When Thomas wakes up again, he is being lowered from the Berg aircraft into the company of his friends. They duck back into a shelter to avoid the heat. Thomas tells them that WICKED hadn’t meant for him to get shot: the bullet was not in the plan. Jorge asks what makes Thomas so special, and even though Thomas says this is not the case, he secretly knows that he is special to WICKED for some reason–otherwise they would not have swooped in to save him. While resting, Thomas suddenly hears Teresa’s voice in his mind, warning him that something terrible is going to happen to him tomorrow, and that he won’t be hearing from her in a while. They have already passed through the city at this point, and the mountains are looming ahead of them. The group travels towards the mountains. Thomas finally gets the nerve to talk to Brenda, who is upset that Thomas refused her advances at the Crank party. They are back on good terms when Thomas suddenly sees Teresa advancing towards them from the mountains. She is holding a weapon in her hand.
Teresa stops in front of them, some distance away. A group of girls appears behind her, also all holding weapons. This is Group B, the boys realize. Teresa says that they will take Thomas, and she threatens to kill the boys if they try to refuse. Seeing that they are outnumbered and out-weaponed, the boys recognize they cannot do anything. Thomas goes along with Group B, and is bashed several times with the butt of Teresa’s spear. Teresa pretends like she doesn’t know who Thomas is. The girls put him in a burlap sack and drag him to the mountains. Teresa, however, whispers to Thomas a few times through the sack, telling him to hang in, and that WICKED is blocking their telepathy. She says to the other girls that they will kill him once they get into the mountains. She says that it is punishment for what Thomas did to her. Thomas is not sure what this last statement means. When they get to Group B’s camp in the mountains, Thomas realizes that the girls don’t really want to kill him, and that they feel guilty about it. Teresa still will not tell him what he did to her. Some of the other girls in the group, such as Harriet and Sonya, tell Thomas that they have to kill him, on WICKED’s commands, in order to get themselves to the safe haven.
While sleeping, Thomas has another dream, one of him and Teresa watching others in the Maze. They are talking about ‘original Creators’ and ‘training replacements’. When Thomas wakes from this dream, Harriet and Sonya confront him. They ask him to tell them what he knows. The girls don’t feel right about the entire situation, either. Teresa is out scouting the area, and so Thomas and the girls exchange information. When Teresa comes back, the girls talk to her and convince her to not kill Thomas. Thomas has persuaded the girls that this whole setup is likely a WICKED test, and that killing him would actually mean failing the test. However, Harriet warns Thomas that Teresa really does despise Thomas and would actually kill him. Harriet also informs Thomas that there is a place farther in on the other side of the mountains that is supposed to be a “special” place designed just for killing him. She reveals that their instructions from WICKED concerning him were very detailed. The first, strange incident with Teresa in the shack before the city was also completely set up by Group B. As night falls and they travel through the mountains, Teresa is nowhere to be found. They keep moving; suddenly, Teresa appears in the back, near where Thomas is. The other members of the group do not spot her. She tells Thomas that her act is over, and that he should follow her. He does so, despite his instinct warning him against it.
As she takes him through the trees and the mountains, Teresa reveals to Thomas that she and Aris are very close. She says that she and Aris also have telepathic capabilities and that they were in communication with another even during the Glade. Thomas is shocked, and wonders if this is another WICKED trick. Aris shows up behind Thomas, walking him with a knife to his back. Aris and Teresa take Thomas to a cave that emits a dull green light source. Before forcing Thomas into the opening, Teresa and Aris exchange kisses. Teresa tells Thomas that she only pretended to be his best friend. She says Aris is actually her best friend. This finally makes Thomas crack. He says he doesn’t care, but is really broken inside. As they lead him to the door, Thomas is resolved that he will not go down without a fight. He distracts Aris by asking him about the death of Rachel, Aris’s best friend from his Maze. However, after knocking Aris out, Teresa knocks out Thomas, and placing him inside the cave. The door is closed and glows green. Teresa’s last telepathic words to Thomas call him a sacrifice.
Thomas lies inside the cave, and listens as something begins to hiss. He wonders if the hissing is poisonous gas. He slips into another memory-dream. In the memory-dream, he is standing in front of Teresa, Aris, and a girl he does not recognize; they are preparing for Thomas’s entry into the Maze.
In the beginning of this section, Thomas awakens to white lights, the sterility already indicative, most likely, of WICKED. He is being medically treated by people in funny masks and suits, and describes their images as evil-looking and ridiculous (240). The WICKED personnel treating him truly do reflect the sound of their acronym; they actually look like “bad” people with their masks on. In a way, this is reflective of how WICKED is as an organization. The people individually may not be “bad,” but as an institution WICKED has grown to be a desensitized organization that performs human experimentation.
When Teresa suddenly talks to Thomas, she tells him that something terrible is going to happen and that he will need to trust her because she won’t be able to communicate with him from now on. Thomas is very confused by this. Being taught by these harsh environments, and by the Rat Man’s words and actions, not to trust anyone, Thomas is frustrated even by his best friend. He wonders about trusting her, and whether or not the part about them being “together” is just “false hope” (251). Although Teresa probably intended to help him by sending this message, it only makes him more confused.
Newt and Thomas talk later on, as they all continue to progress towards the mountains. Newt reminds Thomas that WICKED broke its own rules in order to save Thomas’s shoulder with the bullet (254). Thomas wonders if there are any rules; the Rat Man had said that the characteristic of the Scorch Trials was that there were no rules. Yet, with WICKED, it always seems as though there are rules. The Gladers are, after all, not here of their own desire. They are still being controlled and boxed in to this mission.
Thomas and his friends reach the base of the mountains. Teresa comes out with Group and the intent to capture—and kill—Thomas. She also refuses to show recognition of Thomas, which infuriates him (260). Not knowing someone (or pretending not to know someone) is automatically a form of dehumanization. Teresa is attempting to treat Thomas the way WICKED and other organizations have treated him. In short, she is definitely not treating him like her best friend. She further dehumanizes him by making him sit in a burlap sack and get carried along painfully. Two girls carry him, which is almost emasculating.
When Thomas finally gets the chance to talk to the Group B girls, he finds that he has sympathizers in the group. Many of the girls do not want to kill him. Both the Group A boys and the Group B girls are now wary of WICKED. WICKED’s lies and tricks and tests are always layered upon each other. The Group B girls believe what Thomas is suggesting: that this is just a test from WICKED. The difficulty is how to know whether they have passed the test. Either way, the Group B girls end up having no say in the matter, because Teresa takes Thomas away in the middle of the night. Thomas is pained about this, afterwards, mostly because Teresa was able to coax him away because he still cared for her as a friend.