The door slid open eventually. He waited to hear the jingle of Butter Baby's collar, but he did not.

Nova walked in, and slid William's ID across the desk to him.

" Lina said you dropped it in the cafeteria," he said, gently, quietly.

William wasn't sure why that was what broke his state of calm.

He began to heave and sob, an ugly wail, and he couldn't understand why. No one had died.

He clutched at Nova, the only real thing in the world, and he cried.

" I'm going to be alone," he cried. " Why is she leaving me? Why? Why? Why? I'm scared! I don't want to be alone! Don't leave me!"