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NaNoWriMo
Congrats to everyone who got this done!

Three Rounds
((Jennifer Perez continued from the past))

Jennifer wasn't at the fight because she had any particular interest in boxing or karate or whatever it exactly was that was going to happen here. The whole thing, in fact, made her rather squeamish. The years had done her some good when it came to asserting herself, but her distaste for conflict was as strong as ever, and seeing some people pound each other senseless sounded just the littlest bit appalling. She wasn't here to show pride in a fellow survivor or anything like that. There were endless opportunities for the limelight, for cashing in on what she'd been through or associating herself with it in a direct manner, and Jennifer found herself quite content passing all of them by. No, she was here for Isabel, and she was here for Ray, and she was here because she hoped she'd have a good time trying something new.

She'd been very nervous entering the place, actually hanging tightly to Isabel's hand, trying not to get lost in the noise and the bustle. She'd realized very quickly, though, that she was in over her head with this. The atmosphere was tense, expectant. It made her a little bit jittery. She'd separated from Isabel briefly to go and track down a vending machine, where she'd gotten a can of Coke. Jennifer loathed Coke, thought it was the worst fucking soda ever created, but that made it the perfect thing to take a really long time drinking. The current plan was to concentrate really hard on taking tiny sips if things got too intense for her tastes. That, or maybe chat with Isabel, if that was allowed. Jennifer had no clue what the protocols were for this sort of thing. It felt different from all the high school sports stuff she'd gone to, and even that had been pretty incomprehensible.

Soda in hand, she searched through the seats, trying to find Isabel. She felt a bit like a beacon, like maybe she'd dressed completely wrong for this. She had a sleeveless, knee-length red dress with a purple sash and a nice black jacket for if it got cold, and she was wearing pretty earrings, and she'd dug out some flats that were a little bit fancier than her favorite pair of sneakers. Her hair was not spiked tonight, in fact, she'd put a token effort into combing it into an approximation of a respectable style. She felt all ready for a cocktail party. This was, it turned out, not the norm. She should have guessed just from Isabel's outfit. Fuck. This was going to be one of those nights, then.

But at least Isabel wasn't too tough to locate. She was sitting near an older woman Jennifer thought she might have recognized from somewhere but couldn't really place. A few seats away was another girl from high school, Felicia. Felicia, whose yearbook Melissa had carried. Once, that thought might have hurt. Now, it just brought back memories, bittersweet maybe, good and bad mixed up into a mess Jennifer felt no pressing need to untangle. She'd made her peace.

"Um, sorry I fell behind," she said to Isabel. "I got a bit thirsty. Oh, and hello. I'm Jennifer. I'm, um, Isabel's friend," she added to the older woman. She really, really hoped she'd been correct in her assessment that they were part of the same viewing party or whatever it was people watched fights in. She took a seat next to Isabel and didn't say anything else for a moment, waiting to see if she'd have to extricate herself from a faux pas.

Yes, it was definitely one of those nights.

Let the Broken Hearts Stand
((Jennifer Perez continued from the past))

It had been a long time since everything had seemed like it was going to go to pieces. It had been a long time since Jennifer had felt lost and alone and confused. Now, though, she was shaking, lying in bed and staring at the ceiling and feeling like her life had just been blown apart.

She was out of therapy again. She had a college degree. She was living on her own, and she was working, and she was mostly happy. Now, though, it was almost as if it was happening again. It had happened again, of course. She knew that much. She didn't pay close attention. She avoided the news, not out of fear, but from a simple desire not to artificially cause the resurgence of painful memories. She didn't mention her experiences to anyone unprompted, though she never hid who she was anymore. She was willing to discuss things with friends and family, though they largely were squeamish around the subject. For the most part, she passed for normal. Nobody she didn't know really remembered her time on Survival of the Fittest. She hadn't done much of note. The world seemed content to let her be.

And yet, earlier in the evening, some journalist had dredged up her number and decided to call to see how she felt on the fucking five year anniversary of the kidnapping. She had no idea why she'd been picked. They'd had a nice little discussion, during which Jennifer had said exactly fuck-all about the island or her feelings about the anniversary. The journalist had gotten bored and had hung up, and Jennifer had headed to bed and remembered once more all that she had lost.

It wasn't like it used to be, wasn't so bad or immediate, but it still hurt.

She tossed and turned for a while, tried to figure out some way to get some rest. Nothing. She didn't cry about what had happened now. She didn't do too much, just left a bouquet of flowers in the park every so often. It beat the fuck out of going to a graveyard and searching for tombstones that marked ground where no bodies lay. Sometimes she went by Bayview, too, to volunteer. She did the same stuff parents did, helped tutor struggling kids to the best of her ability, cleaned up trash, just helped out in general. The school had been very hesitant about her presence at first, but she'd managed to convince them she was just helping out because her brother was there.

He'd graduated almost a year ago now, and nobody at Bayview had voiced any complaints about her continued assistance.

Of course, she had free time less and less often. She was working full time now, subcontracting for some local theatre troupes and occasionally for television programs. When she did have spare time from those obligations, she did professional alterations. The money was fairly good, enough to keep her fed and housed in her two bedroom apartment and even have some left over for fun and savings. She had turned the second bedroom into her studio. It was completely filled with fabrics and sewing machinery—and come to think of it, her fucking serger had come unthreaded again earlier in the day, so that would require some concentration to get set up again. Then there was the time she spent babysitting her niece, whenever Monica and her husband needed a night off.

All the things that kept her busy also made what she decided to do this night feel more than a little reckless.

Fuck it. Impulse had its place. This had to be done.

Jennifer turned the lights back on and got dressed again, seized with a sudden energy. Tomorrow, it would be five years since she'd been taken, and she still had one thing she'd left undone, one last little thing she'd never quite gotten around to, one thing mooring her to the past.

She found her phone—it was an old model, just a few steps up the technological ladder from the one she'd lost on the island—and changed the message on her answering machine to say she'd had an urgent situation arise and would be out of contact for the next few days. Then she grabbed a duffel bag and stuffed it full of what she'd need: toothbrush, spare clothes, water bottle, portable sewing kit, CD player, a few bags of potato chips she had lying around. After that, she found her coat and hurried down the stairs, to the old car she grudgingly kept. Jennifer still walked wherever she could, but sometimes the need to deliver things or meet potential clients made perambulation impossible.

It was, she saw, four in the morning. She'd tossed and turned longer than she'd thought. Five years ago, she'd still been asleep. She'd slept well that night. She tried to recapture the feelings from then. Excitement, sure, and a little apprehension. After all, she'd never been away from home for that long before. She'd been nervous about her company, too. Maf was going to be there, and she didn't quite know where they stood, or where she wanted them to stand. Something to discuss with Melissa, maybe. She'd wondered whether saying that she liked him would be a rash choice, knowing all the time that she wasn't brave enough to ever actually go through with it.

She'd been so happy on the bus.

Her memories carried her halfway to South Dakota. At one point, she briefly considered calling Isabel and inviting her along, but it didn't seem right. The others would do what they needed to. Maybe she wasn't the first to make this particular pilgrimage.

Five years late, Jennifer was going camping.

She pulled into Badlands National Park in the morning, a bit better equipped after a stop at an all-night convenience store, paid her visitor's fee, and headed to the campgrounds. She wasn't sure she was at the right one. She had no idea where the school had been planning to keep them, whether there were cabins or a lodge somewhere around. There had been nearly three hundred of them. Maybe the plan had been to set up a few dozen tents. There was no way of knowing now.

It didn't really matter. Jennifer didn't have a tent and certainly hadn't reserved a cabin. She was going to be living in her car for the next few days. It would be alright. She'd slept in worse places. Certainly the island had been worse. She could remember it clearly, waking up with greasy hair and an aching back, propped up against a tree or a rock wall, heart instantly pumping full force, glancing around to make sure nobody was waiting to kill her. Since then, everything had seemed luxurious.

So she sat in her car and she played her CDs and she watched the sun rise and she tried to pretend that things had gone right. She tried to throw herself back in time, to be eighteen again and to have the world in front of her, to recapture her uncertainty and hope. No luck. She was twenty-three, alone in a car in a fucking national park, without a clue what she was doing beyond following an impulse that had seemed clever at the time.

Maybe it was healing she was after. Maybe she was chasing ghosts. Maybe she was looking for parts of herself she'd lost.

In some ways, what she missed most was the openness of the future. Back then, she'd had no plans. She'd not even known what she wanted on an immediate social level. It finally felt almost safe to acknowledge just how conflicted she'd been about the whole thing. Jennifer had always thought romance was something for later, for grown ups. She'd figured maybe she'd date in college or something, maybe figure out what was right for her then. She'd thought she'd find the right person, the one, after college, and then they'd get married and have some kids. She'd thought anything before was just a joke, just practice, maybe not even worth pursuing. Maf had made her question that. Then he'd changed and he'd died and she'd never figured anything out at all. Any steps she'd taken in the years since had ended in disaster. She couldn't shake the feeling that everything good would eventually end, that people couldn't be trusted, that she couldn't trust herself. The same was true of simple stuff like friendship. She'd made almost no lasting friends besides Isabel. Sure, she could get along with everyone easily, but trusting more deeply, making an actual connection, that caused her to shy away.

Maybe what she was really afraid of was replacing the people she'd lost.

Melissa had been a wonderful friend. She'd been a high school friend, though. They'd been able to talk about things, deep things sometimes, but things that high schoolers cared about, and then things that high schoolers who were doomed to die cared about. For a time, Jennifer had gone to the park and had talked into the air as if Melissa was there, just sharing her thoughts and talking about the world. What, though, would Melissa have said about stress from work? What advice could she have given Jennifer about dealing with her niece and her brother-in-law? It was the same with Maf and Nick. Would they even have recognized her now? Would they have had anything in common with her? She wasn't the girl who turned up in deserted parking lots to talk down strangers, not anymore.

Was growing up a betrayal? She couldn't say. Sure, they'd probably have all told her to move on, to fucking let go of things already. It had been half a decade. It was time to stop... well, not grieving, she wasn't doing that, but maybe time to end the mourning period. Maybe it was time to do something crazy, to say yes if someone asked her to dinner or to go along to one of the social gatherings or production parties she was always getting invitations to.

For now, though, she would just be herself. There was nothing to do here, nobody to enjoy her little vacation with. Jennifer knew she'd probably be home within two days, sheepish about the entire thing. She knew she'd probably never tell anyone what she'd done. It was important, though. On some level, in some way, this was important to her. It was a way of proving that she'd won, a way of showing that she'd still get everything she'd been promised, even if it was a little delayed.





In the end, she did go home before too long, but it was with a lighter feeling, a brighter outlook. She hadn't forgotten, but she was finally ready to move on. She was done hiding from her memories, done wallowing in them, done trying to figure things out. It was time to stop analyzing and start living again, to take life as it came and not worry about what sort of person that would make her, not worry about measuring up to some ideal. It was time to just let things be how they were and make the best of it all.

Somehow, in the end, she finally thought it would all be just fine.

((Jennifer Perez continued in the future))

Project: Wiki
So, I dug up a semi-functional snapshot of the old wiki, complete with a bunch of student evaluations and things. I don't have the time or inclination to mess with it too much at the moment, as the formatting is really unfriendly to copy/pasting (it's archived, so you can't directly yank the code), but if anyone's looking for a project, there's a good chance to restore some stuff here.

Homestuck Mafia: Game Thread
IGNORE THAT MORON IN THE PAST. HE CLEARLY CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO ACTUALLY LOOK AT THE ROLES LIST.

Homestuck Mafia: Game Thread
JUST A NOTE THAT I'LL HELP YOU GUYS LYNCH OR WHATEVER, BUT I DON'T REALLY WANT TO ANNOY THE MAFIA ENOUGH TO GET LYNCHED VINDICTIVELY IF THE TWO MAFIA FACTIONS HAVE IT OUT OR WHATEVER.

ALSO I'M ABSOLUTELY NOT HAMMERING ANYONE BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO EXPLODE OR SOMETHING, SO IF MY VOTE IS REQUIRED PLEASE LET ME KNOW BEFORE IT'S ONE VOTE AWAY FROM GO.

Homestuck Mafia: Game Thread
OKAY, IN THE INTEREST OF SPARING THE TOWN ANY FURTHER DISASTERS, AND TO MAYBE SAVE A GOOD BUDDY, I'M GOING TO DO SOMETHING I'VE BEEN HOLDING OFF ON. I GUESS IT CAN'T HURT NOW THAT WE'VE SEEN THE LIST OF ROLES SO YOU KNOW I'M TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS. I MEAN, I'VE PRETTY MUCH GOT THIS IN THE BAG UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING EVEN MORE MORONIC THAN USUAL, WHICH I SUPPOSE ISN'T A SAFE BET TO TAKE, BUT WHATEVER.

DOCTOR, WHOEVER YOU ARE, DON'T PROTECT ME TONIGHT.

YOU SEE, I'VE BEEN WONDERING THIS ENTIRE TIME WHY TAVROS HAS BEEN ASSURING EVERYONE I'M TOWN WHEN I'M REALLY NOT. I'M THE SURVIVOR. I DON'T REALLY GIVE WHO WINS THIS THING. I DON'T HAVE A NIGHT ACTION, SO ROLEBLOCKING ME IS POINTLESS. I'M ALSO IMMUNE TO NIGHTKILLS, WHICH EXPLAINS A BIG PART OF WHY WE'VE HAD SOME PRETTY DULL NIGHTS, OR AT LEAST I'D GUESS THAT'S THE CASE SINCE THERE'S CLEARLY NO WAY SOMEONE HASN'T TRIED TO WHACK ME BY NOW, I MEAN, SINCE I'M PRETTY OBVIOUSLY A MASSIVE JERK AND ALL. THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, OF COURSE, SINCE

FCG
 
I'M CLEARLY AROUND IN THE FUTURE TO YELL AT YOU ALL.


UNFORTUNATELY, FUTURE ME IS A TOTAL MORON, AND DOESN'T BELIEVE IN LATTING ME OFF THE HOOK FOR ANYTHING WHICH HE MIGHT DEEM "STUPID" THAT I DO, AND THUS IF YOU ALL DECIDE TO LYNCH ME I AM PRETTY MUCH UP THE PROVERBIAL CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE. I SUSPECT THIS IS THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE FROM ARADIA; SHE IS DEATH-PROOF, I JUST CAN'T BE NIGHTKILLED.

THE REASON I'M SAYING ALL OF THIS IS THAT TAVROS HAS DONE ME A PRETTY BIG FAVOR BY COVERING MY BUTT THE PAST FEW PHASES, EVEN IF IT WAS BECAUSE OF RIDICULOUSLY FLAWED AND COMPLETELY INEPT REASONING, AND I'D RATHER NOT SEE HIM EAT A BULLET FOR VOUCHING FOR ME AGAIN AND AGAIN. I DON'T REALLY GIVE A CRAP WHO WINS THIS AS LONG AS YOU DON'T LYNCH ME, SO, WHY THE HELL NOT HIM?

AS FOR MY ACTIONS SO FAR, I'VE BEEN HELPING THE TOWN TO THE EXTENT OF MY ATTENTION SPAN, BECAUSE DOING OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN PRETTY IMMEDIATELY NOTICED AND PROBABLY GOTTEN ME LYNCHED, WHICH I THINK I'VE ESTABLISHED I'M TERMINALLY ALLERGIC TO. I HAVEN'T BEEN APPLYING MYSELF TOO MUCH, THOUGH, AND HONESTLY I DON'T THAT'S GOING TO CHANGE SINCE I PRETTY MUCH CAN'T LOSE NOW. SO I GUESS I'LL HELP OR WHATEVER, BUT DON'T EXPECT TOO MUCH AFTER THIS GIGANTIC FAVOR I'M DOING ALL OF YOU RIGHT NOW IN CLEARING UP EVERYTHING THAT'S BEEN GOING ON AND SAVING A VALUABLE MEMBER OF THE TOWN AND STOPPING THE DOCTOR FROM WASTING AN ACTION AND ALL.

SO YEAH, MULL ON THAT ONE FOR A BIT.

OH, AND BY THE WAY, PAST ME:

PCG
 
YOU'RE JUST AS MUCH A MORON AS EVERYONE ELSE.


YOU ARE TOO. ONLY, THE DIFFERENCE IS, YOU'RE ACTUALLY AN IMBECILE, ALONG WITH FUTURE ME, WHEREAS RIGHT NOW I THINK IT'S FAIRLY SAFE TO SAY MY POSITION IS UNASSAILABLE. SO, IN YOUR UGLY LITTLE FACE.

WAIT...


ANYWAYS, RIGHT,
PRESENT

Homestuck Mafia: Game Thread
OH MAN, THIS IS EASILY THE STUPIDEST SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES I COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE. IN THE DEPTHS OF MY MUSINGS, I COULD NOT HAVE COME UP WITH SOMETHING THIS RANDOMLY WHACK. THIS IS A TOTAL, UNMITIGATED EXPLOSION OF UTTER NONSENSE. I MEAN, IT MAKES EVERYTHING MAKE A HECK OF A LOT MORE SENSE, BUT ONLY IN THE EVERYBODY MESSED UP AND IS A TOTAL MORON SORT OF WAY.

WELL, THIS IS JUST LOVELY AND PERFECT. WHAT NOW?

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
One more for Rugga!

Quote:
 
KillerVole 12:16 am
One for Rugga:
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 12:18 am
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 249

KillerVole 12:18 am
Imraan Al-Hariq


Ruggahissy (round two): Imraan Al-Hariq (V4 Start)

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
Here you go!

Quote:
 
KillerVole 10:56 pm
One for TDS!
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:56 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 205

KillerVole 10:56 pm
Bridget Connolly


TDS: Bridget Connolly (V4 Start)

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
New ones!

Quote:
 
KillerVole (KillerVole) has entered the room. 10:27 pm
KillerVole 10:28 pm
Alrighty!

KillerVole 10:29 pm
One more for Ciel:
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:29 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 120

KillerVole 10:30 pm
Sebastian Descartes
Two for D/N:
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:30 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 104

KillerVole 10:30 pm
reroll
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:30 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 204

KillerVole 10:30 pm
Sarah Tan
And...
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:30 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 172

KillerVole 10:30 pm
reroll
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:30 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 200

KillerVole 10:31 pm
Cisco Vasquez


Ciel (round three): Sebastian Descartes (V4 Start)
D/N (round two): Sarah Tan (V4 Start) and Cisco Vasquez (V4 Start)

Final Fates
So, I figured some people probably want to get what happened to their rescued characters officially stated, but maybe don't want to write any in-character scenes dealing with it. This thread is the place to get that done. You can put up OOC summaries of your characters' fates here, so that they are available for future reference. Things can be as loose or detailed as you like.

If nobody uses this by the time post-game finally closes, I'll just delete it. For now, though, it's pinned. Have at.

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
Alrighty! Lerger is back in the pool, then.

Quote:
 
KillerVole (KillerVole) has entered the room. 10:44 pm
KillerVole 10:45 pm
One more for Ciel, replacing Robert who he was in threads with for most of his life.
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:45 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 36

KillerVole 10:45 pm
reroll
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 10:45 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 2

KillerVole 10:45 pm
Dallas Reynolds.


Ciel (round two): Dallas Reynolds (V4 Start)

Closer to Fine
((Jennifer Perez continued from the past))

It was summer again, and the year was 2010, and despite the economy the world felt like a much better place to live in. Two years had come and gone without even a hint of further kidnappings. Memory of the attacks, for many people, was beginning to fade. For Jennifer, that was not the case. She still thought about everything that had happened often. She felt like she'd stopped growing up the day she got on the bus, like she'd not aged even a little bit since then. She wondered often what her life would have been like had she not been taken. She wondered whether she and Maf would have maybe found something, whether she and Nick would have ever talked, whether she and Melissa would still be friends.

But she only wondered some of the time. Mostly, she was too busy.

Her high school friends were, for the most part, gone. They'd all graduated and gone off to various colleges and gotten married and stuff like that. They'd all grown up. Jennifer was in college. She was transferring now, from the community college where she'd been for the past two years. She was going to a real university, and she was scared. She was majoring in costume design. An attempt at more conventional fashion design had very quickly showed Jennifer that it entailed all the sides of sewing she didn't care for at all. What she liked was the creativity, the time and detail put into a single garment. For that, nothing beat theatre and film.

She was still living with her family. They ate dinner together almost every night. Samuel was in high school now. Bayview was still in operation. The youngest class at the time of the kidnapping was going to graduate next year. Jennifer asked Samuel about the school sometimes, especially about the teachers. None of them really talked about what had happened. Nobody wanted to remember, at least, not outside the safety of memorials and other forms of prescribed grief. That was fine. She didn't want to remember either. The only concession to acknowledgment she made was when she told Samuel she didn't care what he wanted, she'd never forgive him if he went on his senior trip. He told her he wasn't planning to anyways. After that, she stopped making references to it altogether.

It didn't matter. She could never escape the memories, no matter how hard she tried to bury them.

Sometimes it was stupid things, Chinese food, pulling her socks off, the smell of exhaust. Sometimes it was more serious. A week before the end of the term, a boy had asked Jennifer to the movies, and she'd been a fucking idiot and said yes. They'd sat through some boring comedy, and he'd driven her home, and he'd tried to give her a kiss goodbye, and she'd jerked back and started crying and they'd ended up sitting on her porch and she'd told him all about everything that had happened and that she'd never even been kissed and he said it was fine and patted her on the back and avoided her for the next week and never called her again.

The fucked up thing was that she was happier that way.

Sometimes, after dark or on rainy days or in the dead of winter, she'd just go and get lost somewhere in town. Saint Paul was a big city, and Minneapolis was within reach, especially now that she'd finally gotten her driver's license. The wonderful thing about the world was that, no matter how much she explored, there was always more, always something new, some little restaurant or park or graffiti mural on an alley wall. Discovering the beauty in those little things was what kept her going during bad days.

But the bad days came less and less frequently.

Jennifer still had things that mattered to her, after all. She still had people she cared about greatly. She spent a lot of her free time with her sister. Monica had finally found a steady boyfriend, one who looked like he might become a permanent fixture in the family. He seemed like a nice guy, though it was hard for Jennifer to judge these things. She'd never quite worked her way up to judging people again. Everything in normal life, all the little lies and infidelities that plagued people's existences, seemed almost petty to her now. Maybe that wasn't quite right. Maybe she'd always felt that way. Maybe that was why she was so good at sorting out other people's messes and so terrible at getting herself in order.

It didn't really matter. There were less conflicts to delve into now. Jennifer still had friends, but they were past the high school drama that had made up so much of her life.

She kept in contact with Isabel. It helped that they hadn't really known each other before the island. It helped more that they hadn't met during their time there. Jennifer had never worked up the courage to seek out Bounce or Samantha or Allen. She knew that she hadn't made a good impression. It was hard to think back to those times, but she could recall the nervous giggles, the ominous misspeaks, the toying with the icepick. She'd been asked a few times, by those who didn't have manners, whether she'd been considering playing. She'd just told them no. It wasn't like she gave a fuck if they believed her or not.

What bothered her more was the term. Playing. Like it had all just been a game. She knew it was nothing more than slang, a little piece of unfortunate vernacular, but she counted it chief among the terrorists' propaganda coups. That members of a nation of rational, generally kind people could refer to a terrorist attack and mass slaughter as a game was horrifying.

Still, Jennifer was not too worried about the future of the world. She knew it was full of atrocities, full of wars and famines and terrors that made her stay on the island seem utterly insignificant, but none of that mattered. What was important to her was that she could still close her eyes and pick any place in the city and find beauty. What was important was that she could sit and watch any group of people interact and find something to admire. What was important was that, for the world, life went on. Most days, that was enough to see her through.

When it wasn't, she went to the park and looked at the sky and wondered what it all meant. She wondered about life, and about death. It was still scary for her, the thought of nothingness. She hadn't quite been able to recapture her sense of teenage immortality. It was something that set her apart from the others in her class. While they laughed and goofed around and got drunk and fucked at parties and treated the world as a joke of a playground, Jennifer stood in the background and thought about how lucky she was to get a chance to do the simple things she had always taken for granted. She tried to enjoy every meal, cherish every conversation, because there was no telling which one would be the last. She always had the vague worry that she would get hit by a bus or something, killed by some random whim of fate. Every night when she went to bed, she had to reassure herself that she would wake up the next morning.

But it was, overall, a pretty good life. It was certainly better than what she had experienced on the island. It was better than what she had, for a week and a half, thought would be all she would ever know again.





And so, it was summer, and it was night, and Jennifer was standing on the sidewalk watching the cars and people pass her by. It had been a bad day, for no real reason, and so she had gone out to find a cafe. She had been coming back from dinner, when it had suddenly all come crashing down on her and she'd had to just stop and stand and clench her fists to avoid crying. She didn't like this, didn't like feeling like she was out of control of herself. She'd thought she'd gotten better. She had imagined that, somehow, everything would eventually be alright. She'd gotten some fucking perspective, had forced her goals into order.

So how was it that she found herself shaking? How was it that she was fuming, furious at the world, hating everything? How was it that she, who had been blessed in every conceivable way, who had been saved time and again when others had fallen, now found herself wanting to kick the wall, to smash a window, to do something to burn off all the tension she felt? There was no reason for this. It had been over two years. She had adjusted. She had moved on.

Except, apparently, she hadn't.

For a few minutes she just stood, her breathing slowing down, her hands loosening. It wasn't long before she was calm. The people passing her by hadn't noticed. Nobody around her was any the wiser. Nobody seemed to understand. It was funny. For so long, she'd been afraid of being recognized. She'd feared what people would say, had been terrified of their false sympathy. Now, she just needed a kind word. She just wanted something to ground her. She didn't even know what had happened to most of the other survivors. She talked with Isabel, and she knew others loosely, but some of them could have even died by now, for all she knew. She sure as fuck hadn't kept up with whatever happened to the winner.

Maybe that was the problem, really. Maybe she'd focused too much on getting better, on trying to get her life in order and becoming productive. She'd rushed, had rushed into school, had rushed through therapy, was now rushing to get a degree and a job. It was a coping mechanism. In a way, it was exactly like leaving the house when there was a fight. All she was doing was avoiding the hard feelings, pushing them out of the way and hoping that they'd wither and die. She was pretending she was someone else, someone she wasn't, someone wise and pragmatic and able to take the long view, but she was just faking, and that was starting to build up. Jennifer had felt like she was losing herself before, but never this acutely.

And so she hurried straight home, and she went to the restroom and just looked at herself in the mirror, noticing all the little changes she'd made, consciously and subconsciously. Her hair hadn't been cut since her return from the island. She was dressed normally, in a knee-length grey skirt and a white t-shirt. She hadn't worn earrings in a long time. She looked her age, maybe even a bit more. She looked mature, like she fit in in college.

It only took a few minutes to find a pair of scissors. Jennifer knew very little about hair styling, but she figured she'd get it touched up at a salon if she fucked up too badly. Half an hour later, she'd restored her old hairstyle as much as she could without gel, and she had changed back into her colorful clothes, the ones she had spent so much time on, which had been crammed into a drawer in her closet. She'd found a set of earrings, and she'd found her CDs, the ones from high school, the stuff she'd been listening to senior year. She'd shut the door and cranked up the volume and was now sitting on her bed, crying a little every now and then, and just thinking about it all, not life and death and all that metaphysical stuff, but about the little things, the real things, about Melissa and Maf and Nick and all the people she'd never even known, all the ones in the yearbook she'd never picked up. She wasn't trying to hide anymore, wasn't trying to bury it or pretend it had never happened, wasn't trying to minimize the implications.

She'd been kidnapped, had been forced into Survival of the Fittest, had tried her hardest, had seen friends die, and had, somehow, made it out. She had the rest of her life ahead of her. Like fuck she was going to spend it hiding and running away.

Once, in those first few days that she'd been on the island, she'd thought that the real way to win was to avoid being changed. Now, she saw more clearly. Winning wasn't living or dying. Everyone died eventually. It was making the best of things, choosing to change rather than being forced into it by fear, never forgetting who you were and why you were that person, never losing anything important and never clinging to anything bad.

She was ready, perhaps, to start again. She was changing schools, was moving on, was looking forward to a future and a job and a whole life's worth of experiences. She couldn't possibly hope to make the most of things if she was terrified of feeling bad or being reminded of all that had happened. She couldn't hope to be happy if she held herself aloof from everything and forgot how to smile and have fun.

So the next day, she had her hair touched up and bought some gel and some bright fabrics and she called her old therapist and said maybe she needed to schedule some more appointments.

Life didn't magically become perfect, the world didn't magically become right again, but, little by little, it got better in a real way. That was all she could really hope for. It was enough.

((Jennifer Perez continued in the future))

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
More for Ice:

Quote:
 
KillerVole (KillerVole) has entered the room. 5:39 pm
KillerVole 5:40 pm
Two more for Ice, who I think is setting the record for speed here.
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 5:40 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 58

KillerVole 5:40 pm
Dominic Stratford
And...
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 5:40 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 32

KillerVole 5:40 pm
Jaclyn Krusche


Iceblock (round five): Dominic Stratford (V4 Start) and Jaclyn Krusche (V4 Start)

The Rules
Alright. We've had some questions from some handlers, and some requests for more time, and, specifically, questions relating to characters with strong ties to the finalists whose futures beyond the immediate month or so during which there is no broadcast will be affected by who dies. As such, we're revising things as follows:

On December 1st, as announced, post-game will close to new threads. This will be whenever I get around to it, probably in the early afternoon my time. Since there are a lot of threads ongoing, however, we will be allowing them to continue. The odds of anything truly major and V5 pregame-affecting occurring are very low.

Post-game will continue in response-only mode until a winner is determined. At that point, we will open post-game to new treads again for two weeks exactly, to allow time for characters who are affected by the deaths to deal with them. After those two weeks are done, we'll close post-game down permanently. V4 will end either there or with an epilogue from the winner, depending on what exactly happens in the finals.

Hopefully this gives everyone a tad more breathing room.

EDIT: Please be responsible and don't start tons of threads just to have space. the goal with this is to minimize unfinished threads, not create a bunch more.

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
More for decoy:
Quote:
 
KillerVole (KillerVole) has entered the room. 2:04 pm
KillerVole 2:04 pm
Two more for decoy:
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 2:04 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 29

KillerVole 2:05 pm
Eve Walker-Luther
And...
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 2:05 pm
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 102

KillerVole 2:05 pm
Duncan McMahon


decoy73 (round three): Eve Walker-Luther (V4 Start) and Duncan McMahon (V4 Start)

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
Quote:
 
00:54RuggahissyCan I be rolled one, Toben?
00:54KillerVoleSure, Rugga! I'll quote this and toss it in the thread!
00:54RuggahissyI haven't been able to post past few days due to family <_<
00:54RuggahissyThnx!


Quote:
 
KillerVole 1:01 am
One for Rugga (for real):
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 1:01 am
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 36

KillerVole 1:02 am
reroll
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 1:02 am
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 209

KillerVole 1:02 am
Felicia Charmichael


Ruggahissy: Felicia Carmichael (V4 Start)

The Great V4 Read-A-Thon!
Here is the next batch!

Quote:
 
KillerVole (KillerVole) has entered the room. 12:40 am
KillerVole 12:41 am
Okay!
Two for Ice:
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 12:41 am
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 184

KillerVole 12:42 am
Nick Reid!
And...
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 12:42 am
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 150

KillerVole 12:42 am
Roland Harte
And one for Holly:
//roll-dice 1-sides 251

OnlineHost 12:42 am
KillerVole rolled 1 251-sided die: 181

KillerVole 12:42 am
Maria Graham


Iceblock (round four): Nick reid (V4 Start) and Roland Harte (V4 Start)
Hollyquin (round two): Maria Graham (V4 Start)

Everybody Loses
Turned out Reiko wasn't the most patient girl in the world either. She curtly informed Kimberly that she was off to investigate the noise. Bullshit. She was off to find and eliminate whoever had had the misfortune to slip up and make a sound. She was on the hunt again. Everything else was just rationalization. It was interesting, in its own way. Kimberly had never entirely understood the mentality of the players. She'd not been able to correlate Reiko's generally decent personality with the list of names under her belt. Now, though, it all made sense. Kimberly wouldn't have been surprised if Reiko had spent the entire game going off to check out noises, then finding people who were dangerous or who became dangerous when faced with someone with a player's reputation. From there, it was all self defense.

That was a good bit of information to have. Kimberly knew it would likely not be particularly long until Reiko decided that Kimberly was a threat too. That little self defense insight could be something to spin, to use to cause doubts. Attempting that could also be a huge mistake, had she misread the situation. It could get her head blown off.

That was all assuming they ever ended up in conflict.

At the moment, Kimberly found herself faced with a bit of an ethical dilemma related to that potentiality. Reiko had wandered off, presumably with murder on her mind. She had not invited Kimberly along. Kimberly had no intention of assisting in random killings. She was not Reiko's ally. She sure as fuck wasn't Reiko's partner. There were three people out there gunning for Reiko, though. More than that, there was a good chance Reiko was about to stumble straight into a trap, given how crafty the others must have been to make it this far. Kimberly suspected that she was better prepared to figure that out, to assess the situation and make a good call. Reiko was a killer, but Kimberly was a survivor. She'd come through plenty of awful situations relatively unscathed. She had a knack for knowing when to cut and run. She could probably do a great deal of good for Reiko's chances.

On the other hand, by staying back, she could increase the chances that Reiko would get killed, ideally doing some damage to the others, and thus making her own survival more likely. She could weaponize Reiko and discard her when she was no longer useful.

And then there was Sarah, Sarah who was Reiko's girlfriend, Sarah who had saved Kimberly's life, Sarah who Kimberly didn't quite know if she hated anymore, Sarah who was almost certainly still alive somewhere. The key factor was the first day. Without Sarah, Kimberly knew she'd have died in the sand, screaming and crying and trying to stop the bleeding, cursing Kris with her last bitter breath and wondering how it had all gone so wrong. Even had that not happened, without Sarah's care Kimberly's wound would surely have become infected and killed her. Hadn't some boy died from that a few days in? Kimberly was, in the end, only here because of Sarah's kindness. Yeah, sure, Kimberly had said all debts were paid when she held Dutchy as he bled out. She'd covered up for Sarah's fuck up. That didn't really make them even. Not even close. It had just been a convenient way to wiggle off the hook, a way to die without regretting failing to pay her debts. Circumstances had changed since then. Kimberly owed Sarah her life, and now she actually had a chance to repay that debt. She couldn't do it at the cost of her own morals, though, not without throwing her own interests away entirely.

In the end, she settled for a compromise. Peering out of the alley, she saw Reiko vanishing into the darkness. She couldn't follow her, couldn't assist her directly, not without being an accessory to whatever the other girl was planning to do. What she could do, though, was stay here, stay here with her fake gun and stand sentinel. Unless the others were working together on whatever had caused the sound, they could be anywhere. Kimberly could keep an eye out for them, could get a warning out somehow, could give Reiko time to prepare herself without actually fighting her battles for her. That seemed fair enough. It seemed a noble enough pursuit, a decent middle ground.

She hoped like fuck she wasn't rationalizing, wasn't twisting her own thoughts to justify what she knew was wrong. Once, the world had been simple and morality had meant nothing. It would have been easy, oh so easy, to just go back to that time. It would have been wrong, would have made her worse than Kris.

This was too complicated. Kimberly gripped her gun, drew back into the shadows once more, and focused on listening and watching. The tension was stretched too thin. It wouldn't be long now before something broke.