GREEN MEANS GO

Denver, CO 1918

They staggered into the hospital, the man and the teenaged boy supporting the woman between them. The boy coughed and swayed on his feet, dark curls sticking to his forehead.

"Bogg," he said, his voice wavering between registers, "I've got to go sit for a minute. Can you manage?"

"You've done great, kid," was the answer. "You go rest. I'll get her to a doctor and be right back. Save your strength." Bogg put one arm under the woman's left arm and bent down to put his other arm behind her knees, pausing as a wave of dizziness hit. He straightened up slowly, cradling the woman in his arms, and haltingly made his way to a desk at the other end of the room, concentrating so hard on moving each step that he never saw his companion crumple and collapse to the floor.

"I need a doctor," he called out in his deep voice. "She needs help."

A man in a white coat had already spotted them and came forward with a gurney. Bogg gently placed the woman on it, gripping the side for support. The doctor cast an appraising glance at both of them. "Friend of yours?" he asked.

"Her name's Katherine Anne Porter. Make sure she's all right."

"We'll do the best we can," the doctor replied. "You should get yourself looked at as well, my friend, before you try to perform in that outfit."

Bogg shook his head and quickly realized it was a bad idea to move in that fashion. "Thanks, doc," he said. "I'll be fine. I just need to get my partner." He turned back towards the entrance, leaned on the wall for support, and pulled out his omni, smiling when he saw the green light. "Jeffrey," he called out, "green light, kid. We're good to go." The smile faded when he got no response. "Jeffrey?" Panic filled his chest as he realized Jeffrey wasn't in the room. "Jeff?" He looked around, then frantically grabbed a passing nurse. "Where's my kid? Where's my kid? He was right here a minute ago. About fifteen, dark curly hair, blue shirt?"

The nurse regarded him for a moment, compassion in the brown eyes peeking out above the mask she wore over her nose and mouth. "You're the father?" Without waiting for an answer, she continued. "He's over this way, sir. We're admitting him now. He's a very sick boy." She paused for a brief second. "That's the worst of this flu. It's hitting adolescents the hardest." She guided Bogg to a room down the hall. "The doctor's with him now."

From the doorway, Bogg could see a middle-aged, balding, white-coated man leaning over a still form on a bed, one hand on Jeffrey's forehead, the other positioning a stethoscope on his chest. Bogg's mouth felt dry. "Doc?"

The doctor looked up. "He should have been in here days ago." He turned back as Jeffrey started coughing again, a deep, wheezing cough that racked his body into spasms.

Bogg rushed to the bed, his own ailments ignored. "I didn't know... He never said anything."

The doctor shook his head as he listened to Jeffrey's lungs. "You will need to leave, sir, so I can treat your son. I would advise you to visit the chapel and pray for forgiveness for neglecting this boy."

Jeffrey stirred. "Bogg," he wheezed. "Don't leave me. Don't..." He started coughing again.

Bogg moved to take Jeffrey's hand. "I'm right here, kid. I won't leave."

"Yes, you will." The doctor pulled Bogg's arm away from the boy. "I need to treat this patient and cannot do so with you in the room. You need to leave now."

"No," Bogg pushed the doctor's hand away. "This is my kid, and I'm staying." Adrenaline rushed through his body. "You can't make me leave him."

The doctor moved towards the door. "Nurse!" he yelled down the hall. "Find me a few men from the cleaning staff to remove this man from my patient's room." He paused for a moment in the doorway. "I'm sorry to have to do this, sir, but it's for the good of your son." He turned back towards the bed. It was empty.