"Hmmm. Looks like the wrist was just sprained really badly. Cut away his jacket sleeve."
Pain was the first sensation to return to the mind of Max Rockatansky. Pain in his leg, his arm, and most of all, his heart.
"And the leg, doctor?"
"Shattered kneecap, obviously. He'll limp for a little while, put a leg brace on it for now."
The clank of metal being stitched on him. The stinging pain of gauze where Bubba Zanetti had shot his leg. The soreness in his arm where he had been run over.
Goose is dead. Sprog is dead.
Toecutter and Johnny the Boy are still alive.
"Doctor, shouldn't you sterilize that first?"
"Sorry, Jane. Courts rationed iodine this morning. Won't have any antiseptic 'till tomorrow."
"Mmm. Say, isn't this that guy who was here yesterday?"
"I wasn't here, was he?"
"Yeah, wife 'n' kid came in on a meat wagon. Think he's a bronze."
"Hey, wait, I saw his name on telly! Rockatansky, right? Yeah, he ran down a glory rider outside of Weckstaff a week ago, Crawford Montizano. That Night Rider guy, right?"
"Yeah, sounds right. Anyhow, how is that woman?"
"Oh, the other Rockatansky? Yeah, dead in intensive. We actually had her recovered, but she got infected off of one of the scalpels, didn't make it. Kind of funny actually, after all she made it through, she couldn't handle a little infec – "
Max's eyes snapped open as his uninjured left hand shot out and closed around the unfortunate doctor's throat.
"'That's funny', huh? Ever wonder if all the patients you didn't save would ever bite you back?"
Fifi Macaffee and the two remaining MFP officers in his precinct, Root and Charlie, walked down the hall of Melbourne General Hospital with District Prosecutor Macalister not far behind. After all Max had been through, the 8th Circuit was about to court-marshal him.
Fifi thought bitterly about it. He'd been saying this would happen. For years. The MFP was pathetically funded, understaffed, underequipped, and everything in between. To some degree, Max was right. You had to be a loony to stay in it. After a while, you were just a loony with a big bronze shield on you leathers to prove you were one of the good guys.
Just a bunch of tough guys in beat-up Interceptors with the most antiquated guns available. That was the only thing that kept the gangs out of Melbourne. And they honestly didn't expect someone to go nuts. Somebody had. And it was Max.
Macalister had been Johnny the Boy's defense attorney when the Toecutter's gang scared their entire case into not showing. Apparently, he hadn't had enough of making the MFP's life miserable. He was currently wearing the nicest pinstripe suit in any tailor's establishment in Melbourne. Inwardly, Fifi sneered. He and his fellow officers had trouble buying more than the shirts on their back, and this paper-pushing rat decided to show off his choice of outfits while preparing to indict one of his officers.
They entered the room to find Max strangling the doctor. Upon seeing the four enter, he stopped, and the doctor, with a wince of axphixia, scurried out the door of the sparse hospital room, followed by his nurse.
Silence reigned. Both sides took everything in. Max was still in his MFP leathers, with the exception of the sleeve the doctor had removed and the small bullet hole Bubba's revolver had caused.
"Hi, Max," said Fifi.
"Hi, guys," came the small, lost voice right back at him.
A moment of silent reconciliation followed, broken by Macalister bursting in, obnoxious as ever.
"Officer Rockatansky, the courts are outraged once again at the actions this section of the MFP. In the last 48 hours, I have seen the most blatant violations of this year's traffic protocol! Unauthorized use of a V8 Interceptor! Violent force used without justifying circumstances! Use of a level 4 weapon without the mandatory waiting period of three days! Officer Rockatansky, do you have any semblance of sanity left in you?"
Max said nothing.
"How shall I plead you? Insane? Guilty? No contest? What?"
Max still didn't speak.
"Answer me, Officer!"
Max rose, slowly walking over to where his personal effects were piled. It wasn't much: a pair of mirrored sunglasses, a battered pair of driving gloves, a revolver in a shoulder holster, and a sawed-off 12-gauge. He strapped it all on, all the time getting the feel back in his numb right hand, as well as adjusting to the feel of the iron brace on his left leg.
"So be it. Officer Max Rockatansky, I'm summoning you to a mandatory disciplinary hearing, to be set at a later date. Sergeant Macaffee, arrest him."
Fifi sighed. He knew this would happen. "I'm sorry, Max."
"I understand, Fif."
Fifi saw that while Max forgave him, he was not coming quietly. There was a way in the manner his body was coiled that Fifi knew a fight was coming. Which meant Max really was insane.
Charlie sensed it as well. He pulled the compressor unit from around his neck and pressed it to the terminal in his damaged neck. The mechanized voice issued from it, ominously unemotional "Come-on-Max-don't-do-this-just-come-with-us-everything-will-be-okay".
While Charlie's medically-constructed voice betrayed no humanity, his face certainly did. It was the mask of a friend, desperately trying to help another, even in the face of all Max had done. And Max wanted to. So desperately. Just to be fired from the force, and make a living somewhere that didn't involve getting killed.
Except that his wife and child were dead. And those who did it were still alive. There was no peace for him as long as both those statements were true.
And so he held his ground.
Macalister's nasal intonations interrupted again. "For god's sake, Rockatansky, have you no idea of the order that we all signed on to preserve?"
Something flickered in Max's eyes just then. With a barely-visible flick of his hand, the massive revolver was out of his shoulder holster, pointing at Macalister.
"There's no order here anymore. I could kill you, right here, right now. And I'd go to jail for the rest of my life, and they'd really punish me good, but nobody would really care. Life and death don't mean anything anymore. Not out here. The only bit of order we've ever had came from me and the MFP, and it's cost us all everything. Friends, family, livelihood. We're dead men walking because we try to uphold order. And then we wake up to see it's all a myth. Nothing matters anymore. Not justice or order or law. Just revenge. That's all that's left here."
And he limped out the door. The three officers followed him, but Macalister just stood, stunned, an every darkening stain on the crotch of his suit pants.
Max was out the door and almost at the V8, Fifi, Root, and Charlie close behind. As Max rounded the corner, he saw a hunchbacked man trying to siphon gas from the V8. At the sight of the officers, he scurried away as fast as he could.
But not fast enough.
Max slowly drew the sawed-off from his hip. With a boom like the sound of a car hitting concrete at 100 mph, Max perforated the siphoner's back leg.
With a cry, the man went down, and with him went the three, sloshing cans of extra-expensive gas.
Max strode over.
"H – help me, officer – please…"
Max's only answer was to pick up the gas cans, and walked back to the car.
Fifi spoke in a trembling tone. "Please, Max, don't do this. WE can sort this all out, even the courts will listen to you. Just put the gun down."
Max lifted his lip in a small smile. "I'm not gonna shoot you Fif. Just let me finish what I set out to do."
"What do you mean?"
"Toecutter and Johnny are still out there. I need to stop them…that's what a good cop does."
"You don't want to arrest them, you just want to kill them!"
"Like he killed Jessie and Sprog."
Fifi sneered. "And then what? I know you Max, you won't stop with just that. You'll just drift out. You'll become drifter trash, just one more junkyard dog. You're hooked."
It was than that the enormity of Max's choices hit him. Dimly, he realized that to leave Melbourne, to try and find Toecutter and Johnny would mean more in the end than revenge. He would leave any semblance of the civilized world behind him. Nobody had gone out of the "cold" zones and come back the same. Irradiated, crazy, or dead was all. Even if he didn't, he would just…fade. He would drive with the vivacity of a zombie, until all semblance of humanity was gone and the very sound of the V8 beneath the hood made him too sick to go on. Max Rockatansky would die, and in its place would be something utterly devoid of compassion, anger, or anything else.
But to stay meant the same. Living with the death of his family and the survival of the gang that did it. And that meant equal amounts of numbingly painful experience.
No choice. He climbed into the V8.
With the rev of the engine and the whine of the supercharger protruding from the hood, he was gone, rolling into the sinking, drab, blasé sunrise.
Rain began to pour down on Fifi. He looked at the fading form of the black pursuit car, and then went back to his own Interceptor. He muttered to himself for a bit, like many a man who has witnessed anything that changes his way of seeing the world.
"You really are mad, Max."