Patients from all walks of life, suffering from various maladies, lurched through the doors and along the halls in search of treatment.
Nurses and doctors hurried to and fro, offering their aid and keeping everything under control.
Among them was Dr. Milo Miskin.
Now aged twenty-five, Milo was one of the most promising and skilled young physicians that the hospital had to offer. Devoted to the profession, he turned up for duty day in, day out - often arriving early and working late - and always did his utmost to provide the best possible care to each and every one of his patients.
Using his highly logical mind and his amazing abilities of inquisition, Milo could be relied on to get the correct diagnosis and treatment for an illness almost every time - stunning his superiors, and bringing much relief to those he helped.
The only thing he hadn't been able to cure was his broken heart.
This remained the case in his working life, too. Despite receiving various offers to spend time with his colleagues once off-duty, Milo always turned them down politely, but firmly.
After all, socialisation could lead to friendship.
Friendship could lead to love.
Love could lead to heartbreak.
Or even worse, exposure.
Now he was out here in the big, wide world, Milo knew it was vital to keep his alien heritage a secret. Failure to do so would have disastrous consequences. At night, whilst he slept, he was troubled by terrifying visions of laboratories and probes: his own colleagues strapping him down and slicing him up, investigating and analysing him, keeping his body parts in specimen jars in the same storerooms he used each day.
Therefore, it was best that the people he worked with continued to know little about him, or where he came from. To them, he was merely a quiet but ultimately civil young man who liked to keep himself to himself, and that was perfectly fine.
It wasn't fine to Lily or Mordecai.
Having borne the twins at a young age, Mordecai was all too aware of what it was like to miss out on fun things during the prime of your life. However, whilst he had been given the great responsibility of parenthood, Milo was choosing to let life pass him by purely of his own accord. Since all he had ever wanted was for both of his children to be happy, seeing Milo leading a life of solitude upset Mordecai greatly... and Lily shared his feelings.
Clearly, something had to be done - and together, they hatched a plan.
One evening, after a long day on the ward, Milo was coming towards the end of his contracted shift. However, as per usual, he was looking into the possibility of overtime. Perhaps someone on the night shift would like a swap, or he could catch up on some paperwork?
This planning of his was sharply interrupted by his mobile phone ringing. After swiftly scurrying into the privacy of the break room, he took the call.
"Hello? Dr. Milo Miskin speaking."
"Milo? It's your dad. Are you all right? Not in hospital, are you?"
"Dad, I've worked here for three years. That joke's old."
"Sorry - couldn't resist. Look, your mother and I have been talking. Things have been pretty quiet lately, and well... we thought we might perk things up a bit. Have a little get-together. A party. With costumes."
"Sounds good, Dad. I hope you enjoy it."
"That's the point, Milo. We want you to be there."
"Well, er..." he mumbled, stalling for time. "I'd like to, Dad... I really would... but things are just so busy around here right now. I don't know if I'll be able to -"
"Oh, I'm sure someone would swap shifts with you," Mordecai answered brightly. "After all, you've done them enough favours."
"I... I really don't know."
"Now, Milo," Mordecai told him, firmly. "Lily is being very tough about this. If we have this party, she insists that you be there. She wants you to promise her and me that you'll come along."
"Dad, please -"
"Promise us, Milo."
"All right, Dad," he replied, defeated. "I'll be there. I promise."
"So... when were you thinking of having this party?"
Milo's next word was heard all across the hospital.