Excerpt, Children of Liberty

I rub my temple tattoo. “Do you think Jarvis’s stick has the codes to his tablet on it?”

Barratt’s eyes narrow and he shakes his head. “No. He’d keep things separate so that one key wouldn’t lead to another.” He sighs heavily. “It’s all speculation, at any rate. It’s unlikely anybody could get close to my house, never mind those of us who are on the Temple’s watch list.”

Sure, but they think I’m a brunette. “Can we use disrupters?”

“We’d have to shut down the cameras for blocks and blocks. That many disruptions would arouse suspicion. We can’t risk it. We need to keep that technology to get us out of the city.”

“I’m not on the watch list,” Stefan offers. “I won’t need as many disruptions. Let me try it.”

Or me. If I make it to his house and retrieve the sticks, I might save Jarvis. Jarvis, with all the information in his head, would keep our floundering revolution alive. It won’t be killing Grayson, but it still qualifies as atonement, doesn’t it? At least a little. The weight on my shoulders lightens.

It could get me killed.

Another memory of Jarvis breaks loose. We’re at Gateway, arguing about the dissidents’ spying plan for me. His voice quivers with rare vulnerability. Do you really want to live without me, Princess? Jarvis loves me; he became a dissident for me. He is worth the risk.

“And once you’re near Barratt’s house,” Evan is telling Stefan, “and they learn who you are, they’ll check out the database for your associates. Everybody you know, including Kyan,” he says referring to Stefan’s boyfriend, “will be added to the Temple’s Endangered Humans List. They’ll catch you, Stefan, and take down all of your friends with you.”

I look toward the back of the room, where the girls are still sound asleep. “They’ll know you, Stefan,” I interject. “And Evan and Barratt and Merrick. But not all of us here are in the Temple’s database.”