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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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((Enter Adam Morgan))

This was some real heavy stuff going on. Adam hadn't really cared all that much about Disneyland. Well, he'd maybe been a little bit excited about Disneyland. Mickey Mouse was kinda creepy, but there'd be roller coasters and stuff, and maybe the guys could've slipped away and had a session somewhere in Disneyland. Fighting in Disneyland would've been pretty hardcore, in a sort of ironic, twisted way. Only, Adam was pretty sure they were in for a fight a whole lot more hardcore than anything in the Magic Kingdom could ever hope to be. He was trying real hard not to worry.

Keep cool. That was what he'd spent so much time practicing. He was pretty sure his face was composed. The tear streaks had come off alright, with a little spit. He was, right now, focusing on not thinking. That was the way with tough stuff. Someone's beating on you in the ring, tune out. Don't focus. Try not to feel the pain. Adam had a good deal of experience trying to not feel pain, but that was usually when he could remember that the pain would eventually end. Technically speaking, all pain came to a final halt, but of the sort it was even more painful to contemplate.

At least he had a sword. It was hefty thing. The terrorists had taken a look at Adam, in his leather jacket, and had said, "Man, this guy's a badass, so he needs a real weapon, but he's too badass for a gun, so give him a sword. That'll do him well." It was good to think of the terrorists talking like that, like how he and the guys shot the breeze. It made them relatable, and gave him this little nugget of hope that maybe they'd change their minds and call it all a day without blowing out necks or forcing people to kill or any of that stuff.

Because Adam was a fighter, but he wasn't a killer. Well, more than that, even in his crazy power fantasies he wasn't a killer. Okay, he killed Al Qaeda terrorists and stuff, mowed down legions of bad guys and all, especially during paintball, but that was different, because here there weren't any bad guys around. Not a one in sight in all those rows of chairs, just other students. And even if Adam didn't always care for all his classmates, he didn't want any harm to come to 'em. It was why he stepped in when assholes got nasty with the freshmen, only here everyone was a freshman again and the assholes were out of reach behind some computer screens holding little red buttons that could blow Adam up if he got fresh.

And even then, even if he had the guys who'd been up on the stage right in front of him, he didn't really think he'd be able to muster the strength to do anything other than beat the shit out of them. Because fighting wasn't about killing. It was about competition, sometimes, or blowing off stress, or making a point, and Adam was pretty sure killing didn't do any of those things in any way that a good old fashioned clobbering didn't also do.

Maybe he was missing something. He knew there'd been some real crazy people last time around. Some guy gunned down like a dozen kids only to pop himself in the end, and there was a crazy midget or something, and a boy who acted like a bear. Maybe some of the details weren't very clear—Adam had sort of tried to stay away from the news, and aside from the occasional resurgences on TV in the past few years, which often took the form of some girl yelling at a camera, things had been pretty quiet. Danya was dead as Bin Laden, and about as relevant to the world.

But here Adam was, thinking after all, and that was getting his blood pounding. He was fidgeting with his sword, tapping it against his leg as he walked along the sand. That was a bad idea. The sword was sharp, dangerous. He stopped, turned his focus to what was around him. There was beach, sea, a boy lugging a huge-ass spear thing. That was a distraction, a way not to think. Adam could see the guy was having a bit of trouble. He could relate; his own bag was slung over his shoulder, his pack from home over the other, the sword in his right hand, but it'd taken some fussing when he'd woken up. He'd only been conscious for about fifteen minutes, but he'd started walking first thing. Staying still could lead to thinking. It could lead to all kinds of bad stuff. So better to move, to move and never stop moving.

So Adam kept moving in the direction of the boy. He wondered if he should light a cigarette to look more badass. This was a good place to look like a badass, so Adam had a leg up on that front. But the boy, he didn't really look like the sort who might out-badass Adam. He didn't look like he'd out-badass the average accountant. So the cigarette wasn't needed. Besides, the pack was in his back pocket, and he couldn't really reach it with his left hand.

The boy was Maynard, Adam saw. He was one of the many people Adam mostly ignored in school every day. Right here and now, though, Adam had no inclination to keep mostly ignoring him. Someone else, some random guy from school, represented a little link to normalcy, especially since he clearly had no clue what he was doing with the weapon he held. Normalcy was good. It kept the thoughts at bay.

So Adam waved with his left hand, and his right tapped the sword against his leg. He wasn't too far away, a few dozen feet, but coming from the side so maybe he hadn't been seen yet.

"Hey, Maynard," he called. "Over here, man."
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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