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Maybe we'll meet again

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   The Conductor walked out of the studio in a bad mood, not that he wasn't always in a bad mood, but today he seemed particularly grumpy. You see, him and DJ Grooves had gotten into a extremely heated argument over something, the annual bird movie awards. This was the second one that The Conductor had lost to the other director. So as result of the loss Conductor had gotten angry, and during that argument DJ Grooves had said something particularly snarky that made The Conductor even more pissed off then before. So to avoid a possible murder, he left.

  The Conductor didn't know where he was going, he just wanted to be as far away from the studio as possible. Suddenly, he's in a tarp escalated from the ground. After a few seconds he's released from the tarp and falls to the ground. " AHAHAHAHAHA, FOOOOOOOOL! YOU BLEW IT, YOU TOTALLY SCREWED YOURSELF! " was all The Conductor heard while he tried to sort out what was happening in his head. He recognized the... Thing but couldn't remember where he'd seen him. "Don't worry about the details, I just need to sign right here at the bottom" seemed to be the last thing he said as he pointed to a contract that had suddenly appeared in front of the owl. This whole thing seemed rather sketchy to The Conductor as he read over the contract, from what he understood of the contract, he gets to live if he signs over his soul and free will. "Hell no!" He pushed away the contract and crossed his arms, if he wanted to live the "incident" wouldn't have happened 4 years ago! "You don't have a choice here!" Said the thing " either you sign it or-" "or what!?" The Conductor yelled before the other could finish, at this point he had remembered he had seen him when they were  making that mustached lass get lost. The thing snapped his fingers and suddenly everything went black. The owl had no idea what was happening, he couldn't breath, scream or move, just there for what seemed like forever. The Conductor was finally out of that horrid state gasping for air "Or that" the thing said with a smirk, slowly and hesitantly, The Conductor reached for the contract and signed it. "That seals the deal! We're in business! Let me just take this real quick." A few seconds later the owl began to feel exceedingly empty. "And don't you forget about our contract! Oh and have we seen each other before?" The Conductor only nodded as a answer "then you should know my name so there should be no need for me to introduce myself." "Hey wait!" "The details are in the contract, check your left pocket!" And with that the ghost-thing was gone.

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  The Conductor got up, dusted himself off and reached into his left pocket and pulled out, in fact, the very contract he had just signed. It contained the previous information as well as new information. Then, something hit him, what would he say when the others asked where he was or what he was doing. Eh, he could probably lie and say he was getting a drink or something.

  The Conductor walked into the studio, slightly nervous,and then he noticed the child standing at the reception desk,it was his little movie star, Hat Kid! She turned around to see who opened the door and as soon as she saw him she began to run over and yell "Conductor!" She hugged him tightly and said "I came to you and the others! Also where were you? I checked with The Receptionist but he said you had stormed off or something." That was the question he wanted to avoid, "I just needed some fresh air lassie," he said as the the girl backed out of the hug to look at him " You seem nervous, is something wrong?" She said with a small bit of concern in her voice. "Yeah lassie, I'm fine. Anyways ya' wanna see the movie im working on?" He replied, trying to change the subject to something else, "Heck yeah! Oh, wait I haven't seen Grooves yet!" She said , running over to the reception desk, saying something to the receptionist, and then The Receptionist said over the intercom "DJ Grooves,you have a visitor up front." Soon the penguin came out of a set of double doors on his side of the studio and looked around until he saw the child, "Darling!" he exclaimed, walking... or something (seriously how did he walk in those shoes) over to her and giving her a hug, the two talked for moment, and then Grooves noticed The Conductor. "Conductor, darling!" he said moving over to him "Where were you? You were gone for at least a hour, I was getting worried," wait he was gone for over a hour? He must have lost track of the time. "What's it to you, DJ Peck Neck?" The Conductor retorted. "God, I was just checking on you, you don't have to be so rude." Grooves said in reply, " come on guys, don't fight! I just wanna hang out with you guys," said the hatted child trying to break up the fight before it started. "Fine." they both huffed almost I union.

  The birds and the child were talking in the break room about things such as cliché movie troups and bad acting when Hat Kid noticed something in The Conductor's pocket, a piece of paper, she knew if she took it would be invading his privacy but she instantly wanted to know what it was so, when he wasn't looking, she snatched it and took a small peak at what was written in it, it was most certainly something she didn't expect to see; it was a contract made by The Snatcher. "Um conductor?" Said the child " yes lassie? " was the reply she got, she then said "Can we talk in private for a second?" " Sure" he said, they got up and went to a empty room. As soon as the door was closed the child began to scream. "You sold your soul!?" She screeched,  the owl was speechless, how did she find out? He quickly checked his pockets, the contract wasn't in either. "What were you thinking!?" "I didn't have a choice!" The argument continued until The Conductor could finally tell her what happened. "I'm sorry for yelling at you Conductor." "No, I'm sorry for not telling y'all. But please before you go and do something, don't get involved, it'll only make things worse for me and you." Hat Kid couldn't argue with that, it was true "Also, could you keep this a secret?" " Yeah." She handed him back the contract, he pocketed it and they went back to the break room and continued talking.

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  The Snatcher was reading his book when one of his traps went off, so he went to check it out. "AHAHAHAAA FOOOOooo- oh it's you" said the specter, looking down to see the so called owl. "Look, I'm here to work on my contract, okay?" he said, his hands on his hips. "Sure you are, but why did you have to trigger a trap? There are other people who haven't had their souls stolen," the Snatcher said with a slight bit of agitation in his voice. "Okay, first off, I didn't mean to trigger it! Second off where the hell am I supposed to be going?! You can't just expect me to know where the hell this village is!" The Conductor screamed. To this The Snatcher replied with a sigh and said "God, don't be so pushy. It's over that way, you'll know it when you see it." He pointed towards a small section of the forest and left.

  About a hour later, one of his minions came in and said "Boss, the newbies finished with his contract." Snatcher closed his book "Okay where- nevermind," he said before leaving. He appeared where the trap had been triggered and said "Okay, could you stop doing that!?" quite a bit of anger in his voice, suddenly he came up with an idea, "Since you've been a pest and keep setting off my traps, I've decided to extend our business endeavors!" As soon as he said this, two contracts appeared. The Conductor walked to the one on the right, looked over it and signed it. Snatcher, well, snatched it to see which the owl had chosen, it was the Subcon Well.

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 The Snatcher tried to continue reading after he left, but something was on his mind. It seemed extremely random when he thought of it, but why was The Conductor so reluctant to sign the contract? Sure he was giving up his soul, but he'd never met someone who denied to sign it until the very end. The Snatcher began to dig even deeper into the pit of questions about The Conductor, but he only took action when he asked himself what his soul looked like.

 A soul is the basis of the entire being, a soul's state often represents how it's owner feels on the inside, so it could obviously tell him something about The Conductor. He summoned the soul and took a look at it, it seemed so weak and depressed, it almost made the specter sad. Keyword "almost," The Snatcher sent it away and began to wonder why his soul was like that, depression was the most likely cause. Where was The Conductor, anyways? The Well was a pretty easy job, just go to the bottom, see if anything wrong and then come back. The Snatcher began to worry now, the owl had been out there for at least a hour. "Eh, he probably just went home and will do it tomorrow" The Snatcher said to himself, but if he didn't he thought, what if he was stuck? The Snatcher's worry turned into paranoia. What if The Conductor was hurt? Soon he went to the well to look he just wanted to make sure he didn't die or anything, that would be a waste. He looked in to the well and no one was there, "he's probably at his house or something ," he said to himself. It was slightly reassuring knowing he wasn't stuck or hurt, but The Snatcher didn't want to admit it. That was until a frantic Subcon resident came over and told him something he did not like to hear

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 The Conductor had just signed his most recent contract, go to the Subcon well and see if there's anything wrong and then go back to return the contract. So he set of to find the well, he had some trouble getting to it, but he got there.

 The Conductor climbed out of the well and to his surprise, someone's there, "hello there," it said, "I'm am the Moon Jumper, a pleasure to make your acquaintance," the person said to him helping him out of the well. "Thanks for helping me out of there," The Conductor reached out his hand to shake the others. "I am quite pleased that I was able to help," the Moon Jumper said to him. "Why don't you explore Subcon a little before you go to return your contract ?" Wait, how did he know about his contract? Whatever, it didn't matter. "I think I might," replied The Conductor, beginning to walk off.

 "Hm, that's a creepy ass manor over there," The Conductor said to himself. He began to walk over to the snow covered manor, when he was a little closer, he realized that the door was blocked by snow and ice, so he looked for another entrance. After a few minutes of searching, he found a cellar with its doors open, so he went inside to see what was there.


 The Conductor had gone into the manor. That's what his minion had told him, it said he saw him go into the cellar,but he couldn't get in after the doors had closed. The Snatcher was speechless, he couldn't believe this, what if he's been frozen, turned into a statue made of ice? God, that thought horrified him, and barely knew why. He finally shook himself out of the daze he was in, about to take action. He went over to the manor and the first thing he heard was "Who dares enter my home?!" Classic Vanessa. He entered quietly to avoid making the situation worse, and he looked around a bit trying to see if The Conductor was close by. That's when he heard heavy footsteps on the floor above him along with Vanessa's voice. He quickly made his way up to the second floor to see a cornered, partially frozen Conductor, he needed to get Vanessa's attention, so without any further thought, he slammed a vase onto the ground. That got her attention, she whipped around and looked straight at him beginning to run right at him, and he had no idea what to do.

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 It was almost as if they were in a movie, how ironically as soon as The Snatcher broke that vase, MoonJumper had come to save the day. He had grabbed the owl and signalled for Snatcher to leave. Both Snatcher and MoonJumper were somehow connected, they could tell when the other was in danger or something, like they were the same. Neither knew why though, but they were lucky that they were.

 Soon they were back at the Snatcher's make-shift house. The Snatcher was extremely worried about The Conductor, what if he didn't help him in time? The thought of the owl being dead scared him, alot. He was constantly checking on him until MoonJumper finally convinced him he would be fine, that was obviously said just to make him feel better, because they both were continuously looking over at the owl, occasionally taking his temperature, he wasn't getting any warmer from his current temperature, which was literally freezing. Eventually MoonJumper left, leaving the two alone.


 It was cold, so cold.

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Where was he? What kind of Hell had he gone to? Well one thing was sure there was something other than pure blackness here, a small door stood directly in front of him, it was pure white to contrast with the blackness of the rest of the whole place. The Conductor began to walk over to the door, and once he got there he began to turn the nob on the door without second thought, well, there was nothing else to do here, so here goes nothing. As soon as he opened the door he was struck with a heavy wave of nostalgia. He was rather taken aback by what he saw, it was a child, with who seemed to be his mother.

The Child was standing next to the woman who was cooking something, he looked terrified. He was clinging to her side, looking around the area. "Connor it's okay," the woman said to the child, patting his head. She spoke in a thick Scottish accent, but it was soothing. The Child tugged on her dress, looked up at her and said "he's gonna get drunk again and hit me, isn't he?" The woman only kneeled down and replied with " Connor, please don't say that! He's not gonna hurt you, you'll be fine," "yes he is! He always does!" The Conductor knew exactly who they were talking about, his father. It was hard to just stand there and watch, believe him, he had already tried to do something, but he couldn't. "I wish he would hit Walter or Gregg for once, he always hits me! What did I do to deserve this!? I didn't do anything wrong," that was him, the small, terrified child who was standing there saying that, God of he could take what he had said that second, he would. "Connor! How could you say that!? If I told everyone else what you had just said, how do you think they would feel!?" That one was his mother. The Child winced at the thought of his mom telling everyone else what he said, he didn't want to deal with the aftermath of that. She picked him up and gently kissed him on the cheek, she had calmed down a bit. "I'm sorry for yelling, but please don't say that kind of stuff, you know he doesn't mean it, he just... Gets like that when he's drunk" she began to carry him upstairs, the conductor could only follow. The woman walked into a room at the end of the hallway, and sat him on the bed. "How about you rest? I know you've been struggling with alot Connor, I don't want you to turn out like Redd" she said with a small chuckle. That was one of his brothers. Redd was the oldest of the kids, and then Connor and Gregg, they were twins, and then the youngest, Walter. They were all delightful little kids, but Redd, being the oldest had alot of stress on him with having to deal with taking care of his brothers when there mom and dad were at work, which was almost the whole day. His mother left the room to let the child sleep, The Conductor being left to watch.

  About five hours later, there was the sound of a door slamming downstairs, waking the little child up, immediately the boy got up and scrambled around to find a hiding spot, he ended up hiding in the wardrobe, stomping was heard coming towards the room that they were in. This brought tears to the kids eyes. The door opened, to reveal a tall man that was extremely angry, he instantly recognized the man, Charles Timmons, his dad. Both of them winced as he's stomped around the room looking for the small boy named Connor. He eventually made his way to the wardrobe and opened the doors to it and grabbing Connor. No later then straight after he grabbed Connor he through him on the floor, screaming at him for a few things. The Conductor remembered it all to clearly as his father kicked him and screamed at him. Soon after that he picked up poor little Connor and said "Don't think I don't know what you said, your mother told me! Hell, your brothers would take it better than you! You can't even hide worth a shit!" He always said anything to make him feel like trash, but he just couldn't get used to it, he just couldn't understand why. By time he was done abusing him Connor was on the ground, hugging his knees, crying. He just wanted to leave, or better yet, die. If only someone could save him.

  The Conductor was alone with the kid when the whole environment suddenly, sort of, dissolved. Connor was talking with a much older kid at his school, it was that faithful day that he turned to a horrible method of calming himself down, self harm. "Does it really help? I mean, does it, ya know, make you feel better?" He asked the older kid, and they replied with " I mean, your not supposed to do it, but, damn! It makes you feel a Hell of alot better, " the other turned to his backpack and began to pull something out, a small pocket knife, and hand it to the kid, "Go try it, it hurts like hell for a second but it makes you feel alot better after," Connor looked around to make sure no one was there, and thanked the man. He thanked him! He pecking thanked him! The Conductor always regretted this part. He was forced to follow while his past self ran to the bathroom and rolled up his sleeve. He put the knife to his wrist, the coldness of the blade slightly shocking him. He bit his lip and, with a smooth flick of his hand, left a large slit across his wrist. He inhaled sharply, but moved it down a little and doing it again. This continued until he felt satisfied, and the turning it to the other arm and doing the same. He finally stopped and began to go over to the sink to wash his arms. He walked out of the bathroom feeling better, how, he didn't want to know. The Conductor felt ashamed in himself as the child and unidentified other talked for a second before both left.

  Yet again the world dissolved around him, leaving The Conductor in his old bedroom with himself. The Child was frantic, he had grabbed a few things, his knife, a few sets of clothes and a small toy train. That train ment the world to him, back when he first started getting abused by his dad, Walter gave him that train, he had worked extremely hard to make the small toy. He brother had hand made that toy, he wasn't gonna leave it. He was beginning to climb out of the window when he heard his father yelling downstairs for him to come downstairs. He had finally had enough he wasn't gonna let his dad be the reason he died. The abuse had gotten much worse, Connor was bruised and very malnourished, he was gonna die soon and he knew that. So he climbed out of the window and ran, he ran as far as he could while Conductor followed.

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 The two owls kept running until the smaller one had no breath. They had gotten extremely far from the house, and when he caught his breath again he continued to run.

 It had been about a hour when they came to a path that made The Conductor feel a bit off, like he had recently gone this path. Thinking that he was far enough, Connor began to walk, he looked at the huge and lush greenery.

Soon they were at the entrance of a small town, everybody there looked nice, unlike him. They were quite proper looking but Connor was dirty and covered in cuts, so he didn't really fit in to the atmosphere of the town.

 Alot of other kids stared at the child as he entered the town, some yelling things such as "are you okay?" and "are you lost?"

 Two kids that were very different from the rest eventually walked up to Connor, there was one dressed as if he was of royal decent, complete with a crown. The other still had the look as if royalty, but he was a little dirty and had his crown tied to his side.

 They dirty one started with "so, who are you?" The other nudged him a little and said "Excuse him, he's just a little... Excited to see a new person here at Subcon."

 "No he's fine. My name's Connor." The owl said to the two, and got replied with " Well I'm Manny, and this is Vincent! " from the dirty one.

 "Well, welcome to Subcon, Connor. Say, where will you be staying?" Vincent said to Connor, and he replied with "well, I don't know, I don't even know where I am." 

 "You can stay with me! We'd love to have ya!" Said Manny, pointing to a rather proper looking woman who was talking to another woman and a man. "Thanks, " said Connor with a small smile.

 Later in the evening, after Connor and the other two kids had finished playing, they had been called to come inside. Connor got up hesitantly and walked behind the others. One of the woman were looking at him as they entered.

 They had finally gotten inside when the woman leaned down said "hi there, are you lost? I saw you at the entrance, you seemed rather nervous. Also, do you need anything? You seem to be pretty bad shape." And with that he simply replied with " no, it's pretty rude to ask. " 

 "Its also rude to reject what a queen is offering, now come along. Let's get you some new clothes, those are dreadfully ruined," she said with a small smile. 

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 With that Connor was lead of to a room filled with a very  large amount of clothes. Why he got taken here was beyond him.

 "Okay, go choose something to wear. I'll have what your wearing washed, it looks quite ragged," she said while walking away.

 Why was everyone being so nice to him? Was it pity? God he hated that thought. What if He was perfectly fine, would they still be nice to him?

 He walked over to a few suits of clothes and choose a rather nice looking outfit, it was a beautiful shade of blue, to be precise, a dark Persian blue.

 He took off his current outfit and put on the other. He then grabbed the one he wore a few minutes , and walked out of the room.

 He was greeted by the boy named Manny. "Wow, you look nice! Good choice!" He said to Connor .

 "Um, thanks?" Said Connor, he didn't really get what made this outfit so special.

 "So do you wanna go do something?" Manny said clearly excited. "Sure," Connor replied, giving a small shrug.

 Manny grabbed Connor by the hand and began to drag him. Connor wasn't really a fan of being grabbed and immediately began to jerk his arm back.

 Manny let go when he felt Connor struggling and said "Are you ok?" with a concerned look. "Yeah, im fine," Connor replied.

 "Oh ok," Manny said. Then he turned around and began to walk with Connor following.


 The two were half-way through the tour of the manor when one of the woman called them for dinner.

 Connor didn't know what to do, should he leave? "Well aren't you coming?" Somebody said, when Connor turned around, he saw Vincent. "Um, yeah" he said back.He

 He walked into the dining room and looked around, until Vincent steered him to a seat and sat down right next to him, a little pink in the cheeks. 

 "You feeling ok? Your very red, Vince" the man said and to that Vincent said "I'm fine, just a little... Hot,"

 Connor looked down at the plates on the table, they were very nice plates, floral print with a pink Galah on it.

 Soon good was passed around, put on plates and everyone began to eat. It tasted better then anything he had ever tasted, it was perfect.

 when they were all done Connor got up and said "Thank you for dinner and all but I must get going," straight after he heard a large groan and Manny say " can't you spend the night? We have plenty of room, " 

 "Yeah, stay a little longer, it's nice having you here" said Vincent, placing a hand on his shoulder with a small smile on his face.

 "Ok, I'll stay a little longer" Connor said, giving a gentle smile.

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   The small alien child and penguin where beginning to become worried, The Conductor never missed a day of work for Christ sake!

   They began to look for him in hopes that he had just got lost or done something dumb and had to clean up the mess he made.

   And then something struck the child's mind, He's in Subcon, it was the only logical explanation for the situation,

   I mean, they searched every where, no sign of The Conductor, well they searched everywhere but Subcon.

   "I think I know where he might be, Mister Grooves," she said, an expression of concern and fear on her face.

   "And where would that be, Darling? " the DJ replied, attempting to hide the panic in his voice.

   Hat Kid debated whether not to tell him where The Conductor was at or to show him where he was, finally deciding to show Grooves.

   "I'll show you, just follow me," she answered whilst gesturing for the other to follow.


   10 minutes or so later the two began to walk on the dark, familiar path towards Subcon.

   Hat Kid took a step forward but was suddenly caught by one of the common, but still surprising traps that Snatcher had laid out, she always liked to call them "Snatcher Traps" to poke fun at the one who had set them.

   She eventually broke the net and fell to the ground, but there was no Snatcher there to greet her.

   Grooves, being himself, immediately ran over to the child in shock of a child suddenly falling out of the sky.

   She reassured him that she was fine and they kept moving. They both eventually reached the tree that Snatcher loved in only to find him hovering over something laying on the floor.

   No, it was more someone laying on the floor.

   They walked over with a large amount of concern and terror welling up inside of them, hoping that the someone was the person they knew it inevitably be.

   There was a small clicking sound on the floor made by Grooves' shoes, which in turn made The Snatcher jump practically 100 feet in the air

   "What are you doing here!? You're not supposed to be here! Leave!" Snatcher said as he whipped around to face the two, not even taking time to consider who they were, all while he tried to hide the person on his floor from view

   The trio could only stare at each other, speechless and unable to make a move.

   After a few seconds into the painstakingly long silence, Grooves finally worked up the courage to look at the thing the specter was trying hide so desperately.

   He looked around the ghost and saw something that he didn't want  see, it was a shade of Orange-ish yellow he knew all too well from a certain owl.

   The penguin looked on in terror, was he dead? He sure looked it! Why was he here!? Why was this weird thing keeping his (alleged) corpse!?!

   "It's not what it looks like! I swear! He's..... Asleep? I think?" Snatcher said in a rushed and slightly uncertain voice.

   But sadly, that wasn't enough to reassure grooves, because he ran straight over to the owl and immediately checked if he even alive.

   "Conductor!?! Are you alive!?!! Wake up if you are!" Grooves said as he attempted to awaken the other.

   "It's no use, he won't wake up..." Snatcher said, holding his own arms, feeling guilty, feeling that this was his fault. Wait, guilt? Since when did he feel bad for is contractors?

   Well didn't matter now that he was already filled to the brim with these kinds of emotions by now.

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   Hat, Grooves and Snatcher stayed silent, well, what were they supposed to say? Their friend was basically in a coma! It was Grooves that finally broke the silence, he got up and headed towards the exit.

   "Hey! Grooves! Where are you going? We have to make sure that The Conductor is okay!" She yelled to the penguin, but the pleads fell on deaf ears because he continued to leave the tree like house.

   The small alien gave a sigh, what was she gonna do? The only one that actually knew anything about medical stuff had just left for no reason and they couldn't seem to get the conductor to wake up

   She curled up into a ball in despair. She looked towards The Conductor, she decided to try to wake him one last time, she gave him a small shake, to no avail.

   The child curled back into her previous position, her last bit of hope gone. She was overwhelmed by disappointment and sadness.

   Snatcher looked on sternly, but he only did it to hide the fact that he was slightly concerned. Slowly and gently, he reached down and grabbed the Conductor's hand. 

   His hand was cold. Despite the fact that Snatcher had kept the owl as warm as he could, he was still ice cold. How he hated the way Vanessa's magic worked.



   About 30 minutes, give or take, later Hat and Snatcher heard footsteps, and a little bit of yelling.... A few moments later a familiar blue penguin walked into the house in a huff, holding what appeared to be a guitar.

   He sat plopped down the Conductor without any explanation of where he had been or why he'd left, he was just there.

   "Where were you!? I got so worried that you wouldn't come back! Why -" "Whenever Conductor had trouble sleeping I would play him music and he'd be able to sleep calmly afterwards, I at least want him to be comfortable while he's here." Grooves deadpanned while the child tried to speak.

   Grooves tuned the guitar while the others watched, after a few minutes he finished tuning it and began to play. The small silence broken by the sudden strumming on the guitar.

   "My suitcase is in the corner, all my clothes are packed in tight, got my ticket in my hand, shoes on my feet, but I just can't leave you tonight." The penguin sung, and by gosh it was good singing! Each word was crisp, clear and flowed out seamlessly.

   He continued singing, hat couldn't help but listen with content. It was really nice. Heck, even Snatcher seemed to listen! AnD that was something special! 

   A little bit later he finished the song, but something happened in turn. The Conductor began to stir, as if in distress. Shocked, Snatcher leaned down to see what was wrong.

   "Hey! It's okay! We've got you! It's okay!" Snatcher said, gripping the owls had in a (poor) attempt to comfort the "sleeping" owl. Wait, when had that been a thing? I mean, since when did Snatcher try to reassure someone? Since when did he care? 

   Grooves began to play again, this time a different song, in attempt to calm the owl. And it worked, he stopped tossing and turning about and settled down after he had started playing. 

   " looks like I'm gonna be playing for a while.... " Grooves muttered before beginning to sing again. 



   "Hey grooves, you said something about you having to play music to Mr. Conductor when he couldn't sleep, when was that? As long as I've been here, you haven't been friends for a while" Hat said as he continued singing. 

   Grooves stopped playing, looking at The Conductor, trying to figure out if stopping would cause him to freak out again, but luckily it didnt.

   "Okay darling, I'll tell you a story, a story about me and The Conductor,"