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A cold sweat had been coursing it's way down Dr. Gerald's spine for the last 20 minutes as he waited outside Dr. Bright's office. The hallway seemed to darken by the second, lights dimming into incomprehensible blackness as he stared at the nameplate on the door. He was going to die. This was it. The summation of 30 years on Earth. Dying because of one stupi-

"Come in."

Gerald couldn't help it. He yelped a little, his frayed nerves causing him to jump at the sudden noise. He scuttled into the office, the door closing behind him with a soft click.

Jack Bright stood facing the wall, hands clasped behind his back. He didn't turn as he spoke.

"Doctor Gerald, you know why you're here."

"Ah, Yes. Yessir."

"Don't cower. I hate it when you cower."

"Sorry sir."

"Now. Care to explain what happened?"


Alto Clef was in a good mood. The sun was shining, 173 hadn't escaped yet, and the vendor down the street had been selling ice cream at half price. As he walked down the corridor of the hospital, he glanced at his companion. "What's eating you?"

"…Strelnikov. I'm worried. The coma-"

"Will be ended as soon as we get 590 down here. This is just a visit to check on how he's doing in the meantime."

"Yeah. I guess you're right."

"Of course I am. Now, put on a happy face! It's a beautiful day!"

Gerald's burgeoning smile was crushed by the sight of the Russian man in the bed. The tubes covering his body made him seem smaller than usual. A titan reduced to just a feeble patient. Clef strode over and looked down at his friend. "Hey big guy. How's it going?" He glanced back at Gerald, noticing his stricken face. "Hey, don't worry. He's survived worse than this."

Gerald sighed. "Yeah. You're right. I mean, compared to Chechnya how ba-" His face froze. The sound of creaking tubes echoed like gunshots in the suddenly silent room.

Clef's face contorted. "Motherfu-"

The hand that reached up to wrap around Clef's throat was worn and muscled, and bleeding freely from a tear given by a torn out IV. "ВЗВОД! К БОЮ! МОЧИ ДУХОВ!"

"OH SHI-" The rest of what Gerald said was drowned out by the cracking noise made by Strelnikov snapping Clef's neck.

"…And then I ran."

"I see. Consider yourself on suspension until further notice."

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