Rafael is on duty when the boss comes by. His heart sinks. "Oh, hi, sir. Hey, the research on gut bacteria is just amazing."

"Yes, thanks," said his boss, "What are we at?"


His boss frowns. "It's only ten minutes to midnight. You are cutting it close. 21% is the goal. You'll have to dump a bunch to make it."

Rafael is sweating. "Oh, yeah, but you know, it's a holiday, we're a little short staffed."

"Let's see. 47 sets of twins." He presses the button. "Oh, look, that one has eight. Those fertility drugs really make the job easier, don't they?"

"She's been on bed rest for three months." says Rafael. He tries to hide a shudder. The octuplets join the twins. He can see the mom start crying and the people in the hospital running to her room. She is bleeding but she'll make it. At 18 weeks the babies won't.

His boss continues, fast as can be, to up the percentage. "There. 21%. Gaol reached, ha." He turns to Rafael. "And you need a break. Out."

Rafael nods. "Yes sir. Sir..."

"Don't ask." says his boss. "Ineffable. Inscrutable. It's my plan."

Rafael sighs. "Do you want Artemis or Lilith?"

It is one minute after midnight. His boss is starting on the day shift.


"Yes, boss." Rafael goes. His boss is right, he needs the break. He can't stand the sad mothers and fathers any more. Part of the plan, he knows it's his job, yes, yes.

"Oh, you are so burnt out." says Artemis, grinning at him. She picks up her bow and heads for the clinic. "You men, so soft hearted," she says, "Have a great break and take your time!"

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