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My Kingdom for a Plan!
Topic Started: Aug 10 2010, 04:34 AM (4,428 Views)
KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Aaron had described what was up, but said he didn't want to say in front of the cameras to prevent everyone from getting blown up. Well, of course he wouldn't. Danya had said that he didn't want people to try escaping, so he was going to detonate the collars of anyone who did actually try. It was a wonder that Aaron, Tom, herself, and those other people were still alive.

Where were they, anyways? Oddly enough, in spite of that oddball girl and that oddly dressed freak's suspicious nature, she didn't want to see them get killed, to be honest. Aileen could be pretty spiteful at times, she had to admit, but she wasn't the type to actually wish death on other people. Plus, it didn't help that despite all odds, she had a bit of a... protective streak that popped up from time to time, weirdly enough.

But, first things first. Deal with this, and worry later.

She couldn't help but be concerned, though. Now that she thought of it, that girl back at the gazebo could just as easily not be a potential murderer at all, and easily run into the line of fire. What then? Would it be their fault? How much of it would be her responsibility? Did she have a family, friends?

Aileen was interrupted from her thoughts by more talking. A male voice- presumably this "Richard"- had started shouting, calling out to Tom, and saying it sounded like Aaron had a plan. Aileen stepped forward, and got a more clear view.

It was indeed a different girl from the one that had been in the gazebo. Different looks, for one, and she did not have that unnerving calm that the girl in the gazebo did. But where was "Richard"? After a while, she realized what was going on, after a quick glance towards the nearby tree.

"Richard" had climbed up the tree because... well, she really did not have a clue. Nothing her classmates did ever make sense. Maybe he wanted to hide out, or... something. Again, no clue. Now, the girl was asking for them to help get him down.

Was it a trap of some kind?

After all, this "Richard" could be easily up in the tree with some kind of weapon, waiting for someone to walk by, while "Lily" could have been an accomplice. After all, Aaron did say that "Lilly" could possibly be insane, and she did say that was her name. But, Aileen couldn't help to get a closer look at the tree, despite the amount of fear and suspicious coursing through her.

Well, know what they say. Curiosity killed the cat...

And once she was at the foot of the tree, she got a more clear picture. A boy was indeed stuck up there, complete with daypack and everything. Again, how he got up there in the first place, she really had no clue.

Tom had said that he should throw down the bag first, and then continue. Aileen agreed with this thought.

"Alright, put the bag down first. Make sure you step on or grab only strong, sturdy thick branches", she called up to the boy. In the end, the part of Aileen that genuinely did care about others had won out, despite all common sense. Aileen put the handle of the hammer within the band of her skirt, making it somewhat awkward, but keeping it close by. She reached her hands out wide. "Once you're low enough, we can physically help you get down, or catch you if you fall."

Oh god, if this turns into one of those trust exercises where someone leans back and everyone has to catch them... damn, this would be a weird day. It's weird enough already, she thought, a frown forming on her face.
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

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MurderWeasel
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Well, things were going nicely. Though Aaron had been the one to initially offer help, Tom and Aileen had risen to the situation admirably, and any more direct intervention would just be micromanaging. That wasn't good leadership at all. Thus, Aaron made his way to Lily. He kept himself alert, looking around, prepared for an ambush. He did not expect one from Richard. Lily was a possibility, hence his movement to cover her. There was also the potential for outside interference. It was a dangerous position. There was too much cover, and his group wasn't really utilizing it at the moment.

Standing next to Lily, now feeling pretty certain she wasn't going to kill him, Aaron said, fairly quietly, hoping not to draw too much attention, "Alright. Tom and Aileen have Richard under control, it looks like, so we should be fine there. We have two or three more people who should catch up soon, unless they decided to run off. Another Lily, Rekka, and Francine. We're being very careful with the other Lily, because she's a bit unreliable and has a gun."

So far, so good. He would get Lily up to speed, make her feel welcome and connected to their success. Trusted. Then, with her solidified as a member of the group, he'd spring the part she wasn't likely to be a fan of. If she felt she belonged, was part of a team, then she would be far less likely to refuse. It was a good plan. He'd have to be quicker about it than he would have preferred, though, because he wanted it all done while the others were distracted, and, if that wasn't possible, at least before the laggers caught up. Because, truth be told, he still didn't entirely trust any of them. This was an awful environment, and, sooner or later, somebody in his group was sure to snap. It wasn't because of anything about his leadership; he had no doubt they'd hold it together better with him than they would on their own. He would still have to deal with someone being dumb at some point, though, and he wanted to be armed then. He had no idea what Lily had. She might have had a terrible weapon, like he did. On the other hand, she might have a submachine gun, like the girl who shared her name.

"There's just one little issue," Aaron said, now making his voice, normal, casual, not whispering or shouting, since either would draw attention or imply something amiss. "We had a vote, and agreed that any new members would have to hand over their weapons for a little while. Just until the announcements. We all met up at the start, so we know that none of us killed anyone, but it'd be impossible to tell with a new member. I trust you, but we can't bend rules this early, because it'd make some of the others upset. I mean, you don't have to stick with us, but I'd love it if you did, and I really do think we can pull this off. And you won't have to worry, since our group is armed and all. You'll be safe."

That had been a good bit of improvising. Aaron was pretty sure killers got on the announcements. It made sense. It would lead to people hunting them. Chasing them down. That would keep the game moving, as those who killed the killers became targets themselves. It would be a cycle of destruction. Exactly what Danya wanted.

Aaron glanced around again. Trees. Nobody new in sight. Others still distracted. Good. He was hoping Lily had a sword. Hoping that, whatever weapon she had, she wouldn't want it anyways. Then he could hang onto it. That would really be a help in getting him the respect he needed. Catwoman was not a leader's weapon. A sock full of rocks was not a leader's weapon. A claymore was, or a katana, or a fencing foil or something. A pistol. A rifle. There would be conflict at some point, and Aaron knew he was up to it. Knew he'd be better off than Lily. He had experience in this area. Granted, the bullets were poorly thrown beanbags, and the sword fights involved nothing more painful than foam, but that hardly mattered. The principles were the same.

Yes. He would be ready, to defend them from ambushes or his own allies, if they went crazy. If that happened, well, it would just be like rabid dogs. No matter how much you liked them, they were too far gone, so you put them down for everyone's safety. He briefly imagined himself shooting Tom, as the boy rushed him, frothing at the mouth, sword over his head. It would be doable. Definitely. But only if it was a necessity. And Aaron would be safe from the hunters, because he had a group who would vouch for him, explain that he'd done only what was necessary. Everything would be perfect.
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Tythanin
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[ *  *  * ]
'What am I going to do? Dammit...' Andrew thought bitterly to himself as he continued to hide behind the tree. He had overheard most of the students' conversation and it was obvious that they weren't hostile, at least for the moment. From what he had heard, one of them was even stuck in the three with his pack and weapon. And even if they were hostile to strangers for reasons Andrew couldn't really fathom, he had a gun. A gun he never fired before, but it was still a gun and it was definitely deadly. So really, the smartest option left to him was to just go out there, introduce himself, and see if he couldn't join their merry little group or at least get some more information about what was going on in the island.

Yet his feet stayed planted on the ground and he didn't move from his spot. After all, he could just stand here forever and watch. And his imagination was busy forming scenarios for the future. Like the man who had to choose between two paths, so did he have to choose between going out to meet the other students or just standing right here and playing it safe. Except instead of trying to find out the good path by deciphering the riddles of a liar and a truth-teller, his brain decided to skip all that and make all the scenarios one where he would die.

For instance, if he decided to go out there...he could either get killed by a paranoid member of the group who didn't want some extra weight. Or he could join them, but inevitably get backstabbed later as time went on and die in a pool of blood while there's a massive interparty massacre. Hell, maybe there didn't even need to be anything like that. He could just be walking along and trip and fall on a goddamn landmine for all he knew. That certainly wouldn't be pleasant. And if he decided to stay here and wait forever, no doubt some killer would show up and murder him in his sleep. And in fact, staying here was practically impossible if Danya decided to make this little patch of the woods a danger zone. He imagined his head blowing up and shivered, feeling a chill in his spine. His imagination was certainly being morbid right now.

His legs began to feel stiff from standing still for so long and he shifted in place, his foot coming down on a branch and snapping it in half. Andrew froze in place, wondering if the noise was loud enough for the others to hear. 'If it was...maybe I could pretend that I was just walking along and came across them? It's the truth, after all...I'll just omit the part where I was spying on them for several minutes.'

Licking his lips nervously, he walked out from behind the branch and hailed the small group with a wave. He began to jog towards them, stopping when there was just enough distance that he could reliably make a break for it if they decided to beat him with a baseball bat. He kept his gun concealed as well, keeping it behind his back...just in case. "Hey! I was wandering around the woods when I saw you guys...what's going on?"
"Oh god dammit, I lost my sense of humor around here. Someone help me find it."

---

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Gwbiii
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Lily's condition for joining the group seemed a silly one to Richard. He didn't need help getting down. He was doing just f-fine. The sudden need to rebalance took him by surprise, the jolt felt a lot like when he tried to fall asleep on the bus, i.e. uncomfortable and mostly pointless.

So when Tom offered to take his bag for him he was more than happy to oblige.

"Yeah, thank..."

"Alright, put the bag down first."

Aileen's?.. yes, Aileen's advice came as an additional pleasant surprise, sentence cutting though it was, and her talk of strong, sturdy, thick, branches made him smirk.

Don't say it.

Doooon't say it.

"That's wha-"

"Once you're low enough,.."

Saved.

"Okay, ready Tom?"

He dropped the bag without waiting for an answer. Waited a moment to watch its descent, then got back to the important business of getting out of the tree. Seeing Aaron chatting up Lily as he disengaged from his current branch added a sense of urgency to his disembarkation. It wasn't long before he was back on solid ground, his favourite audience member thankfully not seeing the way he'd stumbled a bit out of the last branch.

He approached the current holder of his daypack, taking another glance at Aaron as he did so. It looked like a very... one-sided conversation.

"Thanks for the help Tom."
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
Only after it was too late to do much of anything did it occur to Lily that Richard might have been perfectly able to get down from the tree on his own. It must have been embarrassing to be surrounded by friends who thought of him as a helpless kitten stuck in a tree. But then, when it was just him and Lily there, he had the perfect opportunity to avail of her help and he passed up that particular opportunity. He could have saved himself the particular embarrassment of having that whole group watch him struggle up there.

All of these possible explanations and justifications and rationalizations for everyone's behavior kept swimming through Lily's head, when to tell the truth, she was only concerned about Richard's well-being. Staying up in a tree was not a smart move on this island. While it did put him safely out of reach of those with melee weapons, anyone with a gun could just aim and shoot, and he'd have no cover and far less mobility than he would on the ground. Now he was in a much better position, and the crisis had passed, one way or another. In the wake of a certain far bigger crisis, it would be quickly forgotten.

As she watched Richard climbed down, she also listened to Aaron catching her up to the current situation. He'd formed a team, half of which had yet to arrive. None of the names he'd mentioned rang a bell with her, so she hoped that Aaron could vouch for them.

Oh, right. He just said he couldn't vouch for the other Lily. That was... worrying.

Aaron then laid the condition on her, just as Richard had almost made his way down. It was a smart condition, exactly the sort of thing that she would do in this situation. Or at least Roland would do it. She remembered her earlier apprehensions about her weapon and looked at her bag uneasily. This was as good a time as any to break the seal.

"Alright, Aaron," she said, reaching down and unzipping the bag. "You can have my weapon, whatever it-"

She caught a glimpse of a gun barrel underneath her first-aid kit. With the deliberate care of a man edging away from a rattlesnake, she moved the kit out of the way and saw firsthand the boon she'd been given. A first glance told her that the thing was made of plastic, with little nubs on the handle to help grip it. She didn't really know what to make of it; she saw a little narrow nub of plastic atop the barrel's end, a much smaller barrel underneath it, no hammer on the back that the people in the movies used. The only thing that kept her from assuming that it was a toy gun was the box of bullets, the box of pointy brass bullets with an indentation at the tip, that the gun sat atop.

With a nervous swallow, Lily reached in and grabbed the gun by the barrel, keeping the hole at the end pointed towards the ground and away from anyone's body, and extended it out in Aaron's direction. "Take it," she said.
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Blastinus
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That's Just Crazy Talk
[ *  *  *  * ]
Tom had not been prepared for the bag. Sure, he had braced himself, legs spread widely to absorb the shock better, but he hadn't expected the thing to be so darn heavy. It might have been the combined forces of both his daypack and Richard's weighing on his back, but as he caught it, he felt a protest of pain from his back, and he stumbled a step or two, nearly toppling onto the ground. Wouldn't that have been a comical sight, to see him falling beneath the weight of the bags, the only sign that he was under there being his shoes sticking out of the side.

Unfortunately, real life doesn't follow the rules of comedy, and as Richard reached solid ground, thanking Tom for his assistance, the wannabe comedian was only too happy to hand the bag off once more. "No problem, Richard," he said, cracking out the cricks in his back. "What's a little chiropractic care between friends?" Now that the weight was off of him, he let his own bag slide to the ground before sitting down himself. He noticed that Aaron was talking to the other Lily, possibly briefing her on the situation. "So..." he muttered to Richard, "why were you up in a...my gosh!"

As he had begun to talk, Tom had noticed Lily rummaging around in her bag for something. As she pulled out the object and passed it over to Aaron, it wasn't hard to mistake what it was. Somehow, probably through the mere luck of the draw, this Lily had also scored a gun. And yet, without much hesitation, she was handing it away...to Aaron. It didn't make much sense, but perhaps it meant that she really trusted the fearless leader to be in charge. Tom didn't, and seeing something like that pass into the hands of Aaron was indeed cause for alarm.

Standing to his feet and picking up his bag, Tom tensed himself to run. "You know," he said, trying to be casual, "There's...heh...there's another girl named Lily who also has a gun. Maybe you ought to hold onto it, just to, you know, keep the theme going. Heh..." Even he had to admit that the laughing was really fake. He wouldn't be fooling anyone into thinking that he was actually relaxed at this moment in time.
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KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
So down went the bag, falling into Tom's arms. However, the poor bastard, with the combined weight of his pack and Richard's, was clearly having trouble.

"Oh! Careful, careful!" she shouted almost on instinct, but a quick glance back at the tree told her that Richard was almost to the ground.

Okay, so he's out. Now what?

Tom started on asking what she and probably everyone else wanted to know; namely, what Richard was doing in the tree like some confused housecat. But, he cut himself off mid-sentence with a "My gosh!"

Aileen began to suspect the worst, judging by his reaction. Monty Pondworth with a chainsaw... that white supremist kid she always heard about waving a gun around in their direction... hell, any number of things could happen. But, as Aileen whipped around to what Tom was looking at, she saw Aaron and Lily, with some kind of... gun? Yeah, that was a gun. But Lily was giving it to him. Was this the Lily he was referring to after all, then? No, judging by the snippets of conversation and Tom's reaction about the other girl named Lily, probably not, or at least, she hoped. Apparently there was "another" Lily. The one at the gazebo? Probably, which had always been her first guess.

Though, she had just realized there was something else problematic with this Lily (and anyone else being brought to this team, for that matter) giving Aaron her gun. If she wasn't indeed the insane one, there was going to be a problem with her being able to protect herself, which meant the group would have to protect her personally. Aileen had her hammer, Tom had his sword, Aaron had taken her gun, and Richard, if they were going to be part of the group, had god knows what (she couldn't see any guns or anything on him just yet). Which left Lily defenseless. Maybe they could make some MacGuyver-style weapon or along those lines out of their supplies for her to use. Aileen could vaguely remember something in the "introduction" about making your own weapons, though for some reason they showed a picture of what appeared to be a shiv made out of a dildo and toothbrush. Then again, she was too busy being scared shitless to tell if that was what it was. If it was what it looked like, somebody had issues. Though...

Aileen was interrupted from her thoughts when she heard someone ask what's going on. It wasn't from anyone in the group, though. Turning her head, she could tell that some guy had approached.

Okay, who is this douche, and how long has he been nearby? Aileen thought, frowning.

A quick glance over, and Aileen sighed. They had not encountered anyone "psychotic" just yet, unless you count Other Lily and whoever the hell was running around dressed as someone in the Probihition era (she had already forgotten his name), and even those were arguable. After all, Other Lily also seemed like the type to skip into a danger zone without any thought, while Depression Dude had just said he was playing, which to be honest could mean any number of things.

Well, might as well humor him.

"Okay, we're stuck on a deserted island, forced to kill each other, and he-" she pointed at Richard. "-Was stuck in a tree. Please tell me what else that looks like?"

For a few seconds, she realized that it came out particularly harsh, and then spoke again.

"Look. I guess he was just stuck, is all."

Was it a good idea to tell him about the plan? Probably not. Unless someone else knew him... for now, she was going to see how the others reacted.
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

Coming to a V7 near you.
Bree Jones- "I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fish are smarter."
Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- "Next video? Oh man, tons of ideas, dude. Lemme get the makeup for that."

In Loving Memory

Kami's Promise for v6 (doing this again)


Let's show that private threads aren't necessary! I pledge not to start any private threads on island in V6. If I started a thread, you are welcome to join it.
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MurderWeasel
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Perfect. Everything was going exactly according to Aaron's plan. Tom and Aileen were busy with Richard. Aaron had Lily's undivided attention. And she had agreed. She would give him her weapon. And she didn't even know what it was. That was a bit of a rush. She was willing to trust him with her means of protection without even knowing what it was. The possibility that it could be a trick, a trap, was totally lost on Aaron. No, Lily had to be genuine.

She was. That fact was sealed the second she pulled the gun from her bag and handed it to him, hilt first. She was holding it by the barrel. He could have grabbed the trigger and pulled it, killed her on the spot. Of course, he would never do that. Lily had just become the most valuable member of his team, the most trusted person there. That was cemented when his previous second, Tom, decided it was a great time to play the insubordinate moron. Aaron closed his hand around the gun's handle, keeping his finger clear of the trigger, as he listened to the boy. He was almost tempted to spin and shoot, blow him down right there. That'd be a nice lesson for the others, show 'em who really was running the show. But no, there was no way that'd work. And besides, the gun might not be loaded.

Still, he had another challenge to overcome as a leader, another danger to watch out for. Now, at least, he was in a good position to defend himself.

So he laughed in response to Tom's comment. It wasn't hard. There were enough funny things still left in the world that he could easily conjure one to mind. Like the image of Tom rolling down a hill.

"That's a good one," he said, applying the smallest bit of pressure to the gun, tugging it just a hint, in the hopes that Lily would instinctively let go. He wasn't going to force her to surrender it if she changed her mind, but he really, really wanted to maintain possession for the moment. Glancing at Lily, he said, "Tom's the group's morale guru. Humor's a great way to keep calm, aware, and on top of things. Oh, and once the announcements come on and you're cleared, I'll give it right back, if you want."

Another piece fell into place. He'd sown the seeds of doubt there, hinted that perhaps there would be reason for Lily not to want her weapon returned. It would be his job to help her come up with those reasons over the next few hours. Yes. Once he had secured himself as the dominant member of the party on both the physical and intellectual front, he would have an easy time steering it right. After that, escape was inevitable. They just had to find Bounce. Oh, and he'd have to see Tom kicked to the curb somewhere along the line. The boy was far too dangerous to remain in the group. Yes, Aaron would step carefully around him from now on. Make sure he never stood close enough to catch a sword in the back.

Then someone else called out. Great. Another newcomer. Flashes of irritation. They'd been here too long. It would be the gazebo all over again. People coming out of the woodworks, the group swelling with undesirables, troublemakers and dissidents, potential murderers.

"Hello," Aaron called out, after Aileen had finished her response. "We've got a little group going here. Hoping to find our way out of this mess."

This time, he specifically avoided any language implying invitation. Better if this new person went away. Especially if he was well-armed. Aaron did not want to see Tom placed on an even footing. Speaking of, he had to do a little prep work if his gun was going to mean anything. He still didn't know if it had bullets in it. He said to Lily, with his voice pitched low, "I don't suppose you know if this is loaded, or have any ammunition? It'd be best if it was ready for action, just in case we have to defend ourselves. I've got a basic idea of how it works, so we shouldn't have any trouble scaring an attacker off."

Good. Get it loaded if it wasn't. His plan was progressing. The next step was to move them on, find them cover. It was rapidly becoming apparent that Rekka, Francine, and the other Lily would not be joining them. That presented some obstacles, but Aaron's group had swelled enough that he no longer needed them. He'd just have to smooth their absence, maybe cast them in an unflattering light. Then they'd take Richard's weapon (he hoped it wasn't a dangerous one) and move somewhere safe, and plan out their search for Bounce.

It was brilliant.
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selphie_trabia
The faceless fear
[ *  *  * ]
((Hermione continued from Don't go Breaking my heart...))

Hermione pulled her bag up her arm and pulled it over her head so that the straps from both bags crossed her waist much like a purse would be. Nestled inside the open zipper of one of the bags was the easy-bake oven, which she had not yet abandoned.

By now, Hermione was past the point of exhaustion. Some sort of insane inanity kept her moving through the day, as if the constant walking were going to bring her back to the camping grounds that the students were meant to get to. She’d gotten lost at some point and hadn't even eaten anything yet, ignoring it her hunger in favour of trying to keep her mental picture of the world the way it was supposed to be.

Her hair was flat now, but thankfully not tangled. She’d made some sort of attempt to style it with the make-up products that she’d kept in one of her bags, but found that brushing it was difficult to do while on the move. Her brush was returned to her bag soon after she had started as she had been too tired to follow through with styling her hair. At least her makeup wasn’t awful. She’d wiped the remainder off it off with a towel in the evening, but hadn’t bothered with proper cleansing and skincare, figuring that she’d do it when she reached the “campsite”. Without it, however, the bags under her eyes could easily be seen.

Spotting a group of students up ahead, Hermione smiled and waved at them.

“Hi! Hey! Hey everyone... Hey... I’m so happy to see you!” she babbled cheerfully (and slightly incoherently), "How are you doing? I got lost! Have you been to the campsite? Could you tell me where it is? I could really use something to eat. You know what they say, a healthy girl needs to have a healthy appetite!"
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Tythanin
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Time to Spare
[ *  *  * ]
'I have really got to stop believing that my daydreams will tell me what exactly is going to happen.' Andrew thought to herself as he stood out there in the open. A hearty "Oh hey!" he had expected or maybe even a huge "Fuck off!" followed by minutes of frantic running the hell away. Calm indifference and ignorance followed by a flare of "Who the hell are you?" wasn't really on the list of things he had been looking for and Andrew was half-tempted to just start shooting so that things would actually be the way he thought they would be. He didn't, of course. He might have been upset, but that was such a petty reason to turn to violence. He couldn't help but imagine himself as the star of some action movie flick, though, fighting against the evil of students turned bad as he jumped and dodged and rolled through waves of gunfire, confidently spouting off one-liners as he plugged one of his classmates through the heart.

He shivered a bit, shaking that image out of his head. 'Okay, gotta...not do that. Real life definitely isn't a movie.'

Still, if they were making a group...if he could get into it, it'd make his life easier. Safety in numbers, after all. But he was still kind of pissed off and there were like, what, five of six people in there already? And another girl just running up that seemed to know them? He doubted they'd want another person trying to horn into their business (although that just made him want to do it more to piss them off), so he just gave a shrug and a slight wave. "Best of luck to you, then."

With that, he turned and jogged off. He was tired of this place and there were certainly kinder people out there that he could team up with.

(Andrew Mitchell continued in Milk of Human Kindness.)
Edited by Tythanin, Oct 4 2010, 02:25 AM.
"Oh god dammit, I lost my sense of humor around here. Someone help me find it."

---

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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Saving Lily from inactivity here. Hoping Geno does the same for Richard.))

Lily gave Tom the exact sort of look that Aaron gave to him after she passed him her gun. If anything, it was even stranger. This guy somehow found it within him to crack a weak joke in this sort of circumstance? It wasn't even a joke that could be considered mood-lightening. For whatever reason, he didn't want Aaron to get Lily's gun. He seemed to have a ploy in mind, possibly a scheme. She was too upfront to have much experience in those matters.

She ended up paying him no further attention. When Aaron brought up the matter of her getting it back, she shook her head. "No, you keep it," she told him. "I don't want it."

Having such an instrument, having the ability to end someone's life with a motion of the index finger... it wasn't her burden to bear. She didn't trust herself to use it responsibly, didn't trust herself not to be seduced by its power. All it would take was one reflexive shot and nothing would ever be the same again. Once she'd crossed that threshold, it would prove difficult to recover, and she didn't think her faith was strong enough to survive that event.

She wasn't a fool. She knew that there would be, had already been, violence committed in this place. She knew that despite her best efforts, her cohorts would likely end up ending someone else's life. But she would try to stem the tide anyway, and the first step was in depriving herself of temptation. Someone else would make better use of that gun. It might as well be Aaron.

After the passing of the weapon concluded, she reached into her bag and found the box of bullets. They rattled around as she lifted it. She saw a sheaf of paper sticking out of the top. "Those must be the instructions, I guess," she told Aaron as she handed him the box. "I guess the gun is yours now."

Lily found herself trapped in an awkward silence despite the appearance of a confused boy sitting at the sidelines. Aaron was forthright with him, while Aileen seemed a bit hostile. Whoever he was, he reconsidered joining them, and ran the other way.

But then came another visitor who forced Lily to take a greater interest in her.

Hermione Miller looked a fright. It wasn't so much because of disheveled clothes and dirtiness - she'd managed to stay mostly untouched so far - but because of the look in her eyes. They weren't entirely in focus the way everyone else's were, almost as if she wasn't seeing the same thing as they were. Her smile was even worse; nothing about it was genuine or natural. In fact, her entire face reminded her of that one story she'd heard of that one time. The Something Wives.

She asked them about the campsite, and requested food. It took Lily a few seconds to get over her discomfort and answer. "Hermione... there is no campsite. And all I've got for food is some bread, and not that much of it." She wouldn't believe her, of course, but it was all Lily could think of to say.
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Blastinus
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That's Just Crazy Talk
[ *  *  *  * ]
I don't understand these people. Don't they know better than to just give things away to strangers?

As Lily apparently saw nothing wrong with handing away her weapon to Aaron, and Aaron likewise seemed to just be making jokes about it, Tom felt a large amount of frustration swelling up. His hand was itching to grasp hold of his blade and run Aaron through with it, but he resisted the temptation. Not everybody could have common sense, and he could always use Lily for a meat shield. It was the least that she deserved, given her lack of common sense. All the same, he wished that there was some way to release the frustration, as he really felt like yelling or something.

"Welcome to the club, I guess," he said, and was about to suggest that the group make shelter, given that the day was waning, when someone else came up, spouting something about the campfire and getting something to eat. That was pretty much when Tom lost it, and he snapped at Hermione while waving his arms wildly, "What the...what in the the...are you...are you stupid or something? There's no campfire, there are no big meals, and after a day or two, you won't be healthy either! Good golly, how delusional would you have to be to still think that we're at camp? Didn't you even notice your collar, you ditz!? You're the dumbest, most idiotic, most moronic, most retarded being I have ever met. GOSH!"

Turning away from the group, Tom marched further into the woods, feeling remarkably satisfied. "I'm going this way," he shouted back. "You guys should probably do the same." After covering a certain distance, he muttered, mostly to himself, "What's wrong with these people? Am I doomed to be surrounded by morons all of my life?" He already knew the answer to that one, but he figured that it was a question worth asking.

(Tom Guthrie continued in Spelunking)
V7 Kids
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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Greatest apologies to Kami, but Aaron is required for a certain scene. Everyone impacted should have PMs by now.))

Perfect. Lily handed the ammunition and instruction manual to Aaron, and said he could keep them. Just like that. About time someone made a smart call. Now he was in an actually good spot. He was armed. He could cover his inexperience with the gun by reading how it worked (though, really, how hard could firing a gun be?). He was now the most heavily armed member of the group. Just another little thing cementing the structure, adding to the cohesion. Concentrating power in the leader kept things running smoothly, and that would be vital if they were going to make it out of this alive. Poor planning and disorganization would kill them quicker than any loony with a gun.

"Thanks, Lily," Aaron said. "I'll use it well if I have to, but with any luck we'll never need it."

Another girl turned up, and the guy from before left. It was like a poor comedy sketch, one bumbling buffoon after another trotting onstage, trying to join up or sidetrack them or whatever it was they were doing. It was getting very, very old. The new girl was someone Aaron didn't know, but everything about her screamed ditz, down to the fact that she was apparently too dumb to figure out what was going on. Well, that was her issue. She'd die, and someone would be sad, and life would move on for those who were actually competent enough to make an effort at getting out of this.

Lily tried to be nice to her, which wasn't optimal. Aaron did not want dead weight following them around, and if this girl didn't know they were on SOTF, it was a safe bet she didn't have a worthwhile weapon. Finding a gun in one's bag tended to be a good indication that something wasn't right. Fortunately, it seemed Tom had had enough too. He said everything Aaron wanted to. It was challenging to avoid grinning at that moment.

It was equally challenging for Aaron to hide his displeasure when Tom set off. He was, yet again, taking way too much initiative. Challenging Aaron's authority in subtle ways. Making himself a liability. Because, one thing was sure: Groups did not benefit from power struggles. There was room for one leader, and Tom was the less competent contender. Had he known what he was doing to a greater degree, had he possessed some charm or charisma or spark, perhaps Aaron could have made things work better. Perhaps they could have shared the top, delegating different tasks, or, heck, Aaron could have taken the supporting role. But no. Tom had to go, and sooner rather than later.

For a second, Aaron felt the urge to tell the others to leave Tom, to lead them off in another direction. He couldn't, though, not after framing the departing boy as an integral member of the team. His hands were tied. Lovely. So he said, "Right, let's go. We won't find Bounce by sitting still all day, and it's too risky here, since this little stretch of woods seems quite well-traveled."

Then, turning to the new girl, he said, "You're welcome along if you'd like, but you'll need to turn your weapon over to Aileen until the announcements, just so we can be sure you haven't hurt anyone. Otherwise, you're free to go."

With that, Aaron started after Tom. He kept his speed to a quick walk. It simply wouldn't do to run after a subordinate.

((Aaron Hughes continued in Spelunking))
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KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The newcomer just looked surprised, and shrugged and ran off.

Well, that was weird.

Aileen couldn't help but wonder what would happen if he got killed. But god, she really needed to learn not to be a bleeding heart for every person she encountered here. Everyone here could turn out to be a killer or rapist, and she was sure that they would have no mercy on someone like her. She was just the snarky chick who sat in the library reading books. To most people out of upwards of 200 students, she was guessing, there was probably no reason to keep her alive. But what about the rest of the people in this group? To be honest, she didn't know most of them very well. But, that didn't mean that she wouldn't mind if they died. Quite the contrary, actually. So what if he...

As she stared at the boy running away, Aileen sighed, and then said "Do you guys mind if I get some water? I'm kind of dehydrated, and-"

Oh great, someone new.

As she turned to face the new person to approach, she saw that it was a girl this time. Said girl was noticeably attractive, like she had stepped out of a magazine or something. But, as she started talking, it became clear that if there was indeed a god, it gave her those looks to compensate for a lack of intelligence. It was either that, or that she was so far up into denial that King Tut was probably still alive and well to her. Apparently, she thought that they were still at the campsite. At least that other kid could have meant anything when he was asking what was going on. Here, she seemed sure that they were going to be at the campsite, and everything was going to be okay.


To be honest, Aileen envied her ignorance.


Tom, however, immediately seemed to snap at her. God, and she thought her oh-so-charming wit at that other guy was horrible? He was really taking a beating at her. Aileen looked at the new newcomer, checking to see what was going on in her mind. And so, Tom stormed off, muttering to himself why was he surrounded by idiots.

Oh god damn it. He was going to die out here if he wandered off alone. Fortunately, he invited the rest of them over, thank goodness. Thing is, though, it probably wasn't a good idea to have people storming off like this.

Aaron followed, saying that if the new girl wanted to join the group, she had to hand her weapon over to Aileen until the announcements. If she did... great, another weaponless person they had to defend. But, Aileen might as well comply.

She went to grab her things, and once she had her daypack and duffel slung over her shoulder, she called out to the other girl. "Hey, uh... god, I don't know your name. But it's probably a good idea to... well, you're stuck here, okay? We're all stuck here, and we are going to die, most likely by our classmates. Uh... check your daypack. I think it had a guide made by Mr. Douchey that explains it."

Turning to Lily and Richard, she sighed. God, with Aaron, Tom, them, and whoever this new girl was, she was starting to feel like a battered babysitter or mother. Who knew that this trip would involve getting her classmates out of trees, chasing after wherever Aaron and/or Tom went off to, and snapping people out of their denial? When her mother always told her to "socialize", this probably wasn't what she had in mind.

"Guess we should follow them, then. Come, guys, if you want to stay with us..."

And so, she turned and went on her way.

She doubted that she would be able to keep track of them and stick up with them for this long, but it was worth a shot.

((Aileen Borden continued in Where Do You Go From Here?))
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

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selphie_trabia
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Hermione tried her best not to hear Tom’s ranting, but she was too tired to block all of it out. Her smile faded somewhat when he started insulting her intelligence. She winced at his anger, feeling her heart tighten and shivers being sent down her spine from a wave of hurt feelings that washed over her entire body.

The worst part about being stupid was knowing that you weren’t ever going to be smart. It didn’t help to know that your parents were smart and that you looked up to them. It didn't help that you want to be smart but can't.

Hermione knew that she was never going to be particularly successful in academic fields, but it didn’t stop her from trying hard to get good grades at school. The fact that she often failed was a reminder that she wasn’t born with the natural intelligence of others. She was painfully aware that other kids at school made fun of her lack of intelligence behind her back.

Hermione’s eye twitched a little. Her grip tightened on the straps of her bag just a little.

She turned to the rest of the group after Tom stormed off...

...and put on her sunniest smile.

"He seemed pretty angry didn't he?" she asked gently, "I know I'm not smart, but he didn't have to be so mean about it."

She listened as the others spoke. She watched their eyes. These people weren’t her friends. She stared at Aaron, not even bothering to rifle through her mental portfolio of social hierarchies. She already knew what these people were thinking.

They thought that Tom was right. They thought she was stupid. She knew she was stupid. She hated every minute of it. She wouldn’t travel with people who saw her as less than human because of it.

"You're so silly Aaron. I don't have any weapons." she asked, "Why would I bring weapons to a school trip? Someone gave me this oven, though.”

“Anyway, you probably don’t want someone stupid like me slowing you down, right? That’s what you’re thinking, right?” Her voice cracked a little as she continued her sentence, but her smile didn't break “That’s okay. Everyone thinks that. I won’t slow you down. So, have a nice time and... goodbye!”

She waved goodbye at them and walked off.

((Hermione Miller continues on in Missing Those Lost))
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