then spun around to face me.
    “Jackson … hey,” Blake said. “How are you feeling today? Still good?”
    “You know…” I eyed the tree stump, staring at the bullet holes. “I’m not too bad of a shot myself if you’re looking for some help. They wouldn’t let me handle much else besides a gun in Tempest.”
    “Is that right, Rambo?” Holly said.
    My eyebrows lifted up, sensing a challenge. “Yeah, that’s right.”
    “Talk is cheap, Agent Meyer.” She slapped the gun into my palm and stepped out of the way.
    “How are we doing on bullets? Are we going to run out?”
    “We’ve got plenty of bullets. I’m not sure how, but your dad has a very generous supply, though it doesn’t appear that we’ll be putting them to any real use anytime soon, other than this pissing contest that I will most definitely win,” Holly taunted.
    I laughed under my breath, knowing I was actually pretty damn good at this. But when I took my stance and held the gun out, there was an unmistakable tremble in my left hand.
    Holly reached out and set her hand on top of the gun. “Don’t. It’s too risky. If you miss—”
    “Yeah. I’m not stupid.” I let out an angry breath and handed the gun back to her. “Guess I know who’s getting picked last for the next mission.”
    Holly rolled her eyes. “Come on, your brain practically exploded. Give it some time. I’m sure that screwed with your nervous system or something.”
    Blake frowned. “Maybe it’s the medication?”
    “It’s weird,” I said, looking at Blake and then Holly. “Because I feel better than ever, more observant. Like my aim should be better, but my hands aren’t on the same page as my head.”
    “We should ask Grayson,” Blake said right away, frowning.
    I shrugged. “I’ll ask him later. Actually, I wanted to talk to you about yesterday’s stuff.”
    Blake’s eyebrows lifted. “Right. We should continue that.”
    I glanced at Holly, then back at Blake. “And I think we should let Holly join us.”
    “Why?” Blake said.
    “She’s one of them. I’m guessing you’re going to show me how your roommate went to the dark side and she needs to see who she’s working for.”
    “I’m one of who?” Holly asked. “Care to fill me in?”
    “Eyewall,” Blake said with a defeated sigh.
    I hadn’t really given him much of an option, but I knew this was the right choice. Holly put on a positive face most of the time, but I’m sure she was extremely conflicted given what Dad said last night about us not knowing what kind of hell Eyewall had put her through.
    “Come on,” Blake conceded. “No one’s in the reproduction room right now.”
    Holly and I followed Blake and she hissed in my ear, “Did he just say ‘reproduction room’?”
    I shrugged and kept my eyes on Blake’s back. “I don’t know, maybe it means something else in this year?”
    Let someone else explain that one to Holly.

    AUGUST 3, 2874.
    1987 looked just the same as I remembered from my first and only trip here with Thomas. Now I was here again on my first solo mission. This time I landed a week after my last visit. I ignored the pounding in my heart and the fear rushing through me as I weaved my way across the street, into the hospital, and down the stairs to the lab where Grayson worked alone.
    “Blake! Good to see you again,” he said with a genuine smile. “How long has it been for you?”
    “About six months,” I said as my heart slowed down, relieved to be in a near-empty and silent room.
    “I thought you looked taller. Sixteen now, right?”
    “Yes, that’s right.” My eyes swept over the lab, looking for brewing experiments or anything remotely interesting to make this first solo mission a little more exciting.
    “What brings you to 1987 this time?” Grayson asked.
    I jolted back to reality, remembering I was here for a reason. I reached into my coat pocket and removed the vacuum-packed bag of vitamins, holding them out

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