Sid and one other prisoner, a girl his age, were at a table in cellblock A having breakfast. Several armed guards near the doorway to the rest of the complex watched them.
"So what are you in for?" the girl said.
"Murder."
"Are you guilty?"
"Are you just making conversation, or do you actually care?"
"Of course I care. I'm a good person, unlike those guards and most of the people in here."
Ah, so she was one of those foolish moralistic criminals. Or maybe she was just falsely accused. "I see. Well then I'm not guilty, of course. I killed someone who deserved it."
"What'd they deserve it for?"
Sid paused slightly, but not enough to make her think he was making something up. "Falsely reporting me - and several other people - of cheating at Bloodsport 3, and then framing them to make it look true. He was using it to climb the ladder by eliminating all of the best players that weren't him."
"That's bad, but it sounds like killing him was really disproportionate."
"It might have been. But what else was I supposed to do? It was the only way to actually stop him, since I couldn't prove his guilt or anything."
"I guess so. But still, I think you should have tried to find another way."
"So you said those guards aren't good people? What are they doing wrong?" Sid was disgusted with them, of course, but not because they stood for evil to him; because they stood for good to him.
"Taking others' freedom."
"But they think we deserve it."
"It's not possible to deserve this treatment. The will to freedom is a virtue. That means when you punish someone by taking their freedom, it's like you're punishing the good in them."
Sid grunted appreciatively. He was really starting to like this girl, even though she was a moralist. "Never thought of it that way before. I like that."
Jane took a few more bites of her raisinless, unsugared oatmeal. It was nasty food, but it was all they had. Sid took some more bites as well.
"So what are you in for?" Sid asked.
"I defended an innocent person's freedom from an evil cop."
"Want to tell me more about it?"
"Me and a friend were out at night talking about our plans to start a revolution. We came across a little girl out alone and a cop trying to use force to take her home. We intervened."
"What was in it for you?"
"Nothing. I just like the feeling of doing the right thing."
Interesting... seeing people like Kyle had made Sid think that morality was a bunch of rules that only interfered with one's freedom. But this girl seemed different. She didn't seem less free-spirited than him. Her words were making him wonder if morality didn't have to be that way - Kyle's way. Was it perhaps possible to be a good person and still be free?
Agh, nevermind. Being good took effort. You had to care about others and shit like that. Being evil was so relaxing, not having to care about anything but his own pleasure. Surely this girl wasn't free; she was just deceiving herself.
"So what's your name?" the girl said. "I'm Jane."
"Wait, Jane?" Sid thought back to that day six years ago. The only person he had ever felt sympathy for. "I remember you..."
"Are you... no, you're not Kyle..."
"I'm Sid."
"Oh... the cheater. I remember you. You sure that guy you killed reported you falsely?"
Yep. Here she was, turning into another Kyle all the sudden. They were no different on the inside. Disappointing. Still, Sid wanted to stay on her good side for the time being. "Look, I'm different now. I don't cheat anymore."
"If you say so. I want you to know I did sympathize with you that day - Mrs. Carter's punishment was excessive."
"Yeah." Sid decided not to tell her about how Helen had given it back and gone on to become his friend. His voiced dropped to a whisper, since the prisoners weren't allowed to discuss escape plans (and the guards would reward other prisoners for snitching on them). "So you have any idea how we're gonna get out of here yet?"
"Yeah. My friend didn't get captured with me. He'll come through. I know he will."
"I don't like counting on someone else. What if he decides not to risk his own freedom for someone else's sake? It's completely understandable."
"He's a better person than that. And he's pretty tech-savvy. I'm sure he'll think of something."
Sid didn't like this at all, but he guessed he was on his own if he wanted to escape without counting on Jane's quite-possibly-never-coming friend. "Alright. If you say so."