“I nearly got killed out there. If I die, if you die…people are being killed, Avery. No one has a good solution to this mess. No one wants to give up the rights to their water. They don’t even want to share. Shit is hitting the fan over all this. Look, Jace is too young for recruitment. Caileen would be the only other person who could sign up so that the family could live on base. Can you picture her in basic? Boy, I bet she’d be the perfect person to go out and shoot people. You aren’t even fit to do that.”
My teeth grind in opposition, but I know he’s right about Caileen. Basic training would eat her alive. She wouldn’t have the guts to shoot someone. It has to be me that stays behind.
“Look, I know you’re against the space program, but it’s our best bet. You think it’s bad in Asik? You think the outsiders living just beyond our walls have it bad? I already talked to Bruce, so I know you’ve been out there…”
“Bruce? You’ve talked to Bruce? How long have you been back?”
“A few days.”
“God, Jeremy. A few days! What the hell! Does Mom know? When were you going to tell us?”
“It doesn’t matter. Probably won’t be staying here for long anyway with the way things are going. Look, what matters is you get back on the space settlement list.”
“Why’s that so important to you? What aren’t you telling me?” I yell at him.
Jeremy glances at the receptionist, who’s beginning to eye us suspiciously. “Stop shouting,” Jeremy whispers and walks me farther away from the lobby desk. “If you’re chosen, the rest of the family gets to go. Don’t you get that? Look, if you knew half the shit that’s going down right now you’d be begging to leave.”
“If it’s so damn important to you, why aren’t you trying to get on the list?”
“You think I haven’t?” Jeremy gives me a pained look. He’s easily smart enough and he’s in great physical condition. It makes no sense. Zimmerman should be standing on his head to have a person like Jeremy. Then it hits me.
“Dad didn’t approve it?”
“I’m his right-hand man,” Jeremy scoffs. “If he only knew, right?” Jeremy’s lips curl in a devious grin and I can’t help but smile back. He’s opposed pretty much everything Dad’s put in place. Jeremy doesn’t support recruiting hundreds of men to use for missions, and he helps sneak food to the outsiders. By how smoothly things went with this morning’s supply drop, Jeremy’s got a whole crew of people on base working covertly against our father.
“So, if you’re his right-hand man, you must know what’s going to happen next.”
Jeremy runs a palm across the top of his shaved head. “Let’s just say our trade didn’t exactly go as planned.” He sucks in a breath and gives me a serious look that makes my stomach drop again. “This is why you need to get your act together. Today! The shit storm is coming and it won’t be long until it hits home.”