By the time Harper arrived for the night, Bryan had cleaned himself up along with the blood on the desk.
“Andrade says we have two Spotters tonight,” she said. “How many Possesseds do we have?”
“Four,” he said. “Not that it matters.”
“Andrade is hurt. What happened?”
“I attacked her.”
Harper didn’t speak at first, and Bryan didn’t look at her.
“So that’s why she wouldn’t tell me,” she said. “She said it wasn’t important.”
“Isn’t it though?”
“Is it? Is anything?”
He passed a hand over his face. “Is it even worth hunting tonight?”
“I don’t know.”
He looked at her then. She was slumped over slightly, and though he had expected her to be watching him she was watching the floor instead. “You don’t have to be here tonight,” he told her.
“Neither do those four Possesseds and two Spotters and Andrade. But what else would we do?”
So they worked until the Possesseds were too exhausted and the Spotters had ordered them home. The gate opened and closed and measurements were taken that didn’t deviate from the normal. No one was placed on watch over Bryan. They didn’t have enough people. Even the non-Possessed and non-Spotter agents were fleeing the Office like rats from a sinking ship. Everyone was giving up. There were no more plans.
Still, Bryan knew there was another way. Another damned way.
I told you not to listen to it, came Hussein’s voice.
I know, Bryan thought at the memory. Fuck, I know.
But you don’t really know. What are you really thinking of doing?
Bryan jumped, so that Harper looked at him. This wasn’t memory. Hussein was actually speaking to him.
“Stay here,” he told Harper, heading to the door.
“I’m going to need a reason,” she said.
“I can tell you I’m not going to see the gamma.”
He went to quarantine. He passed by his deck of alphas, passed by his gamma, and went into the room with his beta. It was set now and wouldn’t be able to break out unless the card was torn by hand. He couldn’t speak with the gamma, not without risk. But the beta was just a beta. He had seen better tricks than its. But still, he didn’t touch it, only stood before it.
It only wants you, Hussein – the beta – told him.
“Would it work?” Bryan asked aloud. “Would I be able to close the gates?”
You wouldn’t want to. You wouldn’t care.
“So it’s not possible.”
Not with a gamma. It’s too aware.
Bryan grit his teeth. “And you’re not?”
Gammas still have this idea that black and white are separate. Immature. It thinks there is only one way to go about this.
“What’s the other way then?”
You wasted too much time, with that gamma. All is lost now.
He knew it was intentionally teasing him, so he led it on. “There must be something. Tell me.”
I would have to search in you several time. Several nights. How could it be done now?
“But if we did that? What then?”
I have seen other worlds. It has not.
“Answer the question.”
I am. You must know their construct, not only of this gate but of the other gates. When we would understand each other, then we would know how to close them all.
“You’re saying they could go back. The other gates are still open.”
They’re still there. They can be opened as easily as opening a door.
“Then what would happen?”
They could travel back to their first world. Start over.
“What would that mean?”
“You sound awfully cognizant to accuse the gamma of being too aware.”
The gamma needs you. I need you, but I also do not need you, as they are the same thing.
Bryan understood that. It sounded so right.
Maybe, if we started now. Maybe it’s still possible.
Bryan screamed and dropped the card. He had no idea when he had picked it up.
Maybe there’s still time, it echoed in his mind.
He left the room, slamming the door behind him. He shouldn’t have gone to it. He should have ignored it, as Hussein had told him.
Still, Hussein’s voice lingered and bounced around in his brain. You’re wasting time. You’re wasting time.