He could hear a faint beeping sound that was drawing him, waking him up. His head was swimming with confusion and pain. Not just his head, but his body hurt all over as well, as if he’d had a bad day at work. As his eyes opened he realized he was staring at the ceiling, and lying in a bed. Looking to his right, he found a heart rate monitor, the source of the beeping noise. To his left, he found Nadovev sitting by his bedside watching him… he was in a hospital.

            “Welcome back to the land of the living,” Nadovev said, “how are you doing, Arkady?” He was smiling down on him like a big brother watching over his little brother. Arkady blinked a few times and cleared his head. He struggled to sit up and face him.

            “Where am I?” he asked.

            “You’re in a hospital in Ukraine. We managed to smuggle you unconscious out of the Zone and to the nearest medical facility. The rest of the family is on the way. Do you remember what happened?”  Nadovev asked.

            Arkady scratched his head and thought back, “I’m pretty sure I got shot by Ricky.”

            “Congratulations, you’ve survived one of the worst gunshot wounds I’ve ever seen. And you managed to kill the bad guy. Oh, a military general was arrested a few days ago on charges of corruption. Apparently he was using his soldiers to carry out his own personal ambitions,” he said, “…and, you should see how proud my parents are of you.”