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Under The Sea Is Where No One Wants To Be; THREAD CLOSED
Topic Started: Aug 10 2010, 07:10 PM (3,709 Views)
Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"OI!"

G090: Start

Kari Nichols broke into a run. She grabbed the gun thumping against her chest, finding purchase for her fingers on the folding stock and wrenching it open. She directed her flight towards a ridge of rock that obscured her view of whoever was screaming and, feeling a little bit heroic and a large bit foolhardy, made a giant leap off the ridge towards the beach.

Just over an hour earlier, as judged by her digital watch, Kari had pushed herself out of a heavy dream and into reality. There was no stewing in uncertainty, no slow realization for her. She had woken cursing her unconsciousness and cursing the terrorists. Her landing had been the best she could've hoped for, she thought as she surveyed the rut left in the sand by her tumbling body and got to her feet. First order of business was to check her surroundings for hostiles.

Second order of business was a few solves of her Rubik's Cube. She couldn't resist, and besides, she mused, pinching the stop timer button on her watch, it served as a useful metric.

"Twenty-one and a third seconds. Man, am I ever nervous."

A few runs later, she opened her bag and stowed the cube, then turned her attention to her standard-issue daypack. Immediately after undoing the zipper, a thrill ran up Kari's spine, followed by a renewed sense of shock and dread. A gun with two uncomfortably long clips lay on top of everything. She examined it. There was no question that the weapon meant business. There was no polished cherry stock, no foam rubber contoured grip, no ergonomically designed trigger; just death stamped out of sheet metal. Removing it from her bag revealed an owner's manual, from which she discerned that it was called a Madsen M50, that it shot a 9mm slug (Was that good, she wondered?), and that yes, it meant business. The whole thing, apparently, was so simplistic that she little doubted her ability, had she access to a good wrench to work off the barrel locking nut, to remove every piece and reassemble it in perfect working order.

The rest of the contents were of little interest to her at the moment, but she dumped them (minus Mr. Danya's Guide to Survival) into her own bag. The guide and her "personalized" pack could burn, for all she cared; she wasn't G090. She was Kari Nichols.

The next order of business was to thin out her bulging bag. Extra jeans, out; you could wear a good pair for weeks if you really wanted to, anyways. Most of the rest of her clothing was also tossed, barring the undergarments, which were a more integral part of personal hygiene and comfort - not like hygiene was a realistic goal in this place. Once she was happy, she set off to wander. Destination: unknown.

Not long after, the glint of a camera caught her eye, and she turned to face it as another hot jolt of realization flashed through her, just like the one the M50 had sent. She was on TV. Of course she knew the whole thing was a TV show, but catching sight of the cameras - it must be something you really had to see for yourself to understand. Millions of people could be watching her, maybe betting on her lifespan or commenting on the length of her sleep. And, she realized with another jolt, that meant that people much more important to her were watching. Dad's watching me, she thought. And Stephen and Charlie and mom. They can't see me die. They won't see me die!

At that point, she unshouldered her pack and retrieved the submachine gun, snapping a long clip into place and looping the strap around her shoulder. She decided then that it would be her constant companion. She needed to be ready, because if she was caught unaware and unarmed, she didn't like to think of what awaited her. She couldn't stand the thought of dying in this place, but even more so, she felt almost sick at the thought of leaving behind a corpse armed to the teeth.

If I die in this place, I promise that there will not be a single round left in this gun, a single blade left unblunted, a single fingernail not broken and bleeding from their broken grip on life. If the Reaper's gonna collect me, he better prepared to take me by force.

Back in the present, Kari looked at her feet, trying desperately in her short, rapid flight to find good purchase for her feet. She landed a bit roughly, stumbling slightly on the rocky section of the beach.

"Hey!" she bellowed, "Leave her!"

And then, peering around for the altercation, she spotted Carol, and understood. It was tough going over the rocky detritus that seemed eager to twist and snap unprepared ankles, but Kari worked her way onto the sand, then jetted over to where Carol lay. "Carol! Don't worry," she panted, extending her hand downwards, "It's OK."
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Myriad scenes flitted through Kari's mind when she heard the scream in the distance.

This was not one of them.

Her SMG could fire on full auto, but her mouth seemed to be all jammed up. A million words twisted over in her mind, one for every scenario that didn't involve breaking a classmate's illusions. It wasn't fair. Why should she have to break it to Carol? Danya had already broken it to them. Shattered it, in fact. Just like their lives. It pained Kari to see someone so unprepared for the world of pain and murder stretching out before them to the end of their life, which couldn't be long - not when she, Kari, was going to win it all.

"Carol," she started. Her voice lacked all the steely decisiveness and calming assurance she tried to pour into it. She stopped flat, acknowledging a thought that came screaming out of nowhere - how much nicer it would be if Carol was pointing some wicked instrument into her face, something nice and spiky and full of malice and maybe explosives. At least then she'd know what to do. Flip her ponytail back unnecessarily, take a firm stance, point her weapon right back. And if she thought about it long enough, she could even convince herself that she'd find the guts to pull the trigger. She would ruin a life, but she could do so in glorious, justifiable self-defense. If only she could find the guts. She swallowed.

"We're... not in Minnesota any more. We're really far away. Like, really far. I'd tell you to sit down, but -" she couldn't contain it any more, "Survival of the Fittest. Survival of the Fittest, Carol, do you know what that means? That's not a lake. That's the ocean. The ocean! And there," she pointed, swivelling around, "or there, or there - some way, there's home. Don't you remember the auditorium? Were you awake? Those teachers... He shot them. And," she blazed onwards, rattling the gun before her in two white-knuckled hands, "This. If he was here, I'd shoot him, I really think I would."

Breathing deeply, Kari cast an eye over the wide expanse of blue, but quickly swept her gaze back over the beach. It was on land, not by sea, that people would come, and there really wasn't time to stop and smell the roses. Or, for that matter, dead fish and rotting seaweed.

Wrinkling her nose and wiping her eyes, she turned back to Carol, extending her hand downwards again. "Come one. Let's get out of here."
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Well, crap.

Bracing for impact hadn't helped, and Kari's heart melted at Carol's reaction. She hauled Carol up off the ground, brushing a bit of sand off and squeezing her in a quick hug that was as much to bolster Kari's own constitution as to comfort the other girl. She dearly hoped that Carol hadn't noticed the cold, hard, impersonal steel of the M50 that slipped between them for the brief moment. That was when she heard the voice calling over the sea breeze and gently breaking swells.

Rein, that kid's fine as long as he doesn't try anything stup-
She suddenly caught sight of Simon as well.
What, are we being stalked? Two guys just suddenly show up out of nowhere? Mr. Grey won't hurt a fly, though, not if it's got two X chromosomes. Kinda creepy that way, actually...

"Carol, grab your pack and come on," she urged under her breath, and then turned. Deliberately, pointedly, Kari took hold of the folding stock and worked it so that it lay flat against the side of her weapon. The message, she hoped was clear; Hostilities weren't on the schedule, but God help anyone so foolish as to try to upset the status quo. Then, more diplomatically, she spoke again. "Uhh, hey there. Guys. Both of you. I'm good for now, I think Carol just needs a bit of space, I'm sure you'll understand. Girl thing, you know?"

"Come on now, look, I'll grab the daypack if you need me to..." Kari's attention was turned back to Carol, with whom she felt a maddeningly strange sort of kinship. It wasn't like they were best friends or anything, or really knew each other past in-class interaction. Was it just because Carol was the first girl, really the first person she had encountered? Or maybe it was because she displayed the weakness that Kari felt. At any rate, she thought, she couldn't go around pouring her heart and soul into helping and comforting every one of the 270 other lost souls on the island - trying to do so would certainly just end in tears. Especially since she, Kari, had to win, and that meant that everyone, at some point or another, had to meet their untimely ends. At the same time, though, the feelings of warmth and concern seemed very genuine...
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
For a moment, Kari stood still, watching the two young men draw back and wondering how in the world she had obtained such an easy acquiescence from them. Then turning to the rest of Carol's gear, she realized why.

Seven pounds of mass-produced death swung around by her side, reminding her how disturbingly familiar it had become, and also why she seemed to have gained such powers of persuasion. It was simple, of course: she, Kari Nichols, was packing heat. Under her hands it felt cold and hard in the conventional sense, as well as somewhat reassuring and only slightly offputting. From someone else's perspective, though, it would seem cold not in the sense that ice is cold, but in the sense that pushing someone off a cliff is cold; and not hard in the sense of diamonds or steel, but hard in the way that a tumble over a cliff is hard. It would also seem, she thought, quite the opposite of reassuring and very much offputting. She should probably be more careful about swinging the thing around, but it did give her a nice command of the current situation.

And then she saw what she had missed looking at Carol's baggage for the first time, and another twisted stream of emotion ran through her. It was a shotgun. Kari's SMG was by no means inadequate - just one bullet wound could be a death sentence, given the location and the situation, and those wickedly long magazines held plenty more than just one. But a shotgun... There was something about it, some intangible sense of presence normally associated with field artillery. Kari's gun could throw half a dozen rounds through a human head - but only Carol's could remove it. And then came the sense of longing, a guilty sort of feeling she knew would do nobody any good but that she also knew would not go away. Surely Carol didn't want to deal with the thing? Surely it would be better in the hands of someone stronger, more together, more terrified of failing? Someone, to put it bluntly, who deserved it more? Kari couldn't block the brief mental image - falling back through some passage or doorway, whirling about, putting the decisive finisher through some faceless competitor's chest, someone she didn't know because how could she pull the trigger on one of her friends...

She shook her head, trying to clear it of such horrible, indecent thoughts. She laid a hand on her own weapon, but she only pushed it to the side, readjusting its position and reassuring herself. And then, with a returned sense of worry for her classmate's well-being, walked up the beach beside Carol, staying just behind her and to the side opposite the dangling shotgun, keeping what she presumed to be a respectful silence and inclining her head slightly toward Rein and Simon, acknowledging their presence and trying to indicate the acceptance behind the hostility.
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kari took Rein's hand, feeling grateful and just a little confused.

How in the world can he be so trusting? I mean, I helped Carol, but that's... different. I mean, she sounded like she was in danger and I was armed, and I can't just let someone die like that, not when I can do something about it.

She gave a little frown that had nothing to do with the goings-on around her, and Carol introduced her before she could open her mouth.

But if I came running because I've got this gun, does that mean I thought I was going to start shooting at someone? And if I shot someone, wouldn't someone die anyways? And either way, one more kid's not getting home - one less kid to stop me from going home.
She scolded herself for that last part.

Carol kept talking, which was good, because it kept everyone occupied with no input from herself. There was the good old "We're not bad people" speech, which Kari correctly guessed to be quite common in SotF despite taking no interest in it back at home. And the offer to group up, which naturally followed. Kari's eyes pierced the distance, while the light breeze played with loose strands of hair. Then she turned, feeling a sudden venomous distaste for Carol's assertiveness. It passed quickly but only increased her confusion. After all, she was grateful, not angry, that she didn't have to speak while she thought. But then again, if she did speak, she wouldn't have been disturbed by her pondering...

"You're right," she started, seizing the initiative, "We should move out, I don't like being all exposed and stuff. We can see really far, but that also means people really far away can see us." For lack of ideas, she opened dug her given map out of her bag and looked at it. "Where should we go, though? We can't go into the open, but we shouldn't go anywhere too tight, or we'll lose our advantage."

She looked down briefly at the gun hanging from her shoulder. Their advantage, that was a good way to put it. And really, besides weaponry, was there really any other advantage this group had?
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Rattlesnake
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Now you may be wondering, who was wearing the bolo tie? Me or the shark? Answer: YES!
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((I'm a horrible person. Posting at last.))

Kari stood, patiently letting everyone examine the map in her hands. As much as she wanted to, she couldn't come up with some brilliant flash of inspiration that would wow the group and elucidate clearly their next move. The problem was, of course, that every place on the island would be, in the end, the same - some decrepit facility, with unbalanced students waving weaponry back and forth, doing who knows what, thinking they had a chance. The only real variables would be the number of students, the progress of their mental breakdowns, and the amount of cover they'd get. Grouping up would only delay the inevitable. And yet she felt safe, or as safe as she thought it was possible to feel here. Simon, Rein, they surely didn't deserve to die. And just minutes ago, she had rescued Carol from her personal terror, given her comfort. The problem, she thought, was that she cared. There was no way she could "play the game", as they put it. And yet she had to win...

They kept talking. The church? The warehouse? They were as good as anything, and close to boot. But she didn't want to end up in a firefight at the church, that would be just a little too much... The warehouse, though, that would give them ad advantage, wouldn't it? There was space to run, and to shoot, though it would sound like a bowling tournament in a cookie sheet factory. She stroked the back of her weapon.

"The warehouse definitely sounds good, I don't know if we'll be alone there, though. And I'm sure there's someone making their peace at the church, too. But I guess it's the best we can do."

And now Simon was giving instructions. They weren't bad instructions, and there was really no reason not to go along with it. Something about simple acquiescence got under her skin, and she had to at least say something.

"Alright, but I have to warn you, this thing only has full auto, and I don't really want to be behind anyone, in case... stuff happens. Also, it doesn't actually have a safety, you just hold it a certain way and it fires and I don't want to, like, do some accidental friendly fire."

All the same, she stowed the map back in her bag, and followed Simon off the beach.

((Kari Nichols continued in Pearl and Destiny))
VeeFive


V4


NO. THERE IS NO MORE TIME, EVEN FOR CAKE. FOR YOU, THE CAKE IS OVER. YOU HAVE REACHED THE END OF CAKE.

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