The man Jutse heard wasn't used to being addressed so casually.
He didn't like it at all.

Turn around when I'm talking to you. Where's your respect?

Jutse recognized him immediately.
Fleet Admiral Vincent Thompson, the one-man front.
Legendary only begins to cover the enormity of his deeds.

It is said that his plane was shot down after the bombing of Geil.

But not only did he survive what should have been a fatal crash,
he became a one-man army, single-handedly destroying entire enemy encampments.

He freed hundreds of his imprisoned countrymen, and reached the front lines
from the enemy's side at the head of an army he built out of these freed prisoners.

He did all of this while missing his right arm and eye, and suffering severe burns.

Animation. Jutse stands on a sidewalk atop a hill overlooking the cityscape below. Jutse, hearing his name, turns around to see who's speaking to him. Upon realizing who it is, he opens his mouth and screams.

Oh, shut up.
If I were here to hurt you, I wouldn't have bothered telling you I was here.

Who's this douchebag supposed to be?

Jutse did not take kindly to this sort of disrespect.
Fleet admiral or not, no one told him to shut up.

Shut up? Did I hear that right?


Vincent, an Australian wedge tailed eagle with a missing eye and a prosthetic beak, tips his admiral's cap with a mechanical hand, his five stars showing on his forearm sleeve as he does so.
Apologies. That was ruder than I meant to be.
Your, *ahem*, impressive scream set off my tinnitus. That aside...
If anything, I thought you'd be happy to see me, considering why I'm here.

... I'm sorry, erm... I don't know why that would be.
What business would someone like you have with me?

About a year ago, you operated on a comatose woman named Lily.
After twelve years in a coma, you were the only one who succeeded in rousing her.
You might not have realized it, but she's my daughter.
I haven't gotten a chance to thank you. So, thank you, Doctor.

Oh dear, um, Fleet Admiral Sir, you don't-

You're a civilian, so you can just call me Vinny. No need for all that formality.

Ah, of course s-... Vinny. Um, I was just doing my job, and that's... That's all!

Doctor, you can relax, there's no reason to be so nervous.

Of course, of course.
*deep breath*
Sorry, I get kind of anxious around new people!

Ah, don't sweat it. I'm used to it.
What with this face and my height and all, this is usually how people react when I try to talk to them.
I get that I'm intimidating in person.

I see...
Was... that all? You just wanted to thank me?

That, and...

Vincent held out a small blue card with ornate golden lettering on it.
Reluctantly, Jutse took it.

Vincent hands Jutse a small navy blue card with ornate golden lettering covering it, using his prosthetic hand. The lettering is not legible.
I wanted to give you this.

Right, yes, of course...
What is this?

It's my personal phone number.

Bro he's not gay. Step off.

Jutse holds up the card and places his hand on his hip, tossing his head saucily with a smug expression as he responds.
Jutse burst out laughing and needed several deep breaths to regain his composure.

Yeah! Yeah, get laughed at!

Oh, dear me... That is... That is just precious.
Lands alive, this... Hoo! Hoo boy. I am flattered of course...
But I'm... I don't... I don't swing that way, if you understand me.
That, and I'm not exactly... well... Looking for a partner right now.
Especially not one of... your... Stature.

Oh, please. I'm far too old for you, Doctor.

Come now, you don't look a day over forty.

What? Dude he looks like a mummy. The hell you being nice to him for?

I'm sixty-three years old, Doctor Aldwyn... Allow me to get to the point.
Think of this like a get-out-of-jail-free card, but for real life.
I have friends at every level of the government, including the emperor,
I'm on good terms with most of this nation's wealthiest CEOs,
and I even have contacts throughout this nation's underbelly.
So, yes, I know about your illegal work as a street doctor before you got your medical license,
and I've already expunged all official records of it, since you didn't harm anyone.
Consider that a freebie.

Jutse turns nervously, looking after Vincent as he walks away.
You, uh... You knew about that, did you?
I, ah... Well, you said expunged, is that right?
To be honest, that is exactly what I would have used this on.
In the absence of that black stain on my past, I honestly don't know what to ask for.

Oh shit, crime time! Ask for a gun!

You want a helicopter along with some flight lessons?
Early retirement with riches beyond what you could spend?
A beautiful beachside house with live-in servants?
You have an enemy you want to make disappear, no questions asked?
You have a friend who's in legal trouble, whose slate you'd like wiped clean?

Do you have someone from your past you'd like found, so you can reconnect?
Nothing is outside my reach, Doctor. My authority in this nation is second only to the emperor himself.
And I, my friend, am squarely in your debt.

I always repay my debts.

Um, thank you, uh... Vinny! I'll think on it.
Goodness, I couldn't begin to imagine what I'd need something like this for.

Don't let the law restrict your thinking, either.
You want something a little crazy? Maybe a little dirty?
Any drug you want, it's yours.
Strippers who are desperate to please, ready to f-



Ah, shy little kitten, aren't you?
We'll find something to make you purr.

Oh he did NOT just call Jutse a kitten.

Jutse's face contorts with fury, in complete disbelief at the insult he just received.


Jutse took several deep breaths, and felt the blood rising to his face.
Tears welled up in his eyes.
His pride over his surgical abilities dashed by this unexpected insult.
He took a deep breath.


Hey, what's wrong? He's getting away! Go kick him!

Vincent didn't even bother turning around.
He raised a hand and waved, his back turned.
Jutse stood at the street corner with his heart pounding in his chest.
He stared after Vincent, his body numbed with rage.

Eventually, Vincent stopped walking, and only a moment later,
a black car with tinted windows and a license plate reading "2" rolled up beside him.
Without even looking back at Jutse, Vincent got into the car, and it rolled away.

I'm burning this fucking card.
Fuck him. FUCK HIM. Who does he think he is? I supposedly saved his daughter! I did that and he...

I can't take much more of this day.
First Julio says he can't get coffee with me, then I almost get hit by a bloody train,
and now the damn Fleet Admiral of the Empire calls me a kitten and just saunters off?
What the hell did I do to deserve this? What did I do?

Aw... Jutse... It's okay to cry... I don't think any less of you for it.

For once, Jutse was grateful to be alone.
Tears welled up anew, and fell, darkening his fur.
He was grateful that no one was around to see him cry.

Is it really so much to ask for someone to be fucking nice to me?

I'm literally right here.

Eventually, he managed to calm himself down, and he pressed the walk signal again.
He would wipe away his tears, and he would continue on his way to the cafe.
But not before crossing paths with a fox, who was much more in control of her day.