"He had mounted the first three steps of the scaffold, when a young newsman tore forward, ran to him and, from below, seized the railing to stop him.

"Dr. Stadler!" he cried in a desperate whisper. "Tell them the truth! Tell them that you had nothing to do with it! Tell them what sort of infernal machine it is and for what purpose it's intended to be used! Tell the country what sort of people are trying to rule it! Nobody can doubt your word! Tell them the truth! Save us! You're the only one who can!"

Dr. Stadler looked down at him. He was young; his movements and voice had that swift, sharp clarity which belongs to competence; among his aged, corrupt, favor-ridden and pull-created colleagues, he had managed to achieve the rank of elite of the political press, by means and in the role of a last, irresistible spark of ability. His eyes had the look of an eager, unfrightened intelligence; they were the kind of eyes Dr. Stadler had seen looking up at him from the benches of classrooms.

He noticed that this boy's eyes were hazel; they had a tinge of green.

Dr. Stadler turned his head and saw that Ferris had come rushing to his side, like a servant or a jailer. "I do not expect to be insulted by disloyal young punks with treasonable motives," said Dr. Stadler loudly.

Dr. Ferris whirled upon the young man and snapped, his face out of control, distorted by rage at the unexpected and unplanned, "Give me your press card and your work permit!"

"I am proud," Dr. Robert Stadler read-into the microphone and into the

attentive silence of a nation…."

-Atlas Shrugged

There is something about this scene that just… I don't know how to describe it.

I wanted to know more about the boy, I guess. I gave him a name and a life. Sorry.

A small nose was pressed against a dusty window. Hazel eyes, tinged with green stared out at the rain-lashed world.

Grey rain.

Grey sky.

Grey sidewalk.

Grey street.

Eric Cannon looked at all of this unseeingly. Two days earlier, he would have found the scene beautiful, picturesque, despite the extreme monochrome. His father had always told him he had a knack of seeing beauty in the strangest of things. His father…

Unseen to anyone, two drops fell and hit the grimy attic floor.

The slight sound startled the 16-year-old. He glanced at the splash marks on the floor and then up at the roof.

"I'll have to look for leaks later." He said. But his voice cracked half way through the sentence.

When he was young, all Eric wanted was to travel the world and compose music. To see the majesty of mountain ranges, the haunting beauty of the ocean and the desolation of misty fields and to create soaring melodies from them.

At eight, Eric lost his mother. His father lost his job in the day he took off to mourn.

The cello was sold and Eric's dreams were handed away with it.

He had to work to keep his father alive — his father, whose green eyes used to gleam in happiness as he joked about this and that. His father, who was now pale and drawn in grief. That was all that kept him going, those days. His father.

At eight, Eric threw himself into his schoolwork and took nighttime part-time jobs whenever he could, telling his employers he was an underdeveloped sixteen-year-old.

Sixteen.

He met a girl, fourteen years old. Golden-brown eyes that gleamed with amusement and curiosity.

They stayed up nights, sitting out in the cold, talking about dreams.

She intrigued him. Reminded him of the child he used to be. She brought music back to his life.

One night, sitting on a bench in a garden. Sickly roses and trickling algae-coated fountain. Light-poluted sky. The most incredible place in the world, he thought.

First kiss.

Half a year later, she was run over a car a week before his father committed suicide.

At seventeen, he graduated high school in the midst of chaos.

Journalist. A voice of truth in these times was rare and valuable.

He got a job the day he graduated and set to work.

He was eighteen when he confronted Dr. Stadler and lost all hope.

Galt arrived two minutes late.

He was eighteen when he died.