the pool of black ooze Setrákus Ra had used to strip Five of his Legacies. Despite her feelings for her fellow Loric, it was a horrible sight, and the thought that the ooze might be working its way through her body made her sick to her stomach.

  “I met someone—a scientist—who worked with the Mogs,” Drac said. “And before you ask, his name doesn’t matter. The Mogs killed him when he stopped being useful to them.”

  “And this traitor gave you the black ooze?” she asked.

  Drac shook his head. “I stole it,” he admitted.

  “And you’ve been experimenting on Human Garde using this shit?” Six said. She reached out and wrapped her fingers around Drac’s throat, preparing to squeeze, but this time Nine stopped her. “We need him to be able to talk,” he said. He nodded at Drac’s hand. “Break a finger instead.”

  “I’m telling the truth!” Drac blurted as Six forced his clenched hand open.

  “Which is why I’m only breaking one,” she said as she snapped his pointer finger.

  Drac screamed. Six held his wrist tightly, so that he couldn’t pull his injured hand away, and said, “Or maybe I should make it two.”

  “It doesn’t hurt them!” Drac shouted.

  “How do you know that?” Six shouted back. “How do you know what the hell it does to them? To us?”

  Drac hung his head, sobbing with pain. Six let go of his hand. “You’re pathetic,” she said.

  “I told you, the Legacies come back,” Drac whimpered.

  “Great,” said Six. “But who knows what else it does to them. You’re experimenting. On kids.”

  “What’s the endgame?” Nine interrupted. “Why do this at all?”

  “Because he’s sick, that’s why,” Six snapped.

  Drac shook his head. “Mr. Bray wants a weapon,” he said. “Something that neutralizes Legacies.”

  “Why?” said Nine.

  “Why?” said Drac. “Why else? Money. Power. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of people out there who aren’t too excited about a bunch of teenagers running around with superpowers. Those people would pay a lot for something that can eliminate that problem. Also, that weapon could be used to control anyone with Legacies. You saw how those kids were afraid of me back in Texas. If someone knows you can take away what makes them special, they’ll pretty much do anything you ask them to keep you happy.”

  “You turn them into slaves,” said Six.

  “More like disciples,” Drac said. “Those kids are stronger than Dennings and the guys above him. If they wanted to, they could take him out and start their own little gang. But they don’t. Why? Because he’s their daddy. The alpha wolf. They want to be part of his family. They want him to love them. He’s not stupid, though. Well, not entirely. He knows someday one or two of them will figure out that they don’t need him. So he keeps them afraid of him by making them think we can take their Legacies away forever.”

  “Rena said you gave Yo-Yo back his Legacy,” said Nine.

  “Yeah,” said Drac. “But I didn’t really give it back.”

  “You just let the effects of the ooze wear off,” Nine said.

  Drac nodded.

  “What about that device you said you implanted in me?” Six asked.

  Drac grinned. “Oh, that? Just a little something I’ve been working on to administer the black ooze at regular intervals—like an insulin pump. It would last longer than the regular injection. But it’s . . . still in development. Mostly, I made it to impress Dennings and his boss, Bray.”

  “Let’s talk about Bray for a minute,” McKenna said. “Nine says you injected him with something. Was that black ooze too?”

  Drac frowned. “No, that’s his pet project. Basically, it’s the opposite of the black ooze. It gives you Legacies. Or, it’s supposed to.”

  “It doesn’t work?” asked Nine.

  “Not so far.”

  “What’s in it?” McKenna asked.

  “Pituitary secretions,” Drac explained. “From people with Legacies.”

  “You’re crazy,” Six muttered. “Seriously wrecked.”

  “Bray is obsessed with developing a Legacy,” Drac said, ignoring her. “He hates that he doesn’t have one.”

  “He’s too old,” Nine said.

  “Plus, he’s a dick,” added Six.

  “I didn’t realize being a nice guy was a requirement,” Drac said. “But I know he’s too old. That’s why he has wanted
me to come up with some sort of serum to make it happen.”

  “You don’t think it will work,” Six said. “Do you?” She could tell by the way Drac spoke that he had doubts.

  “No,” Drac said after a pause.

  “But you need Bray to think you can make it work,” Six continued. “That’s why you were so freaked out when he demanded a demonstration.”

  “I might have let him and Dennings think I was further along than I am,” Drac admitted.

  “Well, if we don’t have to worry about that for the moment, let’s get back to the black ooze,” said McKenna. “With the Mogs imprisoned, there must be a limited supply. How much of it do you have left?”

  Drac sighed. “Not much,” he said. “I’ve been trying to replicate it, but I haven’t been able to.”

  “At least that’s some good news,” said Six.

  “Yes and no,” Drac said. “Bray is getting impatient, and he knows I don’t have much of the original black ooze left.”

  “Sounds like your problem,” she said.

  “It might become yours, too,” said Drac. “Word is that Bray has made contact with some fugitive Mogs who are interested in making a deal.”

  Six and Nine exchanged a look. Was Drac telling the truth? Humans working with Mogs were nothing new, of course. Since the invasion, though, what was left of their numbers had been rounded up. Not that a few couldn’t have slipped through the cracks. But would they really have the knowledge to make more of the black ooze? As far as anyone knew, it seemed as if only Setrákus Ra could—and he was gone.

  Six turned to McKenna. “Do you know anything about this?”

  McKenna shook his head. “I know someone who might, though. I’ll go make a call.”

  McKenna turned to leave, but before he opened the door Drac said, “He has your kid, you know.”

  McKenna turned around. “What did you say?”

  “Seamus,” said Drac. “That’s your kid’s name, right?”

  McKenna nodded once.

  “Dennings has him,” said Drac. “Took a special interest in him once he learned his daddy works for the government.”

  McKenna was silent for a long moment. “Why are you telling me this now?”

  “Just thought you would like to know,” Drac said. “Since we’re sharing and everything.”

  McKenna looked at Six. “Keep him talking,” he said. “I’m going to make that call.” He glanced at Drac, then turned to leave. “Break whatever you have to.”