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Why We Fight
Oh, uh... maybe asking if everything was okay was a bad idea after all, considering how Clarice reacted. Bart didn't even know if she was mad. She just seemed to cry even harder and loudly say something that he couldn't really understand through the curtain of tears and sobs. Bart took a short step back and held up his hands, not sure what to do with them. He shifted between a nervous defensive pose and some sort of half-shrug as he tried to figure out how to react to all of this.

Down. Just put your hands down. He ran that message through his mind as he slowly put his hands at his sides. Things were already awkward enough. He really didn't need to make things worse by making strange hand signals to nonexistent entities.

He heard Kizi speak up from behind him. Who was she talking to? Bart turned around to see what was going on... and promptly felt a twinge of panic run down his spine. There was a new girl here now, and she had a sword. Not to mention... oh no, was that blood on her face? Those two things combined were definitely not a good sign. Not at all.

Clarice and Kizi called her Kimiko. Surprisingly, Bart remembered this name. Had she been in a lot of his classes? That was the only reason that he could think of for her name to strike a note in his mind so vividly. Unless...

... Oh.

Oh crap.

Now he remembered. Kimiko was a murderer. And there she was, right in front of them.

"Uh..." Bart's teeth were clenched behind a nervous grimace and his eyes softened into a shape similar to those of a frightened puppy. He tried to say something, anything that might be useful, but nothing came out. He wasn't a great orator at the best of times, and he sure as hell wasn't going to be one now.

"Uh..."

Let's Awaken, By the Day
There were three things that Rene knew for sure about Nancy Kyle.

First, she really liked Japanese culture, to the point that some may say that she comes off as a bit obsessive at times.

Second, Nancy had killed a few people over the past couple of days.

Finally, and most importantly, Nancy was shooting at them right now oh shit.

Rene jumped when she heard the shots, and when she turned around and saw Nancy holding the gun, her body couldn't decide whether it should flee or freeze, so instead she hopped back a step and stared in terror at the anime fan turned multiple murderer that was threatening them. Her own gun was in the duffel bag at her side, but there was no way that she could unzip and grab it without Nancy shooting her first. Right now, she was in a powerless position, and had to hope for some outside force to intervene, like maybe Noah being a quick shot with that whatever-the-fuck-it-is.

Instead, Blair was the one who wound up stepping forward, shouting and running at Nancy with all the tactics of a pissed-off rhinoceros. With a startled cry of "What?", Rene watched her companion go charging away. She had no idea what the hell Blair was thinking there. Sure, Blair had talked about how she was dying anyway, but... fuck, is that why she was doing this?

She was too far away to do anything about what Blair was doing, but she realized that she had an opportunity. Since Nancy was probably more focused on Blair at the moment, this might be the opening that Rene needed to get strapped. Keeping her vision split between Nancy and Blair, she started feeling around her duffel bag with all the precision and grace of a panicked teenager, searching for the zipper. If she could reach it in time, she might have a fighting chance against Nancy.

Oh man, I really hope you had a plan for this, Blair...

Let's Awaken, By the Day
All right. One round of greetings, and no one was firing shots yet. Rene would say that things going pretty great so far, at least in comparison to the many, many worse ways that they could have unfolded. Rene had to wonder what was on that notepad the new girl was waving around, though. She was admittedly a little leery over just giving away information right away, but the girl was alone, and it didn't look like she had any backup lurking in the bushes, so Rene didn't really think there was any harm to it. Besides, it wasn't like she could say anything that could be used against them in the first place.

"All right, so first I woke up and met Richard Nixon, or a reasonable facsimile thereof." Rene counted on her fingers with each new detail she mentioned. "Then I went to the radio tower and met these two jokers." She pointed her thumb back at Noah and Blair. "There was another one of us, but we kinda got separated when we were fleeing a Danger Zone yesterday. After that, we just hung out in a cabin until we came here this morning." She swirled her hand while she tried to recall anything else worth mentioning. "Yeah, I think that's pretty much all I got so far."

She looked back to Noah and Blair. "All right, so did I miss anything, or are we good?"

Why We Fight
Bart had always found the idea of watching someone else have an emotional moment to be uncomfortable. It wasn't that he didn't feel for them or anything, it just that he always felt like he was imposing on them by being present. Watching Clarice and Kizi have their reunion was no exception. He was watching two girls that he didn't know that well hug while one of them broke down crying. To say that he felt very out of place at the moment would be a gross understatement. He shifted his feet, tugged at one of his sleeves, and looked to Jennifer for some possible guidance on how he should react here. Sadly, he found nothing that would help him in that regard.

So Bart continued to stand aside while Clarice and Kizi had their moment. He didn't know what to do or say, and he wasn't sure whether speaking up would make the situation more or less awkward. He inhaled sharply through his teeth as he continued to weigh the situation in his mind. Although to be honest, the sight of Clarice completely breaking down right in front of him made it difficult to focus his mind on anything else.

"Uh... hey." Bart attempted, against his previous judgement, to get involved. "Is everything okay?"

Let's Awaken, By the Day
Shit. Rene was pretty sure that she had said something wrong, because Blair didn't look too happy right now. She was pissed, though. Rene could definitely tell that much. And to be honest, she was not very comfortable with Blair's confidence that she was completely screwed. Although she did have a point, Rene didn't want to hear her basically giving up on life the way it sounded like she was.

But yeah, they were discussing a plan. Or trying to discuss one, at least. Noah floated the initial suggestion of a plan, and Blair didn't seem totally sure on what they should do either. Rene sure as hell didn't have much of an idea either. She could do tactics in video games, sure, but League didn't prepare her for this. They couldn't just regroup and try again if they fucked up. They had one shot, and that was it. No respawns, no re-queues.

But since Noah and Blair had already said her piece, now she had to offer her two cents on the subject, even though she had no clue what she wanted to add to the subject. "So yeah..." Her tone automatically gave away how little she actually had thought about this. "... I've got nothing. I guess we can stick around here for a while, if it's cool with you guys." She moved some dirt around with her foot and shrugged apologetically. "I'm really sorry guys, but I don't really have much of a plan."

Rene turned around and her gaze immediately fell upon a girl that she didn't recognize at all. This girl was absolutely tiny, and Rene's first reaction was to wonder if a twelve-year-old had somehow snuck onto the trip. Another reaction kicked in when she realized that she was looking directly at someone who was not part of their group of three.

Shit. They had company.

Rene turned her head to look over her shoulder at the other two. "Hey, do either of you guys wanna... aw, fuck it." SHe turned back to the mystery girl and gave a small wave. "Hey. We come in peace and all that good shit."

Please, please, PLEASE don't let this bite me in the ass in a few minutes...

Why We Fight
((Bart Cappotelli continued from So, so tired...))

He'd made it. Once again, he somehow outran his collar. Having to start the first two mornings since the game started by running to avoid losing his head was something that he sincerely hoped would not become a trend. However, the fact that he was barely holding onto life despite not even having encountered an antagonistic figure yet came off as a bad omen.

Fortunately, the trio's trek for shelter did not take anywhere near as long as it had the previous day. Bart didn't know what was different this time around. Perhaps they somehow had more stamina, or perhaps they were a little more used to the terrain. Whatever the case was, they didn't have to take as many breaks this time around. Before the sun reached the peak of the sky, they had already made it back to the storehouse that they had initially intended to visit after leaving the asylum.

However, just because they had saved an incredible amount of time, that didn't mean that Bart wasn't ready to rest upon reaching their destination. He wiped his forehead as sweat continued to roll down, threatening to obstruct his field of vision. He couldn't help but see the irony in how they had spent the last day moving from one storehouse to another, and now they were moving back. It was an unusual turn of events, to be sure. He didn't particularly care too much about coincidence, however. At the moment all he wanted to do was get inside the storehouse so that he could have some shade.

At the moment, the only thing that could ruin that plan is if someone else had gone to the storehouse ahead of them. At the very moment Bart was thinking about that, he turned a corner in search of an entrance to the storehouse and was greeted by the sight of a girl about as tall as he was sitting in the bed of a truck. He had crossed directly into her line of sight, and now he felt obligated to say something. this was bad. Bart had never been much of a talker, and the island hadn't helped him with that at all.

"Um..." Bart's eyes became unfocused for a moment, looking at the ground, the trees, and the storehouse before returning to the girl in the truck. That combined with his shaky, uncertain voice gave away his timidity. "... Hi?"

Let's Awaken, By the Day
And just like that, everything got way heavier.

Rene liked to think that she was pretty decent at reading people. Nothing near Sherlock Holmes standards, but enough to have a pretty good idea of what someone's like after hanging out with them for a while. But when Blair said that she had cystic fibrosis, Rene was completely caught off guard. Sure, Blair had been sick that day, but Rene had just thought that she was coming down with something thanks to the poor hygienic conditions of the island. She never would've guessed that Blair's own body had been slowly killing her.

Blair was laughing, but Rene didn't join in. She couldn't make this shit funny, not by a long shot. She was willing to go to some pretty dark places for the sake of a joke, but she had her limits. She sat down next to the skater and shook her head, trying to fully process what she was learning. "Shit..." was the first thought that made its way out of her mouth, shock overwhelming her ability to form a full sentence in response. She took a few moments to mentally compose herself before speaking again, hoping that whatever she said next wouldn't piss off Blair.

"Shit, I don't even know what to say." Her tone showed surprise and concern more than anything. She had never been good at handling difficult topics, and this was no exception.

Yugi's Arty Thread!
Could you do Rene Wolfe, if it's not too much of a hassle?

So, so tired...
((Skipping to escape the DZ))

Bart was awakened by the sound of a screeching loudspeaker. He had fallen asleep without realizing it the previous evening, and apparently the girls decided to let him rest rather than wake him back up. Considering the day he had just been through, it was probably an act of sympathy on their part. He sat at attention and listened to the results of the previous day as they were recanted over the loudspeaker.

Hearing the deaths read off made Bart feel awful for multiple reasons. There was the obvious reason, being that the people who had their names read off were dead, and would never be able to see their friends or families again. However, Bart also felt bad because outside of general horror, he had very little emotional reaction to the names. He had been so introverted and afraid to socialize during his time at Cochise that many of the people who had died were essentially complete strangers to him. A good portion of the time he couldn't even put a face to the names of the deceased. He felt that he should have felt a more visceral reaction, but he didn't, and that only made him feel worse. He had not known most of these people, and now he never would.

Next came the Danger Zone announcement, the one that had really stuck in his head the previous morning. The supply area they had previously been chased out of was safe again, but now the utilities compound was off-limits. That area sounded familiar to Bart, and his pupils shrank and his mouth hung open once he realized why.

No no no no no no no...

*beep*

Bart's hand shot up to his neck as his collar began to sound an alert, just as it had the previous morning. With a shout of alarm, he hopped to his feet with surprising speed and scrambled about with his hands to find his bag. Once he got a grip on the strap, he pulled it onto his shoulder and called out desperately to Kizi and Jennifer. "We've gotta get out of here!" His voice cracked midway through, but given the situation, he either didn't notice or didn't care.

He moved as fast as his feet could carry him, not stopping until his collar's warnings ceased.

((Bart Cappotelli continued in Why We Fight))

Let's Awaken, By the Day
((Rene Wolfe continued from Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil))

They had stayed at the cabin all day and night, but Sandra never showed up. For that matter, no one else had approached the cabin either. It was bizarre, but strangely comforting. For one day they had a mostly peaceful rest in a shelter that, while not exactly pristine, was head and shoulders above sleeping on the ground outside.

Speaking of which, their old campsite was the trio's first destination after they left the cabin behind. The logic behind this decision was that if they went back to the last place they saw Sandra, then they might be able to find her there. Rene did have her misgivings about the plan, largely involving the fact that they had no way to predict what Sandra's movements would be, but she did have to admit that it was the closest thing to a lead that they could come up with. Besides, maybe Sandra dropped something when she fled and came back once the Danger Zone cleared to pick it up? Sure, it sounded pretty cliche, but at least it was a possibility.

Also, one of the perks of not having to gather up and clear out immediately this time was that Rene got more time to really listen to the announcements and let them sink in. While Rene did a much better job of absorbing the information this time, she was also immediately hit with the realization of what had been happening to her friends while she spent all day sitting in a cabin trying to come up with new material. Jane from theater club? Dead. Jerry, who she used to talk comedy with? Dead. Jasmine? Killed herself. For some reason, hearing that she and Mitch had offed themselves hurt Rene a little more than the rest of the deaths. The idea of seeing no way out other than death, to the point that they would do the deed themselves... that scared the hell out of her. No matter what, she hoped that she never reached that point.

The only real bright spot in the announcements is that Sandra wasn't mentioned at all, so even though she never met up with them at the cabin, she was still out there somewhere, alive and hopefully unhurt. They still had a chance to meet up with her, however slim it may be.

Even though the death announcements kept playing over in her mind, she felt a need to keep up appearances. She had been the joker of the group, or one of the two along with Noah at the least. She had been coming up with quips in response to everything that had been happening to them so far. Even if she didn't always draw a laugh, she liked to think that she was doing her part to help keep spirits up if nothing else. With things getting bleaker by the day and no sign of improvement on the horizon, they would certainly need morale to keep them going.

Upon reaching the shoreline, everything was almost suspiciously similar to how it was when they had departed the previous morning. It made sense, since the area was completely off-limits on penalty of death, but to see everything still in place after a full 24 hours was more than a bit unnerving. Invoking her self-appointed role, she brushed those feelings off and offered her take on the situation.

"Well, it's nice that they kept it clean for us."

Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil
So it was decided. For the time being, they would set up shop at the cabin and see if Sandra showed up anytime soon. This was fine by Rene. At least if they stick around this somewhat decently-furnished cabin, there was a chance that Rene would actually be able to sleep in a bed, or at least maybe a chair. Plus, they had some shelter from the weather, the sun, and, well... the rest of the island, really. No complaints about that.

Rene gave a thumbs-up to Noah as he headed out to take watch. She realized that with this plan in place, she suddenly had a wealth of free time and no predetermined way to spend it. She walked around the cabin for a few minutes, not really sure what to do with herself while she waited for an update from Noah. All things considered, it was pretty damn boring. She had never realized before just how easily she got bored when there was nothing to do.

She walked into the bedroom and nodded to Blair before slowly lowering herself into a chair, remembering Blair's earlier explanation of what happened when she sat in one of the chairs. Once Rene was settled and the chair had remained intact, she tapped her fingers on the armrest and looked around the room. Just like the rest of the cabin, it was old and dusty, and if Rene's instincts were right, there were probably some spiders hidden away somewhere. She rested her cheek in her hand and turned to face Blair.

"So hey, you ever wondered about Golden Corral?"

If she was going to be hanging around for a while, she might as well take the opportunity to try out some new material.

((Rene Wolfe continued in Let's Awaken, By The Day))