Rebel - Marie Lu

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To those charting their own paths and those who make it possible for others

Let us never forget the pain that our ancestors have suffered and are still suffering all around the world. Let us never forget the struggle between global tyranny and democracy that led us to found this free nation of Antarctica, where every person has the chance to work their way up from nothing, and where technology, not human ego and error, governs how successful you can become. Our Level system may seem like a game, but it is far more than that. It is a tool used to help us each live the life we deserve. And it will become the reason why Antarctica is the greatest nation on earth.



2050 AD



2142 AD


If you asked me to tell you about myself, I’d say first that I like to understand things.

I always have. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a tinkerer—prying apart old gadgets and laying out the innards of a broken radio or clock or toaster, delighting in the puzzle of making something new out of something old. It doesn’t have to be a human-made machine, either. I love watching ants march in a line to a bit of food, take it apart, and carry it single file back to their hill. I love the way flowers bloom and then wilt, how you can preserve them forever just by pressing them between the pages of a book.

I like figuring things out, the how and the why.

My mother once called me her little alchemist, told me she believed I could turn rust into gold, and that I would ramble on about every little detail that makes up something until I ran out of breath. I skipped the last few semesters at my high school to become one of the best students at Ross University of the Sciences, the top-ranked college in the world, and I’m about to graduate with an advanced degree after seven years, which should have taken ten. I’ve already got an internship lined up back in the Republic, and in a couple of months, I’ll be headed there for an orientation session.

But most people don’t know me like this. Instead, they’ll say:

This is Eden Bataar Wing, Daniel’s younger brother.

That’s who I am to others.

I understand why, of course. I may be a star student, good at figuring things out … but my brother is Daniel Altan Wing.

Ten years ago, he was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. His name was spray-painted on buildings, his profile drawn on both rebel pamphlets and wanted posters. He went from being a notorious criminal to a national hero in the span of a year. There are documentaries about what he did during the war between the Republic and the Colonies, about all he had sacrificed. For his country, for me, he had nearly died.

Yeah. It’s kind of hard to top that.

After the war ended, we moved here to Ross City, Antarctica, and during that time, I finished school and Daniel became an agent in the Antarctican Intelligence Service. Daniel, at least, is eager to leave our past behind. But that doesn’t mean anyone has forgotten his name or his face. There are still times when we’ll get stopped in the streets, or when I’ll overhear people murmuring as we pass by.

That’s Day, Daniel Altan Wing, a legend. And that’s his little brother, Eden.

Over the years, I’ve let this become the version of myself that everyone knows. Eden, the little brother. Not Eden the tinkerer, the inventor. They don’t know how I’m drawn to understand things, or how I’ve had nightmares almost every night since the Republic’s war ended. No, my identity is permanently tied to my brother’s, regardless of what I do or think.

I don’t tell most people who I am. I don’t talk about the questions that run through my mind or the nightmares that keep me awake at night. People instinctually know to avoid someone who carries a weight on his chest as heavy as mine. So most who know me just see the quick