After sitting in near silence for more than four hours, the door to the operating room opened, and a nurse emerged. Blake immediately stood up, meeting the woman halfway across the otherwise deserted waiting room. I attempted to follow suit, only to feel a crushing dizziness overcome me. Hastily, I sat down. Blake began to speak to the woman in hushed tones. As the hurried conversation continued, I watch the nurse become more flustered, clutching at her blood stained scrubs with her gloved hands, surgical mask still tied around her face.

As I struggled to keep my breathing even, I continued observing. Blake's face became passive, his expression turning to one of indifference. I felt my heart keep the same pace, and knew that if I had a stomach it would have dropped at the sight of him. The news, whatever it was, was not good, even I could tell. And then I heard the word hemorrhage and knew that Alex was close to dying. I couldn't do anything at this point, and neither could Blake. For the sake of our sanity, we both had to leave.

The nurse returned to the operating room, and Blake turned to me, walking over to my chair. His entire demeanor was business-like, utterly cold. His eyes were clear and glassy, and it felt like the end of the world was staring out of his eyes, the same expression Raven had once had. He could only tell me what I had already surmised from overhearing part of the conversation. Alex was hemorrhaging, and badly. The micro surgeon was attempting to stem the flow of the blood, and there were of course units of blood already prepared for Alex. Before I could even respond to urge Blake to leave the hospital, he returned to his work, writing efficiently on the air board, no doubt preparing a research paper of some sort.

I stood once more, just barely managing to prevent myself from swaying, or showing any other sign of weakness.

"Dr. Callahan," he began, and interrupted him, lying without hesitation.

"I have to go prepareā€¦I will return when I am done. If Alex lives, he will need all components of this to be ready." I spoke vaguely, and walked quickly out of the room, letting the door shut automatically behind me before I leaned against the wall, panting loudly.

Sensing my distress my artificial heart began to increase the blood flow through my body as the rate of air intake the lungs began to increase. Metal organs didn't do well with stress, I had long ago noticed. I was to have the best, on the authority of our wise leaders. If only to increase their legitimacy to the people, they needed Project Renaissance, and they needed me alive.

Pressing my hand to the railing along the hallway, I stopped at the first doorway I saw. Looking at the scanning plate, I realized it was a higher authorization room. Not knowing what the room was supposed to be used for, and not caring, I pulled out my identification card and completed the retina scan. The door quietly slid open, allowing me access.

I fell through the open doorway, gracelessly sinking to my feet, head pounding. The thick blue carpet cushioned my landing. I lay, trying to collect my breath as my head pounded mercilessly. I assessed my injuries. As I felt along my legs, I tried to overcome sudden horror. My legs were entirely numb from the knees down. I tried to move my legs, and at my silent command, the muscles along my thighs rippled without any effect.

Even though I knew this was going to happen, I didn't expect it to happen so quickly. I force my legs into a meditative position and try to focus on breathing. Minutes later, finally a little calmer and resigned to reality, I look at my surroundings.

It appears to be a personal office, at first glance from my low vantage point I have difficulty seeing much. Shifting slightly, I look around the room taking everything in. The plush carpet runs all across the room, until the far wall, entirely made of mirrored glass. Looking at, I see distantly people moving about on the ground hundreds of feet below. In the center of the room, just in front of the windowed wall, there is a sleek desk accompanied by a matching office chair. Discreet bookshelves line the walls adjacent to the farthest wall. In an effort to see the wall to my back, I crane my neck, stretching my torso around as far as I can with the dead weight of my legs pinning me to the carpeted floor. To my back were a dozen screens, all of them active, showing different scenes inside operating rooms, all with procedures in progress.

I felt my legs slowly regain feeling, and held back a scream. The sensation was unlike any pain I had felt before, like blood was boiling in my veins as electric currents ran through muscle tissue along the nerve endings. Just as quickly, all the feeling was gone again. The tumor growing at the base of my spine was crushing the nerve endings to my legs.

I pulled myself up, falling into a chair set in front of the screens, to the side of the room. Ignoring everything else, I found Alex's screen. Sitting in the chair, I watched until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

--

A/N: So this is one of those chapters that I have no clue in hell what the point of it is. Call it plot progression or something else, but it's been so long since I've written for this that I needed to make this kind of chapter.