I am awake and alive, but am surrounded by brain-dead soldiers, mind-controlled Dauntless. The only difference between them and me is that I am Divergent, and they are not. I must pretend to be one of them, or be found out.
I help Tris into the train car, and she stands beside me. She glances up at me, her eyes begging, begging.
We stand in four rows, shoulder to shoulder.
Every Dauntless was injected with an orange-brown serum that contained a tracker. Each and every Dauntless was told that the tracking device would be activated if he or she was reported missing.
I did not believe it. But I still had no idea what could possibly be the purpose of the serum.
The Erudite were planning a war, and had allied with the Dauntless so that they could use us as their fighting force. What better way to control a whole faction? Mind control. A simulation.
The colored serum contained transmitters. Transmitters connect the mind to a simulation program.
The Divergent are always aware during a simulation. They know what is real and what is not real. Their minds are wired differently from the rest.
I lace my fingers with hers, my palm pressing her palm, confirming that I am Divergent. She squeezes my hand, and I squeeze it back.
When I showed her the tattoos on my back, it was wearisome. I had done something no one had ever done before, that would probably get me killed if anyone found out. The symbols of each faction were drawn on my back—Dauntless at the top of my spine, Abnegation just below it, and the other three, smaller, beneath them.
Dauntless soldiers shove Abnegation council members into the street and shoot them through the head. Some adult members of Abnegation are herded toward one of the nearby buildings, along with the Abnegation children.
Tris had tattooed herself with the symbols of Dauntless and Abnegation. Dauntless, where her mind was, and Abnegation, where her heart was.
Eric leans close to my face, grinning. He is an Erudite in disguise, the bond that connected the Erudite and Dauntless. “Now, this is a happy sight,” he says. “The legendary Four. No one’s going to remember that I came in second now, are they? No one’s going to ask me, ‘What was it like to train with the guy who has only four fears?’” He draws his gun and points it at my right temple.
The metal is cold.
“Too bad you didn’t just take Max up on his offer, Four. Well, too bad for you, anyway,” he says quietly, sneering at me. He clicks the bullet into its chamber.
He’s obviously not going to shoot me. I’m not stupid enough to let him. I move my hand towards my gun, but Tris already has her barrel pressed to Eric’s forehead. She did not think before she decided to risk her life for me.
“I think we’ve made a mistake,” I told her softly. “We’ve all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don’t want to do that. I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.”
We run, me pulling her forward as she stumbles behind me. But then I hear a gunshot. She falls, a scream stopping in her throat, her cheek scraping the pavement. “Run!” she yells at me.
I’m not stupid. “No.”
We are surrounded in seconds. I help Tris up, supporting her weight.
“Divergent rebels,” Eric says, standing on one foot. His other foot has one of Tris’ bullets stuck in it. “Surrender your weapons.”
Handing over our weapons would be useless.
We are Divergent. We can’t be controlled.