"Dear ER gang," Carter reads. "So here I am, out on the beach at 5:30 in the evening. Elizabeth is sitting with me drinking a juice, but I'm all about the Mai-Tais." A Hero's Last Tipple. Abby approaches. "What's he reading?" she whispers. Haleh tells her, and she stops walking and joins the congregation. "The sun is going down," Carter continues to read. "Rachel is dipping Ella's toes in the ocean as they head off on the quest for the perfect seashell." Abby smirks. "A 'wish you were here' would have done it," she grins. "He doesn't have to rub it in," Haleh agrees, laughing. Oh, but their merriment will be short-lived. There is a major shock coming. Major. Mark my words. Pun intended. Carter continues, "Weirdly enough, I find myself thinking, you know what would make this moment complete? Some jogger dropping to the sand, short of breath, so I can swoop in with a piece of bamboo to perform a nice, clean intubation, fix the guy up, and send him off with a good, simple dispo." Luka approaches and spies the assembled masses. "What's this?" he asks. "It's Mark," Susan shushes him. Luka settles back to enjoy The Gospel According to A Hero. But Abby wants to make a joke first. "The day I start fantasizing about critical procedures is the day I leave, too," she teases. Susan simply stands near Carter, smiling adoringly up at him, as if the spectre of Mark has perched on his shoulder and begun plucking out his hairs, one by one. "Which, I guess, is my way of saying that I miss you all, and that dingy place," Carter reads.
Malik interrupts to talk to Luka, who shushes him impatiently because Mark's words are too perfect and pure to be sullied. Oh, if only he knew what was coming. Brace yourself, sweet Luka. "Lots of times, I thought I should've chosen a different career, or gone into private practice -- something easier, less grinding, more lucrative," Carter reads. "But since I've been gone, I realized that outside of what I'm doing right now -- sitting on this beach with my family -- staying at County all those years doing what we do on a daily basis was..." Carter pauses here; then his voice catches in a warm way that indicates that he's touched and surprised to read they way Mark finishes that thought: "...the best choice I ever made. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, it's not so hard to appreciate once it's over." Carter stops and laughs. "I think that's the Mai-Tais talking," he giggles, eliciting a laugh from the enraptured masses. Except for Susan, who snaps, "Shut up, keep reading." To which Carter says, "Fine, you read it," and makes sure to give her a paper cut on the handoff. Sigh. No? Okay, fine, no. Instead, Carter obeys. "As much as part of me would like to believe that the ER can't go on with out me," he reads, "a smarter part realizes that you're an incredible group of doctors and nurses who approach every day with such skill, compassion, and thoroughness that when it comes to patient care, I know my absence will hardly be felt." Haleh snorts sadly and says, "Hmm, I'm not so sure of that." The camera, meanwhile, has panned across a group that includes Lily, Lydia, Luka, Malik, Gallant, Abby and Haleh. They're all, as you might expect, chugging A Hero's Last Drops of Wisdom.