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Interstice of Time
So this was how it was supposed to go down.

Jaquilyn accused Theodore of killing Carmina. Maybe smart, maybe stupid. Probably has the chance to direct attention towards Theo. That would ruin the chance to talk to a player, but that was how life is from time to time. Things just don't work out. Then everybody started screeching and getting defensive and trying to understand the situation and everything was confusing, frustrating, irritating.

He decided to stay at the door. Near the gun. Earlier, Joachim did not like the thought of using it, but the situation was different now. Taking his knife out would be very suspicious. Mostly because it was stained by Carmina's blood. And knifes stained by blood usually attract a lot of attention. If things went to hell, he'd have to use the gun. Actually, "he'd have to" is too badly worded. Let's say "he should use the gun".

And frankly, a part of him would not dislike shooting everybody to shut them up.

Interstice of Time
[Joachim Lovelace, continued from Beauty]

In hindsight, it seemed obvious that somebody else could enter the clubhouse during Joachim's and Jaq's absence. However, Joachim was not thinking about that, thus he was surprised when he heard voices as he drew closer to the mansion.

Once again, dozens upon dozen questions formed themself in his mind, intent to avoid any moment of serenity. Who are these people. How many are there? Why are they here? Were they friends of Carmina? Have they found the bags? Did they knew what happened? Did they have weapons? Were they ready to kill any 'intruders'. Would Jaq and Joachim be able to peacefully keep the mansion as their 'base'?

When he stood at the door, he found the answer to a few questions at least.

Theodore Fletcher was among them. Joachim remembered the voice of the boy, as he made a... certain impression on Joachim. Peaceful was out, then.

He was not enterly sure about what he wanted, or rather, what he was supposed to do. His first reflex was looking at Jaq, demanding that she would tell him. There was a slight urge within him though. Theo had killed, yes? Even two people. In cold blood, as it seemed. Like Joachim. It was a stupid urge, but somehow, Joachim wanted to talk to Theo. Sure, what could you possibly talk about. Tips for killing people? No, it was more that Joachim wanted to see someone like him. Someone who suffered due to the guilt as well. Misery loves company, after all.

Stupid urge.

"Jaq... this is Theodore Fletcher in there, with some other people."

He paused for a moment.

"He also killed. Two times."

The General SOTF Discussion Thread
Of course they are.

If they weren't, they would be a neat announcement too.

Beauty
[Joachim Lovelace, continued from Red as Blood]

Joachim's run has slowed down to a slow, shaken walk. This was because his eyes were fixated on the red tip of his blade. That made it difficult to avoid falling down when running. However, the main reason was that he felt drained. Devoid of any energy. As if he has spent everything on hunting Carmina.

Carmina... her blood was still fresh. Her innocent, young blood. Spilled by him in a rush of ecstasy.

A familiar voice called out. Jaq's voice. The one who decided that Carmina had to die. Only so that they could live for another 24 hours.

"She's not coming back."

Of course she would not come back. Joachim knew that. Still, hearing Jaq announcing Carmina's end was unsettling for Joachim. He ran away. Like a coward. Planning to give her a swift death, but chocking up and fleeing like a useless fool. A part of him hoped, even thought, that Jaquilyn killed her. Not only for Carmina, but also to take the burden from Joachim.

Maybe he should have asked. Ask Jaq what happened after he left. But instead, seconds passed. Terrible, agonizing seconds. A question formed itself in Joachim's mind. A very important question. Eventually he asked.

"What do we do now?"

"We keep it up, keep surviving."

"But what now?"

Surviving, huh? Did that mean that he would have to kill again in 24 hours. Probably. And when Jaq would ask Joachim and he would say yes, again. He could not deny the immense joy he felt during the hunt. It was a brief period of time, only a few minutes. But in these few minutes, he forgot all the questions, all the doubts. And all the guilt.

"Our shit's at the clubhouse."

"Alright, we go there then."

Come to think of it... Jaquilyn was the one with the gun. She was the one with the power. And Joachim decided to abandon all responsibility to her, right? And also, Carmina was doomed anyway. If not for Joachim, someone else, like Theodore would have killer her. Or Hansel. Or Katarina. Or anyone else. Fate already decided that Carmina had to die. Everything that Joachim did was executing what others planned. He was a pawn. Nothing more. And that is why he should not feel guilty.

Did that make sense?

"Yeah..." Jaq held the gun towards Joachim. "Do you want to take this?"

He eyed the weapon for a short moment, but his eyes went back to the crimson knife.

Did it make any goddamn sense?

"No."

[Joachim Lovelace, continued in Interstice of Time]

Giant Mecha battle!
Ooooh, I'd like to see me there. Probably as some loner mercenary who fights for those who fits his ethic values (Read: Where he gets more entertained).

Red as Blood
Joachim could not deny the rush of massive satisfaction he felt when the blade hit Carmina. He also could not deny the euphoria he felt when Carmina fell down. He abruptly halted, briefly looked over at Jaq, smiled - it was not a 'slasher smile', more like the smile of someone who just achieved an accomplishment - and then returned his focus on Carmina, slowly walking towards her.

What happened then was not what Joachim expected.

In his mind, he figured that he would hit her and she would fall to the ground. Then he would go over her, be calm and gentle and offer to mercy kill her, so that the pain of dying won't be much of a bother to her. Maybe she would say no, and Joachim would convince her that it killing her quickly would be for the best or maybe she would already say yes. Then he would take the knife and slit her throat because that is how people die quickly in books, games and movies. And he would do that efficiently, without any emotions interfering. In the end, Jaq would have been happy, Joachim would have proven his usefulness and Carmina would die a painless death.

But, alas, nothing in life goes as planned.

Each step, it seemed, made Joachim have thoughts of doubt, uncertainty and eventually, when he managed to see her face, a hint of guilt.

He killed a human. No, he murdered a human. An innocent, young girl, robbed of her future. And Joachim was the one with her blood on his hands. Hell, he even enjoyed hunting her...

Monster.

No, that was not how he was supposed to feel.

Beast.

It was Jaquilyn's fault. She was the one giving orders.

Demon.

He decided to give up all responsibility to Jaq, so that he must not feel guilt or doubt anymore.

Fuck.

Joachim has reached Carmina and pulled the blade out in a swift motion. At least he tried to. He only managed to get it fully out on the second time.

"M...myapologies."

That did not sound as calm and stable as he planned. He swiftly stood up, fixating his gaze on the crimson tip of the blade. Then he briefly looked at Carmina with a sorrowful face before turning around to Jaq.

Joachim walked towards her.

"She's... dyi...dea..."

He passed his partner into the woods. His walk became a run. He needed to be away, away from Carmina.

[Joachim Lovelace, continued in Beauty]

Red as Blood
Joachim was a bit surprised when Carmina took a left turn. Pleasantly surprised, though. It showed that Carmina was smart enough to know that entering the clearing would put her into a severe disadvantage. And quite honestly, Joachim prefered it that way. If it weren't difficult to kill his target, he would not feel right. Empty, so to say. But it was hard work. Physically, but he also mentally, somehow.

A laconic smile crept on his face as he turned left too. He spent more energy to accelerate. The trees were still a bother, but he believed that they were sparse enough. He got closer to Carmina.

Thus he fired his knife.

Red as Blood
[Joachim Lovelace, continued from The Visionary]

Hunting Carmina through the forest had a interesting effect on Joachim. He was not a particulary athletic boy. Nor was he very unfit. Average, nothing special. So someone could expect he would run out of breath at some point. Well, he did start to feel a little pain in his sides and he already began sweating.

Yet it did not stop him. In fact, these little sensations almost felt as natural as walking. Or running, in this case.

All because his mind was obsessed with one thing. Kill Carmina. Every thought that did not contribute to that goal was banished.

Fortunately for him, he did not lose track of his target. Joachim managed to keep her in his eyesight, but due to the nature of the woods, he could not come near her. Thus he also could not safely hit her with the ballistic knife. Maybe Jaq could shoot her, but he had not hear her doing that untill now, so he figured that she'll try to land a hit when the trees are not that much of a bother anymore.

Speaking of trees, Joachim noticed where they are going. It was going upwards, thus they likely ran to the peak clearing.

Excellent.

Thread Titles
Greetings, fellow handlers.

One thing that I have been curious about lately is the topic of thread titles. Namely, how do these titles come to exist? Are they a reference. If yes, to what? Maybe a personal anectode lies behind the title. Also, how much do think should thread titles match the actual thread?

In case any of you has not got it, I am refering to actual story threads. Not things like... Random Thoughts, which is easily explained.

I'd like to start a list of some sort, but sadly, I do not recall ever creating a thread title that ended up being used. I think.

The Visionary
Carmina overheard Jaq and Joachim. Very well, this is probably more honorable than killing her in the sleep. Give her a fighting chance, or something. Should make him feel better - less bad.

When Jaquilyn was pushed aside, he wanted to fire his knife, but he realized that he would miss. Not enough time to aim. Jaquilyn commanded him. The door, quick.

Indeed, the door. Carmina may have won some time by surprising the pair. Maybe she could even use the second and a half Joachim needed to start running. He doubted that it would help her much.

Then she dashed out of the building, leaving his bagpack behind. He could collect it later. Everything he needed, the knife and the energy bar, was either already on or in him. He was ready to kill his classmate.

No, not his classmate anymore.

His target.

[Joachim Lovelace, continued in Red as Blood]

The Visionary
"You want to kill Carmina?"

Joachim looked over at their host, then back at Jaquilyn.

She confused him. The day before, she forced him to say that he would not play, but she also mentioned that she'd be the hunter. Now she all but stated wanted to kill Carmina. In order to avoid the dreaded collective death of all the students.

There were a lot of questions in Joachim's mind. Whether it was worth it to kill. It was likely that someone else would continue or start killing. Also, he wondered what Jaq's motives were. Why did she insist on him staying 'innocent'. Why was she ready to kill the people she went to school with. And why, for god's sake, was the question, whether this action was 'right', the last one that appeared in his mind? Actually, Joachim knew the answer for that. Because the idea of managing to kill somebody appealed a part within him. Yet the answer did nothing to resolve his inner conflict. No, it made the chaos even worse.

Joachim was sick of it. Sick of the questions. Sick of the conflict. Sick of the chaos.

Thus he decided to take the easier way.

"Yes, Boss. Let's hunt"

He grabbed his knife.

The Visionary
Joachim was not a drinker. Neither did he intent to start drinking. Maybe it would also impair his ability to stay awake. He could not tell. Not a lot of experiences, after all. Jaq was of different opinion. He was not enterly sure if she was capable of guarding them if she was drunk, so he volunteered to take the first shift. He would wake Jaq later. Maybe. Or Carmina. He'll see about that. Jaq was asleep soon. He was not enterly sure if he was brave enough to wake the dragon.

-

It was good to be alone, even if only in a 'somewhat' way. It gave room to think. Something Joachim really wanted that night. For he realized that he met his inner demon that day. A part of him that enjoyed the thrill. A part that enjoyed the chaos. A part that was destructive. A savage beast. Someone he never thought he would be. He glanced over at Jaq. Was she responsible for awakening that part? Up untill now, he did what she told him. So in a way, he was her pet.... her animal. No, Joachim did not like that image. At most he would be her 'right hand' or something equally poetic. That, he liked better. She'd be the one in charge. She'd be the one responsible.

It was odd for Joachim to realize how important Jaq was for him. There were other people too, Timothy, for example. Joachim wondered where he was at the moment. Whether he was alive. And what he would have to do if they encountered each other. Joachim also wondered whether he would like his old friend or his 'lord' to... survive?

Certainly, an animal would not have to fight with these questions.

-

Joachim dreamed that he was in a long hallway. It had white walls and a grey floor, but stains... of some kind were splattered everywhere. The hallway was brightly lit. So bright that it hurt. Joachim walked along the hallway, his eyes closed.

Heavy breathing. Directly behind him. He did not dare to turn around.

-

Joachim woke up a bit before the sun rose. He forgot to wake on of the girls before he felt asleep. He was lucky that nothing happened, he guessed. He lay in his place for a while. Maybe a hour, maybe even two, but he could not fall asleep again. He was not tired anymore.

Eventually Jaq woke up and the announcements came on. He kept the eyes closed. At first he did it to give them some rest, but then because he could listen to the announcements better this way.

The only names that stung him were Theodore's and Daniel's. For different reasons. He liked both guys, and was a bit sad to know that Daniel died. But Theodore's double kill was unsettling. Very unsettling. The guy who rambled on and on about the concept of tarot was a cold-blooded murderer. Sure, these terrorists might spin a bit, but two kills? Well, Joachim knew whom to avoid... or whom to fight if he felt suicidal.

Oh, and K.K. got a double cheeseburger and two cokes for killing someone. A not-so-little voice in him told him that he should try to get this award too.

He pushed himself from the floor and opened his eyes.

"Morning. Was nearly getting boring... sitting around here."

The Visionary
Joachim realized that he was not able to contribute much to the discussion. Not that it bothered him much. He never was the one to talk a lot, although he was a bit irritated with Jaq's harshness. A bit because Joachim himself tried to be a polite person most of the time, but mostly because he was convinced that the best way to success is plastered with sweet words. Or to put it less poetic: people are more likely to do what you want if they believe you care about them.

Jaquilyn asked further questions. About the group Carmina is part of. Probably useful information, but it was not what was most necessary. Joachim thought that the most important thing to have was... shelter. Yes, a place to sleep. And frankly, the best way to get that appeared to be friendly with Carmina. He took a few steps towards her and looked her into the eyes. A warm smile accompanied his softly spoken words.

"Could you let us stay in this place for the night, please? We would appreciate it a lot."

He hoped that Jaq would not object to this. Gaining someone's trust could be useful in a lot of ways. Even if it means backstabbing them somehow.