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TOBIASWatch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)
I WALK TO the cluster of chairs closest to the windows in the control room and bring up the footage from different cameras throughout the city, one by one, searching for my parents. I find Evelyn first—she is in the lobby of Erudite headquarters, talking in a close huddle with Therese and a factionless man, her second and third in command now that I am gone. I turn up the volume on the microphone, but I still can’t hear anything but muttering.
Through the windows along the back of the control room, I see the same empty night sky as the one above the city, interrupted only by small blue and red lights marking the runways for airplanes. It’s strange to think we have that in common when everything else is so different here.
By now the people in the control room know that I was the one who disabled the security system the night before the attack, though I wasn’t the one who slipped one of their night shift workers peace serum so that I could do it—that was Nita. But for the most part, they ignore me, as long as I stay away from their desks.
On another screen, I scroll through the footage again, looking for Marcus or Johanna, anything that can show me what’s happening with the Allegiant. Every part of the city shows up on the screen, the bridge near the Merciless Mart and the Pire and the main thoroughfare of the Abnegation sector, the Hub and the Ferris wheel and the Amity fields, now worked by all the factions. But none of the cameras shows me anything.
“You’ve been coming here a lot,” Cara says as she approaches. “Are you afraid of the rest of the compound? Or of something else?”
She’s right, I have been coming to the control room a lot. It’s just something to pass the time as I wait for my sentence from Tris, as I wait for our plan to strike the Bureau to come together, as I wait for something, anything.
“No,” I say. “I’m just keeping an eye on my parents. ”
“The parents you hate?” She stands next to me, her arms folded. “Yes, I can see why you would want to spend every waking hour staring at people you want nothing to do with. It makes perfect sense. ”
“They’re dangerous,” I say. “More dangerous because no one else knows how dangerous they are but me. ”
“And what are you going to do from here, if they do something terrible? Send a smoke signal?”
I glare at her.
“Fine, fine. ” She puts up her hands in surrender. “I’m just trying to remind you that you aren’t in their world anymore, you’re in this one. That’s all. ”
“Point taken. ”
I never thought of the Erudite as being particularly perceptive about relationships, or emotions, but Cara’s discerning eyes see all kinds of things. My fear. My search for a distraction in my past. It’s almost alarming.
I scroll past one of the camera angles and then pause, and scroll back. The scene is dark, because of the hour, but I see people alighting like a flock of birds around a building I don’t recognize, their movements synchronized.
“They’re doing it,” Cara says, excited. “The Allegiant are actually attacking. ”
“Hey!” I shout to one of the women at the control room desks. The older one, who always gives me a nasty look when I show up, lifts her head. “Camera twenty-four! Hurry!”
She taps her screen, and everyone milling around the surveillance area gathers around her. People passing by in the hallway stop to see what’s happening, and I turn to Cara.
“Can you go get the others?” I say. “I think they should see this. ”
She nods, her eyes wild, and rushes away from the control room.
The people around the unfamiliar building wear no uniform to distinguish them, but they don’t wear factionless armbands either, and they carry guns. I try to pick out a face, anything I recognize, but the footage is too blurry. I watch them arrange themselves, motioning to one another to communicate, dark arms waving in the darker night.
I wedge my thumbnail between my teeth, impatient for something, anything to happen. A few minutes later Cara arrives with the others at her back. When they reach the crowd of people around the primary screens, Peter says, “Excuse me!” loud enough to make people turn around. When they see who he is, they part for him.
“What’s up?” Peter says to me when he’s closer. “What’s going on?”
“The Allegiant have formed an army,” I say, pointing at the screen on the left. “There are people from every faction in it, even Amity and Erudite. I’ve been watching a lot lately. ”
“Erudite?” Caleb says.Watch Divergent 4: Ascendant (2017)
“The Allegiant are the enemies of the new enemies, the factionless,” Cara replies. “Which gives the Erudite and the Allegiant a common goal: to usurp Evelyn. ”
“Did you say there were Amity in an army?” Christina asks me.
“They’re not really participating in the violence,” I say. “But they are participating in the effort. ”
“The Allegiant raided their first weapons storehouse a few days ago,” the young woman sitting at the control room desk nearest to us says over her shoulder. “This is their second. That’s where they got those weapons. After the first raid, Evelyn had most of the weapons relocated, but this storehouse didn’t make it in time. ”
My father knows what Evelyn knew: that the power to make people fear you is the only power you need. Weapons will do that for him.
“What’s their goal?” Caleb says.
“The Allegiant are motivated by the desire to return to our original purpose in the city,” Cara says. “Whether that means sending a group of people outside of it, as instructed by Edith Prior—which we thought was important at the time, though I’ve since learned that her instructions didn’t really matter—or reinstating the factions by force. They’re building up to an attack on the factionless stronghold. That’s what Johanna and I discussed before I left. We did not discuss allying with your father, Tobias, but I suppose she’s capable of making her own decisions. ”
was the leader of the Allegiant, before we left. Now I’m not sure she cares whether the factions survive or not, but she still cares about the people. I can tell by the way she watches the screens, eager but afraid.
Even over the chatter of the people around us, I hear the gunfire when it starts, just snaps and claps in the microphones. I tap the glass in front of me a few times, and the camera angle switches to one inside the building the invaders have just forced their way into. On a table within is a pile of small boxes—ammunition—and a few pistols. It’s nothing compared to the guns the people here have, in all their abundance, but in the city, I know it’s valuable.
Several men and women with factionless armbands guard the table, but they are falling fast, outnumbered by the Allegiant. I recognize a familiar face among them—Zeke, slamming the butt of his gun into a factionless man’s jaw. The factionless are overcome within two minutes, falling to bullets I see only when they’re already buried in flesh. The Allegiant spread through the room, stepping over bodies like they are just more debris, and gather everything they can. Zeke piles stray guns on the table, a hard look on his face that I’ve only seen a few times.
He doesn’t even know what happened to Uriah.
The woman at the desk taps the screen in a few places. On one of the smaller screens above her is an image—a piece of the surveillance footage we just watched, frozen at a particular moment in time. She taps again, and the image moves closer to its targets, a man with close-cropped hair and a woman with long, dark hair covering one side of her face.
Marcus, of course. And Johanna—carrying a gun.
“Between them, they have managed to rally most of the loyal faction members to their cause. Surprisingly, though, the Allegiant still don’t outnumber the factionless. ” The woman leans back in her chair and shakes her head. “There were far more factionless than we ever anticipated. It’s difficult to get an accurate population count on a scattered population, after all. ”
“Johanna? Leading a rebellion? With a weapon? That makes no sense,” Caleb says.
Johanna told me once that if the decisions had been up to her, she would have supported action against Erudite instead of the passivity the rest of her faction advocated. But she was at the mercy of her faction and their fear. Now, with the factions disbanded, it seems she has become something other than the mouthpiece of Amity or even the leader of the Allegiant. She has become a soldier.
“Makes more sense than you’d think,” I say, and Cara nods along with my words.
I watch them empty the room of weapons and ammunition and move on, fast, scattering like seeds on the wind. I feel heavier, like I am bearing a new burden. I wonder if the people around me—Cara, Christina, Peter, even Caleb—feel the same way. The city, our city, is even closer to total destruction than it was before.
We can pretend that we don’t belong there anymore, while we’re living in relative safety in this place, but we do. We always will.
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