A man burst through the doorway, a few papers falling out from his unbuttoned suit jacket. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” He crouched down, fumbling to pick up the papers, brain clearly scattered as he shot a sharp, quick glance at the host who was looking down at him.

“H-how do you do, sir!” The host said, voice shaky, hands slightly trembling as they looked upon a loose cannon.

“Oh, oh I’m fine, thanks for asking.” He corrected his wire glasses, stuffing the papers into an inside jacket pocket. One of his eye sockets was obscured, with a red velvet patch matching his jacket. “Are you available for bar seating?”

“Yea, we are!” The chef shouted bluntly as he leaned on the bar.

“Can I get a name?” The host asked, looking the man in the eyes as he looked on, eying the subtle rough stitching in his eye patch.

“Are you guys part of any...networks? Conglomerate business chains?” He rubbed his hands together, and adjusted his glasses once more.

“This place is me, myself, and him.” The chef said, pointing to the host. “We don’t work for any corporate folks.”

“Thank god.” He produced a pill bottle from his jacket, popping one into his mouth, and sighing. “Name’s Clements.” He moved over to a barstool, sitting and facing the chef as the host placed a menu in front of him.

“I recommend starting with some wa-“ The host was cut off as Clements spoke again.

“Get me a shot of brandy, to start. And some fries, I guess.” Clements passed the menu back to the host, still jittery.

“Interesting combination, but you’re the boss I suppose.” The chef shrugged, and went to the back to start working on an order of fries.

“So, what brings you in?” The host asked, grabbing the bottle of brandy under the counter.

“I’ve had a hell of a day. You really said you guys don’t work for any corps?” Clements shook, glancing about even more.

“Yes, if I really gotta drive that in even further!” The host huffed, handing Clements the shot.

“Ok, ok, fuck. I guess I can tell you, then. I’m...kinda on bad terms with my old job.” Clements knocked back the shot, tapping the glass against the counter with shaky hands. “And they are NOT the type of people I should have fucked with, but I was STUPID and did it anyway.”

“How stupid?” The host stared coldly, speaking in a monotone manner.

“Stupid enough that they got augmented agents after my ass.” Clements leaned to the side, looking back into the kitchen at the chef. The chef’s mechanical eye noticed this, blinking.

“Augmented agents, huh. You say that as if you don’t have anything in you.” Laughing, the chef lowered sliced potatoes into a fryer, oil sputtering.

“Not street level augments, I’m talking soldier-grade tech here! The kinda shit that could leave me dead in pieces, gramps.” Clements outstretched his hand, pushing the shot glass towards the host, who refilled it, still looking cold and unfeeling.

“How’d you get these guys after you, then? What did you fuck with, Clements?” The chef asked, turning to face him.

“I stole a bunch of internal documents, and a computer. I worked in a medical corp. They supply a lot of street level augments, but they’re..god, it’s fucking hard to say it.” He knocked back another shot.

“They’re what?” The chef stared, now curious as his own augmented eye glowed.

“From the time I started working there, we built them to fail on people, purposeful faulty wiring, purposeful problems with the body accepting them, all purposeful complications.” Clements looked away from both the host and the chef as he leaned on the counter, staring into space. “It didn’t hit any employees hard, at first, because the company would supply proper augments to us.” He pointed to his covered eye socket. “And then the damn eyeball they gave me exploded. Once my own job got close to frying my entire brain with flames and static, I was done.” The host poured him another shot. “So I sewed up the eye myself, which was brutal beyond belief, put this patch there, and immediately knew I couldn’t just quit.” Clements smirked for a moment. “Putting the patch there just made every day a reminder of my work. It stared me in the face with every look I took in mirrors!” He continued staring off, as the chef and host looked at him, struck speechless by his story. “I shouldn’t have decided to take shit and run though, I should have just sent it discreetly...” A hand trembled as his working eye stared at the shot glass, looking at the light shine through it. The chef also trembled, mouth slightly agape before he firmly took a breath in and tensed his face back up.

“My god, son.” The chef put down a plate of fries, seasoned and piping hot. “You deserve more than just this, with a story like that.” Clements gave a long sigh.

“I’m gonna end up splattered on an alleyway wall, but thanks, old man.” Clements picked up a fry, biting into it. “Damn good last meal, anyhow!”

He continued eating the fries as the host looked on, now back to their emotive self. “Wh-what the hell are you gonna do now?!” They asked, hands over their mouth.

“I’ve got a few, well, non-media contacts I should pass the details of this to. I’m carrying it all in my jacket, when it should be with the public.” He crossed his arms, a half-eaten fry hanging out of his mouth. “Even if I make it, though, I’m marked for life. They’ll hunt me down. And the media will likely not listen to me no matter what now, because of the corps’ influence, and yadda yadda ya know the drill.” He stood up, buttoning his jacket. “Can I take the rest to go? I’ve spent...probably too much time. Do you take chip transfers, too?”

“No worries, seriously. About any of that, just,” The chef dumped the rest of the fries into a bag, folding the top over and offering it to Clements. “Take this and run to anyone you gotta meet. You’ll get there if you believe in it.”

Clements gave a soft smile towards the chef and host as he took the bag, holding it at his side. “Thanks, really. For the hospitality.”

“And thank you for stopping in. If you live, you’re always welcome!” The host cheerfully piped, causing Clements to laugh and his scattered, fearful nature to fade.

“Ah, wow, well. You guys are a class act. I’ll have to take you up on that offer, if the odds line up!” He pointed at the host, smirking before walking to the door, putting his hand on the handle, and looking contemplatively at it.

“Ta-ta, for now.” Clements muttered, mostly to himself, as he sprinted out the door as fast as he had barged in, a velvet-clad thief in the night. Meanwhile, above the city skyline, a helicopter roared like a lion, jetting through the clouds before swooping downwards to the streets.

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