Thursday, January 31, 2013

Re-Read: Chapter Fifty One- Prepared

"It's not a good feeling - knowing that you profoundly deserve the title of monster."

Wanda finds Jamie and Jared in their room and knows Jeb has spoken with Jared by the look on his face. When she asks for his help, he leaps up, agreeing to help her with the raid. Jamie wants to come too, but they both shut him down. Wanda leads Jared back through the south tunnel in the hopes of avoiding the other since she does not want to explain herself to them at the moment. She also wonders about Lily and is comforted when she learns Ian is with her. Wanda knows he will help Lily through this tough time, but halts her thoughts when she thinks of who will be there for Ian when she is gone. 

Jared is eager to know what they are after and Wanda explains that they are going to retrieve cryotanks, which are stored outside Healing centers until they are need. Since there are not as many Souls leaving Earth, there will be a surplus and are not likely to be guarded. The two continue on, climbing through the vent until the changing horizon is in view. Dawn creeps up as they run through the desert and Wanda battles with the thoughts of herself as a traitor. 
"Traitor. Not a misfit, not a wanderer. Just a traitor. I was putting my gentle brothers' and sisters' lives into the angry and motivated hands of my adopted human family. My humans had every right to hate the souls. This was a war, and I was giving them a weapon. A way to kill with impunity."

Wanda knows saving the Seeker goes beyond helping a single Soul; her sacrifice means saving Melanie, Jared and Jamie. She also knows the humans would keep killing Souls unless she gave them an alternative. They reach the jeep's hiding place as the sun rises and move into the shallow cave as it bathes the desert. Handing Wanda a bottle of water, Jared downs one of his own as he tells her they will have to wait until dark before heading out. Trying to make small talk, Jared says he saw the Seeker, who is more energetic and vocal than Wanda was when she first arrived and does not seem to like the accommodations they provided. Under her breath, Wanda comments that they could be worse and Jared agrees. Wanda cannot understand why they are being so kind to her, considering what she is and the fact that she killed Wes. Jared relays that it is Wanda's fault. 
"They didn't want to feel like monsters. Not again. They are trying to make up for before, only a little too late - and with the wrong soul. I didn't realize that would...hurt your feelings. I would have thought you'd like it better this way."
Wanda agrees that she does and is glad to know that the others were doing it for her and not the Seeker. With that, Jared suggests they sleep and Wanda is in agreement. She lays out on the sand and to her surprise, Jared curls beside her and offers his arm as a pillow. 

Jared shakes Wanda awake at sunset and they eat and drink their rations in silence. They trade the jeep for the sedan and because Wanda is still in a hurry, Jared takes off towards Phoenix. Blending into the other traffic, Jared cruises below the speed limit and exits the highway, heading for the hospital. Turning into the parking lot, Wanda instructs Jared to follow the road around back to the loading area. Wanda glances at the crates as Jared continues trying not to draw attention. When she notices workers handling some boxes with more care, she is sure there are cryotanks inside. In the distance, Wanda catches a glimpse of sheds, which she believes are full of tanks. Jared lets loose a laugh as he notices the tanks are near the maternity wing, but at least now he will always know where to look. He circles to hospital again, waiting for the workers to finishing unloading the supplies, and parks in the back of the lot. 

Turning off the engine, Jared reaches for Wanda's hand and asks if she is doing this to save the Seeker. He also wonders if she knows how to remove a Soul without harming the body. 
"Yes. I've done it before. In an emergency. Not here."
Wanda's answer intrigues Jared, who asks to hear the story. 
"On the Mists Planet. I was with my friend Harness Light and a guide. I don't remember the guide's name. They called me Lives in the Stars there. I already had a bit of a reputation."
Jared listens intently as Wanda tells her pilgrimage story filled with crystal cities, Bear hosts, claw beasts with the mass of a blue whale, and Rides the Beast. Wanda turns to Jared as she finishes her story to find him wide eyed with his mouth hanging open. She breaks the silence, telling Jared the coast should be clear and the sooner they move, the sooner they can get home. 
"Yes, let's finish this, Wanderer, Lives in the Stars, Rides the Beast. Stealing a few unguarded crates won't present much of a challenge for you, will it?"

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