The amber-tinted sky wrapped around the earth tightly, it's gentle breezes casting the dirt up from the tired earth outside of the fortresses. While a war raged on, there was a man caught up in his own moment, standing on the hill. For a while, the Medic was lost to the world. A time he made, that he was allowed, for just a little more, to reflect.

Soon his name was heard in waves of panic, so he broke from his senerenity and began to rush as fast as he could to the cries of pain. He could feel, now, the age pulling upon him. No longer was he running before the wind... he could make it only just in time, too close to the end for comfort. But his persistance and his experience always got him there, and yet another soul was rescued.

Most were thankful for his services that came from the strangest looking device... a little pack he wore close, almost always, which flowed with a mysterious glow that seemed to heal anything. It was a miracle in a metal box as far as everyone was concerned... and it looked so simple to use. His strong hand would pull back the switch and open the valve... and lives were saved. While most of the other adults would not question, a few were bitter, often waiting too long in agony before the Medic reached them. There was one impatient soul who, no matter how fast he was tended to, he would whine for hours.

The battle was over for one night, and the weary that had been healed on the field were now being marched in systematically to the Medic's office. Since the healing was so rapid, foriegn objects and bones healed in misshapen was were common in the system. The Medic had to rebreak legs, dig back into the flesh after a bullet... but with a simple wave afterwards of that gun, again they were healed, but now perfect.

Finally, when the Scout was in getting his leg re-set, he lost his temper, his patience, as young men oft do. "You know, Doc, you could, instead of occasionally leaving some of us behind to die, send us out with those medipaks you use."

"They are not for you."

"Well even if you gave them to one or two of us! We're dying out there!"

"This is the only one we have, and I will not give it to someone unexperienced."

"You older guys always treat me like I'm a little kid!" Scout snapped.

"..." The Medic paused and simply finished his work, then got up and walked out the door with not a word left. Tears pressed at his eyes, but he could not ever let them out. If they knew... there was nobody to confide in...

It finally was too much on the height of a heatwave; while the fires of war burned, so did the skin, and the mind itself began to boil. When the swift, but still clumsy Scout broke a leg, he let out a scream and called for the Medic.

After enduring his pain too long for his likes, his body was given a wave of relief under the medigun. When he got to his feet, he didn't feel like thanking the doctor- no, it was time to let him have it.

"So the old man finally hobbled over! Gee, thanks, Doc!"

"You don't understand, do you?"

"I understand that' you're too damn slow for this kind of work! What kind of a geezer are you?" Scout always saw him as older than the rest, his hair was already graying. Soon his back would be curving and he'd be useless on the field.

The Medic paused, gazing at the horizon where the heat rose in rippling waves. His blue eyes matched the sky perfectly, They rested just at the rim of his glasses as the Medic spoke quietly, "But you see... I'm the same age you are."

"Hah! That's funny, not. C'mon! How old are you really?"

"I just told you." His stern and unchanging expression was undeniable. In no twisted realm of imagination or evil could it have come out as a lie. The Scout was struck silent, and both stood stock still as their bodies sweated under the light.

"How?" The Scout asked almost inaudibly. "How is that possible?"

"This Medipak... it is still not perfect. Like an inefficently sealed reactor... the energy is always flowing and finding a way out." The medic gazed away, "It forces the body to heal at unbelievable speeds... which causes stress, so acute, that it is whittling me away even as I stand here."

"That's... then why do you..."

"My life is to save others. To make others better. The design... it was introduced to me by the original owner... I watched it eat him away over three years, until he looked like a man of a hundred and twenty years. He was 23. He spoke of it being worth it, that someday it would be passed onto another who cherished life and would devote to perfecting it. To keep it out of other's arms until it no longer caused such a terrible wasting of the body... It came in the mail to me, three days after he died."

The Scout just stared. But the Medic's voice was so strong and true... and he was in silent, thin tears. "So... it..."

"I will also fall to it, until the kinks are hammered out. I'm so close, but... I can feel the sand of time burying my efforts. Though young at soul, as I reach further with my hands into the future they grow feeble and weak... soon, I will be nothing, and it still won't be finished. I cannot rest until I know..."

The poor man sighed almost bitterly. "I wonder what it would have been like to catch up on this time that I have lost. To do things with my agegroup again. You... play baseball, am I right?"

"...Yeah, I do..."

"Would you play a little with me?"

The teen shifted a bit nervously. "I guess so..."

For a somber afternoon, they quietly played, as if the world had gone mute and become part of a hazy dream. The entire event felt heavy in the Scout's heart. No words were spoken, but a silent, persistant feeling of pity hung in the air. They played until it was dark, the Medic simply stopping and saying goodnight, and going in for bed. The Scout remained outside for some time, before following in, numb.

What had been a nag had turned into a secret that now was deeply embedded in the Scout's skin as well as the Medic's. A taboo, words never that could escape now drifted through the young man's mind. A behind-the-curtains bonding grew, and the Scout became the muchly needed ears for the Medic to talk to. He expressed that taking time to live was a precious thing to be treasured... he would know best of all. He also showed how his medipak worked, but only in controlled conditions where he knew no damage could come.

One somber winter night, he finally passed, our dear friend the Medic... at the age of 22. The Scout could barely stand it, his heart wrenched and the thoughts that the Medic had left behind swimming about his head as fast as they could go. He wept more than the others, and stayed at the grave for a long period... until the cold forced him back inside, unless he was willing to leave behind his extremeties.

Three days later, a large package appeared outside the Scout's door. He stared down at it for some time, then picked up, brought it inside... and began his life's work.