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When My Fist Clenches, Crack It Open; Day Four
Topic Started: Nov 24 2010, 02:23 AM (4,029 Views)
MurderWeasel
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((Aaron Hughes continued from Where Do You Go From Here?))

Into the woods they went, though not the nearby woods, due to an inopportune danger zone rotation. Aaron was somewhat twitchy and uneasy. Despite his confidence in his plan, he was still saddled with questionable help. There were a lot of ways things could go very wrong. More than that, he felt constricted by the metal collar around his neck. He could get it off, if he had to. He was pretty sure of that now. The thing was, this wasn't the sort of thing that would work multiple times. He'd have a couple minutes to get his whole group free, assuming nobody was watching him as he started, and then there'd be alarm bells going off all over the terrorists' headquarters, people panicking, the whole lot. There would be forces dispatched to kill him and anyone else he managed to release.

So the removal of collars was secondary. It was a failsafe, something to bail them all out if the other tricks he had up his sleeve didn't work for some reason. The primary goal, the ultimate form of rebellion and the best step to freedom, would be to take down the cameras. This was what Aaron hoped he could do. Disabling the cameras was a death sentence, though, so his only hope was to knock them all out at once. One big bang, and the terrorists wouldn't be able to see who was flipping them off or shooting people or whatever, much less who had destroyed their precious equipment. The only tricky bit would be making sure everything went down exactly as planned. One hiccup and they'd all be dead. If Aaron couldn't be completely certain that everything would go right, if he couldn't guarantee that the cameras would all die at once, he'd get the collars off first.

He was lost in thought again, unfocused on his surroundings and his followers. It felt like it had been some time since he had slept. A day? Two? That was probably not a good thing. Were his allies even following him anymore? It was certainly possible that they had drifted off somewhere. At the moment, Aaron was feeling kind of apathetic towards this whole leader role. He liked having people listen to him. Liked doing good things. Liked getting a little respect, for once. The responsibility could be grating, though. He wondered what would have happened had he not encountered Tom on the first day. Perhaps he'd have gone off on his own, holed up somewhere, schemed and waited and enacted his plan ages ago. Maybe lives would have been saved. Then again, maybe it would have been too much. Maybe he'd have started playing to win.

The need to kill others to survive was something that, disturbingly enough, Aaron did not find that hard to understand. It was, however, something he couldn't do. It was repugnant and repulsive, but he got why people went down that path. After all, in the end, it was the only way people who lacked the smarts for escape could survive. What was morality in the face of death? Dying for ideals was stupid. The only reason to do it was when death was assured, when it made no difference.

Aaron was no idealist. He could play the hero, sure. He'd done it for years, every few weekends, with a cape and a foam sword. But all heroism was just play, just acting. Everyone left on this island had selfish reasons for everything they did. No hiding from it. People protected others because it made them feel good. They killed because it let them live longer.

They led escape groups because one person was a lot more screwed than twenty when a squad of armed terrorists showed up.

Aaron sighed. Also, being a leader meant he could get a guard set up and get some rest soon. He needed it. Needed to pull his thoughts together. He'd gotten a bit ahead again, so he scribbled more into his notebook, keeping it shielded from the cameras.

He looked around for one, shot it a smile. How funny, that the instrument of their captivity was to be so key to their liberation.
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It didn't take long for Lily and Aileen to catch up. Good. Aaron was not feeling super patient at the moment. Definitely not feeling like having to stand around forever while they caught up. They really should have been keeping pace. Should have been making more of an effort to keep the group together. After all, Aaron was the leader. It was his job to set the speed. If they had issues, they should have told him so. Still, he liked having his little breathers, his times to sort his plans. Liked the fact that he actually knew what he was doing.

The largest annoyance at the moment was that Richard was missing. Again. It seemed like the boy wandered off at every possible opportunity. It was very, very difficult for Aaron to keep his cool in the face of that. Coupled with Aileen's neediness and his own fatigue, it was very certainly approaching time to take a rest, before he completely lost it and kicked half the group out, told them, if they were so smart and self-reliant, to find their own damn escape plan. Still, that wouldn't be the right thing to do. He had to keep his help. Had to save them. Save everyone. The things he did to help people astounded him.

Aileen was interrogating him. Again. Probably hoping for more information. Good thing he'd had time to write. Good thing he'd taken the extra precaution of writing across non-sequential pages. No way was he going to tip the whole plan to his allies. If he did, there would be several instant problems. Someone, like Richard, would probably read everything aloud, for one. Even if he could prevent that particular disaster, they'd instantly be wanting more details, more specifics. Or, worse, they'd decide to revolt, decide they'd had enough of being led by someone sane and intelligent, and just kill him and enact the plan without his assistance. That seemed the sort of thing Aileen might pull. Lily would probably intercede on his behalf, and he did have the gun, but that wouldn't guarantee victory, and, more than that, even if he emerged triumphant he would need a new group.

Time to dole out another little tidbit, though, to keep Aileen from feeling like no progress was being made. Checking the angles of the nearby cameras, making sure they wouldn't see anything, Aaron showed her the first page of plans.

it seems pretty clear, given the lack of electricity around the island, that they don't want us to have acess to power. the question, then, is why? i think we can probly assume that its because electricity is some how dangerous to their plans. the thing is, there's electricity all around us. those cameras dont run off magic. i don't know any batteries that last for weeks, and they cant be solar because then a week of clouds would end this whole thing.

that means there has to be a generator somewhere.


There. Plenty to keep her thinking. This was the part of the plan that seemed particularly obvious to Aaron. The part he'd been hoping to check with Bounce, to make sure nobody else had tried. Still, it seemed unlikely. His classmates paid attention to how things were, but they were infuriatingly limited when it came to figuring out the whys of a situation.

After giving what he judged was enough time for Aileen to read his message, Aaron snapped his notebook shut and stowed it again. He was about to suggest setting up camp, waiting for Richard and taking a rest, when the voice distracted him. Someone was shouting. Seeing if anyone was there. Aaron snapped to full alertness, drawing and leveling the gun in the rough direction the voice had come from, at the same time stepping behind a tree. It blocked his line of sight of the speaker, but that would be more than worth it if this came to a firefight.

"Who is it?" he called, voice much softer than whoever had spoken first. "This is Aaron Hughes. I've got a little group here. We're armed, but we aren't looking for trouble. If you want to talk, come out with your hands in front of you. Empty."

The voice was not super familiar, but that wasn't doing Aaron's state of mind any favors. He could rule out most of the truly horrifying killers, at least: Reiko, Kris, and Clio were female, Maxwell had that accent, and Aaron knew how Nick and Ivan sounded. Still, no point taking any chances.
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What on earth was so difficult to understand about the phrase "hands empty"? It was such a simple request. Basic stuff, show you weren't hostile, that sort of thing. And yet, no, here was this guy, this guy Aaron didn't even know, waltzing around with his gun out. Either joking or inciting an incident. Turning everything way more messy than it had to be. For extra excitement, there was that other guy, dressed all nice. Two new people, people who knew each other. People who had issues with each other.

Instantly, Aaron came up with a large number of possible explanations for the situation. The easiest, of course, was that it was a trap. These guys were tag-teaming them, preparing some of ambush to separate and disarm them. The seeming stupidity of both people involved played into that, made them seem harmless. Of course, he wasn't quite happy with that explanation, because the hostility between the two seemed fairly genuine. This led him to believe that something else was going on. The suspicious one, of course, was the guy with the gun. He'd chosen not to disarm himself. This meant that he was stupid, arrogant, or had a trick up his sleeve. His words were at odds with his actions; while he presented an affected aura of cheerful jest, he also took a physically threatening position.

Aileen asked who they were, and Lily called the guy out on his tasteless joke. Aaron could work that. His first instinct, of course, was to push a little bit, see if he could provoke a more heated emotional response from one or both. The best option for that would be to simply invite the gun-wielder to shoot the other guy unopposed. Unfortunately, doing so wouldn't really be a wise move in terms of group cohesion, whether or not Aaron had any pans to let him carry it out. No, Lily had to be humored. She was Aaron's best supporter. That meant taking her side here.

The guy without the gun introduced himself as Milo Taylor. Aaron recognized the name, but couldn't quite place why. Wasn't the guy retarded or something? Just what he needed right now. Then again, if he wasn't dangerous, there was a chance he'd actually be useful, easy to get to help out. None of that pesky contradictory nature so many of Aaron's compatriots seemed to have (and speaking of such, where was Richard?). It took him a second, but Aaron had a plan.

"Yeah, Lily's right," he said, shifting the pistol to cover the guy with the gun. "That's not a very good first impression to make. So, how I see it now, you've got two choices. You can piss off, and we'll pretend this never happened and go our seperate ways, or you can prove yourself trustworthy. If you want to stick around here, you either put that gun down, or you take the clip out and put it a little ways away. Chambered round, too." Aaron was very, very glad he'd taken the time to read the manual for his gun. It'd have just been a lovely surprise for someone to have a single shot when Aaron thought they were dry.

Without shifting his gaze, he said, "And Milo, if he sticks around, you could be a great help by frisking him for surprises."

Oh yes. If there was something absolutely certain to upset this guy, Aaron was fairly sure it'd be having Milo's hands all over him. Three ways things could go, now. The guy could turn out to be smart, walk away from what was clearly a bad deal. He could be trusting, follow the instructions, and probably end up better off in the long run.

He could also be dumb and start something. Aaron was near a big, solid tree, just in case. No point getting gunned down over something stupid.
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((So, we're suddenly a DZ and we really need to get moving, so I'm gonna go ahead and skip and get stuff rolling, too. Apologies.))

Oh. Oh no, he didn't. He could not actually be that stupid. No way.

And yet, the guy had really done it. He'd just identified himself as Rob Jenkins. Aaron hadn't paid great attention to the announcements, but he had a pretty good memory. He could certainly call to mind names he had heard before, and Rob Jenkins was one of them. If he was still here, still alive, that meant...

A killer. They were talking with a murderer. A murderer who was insulting him. Who was questioning his ability to lead. Who was trying to break the group up. Trying to scatter them, to pick them off one at a time. He was telling Aaron to leave. Was saying Aaron had no control over him. Was complaining that Aaron was using his weapon too much, while doing the same himself. It was way, way too easy. So simple to shut this moron down, to dismantle his position entirely. There was something wrong, though. Something twisted, bad. Why was he being so calm? So insulting? He had to have an angle. There was something here Aaron was missing.

Aileen was trying to defuse things. Trying to justify Aaron's behavior. Like it needed justification. Like he needed any reason to defend himself against a murderer. Aileen just didn't get it. Didn't understand. From his safe spot behind the tree, Aaron began to speak.

"Aileen, don't waste your breath. That guy's a killer. Rob Jenkins, first day. He's trying to split us and pick us off. Rob, you say I have no control over you? What do you call a gun? What do—"

As he spoke, Aaron was looking around. Watching his back. Something was wrong. There was some other angle here. Some reason for this hostility. Rob had admitted he wanted no part in the escape plan, yet he was here, not leaving, facing down a superior group. And, as Aaron turned, as he saw the figure behind him, it all made sense.

"Jacquard."

Oh. Oh, so that was what they were playing at, was it? It was a trap. It was a perfectly calculated trap. The one person who had hated Aaron more than anyone else, the one person who had had it out for him before all of this, before they'd even left school, before there'd been any reason. Insane, murderous, evil, vindictive Jacquard Broughten.

Well, she'd messed up. Tipped her hand early, like always. And now, he would make her pay.

"Well. A team, is it? Two murderers for the price of one? Tell me, Jacquard, how's the leg? That the only reason you only have one kill to your name so far?"

Was she answering him? Didn't matter. Aaron's focus was narrowed. He was pinned, between Jacquard and Rob. Two killers. He was still alive. That meant Jacquard didn't have a gun. That meant Rob was the primary threat. A dozen possibilities for dealing with the situation spun through his head, but he rejected most of them out of hand. The only two that made sense were to take Jacquard as a hostage and make Rob let him go, or to kill Rob. And, since Rob was a killer, he might not care about his ally being snatched.

Too much to plan. Too much to consider. More possibilities sprang up, more ideas, more hopes, more openings for his teammates, and finally, Aaron just couldn't take any more of it. He was not getting into a standoff here. Was not risking his, no, everyone's lives on these two psychopaths. They had to escape. Sometimes, sacrifices had to be made. In this case, for the group's protection, Aaron realized he could take a little publicity hit on the next announcements.

"Fuck you, Jacquard," he said, his voice rising. "Fuck all of you, all you players. You think that's the way off? I could have helped you. I could have saved you. And you repay me with this? You think that I—"

And, with a grin, Aaron spun around the tree mid-sentence, paused half a beat to point his pistol at Rob's chest, squeezed the trigger twice, ducked back into cover, and took off running, perpendicular to the killers, keeping low and fast, minimizing his target area.

It would probably have been best to shout back for his allies, but right now, he didn't care. They'd catch up. They'd catch up, and if they didn't, well, they'd keep Jacquard busy. After all, what was important was that the majority of their class escaped. It didn't have to be these specific people.

((Aaron Hughes continued in Could Have Been Worse))
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