The Academic

"I'm an academic."

"Thanks for the warning," Jake said. He threw the makeshift launcher over his shoulders and spat his cigar-stub into a puddle, where it hissed but didn't quite go out.

"Do you have something against study?"

"No. Where would we be," Jake said, then grunted as he kicked at the door. He kicked again, sending showers of splinters to the polished floor of the hallway. He sniffed and reared back, then threw himself forward with a final, frame-shattering lunge. "Huh," he grunted, and stepped over the door's remains.

"Where would we be?" the scholar called after Jake. He took care not to enter the new room. He'd been very cautious ever since Alphonse had been sliced into neat little cubes of meat by the hidden tracking lasers of the second chamber.

"—without all these centuries of knowledge, collected by folks like yourself?" Jake said, and poked his head back into the hallway. He grinned at the scholar. "It looks safe enough. Stay close."


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