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don't take no guff
[ * ]

No, no no no no! Wade simply lied in bed and uneasily rocked his head from left to right, trying to rid himself of a throbbing headache but also trying to keep his cool and ignore the rising tide of emotions raging inside of his mind. He was barely holding it together. The headache was probably a result of the terrorists giving him too much of that sleeping--

The gas. The terrorists. He was reminded of a furry novel he'd read, long ago, that made a major plot device out of mind-controlling gas. However, he also felt no discontinuities in his consciousness, even though he was intellectually aware that a long time had passed. The bus ride, Mr. Graham's death, that awful 'presentation' all melded together as one continuous memory. Most of all, though, he remembered the enigmatic young Danya, whose face and features stuck out oddly in Wade's mind. Come to think of it, they sort of reminded him of--

Dover. Dover Cheetah, a character the memories of whom were already becoming distant in Wade's mind. Very distant. The gas again? But he would never read another strip of SJ. Or.. of any other webcomic he had learned of. He would never see the ending of Rough Housing. He would never experience anything he had been looking forward to up until that point. As hard as he tried to suppress the onrushing flood of despair and anger-

It's not fair. He sat up, noting the duffel bag squeezed under the bed. The room seemed old and looked something like a teacher's office, strewn with furniture, which itself was stacked with books and charts and folders, many of which looked oddly familiar to Wade's eyes--

He would never have the chance to write more stories, never learn how to draw and animate, never listen to another Eurobeat song, never hear another amazing opening or ending, never watch the second seasons of Sword Art Online or Attack On Titan, never see Zootopia or play Civ 6, never enjoy another good round of CS:GO or Civ 5, never achieve or earn or accomplish anything of note in life.

It's not fair... He stood up quietly and tightly balled up his fists, his hands and arms shaking almost uncontrollably in place. In spite of his best efforts, his face twisted itself into a mask of pure grief. He was tearing up. As his throat moved, he became dimly aware of the collar, attached tightly to his skin just below his Adam's apple. If he didn't follow the rules, or just took an unlucky stray bullet, he supposed, it would explode, killing him in one of the most excruciating ways imaginable. Now that I think about it, it kind of reminds me...

As a matter of fact, it sunk in for him, he would almost certainly never read, watch, listen, think, feel, love, or enjoy anything ever again. His very existence would be erased, his memory destroyed for all time, his dreams and hopes and labors all rendered futile. He would never have a chance to make them reality, as he had so hoped practically his entire life. And it was all because of the actions of this hideous, heinous, monstrous terrorist organization who had chosen him and many, many among his class just like him to have all of their potential, hopes, dreams and lives cruelly dashed, no, stolen from them, aside from a horrifically traumatized winner, who often did not survive long anyhow.

All of that simply for the sake of.. revenge, or religious zeal, or sheer misanthropy, or whatever it was that had motivated those very terrorists to embark on this decade-long campaign of sowing fear and pain throughout the world. In his mind, he cursed them to the high heavens-

IT'S NOT FAIR! Those words reverberated through Wade's mind as though they were a mantra. He was captured in a haze of grief, terror, shock, pain, and a litany of other emotions he could not name, and it was all he could do to keep himself from repeating that phrase out loud. He could barely stand, but there was no room in the cramped office to fall over completely and he instead leaned, hands-first on the filing cabinet at an awkward angle, crying silently. IT'S NOT FAIR! IT'S... NOT... FAIR! He remained in that posture for awhile, thinking back to his past. He wracked his mind thinking of what he would never attain, of what he would never experience again, of everything that he'd started and would never finish...

He fell backwards into sitting up on the bed, devastated and drained. It's not fair... He was more or less relaxed, having rid himself of all his immediate feelings. All of them weren't gone, strictly speaking. He had the faint sense that new ones were being spun. But to his mind, he'd already expressed them. He felt an odd sense of pleasure at being hollow for now. In his rage-filled stupor, he had been so fixated on all his own emotions at the situation that he hadn't noticed the footsteps or creaking as someone moved their way down the hall. He could faintly hear the whispers of crying and talk and more crying, which he disregarded for the moment, trying to analyze a new sensation bubbling up from his semi-conscious mind.

He was thinking, unwittingly, on his own survival instincts trying to speak to him. He went through many mentally-constructed scenarios of victory, defeat, and death, and escape. More narrowly, he fixated on how his present situation would play out. Through all that, however, one thing was increasingly clear:

I just want to live.
2015: V6 Incident
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