Needing the Facts
After locating the mental hospital, Fox sent Slippy and Peppy there once they he sent them the coordinates. They followed soon after, heading toward the direction of their friends. Once the islands came into view they knew that this was the place. Each of the floating pieces of land were as large as a small air ship, one happened to be at least ten yards long. That particular building was most likely the main building. The others were connected to one another by a thin strip of land. The ship slowed to a stop at the entrance gate which was a force field and that was heavily guarded. Before they could enter they had to speak with a uniformed guard that greeted them.
“This place is off limits until further notice.” The falcon spoke in a tone of authority.
“This is Star Fox and Star Wolf under the command of General Peppers to enter when ready.”
“Any identification?” Fox handed the falcon the pass card that Peppers had given to Fox in case he came into any restricted area. The card gave them an all-out pass to areas such as the Airlunnly Asylum or any military facilities that he might have to visit. The guard ran the information through the data log. It rummaged through the encrypted code before the screen lit up a bright florescent green.
“You can pass” He waved off to another guard who was located atop one of the two towers to let them through.
Nothing much was discovered, other then Lollipop had indeed been there at the hideout and before them. Fox had filled their teams on their small discovery. They were awaiting Peppy and Slippy to return to the Great Fox and with some good news.
Peppy and Slippy were sent ahead to the asylum to check out how Lollipop acted and behaved in the institute during her time there. Fox sent them the map and headed off as soon as they could. They were duly noted that it would take a while before Wolf, Fox, and the others would meet up with them. Fox wanted to go over a few things before they head out there with them. Slippy previously told Peppy, through their com-links, that he’ll be running through their software in order to come up with a solution on how she managed to escaped.
“Well by the looks of that there gate, it doesn’t look like she could’ve gotten out without a fight.”
“I don’t think the gate was here when she was, Peppy”
Once they had gotten onto solid ground, they got out of their arwings and headed for the front doors. Both made their way to the front desk where they’ll ask to speak with the highest authority they have. Walking through the set of double glass doors, cool-conditioned air blew against their faces and causing a slight chill to run through them. Upon entering the building, they immediately took notice of the patients that sat around the lobby. There are also a few nurses that are attending to their needs as well as watching over them while they’re out here. Different puzzles and games had been set out for them to play with, something to occupy their time and their attention. All three of the TV’s were mounted on the walls, each playing the same children’s show. It was a few colorful puppets signing about friendship, honesty, numbers and colors. Simple things that they can understand.
There was a goat who seemed to be in his late forties who stood near the TV off to Peppy’s left. He stood there watching the television and fiddling with his hands in a nervous motion. In the far corner of the lobby was three other patients playing games. Two nurses were teaching them how to play it but the zebra sitting next to the young looking fox just kept eating the cards in a zombie like fashion. The bull at least tried to understand the game and was laughing as he was being taught. Then, over to Peppy’s right was a white colored rat girl staring at them with a creepy expression. It was like she was attacking them with her eyes. A lizard nurse noticed this and came to get her, gently pulling her in the direction of the hallway that was towards their right, the girl hadn’t taken her eyes off them as she was lead away and back to her room.
After running his eyes over the room, Slippy turned his attention to the male goat that was sitting at the information desk. His large and polished pearl horns were almost as long as he was, maybe longer. Slippy was indeed a short toad, but that was to be expected from most amphibians like him. The man was overly muscular for the veins in his arms were practically bulging out of his skin. Not only that, but his marine green shirt did not help his situation because it was skin tight from first glance but it didn’t seem to bother the giant. He looked to be going through papers and files on the computer before him. It looked like he hadn’t notice him and Peppy coming in, so Slippy walked up to the desk to grab his attention, leaving Peppy standing there as he was lost in his own thoughts.
“Excuse me sir, but do you know who we could talk to about an old patient that was here years ago? Like a headsmen or something of the sort?”
The grey goat looked over the desktop to see Slippy standing there. If he hadn’t, then he would’ve mistaken him for a child. It has happened before. Only because of how short Slippy is and unlike most males who have a even tone for their gender and whatever bred they were, Slips had a rather high-childlike voice and was often treated like a kid because of it.
“If it’s information about a patient then you’re at the right place. I can do the best I can but there are things that only the headsmen can tell you. But you’ll have to wait until they’re done with their meeting if you’re planning to talk with them. It shouldn’t be before too long before they’ll be done.”
The green toad was taken back a bit when he heard the mountain giant speak. The calm tone of voice and level of loudness that came through his mouth was not to be expected. Even though he was thrown off for a minute, Slippy pulled himself back together.
His coco brown hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail and laid over his shoulder. The man only glanced at him once before returning his attention back to his work. Seeing the chance to get some information that might not be given to them otherwise was a chance that he leapt at.
“Well, you wouldn’t happen to know a patient by the name of Lollipop Tycoon, would you?”
While he typed away at his computer, Slippy took the liberty to read his nametag. Written across the small and thin silver piece of metal in cursive was the name Edwin. Edwin then stopped typing and spoke.
“Personally no, I haven’t. And if I did, I wouldn’t know. I work in the children’s ward.” short, sweet, and to the point is how he spoke. “Besides we don’t identify the people here by their names, we use ID numbers that are given to them when they’re registered here. I can probably tell you that, just give me a moment.”
Edwin is an extremely helpful guy, he thought to himself, It’s like he’s been through this over a hundred times already. Slippy was grateful for such great help but he paused for a moment, skimming back over that thought for a second and realized something was off about that sentence. He eyed Edwin curiously and at the same time, as if reading his mind Edwin said “I used to be a cop.” That would explain the straight face he wore and how Edwin was one step ahead of him.
“Here we are” He announced. He wrote down the seven digit number on a blue sticky note without looking away from the screen and handed it to Slippy before saying “I’ll let you know when they’re ready to see you.”
“It’s most appreciated, thanks. But would you mind telling me what you’ve heard about her, if anything? It doesn’t matter how little or unimportant it may seem.”
“I have heard that she was a real piece of work to handle. She mainly refused her weekly shots and any food that was prepared for her. She often caused troubled.” Edwin paused for a moment and wondered if they were even talking about the same girl. “Are we talking about the same girl that’s been all over the news lately? The one that the Star Fox team is going to arrest?”
“Yeah, that’s her. We need as much as information as we can get if we want to catch her.” Slippy explained.
“Okay.” Edwin realized that this young toad was part of the Star Fox team, though he wasn’t the type of guy to get star struck when he saw or met someone of legendary importance. “Besides that there’s rumors about her.” He went into explaining each one like stories and in as much detail from what he was told as possible. It went from her slamming herself against the cushioned walls and floor to her standing in the middle of her room and staring at the camera that was place in each of the rooms.
“It wasn’t a bulky type of model was it?”
“Oh no. Some of the patients have a wicked sense of paranoia so the cameras are extremely small so you wouldn’t notice them at first. And half the time you could tell that she was sleep walking, but at other times it seemed like she was possessed. I also heard that whenever you passed by her door that it felt like something was watching you and it was only her room that you ever go past that gave off that feeling.” The way he explained it, the words he choose to use to describe it was like he had went past the room during that time and felt those eyes, whomever they belonged to. It sent shivers all through the small toad. Of course there were some that he’s already heard of like the building blowing up after she’s left, but those didn’t have such a creepy demeanor like these newly heard ones. The thought reminded him of when he found a fan based web site for Lollipop.
There were blogs linked to the site as well as videos and images of her and one or two of the recent incidents that happened. The comments were continuous and full of excitement as teens commented how attractive she looked and how they’d love to meet her and commented about her stunts, saying that they were the “stuff of legend”. These kids don’t realize how dangerous she is and that if they met her in real life that she’d most likely kill them for fun. Then again it didn’t seem like she would be the type of psycho path that would kill for pleasure, she knows she wouldn’t get anything out of it besides publicity. Then there were the people who were against her. People who were probably the parents of those teens who were fans of hers. He’s heard many people call her a “A complete maniac”. It could be a strong debate between fans and haters if it came all down to it. People just couldn’t make up their minds.
Slippy continued to write what he felt to be necessary to remember. Bullet after bullet he jotted down a few things about what happened and anything else that Edwin had said.
“But then there’s this one that I’ve heard a few times and still can’t believe that they allowed to happen.”
“What is it?” Slippy asked
“Back when this place had a different headsmen, I’ve heard that there were a few security nurses that would pay her a visit and the next day when she would be checked up on, there were bruises and bumps all over her. The nurse that worked her schedule noticed it but couldn’t do anything about. They were probably scared for their life.”
Slippy couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Sure he’s hear of things like this being told to people he knew but he didn’t ever think he would be the one hearing something like this instead of being told through a friend who got it from a reliable source. The two males could agree that it was right, what they done to her but that was back then. He was for certain that if Fox knew about this and had informed Peppers about it then that headsmen would have lost their job as well as those awful nurses. Abusing patients in any way, shape, or form was illegal and the convector would be sentenced to twenty to life in jail for such an act if they were to be caught.
“It was obviously overlooked but why?”
“That’s what I asked myself and the person who told me but no one knew why except those three that done the act. If I remember correctly, the old headsmen was John Filler. I’m not exactly certain but I’m pretty sure that’s it.”
Slippy continued on with asking about how the establishment was run and how things were from his prospective. While Slippy had been doing so, Peppy took the chance to examine the place, what he can see thus far. He wrote down where the cameras were located, vents and hallways and any exists that were in each island. More specifically the one where she was kept. Configuring what her escape routes would be and what she could have used as weapons to help make her escape would be a little challenging. There were at least twenty different possibilities that he saw already after coming in and there’s a strong chance that there might be even more and they have yet to uncover it. First things first, they have to start with Lollipop’s room.
Starting from where they are now, Peppy scanned the room to comprise a three dimensional image, a map or layout of the establishment of you will. He looked at the image and sees that there’s twelve cameras in this room alone. Four were in each corner of the the small off section to his left and to his right. That made eight. Two were facing the desk from above the front door and two facing the door from above the goat behind the desk. That made four, then with the other eight made twelve all together. That’s a lot of security for a place like this, Peppy thought to himself. It was understandable that they have so much surveillance because this sector was known for keeping the most insane people locked away and hid that by appearing as a psychiatric ward for the mentally ill.
As he gazed over the room, looking back and forth between the room around him and what the diagram showed him, he saw three air vents that could make for an exceptional escape route. One was atop of the wall in the far corner to the left side of the room, right about the three patients playing a card game. The second one was right above the desk, facing the floor. And the last one was on the bottom of the wall next to the hallway to the right. How convenient. It was like they were purposely allowing her to get away by placing the most obvious way out right were the exit is. Then again, they never thought she’d try to escape. There was no doubt in Peppy’s mind that she used them for her own advantage. It was an easy way for her to take what she wanted, hide, and find a way out without being caught. He is going to ask for a blueprint of the building’s original designs to compare the one he’s making now to anything that could have been sealed up over time.
It didn’t take Slippy too long before he came over with some good news about what he received from the attendant at the desk.
“So I got some new tips about what she’s done that could help and he ID number that we can run through the criminal data base to see if that can get any hits.”
“That’s good. At least we’re getting some where...”
Peppy stared at Slippy’s notepad as he went over the notes, reading a few of them. That’s when he thought about why they were here. It didn’t make sense.
“You okay Peppy?” Slippy asked concerned.
“I’m fine. It’s just that I don’t get it.”
“Get it? What do you mean?”
“I mean that I’ve been thinking it over and over about what we were hired for. I mean this girl does seem lethal and dangerous but if how could she escaped a psychiatric ward is she was mental? She couldn’t have put two and two together and came out with running away as a solution.” Peppy has a point. There is a lot to question about the assignment and the target but now wasn’t exactly the best time to be questioning their task in a way that can possibly get fired.
“I’ve never heard of her before now so maybe she was crazy before she came here. Have you thought about people that could have been in her life that she could want revenge on?”
“No. Now that you’ve mentioned it, that makes a lot of more sense now.”
“Glad to help,” Slippy smiled “but uh what are you doing Peppy?”
Slippy looked at the hologram that hovered above the piece of technology in Peppy’s hands.
“I plan to map the place as we walk through and get a hold of the original blue prints and compare the two together.”
“That sounds like a good idea. Edwin, behind the desk, said that he’ll let us know when the headsmen is free to see us. Any clue how she got out?”
“Yeah. See these air vents? There’s three alone in the lobby. Perfectly placed right by the door.”
Before Slippy could speak, Edwin called over to him. Letting them know that he’ll be escorting them to the headsmen’s office.
As they continued through the empty halls and heavily built doors, faces appearing in the small windows that allowed a person to look in or out of it. The further they went into the maze of haunted dreams, the air getting just a little chillier than a few minutes ago as they cam upon a wooden door with a bigger window than the other doors. Edwin had them stop momentarily as he knocked on the door. A female cheetah came to the door. The two spoke briefly in a low voice before Edwin went back to his post and she smiling warmly at the both of them.
“Please, come in.” she gestured for them to come in and have a seat. “What can I do for you lovely gentlemen?”
The office was as how they would have assumed it to be. Thick walls with cabinets lined up along the walls and seven drawers high. At the back of the room, along the wall, had another four metal cabinets standing behind her desk. The desk was a good five feet wide and was built out of thin metal. Her desk was cluttered with papers about programs of various of sorts. One was about visitation rights to the institute or have their loved one visit them at their home. She had stated multiple times to the board that it was simply not a good idea. But families insist and will continue to pressure them until they change their minds. Another sheet was loaded with numbers and names of the patients that were currently here. Majority of the other files were covered up by other ones, flipped over or inside a folder. Other then that, there was a bookshelf that sat off to the right of the room. Peppy and Slippy sat in the two chairs that were in front of the wide desk. Atop of her desk was a name plate that said Ms Walker.
“I am Peppy Hare, strategist and this is one of my teammates Slippy Toad. He’s our inventor and engineer”
“Please to meet the both of you.” she smiled sweetly “What are you here, if I may ask?”
“Of course. Peppy and I, as you should know that were apart of the mercenary team Star Fox. We’re here to investigate an escaped patient that was here years ago. We were just wondering if you could fill us on anything that we might have missed before hand.”
She gave it a thought. Ms. Walker didn’t know of this patient they were speaking of. Then again, she wasn’t here back then.
“Depends on what I can find for you. Oh, you’re welcome to call me Ms. Walker if you’d like.” She pulled up a log of the hospitals records on everyone who was here. Meaning patients, deceased or living, employees, and the any previous headsmen that worked here before her. “How long ago are you wanting to go back?”
“Eight years.” Slippy said
Ms. Walker paused for a second. Eight years, she thought. That’s a while ago but she counted back eight full years.
“Here. Edwin wrote this number down for me. It should be her ID number.” Slippy handed her the blue sticky note.
She took at and looked at it, and typed it in. After it loaded, a picture came up. Under the image was a small summary about the individual. She turn the computer screen towards them so that they can confirm that this is whom they’re looking for.
“That’s wrong.” Peppy said. Both looked at the image in disbelief.
The picture was a female dog that was different shades of brown and white with shoulder length brown hair. One of her eyes was a silky grey coloring but the other was a grey type of blue. Both of her ears were flopped over as she looked up towards the camera with a hateful glint in her eyes.
“What do you mean this isn’t who you’re looking for? The IDs match. Fifteen, fifteen, thirty-two, four.”
Slippy pulled up a hologram image of her hanging upside down in front of a security camera.
“Hmmmm...I haven’t seen her in any of the records, just the news.”
That didn’t make any sense. If this was indeed her ID number, and this girls ID number then why isn’t there a picture of Lollipop under there. “Let me check the cabinet real quick. If you need to, go ahead and look through the files on there.”
Slippy came around the desk and began rummaging through files. Some were easy to get into while others had pass codes and encryptions on it. There were files on each patient here, past and present. A thought occurred to him, maybe her file was stored away with others that were previously here.
“Would you mind explaining why two people have the same ID number?” Peppy asked her.
“I can only imagine that it’s som sort of organization technique. This place can hold up to four million people, And that’s not including the employees.” Ms Walker continued to flip through the records for the identical number to see if what she thinks is true. “I’m just assuming that because the head of this establishment here had died a few years ago. They never did explain what happened to him just that one day he ended up dead. And that’s when the hired me. He was suppose to show me the ropes of how to run a place like this. But besides that...” she was nearing to the number. “I just figured that that’s all the people he was going to put into this place. So every time a patient goes home or dies and another one is registered, then the new patient takes the ID number of the old patient.”
It made sense to organize in such a odd way. What’s even more so odd was that there wasn’t anything on this man’s death. When Peppy heard that, he made a mental note to search this guy up and read about him just to cover their tracks.
“So that means what? That her file was printed off and stored in a filing cabinet?”
“Pretty much.” finally she pulled out the file. By File, it means the last ten people to have the same ID number. “There’s ten here, so here are some you can look through.” Ms Walker handed Peppy half of the stack while Slippy continued to look through the history of the place and any other factors that might be important. “What does this person look like?” Peppy was the one to fill her in.
“She’s a female wolf with long blonde hair.” The image they had shown her was in black in white which didn’t really help but to identify what she looked like without color. She nodded and flipped through the files. Every file had a small picture of the person, paper clipped to the rest of the papers.
No. No. No. Ms. Walker thought to herself. That was when Peppy announced that he found the correct file.
“This is her...and under the same number.” All that was in her file was a single sheet that explained nothing that wasn’t obvious.
“It says that she’s eighteen years old at the time of her arrest. The arrest was made because she was mentally unstable. With no one living with her, they had to take her here because the court felt like she was a danger to herself and others, therefore she was registered as a patient. Her age is eighteen at the time. She was one-hundred-sixty-eight pounds at five foot one inch.” Ms. Walker read. It looked like someone had written something at the bottom of her page. It read “And they thought she was crazy then”.
Was that a statement claiming that she wasn’t as crazy back then as she was now? The person who wrote that comment was someone who had access to this room. They’ll have that analyzed once they get back to the Great Fox. Above that was her current weight, height, and age, which she had just read aloud.
“What’s her name?” Asked Ms. Walker.
“We were hoping that you could tell us.” Slippy said “But everyone knows her as Lollipop Tycoon. She’s been all over the galaxy.”
Slippy loaded everything that was on the computer to two flash drives that he carried with him. He was going to take whatever information that was on the piece of hardware and scan it through the system back on the ship, then send it to his father and his colleagues to further inspect it just in case the system, or him, had missed something that could be useful. Besides that he didn’t read anything that could have helped them.
“We’re gonna need to take this with us.” Peppy said
“Of course. Is there anything else that I could help you with?”
“We’ll also need the building’s original blue prints and we need to examine the room she was in while she was here.” Slippy quickly added “Oh, and all the footage from all the security cameras. You can just give us those before we leave.”
“I’ll have someone get the blue prints.” She picked up the black desk phone and set it to her ear as she pressed two buttons to call the front desk. Edwin picked up and spoke through the other line. She told him that she needs the buildings blue prints and to keep it with him until they leave and then they hung up. “If you follow me, I’ll take you to her room.”
Once they had gotten down the hallway and turned three corners, walking down the long corridors, Peppy scanned and added to the hologram model as they were on their way to her cell. After turning another two corners, they were there. The numbers fifteen, fifteen, thirty-two, four was printed in bold above the door.
“So their ID numbers are their room numbers?” Slippy asked.“Yes. Makes it a little easier to kept track of them and where they’re supposed to be. They also get them tattooed on their arms in case if one was to escape.” She explained.
After they surveyed her room, they thanked Ms. Walker for her time and help and told her that they will contact her if they had any further questions. On they’re way out, all tapes from the cameras had been pulled and given to them along with the blue prints.
They got into their Arwings in time to see the Great Fox pull in. Flying just below the ship, the bottom hatch opened up to let them in.
NUS closed the loading dock’s hatch after Peppy and Slippy docked their Arwings. The two went to the command center to give their report.
“That was it?” Fox asked.
“Yup. It’s like she didn’t even exist? “Slippy said “Are you okay Fox?”
Even though Wolf handed him a whole lot of reports of her, of each incident, and that one sheet from the Airlunnly Asylum. Besides all that information on each report, all those details was helpful but useless. They only explained what happened at that point in time. What they need is how she behave and what she reacts to. The papers do help in that topic, but only so much. Another way they help by doing so, is the locations. With each location, they could keep track on where she’s been and where it looks like she might be heading towards. Again, that only helps to a certain extent. But that one sheet, the registration paper, is what they already had.
“While Slippy was talking to the desk clerk, I made a hologram model of the building.” Peppy took the retractable usb cord for his multi-tool wrist band and connected it to the systems mainframe. A larger hologram model appeared in front of them. Everything was a metallic blue except for a few spots which were a green. The objects that were green were the air vents and doors. Anything that was red was something that she could have used to her advantage. There was one thing that was black and that was her door.
“This is her room.” he pointed to her room as he zoomed in to view the inside. “Lollipops room is designed to keep herself safe. If you read here, ” a sheet of paper appeared next to the footage that was extracted from the inside camera “you can see several different dates. She’s slung herself against the walls of her room multiple times. Some out of anger and fits of sadness but other times it seems that she was just doing it for no reason.” Peppy stated and pressed play.
Lollipops long hair was braided back along down her back and was frizzy. She was strapped in a white jacket that kept her arms crossed over her front, and the sleeves were longer than her arms. The jacket reached her mid thigh, her tail poking out from under it. She wasn’t even wearing anything on her feet; she was barefoot. Lollipops back was to the camera as she paced back and forth before launching herself at the wall where the door was. She bounced back, the cushioned wall forming to her body as the pressure built up and threw her in the opposite direction, hitting the floor in the process, then struggling to get back up with restricted arms. The next three times she did this and landed face first against the floor. Getting up after the fourth time being slung back, she looked up at the camera. Her eyes squinting as she came to realization that there was a camera in her room. The next few moments she simply laid there on the floor.
The video feed was paused. The screen showed seven more individual pages and videos right next to one another.
“These are the only ones that Slippy and I could point out right away to match with these sheets.”
“Okay. Krystal, contact the commander of the R.C if you would.” She nodded and went to the phone on looked for the number to call him. “This is a good start thus far.”
“You say that now.” Wolf chuckled.
“What do you mean?”
Wolf has had a few run ins’ with the crazed wolf. It was a few years ago but that was something he wasn’t really in the mood to talk about, at least not right now but in time. For now he’ll just see where this will go. He needs to get his priorities straight. Put the jack back in his box before pulling back the curtain. His plan may not be bullet proof but he sure as hell can manage with a few dents.