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December 3, 2002
Professor Rian was standing on the front steps, watching the car drive away. He seemed fine until the car disappeared, and then he sagged, as if an important valve had failed and all of his vigor had leaked out. He trudged back into the building looking twenty years older than he had half an hour earlier.

Despite everything, Nick couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

He turned to walk back to the lab, and collided heavily with someone who had materialised as if by magic behind him. He nearly gave himself whiplash as he jerked away. It was Charlie.