Thomas leaves Teresa to find Newt and see if any of the maps survived. He hates leaving her, but he has to know. It it too upsetting to think that their one chance out of the Maze may have been destroyed.
As he nears the Map room, he sees a group of Gladers huddled around something on the ground. Minho asks where he went. Thomas is apologetic. Alby is lying on the ground with a gash on his head. He was found in the Map room as it was burning. Gally emerges as the likely suspect, or perhaps the Grievers burned the maps. Thomas implores Newt to release Teresa. He wants to tell them about the code.
Minho and Newt follow Thomas to the Slammer. Thomas tells them to release Teresa. Release her, he says, and I'll tell you what we have discovered. They grudgingly agree to release her. Thomas explains Teresa's message about the Maze being a code. He is hoping some of the Runners can remember the maps.
Minho and Newt exchange glances. Something is going on. Thomas asks what it is. Minho tells Thomas that they hid the maps because of Alby's warning. The paper that burned were all dummy maps. "Take me to them", says Thomas.
The four of them make their way to the weapons room. In a hidden storage closet are eight cardboard boxes, one for each map section. Thomas grabs a box and begins looking at them. He explains his theory that the maps will spell something out. Minho insists they have tried everything. Thomas asks for wax paper, pencils, and markers. Frypan isn't happy about handing over his wax paper with supplies running so low but when he is told what it is for, he relinquishes it immediately.
Thomas instructs them to begin tracing the maps from the past ten days or so. When they are laid over each other, he believes, they may see something. As they do Thomas worries that this may all be a waste of time. He sees Teresa working diligently. She seems confident and this gives him hope.
Thomas orders them to place the sheets on the table in order. As they do so the lines begin to match up. Sitting in the exact center of the page is the letter F.
Teresa wonders if it is a coincidence. So they race to complete the pages. Other letters appear. The words FLOAT and CATCH are spelled out.
Minho insists that he and Thomas head out into the Maze. Thomas argues. The code is far more important. Minho feels that this may be the most important day to be in the Maze. He thinks they should spend a night out there. This intrigues Thomas. Newt agrees. Other Gladers can be brought in to figure out the map code. Teresa tells him she'll be fine. Besides, they'll need a female brain to organize such an undertaking, she says. Suddenly, Thomas does not want to leave. "Don't worry, Tommy, your girlfriend will be fine", says Newt. Thomas is embarrassed but follows Minho out without even saying goodbye.
Thomas and Minho gather the Runners and explain the news. Everyone is eager to explore the Maze, surprising Thomas. They gather more supplies than usual. Chuck comes to say goodbye. He says he wishes he could come too. Thomas believes him. Chuck jokes that if Teresa get lonely, he'll give her some loving. Thomas rolls his eyes and with that he and Minho leave. Thomas turns back to Chuck and tells him not to forget the promise he made.
Thomas and Minho make their way to the dead end of Section 8 and then turn around to examine the Maze on their way back through. Nothing has changed from the previous day. The walls have not moved.
Teresa tells Thomas that more words have emerged but that they don't make any sense. Thomas tries to reply, concentrating hard. On his second attempt she replies that she can hear him. He asks her why she thinks they can communicate like this. "Maybe we were lovers", she replies. Thomas crashes to the ground. He stands up sheepishly.
Teresa is laughing. She believes that she and Thomas knew each other before and that the Creators chose them, did something to their brains so they could talk to each other telepathically. The communication between them weakens. They both get headaches from doing this. Teresa says goodbye. Thomas is saddened by this. The thought of running without hearing her voice saddened him now.
As the boys continue the see a Griever here and there, but they don't pay the boys any mind. After a few hours of this they are both fatigued and feeling down. They begin making their way back. The code seems like their only hope now.
They had been in the Maze for roughly twenty four hours. It was mid-morning according to Thomas's watch. Business in the Glade was the usual: farming, cleaning, and gardening. Newt is notified of their return and comes to see them. He asks what they have learned. Minho tells Newt that the Maze is a big joke. Thomas jumps in to say that Minho's just discouraged.
Newt tells them that the Grievers did come back last night and they took another boy. Minho is sick of this. He is on the verge of giving up. If he gives up it will make any effort very difficult.
Thomas locates Teresa telepathically. She is still in the basement with the maps. She believes they have the entire code. Thomas goes to her. The room looks like it was hit by a tornado. Teresa shows him that they have spelled out six words: FLOAT, CATCH, BLEED, DEATH, STIFF, and PUSH. Teresa had determined that this is the order the words appear in the Maze. What does it mean? Thomas says they need to get Minho down there to take a look. Maybe he can make sense of it.
Suddenly, Thomas nearly collapses. He stumbles, reaching for support. An idea has occurred to him, a terrible idea. Newt asks him if he's okay. His face has gone white as a ghost. Thomas tells them that he is just tired and needs rest.
Thomas heads to the stairs to exit. They need more clues about the clues. They need memories. He has to get stung by a Griever so he can go through the Changing on purpose.
Thomas refuses to speak to anyone for the rest of the day. Teresa tries to reach him, but he tells her doesn't feel well and just needs to sleep. In truth, Thomas spends the day psyching himself up for what he needs to do. He is sure that it is the only thing left to do.
He heads to dinner and eats hungrily. Then another sleepless night awaits him. This time, Teresa is able to stay in the Homestead. She is actually sleeping, much to Thomas's amazement. Then, outside, he hears the Grievers.
"It's got Dave!", yelled someone outside the door. Thomas and the others could hear wood being splintered in the doorway. The Griever had come right through the house and was now leaving out the front door. It was now or never.
Thomas runs to the door and throws it open. He races down the splintered stairs and through what used to be the front door. Teresa is calling to him inside his mind but he ignores her. The Griever holding Dave is headed for the West Door. He charges the pack of Grievers and leaps onto the one holding Dave, struggling to free the boy. Teresa's voice inside his head is screaming so loud it feels like daggers. Thomas kicks at the claws and metal arms. He doesn't want to be captured, just stung. Excruciating pain tells him that he has succeeded. He kicks himself free and sprints away.
Thomas collapses from the pain. The world becomes distant as he becomes delirious. He can hear the voices around him but is unable to answer them. A Med-jack mentions that he has been stung dozens of times. He is administered the Grief serum and his pain begins to subside. "Don't worry", he whispers, "I did it on purpose."
Thomas has no concept of time as he goes through the Changing. He lies there, eventually becoming bored. Then he has a vision of a swirling mist coming toward him, like a tornado made of smoke. It moves over him and consumes him, flooding memories into his mind. Everything else turns to pain.
Thomas can hear Chuck's voice calling to him. He open his eyes to see Chuck's pudgy face. "He's awake!", yells Chuck enthusiastically, the sound reverberating inside Thomas's head. Thomas asks how long he has been out. Chuck tells him it took three days. The Grievers have continued to come, taking one Glader every night. Chuck asks him why the Grievers only take one.
Thomas knows the answer. He wishes he didn't. He tells Chuck to find Newt and Alby and order a Gathering as soon as possible. Chuck runs off.
Thomas calls out to Teresa. She has been angry with him for what he did. Thomas is touched she cared that much. He feels a burst of warmth in his chest. She asks how much he remembers. Thomas tells her that it's true that the two of them were involved. He tells her that Maze was never meant to be solved. It has no solution. She answers that they all have come to know that now.
Newt enters the room. Thomas explains that a Gathering is necessary. The whole thing is a test, he explains. The Creators have been throwing variables at them to see if they will give up, weeding out the weakest and leaving the strongest. He tells Newt that he knows the way out.
Thomas finds himself in front of the Keepers again. They have not allowed Teresa to join, which upsets Thomas greatly. They tell him to begin explaining.
Thomas's mind is reeling from the last few days but he tries to organize his thoughts. He tells them the Maze was never meant to be solved. It's a test, a trial. He knows that each of them was taken when they were very young, stolen by the Creators. Each of them has above-average intelligence. After they were taken they were sent to special schools until the Maze was built. All their names are just nicknames: Alby for Albert Einstein, Newt for Isaac Newton, Thomas as in Thomas Edison.
There is some doubt about Thomas's story from Winston and Alby, but Thomas presses on. The Creators wished to see how the Gladers would react to what they call the Variables, and to a problem with no solution. The objective was to see if they could work together and form a community.
The Variables have included Teresa, the gray skies, the Walls not closing, and the stoppage of supply deliveries. All of these have been designed to test their will. The Creators ultimately want to be left with the strongest for their plan, but the Gladers have to earn it. The code is the key. "It was hidden in the wall movements of the Maze for a reason. I should know - I was there when the Creators did it."
No one says anything for a long time. Thomas explains that there's a reason everyone who's been through the Changing remembers him. He and Teresa were part of the Maze Trials, but against their will. They helped design the Maze. He tells them about the telepathic link they share. Thomas explains that he's telling them all this now to gain their trust.
He lets this information settle in. Surprisingly, no one seems to be angry. Newt says aloud that its the Creators who put them there, not Teresa or Thomas. Minho wants to hear more about the escape plan. Thomas continues.
There is a computer room, he says, in a place they've never looked. They need to enter the code into a terminal there. The Grievers will be all over them. Many of them won't survive. Newt asks where this place is. Thomas says it's over the Cliff, down the Griever Hole.
As the hero character, Thomas is able to solve the puzzle of the maps and unveil the code. Once again, he has demonstrated that he is not like the others, that he has extraordinary powers. When all seems hopeless, Thomas manages to find a spark to keep the fires going. We can see the establishment of order emanating from his character against what is a chaotic situation. However, this order is different from the previous one. Thomas has put plans in motion to escape the Glade, not to simply return to the way things were.
We can see the leadership qualities flourishing in Thomas. With the support of Minho and Teresa, the ego is able to move beyond the struggle. It is important to consider that the essential function of the hero myth is for the character to find their true self. In these chapters we can see Thomas coming face to face with both his feelings of growing responsibility as well as his darker past. The hero is forced to reconcile both the potential good and the past evil in their life. Thomas is making atonement for his past acts. Even if he was forced to help the Creators against his will, he feels a need to make it up to the Gladers now.
We can also see a greater relationship forming between Thomas and Teresa. Their playful banter and telepathic flirting speaks to two individuals who have known each other for some time. They appear to have a shorthand with one another and sometimes sound like a couple. Teresa again signals a great change to come. This time it is through her support of Thomas. With her at his side Thomas is able and ready to accept both the challenge that lies ahead but also to accept the past he comes to remember. She gives him the strength to go forward instead of running away. Notably, Teresa has no function except to motivate the hero.
Thomas becomes so sure of his strategy that he risks his own life again to benefit the entire Glader community. He endures the Changing and again proves to be different. Instead of emerging from the Changing a saddened and defeated soul, like every one else, he is invigorated, ready for action. He faces some doubt in sharing his revelations to the rest of the Gladers, but his honesty wins them over. In that respect his integrity is also a heroic trait.
Thomas now proposes a dangerous mission in which it is likely that many will die. This will be a "belly of the monster" experience for all the Gladers as they descend into the Griever Hole, a metaphorical underworld. However, it is a testament to Thomas's leadership and the confidence the others have in him that will prove to be the defining factor in the execution of the plan. Thomas has wanted to be a Runner from day one, a calling that has haunted him for much of the novel. The hero myth frequently features a calling that pulls the hero to action. Thomas's calling has lead him to this defining moment. He essentially is making the case for war, a war for their freedom as well as their lives.
Thomas's description of the past lives of the Gladers bears a close resemblance to Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Like that novel, the Gladers were sent to special training schools and only the most intelligent were chosen for the test, or game, they are engaged in. The "simulation or reality?" aspect of the Maze also echoes Ender's discovery that a mission he believed to be a simulation was actually a real battle. Dashner reverses the role here, as the Gladers realize that the Glade lives under an artificial sky.
A revolution motif begins to emerge in these chapters. Thomas will lead his Gladers against the Creators and against the old system in the hopes of overthrowing it. At the heart of the matter is the very basic human rights of the Gladers who have had their childhoods stolen from them as well as their very minds. This motif ties in neatly with the hero's journey. Thomas will rise up to eradicate the old tyrants and free his people.