It's Thursday again.
Everything is just like last year, except this time you brought a bouquet of flowers with you at the last minute.
You wonder if he'll remember you. Maybe the way things have been, you won't even remember him.
Your heart feels like it's going to leap out of your chest...
Despite everything, you're excited to see him again.
???: hhelo?
???: iis there someone att he door?
???: ccomme in...........,..
You nudge the door open, bit by bit. It creaks empathetically.
The doors here are so heavy, so straightforward in their function of keeping things out, keeping things in.
The way you're leaned against the entryway, your face is hidden behind your bouquet of flowers while you press against the door...
Ah. But he saw you first.
???: iis that you?? j seeyouy in my dreams bbbut i didnt thinkyoud show up..
You peek out from behind your flowers.
He looks different, but it's definitely Mod 33...
His pink hair hangs over his shoulders in a spindly and eerie way, like fairy floss rescued from a garburator.
His bedsheets look to be fresh from the heater. You can only imagine how scratchy and uncomfortable they are, but at least they're warm.
He's got a new pillowcase since you last saw him. It's sterile and unoffending, just like him.
"Hi again, Mod 33. I brought you some flowers... I made sure the florist cut them just right. They'll wilt fairly soon... I know you enjoy watching them die."
Mod 33: tthats so nice... for me?? Iim just a rrotting peice of f.. ..garbage lefft behidn///fell out of the garbage disposal didndt have to..,
"No, I insist. You've been cooped up in here for so long, you at least deserve some entertainment."
Mod 33: wwwhaagh ;;
Mod 33: yoyuddont have to wwaste yoour time on me...iff youwant to go..,. i wont be maad./,i wont evne miind
"I came here to spend time with you, 33!"
Mod 33: ..../.
Mod 33: ;.,..,,.,..,,.,.;;;;,.;;
The beep of his heart monitor and someone's IV pump in the next room is starting to give you a headache.
  • > "You're looking a lot better." (lie)
  • > "You're looking as sickly as ever." (truth)
"You're looking a lot better."
Mod 33: rllrlly... its all thanks to my doctor...................,,.ithink..he saays he wants me to live thhs tme and ii...i have a liittle hopep in him...
"I don't want you to die either, Mod 33. Especially not like last time."
Mod 33: wwrere youthtere????iiidodnt vremerbr youbeeignthtere for tha.t.t,..r,t//,r,t.g/lt./,/, iim soso emeb;;earras.d.;;
Mod 33: plepleplaedpt tell anyyoneon...,,;klfgjdmg;;__:kl;tyl
Mod 33: klajdl.frdkmaefls;______________;dkmrljfmoeajlk
  • > "Don't cry, you'll make me cry too..." (lie)
  • > "I hate the way you cry, so please stop it." (truth)
"You're looking as sickly as ever."
Mod 33: hhb iiithink itssbecaus im trying so hard.d...thats whhat my doctor says.... Iff youtry really hard to recover ypuree boddy takes a lot of damage..e.
Mod 33: soooitihkn im finallygettg better
"Is your doctor going to help you get better?"
Mod 33: yees hhe saiedhdoesnt want me tto die agaib aadnn ithink he memeant it thistiem...
"Yeah, I don't want to see you die again, either, 33..."
Mod 33: wwrree youthtere????iiidotdn vremerbr youbeihgnettere for tha.t.,,t//,r,t.g/lt./,/, iim soso emeb;;earrsa.d.;;
Mod 33: plpealpleedpt tell anyonyeon...,,;klfgjdmg;;__:kl;tyl
Mod 33: klajdl.frdkmaefls;______________;dkmrljefmoarjlk
  • > "Don't cry, you'll make me cry too..." (lie)
  • > "I hate the way you cry, so please stop it." (truth)
"Don't cry, you'll make me cry too..."
Mod 33: yyounever cryry....iiiiii;__;iiiiimmm.......alwayays the onewho cries..
"Well, just stop it, okay?"
Mod 33: oookokk,
  • > "Anyway..."
"I hate the way you cry, so please stop it."
Mod 33: uummh............,.,h.,ook..iim rreally ggoing to ttyr to...nnot..
"Stop it."
Mod 33: iiimm dddoneeoky....iimdone crtyng i prormise
  • > "Anyway..."
"Where's your doctor right now, anyway? I've only seen nurses around, even though it's daytime."
Mod 33: hee saaid hewasggoing to wash his ahnds aand hassnt beebakc sinc an hour..?>iithink ./.?ii ., .,idontknow i tink.h/..imsorry.,icantremmebr/./hujgj
"Your doctor doesn't wash his hands, 33."
Mod 33: hilkjs... gloves?>??
"He doesn't wash those, either."
Mod 33: iiititnk iimnot wrongg.. ipromise......he waswashing his hands..iitih??im sprry./mayei shouldddie.
"I think he was just taking a break from you."
Mod 33: iistthat whatyouthink.. .g
"Yes. I suppose he's probably thinking over what to do with you."
Mod 33: ...
Mod 33: ......, ./,.
Mod 33: .;.hhe saidsomehig about..
Mod 33: surgery
Mod 33: befffor heleft
Mod 33: ddo..youhtink..thats whwgtas hesthinkgin aotu..
  • > Ask where his doctor went
  • > Ask for more details on the surgery
"33... where did your doctor go."
Mod 33: i.,.,,
Mod 33: /l;k/;l
Mod 33: heeewentto look aat my records
"In his office?"
Mod 33: n.nnon
Mod 33: innmy old docotors offic.e., withthe old files..
"So, he's looking at old files?"
Mod 33: ;,;.,soryy
Mod 33: dddo youhate meee now?
  • > I don't hate you
  • > I have more important things to do than entertain this question
"No. I'm sorry, Mod 33... Let's just enjoy this time together, okay?"
Mod 33: /..//;gf
Mod 33: immsoglad that... ihstill haveone persosn whos a frrined...
Mod 33: yeys...
Mod 33: ddoyuothink.h.........,
Mod 33: nnononwait.t,r. i. ,umm
"You want to have a meal together again, don't you, Mod 33?"
Mod 33: ../,353/.45./.,54/,54/5
Mod 33: wwoudlthat be... ooo .k..??
"Of course. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without you here, Mod 33."
Mod 33: ahanahaa... ii..iguss eat
Even in this dim light, you can see Mod 33 is glowing with happiness.
You dial the cafeteria to order a meal for the two of you.
To keep things traditional, you're getting the standard fare for a proper Thanksgiving meal.
You never have to get picky with the turkey since Mod 33 prefers dark meat, which you appreciate.
It's probably better for him, anyway. You feel more at ease watching him eat.
There's way too much food, and no chance of the two of you finishing all of it, but you don't mind.
You clean up and put the extra portions in tupperware to take home with you. Mod 33 is looking fondly at the bouquet of flowers you brought for him.
"What are you thinking about?"
Mod 33: umm.,.,i
Mod 33: iivehad a lot oftimeto think..abtout a lot of things whiel ivebene here
Mod 33: anndjust this once i wastn thinking of anyhting
"Your monitor will probably flatline if you don't have any brain activity."
Mod 33: mno,,
Mod 33: iijust wasnt thinking of anyhting improtant
Mod 33: llike unasnswered emails oor lost ffiles
Mod 33: iijsut watnted t live in the moment...rather thaan worry aboutanyhting eelse
"Is that so."
Mod 33: yyes..iithink tthats it
Mod 33: aare you thinking about anyythgin at the moment?/ iif i can ask..
"I was thinking, perhaps... while we were eating..."
"I was thinking about global warming, and the rising tides."
"When I was younger, I remember spending several hours making a sandcastle, no less in the scorching sun of high noon."
"The tide rushed in to swallow my creation. I was so proud of it."
"Maybe I felt this more as I watched the ocean reclaim it."
"Other years, especially during the winter, when the tide would rise it would bring all sorts of dead creatures. Jellyfish, starfish, even birds."
Mod 33: yyouree nto scareed off seeing deadanimals?
"Not at all. It's just the circle of life. I only felt bad about having to move my towel when the tide rose with all that trash."
Mod 33: iiddont know howi feel aabout seeing dead animals....s,
"Maybe one day, 33, you'll see a dead creature and think nothing of it."
Mod 33: ii wwonder...
You and Mod 33 continue talking into the setting afternoon. The simple conversation fills your heart with joy, replenishing the empty space left by the friend you'd missed so dearly.
He doesn't understand how much it means to you, just to share these humble thoughts with little substance, free from anxiety or prerogative.
By the time you get up to leave, the hospital stands in the tall shadows from the western city, leaving you all in cold darkness.
You don't mind. You feel warmer than ever.
🍁good end: thankful
"What kind of surgery was he talking to you about, 33?"
Mod 33: iimeaan... ii prorbably dont kow..
Mod 33: he saaaid somethtinglike..he can make me into.t...
Mod 33: a ..btetr
Mod 33: mmore purified..
Mod 33: mod 33.,,
Mod 33: wwhat i was originaly..supposed to be..before gromaedastopped it..
"That sounds... far-fetched. Maybe just plain impossible."
Mod 33: n,,... o ,.,he ssaid he can do iit/ .,.
Mod 33: ,./.,;'./,;l'./, ;l, . ., ./ ccan youkeep a secret?
  • > Yes
  • > No
"If it's serious, then no. I won't keep secrets like those."
Mod 33: ,.,/..,
Mod 33: b.b.,.,,. i..,
Mod 33:
"Is it serious?"
Mod 33: plea,,se just....dontttell nayone....itts not sserious..
  • > Alright then...
"What is it?"
Mod 33: myy ddoctor says../
Mod 33: hhe knowws the surrgery isgoign t o work.,
Mod 33: becccaus he
Mod 33: ;lglf,l;hg.
Mod 33: hhess done it onanothe r patientt.nnd it worked
"Only one patient? Did you see the results?"
Mod 33: hhe ssaid iiimnot allwoedto seehsi other pppatietss aanddd ssaid iim nt alloed to telleanyyne abput this
Mod 33: sosso peeplplplplpleplplplsplplespllpseplwapllpalepplplelpslpelppleplpl pealpalseee keepthis a secret
Mod 33 looks distraught. As much as you want to keep your promise, something about this doesn't feel quite right...
Mod 33: hheslookging att mymoudl files aand fodun something...promising
Mod 33: thge way it wroks is
Mod 33: iuumm iithas somethignto do with ..the wya we weremade,., the eewya gromaeda made us
Mod 33: llliek the btchees.depending on yur position inthe ccna alte r dna.,,ithink thats hw it works
Mod 33: ssemtimes the nnew members off a batchc dont surviv.e.,becaus ehtteir dna wwas made wrong.,
Mod 33: bbut if..,.,.. theyr gone
Mod 33: iifyyou ccan ..,.take,.their dna.., th
"Stop talking about this. You're just getting your hopes up."
Mod 33: ,;,;youdont belieev me
"You're talking utter blasphemy, 33."
Mod 33: itits really true,.
Mod 33: ifffyoyusaw whwat i saw
Mod 33: ifyfou wient throgh what iwetn thtroug
Mod 33: you wooldf eelthe same./
He's getting all worked up... Maybe you should drop the subject, for his sake.
It's not like any well-respected doctor would ever do something like that anyway. He's probably just delirious.
You bet he just read some hoax article, or overheard the nurses joking about something, and now he's gotten it in his head that this is a real thing.
You feel bad for him.
He's been through so much, but... this isn't the right way to deal with all this pain.
He's only going to get worse if he entertains these notions.
"Thirty-three. Do you want to do something?"
Mod 33: mmmybe
"There's some board games in the commons, I could grab Monopoly or Apples to App-"
Mod 33: tthatsalalthis is toyou anywya
Mod 33: gaames
"Let's just focus on something else, alright."
Mod 33: yypuwuldnt evene care
Mod 33: g../
Mod 33: .6..,..,g
"Thirty three..."
Mod 33: .,.../.,,,?..,/#...,.,,/,gobble
"-I'll go grab Monopoly."
You need a moment to walk out of the room and clear your head anyway.
The door swings shut behind you, sending a rush of cool air against your back as you accommodate to the newfound silence.
Your head is hot and your hands are clammy, but the hospital corridors are always chilly. You're not sure which one is making you shake.
The commons room is just a bit down the hall. You pass by the familiar nurses of the floor you've seen countless times...
It occurs to you that no one in this hospital would be so cruel or thoughtless as to talk about what Mod 33 had gotten in his head.
Not even his doctor... You hope.
You pick up the Monopoly box, swinging it around thoughtfully, hearing the clinks and clanks of the game pieces getting disorganized as you shake it.
If Mod 33 was a top hat, and the thimble didn't survive...
No. You shouldn't even entertain it.
You walk back to Mod 33's room.
Mod 33: ooh,.,
Mod 33: iithought youwere leving me
"Here. I brought Monopoly."
"...But I need to be honest. I don't want to stay here much longer."
"I need to talk to your doctor, face to face, and sort this out myself."
Mod 33: ,?>
Mod 33: ,..,,.,.,
Mod 33: ookjk.,,
Mod 33: helejust tellyoyou wht iive toldyou..
Mod 33: sso just go ahed andleve.,
"I'm sorry I have to leave after all that. I promise, next time, we'll do something fun, okay?"
Mod 33: nno.
Mod 33: iwant you..toseem y doctor
Mod 33: sstpowastting yourrtime inn this rroom withm e
Mod 33: yyoushould speak to him
Mod 33: tto find oout the truth..,aand tthen we can talk neexct time
"I'm glad you understand, 33."
Mod 33: .,no
Mod 33: im gglad
Mod 33: you understnd
You wave goodbye to Mod 33, and walk towards the door. You wish your visit hadn't ended on such sour terms, but this is for the best.
You turn to look one last time at him before turning the door handle.
His eyes are already closed, and he looks peaceful. He must be trying to take a nap.
His heart monitor continues that irritating beep, and the hallway is filled with passing footsteps and loud conversations...
Somehow, he'll find a way to sleep through it.
You quietly exit the room.
  • > It's time to pay a visit
"No, that's not it, 33. I don't hate you. It's just..."
"Old files, you say?"
Mod 33 doesn't say anything, but he looks straight at you.
Maybe... past you. Away from you, even. There's more depth in his eyes than just that.
Mod 33: ,.,. ,ccan youkeep a secret?
"What do you mean? It's not something serious, is it?"
Mod 33: cccnayou just pleaseae please plepelpeplelpsase promsienot to telll anyoneo
Something's not quite right about this... But you want to hear what's on his mind.
"Alright. I promise. What is it?"
Mod 33: i know thhshs surgerys going to wworkr
Mod 33: bccause my docotr said
Mod 33: hhhehs done ti on another patientn,.,, nd it worked
"Is that so."
Mod 33: youu ucant tell anyoneb,, but i know its trueu
Mod 33 rolls over on his side. He looks tired.
It's as though a weight has been lifted off of his shoulders after confessing this to you.
As for you, your shoulders feel heavier...
"Perhaps we should wrap things up here, 33."
Mod 33: .,.,,.aabna iit was nice seeingyou..
"Of course. I greatly enjoy our visits together."
Mod 33: ttheyllbring mme my meds sooon sooi..might take a nap..
"You need the rest. I'll do things in your stead while you sleep."
Mod 33: thjh.,
Mod 33: thank.youu..sos much
He waves goodbye at you half-heartedly, then quietly closes his eyes to take a nap.
His heart monitor continues that irritating beep, and the hallway is filled with passing footsteps and loud conversations...
Somehow, he'll find a way to sleep through it.
You take one last look at him before you quietly exit the room.
  • > It's time to pay a visit
"If I were Dr. Komaeda, where would I be?"
The words escape your lips so presumptuously, yet flatly, as if you're about to say the punchline to a bad joke.
There's no bad joke here, however. You're only being so arrogant because you already know the answer to this question.
You knock on the door, twice, then thrice, then once, then four times.
Inside, you hear heels clacking on the floor, before the door creakily opens.
Dr. Komaeda: Oh. Bad timing. I don't have time for new patients. Go away, please.
"I'm not a patient. I wanted to ask you about another patient of yours... He's a friend of mine."
The... moderator? The Komaeda? The Komaedaling?
No, let's just stick to, "the Gromaedaling."
Behind the door, he looked about ready to shut you out of the building until you mentioned your friend being one of his patients.
His eyes are glowing curiously now, and he's leaned in as if that's a suitably delicious subject.
Dr. Komaeda: Ah, hm. And you wanted something from me?
"I think you would know if I told you his name. I'm talking about Mod 33."
You can feel that he's making a precarious grin at you from behind his surgical mask.
Dr. Komaeda: Come right in, then!
This is Doctor Komaeda's home, where he does most of his services.
You've been here only once before, when you accompanied Mod 33 to an appointment about his treatment options.
It's a kitschy and claustrophobic house, with short ceilings and aged mahogany trimming in every room, you could date the building to the 1970s easily.
The front door leads into an ill-lit living room; on your left is the staircase into what you can only presume is the attic.
The living room has all sorts of tacky knick-knacks. Disney figurines, seashells, bland rocks, porcelain dolls, and music boxes line the mantle.
Everything feels like it's been untouched for decades. The fabric doilies don't help, either.
Doctor Komaeda invites you to sit down next to him on a stout maroon couch, facing a retro TV and a dusty VCR machine.
Dr. Komaeda: Do you have any questions about Mod 33's condition?
"No, it's not about that, necessarily."
Dr. Komaeda: Oho... so perhaps on his diagnosis?
"No. I'm up to date on his files."
"I want to know what's been changed about his treatment plan... or, I suppose..."
"He mentioned something about surgery."
Dr. Komaeda: Well, certainly! We've mentioned surgery many times in the past, haven't we?
Dr. Komaeda: He's a frail boy. He may need a lot of surgeries throughout his lifetime. You should know this much, at least, obsessing over his files!
"That's the trouble. Mod 33 said you were looking at his older files."
Doctor Komaeda looks a bit more serious hearing you mention this. He hesitates, pondering, jaw tightening under his mask, before answering you.
Dr. Komaeda: As a doctor, I have to take everything into consideration... Even the documentation of a colleague who may not have been the most altruistic.
Dr. Komaeda: So, yes... I was looking at his old documents. It's not the first time I've done so, either.
Dr. Komaeda: It means nothing more than research to me. I was only looking for another perspective to help me understand what options we have for his future.
  • > I believe you
  • > Something smells fishy
"Of course... I understand that."
"Maybe I was jumping to conclusions. Mod 33 brought it up out of the blue, so I didn't know what to think."
Dr. Komaeda: You're a good friend. That's why Mod 33 values your companionship so much, after all.
Dr. Komaeda: Would you like me to tell you Mod 33's new treatment plan?
"Of course..."
Dr. Komaeda: Wait right here. I've got the papers sitting in the attic right now...
Doctor Komaeda briskly steps up the creaky attic stairs, and shuts the door behind him.
You feel a bit restless, sitting by yourself in a stranger's house.
Taking in your surroundings a little more slowly, you realise you can see into the kitchen from where you're sitting.
You don't want to leave the couch, so you squint to make out details...
There's notes on the fridge, one script reminiscent of the scrawled notes on Mod 33's new file, and another that seemed... unfamiliar.
Three chairs gather at a small metal table, all with their own dishware and cutlery laid out.
You never considered that he lived here with housemates... You imagine this could be very awkward, especially since he runs most of his consultations in his own home.
They must have their own busy lives if he can manage to run a business here.
Suddenly, you start to hear whirring sounds from up in the attic. You jolt upright and turn to look at the ceiling, but can't discern anything.
The sense of unfamiliarity in this home unsettles you, so you pretend you're unmoved as the noise increases...
Perhaps Doctor Komaeda's housemates only visit occasionally? This house is like an oasis, compared to the 2bed2bath.
You wonder if they're not just older moderators (or otherwise) who come here on the doctor's off days to escape the chaos of their other homes...
That whirring upstairs is absolutely blaring now. It's accompanied by a melodic thwack, thwack, thwack sound.
But you're just gonna play it cool as the guest. You don't want to be rude after inviting yourself over in the first place...
If this sound is a constant, you don't get how roommates could stand it. Even you would rather go back to the 2bed2bath right now.
The noises stop all at once, a light buzzing turning into nothing. It sounds like machinery turning off.
The attic door creaks open... Doctor Komaeda is looking down at you.
Dr. Komaeda: Mod 44, are you ready?
You feel a horrible sense of deja vu.
Dr. Komaeda: I want you to see my latest project. Come up to the attic when you're ready.
You know you're not allowed in the attic. This is the first time he's invited you, by name no less.
Some of the Disney figurines on the mantle have fallen over from all the commotion upstairs, so you put Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty back upright where they belong.
With unsteady footing, you ascend the attic stairs, and slowly push the door open.
He DID invite you, right? You start counting the time and repeating the conversation you just had to make certain you heard right.
You would be in so much trouble if you barged in, uninvited, like maggots infesting a fresh stock of meat.
But he did invite you, so you get your first glimpse of the attic.
...He's not in there... There must be more than one room up here. This is just a study, with berber carpeting and dank wooden walls.
Dr. Komaeda: I'm back here in the operating room.
You follow the sound of his voice.
You probably shouldn't look at the documents sprawled out on his desk, just go straight for the door next to it...
Gingerly, unsurely, you push it open.
It's definitely an operating room, and it- it- it-
Oh god.
Is that...
... ...
You wake up.
🍁bad end: mod XX
"Looking at those old documents, knowing where they came from... I don't think anything good can come from that."
"I don't want anything bad happening to my friend. And I don't want his doctor messing up his treatment."
Dr. Komaeda: That isn't unreasonable to ask.
Dr. Komaeda: No, I... I should say.
Dr. Komaeda: I should just tell you the truth.
Dr. Komaeda: Mod 33's old doctor may have been wrong, but there was one particular thing he hypothesized that I think could be successful.
"That's exactly what I don't want! I can't trust his research and I don't want to see it put into practice."
Dr. Komaeda: Hear me out, would you? A doctor breaking his oath upsets me just as much as it does you.
Dr. Komaeda: After I explain things, I think you'll understand why I'm considering it at all.
Dr. Komaeda: As for your friend Mod 33, he's already onboard with the treatment plan, regardless of who was responsible for its research.
The air is stuffy and dank, making it harder to breathe as your patience is exacerbated.
You're mad at Doctor Komaeda... but you're mad at Mod 33, too. Most of all, you're mad at the one who's responsible for any of this transpiring.
It's impossible to truly be mad at 33, especially in his position, but...
You try to pace your breathing, looking away from Doctor Komaeda and around the room for something to focus on instead.
You stare instead at his distorted reflection in the old TV across the two of you. He's waiting patiently for you to collect yourself.
Dr. Komaeda: If you would hear me out, I'm sure Mod 33 would appreciate it greatly.
"Alright... I get it. If it's what Mod 33 wants, I'll listen."
Dr. Komaeda: Thank you. Let me explain it to you...
Dr. Komaeda: Fundamentally speaking, a withering Mod Komaeda can take the place of a non-existing mod.
Dr. Komaeda: It doesn't matter how the previous mod ceased to exist, all that matters is there is a spot for them in that batch. A... "number", so to speak.
Dr. Komaeda: Mod 33's former doctor was a real Gromaeda-kisser. His research is biased from every angle, so this is one of his few studies that holds any substance.
"Gromaeda-kisser? Could you be more clear?"
Dr. Komaeda: Ah, sorry. I mean he's one of those types that believes in early numbers or batches being "closer to Gromaeda," and looks down upon the younger batches.
Dr. Komaeda: I always forget you're just a Komaedaling, with all your knowledge of the moderators...
Dr. Komaeda: Mod 33's doctor hypothesized that you could rearrange the DNA in a moderator to match an unused number in a similar batch to reroll them into a new, healthier form.
Dr. Komaeda: The success rate would be the same as the success rate of the creation of a new moderator, so about 70%. If Mod 33 survived that when he was created, then I have no doubt he can survive it again.
"So... what you're saying is..."
"He's going to be... reborn?"
"As an entirely different mod?"
Dr. Komaeda: No, not quite! He will be reborn, yes, but he will be the same Mod 33 as always.
Dr. Komaeda: A healthier body, unchained by worry, so a healthier mind, as well.
"What makes you so sure this will work?"
Dr. Komaeda: I've extensively researched Gromaeda Order independently, along with working in a nestling ward for two decades.
Dr. Komaeda: I have the utmost certainty that this is the right treatment for your friend, and it will work. I wouldn't treat a life so lightly.
"He said you had another patient you successfully operated on with this method."
Shit. That slipped out on accident.
You broke Mod 33's promise.
Dr. Komaeda: No. Mod 33 will be my first patient to undergo this new type of treatment.
  • > "Are you lying?"
  • > "I guess Mod 33 had the wrong idea."
"Are you lying?"
Dr. Komaeda: I wouldn't lie about that. Patient confidentiality doesn't include concealing if I've used the same treatment on former patients, either, so I'm not sure what you're doubtful about.
"It's bad enough that you're using his old doctor's research... but telling him to keep secrets from me, then lying to my face, too. That just proves you're sleazy."
Dr. Komaeda: Ah? Ah ah ah? And just what is it you're going on about?
"Mod 33 lied to me about your whereabouts, then said he wasn't supposed to tell me he was getting surgery, or about your old patient who survived the same one."
Dr. Komaeda: Your friend is going through... a lot. I know this. Ic lufie þē. I think he's gotten confused, and I think you're looking too much into his words.
"Just tell me the truth!"
Dr. Komaeda: You want.
Dr. Komaeda: You want...
Dr. Komaeda: The truth?
"Stop tugging everyone along and tell me what you're really doing!"
Dr. Komaeda: Tugging everyone along... Hm?
Dr. Komaeda: A whole flock following...?
Dr. Komaeda: Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together.
"Are you speaking in tongues...?"
Dr. Komaeda: ...
Dr. Komaeda: This is no modern feat...
Dr. Komaeda: What your friend experiences...
Dr. Komaeda: It is something even Komaedalings thousands of years ago struggled to approach.
Dr. Komaeda: But I can change that misconception.
Dr. Komaeda: I can only seek the truth.
Dr. Komaeda: What you see around us and what air you breathe is all part of his ultimate design.
Dr. Komaeda: As part of his ultimate mission.
Dr. Komaeda: Wilt þū mid mē sealtian?
"What truth?!"
Dr. Komaeda: The truth of it all...
Dr. Komaeda: Ah, the gorgeous, glistening truth... hahahah...
Dr. Komaeda: The truth of all of this...
Dr. Komaeda: The truth. Is that.
Dr. Komaeda: We are.
Dr. Komaeda: All.
Dr. Komaeda: Enormous.
Dr. Komaeda: Golden.
Dr. Komaeda: Turkeys.
"I guess Mod 33 had the wrong idea."
Dr. Komaeda: His memory probably isn't the best, hm?
Dr. Komaeda: But after this treatment, I'm sure he'll see many improvements.
Hopefully, Doctor Komaeda will forget you mentioning something so specific.
You have a feeling he's not being entirely honest, but you don't want to put Mod 33 in a tight spot.
Maybe there's legality issues about mentioning former patients, or even just this surgery.
"Well, you're the doctor..."
Dr. Komaeda: Aha, I suppose that's correct. I wouldn't want either of you trying to convince yourselves that I haven't put a lot of thought into this treatment plan.
Dr. Komaeda: It's always difficult navigating the health and wellbeing of a patient with so many internal issues, what with his unique wiring and stuffing. Sometimes it feels as though I'm trying to build a new species!
Dr. Komaeda: But I believe it would be best if you have faith in these methods.
Dr. Komaeda: It is in my best interest, too, that your friend lives to see another day.
"As long as I can be sure you're not trying to test some new quack surgery on him, or using him for spare parts..."
Dr. Komaeda: Ah? If that is one of your fears, I assure you now, no part of his current form would be worth even a penny on the organ market.
Dr. Komaeda: Perhaps, after this surgery, the new form he inhabits will possess much more valuable parts.
Dr. Komaeda: Won't that be lovely? Ohohoho! Just in case he needs a fallback.
He straightens up suddenly and looks at you with a stern face.
Dr. Komaeda: I'm joking, of course. I can only do so because I have such a great optimism in this surgery... I know that his life will be changed for the better when it's over with.
Dr. Komaeda: Well, anyway. I don't mean to push you, but I do have other things I need to attend to in the meantime. I hope I've answered any possible queries of yours.
Dr. Komaeda: As long as my patient has hope in my methods, then all should go to plan.
It's hard to shake your head to someone who speaks so convincingly. Maybe you're not entirely sold on these methods, but how can you push back against that?
He ticks every ethical boundary box on the table before you even have a chance to point them out.
It's for the best... isn't it?
But really, it's too late to say anything else. Before you know it, you're shaking his gloved hand, smiling back into eyes peeking over that surgical mask, and letting him usher you out the door.
Evening has passed now, and all that orange glory had long sunk into the western sky.
If the buzzing, flickering street lights weren't hanging over the pathway on your way home, and the illustrious city windows from complexes that never reached high enough to be noteworthy, you'd probably get lost.
But you find your way, eventually.
And just like clockwork, you open your own front door, kick off your canvas shoes only barely hanging onto your feet, feel your eyelids closing, and force yourself to the mattress you never bothered to buy the frame for.
It's hard to tell how many days passed until you received the next phone call.
Or, 'missed' would be the correct term to use. The answer phone flashed white until you dragged yourself to check it.
Dr. Komaeda: Hello. I'm hoping you've been well. I'm calling to let you know that Mod 33's surgery—
You can't hear him during this part. Maybe the line cut out? A violent clash of noise sounded the line instead, ending all at once.
Dr. Komaeda: —able to visit from now! I hope the delay hasn't been too hard. I know what it's like, to wait for a friend.
That's right. Mod 33's surgery...
A call like this must mean Dr. Komaeda has already operated.
You suppose it's time to return to the hospital one last time.
You leave early the next morning. It's hardly sunrise, and the fog is still hovering over the pavement just as closely as the dew clings to the grass.
Mod 33 isn't in his usual hospital room, of course. A nurse guides you to the surgery ward, where he is in recovery.
You've been here many times.
"A frail boy, who will probably need many surgeries in his lifetime..." That's how Doctor Komaeda described your friend.
And each time, each subsequent operation he had, you got more and more used to these frequent surgeries.
Maybe Mod 33 thought even less of it than you. Being prepped for surgery, being put under anaesthesia, being put under the knife.
And his doctor, like a trained chef, making his alterations as if he were preparing a fine dish...
You can't really help that you still feel nervous waiting to see the results, however.
But you shouldn't be thinking of yourself.
No... Isn't this a time to be thankful?
You shall be thankful, filled with gratitude, when you see his remarkable form post-operation.
Gathering your courage, you open the door to his room.
There's a lump under the sheets where Mod 33 is resting...
"Mod 33, I—"
"I came to see you."
"I... your... your surgery. I came to see your surgery."
The blankets shift around as Mod 33 turns to look at you.
"Mmy... best friend."
"You didnt lleave me."
... ...
... ... ...
Doctor Komaeda was right.
Today is the beginning of a new era.
🍁true end: the new turkeyment
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