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Air Vent Passageway / Fan Works

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  • Code Wings 3.0: Jeremie and the others use the ventilation shaft to their new room to evade the whitecoats and Erasers.
  • Epic: The Third Survivor: Sherry spends several chapters roaming around the police station's ventilation system to evade the zombies.
  • This is the method that Draco uses to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts in A Very Potter Musical.
  • Zig-Zagged in a weirdly justified way in Heroes of the Desk—the air vents at a university facility are not large enough for a full-size human (averted), but a 14" tall Hero character can crawl through them (played straight—supercomputing buildings need a lot of cooling).
  • One chapter of the Kim Possible fanfic I Think Some Serious Physics Just Happened has a nice deconstruction of the trope when Ron, dropped into the real world, sneaks into a library through the airvents and naturally gets dirty while crawling through them. Then he starts to wonder why the vents in the supervillains' lairs were never less than spotless. Who was cleaning them? How? Why?
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    • It's often a good idea to clean out ventilation systems to increase air-flow efficiency, reduce allergens, and stop a significant layer of dust accumulating on everything in the building every night. Particularly in warehouses with the giant ventilation systems that someone could actually crawl through.
    • Or there might simply be enough traffic in the ventilation system of the average villain lair to prevent dust gathering... Let's face it, those bases usually last a month or three, and see twenty-odd people getting around by air vents in that timeframe.
  • In another Kim Possible fanfic, To Bebe or not to Bebe, Kim and Ron are captured by a surprisingly competent villain who not only has air vents too small to crawl through, but also took all their equipment and destroyed it rather than leave it out to pick up when they escape.
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  • HERZ: In chapter 4 Kurumi used a ventilation shaft to reach Terminal Dogma after being told it was off-limits.
    The grill made a tremendous clanging sound as it crashed onto the floor. Kurumi, in her UNIPF combat fatigues, emerged from the ventilation shaft. "Terminal Dogma is off-limits, my ass."
  • The Second Try: Shinji used a ventilation shaft to sneak out and back in NERV in the second-to-last chapter.
  • Nobody Dies: Terrifying!Rei's favorite method of Stealth Hi/Bye is to drop out of NERV's any ventilation system. He~eeey. Oh, Crap!. Running now. Later revealed to be a trait common to all Lilith-based Nephilem, as when Shinji is temporarily turned into a Nephilem, he suddenly gets good at zipping through vents too. Kensuke is picking it up as well, due to his... "friendship" with Rei.
  • Used in the Portal 2 fanfic Test of Humanity, though it's more of an "incinerator exhaust pipe escape". Subverted in that Wheatley is too fat to fit all the way through and ends up stuck, causing the pipe to explode from the built-up pressure.
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  • In Fallout: Equestria - Pink Eyes, the main character Puppysmiles is just a little filly, meaning it's easier to crawl around in tight spaces. She uses this to enter a locked-down fortress to search for her mom.
  • Examples from the Calvinverse:
  • Queen of All Oni: Drago uses the air vents to break into Section 13. He calls it a cliche, and expresses disappointment that the Section 13 of the present isn't on the same level as the one in his time.
    • During the Final Battle, Jade and Hebi use the chaos of her forces' invasion of Section 13 as a distraction to sneak into the air vents and use them to get to the Vault unseen.
  • Earth and Sky: After Chrysalis is arrested and thrown in the dungeon in Los Pegasus, she slips free of her chains by molting to filly-size and then crawls out through a vent. Even then, it only works because, as Luna points out, her carapace hasn't hardened yet, allowing her to squeeze through the tight space.
  • Hitman Miami: In chapter 8, the only way into the target's office, apart from a locked steel door, is a six-inch wide vent in the ceiling, which Agent 47 uses to drop monkey chow into the room in order to lure in a Killer Gorilla, then a grenade to kill the gorilla.
  • In the Portal/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover Better Living Through Science and Ponies, Chell uses some vents to get back inside the Enrichment Center. Justified in that her small pony body fits better.
  • In Blue Sky it's not exactly air vents, but climbing in the chaotic crawl spaces of the facility.
  • The absurdly spacious ones in Arkham are viciously lampshaded in the Batman fic Bruce Has A Problem; evidently they were originally dog runs put in by a director who thought dogs would have mental healing properties, abandoned when the director died in a dog-petting accident. They were then repurposed as vents by another director, who was looking to cut costs to fund a step pyramid he was building.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic series Harpflank And Sweets — in the headquarters of the heroes, no less.
  • Used for infiltration in the Mass Effect fic Masses to Masses. Subverted when Ian's weight brings it down, resulting in Melanis lecturing him on how this trope doesn't work in real situations.
  • In the Stargate Universe fic Scribblings, Chloe and Rush both make use of a variant of this: Chloe turns it into a prison for Eli and Rush turns it into a nest.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. fic Smash Generation, this is how Midna went to see who was in the Mansion, and also how Pear, Riley, BJ and Popo evaded escape.
  • This is Eric's favorite method of travel in the Glee fanfic Spah Verse, both at Dalton and McKinley.
  • In the Persona/Super Smash Bros. crossover SSB The Return, Melody uses these to get around the school.
  • In the Mega Crossover Super Network Wars episode 27, some members of the Nueva Liga Filipina have to crawl through this in order to stop the poisons from being administered into the food of the VIPs at the 12th ASEAN Summit.
  • Occurs in Bubble Gum Crisis fanfic The Bubblegum Zone.
  • In the Harry Potter AU series The Darkness Series, Harry uses this when doing spy work at Riddle Manor in snake form.
  • The Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers fic Diamonds In The Desert is practically about this.
    • Also from the same series, Zipper gets into and out of the National Institute for Mental Health via air vents in Lost And Found, and the Rangers use the air-conditioning vents to get into Mr. Jacob's penthouse in Last Date.
  • The heroes use these to break into the base in the Jimmy Neutron fanfic The Other Side Of Tomorrow.
  • Occurs in the Star Wars Alternate Universe The Part to Be Played.
  • Part of the caper plans in the Undocumented Features fic Hellbringer and the After-School Special Mission Force #1: "The Bad Bank Caper" — as Lain Iwakura says, "Oh, good... I was -hoping- we'd be hitting all the cliches on this job."
  • This is how Carlos leaves the VILE base in the Where's Waldo/Carmen Sandiego crossover Where On Earth Spies. He's a small dog, so it works.
  • Used by the protagonists of Yu-Gi-Oh! Forever during the last part of the Dueltropolis arc, to sneak on board the ARK.
  • Calvin and Hobbes use this to infiltrate a base in Trouble Island.
  • Justified in Mass Effect Human Revolution: Ventilation passages in Krogan battle barges are huge because they're really meant for defenders to outmaneuver boarders.
  • Equestrylvania: In Book 2, after Rainbow Dash and Shatterstom are captured by Rose Blade, he has the former locked in a bathroom that's been converted into a holding cell/torture chamber; after getting free of her chains, she gets out of the room this way. Somewhat subverted, as it's a cramped fit, and Rainbow Dash is constantly worried that she's going to make noise and alert the Mooks below.
  • Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: In an attempt to bond with Sailor Mercury, Sailor Jupiter suggests that they get into a suspicious building by crawling in through the vents "like in the movies". Misunderstanding her intent, Mercury merely points out that the vents are probably too small for them to fit through.
  • Averted in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. George talks about maybe navigating the air ducts to get to Mevaryat's basement room in the concert hall, but he isn't thrilled about the idea because he has no idea where the things go, and can't really navigate the larger world when he's something small anyway. Later, he finds out that the Tipaanese anticipated he might go in that way and set traps throughout the air ducts. Too bad for them he found a different way to get into the room.
  • Lampshaded in Child of the Storm, wherein Clint (and later, Bucky) like to crawl around in them to get into HYDRA bases (or in Clint's case, just because he likes crawling around in the Avengers Tower ones). Tony freaked out the first time. Now, being Tony, he still likes to pretend he has no idea of what's going on and send his robots to flush them out.
    • In the sequel, Bucky notes that they'd be amazed at how many HYDRA bases he's broken into, a point he's apparently previously made to Harry. Harry, however, prefers making his own doorways. Or using Doctor Strange as a chauffeur. As he loftily puts it, "One makes a statement, the other is economical.”
    • On a related note, it's become solid fanon in the Avengers fandom that Clint likes doing this. A lot.
  • Both played straight and deconstructed in the Batman fanfic "Of Friends and Foes." Robin and Kid Flash decide to sneak through air vents to eavesdrop on the JLA meeting for fun, and the size of the vents is explained away as being large enough for adults to come and work up there if a problem arises. However, it's noted that Robin still has to use his agility to get around, that it's pretty dirty, and that the boys have to keep their voices down to avoid being heard. Since one of the members has super-hearing and X-ray vision, one has Hyper-Awareness, and another is a telepath, it doesn't go too well anyway.
  • In Narbonic fanfic A Brief Moment of Culture, Artie hides from a mind-controlled Mell in the ventilation ducts. Justified because tiny little gerbil; it's made clear a human would have trouble fitting an arm in the ducts. And then subverted when Mell begins methodically smashing the ducts from one side to the other, which admittedly isn't something you can do with human-sized ones.
  • There are two instances in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Both of them are justified given that they involve relatively small Pokémon:
    • The first, Ash's Aipom sneaks aboard the vents in Hunter J's airship, opening the doors for Ash and the others to get through to escape.
    • The second, Ash's Snivy gets away from the Samurai by sneaking through the air vents of the battle club, and eventually seeing Ash and deciding to challenge him to see if he's the trainer she's looking for.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Duo: In chapter 8, the group uses one to sneak into the aquarium and find the missing Hanon. It ends up backfiring on them when they end up falling down a chute and landing heavily.
  • In All Guardsmen Party the Occurrence Border has plenty such passageways. When Sarge tries looking for similarly-size vents on a properly-built space station, he's told nobody would ever build vents large enough to crawl through. The only reason the Border has such vents is because it's a very stupid ship.
  • In Spice Girls AU Fic, Astral Journey: It's Complicated, after getting sectioned, Melanie does this "twice". Her second attempts ends in disaster, leading to getting injured for real.
  • Missing Linc: Lana is forced to use the air vents to escape after Lindsey Sweetwater locks her in the dressing room.
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