Count on it, says Castor. All the streets are covered by surveillance cameras. I bet they set off the black wave manually when they saw us taping the propo.
Our radio communicators went dead almost immediately. Probably an electromagnetic pulse device. But I’ll get us back to camp. Give me the Holo. Jackson reaches for the unit, but I clutch it to my chest. No. Boggs gave it to me, I say.
Don’t be ridiculous, she snaps. Of course, she thinks it’s hers. She’s second in command. It’s true, says Homes. He transferred the prime security clearance to her while he was dying. I saw it. Why would he do that? demands Jackson.
Why indeed? My head’s reeling from the ghastly events of the last five minutes”Boggs mutilated, dying, dead, Peeta’s homicidal rage, Mitchell bloody and netted and swallowed by that foul black wave. I turn to Boggs, very badly needing him alive. Suddenly sure that he, and maybe he alone, is completely on my side. I think of his last orders¦. Don’t trust them. Don’t go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do. What did he mean? Don’t trust who? The rebels? Coin? The people looking at me right now? I won’t go back, but he must know I can’t just fire a bullet through Peeta’s head. Can I? Should I? Did Boggs guess that what I really came to do is desert and kill Snow on my own? I can’t work all of this out now, so I just decide to carry out the first two orders: to not trust anyone and to move deeper into the Capitol. But how can I justify this? Make them let me keep the Holo?
Because I’m on a special mission for President Coin. I think Boggs was the only one who knew about it. This in no way convinces Jackson. To do what?
Why not tell them the truth? It’s as plausible as anything I’ll come up with. But it must seem like a real mission, not revenge. To assassinate President Snow before the loss of life from this war makes our population unsustainable. I don’t believe you, says Jackson. As your current commander, I order you to transfer the prime security clearance over to me. No, I say. That would be in direct violation of President Coin’s orders. Guns are pointed. Half the squad at Jackson, half at me. Someone’s about to die, when Cressida speaks up. It’s true. That’s why we’re here. Plutarch wants it televised. He thinks if we can film the Mockingjay assassinating Snow, it will end the war. This gives even Jackson pause. Then she gestures with her gun toward the closet. And why is he here? There she has me. I can think of no sane reason that Coin would send an unstable boy, programmed to kill me, along on such a key assignment. It really weakens my story. Cressida comes to my aid again. Because the two post-Games interviews with Caesar Flickerman were shot in President Snow’s personal quarters. Plutarch thinks Peeta may be of some use as a guide in a location we have little knowledge of. I want to ask Cressida why she’s lying for me, why she’s fighting for us to go on with my self-appointed mission. Now’s not the time. We have to go! says Gale. I’m following Katniss. If you don’t want to, head back to camp. But let’s move! Homes unlocks the closet and heaves an unconscious Peeta over his shoulder. Ready. Boggs? says Leeg 1.
We can’t take him. He’d understand, says Finnick. He frees Boggs’s gun from his shoulder and slings the strap over his own. Lead on, Soldier Everdeen.
I don’t know how to lead on. I look at the Holo for direction. It’s still activated, but it might as well be dead for all the good that does me. There’s no time for fiddling around with the buttons, trying to figure out how to work it. I don’t know how to use this. Boggs said you would help me, I tell Jackson. He said I could count on you.
Jackson scowls, snatches the Holo from me, and taps in a command. An intersection comes up. If we go out the kitchen door,...