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KillerVole looked around. The mafia killings were continuing. This was bad. Really bad. They'd blown some guy up now. It made no sense.

The mafia had to be stopped, and quickly. No one seemed willing to step forward and level accusations, though.

KillerVole sighed. Someone had to do the dirty work. Vole's remaining suspects were Parzel, Anderson, and Choic, and one stood out above the others.

Vole walked to the middle of town, stood on a bench, and yelled, "Friends! Fellow citizens! The mafia menace has remained unchecked long enough! We made an error yesterday, a grave one, but we cannot allow that to prevent us from acting. Remember, if left unchecked, the mafia would have killed Mitsuko2 soon anyways!

"We have to catch the remaining mafia. I think I know who it is! Everyone, beware of Parzel!"

Realism Litmus Test
Here are mine:
Aaron Hughes: 1
Jennifer Perez: 6
Everett Taylor: 4

I would like to note that I'm pretty far from objective when it comes to tests, so I may be inserting bias here. Also, it seems like you'd have to be really out there to actually qualify as unrealistic. I don't think many characters will trigger it. Maybe I'm just being an optimist, though.

Finally, it seems many of the big ticket things will keep a character from being approved. Is this partly to help people realize that before submitting? I can't see a character with, say, glowing gold eyes ever being approved.

A Blank Paper and a Blank Mind
Mrs. Bishop warned the class that there were things in the reading that could possibly be offensive. Everett smiled. Offensive things made wonderful topics for essays.

Mrs. Bishop dismissed class early. Normally Everett would have been upset about this, but today it was alright. He decided to head to his next class. If he was early, as he usually was, he thought he would get a head start on the reading instead of rechecking his homework again.

He politely wished Mrs. Bishop a good day, and then left the classroom, smiling.

((Everett Taylor continued in The end of a torment.))

"Now, now," Vole said hurriedly, "let's not do anything hasty. I know I spoke up against Landlocked before, but that was before I knew of his status as a policeman. Everyone makes mistakes.

"Anyways, he was murdered by the mafia. But why? Because he was on to them. I suspect now that the killer is Mitsuko2. Landlocked must have known. He tried to warn us, but alas, we were too late."

Vole glanced nervously at Killer_Moth. That noose looked awfully threatening now.

"So, if my eminent colleague would just back off a little, we can talk this through. There's probably no way the killer voted for R-S-Lee, so that means that the prime suspects are Mitsuko2, Parzel, Anderson, choic, SRJJJB, and, yes, myself. Still, Moth, I wouldn't be too aggressive, lest others look to you. You're may not be a prime suspect, but it's still possible that you're in league with the mafia."

Vole hoped that would convince the others. Logic was the only way to operate in times like these.

((OOC: Sorry about editing my post. I was tired and forgot that Killer_Moth didn't vote for Landlocked.))

Lunch Line
Geoffrey offered some sandwiches to Jennifer and Leona, causing Jennifer to smile.

"Thanks," she said, "I may, um, take you up on that offer."

Something Geoffrey had said earlier was starting to bother Jennifer though. Something about history class. Jennifer had had history two periods earlier in the day. What had Mrs. Clarke been talking about again? Something about a worksheet...

Oh fuck. Jennifer realized that she hadn't picked up the worksheet for the night. Mrs. Clarke had told them to remember, but it had been at the start of class, and Jennifer had completely forgotten.

"Hey, um, guys, I'm really, really sorry," she said to Leona and Geoffrey, "but, I, uh, forgot to grab some homework. I don't know if I'll be able to make it back before the end of lunch, but I'll try."

In fact, Jennifer very much doubted that she would be back. Unless Mrs. Clarke had left her room unlocked with the worksheets on her desk, Jennifer would have to hunt her down. Normally, she wouldn't even have bothered, but her history grade was on the very low end of the spectrum of passing marks, and failing a homework assignment would certainly push her over the edge.

"I'm really sorry I've got to, um, run off, but I'll try to find you guys again tomorrow or something. Sorry again."

What a great way to treat your friends, running off and ditching them for school work. Jennifer felt awful, but she also felt like she didn't have a choice. Passing was important.

Jennifer retrieved her textbook from Leona, and then left the lunchroom with a smile and an embarrassed wave.

((Jennifer Perez continued in A Walk to Forget))

A Blank Paper and a Blank Mind
Everett had finished his paragraph a minute before Mrs. Bishop called for them, and had spent the intervening time editing it. It was a good thing, too, as he had misspelled "Dangerous" in his closing sentence. Everett grimaced. Try as he might, he never got it right on the first try. He simply wasn't good enough.

He passed his paper on to the person next to him, and glanced briefly at the paper he was passed, before sending it on. It was shorter than his.

Good. Now I just have to hope no one wrote anything of higher quality.

Everett knew his hope was probably in vain. Some of the kids in his classes seemed like geniuses. They never had to study, and could churn out perfect essays in no time at all.

I bet none of the really smart people would ever misspell "Dangerous".

Mrs. Bishop handed out their next assigned reading, a huge Chinese epic. Everett had never heard of it before, or taken much interest in China, but he was pleased with the assignment. It looked long and dense. That meant it was less about intelligence than endurance. Endurance Everett was good at.

Mrs. Bishop started talking about loyalty, a concept Everett could understand. He knew that it was only right to do good things for people who took care of him. That was why he tried so hard in school. He had to prove to his parents that he hadn't been a waste of time. Everett was really beginning to look forward to reading about this Chinese soldiers and lords, as more than just an academic challenge.

He glanced at the clock. Class was almost over. That was good. As soon as the school day was done, he could go home and get started on his homework. Normally he wasn't excited enough about it to look forward to leaving school, but today he had some truly fun homework to do.

Thank you Mrs. Bishop. Your being late to class was completely worth it.

As my room, where my computer is, is sealed off from the rest of the house due to a sewage back up, I may be a bit less active for the next few days. I can still get in from time to time, but don't count on me saying much. Apologies if I hold anyone up.

Vole wandered into town, and looked at the assembled mob. People were screaming for blood already. It seemed that everyone thought they knew who the killer was.

Killer_Moth was holding a noose, and clamoring for the execution of R-S-Lee. That wasn't good. Lee made good pizza. The need for violence on Moth's part could have indicated an unstable psyche, and certainly pointed towards willingness to commit violence, but if he was with the mafia then calling for hangings made no sense. He could just stab people in their sleep.

Mitsuko had been accused as well, by Landlocked, but there wasn't really any evidence. Suddenly, an idea struck Vole, and he shouted, "Hey everyone! I think I know who the killer is!

"The only proof we have that the mafia is involved with this is that it was in the paper. The paper promised deaths, and delivered. Now the paper is selling based on speculation about the killer. I bet that the newspaper people are the ones doing it, though! That way, more papers are sold. I believe, based on his melodramatic reaction and dubious accusations, that the killer is really landlocked!"

Vole then leaned back to see how people reacted to the introduction of logic into the situation.

A Blank Paper and a Blank Mind
(OOC: Don't worry about it. Actually, I had just figured we were waiting for a couple more people to join.)

Mrs. Bishop finally hurried into the room, explaining that she was late because she had been grading assignments and preparing for class. Everett smiled. That was a good excuse. He liked getting papers back on time, and more assignments just gave him more opportunities to prove himself.

Mrs. Bishop asked if everyone had finished their reading, and Everett nodded enthusiastically. The reading had been "The Most Dangerous Game", a short story about a man who hunted people for sport. Everett had greatly enjoyed the story. He found it easy to relate to the hunted man, who was forced to use his intelligence and perseverance against a better-armed and prepared foe.

Everett sometimes felt like that was his life. He wasn't as smart as a lot of people were. He couldn't pass his classes without thought. He had worked for his GPA, and he was proud of it. He kept going while slackers quit or slid by. Everett was disgusted by smart people who didn't do well in school. He found them an intolerable waste of potential.

Mrs. Bishop announced that they would have ten minutes to do a piece of analytical writing. Everett was handed his paper and looked at it.

Write a 5-sentence paragraph on how the story's "The hunter becomes the hunted" theme can be related to real life.

Everett smiled. He would have to write ten sentences at the least. Ten minutes was far too long for this assignment. He uncapped his pen, and began to write neatly.

In life, as in fiction, reversals of fate are common occurrences, with many people believing themselves the master of situations which then spiral out of control. This is illustrated metaphorically in "The Most Dangerous Game", by...

Lunch Line
"At least it's history up after lunch," Geoffrey said, "that I'd good at."

"Oh. Um. Cool," Jennifer said, "I'm actually really bad at, um, history. It just doesn't make too much sense to me."

That was an understatement. Jennifer though that history class was a horrible waste of time. The past held very little she could use in her everyday life, and history class invariably had a broad focus. Jennifer didn't care about countries. To her, it was the people who made them up who mattered.

The line had advanced a good bit; there were only about fifteen students in front of Jennifer now. She wondered how long was left in the lunch period, and considered flipping out her cell phone to check, but decided not to. She didn't want to give her friends the impression that she was bored with them.

"I hope there's actually some food left when we reach the counter," she said with a smile. She was only half joking, though.

Vole looked at the paper and sighed. Conspiracies. Always conspiracies. There was never any good news; that didn't sell. Prophecies of doom, on the other hand, were always good business. People liked hearing the worst. Fear made their lives more meaningful somehow.

He sighed, and tossed the paper into the nearest recycling bin. Recycled news: it seemed somehow appropriate. Vole highly doubted the mafia would really kill anyone, and if they did, it would just become part of the town's history and mystique. They would hold some big celebration on the fiftieth anniversary, or something equally insipid.

Still, there was no point risking things. Vole wandered towards the middle of town, hoping to find a lot of people to stand near. The mafia would never dare attack a group. There would be too many potential witnesses.

Life is a Game
Rein sat down across from Aaron, and explained his injuries in a way that didn't really clear anything up. He was being so mysterious. Aaron was fascinated. He almost didn't want to know what had caused Rein's injuries. No explanation could live up to the potential circumstances Aaron could imagine.

Rein sat down and moved the pawn in front of his king forward two spaces. Then he asked, "What game manual is that?"

"It's for a game called 'Dungeons and Dragons'," Aaron explained, "It's a roleplaying game. You take on the roles of knights and dwarves and elves and various other fantasy creatures, and then you go on quests. It's a game about imagination. You play it with many polyhedral dice."

Aaron smiled, and moved the pawn in front of his king two spaces forward, to match Rein's (E7 to E5).

I'm in. I've played Mafia in person, but never online before. This should be fun!

Life is a Game
"I was just sitting here reading," Aaron responded, "but I kept the chess board out in case someone who knew how to play came along. So, I guess I am sort of seeking an opponent."

Aaron looked Rein over. The thing that most interested Aaron was the bandages on Rein's arm. He wondered what they were from. They started Aaron's imagination going. With his accent and appearance, Rein practically screamed adventure to Aaron. He could imagine the boy as a werewolf or something. Aaron almost got out some paper to take notes, but then he realized he had left the conversation hanging a little awkwardly.

"Um... Do you play? If you do, I would love to have a match. Here," Aaron gestured across from him, "have a seat if you'd like."

Aaron hoped Rein would stay. It would give him more time to study the boy for possible insertion into a game. Or maybe he could convince Rein to actually join one of his gaming groups. Aaron kept smiling, and waited for the boy's response.

Life is a Game
Aaron looked up when he heard the voice. The broken English grated on him for a second, but then he realized that the speaker was foreign, and calmed down. In fact, the boy standing before Aaron had a very cool accent. Aaron was reminded of the accent one of his friends used when he played a dwarf in Dungeons and Dragons, only this accent was authentic.

"Name's Rein Bumgarner actually, yours?" the boy asked.

Aaron found himself grinning. The boy's accent was absolutely marvelous. He wondered if he could replicate it.

"I'm Aaron Hughes. In response to your previous question, I am doing very well today, thank you. How are you doing?"

Aaron reached out and took Rein's hand, giving it a shake.

Life is a Game
((Aaron Hughes continued from Watch the Sky))

Aaron Hughes was sitting under the gazebo in the quad area of the school grounds, flipping through a large book. Aaron had an empty block this period, which gave him too much time to just sit around but too little time to go anywhere.

He had a portable chessboard sitting next to him, along with several multi-sided dice. Aaron was hoping one of his friends would wander by, or, better yet, that someone he didn't know would ask him about the chessboard. Aaron liked chess, as long as he was able to hold his own against his opponent, and he was looking for a challenger. Ideally, he wanted one who didn't know much about chess.

The book was a Dungeons and Dragons rulebook. Aaron was leafing through it, trying to figure out some new combination of abilities that would break the game. If he found some new overpowered combo, he could post it on the internet and maybe earn a little respect.

Well, probably not at this school, Aaron thought. He did not have a high opinion of most of Bayview's student body. His fellow students were rude, unsophisticated, and unable to appreciate imagination. They were also infuriatingly impulsive. Aaron liked to plan things, not make them up on the fly. He hated group projects more than anything, because he always ended up with people who wanted to "wing things". Aaron couldn't improvise well, and usually ended up looking like an idiot in groups.

He sighed and turned his attention back to his book. There was no point getting worked up about things in the past.

V4: Ethnicity
Alright, here are mine:

Jennifer Perez is 100% Mexican.

Aaron Hughes and Everett Taylor are mixes of various European ethnicities, all far enough removed that nothing really stands out. Mutts, in other words.

SotF Adverts
The radio ad is quite cool too. For some reason when I play it the album comes up as STOLEN (How to Fail) though. Still, you did a great job with this!

The Twelfth Announcement
Andrea died in Hands Up, Guns Out, and Denise died in Walkin' in Circles.

The Twelfth Announcement
Apr 5 2009, 10:51 PM
(The joys of keeping tables on this)

At the end of the last announcement, Danya said 16 left. Now, with five dead there are either eight or nine left. I feel like someone died off-screen...

Danya didn't report the deaths of the two collarless girls, as he thought it would be bad publicity and they had already been reported as dead. Those two were not accounted for in the announcement.