Lock Down and Out
It was dark and cold, there in the distance was the sound of a drip. Then another drip, they seemed to come every second or so. No matter how hard Rocket tried he just couldn't seem to find where it was coming from. It seemed like it was coming from somewhere in the back of his mind. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see a pale light along a horizon. Wait, that wasn't a horizon, Rocket thought. Then he opened his eyes.
Slowly he blinked and opened his eyes. He was lying on a thin mat on the top bunk of a bunk bed. He had a thin foam pillow under his head, it was soaked with sweat. Above him was a pale gray ceiling, with a dim florescent light set into the ceiling. There was the heavy scent of ammonia in the air. Rocket pursed his lips and nodded slowly.
“Yep, I'm in a prison.” His voice echoed in the small room.
The bottom bunk whined and squeaked. There was someone down there. From the sound of the squeaking from the bed, they were of a large stature. Normally Rocket wouldn't be too concerned about it, but he'd just woken up and had a screaming headache. Just then a head popped up from below. A sleek milky green head, covered in small reptilian scales. The face on the head had soft snack-like features. The large oval eyes dominated most of the upper part of his face. His large lime green irises locked on the raccoon. Two thin slits were on either side of a mound that made up his nose. His wide lips were bent in a smile. Rocket wasn't sure if it was an earnest smile or one of mocking nature.
“Hey there mean green, hope I didn't keep you up by talking in my sleep.” Rocket forced a chuckle.
The figure was quiet for a moment before he spoke. “Well well, if it isn't Rocket Raccoon...”
Rocket winced and rolled over on his side. “Please tell me that you recognizing me is a good thing.”
“Of course it is. You have to understand, furred one, you're a legend. I think it's an honor to share a cell with you.” It surprised Rocket at how well spoken the large reptile was, with the exception of his drawn out “s”es it was near perfect.
“I'm so glad to hear that, I was afraid you were going to say you wanted to punch me in the face, eat my liver, or something even more terrible like telling me you didn't want to be my friend.” Rocket sat up, the thin blanket that had been covering him, fell down into his lap.
“Nah man! I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Especially after you...” The reptile man started saying, when he was interrupted by Rocket.
“Why am I naked?” Rocket spoke as he slowly lowered the blanket back over himself.
“I dunno, all I know is they brought you in naked and unconscious. I guess that was to make sure you didn't have anything hidden on you.” The large reptile shrugged. “I know that later on the guards brought a box in for you.”
“A box huh? Well I know it's not my birthday. Let's see what's in it.” Rocket threw the covers back and dropped down to the floor.
The floor was surprisingly cool on his foot pads, which wasn't a bad thing at all Rocket thought to himself. His paw pads smacked quietly against the concrete floor. There was a small cardboard box set against the wall near the door. In bright red letters “Rocket” was scrawled clumsily in marker on the top of the box. Reptile man stepped up behind the small raccoon intrigued to see what was inside.
“You might want to step back big guy, this might be a trap to turn me into a red paste.” Rocket rubbed his hands together, trying to decide how he was going to approach this situation.
“Get behind me man, I'll open it.” The reptile man didn't wait for a response from Rocket, he just picked up the small box and opened it.
To his surprise and disappointment all that was inside the box was a pair of orange prison fatigues and a small, sleek looking listening device. The reptile held the box down to Rocket. Watching as he fished through the small box, pulling out the fatigues, slipping them onto his naked body and retrieved the listening device slipping it into his pocket.
“Well that was my excitement for the day.” The reptile man said tossing the box down and turning to head back to his bunk.
“That was really stupid of you big'un. Not that I don't appreciate you doing it. But if there would have been something dangerous in there...” Rocket paced up behind the giant framed lizard man.
“My name is Silas, by the way. And don't worry too much about me Rocket. I'm a Quazi from Teraxis, so...” Silas introduced himself.
Rocket cut him off. “So...you have regenerative properties. Even if you lose a limb, you'll be able to grow it back no sweat.” Rocket chuckled to himself. “It's nice to meet you by the way, sorry we didn't have a formal introduction.”
Silas sat down on the bottom bunk, he was almost too tall to sit on the bottom bunk without hitting his head. “Yeah, it's gotten me out of some trouble let me tell you.”
“So what are you in for? A guy your size, I would reckon it was something violent and terrifying.” Rocket pulled himself up to sit on the bottom bunk next to Silas.
“Surprisingly no, nothing quiet like that. I was part of a protest group here in Convogue. Things went a bit sour and my group got taken. I went willing, not wanting to cause more waves than I already had. That was about three weeks ago now.” Silas said cracking his fingers.
“Wow, that is surprising and crappy. I mean don't they actually have to arrest you, and throw you in jail. Last time I was here there was still due process. Court, judge, the whole nine yards.” Rocket rubbed the back of his neck.
“Yeah, but in my case we were protesting the President of Ar'Leir. Instead of just arresting my group. They killed most of them and just threw me in here. I don't think they have any plans to release me. If they try me, then I could be found guilty of treason, which carries a death sentence. They also might be hoping that a pacifist like me would get beat to death. So either way it's a lose lose scenario for me” Silas reached into his pocket and pulled out a steel cigarette case.
“I dunno if that's going to happen bud, you're pretty huge. I doubt if anyone will try it. But I do have to tell you, at least you're in high spirits over it.” Rocket said resting his chin on his hands.
“I try to have a good energy about it. What really sucks is, if I'm not going to get killed by the man, or by an inmate. I'm going to be alive forever. My race lives a long time.” Silas pulled a cigarette from the case and slipped it between his lips. “You want one?”
“Nah, thanks though.” Rocket was lost in thought.
Silas used a Spark to light his cigarette. Rocket cocked his head taking immediate interest. “Holy shit you have a Spark, lemme see that.”
Rocket took the Spark and gave it a look over. It was an old Spark, definitely one of his custom jobs. Despite how hard he tried to remember, he couldn't recall how many he'd actually made. Twelve maybe, three of them were accounted for. The others he'd lost in a various ways. On the back of the Spark, etched with a push pin were his initials. It was one of his very first models.
“Good gods, big'un. This is one of my original designs, where the hell did you get it?” Rocket was quite impressed at how well it had been taken care of.
Silas chuckled and took the Spark back. “I got it from a friend in my group. He was actually the guy who introduced me to the world of Rocket Raccoon. I bought it from him, the funny thing is he thought it was just a replica of your design. But I guess now I know its the real thing.”
Rocket chuckled and settled back down on the bed. “So I been thinking. We can't very well leave you in here to die. I'm going to start putting together a plan to get us both out of here.”
“Stow that talk, these cells are wired. If the sensors pick up anything that sounds like planning, plotting, or anything like that they'll crack down on us.” Silas said taking a long drag off of his cigarette.
The warm scent of local tobacco filled the cell. How could he have forgotten how wonderful that stuff smelled? His mind was swimming with ideas. Usually the sensors were only installed in the standard cells, if there was a way he could get them thrown into solitary, then he could speak more freely about the plans. Rocket rubbed his chin, but how were they both going to get put in solitary.
“So when do they let us out of here to get grub?” Rocket asked still stroking his chin.
“Not for another couple hours. They let us into the mess hall to eat, and then into the yard for an hour of exercise. I'm glad they brought that back. A few days ago there was a huge riot in the yard and so many people got thrown into solitary. There is always something happening to get some of our god given rights taken away. Two weeks ago someone got killed in the shower, so no one got to shower for a week. But now at about six, each block is escorted to the showers. Then back to our cell. Lock down is at nine, lights out is at ten. Everyday, well most of the time anyway.” Silas said taking another long drag from his cigarette.
“Is there anything else I should know?” Rocket kicked his feet slowly, making sure to take in every ounce of information given.
“Not that I can think of right now, but if it comes to me I'll let you know.” Silas finished his cigarette and flicked it into the steel toilet that was hanging on the wall.
Rocket nodded slowly and dropped down to the floor to stretch. “So what do you do for fun while you're in here?”
“Usually I do push ups and sit ups. Lay on the bunk and think about what I'm doing with my life or lack there of. You know deep shit like that.” Silas got up and moved to the toilet. “You might want to look away, cause I gotta piss.”
Rocket looked away, still thinking about what he was going to do to get them out of there. “Thanks for the warning.”
The sound of urine hitting the water in the toilet echoed relentlessly off the walls. “No problem...Oh I just remembered on certain days of the week we get to go to the library and pick out two books. The only catch is you'd better bring them back in the same condition you borrowed them in, or else you lose your access to the library.”
“Books huh, that might turn out to be useful.” Rocket said, a distant look in his eyes.
“What was that?” Silas shifted around to give a shake, before flushing.
“Don't worry about it, man. You just get some rest because shit is going to get crazy soon.” Rocket said his mind working through all the pieces he had.
Rocket jolted awake when he heard the cell door grind open. A guard dressed in all gray stood by with his pulse rifle at the ready. That was the first thing Rocket noticed when he saw it. A weapon like that could do some massive damage if he got a hold of it. Silas was already on his feet and started walking towards the door. Rocket shifted down from his cot to the floor. The pair stepped out into the hallway, Rocket was shocked to see how many prisoners were waiting in the hallway, what was even more surprising was how few the guards numbered in comparison to the prisoners.
Rocket was starting to like his odds more and more. “Now all I need to do is find a way to get us locked up in solitary.”
While there was a hold up in the line, Silas took this opportunity to whisper to Rocket. “Hold that thought, there's no talking in the halls. We'll speak further when we get into the mess hall.”
“Shut up 421, you know the rules.” A tall, gaunt guard called from a little ways up the line.
“Sorry sir, I was informing the new inmate of the rules.” Silas said, his voice echoing the halls.
The guard paced back along the line. “It's not your job to give him information 421, he must learn from his mistakes. This is a prison, not a day care.”
“Jeez, ease up on the guy pork chop. You claim it's not a day care, but the last time someone told me I couldn't talk in the hall, I was wearing a backpack and short pants.” Rocket said snidely, there was a wave of laughter echoing from the rest of the line.
“Oh I see it's time for lesson one to be administered.” The guard smirked and pulled out a shock baton, quickly touching it to Rocket's arm.
It was just a warning shock, but hard enough to force Rocket's heart to skip a beat. “That's one pork chop.” Rocket sneered and looked up at the guard.
The guard didn't miss a beat, again he pressed the baton to Rocket's arm leaving it there for another second longer than the first time. It felt like fire racing through him, the force causing his chest to quake, and his knees to tremble, but he refused to go down.
“Lesson two, shall we go for lesson three.” The guard said, his face was bent in a smile.
Rocket wasn't sure but the guard seemed to be enjoying this. “That's two Sarah.”
The guard at the back of the line shouted out. “Leo, cut the shit and lets move this line. It's lunch time, not stand in line with our thumbs up our asses.”
Leo gritted his teeth, his knuckles were turning white from how hard he was squeezing the baton. “Next time Raccoon.”
The guards finally started getting the line moving. Rocket rubbed his arm gently, acting more hurt than he was. Which he used his injured diversion to study the layout of the cell block. Everything was tightly locked, all the vents, the doors, even the cell doors were closed once the prisoners were out. This must be how they get by without having so many guards on staff. A fortunate turn of events, Rocket thought, there was a map of the prison layout on the wall across from the doors to the mess hall. Such a newbie cop mistake.
The long line of prisoners filed into the large mess hall. It was more of a concrete auditorium, stone and metal only. The room was full of talking, mumbling, and laughing. No doubt this was where most of the prisoners socialized with one another. There were two chow lines, one on either side of the room. The smell of food was terrible. No cheeseburgers for this Raccoon, he thought.
Silas stepped towards the chow line on the right with Rocket close in tow. “That was pretty funny.” He said with a smirk.
“What can I say, I'm a pretty funny guy. There's a little something I have on my side though. They can't do too much damage to me, because I'm a bounty that someone is collecting on. They hurt me, then they have to pay the balance, not too mention the fines for damaging me.” Rocket chuckled as he looked around the room.
“Just be careful, the guards might not be able to hurt you but the other prisoners can. And trust me there are some dangerous ones here.” Silas got to the back of the line and waited.
Rocket peered around the room concocting something. “Understood, the only thing I need to do is show the rest of these bitches whose top dog.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?” Silas asked looking down at his clearly insane furry friend.
“Which one of these guys is top dog?” Rocket scratched his neck peering around.
“Why?” Silas asked, almost afraid to know.
“It's not important right now. I just need to know which one is the top dog!?” Rocket was starting to sound a little frustrated.
Silas shook his head slowly and started to point. “It would be the...”
Rocket said at that same time. “And don't say...”
Then their sentences both collided. “...the rock guy.”
“Ah shit!” Rocket continued. “I just knew it was going to be the damn rock guy. I just need a second to think.”
“I wouldn't try it brother. That Soft Thom from Greyrock, and see the three people behind him, those are his lieutenants...” Rocket interrupted.
“Lemme guess, Mo, Larry, and Curly right?” Rocket carried a wicked smiled after his comment.
“I don't get that reference...” Silas said with a blank look on his face.
“Never mind, never mind, who are they?” Rocket frowned in a pouting fashion.
“Granite, Parchment, and Shears. They'll jump you at the first sign of trouble.” Silas explained as he picked up a metal tray.
“You're shitting me right? Granite, Parchment, and Shears.” Rocket shook his head slowly.
“No, why would I shit you about something like that?” Silas glared at him.
“You know like Rock, Paper, Scissors.” Rocket played out the motions for Silas.
“What is that?” Silas rubbed the back of his neck, giving it a squeeze.
“It's game...on Earth. You know what never mind.” Rocket sighed deeply and shook his head.
“You're a strange one.” Silas looked at the four monsters in the other line.
“Alright so hear me out you're big, and tough. Just back me up if it looks like I need it okay. If they come after me, stop them anyway you can. We both need the credibility. If we do this right we both may end up locked up in solitary. Then we can talk about how to escape.” Rocket knew he'd said to much, he was sure Silas was going to back out of the deal all together.
With Silas being a pacifist, it may have been a little to much for Rocket to depend on him to do something violent. Not necessarily a deal breaker if he backed out, but it was always nice to have someone watch your back. “Alright, I'll do it.” Silas said quietly. “I figure I can take out two of them with a blind side, but you'll have to help with the other one.”
Rocket was a little surprised that Silas was already on board, but grateful none the less. “Alright so follow me, but not too closely.”
“How are you going to get his attention?” Silas asked watching as Rocket stepped out of the line.
“By being obnoxious, how else?” Rocket smirked.
Rocket picked up a metal tray and helped himself right in front of Soft Thom in line, he counted the seconds until he got his satisfying. “What the fuck?”
“Oh I'm sorry tiny, I didn't see you there, so I thought I would just help myself to this spot in the line here. I'm sure you don't mind.” His snarky tone was not unlike a Chihuahua trying to assert his authority over a Pit Bull.
“Hey now, you furry bitch! You better help yourself to the back of the line, before I give you a permanent limp and laugh while you limping there.” Said Soft Thom, flexing his large muscles.
“Nah I rather like it here, beside it doesn't look like you need the food any faster there chubs.” Rocket patted the guys firm but round stomach.
Rocket finally got a good look at the guy up close. The so called rocks on the outer part of Soft Thom's flesh were nothing more than shells plates that only covered a few parts on his body. Most of his vital spots were unprotected. Rocket's plans didn't seem so impossible now. Which was a go ting because the guy was obviously starting to get pissed off.
“Little man, I'm not even going to waste my time on you. Boys pop this fucker's head off.” Soft Thom grumbled, as the three guys behind him starting moving around.
One of the three guys was human, that must have been Parchment because he was fleshy and seemed be an easy target. Rocket was going to leave him for Silas. The other was a larger troll looking fellow with green skin, that must have been shears, he seem more of a frightener than a fighter, Rocket gauged. The last one was a tall, craggy looking guy with black and red skin, that makes this one Granite. From the look of his rocky claws he looked like he could be trouble. He just needed to wait for the right opening.
At that very instant Silas stepped up wielding his metal food tray. Silas firmly bent the tray across the Shears's face sending him to the ground. Parchment went down with only one solid punch to the side of his head by Silas. That was what Rocket had been waiting for. Rocket launched his tray through the air like a discus, hitting Soft Thom in the throat robbing him of the ability to breath, to speak, or to focus. Rocket climbed up the big guys leg, using his knee to leap off of.
In a graceful display he wrapped his legs around Granite's neck and twisted hard until he could hear a disgusting snap. “Killed your ass!” He hollered out, before flipping from the dead guys shoulders down to the floor.
Silas had already started working over Soft Thom before Rocket could join him. “Alright bitch, whose top dog?”
Soft Thom chocked out hard, spitting black blood onto the concrete floor. “You...are...”
“You're flarkin' A right.” Rocket turned away only to stare down four pulse rifle barrels aimed at his head.
In that instant Rocket finally realized that the rifles were different from ones he'd seen and used before. Their sole purpose was to stun and render anyone unconscious in a matter of seconds. If he could get his hands on one of those it was going to be easier than he thought to escape and with minimal fatalities. The second had passed, he could hear the guards yelling to put his hands up. Silas was already in cuffs and being marched out of the mess hall in a line with Soft Thom and his last two assailants.
Rocket raised his hand and once again felt the burn of the handcuffs around his wrists. “Aw man, does this mean I have to miss lunch. Oh well I bet the food here sucks.” He motioned to the crumpled body of Granite. “He's gonna miss lunch too. Looks like he caught a “break” though. Get it? Huh huh?”
No one laughed, there wasn't even a smile to be had. The guard behind him put a boot to his backside and sent him on his way. The guard Leo from before glared at Rocket as he walked by. As he passed Rocket felt the sting of an electric baton on his shoulder causing his heart to stop for a second. Rocket jerked around to see the gaunt guard smirking.
“That's three asshat.” Before Rocket could react, the guard once again pushed him forward and into the hall.
The new line of prisoners, each one being escorted by their own guard, stayed quiet. The only noise in the hallways was the sound of bare feet on the floor in unison mixing with the sound of combat boots. Rocket was hoping that they would be taking them to solitary. As they passed a hall way, he couldn't help but smirk when he saw an arrow pointing the direction they were going, above it was the words. “Solitary”. This day just kept getting better and better for the raccoon. They'd be out of there in no time. Now all he had to hope for was the he and Silas would get put in the same cell.