So many people have asked, “You’re not abandoning the Apolonia recaps, are you?” and my first instinct is like, “Why, is anyone still reading them?” But fear not, I am back with yet another recap.
In the last chapter, Rory saw soldiers take Cyrus away. Now she’s outside of Dr. Zoidberg’s house, waiting to see if it’s safe to go up to the door. She decides that it is:
Knocking on Dr. Z’s large wooden door was painful with cold knuckles, but I tried four times. I was glad that I’d been going to The Gym with Benji, or I’d have really been hurting.
WTF, how heavy is the door knocker at Dr. Z’s house?
Standing on the porch, shaking from the November night air, my heaving lungs were gasping for sufficient breath. The cold burned my throat every time I sucked in, but all I could think about was Cy.
That’s funny, because all I’m thinking about is the fact that earlier in the book you made such a big deal about not feeling cold because you were traumatized or whatever.
When Dr. Z doesn’t answer the door. Rory runs around the outside of the house as a storm rolls in. She’s trying to figure out which window might be to Dr. Zoidberg’s bedroom when more soldiers show up:
The doors of eight identical green Humvees flew open, and men with guns filed out, quickly surrounding the house.
So, I’m a super secret government agency, right? And I’ve got this super important space rock thing I’m trying to steal. Would I want to drive eight Humvees down a residential street in the middle of the night? Or would I want to do something a little less alarming, that people aren’t going to ask too many questions about?
Rory watches through the window as the soldier guys go into Dr. Zoidberg’s bedroom, only to find the bed undisturbed. They appear to be leaving, when one of them comes around the corner of the house.
I closed my eyes. You won’t see me. Just keep walking. My heart pounded, and I struggled to keep the air in my lungs while I verged on experiencing a full-blown panic attack. I didn’t fear what they would do to me if I were caught, but I feared what they would do to Cy if I didn’t save him.
I’d only been that frightened once before, just before one of my killers pressed the sharp edge of his knife into my arm. My mother was already lying on her side, the light in her eyes nearly snuffed out–her blood spread around her–but she blinked once to let me know she wasn’t gone yet, that she would stay with me until it was over. She lowered her chin, asking me to look into her eyes, to watch her so that we could go together. And so I did while they cut into my flesh and laughed about it. I’d always feel satisfaction from knowing that I frustrated them by not crying out like Sydney.
Anyone else getting motion sick from the selfishness see-saw here? For one of the very few times in the book, Rory thinks about someone who isn’t herself. This is immediately followed by how much better she is than her friend Sydney, who just wouldn’t be quiet while she was being murdered.
This is the same Sydney, you may recall, who died specifically to teach Rory a very important lesson about herself.
The soldier doesn’t see Rory, and they all leave, so Rory steals Dr. Z’s moped:
The kickstand flew back with barely any effort, and it wasn’t long before I was zooming down the road, five blocks behind the Humvees, as fast as Silver could run.
Okay, well, good luck with that, because fully weighted Humvees can still go like fifty mph, and Silver, described as an “ancient” moped is probably a 2 cylinder and could realistically only go thirty mph.
Expletives slipped out from my mouth at every other block as the Humvees moved farther and farther away. They turned east, and I leaned forward, hoping that would somehow encourage Silver to surge ahead.
The red lights of the Humvees were still visible once I turned, and I smiled with relief but not for long. It began to rain and not the light, warm kind that made people look up and smile. It was the hard, stinging cold rain that feels as if it was cutting into your skin.
And I would know, because I remembered the knives of my murderers as I laid on the floor, blood–my mother’s and my own–seeping into my beautiful long hair while Sydney wouldn’t shut her yap a minute and just die already.
I’m actually astonished that a paragraph similar to that didn’t appear after “cutting into your skin.”
She follows the convoy to Old Copper Road, then realizes she’ll be spotted tailing them.
Instead of Old Copper Road, I drove another mile south. I knew where they were going, and hopefully, it was where they were holding Cyrus.
If you knew where they were going, why did have to tail them?
I pulled over into the ditch and laid Silver onto its side, squinting through the rain, in the direction of the old warehouse nearly a mile away.
There is so much happening in this sentence, and I’ve noticed it in another place in this chapter, so I’m going to bring it up. Writing Tip: Be aware of your prepositions. She didn’t have to pull over “into the ditch.” She could have pulled over and laid Silver in the ditch. She definitely didn’t need to put Silver “onto its side,” when “on its side” would have worked. Just make sure you don’t have too many or the wrong prepositions in your work. This shouldn’t have gotten past line edits.
Also, if you leave a moped on its side in a ditch in the rain, good luck starting it back up.
Rory can see the warehouse all lit up and knows that there’s no chance it’s a second party going on.
Zipping up my vest, I set out across the field, high-stepping across the brush, trying not to leave my boots in the mud. Terrible thoughts of what was happening to Cy behind those walls crept into my mind. He was of Egyptian descent. Maybe they thought he was a terrorist…or worse, maybe he was a terrorist.
I think what would be worse was if the government was holding someone prisoner who wasn’t a terrorist, to be perfectly frank. And Cy isn’t “of Egyptian descent.” He’s from Egypt (I know, I know, he’s not from Egypt, he’s an alien) and Egyptian. Which is even worse, from a “fallen into government hands as a suspected terrorist” standpoint.
And I’m about to break into a commandeered military post and do what? Save him? I could be caught, put in prison, or put to death.
“That only happens in the movies. They don’t even kill spies anymore,” I said aloud, tucking my chin to keep the icy rain from hitting my face.
What happened to Rory being immortal? We just found out in the last chapter that she is literally immortal. She can’t die. Yet we’re supposed to fear for her life here? That’s the high stake?
You can’t introduce an element like a character’s immortality, then assume the reader will come along with you on your “oh no, this character could die” trip.
Speaking of tripping, Rory gets her boot stuck and falls over in the mud and manure, but she makes it out of the field and to the back door of the warehouse. Luckily, no one is guarding that door, but as she tries to open it, a soldier comes out to smoke a cigarette.
A soldier walked out, lit a cigarette, and then blew a puff of smoke into the night air. His back was to me, so I slid around and along the door until I was inside and then snuck down the hall, hiding in a a dark corner under a rusted metal work table.
So many questions. First, why is this door not guarded, if it butts up to a big old field that just anybody could wander across. Second, why didn’t the soldier smell Rory? In the field she says she falls “Facedown, palms down, flat on my belly in mud and cow crap.” So, she’s covered in manure. I don’t care how long you’ve smoked, you’re going to notice the smell of treated fertilizer if it’s standing right behind you. Third, dark corner? I thought the place was “lit up like Christmas?”
Rory recognizes that maybe she’s acted a little rashly, and has no idea how to get out of the facility now that she’s in it. She hears voices down the hall and decides to disguise herself by pulling off her vest and sweater and putting on a lab coat over her tank top, which is also soaked. So, basically this disguise hinges on people seeing the lab coat and thinking, “Ah, yes, just a scientist. Who is dripping wet and smells like manure,” but really that’s no worse a disguise than when people usually break into government buildings in books.
Walking slowly down the hall and exercising caution, I checked the rooms I passed, all while trying to keep my teeth from chattering and my wet boots from squeaking or squashing with every step.
Okay, but…this is a warehouse. That’s like, a big giant building full of open space in which to store large quantities of stuff. They’re not generally divided up with long halls and many rooms.
It’s a good thing there are rooms, though, because someone comes along and Rory has to hide:
One of the men wore black leather combat boots. The other wore crocodile skin boots with gray slacks. Hideous.
Let’s not get on our high horse here, Rory. We’ve heard some of your outfits described in fanfiction level detail.
“Sir, he’s not talking,” the soldier said. “Tennison wants to put him on the chopper and fly him out to headquarters. We don’t have the experts here to question him.
“Ten minutes, Sergeant,” Crocodile said. “Give me ten minutes with him, and then Tennison can take him to Disney World for all I care.”
Rory decides that that guy she needs to follow is the guy in crocodile boots.
Crocodile Boots led me down four or five corridors. I lost count. I tried to remember my route, but after a while, I couldn’t distinguish one hall from another.
Again, in a warehouse there are too many hallways to keep track of. That doesn’t sound like a good venue for a party, while we’re at it. There is a point in this chapter where she says she can’t believe how much the warehouse has been transformed, but she says only that it’s “cleaner, whiter, and brighter,” not that hallways and rooms have been added.
Crocodile dude goes into one room, and Rory goes into the one next to it, where she can overhear him trying to interrogate Cy:
“You’re going to tell me everything I want to know, or I’m going to pick up that little weirdo friend of yours and finish the game of tic-tac-toe those psychos played on her skin a few years back.”
And then, after a few lines about Rory being dizzy and Cy demanding they leave her alone:
“Are you surprised I know what happened to her? You think it’s a coincidence that her dad was working with Dr. Zorba and his partner and met such a tragic end? Majestic watched Dr. Zorba and Dr. Brahmberger for months before they discovered that signal. We intercepted an email from Marty Riorden to Dr. Zorba. He knew the signal was suspicious. He was going to interrupt their research. Marty’s discovery would have taken it in a different direction than what we had anticipated, ruining years of planning and work.”
Cy’s expression metamorphosed from confusion to recognition. “You…you killed them.”
Okay, but…Rory is in the room next door. She can’t see Cy.
“The real coincidence here is that Rory lived, Dr. Zorba took her under his wing, and ironically, you did, too. Now, I can use her again to get the information I need, just as I did when we questioned her father. It only took half an hour with Rory before he told us everything we wanted to know and even things we didn’t think to ask.”
Okay, but…what? While it’s incredibly convenient for our main character to overhear this explanation of why her family was killed, so much of this doesn’t make sense that it actually feels like everything before chapter ten belonged to a completely different book. First of all, Rory said she didn’t know why her family was picked to be murdered. Second, when she and her family where murdered, her father was there. He told them all to be quiet and let the men get what they came for, or whatever. So, does that mean they sat there murdering his wife, and his daughter’s friend, and finally his daughter, and he still wouldn’t give up information about the space rock? Rory was the last person murdered (she says that by the time the killers got to her, they were too drunk and high to take their time the way they did with the others). I always assumed that her father had died first. What the hell even happened at that crime scene? Third, since when did Cy take Rory under his wing? They’ve had barely any scenes together, and all of them were either in class, at work, or incidentally running into each other (except for the one time he stalked her to her dorm room in the guise of checking up on her). I get that this Majestic is part of the CIA, but have they been reading Cy’s diary or something?
I sat against the wall with my knees to my chest and my hands trembling from anger and hatred. We didn’t die for money or pure violence or even so that I could be strong enough to save Cy.
People don’t die horribly just so you can learn helpful shit about yourself, Rory.
Crocodile Boots had us killed so that Dr. Tennison could get the validation he’d been seeking. He kept my father from telling Dr. Z and Dr. Brahmberger what he knew about that signal so that they could continue their research. They’d probably been monitoring Dr. Z when he learned of the meteorite in Antarctica. Tennison must have been thrilled, knowing Dr. Z would bring back the rock and do half the work before Tennison stole it from him.
Well, thank you, Rory, for figuring all this out and telling it to us, because there was no possible way I was going to get any of that from anything in this book. We’ve barely heard anything about Tennison, except that he somehow went rogue or something on this project. I ran a search, and Dr. Brahmberger has never even been mentioned before this scene. Rory is connecting dots the reader doesn’t even get to see on the page.
So much violence, so many lives changed forever, ruined and taken away, all so Tennison could take the credit and be hailed for research he didn’t do.
But it’s totally cool if all that violence changed lives and ruined them so that Rory could learn to be strong. That would have been fine. Just as long as Rory learns some kind of vague martial arts self defense trick.
Crocodile Boots leaves Cy alone, and Rory rushes in to save him, using the lab coat to prop the door open. Which of course mean she’s now rescuing Cy in a thin, soaked tank top. It would be sexy if not for the all the cow poo.
I suppose I could quote the passage where Rory rescues Cy, but just imagine literally any movie you’ve ever seen or book you’ve ever read where someone is being held hostage and someone else comes in to save them, and the captive person is like, “You shouldn’t have come, [consequence will happen to you]!” and the rescuing person is like, “I’m here, so you might as well thank me!” while they work to get the captive person free.
Rory wants to go back the way she came in, but Cy knows that’s a bad idea:
“If we’re going to get out of here alive, you must listen to me,” he said, looking around. “You’re attracted to danger. I feel the impulse to avoid it. Do you understand?” When I didn’t answer, he frowned. “I don’t have time to explain everything to you. You’re going to follow me.” With that, he pulled me in the opposite direction.
Of course, soldiers immediately flood the hall from the direction Rory had wanted to go into, and they duck into another room to hide. They crawl through a ventilation shaft up to the roof, narrowly escaping capture by the soldiers who are searching the warehouse for them. Cy explains that the place is being controlled by the CIA and “one or two branches of military.”
An Army truck was parked nearby, but we were too far to jump. Cyrus peered back at me, making a decision, and then he frowned apologetically.
“I’m sorry,” he said, covering my mouth. “Don’t scream.”
I struggled at first, but then he lifted me into his arms and ran full speed to the edge, leaping the incredible distance to the truck. We landed in the center and then rolled off, hitting the ground. With me still tucked in his arms, Cy pinned us under the truck and waited.
No one sees them pulling this stunt, but Rory is horrifically injured:
“My elbow,” I moaned, lifting up my arm. My shirt was quickly becoming a mess of dirt and blood.
Cy uttered something that sounded like a curse as he pulled up my sleeve to get a better look. He used his fingers to feel the bone and then shook his head. “I don’t think it’s broken,” he whispered. “Can you move it?”
I nodded, gently extending and flexing my arm. Cy’s pullover was ripped. I pulled the tear apart with my fingers to get a good look at my arm. The flesh had been scraped away, and graven was embedded in the meaty muscle.
WHOA. That is a one HELL of an injury. It’s a good thing Rory is immortal, because seriously? Stripping your flesh off down to the muscle is really, really bad. It’s also a good thing that she has such high pain tolerance. She’s basically skinned a part of her body, but all she’s said is “ow.”
And because the CIA and “one or two branches of the military” somehow haven’t thought to create a secure perimeter around the warehouse base while they search for an escaped prisoner, Rory and Cy are able to just run across the road, into a field, where they run for two miles without stopping.
“I’m not sure if you knew this about me,” I sputtered. “But I’m not athletic. Like…not at all.”
“You’re not sucking in air like I am.”
“Let’s just say I’m not known for being athletic back home.”
“Are you going to tell me what the hell is going on?”
Cy looked around. “I’ll try to explain everything later, but for now, we have to find Dr. Zorba, and then we have to retrieve the specimen and somehow get me to the old gas station on the south side of town by four a.m.”
Rory tells Cy that Dr. Z isn’t home and that soldiers have already been to his house. Cy says he had a chance to upload the final data to Dr. Z and delete the stuff on the lab computers before the soldiers took him. Dr. Z is the only person who knows where the space rock data is stored, and they have to get it right away, so they start walking back to town.
We still have no idea what the space rock does, why it’s so important, and why the CIA didn’t just seize the lab computers and figure out where the data was uploaded to, anyway, but at least there wasn’t any more love triangle nonsense in this chapter.