Home > Supernova(8)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Her brain scrambled for words … any words, and—“The vault!” she said, launching to her feet so fast Adrian took a hesitant step back from her. “I think Danna is telling me … us … that’s it. It makes so much sense. So many of the clues pointing toward Nightmare lead to the vault. And I work in the vault!” She forced a grin, as brilliant as she dared. “I can search the records. Talk to Tina and Callum. If Nightmare knew about the mist-missiles and … all that other stuff … then she must have left some sort of trail. Either in the paperwork or on the security tapes…” She pounded a fist into her open palm. “If she’s been there anytime in the last six months, I can find out about it. If she is a spy, then I can figure out her identity. I know it.”

Adrian relaxed. “You’re right. Danna’s right. By pinpointing the exact items she used and stole, we should be able to track who it is.”

“Also,” said Ruby, “we can compare them with the trial records. Probably Nightmare hasn’t been in our ranks for long. She might have just joined up at the most recent trials … or maybe last year. We can compare what Nova finds with the newest recruits.”

Nova’s head started to bob as if it were no longer attached to her spine. “Great. Yes. Excellent. I won’t let you down.”

All the while, her head was throbbing. Panic surging through her veins.

Time was running out. She would be discovered any day, any minute.

How was she possibly going to free Ace before it happened?





“HERE’S WHAT WE have,” said Nova, clearing mason jars full of honey from their small dining room table. Leroy, Honey, and Phobia stood watching as Nova took the rubber band from a large roll of paper and spread it out across the surface. She replaced a couple of the honey jars at the corners to hold it down flat.

The paper, which she had printed at a twenty-four-hour, low-budget print shop the night before, showed old blueprints of Cragmoor Penitentiary, downloaded from the Renegade database. They were, however, very old blueprints, and Nova knew they weren’t accurate. Still, she had been unable to find updated records. If anything, it appeared that the Renegades had intentionally kept records of any penitentiary remodels secure and private … perhaps to avoid prison breaks.

“These exterior walls are unchanged,” she said, pointing to the outline of the prison cell block and the stone security wall that enclosed it. “Satellite imagery confirms it, as well as the placement of these guard towers and the boat dock. There are still buildings here and here…” She pointed to two structures just inside the wall. “But I can’t say for sure what they contain. They used to be administration, guard housing, a small medical office, and the cafeteria, but we can’t confirm any of that. We do know that prisoners are transferred to terrain vehicles just off the dock and taken up this road onto the island, where they pass through this security checkpoint, manned by Renegades. Let’s assume they’re heavily armed.”

“Possibly,” said Leroy. He was leaning against the kitchen counter, sipping from a snifter glass full of brandy. He did not imbibe regularly, but this bottle seemed to be one that he had sequestered for years, and Nova had noticed him emptying it faster than usual these days. “But it’s more likely they choose prodigies who have powers that can act as long-distance weaponry, rather than arming them with guns that could potentially be taken and used against them.”

“Let’s hope so,” said Honey. “A few doses of Agent N will solve that problem.”

Nova didn’t respond. The same thought had occurred to her, but she didn’t want to get cocky. After her infiltration of Renegade Headquarters, they knew that Nightmare and the Anarchists had at least some supply of Agent N, and that they’d found a way to weaponize it in gas form. They could be expecting it. She doubted she would get the chance to surprise them with their own substance again.

“And where is Ace in all this?” said Honey. Leaning over the table, she drew a bloodred fingernail along a line of cells inside the block. “Somewhere in here?”

“Doubtful,” murmured Phobia. He swirled the blade of his scythe once over his hood, before tipping it forward and touching the point to the blueprint. “They will have him here.”

Beneath the blade’s edge was a short hallway tucked away in the building behind what may or may not be the cafeteria. Only four tiny cells were printed there, along with the word SOLITARY.

“If that’s where they still keep solitary confinement,” said Nova. “We know the Renegades have made extensive renovations to the prison, but I can’t find any records of what they’ve done.” She pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling a headache coming on. “And as far as current security protocols, cell placements, areas of restricted access…” She shrugged. “We can make guesses, but that’s all they’ll be. Guesses.”

“So if we’re going to get Ace out of there,” said Honey, “we’ll be going in blind.”


Honey hummed as she surveyed the blueprints. “I’m beginning to understand the value of our little butterfly friend’s ability more and more.”

Nova’s cheek twitched, though she tried not to let the others see her discomfort. She tended to flinch every time Danna was mentioned. She’d done her best to ignore the glass jar that sat on Honey’s vanity in their shared bedroom, with pinprick holes for oxygen punctured into the tin lid, and the occasional cutting of ironweed dropped inside so it wouldn’t starve. Nova’s guilt over keeping Danna imprisoned was profound. She often wondered if Danna’s consciousness was somewhere inside that tiny little insect brain, experiencing what it experienced.

Trapped and suffocating.

But Danna knew too much, and she could not be allowed to escape. As long as they kept the one butterfly separate from the others, she would be unable to re-form into her human self and tell everyone Nova’s true identity and the location of the Anarchists.

Nova knew, logically, that she had no other choice. For her own safety and that of the others, she couldn’t set Danna free.

But still. Having her own aversion to small, enclosed spaces, she couldn’t deny the guilt that pressed in on her to think of the pretty winged butterfly stuck in that jar. Not even kept like a pet. More like—a science experiment.

“It would be helpful to have, well, any sort of idea of what we’re walking into,” said Leroy, half of his face crinkling with a knowing smile. “Any hope for it, Insomnia?”

Insomnia. Her Renegade alias.

“I … don’t know,” she admitted. “I’ve been trying to come up with a valid reason to go there. To interview Ace, or one of the other prisoners. To conduct some sort of research … or…” Her shoulders drooped. “I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be suspicious. But maybe an opportunity will present itself.”

Honey’s lip curled. “We don’t have time to wait for an opportunity.”

Leroy fixed Nova with a concerned frown. “How much longer do you think we have?”

“Before they neutralize Ace? Hard to say. They’re still trying to figure out—”

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