Everything was happening in a daze. Thomas was screaming and crying over Chuck’s lifeless body. He could barely register Newt calling his name as he and the other Gladers were being dragged out by the armed men who had found them. All he could focus on was the boy who died saving him, a little brother that Thomas may have never had. He wouldn’t hear Chuck make annoying comments anymore, wouldn’t see the kid smile again.
He was interrupted from his grieving when two armed men dragged him away from Chuck, Thomas screaming his name as he watched his body grow further away.
The next thing he knew was a scorching light and insufferable heat. The ground beneath him wasn’t floor anymore, it was sand. He remembered what deserts looked like, but never knew if he had been in one. When he processed what was happening, he turned around and starting running for himself. He saw the other Gladers boarding a chopper.
Once he stepped inside and sat himself between Newt and Minho, the door closed and the chopper took off. As they gained altitude, Thomas saw Newt lean to look out the window, and everyone joining him. They saw it. They saw the maze. He could still see the smoke from the Glade rising through the air.
They all sat back, contemplating everything that had just happened. They escaped. They made it out. They were free.
Thomas looked at the relic Chuck had handed to him, the one he promised to give to his parents when he found them someday. He rubbed his thumb over it, and felt the tears swelling in his eyes once more.
He felt a weight on his shoulder. He turned to his right to see Newt placed a comforting hand to relax him, and it did make Thomas a little calmer. Minho had pure exhaustion on his face, and Teresa still seemed as if she didn't believe that this was happening, that they were free.
“Don’t you kids worry,” an older looking man, maybe forty, says to them. “You’re safe now.”
Thomas, too exhausted from his fight with the Grievers, and dealing with all of the loss, decided to close his eyes and rest.
When he awoke, it was to Minho screaming to him that they had to go. He was so confused, but obeyed anyway. Everyone was piling out of the chopper in a hurry, and they were being told to run. When Thomas stepped out of the chopper, he saw a huge facility of sorts in front of them. There were many lights illuminating the path from the helipad to the entrance, and there were at least twenty armed men outside with them.
“Cranks!” One of them yelled, and opened fire at figures in the distance running towards them. Thomas didn’t look back, just ran right on the heels of Minho and Newt.
Once they had all managed to make it inside the facility, they were stunned to see so many people at work.
A man greeted them instantly and brought them all into a room with tons of food on the table, and the group immediately dug in.
Twenty minutes later, after they all had enough to eat, an older looking man opened the door and stepped in. “How you kids doing?”
Everyone in the room stood up and approached the man. “Who are you?” Thomas asked.
The man smiled and gestured for them to follow him. “Clive O'Brien, Director of the BSAA. Follow me please.”
So they were walking down countless corridors as the director explained everything. So the BSAA was an organization that was fighting bioterror, and was trying to take down WICKED. So these were the good guys.
“First things first. Let’s get you all showered and checked out.”
After having a hot thirty minute shower and a thorough medical exam, Thomas was asked by a guard to follow him.
He was led to a room with three people sitting at a table, and an empty chair on the other side presumably for him. O’Brien was there, and an extremely buff man was to his right and a petite yet fierce looking brunette woman to his left.
I guess you’re wondering why you are here,” the older man says. Thomas nods, and he continues. “These are two of my top agents and original founders of our organization, Captain Chris Redfield and Agent Jill Valentine. We just want to talk about a few things.”
“What do you guys do? What is the BSAA?” Thomas asked, not still fully understanding everything that had been happening.
“Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. We were formed after the Flare and other viruses had been spread around the world. We help prevent disasters such as these,” Chris said. “Unfortunately, corporations such as WICKED are at fault. Our goal is to stop them once and for all.”
“We raided the facility you were being held at,” Jill spoke up. “Most of the data had been erased, but we found something interesting. You and the girl, Teresa, used to work for WICKED, yet they put you in the maze. Care to explain that?”
Truthfully, Thomas really couldn't. Yes, he had some of his memories back, enough to know he and Teresa worked for them, but not enough to explain everything about WICKED.
“It was all a test. I don’t remember what for, but they wanted something from us. I can’t remember anything really.”
The answer seemed enough for them, though Thomas got the feeling they weren’t expecting much.
“Well, Thomas,” O’Brien started, “you weren’t the only maze. We rescued another group a couple of days ago. All girls and one boy.”
What? More mazes? “Really?”
“Yes,” Chris spoke up. “They suffered the exact same things you’ve been put through. We have been trying to find you guys ever since we found out what WICKED had planned. Unfortunately, they were good at covering their tracks.”
“We offered the other group a choice,” Jill said. She seemed like the kind of person who didn’t beat around the bush and got straight to the point. “We offered to take them to a safe haven of sorts, where they can start new lives. We even found a way to restore your memories, if you decide you want them back.”
Thomas thought that over for a minute. Did he really want his memories back? Just like Newt said, the people they were before the maze don’t exist anymore. Would Newt want his memories back? Minho? Teresa?
“You said choice, but that was only one option.”
“The other option is this,” O’Brien said. “You may not remember, but the world is falling apart, hanging on by a thin thread. Despite what you think of our facility, we aren’t much. We need all the help we can get, and we’ve got a long road ahead of us. If you and any others are willing, we’d like to recruit you.”
Recruit? Like work with them? If Thomas was honest, he did want to do whatever he could to stop WICKED. They were horrible people, and he wanted to make sure they don’t hurt anyone ever again, but he couldn’t make this decision by himself. He had to talk it over with everyone, get their opinions.
“I’d have to talk to my friends about this first. We stay together, no matter what.”
The three BSAA members smiled. “Of course. Agent Valentine will bring you back to them. The kids from the other maze are being sent into training two days from now. If you can come to a decision before then, it would be appreciated,” O’Brien said.
So Jill brought Thomas to a small cafeteria where a bunch of agents were sitting, and there was a table near the end of the room where his friends were.
“Tommy!” Newt called, noticing him in the room.
Thomas sat down in the empty spot next to him and Minho.
“So what happened?” Minho asked.
Thomas told them everything. How that if they wanted, they could start new lives, or they can fight back against WICKED. Everyone was quiet for a while, thinking over their decisions.
“What do you think, Thomas?” Teresa asked.
“I think we should join them,” Thomas admitted. “But they aren’t going to force us.”
“I go where you go, Thomas,” Newt said. Thomas smiled at him.
“Agreed,” Minho said, “although I’m pretty sure we know your answer.”
Winston agreed, so did Frypan. The others said they didn’t want to, which Thomas and the others could understand. That just left Teresa.
“What would we do?” she asked.
“They said they would put us in training, see where our strengths are. They mentioned how me and you used to work for WICKED, so maybe they might want help in the labs? I’m not entirely sure.”
Teresa nodded, then said she would follow Thomas as well. So that was it, they were going to join the BSAA.
Then Thomas told them about the other maze, the one of all girls and one boy, how they were leaving in a couple days. And then Thomas told him they could get their memories back if they wanted to.
“Shuck that,” Minho said. “I don’t really care who we were before the maze.”
“Me neither,” Newt agreed. “What matters is who we are now, and what we do now. If we do nothing, Alby, Chuck, Jeff…” Newt paused for a moment, looking down before continuing. “Then they all died for nothing, and I can’t have that.”
Thomas agreed. WICKED had to pay for what they had done to them, for taking their friends away.
“So it’s settled then. I’ll let them know later tonight.”
They finished their meals, and were brought to their barracks. While they were told Teresa should really be placed with the girls, she didn’t want to leave her friends, so they allowed her first night to be with them.
They all claimed their bunks, and before the guard left, Thomas told him to tell O’Brien that they were going to join.
He finally laid down, under Newt’s bunk, but couldn’t find sleep. He should, because they were safe now, but sleep wouldn’t come. He kept tossing and turning, but nothing worked.
“Calm it down, would ya shank?” came from above him. It wasn't hostile in anyway. Thomas knew Newt was trying to tell him to relax and get some sleep. If only he could.
“Sorry, can’t sleep.”
“Me neither,” Newt admitted softly.
Newt climbed off his bunk silently as to not wake the others, and sat down at the end of Thomas’s. Thomas sat up as well.
“You think we’re doing the right thing?” Thomas whispered. Yeah, he was technically the new leader of the group, but he had no idea what he was doing. It was basically the blind leading the blind.
“I don’t know,” Newt mumbled. “But I feel like we have to do something. It’d be easier to just forget all of this and move on, but they have to pay for what they did.”
Thomas looked at Newt’s face and tried to read his expression. He looked like he was hurting, but trying not to let it show. This must be a lot harder on him and the others than it is for him. Yeah, Thomas had to watch his friends suffer from the comfort of the WICKED facility, even though it wasn’t that comfortable. Still, his situation was better of than Newt’s. He’s been in the Glade three years longer than him. Three years of friendship taken away from him, watching his closest friends die with his own eyes. Yet, Newt put on a brave face, comforting everyone he cared about. How is it that he can always be there for others, but no one is there for him?
“After WICKED is taken care of,” Newt broke the silence after a moment, “then we can all go someplace, wherever they’re taking the others.” He looked up into Thomas’s eyes now. “Start a new beginning.”
Thomas nodded in response. Newt was right. They had to stop WICKED. So they would.
“Try and get some sleep mate,” Newt said, climbing off Thomas’s bunk and returning to his own.
After their conversation, Thomas did actually manage to drift off to sleep, even if only for a couple hours.
In a few days, their new lives as BSAA agents would begin.