The three exited the pressurised decontamination chamber and entered the operating theatre.
“What’s on the table?”
“Dead guy.” Foolio crossed his arms and leant on the sterilised wall.
“I really want some fruit.” Shrendig rubbed her stomach while making strange eye-contact with Foolio, they both sniggered and witheld the laughter.
“I think I think I know that guy,” Harkoff started to edge closer to the table, but was prevented by a gloved hand. Foolio shook his head. “I was right before, you know.”
“You’re right once, and now you’re always right?”
“You know being attached to us is a privelidge.”
“How many times have you said that?”
“Not enough, it seems.”
“You know I’ve always wondered what both your faces look like.”
Shrendig and Foolio failed to react to this.
“So you want to find out who the lucky lad is?”
The men mercilessly hacking at the corpse on the table weren’t just doctors - they had read every page of natural science, they knew everything. So they didn’t care. Every inch of skin was severed, every bone was moved, replaced, disregarded with total intention. That blood vessel irritates me. Eyeballs were replaced with a new invention, iris-less steel balls that shone with cool brilliance. So then sever it. Harkoff saw what they did with the brain, little bits removed and others fattened with a pungent liquid - only Foolio saw what they did to its sex.
“Field-Marshal Harkoff will now view upon the identity of the mutilated stranger!” Shrendig announced in a low voice, channelling a sick vitriol towards the soldier.
Foolio winded Harkoff in wonder, and grasped the back on his head with an enormous hand. The head was then perched directly over the paced methods of the polymaths, aligned with brutish humour with that of the corpse.
Harkoff’s head was barely clear of the white shoulders before he realised it was Mallow.
Harkoff was then gently placed between the doctors and made to watch the rest of the procedure, his mind slowly dissolving its prior convictions about the levity of his comrade’s jokes.
A doctor looked up in a moment’s rest, and took an interest in the clothed and goggled face of Harkoff inexplicably standing amongst them.
“Do you know how we bring him back?”
“Yes, but do you know how?”
Harkoff shook his head slowly, his goggles filling up with tears.
“I’ll show you.”
Mallow’s radically-skinnier body was resealed in seconds, suddenly bloodless, and a pair of silver irons were wheeled over from no-where. A high-whistle carried over the enormous machine they were connected to, before the irons were pressed firmly on to the chest and haunches of the corpse.
The doctor engaged Harkoff only once more, grinning, revealing three gold teeth and yellow gums, “It’s like a tamed lightning-bolt.” Suddenly the corpse lurched and Harkoff’s mind left his body. For second the corpse lay unchanged, but then the body began to twitch, before violently arching its back. Harkoff suddenly felt as if he were the whole room, as if all the air had left his ribcage and entered the steely-eyed corpse reanimated on the table. All the heat left the room, and it was cold before.
Harkoff’s kneecaps ceased existing.