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don't take no guff
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Wade had remained sitting up. He hadn't moved at all. His eyes appeared glassy. The completely vacuous, but strangely reassuring, feeling of emptiness now pervaded his mind. He'd poured out his grief and anger and everything else that came with them. All that was left was to ask himself: what would he do? More importantly, what did he want? He wanted most to survive the game, of course. That feeling lingered. It seemed trite and obvious, but he grasped the genuine determination which underlied it. His goals, ambitions, and dreams called to him. He wanted, desperately, to return home to his family and his art and work on everything until it was polished. Put his work out there, become a true writer, a true director, a true artist. Accomplish his dreams, complete his goals as he always meant to. Beat all of the odds, achieve greatness. Wouldn't that be an amazing way to stick it to the terrorists? Succeeding in spite of having gone through this horrific ordeal, defying the precedents other winners set?

Yes. Sure, reaching for his dreams would be wonderful and all, but he had to focus on survival first. Getting there in the first place. There were only two workable routes to survival: escape and victory.

Escape was obviously the preferable choice, but it couldn't be relied upon. And it was not perfect. The one time it had succeeded, during Version Four seven years ago, 29 students out of... 279?.. had been rescued. That was around one in.. seven. Not bad, all things considered, but it wasn't the majority. And none of the other escape attempts in any of the other versions had succeeded, as far as anyone knew. It was especially unlikely to work now that the terrorists had locked down security and tried to make their procedures as airtight as possible. So as far as Wade was concerned, he wouldn't start an escape attempt. But he would join one if their prospects were looking good, and of course he'd be stupid not to take a clear route to escaping. If one presented itself.

Victory, then, was the likelier and much less palatable way to survive. He was loath to even consider it, as he'd have to get his hands dirty with someone else's blood, one way or the other, or he'd just be thrown back in. He definitely couldn't and wouldn't try to murder his classmates. Forget it. Out of the question. Trying to kill the murderers was dangerous and more than a twinge hypocritical. But trying to rescue others from being killed? For a moment, he almost considered it. But then he realized the problem: unless they went on to escape or win, saving someone would merely prolong their suffering on the island. As ghoulish as it sounded, it was pointless to try and be a hero. Unless it was close to the end and he was already mortally wounded. Or there was a rescue going on.

So, those were Wade's rules of engagement. He would essentially restrict himself to self-defense. He wouldn't--couldn't play, but if someone attacked him, they were fair game. He was energetic, but weak, and he didn't have the endurance for even mild workouts. He'd just have to trust in maintaining situational awareness and think quickly during any fights. Ideally, he'd avoid fighting until the end, but there had been about a hundred or so students on the trip. Assuming the island was... where was the map? The bag!

He'd almost forgotten about his issued bag. Quickly pulling it free and throwing it onto the bed beside him with some racket, he first saw the lettering: B038. That was his numerical designation. Paying it little mind, he opened the zipper quickly and loudly. Inside? Ration bars, bread, crackers, a compass-- the map! Ignoring everything else, he quickly opened it and carefully inspected it. His suspicions were confirmed: this really was a mental hospital. And if it wasn't deceiving him, he was inside the main asylum building.

Sunlight had been filtering in from a small, shuttered window just above the bed. Crawling on top of it, Wade opened the shutters, which were surprisingly clean after what must have been decades of abandonment. Peering through, he saw a large, kind of rustic-looking bell tower dominate the view, meaning that he must be on the back end of the asylum. Nowhere in particular stuck out as being potentially safe or dangerous. Yet. Students were probably spread evenly among the buildings, so everywhere was equally safe. But off to his left, in the distance, was that... human screaming?

He turned back around and rummaged through the rest of the bag at his knees, the ancient bed's frame groaning quietly. A flashlight. A first-aid kit, which was, oddly enough, filled to the brim with medical supplies. A 'guidebook', which he flipped through and immediately discarded back into the bag. He didn't want to read sadistic shit-talking from Danya just yet and the rules were nothing he didn't already know. As he was nearing the bottom of the bag when he saw a hypodermic needle and a small bottle, both filled with a clear fluid. Alongside them was a small piece of paper, simply reading: 'Adrenaline and needle'.

He could feel it now. The sensation of his heart dropping abruptly and violently into his stomach.
2015: V6 Incident
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