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The chaos continued. The boy, the one who had leapt clear, made it back, though. They got him into the boat. Everything was a mess. People could be dying. They were too pressed. Jaxon wanted to stay, to help sort things out. He could suddenly see exactly why some of the students were hesitant to leave. There was so much left to do here.

They couldn't linger, though.

The patrol boats should be too far away to cause problems if they got moving right away. They should be able to make it to the other island, to the helicopter, to the clinic they'd been able to bargain with at the last second. Of course, everything could explode in their faces, could come crashing down around their heads. They could all die within the hour. The odds of that happening increased dramatically every minute they waited. It was past time to be gone.

So many things had gone wrong. How many more would?

They'd see. No time to worry.

"Come on," he shouted again. "We're leaving. Right now."

And, through some miracle, they were able to cram everyone in. Half a minute later, they were gone, roaring through the sea, pushing the boat's top speed, leaving the island a rapidly-fading speck.





Of course, the rescue attempt and its aftermath were not broadcast live. The terrorists still had enough control to cut the feed. When it did air, half a day later, the only shots were from an extreme distance. It was hard to tell what was going on, hard to identify the students moving around. The boat was nearly invisible.

The film cut to another shaky shot, clearly from the deck of a boat, of a pair of distant explosions, though what exactly was blowing up was impossible to discern. Text scrolled over the screen:

"An attempt was made by a military organization to rescue some of the contestants in this season of Survival of the Fittest. The lives of many students were lost as a result of the actions of your governments. Any future attempts will be met with an immediate and total detonation of all collars."

Then, a list of block red letters scrolled over the screen, lasting over a minute:

G125, Jacqueline Myrie: DECEASED
G047, Samantha Ridley: DECEASED
B128, Joss Joiner DECEASED
G085, Alice Blake: DECEASED
B008, Peter McCue: DECEASED
G014, Yelizaveta Volkova: DECEASED
G046, Alexandria Jackson: DECEASED
B056, Raymond Dawson: DECEASED
G048, Kaitlin Anderheim: DECEASED
B140, Cisco Vasquez: DECEASED
B121, Allen Birkman: DECEASED
G105, Isabel Guerra: DECEASED
G122, Mizore Soryu: DECEASED
G106, Sarah Tan: DECEASED
G001, Bridget Connolly: DECEASED
G003, Hui "Sarah" Xu: DECEASED
B042, Brendan Wallace: DECEASED
G010, Anna Chase: DECEASED
G082, Felicia Carmichael: DECEASED
G077, Andrea Raymer: DECEASED
B138, Garrett Hunter: DECEASED
B142, Harun Kemal: DECEASED
B041, Simon Telamon: DECEASED
B105, Jeremy Franco: DECEASED
B132, Jay Holland, DECEASED
G079, Eiko Haraguchi: DECEASED
G018, Acacia Salinger: DECEASED
B073, Michael Moretti: DECEASED
G005, Jennifer Perez: DECEASED
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The Cavalry Arrives · The Beach: North