The Adventurer's Guild
Chapter Three: Escapement

by Angela Moseley


"So will the wolf survive?" A federal worker inquired.

"I believe so, Miles. His heart rate gets stronger by every minute." Said a female scientist.

"What about Brain Wave activity?"

"It's off the charts."

"Excellent."

"But sir, I'm a bit worried that it might be a little too high..."

"That's just because you've never seen this kind of activity in the other wolves. It's nothing to worry about." Miles said taking a long drag of the Cigar he was holding. "It's time to test the beast's intelligence."

Walking up to the wolf's cage, it was clear that this wolf had changed dramatically, since the experiment. Its eyes were clear, and burned with anger. And yet it was curious to see what was in store for it.

"So we meet again." said Miles blowing a puff of smoke into the wolf's cage. "Listen intently, because there's something you need to know."

The wolf's eyes became watery from the smoke, but it's ears were erect, ready to listen.

"Your ability to fully understand and comprehend me is the result of experiment that took years to develop and complete. Unlike other members of your pack, whom I doubt you can remember, you have survived these intense experiments. What are these experiments? Well a few years ago, some members of the government, joined with a private company, in order to create a way to effiently kill high ranking Senators, and other leaders, without being traced. Why? To replace them with officials loyal to us, that would get our ideas passed into law. What better way to commit these acts than with animals? No one would ever suspect fowl play! But we needed to control the animals so they could be used over and over again, and at the same time, be smart enough not to be caught. So I came up with the idea of putting human intelligence in these animals, and at the same time destroying their natural instincts, so their wills and desires would be completely of our choosing. By inserting a simple computer chip directly into the spinal cord, where it meets the brain, and giving it a powerful electrical boost, just that thing could be done. However most of our subjects died off, but in your case we discovered our errors and managed to perfect them, however it was too late to fit you with a chip. So using a conductor connected to your spine, but visible on the outside, was the only way to save your life in order to complete the experiment. Now we can continue with our dreams, and operate on the remaining wolves.

You cannot hope to escape from us, either join us, or die. Even if you did escape, how long do you think you would make it on your own? You have no survival instincts now, and no human would stop to help you. They view wolves as pest, and probably would kill you. We humans rule supreme in this world, and not one of us cares what happens to a wolf. Not one of us. Remember that."

With a chuckle the man walked away, leave the wolf to comprehend his profound words.

The wolf sneered, and sunk into thoughts filled with contempt for all humans. He had never seen anyone forcing humans into cages, or any of them mistreating each other.

Ironically his thoughts were proved wrong when the man came back into the room, followed by other men, one of which was been dragged by the throat.

"You mean this worthless fool saw everything?!"

"Yes Mr. Miles, he saw all of the procedures..." said a guard

"If he tells someone we could be ruined!"

"There's a chance that no one would believe him."

"I don't want to take that chance! Cage him up. He can serve us as an experiment, or practice for our pets! But first take a DNA sample, I want to know just who he is." Miles sneered walking over to the room exit, but before he left he punched Sage in the gut, making him choke and gasp. "Damn gutter trash..."

"You heard the man, get this boy into a cage!"

Without reply the men holding Sage forced him against a wall, while one stabbed a syringe into his neck, and withdrew some of his blood. After the deed was done, they dropped him to the floor, and kicked him into a larger cage. After putting him in a cage next to the wolf, they piled out of the room, leaving the two captives alone.

Sage groaned, and weakly wiped away some of the blood running down his face. He didn't notice the curious eyes of the wolf staring at him...

Maybe I'm wrong about all humans. Maybe there are some who are treated like rulers and some who are treated like me. The wolf thought to himself.

"Ohhh... Sage groaned again and coughed up some blood. "I've gotta get out of here before they kill me... He turned around jumped in shock at the sight of the strange looking wolf in the cage.

"You're the wolf I saw a while ago! What did they do to you?"

Some of the anger in the wolf's eyes faded. Could this human actually be concerned for me? He thought turning away from Sage.

Sinking back into contempeous thoughts, the wolf closed his eyes and fell into a deep slumber. An amount of time that he could not determine passed by. When he awoke again, he found the strange men talking to, no, at Sage. He was still unsure whether to trust the human or not, so he decided to casually listen in on the conversation.

"Are you saying that this boy, is the son of one of our operatives?" Said Miles, eyeing Sage with an even deeper contempt.

"Yes he is, but you're not going to believe this next part." said one man with an amusement-laced voice.

"Well?"

"It seems that Howard, has disowned his son, as far as he's concerned this kid doesn't exist." the man snickered.

"So that means we can do whatever we want with this boy, and no one will miss him?"

"Exactly sir."

"Excellent. Prepare him and the wolf for tomorrow, we need more victims for our experiments. It's about time I've heard good news for a change." Miles snorted as he walked out of the lab, followed by the un-named man.

Sage sunk to his knees upon hearing the news. If he was officially disowned, then no one would come looking for him...

NO! I've got to get out of here and quick! He thought frantically to himself. But first I must stay calm.

It looks like we're both up the creek, and with no boat to boot.

A soft voice snapped Sage back into reality. "Who's *there*???" he cried. I must be losing my mind... I'm hearing things now.

I'm right here. And as far as I can tell you're quite sane.

The spiky haired boy quivered and turned around to face the wolf. "Y- you can read my mind? But how?"

I don't know, I just heard your thoughts. They speak to me like a gentle, but worried voice carried by the wind. You want to escape, but you feel it's hopeless right?

"Yes."

With thinking like that, the humans have already won, and you're as good as dead.

Sage's only reply was to shove his hands in his pocket, while releasing a small sigh. He felt his fingers brush against something hard in his pocket, and curled his hand around it. Curiousness got the better of him, and he pulled the object from his pocket. Squinting at it, he realized it was a switchblade... He hadn't been searched upon his capture! And they had quickly shoved him into an animal cage. There was hope after all! His melancholy expression slowly became a grin as his mind formulated a plan of escape...

Wha- what are you going to do? The Wolf asked, noting the change in Sage's demeanor.

"I'm getting us out of here, right now." He replied calmly. As he flipped open the switchblade, his grin was replaced by countenance filled with concentration. Studying the cage, Sage soon found a weak spot. All though the cage was locked, the housing of the actual was cased in a metal square. But hopefully his knife would be able to cut through the square... With a savage snarl he plowed the switchblade through the square. He was worried that the knife might snap, but the blade held together. Slowly he withdrew his knife, and kicked the now unlocked cage open.

Sage sauntered over to the wolf's cage and paused to catch his breath. If he had been in a better mood, Sage probably would have taken the time to pick the lock. However he knew their time was short and someone would come to check on them soon. Closing his eyes he summoned all of the strength he had left and plunged the knife into the built in lock. The thin metal gave way, and cage door swung open.

Carefully the wolf stepped out of his cage, pain shooting through his tired muscles. You did it, we're free!

"Not until we leave this place, then we'll be free." Replied the teen. "Which way should we go?"

There are humans everywhere, but I don't hear anything coming from the door behind us. I think it's safe to go inside.

Silently Sage and the wolf made their way to the door, and slipped inside. The wolf had been right, no guards or workers vacated the room. But Sage couldn't help but feel edgy, something about the room didn't seem right. Like the other room it was lined with cages varying in size, but the lighting was dimmer. Walking over to one cage, the brown haired boy peered inside. Something was inside the cage! A cold chill ran down his spine, as he tried to get a better look at creature inside. Also curious, the wolf joined him.

What is that makes me feel so wary about this cage? What is this creature? Sage thought to himself.

Once again the boy was snapped out his thoughts, by the wolf, who motioned it was time to leave. Surely they'd be missed by now, and guards would look here first. Yet Sage couldn't keep his eyes off the cage...

They're coming!!! We have to go!

Ignoring the wolf, the boy continued to stare into the cage, and to his surprise and horror, a furry five-fingered hand, gripped the sturdy mesh and a face pressed itself against the constraints. Sage cried out in shock and took a step back. Was that real? Could it be? He thought as he regarded the hairy human like face.

"Help me..." it said weakly, "I used to be a man, but they did these strange experiments on me... it's turning me into some kind of monster..."

Before Sage could reply, the wolf sunk his teeth into his hand.

"Yowch! What was that for???"

We must go, now!!!

Before the wolf could add anything else to his thoughts, a group of guards burst in the room, their guns at the ready. And Miles stood behind them, scowling.

"Don't move or we'll shoot!" barked one guard.

The wolf frozen in his tracks unsure of what to do, afraid to go back to his confinement. Sage on the other would not be deterred from escaping. Thinking quickly he shoved a stack of cages, all of them tumbling down upon the guard. The man cried out as the cages rained down on him, and shouts could be heard coming from the next room.

Frantically Sage pushed the wolf towards the window. Although the window was a good ten feet from ground, cages had been conviently stacked up to reach the window. Wasting no time, the teen scurried up the wall, and kicked open the window. The lupine right on his heels. Together they leapt out of the window, and tumbled ten feet to the ground below. Not taking any chances, grabbed the wolf by the scruff of its neck, and heaved it on to his back. Grunting, Sage speed off into the night.

A half a dozen federal workers piled out of the warehouse district, and searched the streets for the pair. After an hour or so of searching they gave up, not wanted to draw attention from the few citizens who did wander the streets at night.

Are they finally gone? Asked the wolf.

Sage carefully parted the leaves of a large tree, and cast a nervous glance up and down the street. Finally satisfied he turned back to the wolf, sitting back down on the limb that held them. "I believe so."

You're smarter than I originally gave you credit for. Climbing this tree was a stroke of genius.

"It was nothing, really." he paused to reflect upon the day. "Well it looks like we really are free. Thanks to this switch blade." He mused, holding up the now bent weapon. "Say do you have a name?"

No. And if I did I don't remember.

"You mean you don't remember anything about your pack?"

Only what those humans did to me. Everything else is a blur. It seems I'll never forget those horrible memories... What they DID to me... The wolf said resting his head on his paws. I have no past memory, no family, and nowhere to go.

"You can come with me, we can travel the country together." Sage rubbing the wolf's scruffy head.

You don't mind?

"Not all, but first you'll need a name." He said thoughtfully. "I've got it, I'll call you Blade!"

Blade? Like a knife?

"It was a switch blade that set us free from that place. I think it's a fitting name for you. New name, new purpose, no worries."

I like it, Sage. Blade said grinning.

"But I never told you my-"

I read your mind. The wolf said with a toothy grin, which the boy couldn't help but return.

"I guess we should get moving." With a yawn Sage, made his way out of the tree, followed by his new friend and companion. "We'll head South, and leave this place far behind. There's nothing we can do for the animals and people in the lab at this time. But hopefully we can find help elsewhere."

Sounds good to me. Blade quipped, strolling off into the night with Sage.

Back to the Lab!