“Immortality can only be achieved at the cost of humanity.” -Celaine Stevens
“We weren’t born to suffer, we were born to make a difference. Our pain is just an unfortunate consequence of becoming the people we were destined to be.”-Ian Grant
“Ignorance is like a disease. If you don’t fight it, it will spread until we all succumb to it.”-Protester of President Brooks
Conversation between Celaine and Kara
“Happiness,” I sneered “I’m honestly beginning to believe that happiness is nothing more than a carrot dangled in front of our noses by a sadistic sociopath. We live our whole lives by the carrot holder’s rules, do everything we’re told, even get a nibble at it from time to time, only to have it yanked out of our reach before we can truly taste it.”
“Well,” Kara eyed me, “it’s my belief that happiness is a choice. Far too many people choose to allow their lives to become dictated by the whims of the carrot holder, never daring to do anything to change the hand they were dealt.”
Celaine secretly visiting Chase
What I was doing wasn’t healthy. It was crazy and completely irrational, but such is love. No matter how hard you tried to make sense of it, love truly remained senseless.
“Every chain has a weak link,” Victor said, closing his yes, “one that threatens to rip it apart, ensuring that it’s never put back together properly again. All I have to do is locate Stevens’ one link, pull it slowly until it begins to distort, and then…just as it’s clinging for dear life to the rest of the chain, tear it away, and watch the remainder of the links crumble.”
“I know that many of you are still suspicious of me and my intentions,” Senator Delaney addressed the crowd. “You have no reason to trust me. And why should you? You don’t know me. All you know is that I’m a member of the administration you despise so much.” He glanced up at Marshall, who nodded his approval, before resuming again. “Rest assured, just because I swim with the sharks, it doesn’t mean that I am one. If anything, it’s made me understand how they tick.” He glanced back around the room, noticing that, even though they’d toned down a few notches, the looks he was receiving were still anything but relaxed. “I’m sticking my neck out here, too,” he began again. “If I were to be caught here, I’d be sentenced to death for treason the same as you. Except my death would be used as an example to anyone else in my position who dared to go against the grain. So as you can see, we both have good reasons to have our own trust issues. You know my name, I don’t know any of yours.”
“Tomorrow, you will be embarking on the single greatest coup this country has ever seen. Tomorrow, you’ll stand united in your defiance. You’ll approach the park on foot and by boat, surrounding Brooks and his misguided supporters in a show of bravery few have witnessed in our world in over a decade. Many of you will be killed, many more of you will be imprisoned, some of you may make it back here. But even if you do, you will be hunted down. In short, your lives will never be the same again.”
Revenge is a fire that can never be put out. It’s a burn that slowly consumes you until there’s nothing left of you but the dark thoughts it implants in your mind. It drives otherwise normal people mad. Hell, we’ve had people leave their lives to join us, removing themselves entirely from everyone they knew and loved.”
“It’s not my men and women who’ve been committing the acts of violence that have ran rampant around this country. We’re peaceful people who want to see change and a true leader elected who has the country’s best interest in mind. Frankly, I find blowing up random objects to be counter productive to my cause. You, on the other hand, may find that to be more to your liking. After all, the more people fear, the more they hide. And the more they hide, the less they fight back.”
Senator Delaney to President Brooks
“Just because things are looking up for you, Carver, doesn’t mean you’ll always have the upper hand. You can imprison me and execute as many rebels as you want, but there will always be more to take our place. You’ll be putting up a fight for the rest of your life, and you’ll grow tired of it soon enough. It’ll beat you down until there’s nothing left of you, ending your reign.”
“Bold words, my dear friend. It’s too bad your hands are indisposed at the moment, or else I’d have you write them down to recite at your execution.”
“What happened to you, Carver? Were you always this evil or did it consume you the minute you gained the power you so desperately sought? We were brothers once, you and I. There was a time when we held the same ideals. I believed in your passion; in your dreams for our country. At what point in time did those dreams turn into nightmares?"
“Though painful, sometimes death has a way of bringing out the best in us…our own hidden superhero,” he whispered near my ear. I stiffened, stealing a glance at his knowing expression in the mirror, unsure of what to say. “Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me.” His eyes met mine in the mirror. “I have a feeling about you, Celaine. Since you appeared on the scene, it’s like the county’s eyes have been opened ever so slightly. You have a defiance in you, one with the capability of waking everyone up from the spell they’ve been under for the last few years."
Victor began to turn around as though preparing to walk out of the room, when another thought occurred to him, stopping him in his tracks. “I implore you both to remember what brought you here in the first place,” he said, making it a point to glance back at the both of us. “If Brooks cuts our funding, there will be no more Epicenter. The Man in Black will go on a rampage, making any attacks carried out by the rebels seem like mere child’s play. Everything and everyone you cared about in your former lives will be compromised. If you want a shot at peace, you will do exactly as you’re told, right down to the letter.” He stood for a moment, glaring at us, daring one of us to challenge him again, until he was satisfied that he’d finally gotten through to us and left the room.
Ian and I stood watching the doorway, waiting for him to come back, waiting for another point to be drilled into our heads. “Joke’s on him,” Ian finally spoke, “my former life was crap.”
Ian grabbed my hand, his voice came as a whisper in my ear piece. “I know we’re on the same page right now. Just remember what your family would have wanted and act on that because I know what my father would have expected from me.”
In the bedroom behind him, he heard her breathing, a sound that would have been inaudible to those without the heightened senses he possessed. The sound of her breath was comforting. It meant that -- at that instant --she was at peace. Theoretically, it should have meant that he was at peace as well, but in reality, he was far from it. His head still swam, despite his best efforts to calm the seas. Events from the evening played and re-played as though on one continuous loop in his mind. Had he done something wrong? Was there something he should have done differently? Everything had been going so perfectly. It had been turning out to be one of the best nights of his life, and he thought that she was on the same page, too. Actually, she had been on the same page until something inside her closed the book and chucked it across the room.
“No matter what happens tomorrow, I promise you that I’ll protect you,” he spoke in a whisper. “I won’t let anything happen to you.” Even now, he could feel his heart beating profoundly in his chest, though the beats had slowed somewhat. “I’ve never admitted this before,“ he began again, “and considering that you’re unconscious right now, it probably doesn’t even count as an admission of anything, but I’ve wasted my entire life. At least, it was a waste up until a year ago. Up until I met you. Since my dad died, I’ve been too afraid to let myself care about anyone. I thought I was protecting myself that way. I thought I would never feel pain again if I just stuck to a ‘I don’t give a shit’ mantra. But instead, all I’ve been doing is cheating myself. I didn’t realize that until just a few weeks ago. And now, I would rather die a thousand deaths than spend a day without your smile; a day without your laughter.” He cupped his hand over hers, easily overtaking it. “Clearly, I’ve become a sentimental idiot,” he said, his eyes growing heavy. “I’m not sure what that means exactly. Maybe I’ve completely lost my mind, or maybe it means something much deeper…”