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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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Milo and Aaron were at least in agreement on the fact that Jacquard was terminally idiotic. It was good to have some common ground, even if the volume at which Milo was sharing his views was somewhat problematic. Aaron just casually shifted a little bit away, hoping that anyone who decided to come in firing would start their run on the most obvious target.

Aileen fired back with an insult of her own. Having a group turned against itself was all well and good if they were the sort of people to stab you in the back, but Aaron couldn't even begin to imagine Milo running a coup, and, skeptical though he was about Aileen's continued worth to the team, he couldn't well ditch her, not with Lily and Richard missing and possibly dead, or worse. Yeah, come to think of it, how much did Lily know about the plan? That was... potentially going to be very, very unpleasant, if she got grabbed by Lombardi or someone of the sort. The last thing Aaron needed was to run into an ambush laid by killers who had tortured the info out of one of his subordinates. He'd have to make sure to wait things out at least a day, to get a better read on the situation at hand.

Aileen went over to her bag, and started rifling through it. As she did so, Aaron could have sworn he heard some other noise nearby, something artificial in the general natural stillness of the forest. He waited, but didn't catch it again, not over Aileen messing with her stuff. Had it just been his imagination? He tried to concentrate, but it wasn't any good. Now that he'd started down the path of suspicion, every little whistle of the wind sounded like a muffled footstep. He settled for causally checking his gun. Still in his pocket. Safety off. Excellent.

Aileen was making suggestions. At the start, she was being pretty helpful. Counting cameras was a great idea, especially given the recent announcements. Cameras were suddenly important again, more than just a trivial annoyance. The whole thing also reminded Aaron that he was on stage, was performing, not only for his allies, but for the viewing population back home. He wasn't sure how his actions would be portrayed, but, well, he knew enough to suspect things maybe didn't look so good from an outsider's perspective. That was the problem with his plan, though. By its very nature, it required hiding things away, concealing secrets from anyone watching. Would any observers be able to tell that he had something up his sleeve?

Several somethings, at that. After all, Aaron always had a plan, and while he was pretty sure he could get everyone off this island, he wasn't going to stake everything on it. Not now, with over a third of the class dead.

Of course, he wasn't going to share any of that particular train of thought.

Aileen had shifted from helpful to unreasonably needy and demanding, but Aaron could live with it. She didn't want to go back to town. Yeah, sure, fine. It wasn't like Aaron wanted to go back to town anyways. There were, as Aileen said, too many people. He had what he'd needed, in the form of a bundle of wires stuffed into his pack. When he had some time, he'd strip the ends.

He pretty much ignored Aileen's spiel, responding with, "Yeah, the town seems like a bad idea. Too many spots to shoot from, anyways. I'd be surprised if some killer hasn't set up a choke point at one of the entrances yet."

In fact, had he not seen her, had he not been assured that she lacked a gun, that's where Aaron would have expected Jacquard to be. She'd always been the sort to play the long game. She wasn't half as smart as she thought, but she was strange now. Something was wrong. She'd only had one kill. She's teamed up with Rob, another small-timer. All the big names were people Aaron didn't really know or care about. Maxwell Lombardi was a blustering fool, someone who had likely gotten lucky and skimmed by on bravado instead of skill. Reiko Ishida was driven by vengeance, presumably. Clio Gabriella... wasn't she religious or something? It sounded appropriate for a divinely inspired bout of psychopathy.

The only other ones Aaron cared about at the moment were Nick Reid, who was public enemy number one, and Hayley Kelly. Hayley, she was one who bother him. Headhunter. No doubt about it. She'd been in the bad crowd, he thought. Maybe ran with Alice's girlfriend, the one whose name he couldn't quite recall. She was bad news. He was sure of it.

Right now, Kelly, Ishida, Gabriella, and Lombardi made up Aaron's kill-on-sight list. They were all dangerous, and they were all making too much progress. The reason, of course, was simple: people didn't know how to shut up and take care of business. Aaron had been able to handle Rob because he understood the psychology of idiots, understood the sot of person, like Rob, who tried to play mind games and didn't know when to quit. The key was to hit a planner before they could see it coming, and with such overwhelming force that they couldn't recover. Likely, some of the killers knew that. The only way in that case was to fight fire with fire.

Time for the rest of those plans later. Aaron checked his gun again, then said, "Well, then. It seems like we're in agreement. Find somewhere nice and isolated for a bit, stay away from people. Find out where the others went, and recover them. Get a bit more manpower, then get moving. Right?"

Of course it was right. Everything was under control.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Could Have Been Worse · The Woods: Coastal