“The hell– ?” jumped Ortiz at finding McGee at his door.

“Willie,” he panted, having run that entire length from the infirmary. “We can’t move this fast. We haven’t got the resources– “

“Man, what are you doing? Hey,” Ortiz took him by the shoulders, bringing him into his quarters and sitting him down. “Listen, everything’s being taken care of. You should be in bed.”

“No, listen,” said McGee, still breathless. “We’re going into this too hot. If we come off militant, we’ll lose the– “

Shh, easy. We know, okay? And there’s stuff you don’t know yet. But now’s not the time. Not like this. You’re not ready to process.”

“I’m fine,” huffed McGee. There was a sound of an approaching bustle outside.

“Are you, cowboy? You just ran about five thousand meters through freezing temperatures, in bare feet and with your ass hanging out of your gown. Didn’t even feel it, did you?”

Roos van Rhijn poked her head in the door, then nodded and beckoned outside toward a couple of medics. What’s the fuss? thought McGee. Then something felt… missing?

“Where’s the… thing?” he slurred, looking at his arm.

“Shit, he’s bleeding. Get pressure on that!”

“Did he have an IV line in?”

“Must have torn loose. Get him on a gurney!”


McGee felt himself being carried, limp, onto a padded surface, and the world started traveling. Ortiz’s quarters went away, and the avenue sort of rolled past as he lay still.

“Pupils responding; airway’s good. B.P. is… shit; B.P.’s ninety-one over seventy.”

“Must have done some internal damage. Hang on, Sir; we’ve got you…”

“Temperature thirty-five point five. Mild hypothermia.”

“Pulse is dropping.”

“Wake up, Sir. Wake up!


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