Author : Ray Shirer

Vince hates dealing with the vets. They buzz like a swarm of angry bees, producing poison instead of honey. He hates the way they glare at him when he makes the rounds, collecting soiled bed linens and dirty clothes. Like it’s his fault they lost the war. Vince wasn’t even born when Earth fought the Hive.

The best way to deal with the vets, Vince has found, is to turn off his ears and pretend that he’s dumb. It’s no more than they expect of him, even though the doctors get pissed when they find out. Vince has been lectured more than once by the docs about his lack of empathy toward the patients.

He doesn’t really care. This job is just temporary. Vince is going to the black. He’s already had some of the work done. Replacement stuff mostly, switching out his eyes and ears and tweaking his circulatory system. The big stuff: altering his skeleton, his muscular and nervous systems, will have to be done by the Hive once he’s offworld.

Vince can’t wait.

Until then, he’s stuck in the hell of the veterans’ clinic, wiping the asses of bitter old men and changing their bed clothes.

What does he care if they look at him like he’s a traitor? He’s just moving with the times.

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