"Does anyone want a break?" Max asks. "Because I'd like to get this chapter done as quickly as possible."
"Let's just get it over with," Eric agrees.
"You can read again Christina," Max tells Christina.
My mind keeps tugging me toward my memories of Lynn, in an attempt to persuade me that she is actually gone, but I push away the short flashes as they come. Someday I will stop doing that, if I'm not executed as a traitor, or whatever our new leaders have planned. But right now I fight to keep my mind blank, to pretend that this room is all that has ever existed and all that will ever exist. It should not be easy, but it is. I have learned how to fend off grief.
"For now," Eric says. "I bet when it finally hits it will be like jumping into Dauntless without the net at the bottom."
Tori and Harrison come to the lobby after a while, Tori limping toward a chair—I almost forgot about her bullet wound again; she was so nimble when she killed Jeanine—and Harrison following her.
Behind both of them is one of the Dauntless with Jeanine's body slung over his shoulder. He heaves it like a stone on a table in front of the rows of Erudite and Dauntless traitors.
Behind me I hear gasps and mutters, but no sobs. Jeanine was not the kind of leader people cry for.
"That is kinda creepy," Marlene says cringing. "Why would they put her body out there like that."
"I think it's so people can see she is dead," I say.
"I'm glad I didn't have that happen to me," Marlene replies.
"I am too," I say. Thinking that as one of the leaders I probably would have had to go and retrieve Marlene's body from the pavement after she died. The thought sends a shiver through me. I can't even imagine what her body would have looked like after such a fall.
I stare up at her body, which seems so much smaller in death than it did in life. She is only a few inches taller than I am, her hair only a few shades darker. She looks calm now, almost peaceful. I have trouble connecting this body with the woman I knew, the woman without a conscience.
"It seems a bit surreal that she is dead," Will says. "After everything she has done."
"Yeah," I say. "If we had killed her before all of this, then so many lives could have been saved."
"Maybe that's what we should do," Zeke says. "If we kill Jeanine then this can all be over with."
"I think we need to know what is on that video first," Eric states.
You can see a few confused faces around the room.
"Once we know what is on the video," Eric continues. "Then we can get a clearer idea of what this is all about. Then we can make plans on how we stop this shit from happening."
"What if it is destroyed?" Lynn asks. "What if they don't tell us in the books?"
"Then we will have to make a plan to find that out," Eric replies. "I don't think making plans of any sort before we know what is in these books is going to help us. We need as much information as possible."
"Erudite." Lynn mumbles just loud enough for us all to hear. A few snickers can be heard around the room and Eric gives Lynn a death glare.
She just laughs at him and he shakes his head in defeat, he has certainly met his match in Lynn.
And even she was more complicated than I thought, keeping a secret that she thought was too terrible to reveal, out of a heinously twisted protective instinct.
Johanna Reyes steps into the lobby, soaked to the bone from all the rain, her red clothes smeared with a darker red. The factionless flank her, but she doesn't appear to notice them or the guns they carry.
"Hello," she says to Harrison and Tori. "What is it that you want?"
"I didn't know the leader of Amity would be so curt," says Tori with a wry smile. "Isn't that against your manifesto?"
"If you were actually familiar with Amity's customs, you would know that they don't have a formal leader," says Johanna, her voice simultaneously gentle and firm. "But I'm not the representative of Amity anymore. I stepped down in order to come here."
"Yeah, I saw you and your little band of peacekeepers, getting in everyone's way," says Tori.
"Getting a bit bitchy there, Tori. I thought that you would be in a better mood now that you have killed Jeanine," Eric remarks.
"I'm sure you would be "bitchy" too if you had been there," Tori snaps back.
"Yes, that was intentional," Johanna replies. "Since getting in the way meant standing between guns and innocents, and saved a great number of lives."
"She's pretty brave," Zeke says. "You have to wonder if she is Divergent, you could almost imagine her in Dauntless."
"It's about time that someone from Amity stood up for what is right instead of burying their head in the sand," Eric comments.
"I suppose she took 'faction before blood' very seriously," I taunt Eric with. Eric just rolls his eyes at me.
Color fills her cheeks, and I think it again: that Johanna Reyes might still be beautiful. Except now I think that she isn't just beautiful in spite of the scar, she's somehow beautiful with it, like Lynn with her buzzed hair, like Tobias with the memories of his father's cruelty that he wears like armor, like my mother in her plain gray clothing.
"Since you are still so very generous," says Tori, "I wonder if you might carry a message back to the Amity."
"I don't feel comfortable leaving you and your army to dole out justice as you see fit," says Johanna, "but I will certainly send someone else to Amity with a message."
"Fine," says Tori. "Tell them that a new political system will soon be formed that will exclude them from representation. This, we believe, is their just punishment for failing to choose a side in this conflict. They will, of course, be obligated to continue to produce and deliver food to the city, but they will be under supervision by one of the leading factions."
"Are you sure you want to do that Tori?" Uriah asks. We all look at him a little confused. "You don't know if they will poison us or not. If they are in control of our food supply, they could do anything to the food. Damn, Zeke might get his hit of peace serum after all."
Everyone laughs at this.
For a second, I think that Johanna might launch herself at Tori and strangle her. But she draws herself up taller and says, "Is that all?"
"Fine," she says. "I'm going to go do something useful. I don't suppose you would allow some of us to come in here and tend to these wounded?"
Tori gives her a look.
"Why wouldn't you let her help?" Tris asks. "It isn't going to hurt to let her help."
Tori doesn't reply, but she does look deep in thought. I wonder what she is thinking?
"I didn't think so," says Johanna. "Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like."
"I think Johanna is smarter than anyone gives her credit for," Eric says.
"Well it is hard to take them seriously when they are drugged all the time," Max replies.
She turns and walks out of the lobby.
Something about her words hits me. I am sure she meant them as a threat, and a feeble one, but it rings in my head like it was something more—like she could easily have been talking not about the Amity, but about another oppressed group. The factionless.
And as I look around the room, at every Dauntless soldier and every factionless soldier, I begin to see a pattern.
"Christina," I say. "The factionless have all the guns."
"How the hell did that happen?" Zeke asks. "Why would the Dauntless let that happen?"
"We teach you to take your weapons seriously, but look what has happened," Eric states.
"I don't get it," Zeke says.
"Think about it Zeke," I say. "What do the factionless want?"
"Power," Zeke replies in a whisper. I just nod my head.
She looks around, and then back at me, frowning.
In my mind I see Therese, taking Uriah's gun when she already had one herself. I see Tobias's mouth pressed into a line when I asked him about the uneasy Dauntless-factionless alliance, holding something back.
"Did you know what they were planning?" Tris asks.
"I don't know, I must have," I reply.
"This isn't good," Lynn comments.
"I hate that woman," Zeke spits out. I can't help but to agree with him.
The one good thing for myself is that I have been able to see just what Evelyn is like. I know I won't be going down the same path with her again. It hurts to know that this is the person that she is. That I don't mean anything to her. That she will do anything for power, just like Marcus, just like Jeanine. All three need to be stopped, probably countless followers as well, whatever we plan to do to take down these people, it is going to be hard won.
Then Evelyn emerges into the lobby, her posture regal, like a queen returning to her kingdom. Tobias does not follow her. Where is he?
"I really don't like your mother Four," Lynn states.
"I don't think I do either Lynn," I reply.
Evelyn stands behind the table where Jeanine Matthews's body lies. Edward limps into the lobby behind her. Evelyn takes out a gun, points it at the fallen portrait of Jeanine, and fires.
A hush falls over the room. Evelyn drops the gun on the table, next to Jeanine's head.
"Thank you," she says. "I know that you are all wondering what will happen next, so I am here to tell you."
Tori sits up straighter in her chair and leans toward Evelyn, like she wants to say something. But Evelyn pays no attention.
"The faction system that has long supported itself on the backs of discarded human beings will be disbanded at once," says Evelyn. "We know this transition will be difficult for you, but—"
"We?" Tori breaks in, looking scandalized. "What are you talking about, disbanded?"
"What I am talking about," says Evelyn, looking at Tori for the first time, "is that your faction, which up until a few weeks ago was clamoring along with the Erudite for the restriction of food and goods to the factionless, a clamor that resulted in the destruction of the Abnegation, will no longer exist."
Evelyn smiles a little.
"Fuck she is evil," Lynn says. I can't disagree with her, I want to, but I would be lying to myself.
"And if you decide to take up arms against us," she says, "you will be hard pressed to find any arms to take up."
I watch, then, as each factionless soldier holds up a gun. Factionless are evenly spaced around the edge of the room, and they disappear into one of the stairwells. They have us all surrounded.
It is so elegant, so clever, that I almost laugh.
Eric starts to laugh. "You were completely played Tori," he says between his laughs.
"I instructed my half of the army to relieve your half of the army of their weapons as soon as their missions were completed," says Evelyn. "I see now that they were successful. I regret the duplicity, but we knew that you have been conditioned to cling to the faction system like it is your own mother, and that we would have to help ease you into this new era."
"Ease us?" Tori demands. She pushes herself to her feet and limps toward Evelyn, who calmly takes her gun in hand and points it at Tori.
"I have not been starving for more than a decade just to give in to a Dauntless woman with a leg injury," Evelyn says. "So unless you want me to shoot you, take a seat with your fellow ex-faction members."
I see all the muscles in Evelyn's arm standing at attention, her eyes not cold, not quite like Jeanine's, but calculating, assessing, planning. I don't know how this woman could have ever bent to Marcus's will. She must not have been this woman then, all steel, tested in fire.
"She is very different to the mother I remember," I whisper to Tris, but I know everyone heard me.
"Well you went through a lot worse than she did, you were only a child" Eric states. "And you haven't turned into a crazy person. I think she has been planning and plotting her revenge on Marcus for a very long time. And now everyone is going to suffer for it."
Tori stands before Evelyn for a few seconds. She then limps backward, away from the gun and toward the edge of the room.
"Those of you who assisted us in the effort to take down Erudite will be rewarded," says Evelyn. "Those of you who resisted us will be tried and punished according to your crimes." She raises her voice for the last sentence, and I am surprised by how well it carries over the space.
"She is going to be just as bad, if not worse, than Jeanine was," Lynn says.
"Why do you think that?" Zeke asks.
"Jeanine thought she was protecting the city, the faction system. Evelyn wants to have total control, she wants to see people suffer. It's like an eye for an eye and she is going to make sure that people feel what she has been through."
Behind her, the door to the stairwell opens, and Tobias steps out with Marcus and Caleb behind him, almost unnoticed. Almost, except I notice him, because I have trained myself to notice him. I watch his shoes as he comes closer. They are black sneakers with chrome eyelets for the laces. They stop right next to me, and he crouches by my shoulder.
I look at him, expecting to find his eyes cold and unyielding.
But I don't.
Evelyn is still talking, but her voice fades for me.
"You were right," Tobias says quietly, balancing on the balls of his feet. He smiles a little. "I do know who you are. I just needed to be reminded."
"YEAH!" Zeke shouts. "Looks like our favourite couple are getting along again."
"Don't get too excited Zeke," Uriah teases. "Maybe you will have to listen to them having make up sex in the book."
"Uriah," Zeke whines. "Don't ruin this for me."
I open my mouth, but I don't have anything to say.
Then all the screens in the Erudite lobby—at least those that weren't destroyed in the attack—flicker on, including a projector positioned over the wall where Jeanine's portrait used to be.
Evelyn stops in the middle of whatever sentence she was speaking. Tobias takes my hand and helps me to my feet.
"What is this?" Evelyn demands.
"This," he says, only to me, "is the information that will change everything."
My legs shake with relief and apprehension.
"You did it?" I say.
"You did it," he says. "All I did was force Caleb to cooperate."
I throw my arm around his neck, and press my lips to his. He holds my face in both hands and kisses me back. I press into the distance between us until it is gone, crushing the secrets we have kept and the suspicions we have harbored—for good, I hope.
"So do we," Zeke calls out. Which gets a laugh from all of us.
"Does that mean we are going to know what's on the video?" Lynn asks.
"Let's keep reading and see what happens," Max says.
And then I hear a voice.
We pull apart and turn toward the wall, where a woman with short brown hair is projected. She sits at a metal desk with her hands folded, in a location I don't recognize. The background is too dim.
"Hello," she says. "My name is Amanda Ritter. In this file I will tell you only what you need to know. I am the leader of an organization fighting for justice and peace. This fight has become increasingly more important—and consequently, nearly impossible—in the past few decades. That is because of this."
Images flash across the wall, almost too fast for me to see. A man on his knees with a gun pressed to his forehead. The woman pointing it at him, her face emotionless.
From a distance, a small person hanging by the neck from a telephone pole.
A hole in the ground the size of a house, full of bodies.
And there are other images too, but they move faster, so I get only impressions of blood and bone and death and cruelty, empty faces, soulless eyes, terrified eyes.
Just when I have had enough, when I feel like I am going to scream if I see any more, the woman reappears on the screen, behind her desk.
"You do not remember any of that," she says. "But if you are thinking these are the actions of a terrorist group or a tyrannical government regime, you are only partially correct. Half of the people in those pictures, committing those terrible acts, were your neighbors. Your relatives. Your coworkers. The battle we are fighting is not against a particular group. It is against human nature itself—or at least what it has become."
This is what Jeanine was willing to enslave minds and murder people for—to keep us all from knowing. To keep us all ignorant and safe and inside the fence.
There is a part of me that understands.
"That is why you are so important," Amanda says. "Our struggle against violence and cruelty is only treating the symptoms of a disease, not curing it. You are the cure.
"What the fuck?" Eric shouts as he jumps out of his seat. "We are the cure, what does that mean?"
"Let's just let Christina read what is on the video and then we can discuss it afterwards," Max tells Eric. In a calm voice, without his usual brashness.
Eric sits back down and Lynn takes his hand, calming him a little.
"In order to keep you safe, we devised a way for you to be separated from us. From our water supply. From our technology. From our societal structure. We have formed your society in a particular way in the hope that you will rediscover the moral sense most of us have lost. Over time, we hope that you will begin to change as most of us cannot.
"The reason I am leaving this footage for you is so that you will know when it's time to help us. You will know that it is time when there are many among you whose minds appear to be more flexible than the others. The name you should give those people is Divergent. Once they become abundant among you, your leaders should give the command for Amity to unlock the gate forever, so that you may emerge from your isolation."
And that is what my parents wanted to do: to take what we had learned and use it to help others. Abnegation to the end.
"The information in this video is to be restricted to those in government only," Amanda says. "You are to be a clean slate. But do not forget us."
She smiles a little.
"I am about to join your number," she says. "Like the rest of you, I will voluntarily forget my name, my family, and my home. I will take on a new identity, with false memories and a false history. But so that you know the information I have provided you with is accurate, I will tell you the name I am about to take as my own."
Her smile broadens, and for a moment, I feel that I recognize her.
"My name will be Edith Prior," she says. "And there is much I am happy to forget."
The video stops. The projector glows blue against the wall. I clutch Tobias's hand, and there is a moment of silence like a withheld breath.
Then the shouting begins.
Everyone turns and they are looking at Tris.
"What?" Tris asks as she blushes a bright red. I feel her grip tightly to my T-shirt.
Just like in the book everyone starts to talk at once.
"STOP!" Tris shouts as she stands up. Standing as straight and tall as she can.
Everyone stops talking, looking a bit shocked at this commanding Tris. I think I like this side of Tris.
"Just one question at a time," Tris tells them. "But before you ask any. No I do not know who the Edith Prior is."
The room stays silent. Everyone deep in their own thoughts.
Finally Max speaks up, "well I wasn't expecting that."
As Max finishes talking we hear the familiar sound of the sleeping gas start to move within the apartment.
"Not again," Zeke says as we all start to feel sleepy.
My head feels heavy as I start to wake. Not how I usually wake. I try to think what is going on, when I remember that we were given the sleeping gas, again.
I quickly jump up and look around. Tris is lying next to me. It is a relief to know she is here with me. Everyone is starting to stir, we are all in a larger room than the apartment lounge room that we had been in before. Have we been moved to a different location? I look around and there are large windows that aren't covered, floor to ceiling in length.
I start to move towards the windows when Eric gets up and yells, "where the hell are we?"
I turn to answer him when I see a remote. A note is stuck to it. It says "Press play."
Everyone is awake now and as I was a few minutes before, they are all looking around. Confusion written on their faces.
I hold up the remote and Eric says, "what are you waiting for. Press play."
I hold the remote in front of me and press play.
A large screen comes down from the roof, a bit like a curtain being closed. We all stand watching, waiting. Tris comes and stands with me, we embrace each other, holding tight. Then we see the words on the screen.
WELCOME TO THE COMPOUND
That's it guys. End of Insurgent Uncovered. I hope you enjoyed it. I know you are all cursing me right now. How can I leave the story ending like this? Yes the characters have moved to a new location. And I haven't started writing Allegiant Uncovered. Yes, I will be writing it but it won't be to later in the year. I am not giving you a time frame because I have a lot happening over the next few months and I don't want to put pressure on myself to try and deliver a story in that time frame. I would rather take my time and give you my all.
A big think you to everyone who has reviewed, favourited and followed this story. Without your support, I don't think I would ever get anything finished. You make my day, every time I post. I need to give a few shout outs. Firstly to Paula08, you have been with me since the beginning and you helped to get these books typed out. Without you I don't think I would have ever got this far. Thank you. Ifdy and Jojoboo90, your friendships, support and chats get me through my day, thank you for your support. Divergentpanda46 our chats finally got me to write the ending. I knew what I wanted to write I just couldn't get off my arse to do it, so thanks for inspiring me to actually finish this story. While our friendship is new I feel blessed to have you in my life. Last but not least, Lunaschild2016. Thank you. You are my rock, you inspire me to keep going when times are tough, you pick me up when I fall and most of all you are my friend. I couldn't have got through the last few months without you. Stay strong our time is coming;)