"Does anyone besides me feel an odd sense of déjà vu?" asked Kowalski.
"I do," sinabi Skipper.
Rico nodded vigorously. "Uh huh!"
"Just a little," noted Private.
"I take it you've all been here before," I said. "Turn left!"
Skipper turned left just in time. The rest of us followed. "Thanks for trusting me," I said.
"Instinct," replied Skipper. "Years of military ordering programmed me to obey a direct order on the first thought."
"Really?" sinabi Kowalski.
Skipper glanced back at him. "Don't even try it, or I'll give you maintenance duty for a month."
He turned my gaze to me. "May I ask why you chose left?"
I shook my head. "Gut instinct."
He nodded. "I'll take that."
My order was well received sa pamamagitan ng Skipper. "Second latch!" I added.
We all stopped at the designated place and looked down. We were on tuktok of a room full of cages. "Good work on your gut instinct," nagkomento Skipper.
I rolled my eyes but sinabi nothing. Rico kicked the latch open, and we jumped down. All the other mga hayop in the room looked at us in surprise. One of them gripped the bars of his cage tightly. "Do you have a death wish or something?" he hissed. "What are you doing here?"
"Saving a friend," replied Skipper.
"And the rest of you too," added Private.
They all started cheering. "Quiet down!" I shouted. "Do you want to bring the officers here?"
Hearing the threat of the rescue over before it even begun, everybody quieted down immediately. Skipper turned to Private. "Private! You and Kowalski stay here to unlock the rest of these cages. The rest of us will continue on. Once you're done, allow all of them to be loose. That will create panic. During the confusion, sneak into another room and start all over again. The rest of the times, though, allow mga hayop to leave as soon as they're free."
"What if we get caught?" asked a cat. "We don't want to end up back here again."
The other mga hayop mumbled their agreement. Skipper glanced sharply at the cat who had spoken. "We'll break you out again," he said. "Comprehende?"
With that, the rest of us flipped back into the vent again and started sliding to the susunod room. After we dropped Rico off and got some paper clips to act as lock pickers, Skipper and I were left. We came to a crossroads in the vents. We stopped. "I go left, you right?" I suggested.
He nodded. "Works for me."
I rubbed the back of my neck. "Listen, about our argument–"
He waved it away. "No worries. What has past has pasted."
I smiled at him. "So, partners?"
He shook my flipper. "Partners."
Skipper looked at me in the eye. "I want you to promise me something."
"If I get caught sa pamamagitan ng X, leave me behind and take my boys to safety."
I looked at him and could tell that he was serious. "Fine, if you promise me that if I tell you to go, you take everybody out."
We went our separate ways, each with the other's promise still fresh in his head.
Nathan: Practice makes perfect, you know.
Me: What does this have to do with anything?
Nathan: You know deja vu? You do it many times then you get it perfect.
Nathan: Maybe that's just me...