The Memory Thief
Published Aug. 8th 2020
What is The Memory Thief?
The Memory Thief is a collaborative book. Each week, I write one new chapter and provide three possible options for what could happen next. Readers vote for their favourite and watch as the story comes to life. Click Here to learn more.
Last week on The Memory Thief…
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Did you locate The Triangle of Justice?”
She nodded, but her expression was dark.
“What’s wrong?” I repeated.
“We have a problem,” she said. “Apollo…
Option 1: …is refusing to help.”
Option 2: …was captured by my father.”
Option 3: …is dead.”
NOTE: Click Here to read the full chapter.
Option 1: 2 votes (09.09%)
Option 2: 16 votes (72.73%)
Option 3: 4 votes (18.18%)
This chapter is dedicated to Kate. Thanks for voting.
Author’s Note: I always planned on killing Apollo—it’s why I made him so unlikeable—but when the moment finally came, I realized it was only right to let you—the voters—decide his fate. Turns out, it was a good thing because now Spy and The Triangle of Justice have extra motivation to overthrow Titus.
“Apollo… was captured by my father.”
A heavy silence followed the revelation.
“What does this mean?” I finally asked. “Must we rescue him?”
Apollo was highly opinionated and prone to violent outbursts, but he was also the new leader of The Triangle of Justice. Without him, there was no telling whether they would agree to help.
Lily shook her head.
“I don’t think that would be wise,” she said. “Attempting a rescue would mean revealing our motives to my father, and we can’t afford to lose the element of surprise.”
She was right, yet I felt guilty at the prospect of abandoning Apollo to his fate. If he died while in Titus’s custody, he would be the second person do perish as a direct result of my actions. But what choice did we have? We couldn’t risk the freedom of countless innocents just because I felt guilty.
This is war, I reminded myself. People are bound to die.
It didn’t make me feel any better, so I decided to distract myself with a question.
“Who’s in charge of The Triangle of Justice now that Apollo is gone?”
“Apollo’s son?” I asked. I had only met the man twice, yet he seemed far more agreeable than his father. In fact, I always thought he would make a better leader than Apollo. Turns out I wasn’t the only one.
“He’s agreed to lead the offensive strike against Titus,” she explained. “He’s even come up with a few strategies that should prove invaluable to the success of our mission.”
I smiled, but something was still bothering me.
“How was Apollo captured?” I asked.
Lily’s expression grew dark, and a flash of guilt rippled across her beautiful face.
“It’s my fault,” she admitted. “He was captured when the bots raided The Sub.” She averted her gaze. “I was only trying to cause a distraction. I-I didn’t mean for…”
Her voice trailed off.
“It’s not your fault,” I said.
“Yes, it is,” she snapped. “I’m the one who called in the robots.”
I sighed, well aware that nothing I said would assuage her guilt. Still, I felt the need to comfort her.
“Apollo was planning on killing your father,” I reminded. “You were just trying to protect him.”
“That doesn’t make it right.”
“True,” I conceded, “but you did what you thought was best, and no one can fault you for that.”
A heavy silence followed the statement. When Lily finally shattered it, she was back to her old self, all traces of remorse now gone.
“Come on,” she said. “Prometheus wants to see you.”
She grabbed my hand and began leading me across the city. The feel of her soft, silky skin made me forget all about the precariousness of our situation. It wasn’t until we came across one of the hundreds of memory-dispensing robots scattered throughout The Virt that I was reminded of it.
“Can your father see us?” I asked, thinking of the surveillance cameras that were supposedly hidden throughout the city.
Lily shook her head.
“The livestream feature remains inactive.” She fell silent for a moment, then added, “But there’s a system update scheduled for tomorrow evening. Once that hits, the system will reboot, and every camera will begin livestreaming once more.”
I gulped. That meant we had less than twenty-four hours to prepare and launch our attack. It wasn’t ideal, but it would have to do.
We continued in silence until we reached a tall building. Indistinguishable from the surrounding structures, the edifice rose high into the sky, its summit standing among the tallest in the city.
“Is this where The Triangle of Justice took refuge?” I asked.
Lily nodded and, still holding my hand, guided me toward the building’s entrance. Though seemingly unoccupied, we were surrounded by armed guards the moment we set foot inside. But they immediately lowered their weapons when they recognized us.
“Sorry,” muttered one of them. “We can’t be too careful.”
“No worries,” said Lily.
Tugging on my hand, she led me deeper into the building. I wasn’t sure where we were going, yet I wasn’t surprised when we reached a stairwell and began moving upward.
“How far up are we going?” I asked, staring at the dozens upon dozens of flights that stood above us.
“You don’t want to know,” she said.
I groaned, and we continued in silence for what felt like ages. Every so often, I found myself wondering why Prometheus would choose to set up residence at such altitude, but then we reached the building’s topmost level, and the answer was revealed in all its glory.
Not only was the cityscape that stretched before us breathtaking, but it offered a global view of the city, which meant planning an assault would be as simple as studying the landscape. Clearly, Prometheus was a skilled strategist. Speaking of which, the young man stood at the centre of the vast, open space that made up the structure’s top level, discussing strategies with the same men and women I’d met during my last interaction with The Triangle of Justice.
“Spy!” he called out as soon as he noticed us. Moving away from the table around which he and the other leaders of the rebellious organization were gathered, he strode toward me and gave me a friendly hug.
“It’s great to see you again,” he said once the unexpected embrace had ended. “Lily tells us you’ve been trying to convince the citizens of The Slums to rebel.”
“How did it go?” he asked.
“Good. They’ve agreed to help and are waiting for my signal to rise up and attack Titus’s robotic army.”
“That’s fantastic,” said Prometheus with the same bubbly, intoxicating energy as before. “If we coordinate our respective assaults, we should have no trouble destroying Titus’s precious bots.”
He sounded so confident I couldn’t help believing him. The doubt that once inhabited me was gone. All that remained was an overwhelming sense of excitement at the prospect of living a life free of Titus’s tyranny. But such a victory would require much planning.
“Tell me exactly what happened,” urged Prometheus once we’d joined the men and women waiting for us by the table. “Don’t leave anything out.”
“I’ll do my best,” I promised. I quickly covered the specifics of my return to The Slums, then went into great detail about the hardships my friends and I went through in order to convince the citizens of The Slums to help us. Prometheus hung to my every word, gasping whenever something unexpected happened and congratulating me on a job well done when I described one of our many victories.
“That was an amazing story,” he said once I’d finished recounting my latest adventure. “I applaud your decision to keep the citizens acting normal. However, they’ll need more than scavenged weapons if they’re to help us defeat Titus’s army.”
I glanced at Lily. She smiled, indicating everything was under control.
“We’ve been preparing for this day for a long time,” explained Prometheus. “We have dozens of weapon stashes hidden throughout the city. I’ll send a team to meet you and your people and guide you to the nearest stash.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “You expect us to travel to The Virt?”
I’d always assumed my people’s part in this war would be waged in The Slums, but it seemed Prometheus had other plans.
“Of course,” he said. “Titus’s army is split between the memory sorting facility and The Virt. Since mounting an assault against an underground warehouse would be nearly impossible, that leaves us with only one viable option.”
“This half of the robotic army is scattered throughout the city, so taking them out should be relatively easy. Once that’s done, we’ll storm Titus’s home and force him to deactivate the remaining bots. But, in order to ensure this outcome, we’ll need all the manpower we can get, so it’s essential your people join us aboveground. Do you understand?”
“Getting everyone to The Virt will take time,” I said, “but if we begin now, we should be ready before our time runs out, and we lose the element of surprise.”
“Glad to hear it,” he said. “Now let’s strategize. We have until morning to come up with a plan of attack.”
The next few hours were among the longest of my life. Not only were most of my suggestions shot down, but I felt as though Prometheus was the only person who respected my authority. Luckily, Apollo’s son was a level-headed man, and he refused to let politics get in the way of our mission. Finally, after what felt like ages, we’d come to an agreement. A plan had been devised, and with morning now upon us, it was time for me to return to The Slums and lead my people to victory.
I just hope they still remember the truth about Titus and his robots, I thought as Lily and I turned away from Prometheus and his lieutenants. The bots had spent the entire night extracting their memories, but I was confident enough people would remember the truth for the rebellion to unfold as planned.
“Hold on,” called Prometheus before Lily and I could take more than a few steps. “Before you go, we must discuss your role.”
I turned back around.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well,” said Prometheus. “The way I see it, you have two options. You can either lead your people, or you can fight alongside The Triangle of Justice.”
I always assumed I would lead my people, yet The Triangle of Justice viewed me as a hero, a symbol of the rebellion. Seeing me fight alongside them would boost their morale and increase our odds of victory. Unfortunately, the same could be said about my people.
I glanced at Lily. She shrugged, indicating it was my decision to make.
I struggled for a long time before making up my mind. I was about to voice my answer when Lily spoke.
“There’s a third option,” she said. “If we fail, someone must rebuild The Triangle of Justice. And I can’t think of anyone better suited for the job than you.”
A heavy silence followed the statement. Part of me wanted to reprimand her for her pessimistic outlook, but she was merely being pragmatic. There was no guarantee we’d succeed in overthrowing Titus, and if we didn’t plan accordingly, then all hope would be lost for future generations.
Sighing, I returned to my contemplation. I weighed each option carefully, then once I was certain no new information would see the light of day, I announced my decision.
Option 1: …lead my people into battle.”
Option 2: …fight alongside The Triangle of Justice.”
Option 3: …stay hidden, just in case.”
NEXT CHAPTER: Click Here to read Chapter 33.
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