‹ Prequel: Martyr's Run

Storms in Utopia



Swinging open the door on the passenger’s side, I casually slid into the front seat beside Arjan.

‘I just dropped another one,’ I said, allowing a brief smile to dance across my face.

‘Excellent,’ he said. ‘Did anyone see you?’

‘Of course they did!’ I said, unusually cheerful, and he looked alarmed at what I was saying. Accompanied by my tone, he quickly seemed to assume that he had misheard.

‘They saw you?’ he repeated. ‘Hurricane, I know what you say, but I still think your method is far too dangerous.’

‘Well I’ve dropped twelve of them now, and I haven’t been caught yet,’ was my killer response. Unfortunately for Arjan, he could not argue with that. After all, he’d taken the secretive strategy, and he’d only dropped five, and even then, there was no way of knowing whether they had been read or not, let alone by the specific person we needed.

He turned on the ignition and began to reverse out of our perfectly inconspicuous parking space.

‘Where to now?’ he asked.

I shrugged. ‘You want to go back to Berlin now?’

‘Is that a good idea?’ He looked concerned. I’d been only too happy to exaggerate the ‘danger’ we might be in by going back there. After the fight with the Soulless on the streets of the city, I had realised that it might be a good idea to get away for a couple of days, just until the Master cooled off and got over the worst of his anger. I didn’t want to survive the battle, only to be killed in one of his rages.

So now, three days after the fight, at ten in the morning on the 4th of June, I felt it was finally safe enough to return. After all, if he hadn’t calmed down by now, he wasn’t going to do so for weeks, and there was only so much revolution that we could discuss.

That was where the postcards came in. We’d both agreed that we needed to do a little bit of recruiting so, as we’d driven from Berlin up to Hamburg and then to Dusseldorf, and now back to the outskirts of suburban Berlin again, we’d been dropping inconspicuous postcards asking for new recruits, tactfully finding out the names of ex-resistance members—members from ‘back then,’ when the official Dreamers hadn’t been formed and when there was still hope that things might one day return to normal. We would wait until we saw them, letting the cards leave our pockets and drift away, fluttering off, hopefully into their eyesight. If we recruited even one extra person this way, I could consider it a success.

Arjan was in a bad mood after my once again daring mission; something he was so strongly opposed to.

‘Well, we’ll go back then,’ he huffed. ‘But it’s your funeral.’


Falling down onto the sofa in between Jake and Jonas, a mug of coffee in one hand and a plate of toast in the other, I settled in to see the morning’s news headlines.

‘Watch it!’ Jake cried, almost spilling his drink all over himself as I plonked myself down heavily. I just laughed.

‘Any news that I’ve missed?’ I asked.

‘Not unless you’re interested in hearing the government’s new policies on reforming the German Health Service,’ Jonas grumbled.

‘Well, I’m not,’ I told him, putting it bluntly, ‘so I guess that’s a ‘no’ then.’

We’d been in Berlin for five days now, and things were beginning to settle down a little. It seemed that people around here were fairly accustomed to new faces in their base, so a couple of newbies didn’t initially warrant much attention. However, as soon as word got out that we were from America, we were abruptly bombarded with people. Explaining the rules of the Maze fourteen times over in under forty-eight hours had become more than a little tedious, but then there was a big fight in Berlin, which Carl and Jonas and a few others had run off to take part in, and conversations quickly turned to that instead. Apparently, it was Hurricane’s doing. Even though I’d never met her, I realised that it didn’t surprise me one bit. I had already deduced that this mysterious Sonja Vilkas was just one of ‘those’ people.

Still, things in mine and Jake’s life were now beginning to vaguely resemble normality, and for now, that was a good thing. As much as I constantly craved action and adventure in my life, I was surprisingly happy with settling down for a week or two, just allowing my injuries to heal and watching TV and drinking coffee.

When was the last time I’d had coffee before arriving in Berlin? The sad thing was that I simply couldn’t remember, but it was probably before I had been thrown in the Institution in California. Which, in my opinion, was far too long ago. I was prepared to make up for lost time now.

Jake’s leg was finally beginning to heal. It would undoubtedly take time, but he had been resting it for the last few days, and had managed to treat it with a lot of medicine and painkillers when arriving back. The fact that he was the doctor meant that it was his job to treat himself, as harsh as it seemed. Even though he had become a Dreamer before actually finishing medicine school, he was the most experienced doctor in the Berlin base, his only rivals being a dentist and a trainee vet.

The following day, he had been thrown right into the deep end when Carl and co had come back from their battle in Berlin with a girl named Anke who had suffered a pretty horrific gunshot wound. When she was carried into the underground infirmary, she really had been no more than an hour away from death, but Jake treated the situation as only a true professional would, and the girl was now well on her way to healing. After that, there had been no more urgent casualties or illnesses that he needed to treat, so his thoughts turned back to healing himself.

‘There’s been an act of vandalism in Munich!’ Jonas suddenly chirped, paying much more attention to the news than I was.

‘Has there?’ I asked, thrown back into reality. ‘Rebel vandalism?’

‘Well, they’re not exactly gonna be your average conformists, are they?’ he replied sarcastically. I was yet to quite get used to the fact that rebels over in Europe always seemed to be referred to as ‘Dreamers.’ Over in America, the two terms were synonymous, but ‘rebel’ over here almost seemed like a bad word.

‘Well they’ve painted the Dreamer Eye over every available surface,’ Jake said in a more helpful manner, gesturing to the images on the TV screen of a building covered in at least eight Dreamer Eyes, ‘so I would assume so.’

In my mind, I smiled. As much as I was supposed to be settling down for a few days, I most certainly hadn’t forgotten my need for some kind of uprising. And seeing these images on screen only added fuel to my fire.


Today had seemed like it was, finally, going to be a normal day. That was until I heard the news that Sonja was returning.

‘Just ignore her,’ Amy said calmly, trying to help me avoid a bad mood at all costs. ‘There are over two hundred people in this base. You don’t have to go anywhere near her.’

I felt sorry for Amy. Ever since we left London, I had been nothing but moody and pessimistic, suffering from frequent and severe bad moods. I was really trying to change—no one deserved to be around me when I was like this—but today was not going to be the day.

‘This is Sonja,’ I said grimly. ‘If she wants to find me, she’ll find me. And besides, I need to talk to her.’ Carl had revealed to me the day after the fight that I had chosen not to take part in that Arjan was still around. I suspected he knew all along; the two of them seemed to be a bit of a team, but it made me angry that she’d managed to deceive us all. Since then, they had gone AWOL; Sonja had been driving off round Germany, presumably with Arjan. Carl said that the lock on the outbuilding near Hamburg had been opened the night after the fight, and then the one in Dusseldorf had been opened last night, so that gave us a good idea of her location. But as for what she was doing, I had no idea.

Well, that would change once she got back. Arjan was no Dreamer. He did not belong with us.

The one good thing was that Carl had enough brains to keep quiet about this fact. He had told me—I had no idea why, but he had anyway, and I had told Amy. Beyond that, I assumed he told the Master, but that was about it.

‘What do you need to talk to her about?’ Amy asked.

‘Stuff,’ I replied vaguely. She laughed, but I could hear the despondent sigh in her voice.

‘What kind of stuff?’

‘Stuff like how she disappeared without a trace for days and told all our secrets to an ordinary civilian who owes no allegiances to the Dreamers whatsoever.’

Amy shook her head in disbelief. ‘Let someone else deal with her,’ she insisted. ‘It’s not your problem.’

‘The Master will deal with her for sure, but we all know that he likes her more than she deserves,’ I explained. ‘And there’s no way Carl will be sufficiently angry with her. And unless you want to do it, there’s no one else who knows.’

‘No one?’ she prompted. ‘Not even Jonas?’

I laughed grimly. ‘Especially not Jonas. You know how he feels about all civilians—or ‘betrayers’ as he likes to rename them. He hates them so much that, if he found out, he’d probably run off and shoot Arjan down himself.’ No, Jonas was not a good person to tell. The only reason he had gone in to fight the Soulless on the 31st was because Sonja was supposedly armed with amnesia-inducing drugs, which she was going to give to Arjan.

And then she had gone and betrayed us all.

‘Ask Linzy for some help,’ Amy suggested. They had always been good friends, but since arriving in Berlin, where they had known virtually no one else, they had become much closer. Even though Amy was now sharing a room with me instead of Linzy—something which had been a big, but surprisingly easy decision—they still spent a lot of time together.

‘Linzy’s probably never even met Sonja,’ I pointed out. ‘And I don’t need to trouble her. All I need to do is catch Sonja on her way in—before she can escape—and tell her what needs telling. And then maybe, just maybe, we won’t ever have to speak to each other again.’ Okay, so that was never going to happen, but a man could dream, couldn’t he?

‘Do you want me to come with you?’ Amy offered.

‘No, it’s fine,’ I told her. ‘Don’t trouble yourself.’ Once again, my tone made me sound as if I was in a perpetually bad mood with her. I wasn’t—I couldn’t remember the last time I had had an argument with Amy, and if we had done, it hadn’t been a serious one, but I couldn’t shake the idea that I currently sounded like I hated everyone. I had to stop. It was not good, and I owed it to all the incredible people around me to stop being such a twat.
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Please read - includes a note on timing:

First of all, I've posted two chapters in one night essentially because I think they need to be read directly one after the other. Normally when you read the prologue of a book, you move straight into Chapter One, after all.

Well, my babies are back - Sim, Jake, Arjan and of course Hurricane, with more to follow shortly! As for the timing, this first scene is meant to be set five days after Simeon and Jake arrived in Berlin airport, and three days after the fight in the streets featured in the climax of Hurricane Heart. I'm hoping I made that clear in the text, but I'm never sure.