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Who Knows What's Out There

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“It’s been over two hundred years,” Jeanine said softly, gazing through the window of her small cell. “Who knows what’s out there.”

“Let’s find out,” Evelyn’s voice replied from behind her. “Let’s find out together.” Jeanine felt the soft pressure of Evelyn’s hand on her shoulder. It brought back memories, but she refused to let herself dwell on them. Now wasn’t the time, not anymore.

She shook her head. “No, Evelyn. I’ve had enough with this city.”

“Don’t you want to know? Jean, in all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you resist an opportunity to extend your knowledge.”

Jeanine sighed but didn’t reply. She let the silence stretch out, staring into the distance, to the unknown beyond the wall.

“Does what I want really matter?” she asked after a moment.

“Yes. You may not be free, but you have options.”

Jeanine finally turned around to look at Evelyn, her face as empty of emotion as ever. “What are these…options?”

“Of course, you can stay here, in prison. But I wouldn’t risk it if I were you, because many people want you dead, and some have the power to make it happen against my orders. Or you could make yourself useful by coming with us, beyond the wall.”

“It seems that I do not have a choice, then.”

Evelyn looked at her with a calculating look. “What do you really want? What would you want, if you had a choice?”

Jeanine scoffed. “You know very well that I have no faith in imagination and no patience to indulge in it.”

Evelyn didn’t reply, and as the silence stretched out, Jeanine sighed almost inaudibly.

“Ideally, I would want to know about the outside world by reading the reports of those who are going. I’m Erudite, not Dauntless.”

Evelyn grinned. “Well, you don’t seem to have changed much.” She placed a hand on Jeanine’s back to lead her forward. “Come on, we need people inside charged of monitoring what is happening to those in the expedition, seems you have your use.”

Evelyn started moving forward, but Jeanine didn’t let herself be lead out. “They won’t let you do this. You may be in charge, but you’re nothing without the approval of the most influential people.”

"Your intellectual abilities are unique, Jeanine, and our future has never been less certain. You're needed for this. Even Prior agreed as long as you're guarded." She paused, then wrapped her arm around Jeanine's waist and lead her out. "Come on," she said as they walked out of the dark room and to the corridors beyond. "Let's see what's out there."