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Things hadn't gone quite how Jaxon had hoped. There had been many more killers than he'd wanted to deal with, many more reasons to question the whole stupid exclusion list all over again. Peter Siu and Raidon Naoko had both pitched in, helping see those who could still be rescued safely off the island. Jaxon was so tempted to break the rules, to back down and let the boys on. At this point, though, he couldn't. Not after the scenes people had made. Not after what Nate had probably been doing.

There was something going on further down the beach. He heard a shout, a warning. Something about grenades. The explosions. Screams. Gunshots. Fuck. At the same time, his radio buzzed. The girl next to him lurched forwards, but he caught her, held her back. Another boy jumped clear too, and ran to a girl in the water. She looked to be bleeding.

"Get moving," a voice from the radio, one of the intelligence people, said. "You're gonna have company soon. Looks like a couple patrol boats decided there was something more important to do than saving the boss."

Too much chaos. Too much conflict. the wounded boy, The one they'd been trying to help, had stumbled off. No time to retrieve him. Jaxon had probably let half a dozen students slip through his fingers, doomed them to death because his group had been overworked, hadn't been able to properly baby sit a bunch of half-starved, shell-shocked high school kids.

He wasn't going to sleep easy tonight, that was for sure. This was not how it was supposed to go. For a second, he was in perfect agreement with Nate. He wanted nothing more than to track down whoever had decided to start shooting now. He wanted to plug the idiot right between the eyes. It was stupid, illogical, petty. It was a sick little kid throwing a tantrum because someone else got better toys. Didn't the players realize that everyone who left the island meant less competition in their stupid death game?

He wondered if the tech crew would be able to blow a specific collar.


No, they were not Danya. They didn't blow people up, even monsters, even if they probably could. If they made it back to the island, though, if they somehow finished Danya and dealt with these patrol boats, if some legitimate military got its act in gear at the eleventh hour, then there would be a reckoning. Until then, he'd just have to count on the good people to do what had to be done.

"Come on," he called. "Everyone in the boats, now. As quickly as you can. Get the wounded right now. We're going. Keep your heads down, and be ready for a rough ride. We may have some company."
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The Cavalry Arrives · The Beach: North