Over some kind of intercom, I hear “Mesa Wyatt is still loose, if you find her, please contact Miss Oliver immediately. Mesa Wyatt is still loose, if you find her, please contact Miss Oliver immediately.”

“As long as you stick with me, Mes, you’ll be okay,” Ernest says. “Now. Let’s get to the building.”


We stand up, and I shrug the radar-blocking cloth off. Ernest is visible again, and adjusting the sleeve of his shirt to cover what looks like a watch. I pull the cloth into my hands, and hold it out for him.


Ernest looks at me strangely, and then angrily whispers, “What the hell, Mes? Put it back on!”

“I thought the helicopters landed!” I say.

“Good god, Mes, have you ever read a dystopian novel?” Ernest says. “They’ve got surveilance drones!

I pull the radar-blocking cloth back on.


“Good. God, you are so ridiculous sometimes.”

Ernest swings himself onto the ladder leading to the next level, and I follow. It’s hard to keep the cloth wrapped around myself, but I succeed, for the most part.


Ernest walks on roof after roof, slower now. I follow him through a maze of roofs and alleys until we reach a sewer grate. He pulls the grate off and gestures for me to get in.

“Ew!” I say reflexively.

“Just get in,” Ernest says.


Extremely reluctant, I jump down into the sewer. I land on my feet, right on a slab of concrete. A massive blast of pain shoots up my legs. “I think I broke something!” I shout up to Ernest, who’s leaning over the hole.


“No, you didn’t. Now shut up, I know what I’m doing.” Ernest says as he jumps down.

The sewer hatch automatically closes after him. It’s very dark down here, and actually quite claustrophobic - is this even a sewer? It doesn’t even really fit the two of us.

“Engage activation sequence.” Ernest says, slowly and carefully.

“Light.” A voice says. “Tell me what light is.”

“Pure.” Ernest says, sure of himself.

“Tell me what dark is.”

“Messy,” Ernest replies.

“Tell me what reality is.”

“True.” Ernest says. “Pure light. Messy dark. True reality. Show us the path.”

With that, I hear something click into place in some distant world, and then the whirr of an engine. Light fills the room, which almost seems to widen. A door opens, and in the doorway is General Vynr, with a sad smile on his face.


“Mesa Wyatt. It seems you’ve gotten yourself into a large mess.” he says, stepping forward slowly.


“General Vynr! I… don’t know how to feel that you’re here!” I said in a confused-excited voice.


Ernest doubles over laughing.


“Well, Mesa,” General Vynr says, trying not to laugh, “We’ve received reports that Kassandra Oliver attempted to get you to assassinate Light Tang. Is that correct?”


“I- Yeah she most definitely did.”

“And then you fell down a staircase.”


“Yeah, did that.” I say.


“And Ernest convinced you not to destroy an entire country, and recruited you to our resistance, of which I am the leader.”


“Yes, those things all happened. Oh, and I picked up Kassandra Oliver’s sword and I think something happened to me when I did,” I say.


“We’ve heard about that. The sword you have currently is a fake. We supplied Natya with it. Poor woman, she’s got two conflicting personalities trapped in her body. Her Dark one is in control most of the time.”


“Why does she have two separate personalities?” I ask. “Doesn’t whatever the procedure do just overwrite you with some different version or something?”


“Normally. However, in some very rare cases, the original side will be strong enough to survive. Or, in Natya’s case, her first conversion. Does that sound familiar Mesa?” General Vynr asks.


I feel a million memories flash before me. “How did you know it didn’t fully work? How did you know I doubted you guys? And do the personality overwrites maintain one consciousness for people who fully convert and those who are split?”


“Slow down Mesa. It’s pretty clear when someone becomes split. One minute they’re training at The Academy, another they’re looking around confused and asking where certain people from their mortal life. As for you doubting us, it was a guess based on your personality. And your final question, honestly I don’t know how to answer that. Not much research has been done, and splits are very temperamental and hard to work with.”

I nod, slowly. “Is Ed a split?” I ask.

The words are out of my mouth before I can think.