It was about an hour later. Skipper and Eve were still sitting at the back of the cell, leaning on each other, not sure what to do. All of the sudden they heard something.
"What was that?" Whispered Eve. Skipper got up cautiously and walked to the front of the cell. Most of the other animals were sleeping. "Psst! Over here!" He looked at where the sound was coming from; it was a badger across the aisle. He was looking into their cell. He couldn't help but think of Private at the sight of him. "What do you want?" He whispered back.
"You two are lucky. You're getting out of this place. All I gotta ask is that you do one thing."
"Which is what? What is this place?" Now Eve was at his side, also listening.
"This ain't know pound, bird. These people illegally test drugs on animals. Any animal they can get their hands on." Skipper immediately looked at Eve, who had her shot. "Don't worry. That was just a saline shot. They just want to know how each animal reacts to them so they can be ready when they begin testing. It won't hurt her."
"What can we do? We're in the same place as you."
"True. But when they come to collect you, they'll put you in a cage. When you pass through that door-" He pointed to the side of the door- "Push that emergency button. It'll open all the cell's so we can escape this torture."
"Why can't you do it?"
"All of our arms are to wide to fit through the cage bars. Your flippers should slide right through. Once the cells open, we can all escape. They'll be distracted with us and you two can escape as well."
Skipper considered. It did seem like a good plan. Then again he had no idea who this badger was.
"And why should I trust you? Earlier you looked at us as if we were chow."
"True again. But get us outta here, and nothing bad will happen to you. Or us."
Skipper looked at Eve, who also wasn't sure to agree to this plan. "And how are we to get out of the cage while they're distracted?" She asked him. Her British accent seemed thicker now that he really payed attention to it.
"I'll help you out. Come on. What do you have to lose?"
Everything... Skipper thought. His mind went directly to his team. But he figured that this may be his only shot to do it. He looked again at Eve, who sighed. "What do you think Skipper? Should we try?" She whispered. Skipper looked away for a moment, then into her eyes. "It may be the only way to get out of here to save my team and your sister." Eve nodded.
Later in the night, just before dawn, Eve spoke up for the first time since their conversation with the badger. "Skipper...do you think we're going to save them?"
Skipper thought for a moment. "I don't know Eve. But I'm gonna try no matter how long it takes. If it's the last thing I ever do I'm getting my team safe."
"What do you do when you fail?"
Skipper looked down, then said slowly: "Then I have nothing to go on for." Eve was taken back. Skipper really thought of his team as family. She hugged him. Skipper hugged back. Then suddenly the door opened to the cell block and Joe and Steve came striding in with a cage. "Okay little birdies. Let's make us famous." Said Joe. Skipper and Eve didn't fight or resist going into the cage. Skipper waited for his moment, eyes fixed on that button. As soon as the passed it, Skipper shot his flipper through the cage and pressed it.
Immediately a buzzer sounded and all the cages opened. Animals of all kinds came running through the door; dogs, cats, rats, squirrels, badgers. Joe, the one that was holding the cage, dropped it due to stumbling over the animals. Skipper and Eve were jostled around until the cage stopped moving, and the badger that helped them opened it up. “Thanks bird. Good luck to ya.” Skipper grabbed Eve’s flipper and they raced alongside the animals until they made it outside. They took a right and didn’t stop running until they knew they were far enough from that shack. They stopped for a second to catch their breath, looked at each other, and started laughing. They embraced each other and laughed harder, falling into the snow.
They didn’t even realize that they started kissing.
Skipper opened his eyes in realization…and embarrassment. Eve did the same as they pulled away from each other. They got to their feet and laughed nervously. “We should…get moving…” Skipper said.
“Yeah…” Eve responded shyly.
For the next two hours they walked in an awkward silence. Every time Skipper tried to glance at her, she’d glance at him and they’d both look away shyly again. They passed a sign that read: YOU ARE NOW LEAVING MANORVILLE. They knew they were headed in the right direction. Skipper cleared his throat and broke the silence.
“N…not much further now…” Eve said with a sigh: “Nope…” Once again…there was that awkward silence. Skipper tried once again to break it with a conversation that might get their minds off of when they…you know.
“Um…you know…you never told me. What is your boss planning on doing with me anyway?”
“I don’t know. He just gives me a job to do. He never says what his game plan is exactly. I do know he’s working with someone.”
“Do you know his name?”
“Yeah…it was like…Don…or…John or…-”
“Hans?” Skipper interrupted. He turned to face her, a startled look on his face.
“Yeah! That’s it! How’d you know?”
“Lucky guess…” Skipper said turning to continue walking. “Hans is one of my long list of enemies.”
“What’d he do to you?”
“That’s uh…classified…” Skipper said uncomfortably. He couldn’t bring himself to tell her that he was a wanted criminal in Denmark.
“Why not Skipper? You know you can tell me.”
“I know…I just don’t want to bring it up at the moment.”
“Alright. I’ll respect your wishes.”
“Thanks. So you were just instructed to bring me to your boss and he would take it from there? He didn’t give any indication what he was planning on doing with me?”
“Pretty much. He doesn’t include me in his schemes.”
It was getting dark now. Snow had once again started drifting over New York. Eve looked into an alley. “We can sleep here for the night. No one will find us here.” She said. Skipper protested, he was beginning to get impatient with not getting to them.
“No, I want to keep going.”
“Skipper, don’t be stubborn, we both need to rest.”
"But I have to get to them! Who knows what he's doing to them!" Skipper exclaimed, still not wanting to rest. Eve walked up behind him and grabbed his shoulder. "Skipper...We haven't eaten in hours, we're freezing our tail feathers off, and we haven't slept in two days. We need rest or we won't be able to stop him. C'mon Skipper." Skipper considered, then sighed. “Here, we can sleep in here.” Eve gestured toward a crate. Skipper and Eve went to lie down. Eve curled up on the side, trying to get comfortable. She shivered, which Skipper noticed. He went over to her, laid down, and wrapped his flippers around her, trying to keep her warm. It was awkward...as it had been for the past couple of hours. But to them, it felt...right. Neither of them protested to laying so close to each other.
And with that, they fell peacefully asleep for the night.