Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Harry nudged the body in the lobby with the toe of his boot, weapon unwaveringly pointed towards the head. Satisfied he was dead, Harry retrieved his knife and the man’s keys, turned and carefully locked the front doors.

The entrance secured, he stepped over the body, moved cautiously around the reception desk and slipped quiety through the doors deeper into the clinic.

From a distance, Harry could hear voices in a language he couldn’t make out.

Empty gurneys lined the hall, hospital-blue sheets cast grey in the dim after-hours lighting. At the first open door he paused, holding his gun down against his leg, two handed and ready, he peered around the doorway into the room. Empty. In the corner an LCD panel displayed the x-rays of the day’s last patient. Trans-tibial amputation. Left leg.

Continuing down the hall, the next doorway was closed off, light spilling into the passage through a plate sized portal at eye level. Harry stepped away from the door and allowed his eyes to adjust as he surveyed the room within. There was one doctor with his back to the door and two additional figures, gowned and masked passing instruments in response to barked instructions.

Harry wet his lips, then pushed open the door with his shoulder, bringing his gun to bear as he rotated into the room.

Two sets of eyes widened, then disappeared from view behind the table as his SIG Mauser barked twice, dropping the nurses where they stood.

The third figure spun about, scalpel pinched between thumb and forefinger, ready to cut.

“What are you doing? You can’t discharge a weapon in here, you’ll contaminate the merchandise.” The doctor’s English was crisp and matter of fact.

On the table behind him, Harry could make out part of a familiar phrase inked down the left arm the surgeon had been preparing to sever at the shoulder. “Fidelis”.

“You’ve made a bit of a mistake, Herr Doctor.” Harry moved away from the door, weapon leveled and steady. “That body you farmed this evening isn’t what you think.”

The doctor raised his hands slightly, the scalpel catching and reflecting the surgical lights overhead.

“Nothing more than some drunk soldier.” On the table Harry could see the body was covered in carefully drawn lines, a roadmap from which he was to be carved up like a side of beef. “Drunks are worthless alive, and this one less so if not promptly packaged. He’s losing value while you’re wasting my time. Get the hell out of my operating room, you’ve no idea who you’re messing with.”

Harry moved until he could see the supine man’s face, and the blossomed flesh of a bullet wound in the middle of his forehead.

“No, not ‘just a drunk soldier’. My drunk soldier, and my drunk soldier brought me here to see you.” Harry addressed the body on the table.

“Corporal, relieve the good doctor of his faculties.”

The doctor turned back to the table to find himself face to face with his naked cadaver, now sitting upright and eyeing him with a wolfish grin.

With lightening speed, the doctor lashed out with the scalpel, drawing it from the Corporal’s right shoulder along the line of his collarbone then upward to his throat. Where the skin peeled back, black carbon fibre mesh showed through from beneath flesh veneer. In a single motion, the Corporal grabbed the doctor by the throat, and standing, lifted him from the ground, the scalpel clattering to the floor.

“I’m afraid his parts won’t be much use to you.” Harry holstered his weapon and began rolling up his sleeves. “Your bits, however, are quite useful, and there are a few of our boys that you can rest assured will put them to good use.”

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