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Come & See; open
Topic Started: Aug 8 2010, 05:20 PM (4,545 Views)
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is the Soul Machine.
[ *  *  * ]
((B097 Begin))

Max Neill had always had a problem waking up. "Just like your father, too attached to your dreams," his mother had observed one day when he had slept in and missed the bus. Max tried to recall when that had been - a few weeks ago, at least. She'd been in the lounge, tapping away at her laptop, and he'd been sprinting from room to room, trying to rush through his morning routine. He'd gotten to school before the first bell, in the end, even though his unprecedented morning hustle had wiped him out and left him unable to learn during his first class. He'd made it, though. That's what counted.

Today, though, he was receiving a wake-up call he wouldn't forget.

It had started with the tugging on his jeans. He directed a weak kick at whatever was pulling at his pants, and it had stopped.

Then, whatever it was started pulling at his shirt. Or maybe it wasn't what had been trying to steal his jeans, maybe it was something else, but Max had feebly waved it away, so it didn't matter.

Then it started pulling his hair.

Max's eyes flew open and his upper body jerked straight up, a clump of hair yanked out in the process. He yelled out in pain, clutched at the sore spot on his scalp and spun around, staring at a clueless cormorant with Max's hair in its beak. The small black bird screeched, the hair flopping to the ground. The boy and the bird held their opponent's gaze for a minute, the cormorant's black eyes almost challenging him to make the first move. Then, spreading its wings, the bird rushed Max.

Five minutes later, walking along the beach, Max hoped the vindictive bird wasn't following him. He'd managed to get away with his khaki bag, but he was afraid that if he turned around, he'd see the wretched creature perched on a rock, studying him as he trekked along the shore. Max had been too busy contemplating a possible attack from the treacherous sea-crow to have thought about anything else, including why he was on an island in the first place.

He looked up and clutched the clubhead of his assigned weapon-cum-walking stick, a 4-iron, tighter. On the horizon, he could see a small group of people - three? Four? He couldn't say for sure - talking to each other, not attacking. Stumbling a bit on the wet rocks, Max made his way towards the gang.

As he got closer, the brown-haired boy began to make out who they were. There was an outrageously tall blonde kid, whom Max could make out as fellow athlete and all-round good guy Erik Laurin; there was another ridiculously tall kid, whom Max deduced was the Jasper-Declan guy in his English class; there was a portly guy Max didn't recognise; and there was a man speaking very loudly, his words barely distinguishable at this distance but his accent unmistakable - Mike Maszer, the Polish guy from the soccer team. Max was pretty sure he could trust all these people to tell him what was up, especially Erik - the man had proved himself one of exceptional principles, despite his lifestyle. They seemed highly strung, but he was their Student Council President, someone they all trusted (or, at least, the ones who voted for him trusted). If there were problems, he could work it out. "Hey, you guys!" Max called out, slipping over the small boulders as he approached Jasper-Declan. "What's going on? Is this a cormorant-free zone?" he threw in, chuckling at the injoke.
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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[ *  *  * ]
"Max, hey. Fancy seeing you here."

Max was loathe to leave anyone hanging when they so earnestly offered a high-five, and so Max returned Erik's offering with gusto. Besides, there was something about the act of high-fiving (fiving high?) that was reassuring, that said everything was going to be allright. Not that Max was entirely too sure why he was feeling uneasy. He couldn't recall anything that had happened since he fell asleep on the bus, and the cormorant attack had stopped him from rationalising his presence on an island any more than 'I'm not meant to be here'.

Suddenly, Max's eardrums were assaulted by the shrill screaming of the chubby kid, shrieking about Jasper-Declan's...shotgun?

SHOTGUN?


The chubby kid was banging on about his hamburger phone, and Mike was offering a none-too-condescending refutation of the gun's status as one of the shot variety, but Max wasn't concerned with either of those things. He couldn't care less that the gun wasn't as deadly as another type of gun, he couldn't give a damn about the chubby kid's jealousy; these were peripheral to the concern that someone on this island has a gun. Max glanced at Jasper-Declan's hands, noting the idle threat the actually kind of big gun posed, and knew that this wasn't just a senior management surprise or a misunderstanding with the travel agents.

In fact, if Max knew his current events, and he was pretty sure he did, this had nothing to do with the school at all.

He looked down at the golf club he'd been given; he looked at the crudely-stencilled "B097" on his bag; he looked at the gun again.

"Oh hell."
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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PIGE AND ARCH - SALES MASTERS!!!
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[ *  *  * ]
The next few minutes remained a blur of sorts for Max as he wrestled with the enormity of the situation. He and his friends had been put on an island to kill each other, and that was a whole other level of heavy, even for someone who had spent his entire senior year sticking his neck out for his fellow students. Max knew he didn't have it in him to kill, especially not the people who'd trusted him with their school and with their year - not the people who'd liked him enough to do that. On top of that, the island didn't exactly seem like the easiest place to escape. So what was left? What other options did Max have available?

Dazed, Max shook his head and came back into the real world. The chubby kid had just finished sniping at everyone, or so it seemed - Erik and Mike weren't exactly looking terribly pleased with him. Mike piped up in response, his apparent lack of an inside voice exacerbating the problems caused by his thick accent.

"Okay... So maybe there is no way out here for us...BUT! Maybe there is a way for third party to get here, right? You know what I mean. We are kidnapped by the terrorist, aren't we? That means, the US government must be seeking us right now, right?"

Max raised an eyebrow. Mike wasn't half wrong - the endless reassurances by the US government the last time SotF rolled around that something would be done were still relatively fresh in Max's mind. He'd read enough papers and seen enough news stories to know that the government was doing something - Republicans responded well to crises, it's what they did best. They were to threats against national security what Tigger was to bouncing. He was sure that they'd be scanning the oceans looking for them.

Max grabbed his daypack and opened up, rifling through the clutter for anything helpful. His cellphone had been taken, as had the snacks he had packed. No marshmallows on this trip, he thought to himself, chuckling through the bitterness at the bad joke. Eventually, Max pulled out a map of the island and tinny little compass. The map was rough, but it was easy to follow. The first thing that caught Max's eye was a destroyed cellphone tower at the center of the island, but that was unlikely to be of any help unless they were trying to wave down a random plane. The second thing was the urban hub in the centre of the island. Max stared at the points marked 'Town Center', 'Mansion', 'Mines', 'Sawmill' - he began to piece together the evidence. There was a town here...but how long ago? Does anyone know this island exists? Max continued scanning the map, and before long noticed the lighthouse, standing on a cliff to..."our left." Max unfolded the map and shoved it and the compass in the pocket of his jeans. Picking up his golf club from the ground he'd unceremoniously dropped it on, he looked around at the people on the beach - Erik, the chubby kid, Mike and...

"Where'd Jasper go?"

Max looked around, but the lanky boy seemed to have disappeared. Max wondered just how long he'd been staring at the map, trying to find a vantage point. It had felt like a few minutes, but Jasper's sneaking off into the evening seemed to mark it as longer. But anyway...

Max turned back to the remaining three. "Mike's right, but we can't just stand around while we wait for the US military to storm down the island. Jasper had the right idea, we've gotta keep moving. There's a lighthouse a few clicks to the west. It'll be decent shelter and there may be some kind of radio or something there, and even if there isn't, we might be able to get the lighthouse working. If this island is near any shipping lanes, they might be able to see us - and I won't be surprised if it is, the map says this place used to be a mining venture of some sort."

Max looked at the ragtag group of students he'd hoisted himself upon. It was his job to step up to the plate, to take the lead - his parents had told him that time and again as a kid. No time for tears. No time for hesitation. No time for cowardice.

"So, who's with me?"
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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Ripples of approval started to run through the ragtag trio, much to Max's relief. It would've been disheartening at best for everyone to reject his weak proposal out of hand; it wasn't like they had many other choices. Erik, seemingly pulling himself back from the brink of a full-on meltdown, voiced his approval and suggested finding a couple of people to make sure they were safe. Max knew them both, as was his job - Brendan and Chloe were good people, even if Chloe was a bit full-on at times, and he nodded in agreement. They had to ensure as many people they knew were safe, so why not? The chubby guy followed Erik, loudly making his allegiance known with an impassioned "fuck you" to the man in charge. Then Mike piped up.

"Of course, that... Ehrmm, What's your name? Never mind, you're right. The US cannot find the island by themselves. I bet that the terrorists invested some cash into satellite jamming devices or whatever, as well as some bogus islands prepared as a decoy. Not to mention the existence of at least two hundreds of other nearly identical island. Impossible to find. BUT! That doesn't mean, WE cannot help them doing it. I'll show you what I mean."

Mike, taking command in a completely unexpected way, grabbed Max's map off him and started pointing at parts of the island that were likely to have distinctive features - the mine, the cell-phone tower, the mansion. "I bet we can find even more info in other places," he continued, uncovering a plan that Max couldn't help but think was actually kind of great. "Those are the little things, but if we'll manage to do it, I bet, at some point, someone will finally find this island and rescue us. And now, as you said before, we need to move. This is just an ordinary beach. We probably won't find anything interesting here."

Mike then turned to Max and said something, but Max hadn't noticed. Absent-mindedly grabbing the map off Mike, he scanned the topography and looked up at the Polish boy. It was a great idea. A fantastic idea. No doubt Danya and his goons would have swept the island beforehand, picking up anything distinguishable, but there had to be things they'd missed. Company names, personal records, resources, anything at all. They were people, just like their motley crew. They were just as likely to make mistakes, to miss things. Except they wouldn't miss things.

Max looked at the three allies he'd taken up. "Right," he said, not trying very hard to hide the grin creeping across his face. "We'll go to the lighthouse first, it's closest, and try and get it up and running, see if there's any shipping route charts or anything there, and then we'll hit the cellphone tower. They've probably taken the decals and stuff off, but there's got to be something on it that identifies it, for a provider or something."

Max turned to Mike and unleashed the grin. "You're a genius, dude."
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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PIGE AND ARCH - SALES MASTERS!!!
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[ *  *  * ]
This was exactly the kind of thing they needed. The kind of full-blown plan to excite hearts and send minds racing with the possibilities and ways of working it. It was The Plan. Max had no idea if it would actually save them, but he didn't care. He was too busy caught up in the elation of someone actually having a great idea and he being around to work with it, to capitalize on it. It was enough to drive you giddy with excitement.

"Lighthouse right? So we need to go... East. Let's go, we don't have much more time to lose."

"Yeah, that's the truth," Max said, his smile broad and his spirit alive. The cormorant attack and the revelation of what was happening had left him a bit stunned, but now he was back on top. Now he was Max Neill, Student Council President, Natural Leader. He could kill kings and topple mountains in this state.

Speaking of which...

"Hey, did I tell you guys what happened before I saw you? You know those cormorants, right?"

((Max Neill continued in Searching for Clues))
THE LIVING - V4
G087 - Rachel Gettys / Tambourine / The Groundskeeper's Hut / Babysitter: Ciel
B027 - Dustin Royal / Yatagan / Residential Area / Babysitter: Hollyquin
B108 - Ma'afu Tuigamala / Astra 400 (9mm) [x3 magazines (8 round capacity)] / The Tunnels / Babysitter: Inky


THE DECEASED - V4
B097 - Max Neill / The Lighthouse

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PIGE AND ARCH - SALES MASTERS!!!
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