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V5 Audio Threads
A way that I used to do it whenever I directed voice actors in College was that I'd go on Skype/another voice service with them, and they'd record locally via Audacity. They'd just keep the recorder running while I listened to them do takes and provided some feedback as they went, and I'd write down the timestamp of when I thought a good one was.

Then, when they transferred the files to me, I could just splice/edit/cut out what I needed to.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Mirabella finally fell, slumping backwards, her foot inches away from where his own lay spread out against the courtyard ground, a look of terrified fury still etched across her once delicate features, now smeared in gore, sweat, tears. Hansel kept the pistol raised for another few seconds, muscles tense and bunched up, before letting it sag to his side.

The pistol scraped against the ground as he let it go, lifting both shaking hands to spear through his matted hair, feeling a few flecks of moisture - blood - on his forehead, his neck. He let them stay - no point in wiping them off at this stage - as he brought his knees up, rested his elbows on them, buried his face in his hands.

Years and years ago, he'd convinced himself that he'd deserved Mirabella, and years and years ago, that hope had been squashed like an errant bug on a windshield.

Years and years ago, he'd wanted to be a vet.

Had full use of both hands.

Wasn't a murderer.

Twelve time murderer.

But the years contained in days shouldn't be his full concern right now. He took a risk confronting her to put his past firmly behind him, to focus on the future.

So, on unsteady legs, he rose from his position, scooping the pistol back up, flicking the safety on and tucking it into his belt. He stepped gingerly over Mirabella - twin holes in her forehead and two gaping wounds in her chest - to go collect his shotgun. His Winchester had a gash in the barrel, and the metal was scraped along one side from being knocked out of his hands, but the cocking mechanism still functioned. He took that, too.

He went around the courtyard, filling his bag even more with whatever supplies he could salvage from Juhan and Takeshi, not touching Mirabella's.

When he had his fill, he spared the corpses one last glance before leaving.

((Hansel Williams, There are some things a man just can't run away from.))

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
She wasn't going down when he shot her in the body, and so Hansel had needed her to come closer.

He'd counted on her frantic movements, her clear signs of having lost all semblance of sanity to the island, to mask his clearly bad acting and too-happenstance positioning. His back was against the wall to provide leverage, his hand was out to create a target, his right elbow on the ground to make drawing the pistol easier.

And when she came close enough to respond, in that moment of hesitation, he made his move.

As she cocked her elbow backwards his right hand dove for his belt and his grip was around the pistol jerking it free as her hand went behind her head and the pistol was out as she began her swing and his index finger was squeezing - the barrel pointed between her eyes as the axe came forwards.

Crack.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
As his second shot threw her to the ground, Hansel tossed up a quick prayer that it was all over. She'd be dead, he wouldn't have to keep pulling this trigger, draw out what had always been so quick before. He watched her, her scream mingling with the ringing in his ears from the consecutive trigger-pulls, waited.

And she got to her feet.

He pulled the lever action down again just as she swung, and he was forced to raise the Winchester in defense as her weapon slammed into it, sending it from his grasp as she approached. He took two more steps back, reaching for his shotgun only to find it dislodged in his initial dodge, and was lying somewhere behind her.

As he backpedaled, his foot caught on a table leg, and he was sent to the ground, crashing onto his back. Scrambling, he began to retreat, scooting backwards until his back hit rough brick, left hand raising - the missing fingers prominent beneath the heavy, dirty bandages.

"Wait," he said, his voice oddly monotone, disengaged. His right hand propped his body up, utilizing his elbow.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
She dropped to the ground like a sack of meat, a sight that Hansel was getting used to - long removed from a time when a corpse collapsing due to bullets was surprising. He lowered the rifle, keeping both hands on it, looking down at the girl he'd once known, down on the ground, like so many other names and faces he'd come across.

She didn't stay down.

She advanced far too quickly, and he reacted instinctively, her swing whistling through the air in front of him as he juke-stepped backwards, a clattering filling the air as he sought to put distance between them. She was bleeding, and he'd shot her, and she didn't stay down.

Everyone else had.

The clack of the lever-action sounded as he rammed it out and then back in, an empty shell casing flying out of the Winchester as he shouldered the rifle again, fired again.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
((Hansel Williams, That big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.))

Years ago, Hansel had walked down shiny, linoleum tiles, his gaze passing over students he'd known, talked to, sometimes even liked. Years ago, he'd sat in the back of the class, his biggest concern being called on and asked to read sections, stuttering and mumbling through Shakespeare, through Don Quixote, through an entire debate on whether or not Da Vinci was the true renaissance man. Years ago, Hansel had noticed, smiled at, hoped for, a certain girl.

Now, he was here, confronted by that same girl with blood pooling at her mouth, surrounded by the corpses of two of those classmates. Juhan and Takeshi hadn't been friends of his by a long stretch, but they were dead. Dead at Mirabella's feet.

That meant something to him, and even as the danger of the situation closed in on him, he found himself wanting - needing - some form of closure from those years and years contained in days. Of all the people still left alive and breathing here, he hadn't expected anyone to remain innocent or untarnished, but his image of Mirabella - the girl, the beautifully shy girl in his english class - had stayed true somewhere in the recesses of his mind.

The fragrance of her perfume on prom night, when he'd shoved his flowers into Garrett's chest and walked away, willing himself not to feel, still haunted him.

But this... person, standing here, covered in gore and grinning, wasn't Mirabella. Not his image of her.

And for some reason, he was compelled to smash it. To ruin it. Make it so that this spectacle, seeing her here, disappeared, and he could still remember those years and years contained in days when she was just the girl who got away.

So he lifted his Winchester, stepped into the open, and pointed it at her torso.

Unlike Chris, unlike Marcus, unlike Kyle and Mallory and Leona and Daniel, he allowed himself a moment's hesitation.

Then, he pulled the trigger.

V5 Audio Threads
Cody Patton: http://vocaroo.com/i/s0YW7MiVelPs

Tyler Lucas: http://vocaroo.com/i/s0jQdQCzBkaZ

Narration: http://vocaroo.com/i/s1pMaEN0pbGj

New General SOTF Discussion Thread
We're definitely on our way.

Three sentences about your kid: Critique experiment.
The Burned Handler
Aug 24 2014, 05:31 AM
Many of these reviews are longer than three sentences long. >:|
Are not.

Will review more tomorrow morning, gang!

MW's Tiny Critiques: Strength/Weakness
Thanks so much for working on these, MW! It's amazing what you can pack into likes and dislikes.

If you'd be so kind, could you look over my very best kid for me? Game proper starts here!

Escape attempts are not inherently evil
I've noticed of late - possibly in light of V5's failed escape attempt a pretty grumbly attitude towards escape attempts in the past little while on SOTF - almost ever since I joined, way back in 2013 (gasp!) - and I want to take a moment to muse on it since it's been on my mind a ton lately.

I like to think that the reason that an escape attempt is met with such hostility or eye-rolling nowadays (as evidenced some here) can be linked to the past, with a positive example being V4's escape attempt being a pretty all-around success and V3's attempt being much more mixed in the vote of public opinion, with more (at least, more that I've witnessed) leaning towards it being bad than good.

When something works so well in the past, people are very hesitant to repeat it - a stance that I really can respect. V4's attempt had a grounded, scientific basis for working, involved a whole bunch of handlers that all contributed towards the attempt's success, and resulted in a ton of escaped characters that all got closure to the game's events in a satisfying way. It was a brilliant blend of OOC and IC methodology, and was certainly aided by another escape attempt at the same time being pulled off. All of this together creates a good memory, one that's really been the bar-setter for groups attempting to escape the island all at once.

On the other side of the coin, I think that V3 provides an example of why it doesn't really work as well. V3's attempt is kind of fantastic feeling, and the collaboration behind it is pretty shaky - to this day, the conclusions and consequences for the escape remained incomplete, long after V3's endgame was concluded and the epilogue written, and, as I understand the story goes, there was quite a bit of staff involvement as opposed to V4's handler-crafted, Staff-approved feel.

But if the past isn't the answer as to why the response to escape attempts is mostly "Ehhh" by the handlers, what is?

Escape attempts only focus-pull from the rest of the game!

This is pretty unfair, I think, on a few levels, because it insinuates that one person or character is more important than other people or characters in any given version. Ask yourself: Was Kimberly Ngyuen's story negatively impacted by Liz Polanski and her escape attempt? Was Raidon hurt by Team Ego's?

Those may seem like random questions that have very little to do with the topic at hand, but both are characters that significant roles in both escape attempts, if only for one scene. Saying that their respective stories are somehow tarnished by being part of a plot that was "bigger" than them is pretty ridiculous - and that's only the characters that actually intersected with them. Was Joe Carrasco's story inhibited in some way because of Gavin Hunter's group? Did Ian Williams' striving for life hurt Mara's?

Insinuating that any part of the game focus pulls from the entirety of it is, I feel, a naive opinion. Sure, those in the escape attempt could very well be impacted negatively - we'll get to that in a moment - but the only real way that separate arcs can help or hinder each other are by comparison, contrast, or tangentially. Fans of players will still read players if a group of kids want to break out.

That's not what the game's about!

This one is one that I see more often, and while I agree with it conceptually, I think that we really need to broaden our perspective on what SOTF is, and what it means to us. For me, SOTF is a story about a group of kids that are put into an impossible situation, and the resulting threads and consequences of that situation and its effect on them. Wanting to escape the situation - and indeed, attempting to do so - is just as legitimate a reaction as trying to murder each other. After all, both are methods of escape.

Thinking with this mentality is also naive, but in a different way than the first: We all need to respect that everyone entering into SOTF takes something new away from it, which is a part of why it's so much fun to partake in it. My SOTF island is a very different place from yours, and that's why we have so many different perspectives floating around on it.

Escape attempts just build tension between Staff and Handlers!

I think this mentality on escape is very basic, and generalized. In essence, if you go into a situation expecting hostility and for you to be fought on every step of your escape plan, guess what's likely to happen? You're closing the door on collaboration before anyone can get their foot off of the starting mark.

But if you approach your escape attempt - or any escape attempt - with a positive attitude, and are expecting to work with handlers and staff as opposed to against them, everyone has a much, much better time.


Now, I realize that I must sound minorly condescending with these statements - and they're all very sweeping, grand statements that underscore very minor parts of the whole - but I just want it known that I think we're all here at the end of the day to tell our story.

And if our story is about a kid who's going to fight 'till the end, let his gun do the talking, and take on the entire island in a flaming glorious battle? Awesome.

But if our story is a story about a small group of kids, a group of kids who tried to beat the odds, never said die, and strived for victory - who defied the terrorists and either went down fighting, or pulled it off despite the impossible probability of it?

That's still a beautiful story to tell.

The big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.
Not better.

Hansel didn't watch the corpse fall, instead focused on the space beyond it; where the morning light, once weak and feeble, grew stronger and stronger as shadows extended, lengthening, strengthening into something that had force and thrust. He watched as Leona laid down, where she'd lie for the rest of her body's shelf life, and lowered the pistol.

The birds had been chirping when he'd left the mansion - impossibly so, but they had been. The death and destruction and screams of the ten days of violence hadn't ran them off completely, and they'd return to this place when the fighting and the dying slowed and stopped. He looked at the pistol, turned it over in his hand, felt the heat from the gunshot slowly escaping.

Like the morning light, he'd get stronger. Like the birds, he'd be able to return to the island and feel something - not desperation, not constant threat, not like he was grabbing and missing at those handholds while futilely kicking his classmates down.

When he looked back at this place, when he was stronger, he'd feel remorse and guilt and sadness, but it would be with the lens of distance and safety. He'd pray for those dead, pray harder for those that had died by his hand, but he'd move on.

He'd live rather than survive.

But there wasn't time for remorse or guilt or sadness, no time for prayers and moving on. Now, he was in the belly of the beast, and he needed to get off, get away, before he could start the healing.

"I'm alive. You're not," Hansel said to the corpse, tucking the pistol back in his belt when it was cool enough, bending down to fix his shoelace. When it was tied together, the frayed ends melted with the lighter from one of his med-kits, he pocketed the little firestarter, gathered his things. Stood.

"There's no other definition of better that matters."

((Hansel Williams, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien))

The big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.
Hansel looked at the gun, too, thought about that statement for a moment. In his entire time on the island - all eleven days of it - he'd killed nine people. Nine former classmates that he'd taken English with, eaten lunch in the same room as, ran track beside. Nine people who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At the end of the day, they were all scrabbling for purchase on a rocky slope, clawing and hissing and spitting as they tried to keep themselves from falling. All he'd done was use the shoulders of those nine kids to hoist himself up, grab a foothold, and hold on for dear life.

It didn't make him noble. It certainly didn't make him honorable.

But cold?

No.

He rejected that notion.

He'd never tortured, or maimed, or hurt. He'd never broken a friend's knee in order to save himself. He'd never made anyone's suffering last longer than it should have.

He'd done what he'd had to do. He'd held on.

And so, Hansel's gaze snapped back to Leona's, a frown on his face, and for just an instant his intentions were written all over it. For an instant, the mask that he'd tossed aside in favour of self honesty came snapping back, sliding over his features. In that span of a moment, Hansel became harder, tougher, a cowboy on the warpath.

He pulled the trigger.

The big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.
"Problem there is that I duh-hon't owe you shit," came Hansel's response. The conversation was pointless, almost banal, but he indulged in it a little longer. The situation was much more like Chris, where he didn't delude himself as to the ending of this story.

This only ever ended one way.

"And I have nothing t-to do with the way you choose to guh-g-ho about your business. You chuh-hose to guh-himp her, you knew what was guh-hoing to happen. You were puh-robably counting on it."

He shook his head. "I may be a kuh-hiller, but I ain't that cold."

The big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.
Necessity.

Right.

"Doesn't really matter, does it," he responded, sliding his claw-hand through his sweat-soaked hair, the bandage itchy against his scalp. His gun hand never wavered.

"Over a hundred puh-heeple are d-dead. You're guh-honna join them soon. What, are you looking for closure?"

The big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.
"Not a matter of won't," he replied, keeping the gun level, his claw-hand behind him still, "but it ain't a need yet."

Keeping his eyes at a squint, he let his gaze trail her body - from head to toe. She didn't look much worse for wear - reminding him of Chris, of Marcus, who had somehow avoided the amount of violence and destruction he'd barreled into since Theo's gunshot had echoed through a dense wood. It made him hate her just a little - enough to offset the constant pressure behind his breastbone.

"I remember you," Hansel said, voice normal-pitched and shaky, the facade of the deep cowboy abandoned inside the mansion.

"You left her. Tuh-hoo die."

The big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.
And she paid for it.

Hansel registered the footfalls and was turning towards the sound before he was truly aware he had heard it, before his brain caught the sound and translated it into a definition of approach. Already, his hand was a fist around the handle of the pistol - the newer of his weapons, and deceptively heavy - as he drew it from his waistband, pointing it at the newcomer's chest. His gaze was a glare, his body tense and unyielding as he squinted at her face.

Something in him didn't pull the trigger, kept the gun still, the safety on. Something in him hid his disfigured left hand behind his back, unwilling to show weakness or evidence of loss to this new potential threat. Something in him went liquid, sloshy, pouring over his feelings and steeling himself for what came next.

For what always came next.

Desperate to delay it, he pointed his scabbed chin and bruised, scarred face towards her.

"What."

Let's Talk About Death
I like these responses so far! Oh - and make sure to signify that you want another when you state your opinion. I'm not sure to re-roll those that explicitly didn't say so.

Doc: Janet Victoriee-Sir’s Death

Backslash: Harold Fisher’s Death

Espi: Madeleine Smith’s Death

Boogie: Martin Lovett's Death

Bowser: Mia Kuiper’s Death

The big tough boy on the side of right? That's me.
Enjoying the sunshine was a foreign concept for Hansel, but he stopped to do it now, tilting his head back and letting the rays dance across his skin. In the back of his head, somewhere, he was dimly aware that there existed the possibility that he wouldn't feel it at one point - wouldn't be able to enjoy the little things. All it would take, after all, was one false move, and a classmate could have him taking a long, hard dirt nap.

He was far away from lying down on the beach one last time, though. He wasn't ready to start checking things off of his bucket list. He was young, capable. He'd survived a week and a half - here, on this island, surrounded by killers. He was winning the contest, beating the competition.

Now wasn't the time to quit and prepare for death.

Now was the time to prepare for life.

Opening his eyes, he turned to continue walking in the direction he'd started, and had to stop again when a sudden tension released in his foot, accompanied by a low tearing sound. Glancing downward, he muttered a short oath to see his bootlace snapped, the two pieces of twine lying half-curled on the grass on either side of his boot.

He was uncomfortable with the timing of it, the interruption of his thoughts by something so miniscule. Shifting so that he was under cover of the mansion wall to his right and a bush to his left, Hansel crouched down to tie the toe-end of the lace together, a quick fix until he could find different shoelaces.

Three sentences about your kid: Critique experiment.
That's it for queue! Remember, no critique without the prerequisite ego-stroking. Oh, and saying how much MW's Critique thread resembles a poor reboot of a beloved franchise by Michael Bay certainly won't hurt.