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The Search for Sam, Page 13

Pittacus Lore

Page 13

 

  I will a seismic rumble, right beneath our feet.

  He gasps.

  “Tell me,” I say. I increase the rumble’s force as the concrete beneath us goes liquid, waving and rocking and cracking beneath our feet. I maintain an even intensity, but it’s a terrifying sensation, for me as well as for him. “Tell me now or I’ll make this floor rise up, chew us up, and drag us straight to hell. ”

  He whimpers again, tears streaming down his cheeks.

  I increase the intensity.

  “Wing C!” he screams, giving up. “He’s in Wing C! He was kept away from the others. He’s the only prisoner being held in those cells. ”

  I release my grip, and the soldier falls to his knees, crying.

  I know I’ve done a terrible thing, completely humiliating an adversary who had already surrendered. But there’s no time for guilt.

  I turn to Malcolm. “Wing C,” I shout.

  Relieved, he tosses the binder aside and races through a door to our right. After doing one last sweep of the fallen soldiers, I join him.

  We enter another long hallway.

  “Wait!” I yell.

  I turn back to the door we’ve come through. The last thing we need is for any of those soldiers to follow and assault us again. So I target the doorway with my Legacy, and knock out the stone structure. The doorway collapses in a noisy heap of rubble.

  That should keep them.

  We race down the passage for what feels like a mile. The tunnel gets narrower and narrower, darker and darker, the farther we get.

  We finally arrive at a locked door. Either the soldier whose keycard we swiped didn’t have clearance for this area, or some kind of security override has kicked in in the wake of our assault.

  “Stand back,” I say, an idea quickly forming.

  I reach deep into the earth below the compound. I’ve never had to use this much precision with my legacy, and the amount of focus it requires is going to create an excruciating headache. I force the earth upwards, up against the door frame. The stone floor erupts and the steel door is blown from its hinges.

  It’s not an ideal entrance—we have to climb up the rubble and then crawl through the half-blocked doorway—but it works.

  We get up off our knees on the other side of the door.

  We’re in the base’s armory, a warehouse-like space filled with shipping containers and crates. Judging by the warning signs emblazoned on the crates, they contain powerful explosives. I never would’ve used my power in such close proximity to explosives if I had known what was on the other side of that door. We are lucky.

  Malcolm grabs my arm, leading me forward through the armory. We come to another set of double doors. Malcolm tries the keycard: this time it works. “Lucky swipe,” he says. “That soldier must’ve had access through another route than the one we took. ”

  We step through the doors and enter a massive, multistoried prison-like structure, cold and oddly damp.

  Now that we know there’s another way in, we’re certain that more soldiers will be coming soon. We have to hurry.

  We race along the corridors, past rows and rows of empty cells, and start calling out Sam’s name at the top of our lungs.

  I hear something, a rustle from above, off the second-story gangway.

  I run ahead of Malcolm, up a stairwell, and along the gangway, running past cells.

  I arrive at Sam’s cell. His hands grip the bars of his cage, eyes blinking against the light of the complex. He looks like he’s been through hell.

  I’m speechless.

  “Who are you?” he says, eyeing me suspiciously, backing into his cell. “What do you want?”

  He senses it. He knows I’m a Mogadorian.

  “We’re here to help,” I start. But explanations aren’t necessary: Malcolm appears behind me and plunges his hands through the bars towards his son.

  Sam stares at him, speechless. “Dad?” he says, incredulous.

  “I’m here, Sam. I’m back. ”

  This reunion isn’t about me: it belongs to Sam and Malcolm.

  I slowly back away from the cell. Alone again.

  That’s when I hear it. Something Malcolm and Sam are too caught up to hear: the sound of marching soldiers.

  Staring out over the gangway, I see soldiers pouring in from multiple shadowed doorways, from every corner of the complex.

  Worse still, these are not human soldiers. They’re Mogs.

  “Guys,” I say, shaking Malcolm’s shoulder. “We have company. ”

  I act without thinking, pulling Malcolm away from the bars and shouting to Sam, “Stand in the center of your cell and cover your head!”

  Sam is confused, unsure of what I’m about to do, but he’s smart enough to know we don’t have time for explanations: he quickly assumes a huddle in the middle of his cell.

  I reach my hands through the bars, sending feelers out to the other side of the cell’s wall. I find the wall, the floor, then I sense the entire structure of the wall.

  And then I blast.

  The wall behind Sam crumbles, seismic shock ripping straight up its seams. But this whole structure is connected, and the impact sends aftershocks through the concrete floor beneath Sam. The floor of the cell juts out against the gangway, banging it so hard it almost buckles.

  Sam tumbles forward and Malcolm and I are knocked hard against the gangway’s railing.

  The Mogadorians are getting closer.

  I turn back to the cell, where the dust is beginning to settle. There’s now an opening for Sam to get through the wall to the other side.

  “Go!” I say. “Run!”

  Sam picks himself off the floor, looks at me, then does as I tell him.

  I look around. The floor beneath the cell has fissured, warping the cell bars enough that I think we can squeeze through them. I push Malcolm forward, but he struggles to get through the bars.

  Mogadorians have completely swarmed the complex now—there must be at least thirty of them, with more coming, and they’re already making their way up the stairs to the gangway we’re standing on. We have thirty seconds, max.

  Malcolm finally squeezes through into the cell, then turns to me.

  “Hurry!” he pleads.

  I look back at the approaching Mogadorian swarm. In the rear, in commander’s attire, I see Ivanick. The only person in this world I fear as much as my father.

  The General said he had been promoted, that he was working in the Southwest. And here he is.

  My blood runs cold.

  I step to the bars, about to squeeze through. Then I stop.

  “What are you doing?” Malcolm begs. “Adam?”

  I realize I’m not going through those bars. If Malcolm and Sam are going to have a shot of escaping the Mogadorians, one of us is going to have to hold them off. They won’t stop chasing Malcolm and Sam unless someone makes them stop.

  Besides, I don’t want to run from my own people anymore. I want to kill them.

  “Go,” I say.

  “What? Adam, no. ”

  “Go with your son. Now. ”

  I can see from Malcolm’s eyes, from the dawning horror in his face as he realizes what I’m saying, how much he cares about me.

  But I also know he has a greater responsibility to his son than he has to me. After one last moment’s hesitation, he turns and disappears through the hole in the cell’s wall.

  I turn back to the approaching Mogs. They’ve slowed down, but their swords are raised. They’re coming from both ends of the gangway, surrounding me.

  I scan the complex. The stairways are full, the first floor is swarming with Mogs, and both routes down the gangway are blocked.

  I have a choice: be captured, or go out swinging.

  I aim my Legacy at the corner of the room behind one group of Mogadorians, and blast. The entire room shudders, and the gangway breaks free from the wall, knocking several Mogadorians to the
ground below.

  I grip onto the gangway as tight as I can. Whirling to the other side of the room, I blast again.

  This time I almost flip over the gangway myself as the struts supporting it give out completely and it tips out towards the center of the room. There’s no way back into the cell now. I’m flat against the railing, but still safe.

  The floor below is teeming with Mogadorians. I look both ways down the gangway. Some Mog soldiers are merely struggling to stay on the precarious, creaking structure, but those with a firm grip are still coming, sliding along the railing towards me like acrobats. Getting closer.

  I could blast the gangway again to hurt the Mogs still clinging to it, but that’s not nearly enough to get me out of here safely.

  My situation is so hopeless I almost laugh.

  “Adamus,” I hear. I look down to the floor, to the massed Mogadorians, weapons all pointed at me. Among them stands Ivanick, staring up at me.

  His expression is cold, mock-pitying. Nothing about his manner betrays any surprise at seeing me here, under these circumstances.

  “Long time no see,” he says.

  I know I’ve only bought Sam and Malcolm a minute’s lead on the Mog scum, but I hope it helps. I’m ready to deal with whatever comes my way next.

  “You’ve got some power, Adam. It’s impressive. I’m sure Dr. Zakos or one of our other scientists would love to study you, to learn from your ability. Give up now and maybe we can work something out. You can be a test subject or something. I know how you like that. ” It’s strange to see Ivanick promoted to a leadership role. He doesn’t really have the brains for it. But brains never counted for much among the Mogs.

  “I mean,” he says, letting out a little laugh, “of course we’ll still have to kill you when we’re done. ”

  I cling to the bars. The Mogadorians are sliding closer, just waiting for the order to take me out.

  “You suck at bargaining,” I say.

  Ivan laughs. “Well, what else are you going to do? From what I can see, you’ve run out of options. It’s surrender-or-be-killed time. ”

  There’s no way I’m letting myself get captured.

  Go out swinging.

  I look to the wall perpendicular to the half-fallen gangway. The armory is behind it. I get an idea.

  “That’s not exactly true, Ivan. ”

  I reach forward with my mind: one hundred yards, two hundred yards, three hundred yards. I stop.

  There it is.

  I see Ivan, staring up at me. His face has changed from mocking to suspiciously fearful. There’s no way he can know exactly what I’m about to do, but he knows me well enough to read my expression: I’m going to wipe us all out.

  “That’s right,” I say. “The armory. ”

  “No way,” he says. “You wouldn’t. You’re Adamus. Son of the great General Andrakkus Sutekh. You can’t bring yourself to kill one of us, let alone all of us. ”

  I grin at him. Watch me.

  I let rip another seismic pulse, aimed at the ground right below the armory.

  Only a moment after the impulse leaves my body, my blast triggers a massive explosion.

  There is a deafening boom, steel and concrete flying.

  All around me I see Mogadorian bodies getting riddled with shrapnel.

  The whole thing begins falling apart around me. The gangway collapses and I go flying, landing so hard on the ground that I’m almost knocked unconscious.