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He had never seen the ocean before, and now he was likely going to spend the rest of his life surrounded by it, Arthur realized.

[B043 - Bernstein, Arthur: Game Start]

What surprised him most when he woke up was just how calm he was. Of course, he spent a few minutes curled up in a ball in the grass next to the docks, trying to convince himself that he was dreaming and desperately attempting to wake up, but after he accepted the fact that, yes, he was indeed on Survival of the Fittest, he found himself strangely at peace. He sorted through his duffel bag routinely, as if it was his own backpack that he took to school every day (the same backpack that he found, empty except for the book he was reading, just a few feet away from him). He read the enclosed survival guide quickly, ate one of his food bars, and studied the map all while sitting in the prickly grass. He was oblivious to his surroundings for the better part of his time awake.

Survival of the Fittest was something that he was scared that his sister, Marie, would be selected for, never himself. Several times he had considered the possibility, but he decided that the chances of it happening to her were slim. If there was one positive of being on the island that Arthur could think of, it was that he was there instead of his sister. That fact alone helped him calm down in those first few fateful minutes. The surrounding blue waves, gently bouncing up and down, was another sight that helped Arthur stay calm. It was oddly hypnotic.

He made the decision for himself to not get mad at his assigned weapon, a flimsy paintball gun. After he had finished reading the survival guide, he spent a few minutes toying with the thing, careful to learn just how it worked in case he needed to use it. Sure, it wouldn't do any real damage, but the paint would be annoying, right? Arthur had never fired a gun before, let alone a paintball gun, so getting the toy-like weapon was something he appreciated. If Marie was watching, she'd probably find the paintball gun funny, he reckoned. Some humor to help her digest the situation.

He was going to get back to her. He had to. Arthur knew he wouldn't play the game, but he swore to himself that, in some way, he'd make it back to his sister.

A commotion on the dock not too far away from him interrupted his study. It looked to him like someone - no, two someones - had woken up on the cold concrete floor, and had begun to talk to each other. He recognized the first of the boys, Jasper, from his time on the soccer team, and the other, Henry, from passing in the hallways, but he had no lasting connection with either of the boys. He watched, silently, as Henry consoled Jasper with a wide grin, staying put when Jasper jumped back in pain from his duffel bag. He watched Henry try to patch Jasper up and smiled. That kind of caring attitude Arthur respected, but it also let him know that the two were likely not a threat.

Allies would be valuable on the island, especially allies as caring as Henry appeared to be. Arthur folded his map up and put it into his pocket, slung his pack over his shoulder, and walked towards the two sitting on the dock at a relaxed pace, holding his paintball gun. He didn't so much as flinch as Jasper stood up and threw his bottle off of the concrete platform. Sure, he didn't agree with the decision, but he knew he didn't have any right to argue the decision. At the very least, the bottle wasn't being thrown in his direction.

"Hey," Arthur half-shouted, as he got within earshot, "You guys still need a hand?"
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~



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Plutonian Wharf · Docks