((49 - Sealed Hyrule Castle))
June 1st, 802 AT. 8:02 AM.
Cold metal, underneath.
... definitely not a bed.
Goat, Giraffe, and Zebra slowly blinked away to find themselves in... large steel cages. Each cage was just big enough to stand up in, but too small to stretch out fully in. Three more cages were there, all empty. Three a side, with Goat and Zebra on one side, facing Giraffe's cage. The space between the cages formed a hallway, with a closed metal door at one end, and a blank wall at the other. The bars were spread wide enough apart to get an arm out, just. The doors looked thoroughly padlocked shut.
Goat looked around wildly. "Wait... what?" He said. "How did we get here?"
Zebra began to examine the bars of her cage. "Good question. This doesn't usually happen when I sleep."
Goat pinched himself. "Ow," he said. "Probably not a dream. I might've imagined that, though..."
Giraffe raised an eyebrow. "Not a dream of yours, at least." She walked to the bars of her cage, and put her hands against them, starting to heat them slowly.
Goat punched himself in the forehead. "Definitely not a dream." He glanced at Giraffe in her cage. "How's the heat coming along?"
She shrugged noncommittally. "It's not doing much, but I haven't put much energy into it, either." The metal was focusing on was turning vaguely reddish, bit by bit.
Satisfied she could do nothing, Zebra sat back in her cage, mentally comparing this to her other dreams. Admittedly, the lack of explanation for weird things was like her other dreams, and the cages could be taken as symbolic... but to be fair, weird things happened with no explanation when she was awake, too.
Giraffe grasped the metal, trying to bend it to make the gap bigger. It didn't budge, so she went back to trying to heat it.
"Try your hardest, Giraffe," Goat said. "I don't think I like being in a cage."
"Really? 'Cause I quite enjoy it," she said wryly. The metal was starting to heat up, beginning to glow orange, yellow, and finally white hot. This time, when she pulled, the metal slowly bent outwards. "Sweet!"
Goat began to jump around his cage a little, as much as he could. He didn't get very far, but it seemed to keep him entertained for the moment.
Finally, the bars were melted and bent enough that Giraffe could slip out. She did so quite eagerly, throwing her hands up triumphantly. "Ha ha! FREEDOM! And now for your guyses cages!"
"Hooray!" Goat said, jumping up. "Ouch!" He concluded, hitting his head.
As Giraffe walked up to her cage, Zebra moved to the back, trying to avoid getting burned. Once the gap was more than wide enough, she calmly exited the cage, taking care to avoid touching the still-glowing bars.
"Two down, one to go," Giraffe muttered to herself, moving to Goat's cage and getting to work.
Goat waited until the hole was big enough, then leapt through and hugged Giraffe before his feet had even hit the ground.
She stiffened at the hug, not being use to physical contact. "Well, uh, you're welcome." She wriggled out of the lanky boy's arms and turned to Zebra. "See any way out?"
Zebra tugged at the door a few times, but it didn't budge. "I think it's locked from the other side. Maybe you need to melt this, too."
Giraffe sighed, dodged Goat as he flew past, exercising his newfound freedom, and began to focus her heat on the door near the handle. She melted a hole solidly through the door, and it swung outwards.
Goat leapt through it without looking beyond, grinning. On the other side was a large room, full of strange equipment and tools. Various bladed implements were on a rack on one wall, and tubes of chemicals lined another. Much of the third wall was dominated by jars full of... what appeared to be organs. But certainly not human ones. A ladder in the middle of the room went up to a higher floor, and down through a hole to somewhere beneath.
Giraffe wandered around, picking up a vial of some chemical and holding it up to the light. "Okay, what next, and where are we?"
Goat had been looking for the closest thing to a spear, and settled on a pair of scalpels. Most of the implements were quite small--more like surgical tools than weapons. "I guess these are close enough."
Zebra went to the ladder, and peered up and down. She had just decided on up when Goat shot past her, casually jumping up to the next level.
The top floor was an apartment living room, much like the one they were staying in. It was dark, but not overly so. Light seemed to be coming from the bottom floor, lighting up the lab, and trickling up to this room. A kitchen nook could be just made out in one corner, and some couches in another--the same layout as their apartment. This probably meant the lightswitch would be in the same place by the door.
Giraffe arrived up the ladder behind them, winded. "Damn your lungs!"
Goat leapt at where he figured the lightswitch was, extending a foot to hit it. The lights clicked obligingly on, revealing a room in general chaos. Papers were strewn everywhere, covered with scrawling notes. There were stacks of books on the tables, and piles of paper on the floor. One door went out of the room, presumably into a bedroom, and the front door was near where Goat stood, by the light switch. Goat picked up one of the pieces of paper, and quietly wished he'd had the attention span to learn to read, back on the Quinn.
Giraffe wandered the apartment, looking for something that could give her a clue as to why she was in a cage. A pile of five of their radio transmitters sat on one of the tables. "Bingo."
Zebra had cleared off a spot on the couch next to that table, and sat on it. The couch was quite comfy. Zebra smiled, then reached over and grabbed one of the transmitters off the table.
Goat dropped the paper, grabbed one of the radios, and leapt to the door. He readied himself for the lock, and pulled hard. It was unlocked, though, so he instead just staggered clumsily back into the room as the door swung open.
Giraffe snickered at his antics as she pocketed a transmitter herself, then headed out into the corridor. "Fun."
Zebra sighed imperceptibly and got up to follow the two.
Outside, the corridor was empty of other people. A large number on the wall read '4.19.' They knew by now that the first number meant which ring-corridor they were in, and the second what section. Their apartment was at '1.5' Goat began to leap along the corridor, heading off towards home at high speed. Giraffe trotted after, grumbling about leapers.
The corridor wound along, past 4.18, 4.17, 4.16... Eventually it branched out, with halls to corridors three and five. The whole place was empty, quiet. Distant sounds could still be heard, the sounds of evacuation in progress. As they started to head down the third corridor, someone walked briskly past, heading outwards. Goat grabbed him by the shirt as he did.
"Huh!?" The boy, a little older than Goat, skidded to a stop. He spun to face the taller teen. "Hey, man, what's your problem?"
Zebra stared at him, saying nothing, probably being accidentally intimidating. She took a step closer, standing right behind Goat.
"Know anything about why we were in cages?" Goat asked, ignoring the boy's question.
The boy looked at the three. "... the fuck? I don't know who the fuck you are. I'm just on my way to help my sister pack, and get the fuck out of here."
"Oh great," Giraffe muttered. "We find the nice guy."
There was a moment of glaring silence. "Kay," Goat said, releasing the boy and leaping back.
The disgruntled teen brushed himself off, and ran off, throwing one fist into the air as he did, with the middle finger raised up. "Whatever!"
Zebra watched him go, and concluded that it was much less likely to be a dream, now that a random boy had shown up.
Giraffe turned to her and smiled. "And onward we go?" At her companions' nods, she turned and lead the way further inwards.
After a good fifteen minutes of walking (during which Giraffe had to repeatedly remind Goat not to leap too far in front of strangers), they came to their own apartment. The door hung open.
Giraffe frowned. "Well that's not good." She peeked around the door, as Goat once more leapt in headfirst. The living room was rather empty, save for a cloud of dissipating smoke in the middle of the room, and the smell of cigarettes.
"This mystery needs solving," Goat said.
Watching Giraffe cough, Zebra resolved to find some way of quickly getting rid of smoke. She then turned to Goat, waiting.
Goat grinned. "Let's look around, see if we can find any clues." He looked behind the couch. There was a lot of dust behind it. Clearly it had not been cleaned in a while. "I've got my eye on you, dust," he said suspiciously. He leaped away from it and proceeded to his own room. The door hung open, and the sheets were mussed up and hung half-off the bed. "Well, the bed looks the same," he said. "But I'm pretty sure I locked the door last time I was here."
Zebra took this as an excuse to retire to her own room, expecting it to be just as she left it. Zebra's room was very different. Zebra was not happy about this.
A large man in a long white coat stood with his back to her. He had long red hair, tied back in a thin pony tail. He walked over towards her bed, and held up some sort of device. It looked rather like a gun, with a long needle instead of a barrel. He fiddled with it briefly, before reaching down and doing something to someone on the bed.
Zebra crossed her arms, about to clear her throat, then thought better of it. Giraffe stumbled over to her, but Zebra held up a hand, motioning for silence.
Then the man faded quietly out of existence.
A moment later, he reappeared back in the doorway, still with his back to her. He walked over towards the bed.
This time, Zebra walked up to him and attempted to grab him, unwilling to let him get away again. Her arms went right through him, as he held up the device again. "Shit."
Giraffe stared wide-eyed. "What the fuck!!!" Her own room had been much like Goat's--nothing missing, but the bed mussed up.
"Maybe it is a dream," Zebra mumbled, as she circled around in front of the man, trying to get a look at his face. He vanished again, and repeated the cycle. He had glasses on, and seemed completely oblivious to anything around him. From the front, he could be seen taking a small vial of green liquid out of his coat pocket and loading it into the needle-gun.
"I see you have company, Zebra," Goat said from the doorway, which only drew an unamused look. He shrugged to Giraffe, who stood next to him, leaning on the wall, watching the man.
He bent over the bed, and injected the liquid into thin air. He smiled, reached down, and seemed to check the pulse of nothing in particlar. Then he faded, reappeared in the doorway, and repeated the cycle. The whole thing was conducted entirely without sound. He didn't look particularly familiar.
Slowly, realization dawned on Giraffe, as she remembered various things Kasby had told her earlier. "Holy shit, they drugged us! The fuckers!"
Zebra had gotten over her shock, and was now hoping he wouldn't keep doing this indefinitely; it would make it difficult to sleep. As the thought crossed her mind, he faded away mid-sequence, and didn't reappear. She smiled, glad she wouldn't have to deal with ghosts injecting things while she tried to sleep.
Deciding there was nothing more to see in Zebra's room, Goat went back to investigating, checking the other rooms. They were empty, but all had their covers dragged off--except for Spider's bed, which had the covers pushed down, and Kasby's bed, which was neatly made.
In bored frustration, Goat picked up Kasby's pillow and lacerated it with this scalpel, investigating its insides. It was full of fluffy white cotton.
Goat beat the ever-loving hell out of it.