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Star Fox: Remembrance

Prince Elite

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This is a rewrite of the story I attempted a while ago. With a new writing style, please feel free to read, review and leave constructive criticisms. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Note: Segments in Italics represent dreams and flashbacks.

Chapter 1: Discovery

A burst of flame flowed through the mind of the young sleeping vulpine. He turned and his face contorted in a vain attempt to combat the fear and helplessness the image made him feel. All in vain as the flames began to lick at his flesh, his brown fur igniting. He could feel the pain rocking through his body, only to be amplified moments later.

“Get up vermin!” a harsh voice shouted.

The vulpine muttered unintelligibly at the order. All he felt was the searing pain, and the desire to succumb to his misery and die.

“242, GET THE HELL UP!” barked the same voice.

A metallic clicking ensued and the pain amplified two-fold. The vulpine howled in desperation and pain as he rolled off his bed. Another burst of pain tore though his right shoulder and brought him to reality. Opening his eyes, he saw that there were no flames. He instead was in a place quite familiar to him. His prison cell.

“There, was that so hard?” asked the voice as the pain and clicking subsided.

The vulpine tried to stand but soon lost his footing and crashed on the floor. The sound of laughing filled his ears and he tried to stand again, this time successfully. Turning to face the cell doors, he noticed his usual cell guard peering at him through the bars. A tazer held casually by his side.

“Well?” asked the guard.

“Now performing weekly report as ordered, Mr. Stevens.” said the vulpine.

“Carry on,” said Stevens “we don’t have all day.”

“I am Prisoner number two hundred and forty two. Otherwise known as 242,” he said “my current status is freely active and I could really use a nice cola.”

The guard peered into 242's eyes, as if considering whether his last comment was a show of disrespect or merely a statement. After several seconds, he lowered his gaze and said “well Mr. 242, you’re on cooking detail today. Lucky you. So you’ll have a chance to look at the nice cola in the storeroom. Don’t get any ideas though.”

242 nodded and moved to put his hands through the cell opening. After being cuffed, he was let out of his cell and then began the march to the kitchen.

Looking around during his walk, he could see the usual sights of the prison. Every prisoner had a story to tell, one of pain, cruelty and suffering, the stories reflected on their faces. Beatings, starvation and illness had all been felt by the inmates. But you had to keep going, such was the way of things at Xocc Prison.

There was no civil protection in this facility. No chance of parole, or release. There were two ways out, death or escape. But escape was difficult, nobody had ever managed to get out successfully. The warden of the prison used a very invasive tactic to prevent this. Apart from the cruel treatment, all prisoners were subject to medically induced amnesia prior to incarceration. However some prisoners were allowed to keep their memories, usually so they could better serve the will of the warden.

When you were in Xocc, you did what the guards told you to, and tried to not attract attention. Of course, it was easier said than done. The guards weren’t above attacking without reason, 242 had learned this quite early. He was four days into his incarceration when two of the younger guards decided that he needed to be “broken in”. The memory still rang clear in his mind.

242 paced slowly around the recreation yard, knowing fully well that he was being watched by the tower and on-duty guards. As one of the newer prisoners, he imagined that he’d be thought of as most likely to cause trouble, or escape.

“Oh well,” muttered 242 “they can just look at someone else then.”

He continue pacing tours, however he noticed that not all his observers were guards. Several prisoners were looking at him. 242 slowed and stared back, the onlookers soon dropped their gazes. However, a black furred canine held his gaze for a few seconds, and nodded.

242 returned the nod and then continued his tours. After several minutes, two of the on-duty guards approached him.

“Hey you.”

“Yes.” said 242 as he stopped pacing.

He could see the two clearly now, one vulpine, the other a gray avian. Both looked to be in their mid twenties.

“Bit of a morning walk?” asked the avian.

“Yeah,” replied 242 “it keeps me sane.”

“Fair enough,” muttered the vulpine guard “what’s your number?”

Surprised, 242 indicated his shirt and said “242, why?”

The vulpine guard scratched at his face for a few seconds and said “oh well, you were getting a bit close to the perimeter line.”

“No I wasn’t,” replied 242 “There’s still a few yards before the line,”

Turning his head to look at the line, 242 muttered “and then....” The rest of his sentence was lost as a strong pain enveloped his kneecap. Falling to the ground, 242 gasped in pain as the two guards moved in closer, looks of sadistic pleasure on their faces.

“You were looking for a way to escape is what you were doing.” muttered the avian as he kicked 242 in the chest.

242 grunted, and was rewarded with another surge of pain to the small of his back. 242 rolled and then stood quickly, but he was soon brought down again when the vulpine hit his already injured kneecap. Quickly trying to crawl, he was stopped in his tracks when small explosion of pain ripped through his side. Struggling to do little more than breathe, 242 gasped shortly before a surge of pain hit his head. He knew no more until he woke up in the infirmary a day later.

Snarling bitterly at the thought, 242 barely noticed that he had arrived at the service kitchens, his work station for the day. He looked up and saw the same black furred canine standing outside the door, flanked by two guards and staring at the floor blankly. One of the guards tapped on the door, which slid open. 242 entered the kitchen, rubbing at his wrists as he did so.

Looking at the pile of food that needed to be prepared, 242's mouth watered. His hunger rose and thoughts turned to taking some food. However he knew to kill those traitorous thoughts before they began. Several lesser experienced prisoners had tried, and it didn’t end well for them. The cameras in the kitchen caught them in the act, and they soon caught a couple of blows from a stun baton moments later.

“It’s one of those days.” sighed the black furred canine as he entered the kitchen.

“Why, whatever do you mean, Steel?” asked 242 sarcastically

Steel looked at him and then rolled his eyes. 242 grinned and picked up his breakfast package. It was a slightly a slice of bread and a slightly frozen container of oatmeal. But 242 was hungry enough to eat anything. Taking the plastic spoon attached to the container, he began to eat. The cold oatmeal tasted foul but he ate it anyway, trying hard to keep the distaste from showing.

“Is yours as good as mine?” asked Steel, who had also started eating.

“It would be nice with a bit of sugar,” replied 242 “or some raspberries.”

“Would be better if it were hot too.” muttered Steel

242 nodded and the two continued their meal in silence. After a short amount of time, the two placed their empty containers and cutlery in the trash. Steel approached the oven and fiddled with the dials, setting it appropriately while 242 got out the first items to be prepared.

All the work in Xocc Prison was performed by the prisoners. The duties were mainly cooking, cleaning and maintenance. Those on cooking detail would spend their time preparing the meals for the guards and prisoners, though the quality of the dishes varied greatly between the two. Those on cleaning detail would mainly focus on cleaning the recreation and service areas of the prison. The maintenance crew would perform repairs and carry out new building tasks. Though the maintenance crew were a fixed roster, the warden of the prison didn’t leave it to the hands of amateurs.

After peppering several pieces of meat, 242 placed them on a tray and cursed quietly. The injustice of the system angered him.

“What is it?” asked Steel.

“We have to cook and clean for these punks,” said 242 in a quiet voice “yet we get nothing. We toil for nothing but starvation and illness, with no chance hope. We don’t know anything about ourselves for god’s sake.”

“You need to calm, 242. Or the guards will hear.” replied Steel

“They can’t hear me,” snapped 242 “nor can the cameras.”

Turning to peel some potatoes, the vulpine thought better of his outburst. Though the anger seethed through him, it wasn’t his friend’s fault.

“Steel, I’m sorry,” he said “it’s difficult.”

“I know,” Steel said consolingly “we all feel the same way.”

242 nodded and continued peeling the potatoes. The remainder of their two hour shift was spent quietly. Steel put a large pot of soup in the fridge and then 242 tapped on the door. It opened and a guard entered.

“Smells good in here boys.” said the guard.

242 watched as the guard inspected the kitchen, looking for any missing implements. Satisfied that everything was proper, he turned to 242 and patted him quite vigorously on the shoulder. Wincing from the pain, 242 nodded.

“Well boys, you’re free to go.” said the guard.

The two prisoners lined up next to the door and then were cuffed again. 242 exited and was soon greeted by another guard with a mop and bucket.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.” he said, knowing full well what it meant.

“Congratulations prisoner 242,” said the guard “You’ve just been volunteered for cleaning detail. The cells in A-1 to C-5.”

242 groaned inwardly, that detail would take him at least three hours. As much as he wanted to protest, he knew it would be in vain. Taking the mop, 242 smiled cheerfully and began walking to row A.

The next two hours of monotonous cleaning however, made him more than a little tempered. Not only was he infuriated by the fact that he had to clean at all, he was also quite annoyed when he noticed that many of the rows weren’t in use at all. He was cleaning for no real reason.

“What did you do during your lifetime, 242?” he asked sarcastically to nobody.

“I tested mops,” he replied to himself “this mop here is over ten years old and still sturdy as an oak. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it.”

Gripping the shaft tightly, 242 slammed the tip into brick wall. The shaft splintered upon contact. Staring at it for a few seconds, 242 chortled maniacally and then rested the broken mop on the floor.

“Well there you have it folks,” he said as he lay down “pretty conclusive really.”

The brown vulpine stayed prone on the floor for many minutes, laughing like a madman. He wasn’t quite sure why he was laughing, but the humorousness of his situation overwhelmed him.

“Hope y’all enjoyed it,” said 242, with a different accent and a trace of mirth in his voice.

As he settled down from his moment of laughter, the brown vulpine soon paid attention to the wall he was staring at. The white paint on the wall was flaking and in need of a new coat, but a thin dark line ran through the gap between two of the bottom bricks as well.

Intrigued, 242 sat up and studied the wall more closely. The brick in question had a mark from where he had struck it just before, it was also out of line to all the other bricks too. A wild idea entered 242's mind. Placing his foot against the brick, he pushed strongly.

He could feel the brick shift slightly back. Excitement flooded through 242 as he realized what it meant.

“A space behind the wall.” he murmured quietly

Checking behind him and listening to make sure the row was still deserted, 242 applied more pressure to the brick. After ten seconds, the brick gave way and slid cleanly out. Tensed, the young brown vulpine slowly dropped into a prone position. Crawling to the opening, he peered in. But to his dismay, he could see nothing through the darkness.

Deciding against sticking his head in, 242 instead placed his hand in and moved it down, soon reaching the floor. Soil, he could feel moistened soil in his fingers. Stretching his arm as far as he could, he could feel nothing blocking his path. Elated, a though of escape entered his mind. However 242 dismissed it, he couldn’t risk an escape without a real plan. Knowing that he had spent too much time in the cell, 242 searched for the brick and gripped it. Turning it on it’s broadside, he lifted it an pulled it through the opening.

“Quickly,” he said, with a tone of excitement in his voice.

Sealing the brick back into place, 242 mopped quickly and then left the cell. Noting its number, he continued his cleaning duties urgently, and with sense of elation.

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Not bad. Not bad. A few typos here and there, but there always are some.

Can't really say much about the concept yet as I haven't seen where this goes, but you've got my attention.

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Yeah, I can only really echo the above really, I know this is a fine tuned version of a fic you started a few months back, but it's an intriguing idea and I'm interested in what happens next :)

Just try to watch those typos and try not to overuse terms like "Vulpine" . You can refer to him as a Fox without hin strictly being Fox McCloud ;)

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Chapter 2: New Friends

Sitting down on a bench in the yard, 242 sighed in relief. He had managed to convince the supply sergeant that the mop had been broken by accident, and walked away with only a slap on the wrists and his rations cut for two days. But 242 cared little of that, his thoughts were focused on the wall. He heard footsteps approaching and looked to see Steel sit down next to him.

“What a day.” muttered Steel.

“I had an interesting one myself.” replied a grinning 242.

“The day isn’t even over yet.” observed Steel.

Grinning, the two watched the yard quietly. Several prisoners were enjoying a ball game, a couple of on-duty guards watched. The perimeter guards paced their patrols along the wall. It seemed somewhat peaceful to 242, nothing out of place. However he knew that somewhere inside Xocc’s cold grey walls, someone was likely feeling the wrath of an electrojabber.

“So what was so interesting?” asked Steel.

“You know the cells in area B, section 3?” 242 replied quietly.

Nodding, the black furred canine bent forward to tie his shoe. 242 however saw what it was really for, he was leaning closer to hear better and to look unobtrusive.

The touch of a grin on his face, 242 cleared his throat.

“Well when I was cleaning cell number seven. I noticed an interesting weakness with the wall.” he said quickly.

If Steel felt anything at all, he didn’t let it show. Steel was a realist, he was always cool headed and calculative, while 242 was usually a bit hot headed and over the top.

“What was this weakness?” he asked.

“Behind the wall is a hollow spot,” replied 242 “the bricks were weak. I managed to force a hole in the wall. There’s definitely a space behind the wall. I tested it.”

Steel’s eyebrows raised slightly and scratched at his forehead for a few seconds.

“How big is the space do you think?” he asked.

“At least the size of my arm, I couldn’t feel anything in the way.” replied 242 “there was soil, moist soil on the ground.”

“It’s probably never been developed then,” Steel said thoughtfully “you might have found something.”

“They say I’m not intelligent,” replied 242, as he pretended to smoke a cigar.

Chortling slightly, the black furred canine stared ad the ground in consideration. 242 tapped a rhythm with his fingers. He didn’t know what it was, but it somehow felt familiar to him.

“What would we do about this space anyway?” asked Steel, breaking the silence.

“Tunnel,” said 242 simply “we dig a tunnel.”

“Digging a tunnel isn’t exactly cut and dried my friend,” replied Steel “you need equipment, manpower, logistics and a big silver key.”

“A key?” asked 242, his eyebrows raised.

“Actually forget the key,” replied Steel “but the other things yes, and we don’t even know if we can tunnel this thing anyway. We need to know more.”

Looking down at the ground, 242 rubbed his hands.

“You’re the man who knows it all, what would we need to know?” he asked.

“We would need to check this space out properly,” replied Steel “see what it is and how to use it effectively. If we could get our hands on some blueprints, that would be even better. It’d make it easier for us.”

“How would we get some?” asked 242 “it doesn’t seem like a good idea to have blueprints lying around.”

“They keep them in the secure section of the records department,” replied Steel “for the maintenance crew so they don’t accidentally end up doing damage. But they’re always kept on person by a member of the personnel at all times.”

“Difficult, but not impossible,” said 242 “we have to get someone who works in records. Or sneak in.”

A sharp whistle blast blared through the air and a guard began shouting orders for a surprise roll call.

“They may have found it.” muttered 242.

“I don’t think so. It just looks like a regular call,” replied Steel “let’s go.”

The two stood and then joined the now formed prisoner lineup. In Xocc, roll calls were very simple system. Prisoners had to drop what they were doing and form a neat set of ranks. The guards would take prisoner numbers and check them off the list. If one were late for roll call, the offending prisoner would be dealt with harshly. Usually a quick trip for a beating, and an even

quicker trip to the cooler. Not showing up at all was considered an act of escape, and the cooler would be the least of their troubles.

242 stood still and stared blankly as the guards passed him. Occasionally the guards would get a little physical, often flicking prisoners on the ears or “accidentally” bumping into them. This was purely to try and get a reaction and therefore have a cause to break out the stun batons. Though sometimes they just attacked anyway. Though in the yard, the prisoners might have a numerical advantage, in the event of a riot, the tower guards were permitted to use their firearms. Such deterrents were useful in keeping the prisoners in line.

“Gentlemen,” said a grizzled middle-aged avian “I am Sergeant Pryce. The new sergeant of the guard and I am here to deliver you some news.”

The inmates remained silent. Though eager to hear the news, none were eager to break the “no talking during roll call” rule.

The on-duty guards began striking with their stun batons and feet at every prisoner they could reach. Some fell, others resisted and were met with harsher attacks.

Soon enough they neared upon 242 who remained still, his face devoid of expression. He fell under the brute force of the attack, but didn’t let it show. Soon enough the barrage stopped and the prisoners were ordered back into formation. 242 stood with difficulty and looked around. His fellow inmates all struggling to regain their footing, their clothes torn and some bloodied. Looking at himself, 242 saw that he had fared reasonably well. Most of his wounds were from kicking and only one appeared to be from a baton.

“That was your gift,” said Pryce “and here is the news. Gentlemen, rejoice for it is New Years Eve.”

“Two years.” said 242 quietly.

“What was that boy?” demanded Pryce.

“Nothing sir.” replied 242 standing at attention, the pain still throbbing through him.

“Keep it that way.” said Pryce.

The sergeant of the guard walked around slowly, observing the prisoners. 242 noticed that he had a limp.

Clearing his throat loudly, Pryce began to speak.

“When I served in the forces, I was in charge of fighting men.” said Pryce “now I am in charge of you. I will expect the same respect that is shown between a leader and his troops. You show me respect, I will show it to you in kind.”

Deciding against retorting, 242 held his tongue and watched attentively.

“So, I have shown the harshness I can dispense,” said Pryce “but now I will show you my compassionate soul. As a new years gift to you all there will be double rations of bread and a ration of boiled potatoes for one week. From me, to you.”

A murmuring broke out among the prisoners, and to 242's distaste, it was positive.

“And now, back to your cells. Dismissed.” said Pryce with a causal gesture.

The prisoners soon began to fill out, with 242 in tow. Knowing he wouldn’t be able to talk to Steel anymore, he simply began the walk to his cell. Thoughts drifting from the mysterious cell seven, to the new sergeant of the guard.

As he entered his cell, the brown vulpine sat on his bed and rubbed at his eyes, only now realizing just how little sleep he had gotten the previous night. Settling down on the bed, exhaustion overcame him and he soon drifted into sleep.

He slept deeply, various blurry images swimming through his mind. He tried to focus on them, but they disappeared as he neared.

242 woke with a start, he could hear voices out side the cell and whistling.

“Morning roll call,” he said thoughtfully “I must have been really tired.”

Standing up quickly, 242 watched as Stevens and another guard went past his cell checking off numbers. Stevens looked at 242 and nodded before continuing. Sitting back down on his bed, 242 waited out the ten minutes until he was allowed to leave his cell.

Soon enough 242 settled into his usual spot in the eating area. Though he was wary of the new sergeant of the guard, he admitted that the bread and potatoes were a welcome change to the oatmeal.

Steel appeared seemingly out nowhere and sat next to him.

“Must you keep doing that?” asked a surprised 242.

“It keeps you on your toes,” replied Steel “so yes I do.”

242 rolled his eyes and went back to his meal. After a few seconds had passed, Steel broke the silence.

“What do you think of this new sergeant?” asked Steel.

“I don’t like it,” 242 replied “not just because he’s a guard. But he’s being nice, that’s not right at all.”

“Maybe he’s just a reasonable person,” suggested Steel.

“I don’t think they let sergeants of the guard authorize extra rations,” said 242 in rebuke “but, there is someone who can.”

“You mean, the warden?” asked Steel.

242 waited as a guard moved past their table before replying.

“Exactly,” 242 said quickly “I don’t like this at all. It’s not right.”

A silence ensued between the two before Steel broke it once again.

“I did manage to talk to someone who does work in the records department, “said Steel “he’s going to see what he can do about getting the blueprints.”

“Excellent,” 242 replied with a grin “though I think we should get a proper look at it anyway, it might not even be on the plans.”

“I had a feeling you’d say that,” replied Steel “how did I know you’d say that?”

“Who knows?” said 242 “do you think you could get a flashlight or something. No light in that place.”

“Hmm, I might be able to get something from the maintenance department,” said Steel “but one brick isn’t going to be big enough to get in, and if you take out more bricks, they’ll notice.”

242 thought about it for a few seconds. His meal long since eaten.

“That is a problem,” he conceded “but we’ll figure something out.”

“Same old 242,” said Steel “making it up as he goes along, I’d hate to see you do acting.”

The two traded friendly verbal barbs as they took their breakfast trays to the kitchen, eventually leaving for the recreation yard.

A large sports ball came flying out of nowhere and 242 only just managed to bring his arm up to deflect. The ball smashed into his arm painfully.

“Hey!” 242 roared “watch where you’re kicking this thing.”

He kicked it back with impressive strength, it soared across the yard and landed conveniently in the goal zone. One of the inmates approached him.

“Nice shot,” he said.

“Thanks,” replied 242 whilst rubbing his sore arm “but try and keep it in the court. I don’t think my arm can take much more.”

“Sorry about that,” the inmate said “want to join? We have some spots open.”

“No thanks,” 242 replied “I’m not one for these types of games.”

“242, this is Pline,” said Steel quietly “from the records department.”

Understanding soon dawned in 242's eyes as he realized that Pline was Steel’s contact.

“But on second thought. I do like to keep an open mind. So let’s play.” said 242.

242 and Steel took their places on the field and the game began.

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Chapter 3: A single step

“I might be able to get to the blueprints,” said Pline “but to steal them out of the department would be impossible.”

242 nodded grimly. He and Pline stood in the shower room discussing 242's request. Steel was not among them as he felt it might attract attention if they were seen in a group.

“Why do you need them?” Pline asked.

“I just needed to see something on it. Nothing major.” 242 replied.

“You just needed to see them?” Pline replied, his eyebrow raised. “I’ve heard about you 242, and I know a couple of things. You’re not part of the maintenance team, otherwise you could get them yourself. So you have no real reason to look at them.”

242 crossed his arms and tried to keep his face impassive

“Which makes me think,” Pline continued “that you’re planning something offbeat. Something sneaky. If I were caught in your scheme, that would make me guilty too. So, if you want it, talk.”

Considering the issue took relatively little time in 242's mind. He was at an impasse, the blueprints were crucial to his plan. He made a decision.

“Alright,” said 242 quietly “in Section B, cell number seven. There is a space behind the wall, I found it the other day. The ground is soil, not concrete. The bricks were weak enough to break through.”

“I see,” replied Pline slowly “that’s why you want them. You think it might be your chance to escape, hmm?”

“Keep your voice down,” 242 whispered harshly “and yes, can you blame me?”

“Not really no,” replied Pline “I’d do the same thing if I were you.”

After several seconds of silence, 242 decided to break it.

“Can you get me the plans?” he asked.

“I’ll see what I can do,” replied Pline “but whatever your plan is, I want in.”

242 raised an eyebrow, but said nothing in response.

“I’ve been here for seven years mate,” said Plime “I want out of here just as much as you, Steel or anyone in this place does. Considering I’m sticking my neck out for you, I think it’s a fair deal. Furthermore, you’ll need help with it.”

242 considered it and then held out his hand.

“Fair enough,” he said “but don’t tell anyone, and I mean anyone. We have to keep this as quiet as possible. Understand?”

Pline nodded and the two shook hands.

“What are you going to do now?” asked Pline.

“Me?” asked 242 “I’m going to have a shower. So if you don’t mind, out.”

“Okay, sorry.” replied Pline jokingly as he left the shower room.

After noting that nobody else was in the room, 242 removed his prisoner garb and stepped into the shower. Turning the tap, a stream of water soaked his body. As he washed himself, his thoughts dwelled on the new member of their plan. Pline’s words returning to him.

“You’ll need help with it”

As the flow of water stopped, 242 considered it. Yes, he would need help. A tunnel would take many months at the least.

“Three won’t be enough for this,” he said to himself softly “we need more. We need a team.”

Fetching a sodden towel, 242 dried himself off as best as he could before donning his prison garb and exiting the shower room.

“This is going to be fun,” he said with a hint of sarcasm.

The next week passed in a blur for the brown vulpine. Pline had told him it would take some time for him to get the plans. So 242 kept his head down and thought about the other aspects of his plan.

Not that he was completely inactive. As 242 walked off to his cleaning detail, this time in the library. He thought back on the previous night with a slight grin.

Standing as the night guards checked off numbers for the usual roll call, 242 smiled slightly. For the first time in months, he truly felt alive. If all went well, this would be the beginning of the road to freedom.

“Every journey begins with a single step.” he said.

Giving the guards a look of boredom as they passed, he settled on his bed under the guise of getting a good night’s rest. However there would be no sleep for him, no restful night. Tonight, would be one of many dangerous nights for him. If caught, he might not live to see the morning.

After waiting for ninety minutes, the vulpine slipped out from his blanket and moved to the cell door. Taking hold of the bars, he pulled back at the door. The door slid backwards at his pull. 242 neared the gap he had made and exited his cell. Pulling the door closed, the brown vulpine grinned.

Steel had given 242 the promised flashlight at breakfast that morning and 242 decided he would exploit another weakness in the prison. If blocked, the locks on the cell doors were ineffective.

242 hurried down the row, treading as silently as he could. The slightest noise could betray him and bring a quick end to his self-given mission. Nearing the end of the row, 242 reached a corner. Dropping to his knees, he looked out from behind his spot. His cold blue eyes raking through the darkness for any signs of trouble. Seeing nothing, he regained his footing and continued along the path to cell seven.

“You’re beyond the point of no return here,” he thought “so you’d better get this right.”

As he neared the service kitchen, he heard voices and footsteps coming towards him. With hiding spots sparse, the brown vulpine settled for hiding behind a small extension of the wall. Just under a yard wide, it would conceal him from view, but he would be easily seen if they walked past it. He heard the footsteps get closer. Recognizing the sound of the leather boots worn by the guards 242 knew the situation wasn’t good for him.

“Want a shot at the title, boys?” he asked in his mind.

He heard the footsteps stop and a wave of relief washed over him. He was safe, at least for now.

“Bit cold tonight isn’t it?” asked one of the guards.

“Yes,” replied the other “I could really use some coffee.”

The other guard muttered in agreement and the two began to converse.

“You’re kidding me right?” thought 242, as his leg began to itch.

Resisting the urge to scratch it, 242 listened in on the conversation. The guards topic of choice was football. After several minutes had passed, the two guards left, none walking past 242's hiding spot.

“Thank god,” 242 said as he scratched his itching leg.

Moving out from his hiding space, the brown vulpine treaded across the hall and took the left path. The path he knew to the cells.

“If I ever get out of here,” he thought “I’m going to have to attend one of these rugby games. They’re obviously great games, from the way those two jokers were talking about them.”

Putting the thought aside, 242 continued until he reached cellblock A. Moving down the row, he reached the turn to cellblock B.

As he neared cell seven, his heart beat faster. The mission had gone well so far, but now he was at a real crossroads. If he turned back now, he might make it back with no problems. If he were caught, he might be able to get charged simply as a prisoner out of the cells. But if caught trying to break through the wall, he would be charged as an escaping prisoner and then the guards would make sure he never tried to escape again.

Checking for any signs of incoming opposition and seeing nothing, 242 moved into the cell and then withdrew a small metallic object from his sock. Placing one side on his hand, the brown vulpine clicked the button. Part of palm glowed slightly red in the beam of the flashlight.

Nodding approvingly, 242 knelt and pulled his hand away slightly. The meager amount of light illuminated the bottom of the wall. Identifying the brick, he shut the light off and listened for any guards. Still hearing nothing, 242 grinned and pushed out the brick. The smell of damp earth filled his nose, but he welcomed it.

Putting the flashlight inside the opening, the brown vulpine clicked it on. Piercing the darkness, 242 saw that the space was far larger than his expectations. It was over two yards.

“Brilliant,” he thought.

A thought snagged his mind, he didn’t know how wide the space was. Knowing that bit of information would be helpful.

“You don’t have time to loosen the other bricks, 242.” he told himself “think of something.”

A minute passed and an idea clicked inside 242's mind. Reaching inside and seizing a clump of soil, he compacted it in his hand and threw it as best as he could. He heard the impact shortly after.

“Close but not impossible,” thought 242.

Seizing the brick, 242 pulled it out properly and replaced it. His hunt was now finished, but returning to his cell undetected was still an issue.

“Let’s do it to it,” he thought.

Listening again for any guards and with no signs, 242 vacated the cell and began treading the path back to his own.

After fifteen minutes, 242 neared his cell row about to make a right turn into the row.

“You there!” barked a harsh voice.

Startled, 242 froze into place. Thoughts of running and hiding flowing through his mind, yet he could do neither as he couldn’t move. His heartbeat increased two fold.

“Y-yes sir?” replied another voice nervously.

Relief flooded through 242's body as he realized that he had not been detected. The voices originating from the small guard’s lounge ahead of him to the left.

“Watching football whilst on duty eh?” said the first speaker “do you know what the penalty for dereliction of duty is?”

“Ah,” thought 242 “good old Sergeant Pryce.”

Tempted as he was to listen to the guard getting a mouthful from his superior, 242 decided that safety was the wiser option. Making the right turn, 242 continued to his cell slowly.

“Since it’s your first offence under my watch,” said Pryce “I won’t report this, however I will instead give you something to better remember the expectations.”

A small crash echoed followed by a moan of pain. 242 grinned at the sound and eased the cell door open quietly. Taking the wedge out of the lock, the brown vulpine shut the door.

“I did it,” he whispered quietly “I am the champion!”

His emotions flowing, the young vulpine couldn’t help but perform a victory dance in celebration. After a seemingly short amount of time, 242 settled on his bed to get whatever sleep he could. Pulling the blanket closer to him, he closed his eyes and grinned as he drifted into sleep.

Grinning again at the thought, 242 approached the library to find Steel waiting for him.

“What are you so happy about?” he asked.

“Just some good news that’s all.” replied 242

Steel raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“I’ll tell you later,” said 242 “let’s get to work.”

Steel nodded and entered the library. 242 followed him, the smile still etched on his face.

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Chapter 4: Deception and Illusion.

“So leave you turbulent beast,” said Steel, his forefinger pointed at 242 “leave this place and rid us of thine evil presence!”

The black furred canine drew a long thin stave and pointed it at 242.

“Flee now traitor!” he half-shouted “Or judgement shall be delivered to you on the tip of a metal blade.”

“No brother,” replied 242 defiantly “I will not flee only to be hunted like a beast and captured. I returned today because I will not suffer any longer. You stole the kingdom, killed our father, and branded me a traitor. I will not suffer you any longer. If I am to die today, so be it.”

The brown vulpine reached into his cloak and drew a stave similar to the one Steel was carrying.

“But I will not die on my knees like a criminal,” he declared “I will die fighting, and I will use all of my skill to see you defeated!”

“In that moment,” narrated an inmate “the false king knew that he was not facing the boy he once called brother. He was facing a new man, one battle-hardened and bloodthirsty. One who would end his life without hesitation.”

In truth the two were acting out a play for the benefit of the prisoner population. The play told the lives of two princes of a primitive race, one betraying the other and seizing the crown for himself.

242 suppressed a grin as he thought about some other activities that would be taking place that night.

The brown vulpine replaced a book on the library shelf and soon moved across to put more away. He however received a surprise when he saw Pline’s head looking at him on the other side of the shelf.

“Hey buddy.” whispered Pline.

“Pline,” he replied “what is it?”

“It’s impossible to get the blueprints,” muttered Pline “there’s too much activity, I could never get them out.”

“Is there any way you could copy them?” asked 242.

He already had thought of the idea, but had not been able to tell Pline of it. They had decided to keep contact minimal so as to try and shake off suspicion.

“If I could get to the copy machine maybe,” said Pline “but the guards watch everyone.”

242 reached for another book and a idea passed into his mind.

“We’ll give them something else to watch.” said 242.

Pline looked at him questioningly, prompting 242 to show him the book.

“This is a book of plays,” said 242 “theater plays. I think, Eternity Theater will have it’s premiere very soon.”

“Guards!” Steel shouted “to arms and relieve this traitor of his tainted life!”

The shout brought 242 back to reality. Three mean looking fighters stared him down all carrying clubs.

“Oh yeah,” thought 242 “beat these three posers and then the sword fight to save the kingdom. Let’s have some fun.”

One of the “king’s bodyguard” lunged at 242 who responded promptly. Sidestepping the attacker’s charge, 242 quickly placed him in a headlock and then followed through by dropping all his weight to the floor. The headlock attack might have knocked the acting prisoner out cold if a cleverly concealed mattress hadn’t cushioned the fall.

The remaining two members of the bodyguard surrounded him and raised their clubs threateningly.

“I will have your hand for a trophy.” said one of the bodyguard as he charged.

242 dropped to his knees and the two bodyguards collided into each other. Springing back to his feet, 242 slammed his fist into the belly of a bodyguard. He fell winded and was soon “knocked out” by 242's boot.

Seeing both of his comrades downed, and shaken from the failed attack. The other bodyguard fled.

“Wait you coward!” Steel called after the fleeing bodyguard.

“It’s finished brother,” said 242 confidently “your guards flee before me, they know the battle is lost. Lay down your weapon.”

“Take it from me,” replied Steel “if you can.”

The two princes stormed into combat, 242 using a lightning fast offense against Steel’s strong defensive moves. Largely due to hours of rehearsal, the two fought considerably well. When one would strike, the other would immediately know where to defend. Though the two did suffer a couple of bruises during the rehearsal, they made no errors now.

After four minutes, Steel growled in fury.

“Now to finish this.” though 242.

242 brought his blade down on Steel, who dodged and followed it up with a strike of his own. Lightening his grip, the sword fell out of 242's hand after his parry attempt.

“You are finished brother!” declared Steel as he raised his sword.

With incredible speed, 242 dashed forward and retrieved a small wooden knife handle from his belt. Steel gasped in pain and shock when 242 rammed it into his chest.

Steel’s breathing sharpened and 242 lowered him to the ground, throwing the “knife” away as he did so.

“No... this can’t be.” said Steel raggedly.

“It is,” replied 242 “rest in peace now, brother.”

“As the true king held his dying brother,” said the narrating prisoner “the sun rose over the treetops. Fittingly so, as the time of cruelty and malice was over. A new day dawned on the kingdom.”

The curtains soon closed over the stage and the audience members applauded. 242 helped Steel to his feet and then joined the rest of the cast members who had gathered behind the curtain.

The applause continued as the curtain opened and the cast took their bows. It didn’t take long for 242 to notice that while the prisoners applauded reasonably spiritedly, the guards clapped halfheartedly.

“I guess it’s not as impressive as football.” thought 242 sarcastically.

The curtains closed for the final time and then the cast soon began disassembling the stage.

“It was a good play.” remarked Steel quietly as he picked up the mattress.

“Nice and long.” replied 242, who moved to assist him.

The two remained silent and moved away to various parts of the stage. It didn’t take long to disassemble it, as the stage was small to begin with. Soon enough it was all finished and the guards were moving the prisoners back into the building. Having sacrificed their dinner time to rehearse, the cast were allowed a late dinner in the service kitchen.

“Ah dinner,” said 242 as they entered the kitchen.

“You sound so happy.” remarked Steel.

“Well, I’m hungry.” replied 242 defensively.

“Indeed.” said Steel simply.

The dinner consisted of the usual legumes, rice and soup that so typical of Eternity Prison dinners. 242 ate his meal quietly, listening to the conversations flowing around the table.

“Pline had better have copied those blueprints or there will be trouble.” thought 242.

After a short amount of time, the prisoners were ordered out of the kitchen and moved back to the cells. Before 242 knew it, he was back in his cell.

“Another beautiful day in paradise.” thought 242.

Snickering at the thought he lay down on the bed to sleep, images of blueprints and tunnels swirling through his mind. Soon enough his sight went blank as he slept.

He could feel the pain coursing through his body. He knew he was gravely wounded, But he didn’t care. The only thing he could think about was the attack. He could see flashes of light through his closed eyes and heard voices all around him. Though the words made no sense to him.

“I have to get out of here,” he thought “I have to find her.”

Moving slightly, he felt a slight fall and then a great pain. As hands grabbed at him, he flailed around. Eventually managing to open his eyes and see his assailants. The first thing he noticed was that they were hospital staff. As they tried to subdue him, he fought back. Gaining the upper hand he pushed one away strongly and pinned the other to the wall.

“Where is she?” he demanded.

The staff member merely spluttered various inane words.

“Tell me,” he said “now!”

His vision fading, the wounded man’s vision faded once more.

242 woke up with a jolt, his breathing ragged. He could hear the usual start to the morning roll call.

“What the hell?” he asked quietly.

The rest of his morning passed as it normally did, though 242 could remember little of it. His thoughts still focused on the dream he had.

Eating his breakfast without really paying attention, he kept thinking about the dream. It took Steel three attempts of calling his name to get his attention.

“I’m sorry, what?” asked 242.

“Do you want your bread?” asked Steel.

“Yes,” 242 replied blankly “hands off.”

“Alright now seriously,” said Steel quietly “are you okay? You look like you’ve been to the cooler for two weeks.”

“I had a rough night,” replied 242 “crazy dream. I’ll tell you about it later.”

“Alright,” said Steel “I have some news though.”

“Has the prison been invaded by space pirates?” asked 242.

“No,” replied Steel evenly “what makes you ask that?”

“I don’t know,” said 242 “but it might be fun.”

“Your idea of fun is not the same as mine,” declared Steel quietly “but anyway. I just heard from Pline. He got the copy.”

“Good.” 242 said softly.

Reaching for his cup of water, the brown vulpine raised it slightly in a toast and then took a long drink from it.

“So what do we do now?” asked Steel.

242 placed the cup back on the table and considered the issue.

“Well,” replied 242 “first we’ll have a look, and then we plan.”

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Chapter 5: Seeds of dissent.

Steel, 242 and Pline sat around a small wooden bench playing a card game. Though their actions seemed innocent enough, the nature of their words was far from what one would expect.

“In theory and conclusion,” said 242 in a scholarly voice “a tunnel might actually work.”

“I have a question,” said Pline “what do any of us know about tunneling.”

“Nothing,” conceded 242 “but Steel here knows someone who might be able to help.”

Steel drew a card and replaced it with one of his own before speaking.

“He works in one of those labs on the east side of the camp.” said Steel. “He used to be a Construction Engineer before they dragged him here. He’s one of the lucky few to still have his memories.”

“Why is he here?” asked Pline.

“I don’t know,” replied Steel “I’ll go have a talk to him, see if he wants in.”

“What if he doesn’t?” asked 242 “that could cause some trouble.”

“Well then I’ll do it real casual like.” replied Steel.

Somehow this statement did little to assuage 242's concerns.

“What’s this person’s name anyway?” asked Pline.

“Molerat,” replied Steel “that’s what they call him anyway. The next time I see him, I’ll see about him joining.”

“Is there anyone else we need, 242?” asked Pline.

“I think we should have six people,” said 242 “that way we can cover for each other, and we’ll have a reasonable amount of manpower.”

“So,” muttered Steel “the Eternity Six eh? Have anyone in mind?”

“No,” replied 242 “that’s why we need to keep our eyes open. Look for potentials in the meantime.”

The brown vulpine drew a card from the deck, it was the card he needed to win the game.

“Making it a win.” said 242 as he placed the card down.

The days melded together in the mind of 242. It just seemed to be a constant pattern of food, duties, search and sleep.

Since his card game, the group of three had become four. Molerat had decided to join them after a meeting. 242 thought back on it with a slight grin, the guy was edgy and had a certain refined sense of cockiness. But that’s why 242 liked him.

Steel peered through a slit in the doorframe of the shower room and then nodded.

Nodding back, 24 began to speak to the small canine in front of him. Only he was cut off before he could start.

“Why do you want to see me so, mister 242?” he asked.

“Well Molerat, I needed to speak to on a matter that could be beneficial to both of us.” replied 242.

“Oh?” asked Molerat “and what would that be?”

242 studied his prospective ally and noted several things. For one, the man was quite middle aged. His fur was a salt and pepper gray and his face was considerably lined. He stood far shorter than 242 did at about 5"3. Yet despite his seemingly small stature, 242 saw a sharpness in his eyes.

“Before I can tell you this,” said 242 “I need your word you will not reveal it to anybody.”

“Ah young pup,” said Molerat with a smile “what makes you think I wouldn’t just break my word later?”

“I don’t know,” admitted 242 “certainly you could. But I happen to think honor counts for something around here, amongst us.”

Molerat grinned and then looked at Steel, who nodded.

“Alright young 242,” said Molerat “I give you my word I will not reveal anything spoken here. Satisfied?”

“Yes,” said 242 “now. Do you happen to know anything about mining?”

The gray canine’s eyebrows rose fully and a small smile spread across his face.

“You mean, do I know anything about digging tunnels, correct?” he asked.

“Alright,” said 242 “that’s pretty much it. Know anything about tunneling?”

“I was a construction engineer, though I’m sure you already knew that,” said Molerat “during that time, you might say I helped build cities. Buildings, roads on the street, utilities. Plenty of things.”

242 nodded for him to continue.

“Another thing my profession sometimes entails is building dams,” said Molerat “do you know how much dirt has to be dug out in order to make one?”

“No I don’t,” admitted 242 “but I do hope that means that you know how to tunnel.”

“Of course it does,” declared the gray canine “haven’t you been listening?”

242 opened his mouth to retort but thought better of it.

“Certainly I could help you with it,” stated Molerat “but I’m trying to find incentive.”

“Y-you need incentive?” asked 242 incredulously “look around you, there’s plenty of it.”

“What about it?” asked Molerat “certainly being in a prison is less appealing than my home on Corneria, but it has its charms.”

“You have to be kidding,” said 242 “what could you find charming about this place.”

“Well they make a good cup of tea.” replied the gray canine.

242 stared at him incredulously.

“Tell me that you’re joking” said 242.

“You’re right,” affirmed Molerat “the sooner we get out of here, the sooner I can get a quality cup of tea, or four. I’m with you.”

242's thoughts were brought to an abrupt halt when he tripped over a metal trolley. Pain rocketed through his legs and face as he lay flat on the ground, trying to collect himself.

“Watch where you’re walking mate.” said a deep husky voice.

Angered and still disoriented from the fall, the brown vulpine stood up carefully and rounded on the source of the voice. 242's anger soon turned to alarm when actually paid attention to the trolley pusher. He wore a prisoner’s garb, which clashed horribly with his reddish fur. His wolfish features suggested power and dominance, which was backed up by the fact that he towered over 242 by at least half a foot.

As if picking up on 242's change of attitude, the wolfish prisoner stepped towards him threateningly.

“Is there something you were going to say?” he asked smugly.

“Well there was, but I’m actually a little busy right now.” replied 242.

“That’s too bad,” said the reddish wolf “look at my uniform.”

242 looked down to see what he had failed to notice, the prisoner’s pants were covered in filth.

“Oh,” thought 242 “it’s a garbage trolley.”

His face exploded with a burst of pain as the reddish wolf punched him in the forehead. 242 leapt to his feet, disoriented. His vision swam but he could see his attacker encroaching upon him. Taking a small run the brown vulpine leaped into the air and drop-kicked his opponent as the wolf tried to punch him again. 242's attack caught him in the belly and he fell right into the overturned garbage trolley.

“Enjoy that?!” asked 242 smugly.

A series of painful shocks ripped through his system and he soon fell to the floor. Dazed and hurting, he lay still as a boot connected with his jaw. Mercifully he did not feel the pain as the strike rendered him unconscious.

The brown vulpine woke up several hours later.

“Where the heck am I?” he asked, not expecting an answer. His jaw ached and his face felt swollen and pained at his touch.

“You’re in the cooler.” muttered a voice.

Snapping his eyes open, 242 saw that he was indeed inside the cooler. He was not however alone, as he had thought. The reddish wolf sat across the room from him.

“What the heck are you doing here?” demanded 242 angrily.

“Ooh, the claws are out aren’t they?” replied the wolf.

“Answer the question.” said 242.

“It’s simple, even for a blockhead like you,” declared the wolf “We’re both in here for three days. I’m in here because I started the fight, you’re in here because you won.”

“It doesn’t feel like I won anything.” said 242 as he felt his face throb.

“Sorry about that,” said the wolf “it did get a bit out of hand, didn’t it?”

“You think?” asked 242.

The wolf chortled and then shifted his weight slightly. 242 noticed that his cell-mate seemed to be trying to support his back.

“How’s your back?” asked 242 not unkindly.

“Sore,” replied the wolf “impressive drop-kick though.”

“Sorry,” replied 242 “so, what’s your name?”

“Tiny,” said the wolf “they call me Tiny.”

242 nodded with a slight grin.

“I wonder why.” he said after a few seconds.

“So do I.” replied Tiny.

A few seconds passed and the two burst into peals of laughter. After the laughing subsided, the two men began to converse. 242 soon learned that Tiny was a member of the maintenance team, he was chosen for his large frame. Tiny revealed that he stood at 6"5 and weighed 235 pounds.

“Impressive,” remarked 242 “I imagine nobody ever bothers picks fights with you.”

“You did.” said Tiny.

“Yeah well, I’m a blockhead as you put it.” replied 242.

The two chortled and the conversation soon turned to sports. Tiny was one of the more privileged prisoners and had been allowed to watch sport programs. He spent a good twenty minutes explaining the rules of rugby to 242 when a guard arrived to deliver their midday meal.

“Good food,” said Tiny as he picked up a piece of bread.

242 raised an eyebrow. Tiny grinned and went back to his meal.

“Sure,” said 242 “if you don’t mind the sawdust in the bread.”

“Bit of sawdust never hurt anyone,” replied Tiny “and if you close your eyes, it almost tastes like corn.”

“What are you talking about?” asked 242.

“I don’t know,” replied Tiny “maybe the sawdust does do bad things after all.”

The two laughed and then went back to their meals. Though the food was terrible, the good company kept 242 in high spirits.

After their three days in the cooler, 242 thought about a phrase he had once read. About turning one’s negatives to one’s advantage. He did just that, he now had the fifth member of the Eternity Six.

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Pretty cool story, i look forward to reading more. Mabye later if you have time you could read through mine. Its Starfox Rise From The Ashes.

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Chapter 6: The Eternity Five.

Steel stood near the shower room doorway, peering through a slit for any sign of incoming trouble. Seeing nothing, he looked at 242 and nodded.

Returning the nod, 242 cleared his throat to address the motley collection of inmates around the room.

“Alright people,” said 242 “as you all know I’m 242. The one watching the door is Steel.”

Indicating everyone one by one, he began to run through names.

“Pline our contact in records,” said 242 quickly “Molerat, who actually knows how to dig tunnels.”

Molerat bowed slightly after his name was called.

“Tiny is without a doubt the biggest and baddest member of our team,” said 242 “and that’s about it really.”

“So why are we here?” asked Tiny.

“Because young Tiny,” said 242 “if this is going to work, we need to ensure communication.”

“Two minutes.” said Steel in warning.

242 took a small piece of paper from his show and handed it to Tiny.

“These are the tools we’ll need for drilling,” said 242 “the space, used to be a series of drainage tunnel, it caved and they never dug it out. We’re going to do that, it’ll save us a bit of time.”

“I have a question,” said Molerat abruptly “digging up a drainage tunnel may be all well and good, but using a cell wall to get in and out. It’s not exactly the most economical way in.”

“You’ve hit it right on the head,” replied 242 “we’ll need a way in and out without it looking too obtrusive.”

A few moments of silence passed as the three other members gave expectant looks.

“Well?” asked Pline.

“What?” replied the brown vulpine.

“This is where you point out that you already found one.” said Pline.

“I never said that at all.” replied 242 pointedly.

“So we’re supposed to just find another way in?” asked Pline.

“Yes, that’s pretty much it right there.” replied 242 casually.

“Let’s wrap this up.” said Steel edgily.

“Remember the names,” said 242 evenly “we’re all in this together. Keep your eyes sharp and your thoughts sharper. Now let’s go before the guards declare showering illegal.”

The group left the shower room quickly, but unobtrusively.

“This is ridiculous.” declared 242 as he looked at his container of oatmeal. However the oatmeal was not the source of his tempered remark.

“What’s ridiculous?” asked Steel as he sat down next to him like he usually did.

“Do you know how long it’s been since we started this group?” asked 242.

“33 days, 2 hours and about seven minutes.” replied Steel.

“How much work have we been able to do in that time?” asked the brown vulpine.

“About, nothing.” replied Steel.

In the month that the “Eternity Five” had been formed, no work had been done on the tunnel. Tiny had managed to secure some of the tools that they needed, but they did not have a convenient and stealthy method of entering the tunneling area.

“These things take time,” said Steel “do you know about the three most successful failed attempts to get out of here?”

“No,” replied a surprised 242 “why?”

“I’ll just fill you in on them,” said Steel “the first was about 4 years ago.”

“Just two more yards and freedom!” shouted a white furred rabbit. The rabbit carried a small spade and dug furiously in the small confines of the tunnel.

“Yes, so close. I’ll..”

A loud sparking rented the air and the prisoner collapsed, screaming in pain as a mean looking guard pushed an electrojabber further into his back.

“Two yards until freedom,” said Steel as he finished describing the anecdote “but it wasn’t enough.”

“Poor bloke.” muttered 242.

“Then there was the second placed escapee,” said Steel “his was much more simple.”

A young looking inmate watched carefully as a guard keyed a code to open an exit door. Taking his chance, the inmate made a mad dash for the door. He came up just short of making through as the door snapped into lock and he crashed headlong into it, knocking himself unconscious.

242 merely nodded once Steel finished the story.

“As for number one,” said Steel “well, it was interesting.”

A green avian dashed up a rickety ladder and climbed onto the walls. A guard spotted him and shouted, eventually all the alarms signaled. The prisoner dashed across the wall and into a tower, seeing a point that he could land. Or not get killed on impact, he sprinted out of the tower

and jumped off the wall. A blaster shot rented the air and the prisoner hit the ground, never to move again.

“Now if these people had actually thought about it properly,” said Steel “they might have gotten away with it.”

“Fair point... wait, two yards?” asked 242 “he was 2 yards away from the surface?”

“Not exactly,” replied Steel “he just thought he was. If he had surfaced then, he would have dug a hole right into a guard lounge. Poor guy.”

“You made your point,” said 242 “maybe we should start looking for other ways of getting out of here.”

“Good idea.” said Steel simply.

242 watched as Tiny approached their table, neither making eye contact. The reddish wolf shuffled slightly on the way past but did not stop, instead he chose to sit at a table further from theirs.

“Completely inconspicuous.” thought 242.

Moving back in his chair slightly, the brown vulpine put his foot back and then brought it forward slowly. Reaching out with his hand, 242 grabbed at his shoe and picked off a small sheaf of paper. Reading it quickly, 242 placed it in his shoe.

“What does it say?” asked Steel.

“Found it. Same place and time, P.” recited 242.

“Looks like we’re going to have a game after all.” said Steel.

The sports game ended very bitterly for 242. Though he sealed the match for his side by stopping a goal, he didn’t feel like a winner. All he felt was intense pain in his nose as it was the unfortunate body part that had taken the shot. His nose had not broken, but it hurt and bled as if it did nonetheless.

“That was a disaster.” declared 242 as he entered the shower room.

Clutching his nose with one hand, the brown vulpine washed the blood off his face carefully. Cursing slightly and busy with his task, he did not notice Pline enter the room.

“Good game, huh?” asked Pline.

242 nearly jumped out of his fur and succeeded in increasing his already pained nose by breathing in. Cursing again, and wiping the tears from his eyes, the brown vulpine soon regained his composure.

“I don’t think so,” replied 242 evenly “in fact. I thought it was pretty bad.”

“What game were you playing?” asked Pline “you won it for us mate.”

“My nose says thinks otherwise.” replied 242.

“Good thing you have that big, rock filled head,” said Pline “otherwise we would have lost the game.”

Pline looked at 242 and saw him glowering at him, his blue eyes cold and emotionless yet it was the most terrifying thing Pline had seen. He shifted uncomfortably and then stammered a few words before getting control of his mouth.

“No offence, I’m sorry.” he muttered.

“Too right mate,” thought 242 “if only this worked on everyone.”

Resisting the temptation to laugh, the brown vulpine decided to speak.

“I’m going to ignore what you said,” said 242 “so you should use this time to tell me of this great secret you found. It had better be good, or there will be an offense. Against you!”

“Well you know that grille in the kitchens, near the large fridge?”

“What about it?” asked 242 curiously.

“I was looking through the records the other day,” said Pline “and there’s a series of pipes in the tunnel. One of which used to connect to the kitchen.”

“Used to?” asked 242.

“It turns out that it wasn’t always a kitchen,” said 242 “there used to be a small sea of water underneath the ground. They used large pipes to drain the water out of the ground. Once they built the prison, it was converted to draining water to a collection point. They never took it out when the tunnel collapsed, and there’s plenty of room for people to sneak in and out from.

“Even Tiny?” asked 242 with a slight grin.

“Him too.” replied Pline with a nod.

“How are we going to use it?” asked 242.

“Molerat thinks he might be able to disconnect part of it,” said Pline “then we have our entry point.”

“Alright,” said 242 “we’ll do it. We’re already behind schedule anyway.”

“We have a schedule?” asked Pline.

“Not really,” replied the brown vulpine “It would just be nice if we got out quickly.”

“Fair enough,” said Pline “Tiny managed to get the tools we need, so we’ll be able to start soon.”

Turning back to face the mirror, 242 resumed tending to his nose. Though the pain had dulled slightly, it still annoyed him. However he now looked at the day in a different view.

“Maybe it’s not so bad after all.” thought 242.

The rest of the week passed in the usual blur that 242 felt all the time. The usual irritations of prison life were always present, but he really never had anything to occupy his time and so the time would sometimes fly by.

Three days after he had spoken to Pline however, he knew he would need all the time he could get.

Stepping into the kitchen for his usual kitchen detail, 242 nodded at Steel who carried a large bag of vegetables to the refrigerator.

“Keep it together pal,” he thought to himself “be the ice cube.”

The door to the kitchen closed and the two inmates immediately went to work, but it wasn’t their usual kitchen-work.

“Let’s hope he did get those tools.” said Steel as he opened a bag of potatoes.

242 nodded and began rifling through the bag, eventually finding a screwdriver and a thin file.

“Good,” said Steel as he took them “I’ll take care of this, you get the lights.”

242 nodded and then started searching through a box of oats. Seeing a small mark on one of the larger packets, the brown vulpine seized it and began his search. Soon enough he found what he was looking for, several battery packs and an industrial torch.

“Got it.” said 242 quietly.

“Good,” said Steel as he worked on unscrewing the grille “this is almost too easy.”

“Don’t say that or you’ll jinx it.” replied 242.

Chortling slightly, the black furred canine continued his work. After several minutes he had taken out all the screws and took out the grille.

242 looked closely at the pipe. Though it looked old and slightly rusted, it would do well for their needs.

“You know what to say if someone comes in and sees that I’m not here?” asked Steel as he knelt down to enter the pipe.

“That you’re on a bathroom break.” replied 242.

“If they want to see me afterwards?” asked Steel.

“I say a very loud prayer.” replied 242.

Grinning slightly, the black furred canine entered the pipe, replaced the grille and was soon out of 242's sight. The vulpine however turned back to his kitchen duties, having to work twice as quickly so as to cover Steel’s share.

His nerves tingled every time someone walked past the door. Their story wouldn’t last very long and the slightest investigation would see their plans destroyed. Losing track of time, all he could do was hope.

A knock on the door sent his nerves into a frenzy. Breathing deeply, 242 calmed himself enough to speak.

“Yes?” he said in a raised, but causal voice.

“How’s dinner looking?” said someone from outside.

“Like dinner I guess,” replied 242.

“Fair enough,” replied the voice “get back to it.”

“Okay.” said 242 simply.

The brown vulpine sighed in relief and soon picked up a container to store the cooked vegetables in. But before he could, another noise nearly caused him to drop it. Turning quickly, 242 listened as two clicks broke the silence. Moving towards the grille, he could hear uneven breathing.

“Good,” said 242 as he took out the grille.

“Miss me?” asked Steel as he crawled out of the pipe. His brow was dotted with beads of sweat, but he looked reasonably cheerful.

“You left the equipment in there?” asked 242 quietly.

“All but one.” replied Steel as he showed the screwdriver.

“I’ve got this,” said 242 “take a break.”

Steel nodded and approached the taps, splashing his face in water while 242 reapplied the screws.

“Got it,” said 242 as he put the last one in “and now we cook.”

With a small grin on his face, Steel turned to the unprepared food and picked up a container. 242 joined him and the two soon began muttering about how boring their duties were.

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another great chapter. I cant wait to read more

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Chapter 7: The mark of treachery.

“The question is,” said 242 as he studied a playing card “do you need this or not?”

Steel raised an eyebrow questioningly, even more so when 242 put his cards on the table and rested his head on them.

“What the heck are you doing?” asked Steel.

“I’m thinking about the cards.” replied 242.

In truth, he was resting his eyes. The idea of digging a tunnel and escaping seemed appealing to him at the time, but weeks of digging had taken their toll on the young vulpine. After Steel had

broken the pipeline, the Five set up their tunneling station with the stolen equipment. Soon enough, they had lights and walkie-talkies for communication. Molerat had insisted on it.

Though almost all the team members were assigned to the kitchens at least fortnightly, 242 and Steel usually ended up receiving the most work. So the job of tunneling fell to them, and it all caught up to them.

“You look terrible.” remarked Steel.

“Tired,” muttered 242 in response “but you probably are too.”

“Yes,” replied Steel “but I’m better at coping with it, and you do most of the work. You need to rest.”

“I’m not that tired,” declared 242 “I don’t need any rest.”

“Oh good,” said Steel “because you’re the Lock for the game today. Good thing you’re not tired.”

“Upon reflection,” said 242 casually “I think I’m going to go to my cell and have a sleep.”

The brown vulpine stood up from the table and ambled away, beginning the path to his cell.

Nodding slightly, Steel looked 242's cards.

“Good thing too,” he said whilst studying the high hand “he’d make a lousy Lock.”

242 ambled down the path to his cell, exhaustion causing his eyesight to waver and dance.

“You there.” said a voice from behind him.

242 turned and saw Sergeant Pryce approaching him rapidly. Fearing attack and not thinking clearly, he turned slightly and bent his knees, ready to defend if required.

“Oh relax 242,” said Pryce, recognizing the stance “or, do you have something to hide?”

“No,” replied 242 “just can’t be too careful is all.”

The grizzled sergeant grinned and waved for him to follow.

“Let’s go get a cup of coffee,” he said “I’m thirsty.”

242 nodded and followed warily. The guards rarely gave favorable treatment, and 242 never expected it. The system usually led to little contact between the two parties which was how 242 preferred it.

“I hope you guys can finish Fremont without me,” thought 242 “because I might not be around much longer.

After their first four days of digging, many of the issues that they had to face were about maintaining the integrity of the tunnel, how far they needed to dig and how to remove the accumulating dirt. After finding solutions to all three, a suggestion to name the tunnel was put forward. After much deliberation, the team had chosen to name the tunnel Fremont.

Nearing a guard lounge, Pryce opened the door and waved for 242 to go through.

“Once I go through, attacked for going into a restricted area.” thought the brown vulpine.

“What are you waiting for?” asked the grizzled sergeant.

“Here we go.” though 242.

Walking through the door, he fought the temptation to tense up as he waited for his the pain to follow him. But it did not.

“So Mr. 242,” said Pryce as he activated a coffee machine “how do you like your coffee?”

“Well,” began 242 uncertainly “I’ve never really had it before.”

“Fair enough,” replied Pryce “so I’ll just get you what I have.”

242 watched as the grizzled sergeant took two mugs from a small cupboard. Soon enough, Pryce presented 242 with one of the mugs.

“Wait until it cools first.” instructed the sergeant.

“Really Pryce,” thought 242 sarcastically “I thought I’d just drink it straight, or use it to grow the mold in my cell.”

Nodding slightly, the brown vulpine waited and looked around. The room was fairly simple, though it looked like a palace compared to his own cell.

“Now 242,” said Pryce “I am a man of simple rules, you listen to me and I’ll listen to you. Respect goes both ways with me, a commander’s ability in combat is influenced by how his men

work and feel about him. If his men don’t respect him enough to do as they are asked, then anarchy follows. If they do respect him enough though, then everything runs smoothly.”

“How long have you been practicing this?” thought 242 as he took a sip from his coffee.

The liquid tasted bitter, but he acted as if he liked it.

“But that works both ways,” said Pryce “the commander has to respect his men too. Do you understand?”

242 nodded and drank more of his coffee. He could see merit in the sergeant’s thinking, but he had little reason to trust the men who made hell for a living. As 242's eyes raked the room he spotted a bottle of a darkish liquid.

“What’s that?” asked 242 curiously.

“Oh that,” began the grizzled sergeant “that is a bottle of Cornerian scotch. Want some?”

“Sure, why not?” replied 242

Standing up, Pryce limped over to the bottle and opened it. Retrieving a small glass from the cupboard, the sergeant returned to the table and filled it.

“Aren’t you having any?” asked 242.

“I only use alcohol for medicinal purposes,” replied Pryce “I’m on duty too.”

Nodding, the vulpine raised the glass in toast and swallowed the drink. His mouth and throat roared in protest and 242 couldn’t help but splutter and cough.

“It does take some getting used to.” said Pryce as he watched.

“Now you tell me?” thought 242, as the cough paseed.

Sitting upright, the vulpine placed the glass back on the table.

“It does have a bit of a bite to it,” he admitted “but what do you expect from medicine?”

The two laughed and soon began talking. Though the conversation seemed rather strange in 242's mind, not in context but nature. After ten minutes, the sergeant sent 242 out of the lounge.

“Well that was weird,” though 242 as he resumed the path to his cell “I wouldn’t trust that guy with a potato peeler.”

As he entered his cell, his nerves began tingling. The cell was almost exactly as he had left it. Having few possessions and knowing the rules of general cleanliness, his cell was always clean and clear. However he always made his bed in a certain way, and though the bed was made. The pillowcase ends were on the wrong side.

“Someone’s been in here.” thought 242.

It was a common practice in Eternity Prison for the guards to search the prisoner’s cells. Usually the prisoner was with them so if any contraband was found, the prisoner was close by. Sometimes searches would take place without the prisoner’s presence. But in all cases, they never made an effort to clean up after themselves.

Dropping down, the brown vulpine began a search of his own.

“What are you trying to hide?” asked the vulpine in his mind.

After five minutes of searching, they vulpine finally found something. Hidden cleverly underneath his sink was small black device.

“A listening bug,” thought 242 “the guys are moving up in the world.”

Yawning, 242 settled on his bed. Taking out the bug would be hazardous, so he decided to be careful with his words and sleep on it. The exhaustion he felt before rushed back to him and he could not resist it, sleep soon followed him thereafter.

After gaining a short amount of rest, 242 dragged himself out of bed. A small commotion of sound and voices echoed outside his cell. Walking up to the door, he peered out as best as he could. He could see nothing, but heard a variety of voices.

“Attention!” shouted a very military-like voice.

“Pryce,” thought 242 “this isn’t a parade ground you know.”

“Open order, march!” shouted Pryce.

The sound of movement filled the hall and was suddenly stopped.

“Left turn!” said the sergeant.

“What’s going on here?” thought 242.

“Space yourselves, now!” said Pryce with command.

“Not very military buddy.” thought 242 edgily.

“March to posts, now!” said the sergeant.

242 listened as the prisoners moved again, soon filing past his cell. His eyes widened when Steel moved into his view.

“Halt!” shouted Pryce “row one, Left turn. Row two, right turn. Now!”

As the prisoners turned, 242 shot Steel a questioning look. Steel raised his shoulders slightly.

“Now gentlemen,” said Pryce “for economical reasons, the warden of this facility has decided to enact a new policy. From now on, all cells will be shared, two per cell.”

A series of mumbles echoed throughout the cell row. From what 242 could hear, it didn’t sound good.

“Company quiet!” shouted Pryce “I know this change will not be taken well but I have my orders, as do you.”

The prisoners soon entered their new cells and Steel sat down on 242's bed.

“Your beds will be brought along shortly,” declared the sergeant.

“What a day.” said Steel.

“It has been interesting.” replied 242 as he signaled for Steel to continue the conversation.

“Well, how was your rest?” asked Steel with raised eyebrows.

“Restful.” replied 242 as he uncovered the bug.

The brown vulpine beckoned for Steel to approach, and within moments, the black furred canine knew what 242 had been doing.

“Glad to hear that,” said Steel as he sat back down on the bed “just brilliant.”

242 rolled his eyes as he retrieved his pack of cards.

“Game of poker?” he asked.

“Yeah alright.” replied Steel, annoyance showing in his face.

After the cards were dealt, the two men began to play. Keeping conversation to a minimum, the two lost track of time during the game. After a while, a rickety metal bed was brought into their cell along with some bedding.

“You set it up.” muttered a rough faced guard as he left the cell.

“I’ll do it.” offered 242.

“Thanks.” replied Steel as he put away the cards.

Lifting up the disassembled bed, the brown vulpine grinned and moved slightly towards the cell sink. After struggling to keep his face passive, 242 dropped the bed. The resulting crash of metal against the floor made Steel fall over in surprise.

“Bad day for whoever’s listening.” thought 242.

Muttering a feeble apology to Steel, the brown vulpine got to work on assembling the bed. Within minutes it was done, and Steel had a bed of his own.

“Thank you 242,” said the black furred canine as he lay down on it “I didn’t need the shock, but thanks anyway.”

“Anytime brother,” said 242 as he settled on his own bed “anytime.”

Perhaps it was a trick of the light of the light, or maybe because he was tired. But 242 thought could see a faint figure outside his cell, a vulpine with black sunglasses.

“I know that guy.” thought 242.

Too exhausted to think, he closed his eyes and resumed his much needed sleep.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm posting this here mostly to let you know that I've read through it, and that I'll be taking a little time for it to settle in my head before giving a more complete response.

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