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Topic Started: Dec 18 2010, 09:49 AM (3,635 Views)
Namira
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((Where Do You Go From Here? --> Bounce))

This was beyond bad. Beyond awful. How the hell had she managed to screw things up this much? Meeting Aaron's group had been a boost, even if she hadn't been sure what to think of him, but dammit it'd delayed Bounce. Too long. And that, frankly, was her own damn fault. How much more stupid could she get? After all the versions of SOTF she'd watched, all the groups she'd tracked, Bounce STILL hadn't considered that splitting up would be a bad idea. How often had she seen that? Groups not sticking closely enough together, travelling too quickly, not keeping their stragglers alongside them.

Not often something as crowningly moronic as going separate ways through a sizeable town, though. Wasn't she supposed to be the guru here? Bounce's strength, her only edge was her knowledge, and yet she was still making the dumb mistakes. Splitting up had been the first, not heading out to meet the rendezvous early had been the next. And now... she was in the dead centre of the place Bounce rated as the most dangerous on the island. Alone.

Nice going, Yelizaveta. Nice going.

Bounce had spent much of the previous night stumbling around in the dark, caught up in the panicked hope (or delusion) that if she ran around enough, she'd run into Victoria eventually. Never mind she'd told her to move on if she didn't show up for the meeting, or that night-time adventures were a good way to run afoul of enterprising players. After realising that she was going to collapse from a combination of exhaustion and nervous breakdown, Bounce had sheltered for the night in one of the abandoned houses, bunking down in the bottom of a wardrobe to snatch a couple of fitful, uncomfortable hours sleep.

After the announcement, Bounce had stayed holed up inside for a little while longer, trying to reason through her options and not making a very good job of it. She probably spent more of the time attempting to hold herself together. That had gone... okay. Bounce had cried for a bit, but quietly, and since she hadn't had a full on panic attack, she really had to count it as a success. A small one, but still a success. She'd been about to leave when the next announcement had arrived.

Unexpected, and it most definitely meant that something was awry. Danya didn't just break his schedule for fun. Bounce knew that very well. Had there been some kind of fault, like last time around? Maybe somebody had-

Oh yes. Yes they had.

Somebody - Liz Polanski, had done it. They'd figured out how to disable the collar. That hadn't been stated explicitly, but really, what else could it have been? Nothing else would warrant an announcement. Regular interference was a detonated collar. Which meant... which meant Polanski had somehow managed to stop them from blowing her up. There had been a tremor of hope, which had been immediately suppressed by a feeling of utter uselessness.

Three versions, Bounce had watched. Every tactic, every attempt. And she still couldn't come up with the first idea how to get out of there. Yet somebody else had. She'd been so resigned to thinking that it was impossible that she hadn't even considered-

Well, didn't that just make her a big ball of useless?

Bounce had meandered around town for a little while longer, more or less aimlessly, the hopes of finding Victoria completely vague and tenuous at best. It was the wandering of a girl who simply put, had no damn idea what to do or where to go. She hadn't met anybody... yet, but it seemed to be inevitable. Somehow, she'd managed to put herself in an even worse position than that she'd started it. At least then, she'd had an ally.

Abruptly, the street gave way to an open area, some kind of park. At the centre of it was an elaborate fountain. Bounce blinked, then winced. Nice going, Lizzie. Not only was she still in the town, she'd somehow managed to make her way into the direct middle of it. If nothing else, she should've tried to head on out of there. Instead she'd wound up... here.

Bounce cast about for a short while, keeping an eye out for threats (as if seeing them coming would do her any good). Then she spotted them. Bodies. She stopped and stared at the pair of corpses by the fountain, one massive, one diminutive. The first she'd seen. Bounce trembled, just a little, not really noticable unless somebody were right next to her... but she didn't stop. Couldn't make herself.

In fact, it barely registered that her collar let out a shrill beep, up until the announcement started up all over again. Bounce tore her eyes away from the bodies to look around wildly, her eyes unfocused. Somebody was causing some serious trouble, that much was clear. And playing roulette with everyone at the same time. Somehow, Bounce couldn't quite bring herself to care.

Fuck. Fuck. You're losing your grip Lizzie! Calm down. Seriously, calm down RIGHT now.

Bounce crouched down on the ground by the fountain, held her head with both hands, pushing hard at the sides of her skull.

Muttered to herself. "Hold it together. Hold it together... come on, hold it together..."
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It was like something out of a damn movie.

It was like something out of one of those TV dramas.

It was like something out of... well, Survival Of The Fittest.

But frankly, for all that chance reunions always seemed unlikely, contrived, Bounce couldn't give a flying fuck what the odds were. A sense of overwhelming, crushing relief hit her like a freight train, because dammit, this was Alice, this was her only real friend and the only person that Bounce knew, absolutely knew that she could trust. Victoria was sort've okay by proxy of being Alice's girlfriend, but from a personal, selfish perspective, Alice was the only person on the entire island that Bounce could be 100% solid guarantee sure of.

The anxiety and nervousness were blown away in an instant. Not destroyed or shattered, but pushed back to the furthest corners of Bounce's mind, back from the surface for the time being. She stopped trembling the second that familiar voice called out to her. Amazing, really, that anything of that sort could be so calming, but what the hell ever, Bounce wasn't about to complain. Anything that could stop her from coming apart at the seams was a-okay in her book.

Naturally, at that very instant, the little voice that wouldn't shut up was chattering away in her head. It wasn't a split personality, or a touch of schizophrenia. It was just knowledge. Plain knowledge. The result of having watched and rewatched, analysed and dissected, critiqued... of having done all these things to every series of SOTF to date. And this persistent little voice was saying something. Well, no. Reading something.

Funny thing I've noticed, actually. For how many people there are on the island, they always seem to manage to find their friends easily, don't they? Well, maybe it's just lucky coincidence, maybe the whole thing's fake, or maybe it's just a quirk of how the place works. You know, they find people because they're looking for them, and looking hard. Or maybe we just notice the ones that DO find their buddies, and forget to take into account all the ones that spend the entire time searching and never actually manage to succeed.

Anyway, quite a lot, I've noticed, this happens, and then what? Everything goes to shit is what. The reunion is broken up by an enterprising player, tragedy, people get killed just as they find who they're looking for, etc, etc. That seems to happen a hell of a lot too, even asides from when you get the archetypal devoted pair of travellers and/or lovers. See, I think it happens not because of some contrived set up by the 'directors (I think it's real, FYI), but because of how people react in that situation. They just found their friend or girlfriend or whatever, so what's their natural reaction? They switch off is what. Their suspicion goes, their alertness goes because let's be honest, they're just plain happy to see whoever they're meeting.

And in the crucial time where it's all relief and happiness? Well, that's when they present an ideal target.


Bounce stiffened in Alice's arms... then almost tore herself clean out of the embrace, the paranoia returning like a sledgehammer. Never drop your guard, NEVER drop your guard! As Bounce's eyes raked the area, panic gripping her... they alighted upon ...well it didn't matter who upon, somebody was there, and the only damn advantage that Bounce had was telling her that history indicated that their intentions were bad.

"Get down! Get down right now!" Bounce hissed, a fleeting thought crossing her mind that as greetings went, there were better, then hit the deck alongside the fountain.

It fucking hurt. Goddamn paving.

Bounce's hand was scrambling, scrambling, stuck behind her own back, delving into her pack. She'd seen something before, when she'd checked her bag out, something near the unwieldy can of gasoline. It'd tired her the fuck out for all this time, but damn if Bounce as going to throw away her only weapon, especially when it was actually useful. Especially when Bounce had - come on where was is - when Bounce had...

Her fingers closed on a small, metallic object. A cuboid of steel.

Yes.

A lighter.
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Although Bounce's attention was on the lighter and of course the can within her bag, the stream of obscenities from Alice reached her ears, vaguely. Well, okay, maybe it wasn't the best 'hello' to toss your friend onto the hard ground, but that seemed a bit much. Another thought arrived to join those that were already combining to cause Bounce's stomach to be a whirling pit of anxiety. For all that though, Bounce's head was clear. Filled with an irrational objective, perhaps, but clear.

Have the lighter. Get the gasoline, it'll be heavy. Just need to wedge the spout open so it pours constantly, set it rolling. Need to push it hard. Light the trail and-

Bounce's hand had closed over the can's handle inside of her bag when abruptly, she found her other hand empty. Alice had snatched the lighter away with a slight chastisement, which didn't serve to make Bounce's mood a whole lot calmer. This group was bad news, she could just feel it. And even if they weren't specifically hostile, the more people were about, the more noise that would be made and the more attention that would be attracted. Look what happened back at the house with Aaron's group. All that noise had almost led to a shoot-out. Bounce spared a brief thought for her sort-of-friend, but then snapped her mind straight back to the matter at hand.

...She hadn't been specifically planning to kill anybody, she told herself, eyes riveted to the trio that were a short distance away from the fountain. Just to spook them, and hell, there was little better way to do that than an explosion right? ...Okay no, that was bullshit, Bounce had panicked. Now that she had a better look at the three guys that had appeared, they looked less than threatening. Guarded? Yes. Wary? Yes. But they hadn't charged in with guns ablazing, and there had been no mention of any groups of killers on the announcements.

But think of the window.

The window of opportunity. Ever notice how often people use the announcements as their way of determining whether or not to trust somebody? Doesn't that strike you as a little bit naive? I mean, I know it can warn you off the really bad guys, but there's an entire day between announcements. Think of how long people have to do whatever the hell they want without it getting flagged up until the next announcement. How many players got busted by the announcements just in the nick of time? How many got their opportunity because the other guy let their guard down because they hadn't heard them today...


Bounce firmly shoved that thought away. The announcement had barely happened ten minutes ago. It would have had to have been a hell of a killing spree, to take place in both such a short time and completely silently. Noise carried through these streets, Bounce would surely have heard something. That still in mind, it was a little bit surprising when one of the boys actually addressed her by name. Well, nickname, Bounce would've been surprised if even a fraction of the school remembered her real name. However, even as she was wondering exactly what to say, Alice fielded the question for her, walking far too out into the open for Bounce's comfort.

Just because they hadn't led with all guns blazing didn't mean that they wouldn't.

Paranoid.

Paranoia's healthy when anybody really could be out to get you.


Suddenly, one of the boys - blond-headed (maybe the Jacob Colin had referred to? Did it matter?) went for his gun. Bounce didn't even wait to see what he was going to do with it, she broke cover, dashed straight after Alice into the open.

"Alice! Alice get back here right now!"

He's got a gun, he's got a gun, oh shit shit shit. This was stupid. SHIT.
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((If it comes up, feel free to skip me, guys, as per my away notice)).
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((In the interests of continuity, not reacting to the DZ announcement. I apologise for this not being my best)).

Bounce couldn't quite believe that Alice getting in the faces of the other group had sparked off such a reaction. She'd been so, so convinced that they were hostile, ready to start shooting at the first opportunity. But no, the move which all logic and history had told Bounce was completely stupid... had actually worked. They'd backed down just because Alice had confronted them. Of course, that proved that they'd never been looking for a fight in the first place, but Bounce's store of knowledge was telling her that she'd been right to be concerned.

Her brain... or rather, the memories of SOTF in it... that was Bounce's one advantage. She had to use it as much as she could.

With things a little calmer following the rapid departure of the group of boys, Bounce even managed to muster a smile at Alice's greeting. It was wan, weak, but most certainly genuine. Though Bounce had placed her trust in Victoria as an extension of Alice, nothing could hold a candle to somebody she knew, completely and 100%, that she could count on.

But of course, the positive had to be followed by another problem. Vic was gone. Alice, understandably, was distressed. Bounce herself? She could deal with that, beyond the loss of their gun. Callous as it sounded, Bounce didn't trust Vic, and if she'd bailed on them at the first inkling of a fight, it seemed that her suspicion had been warranted. Well, better now than in any real danger. Bounce much preferred the idea of sticking with Alice anyway.

Choosing her words carefully, Bounce replied. "It's clear she ran off. I don't think it's a good idea to remain here any longer, in any case. We need to move out of the built up area, it's too attractive to others," Bounce paused. "I ran into Aaron earlier. He suggested a rendezvous at the sawmill. If you've no objections, we could head there. Either way... let's get going, we can talk as we walk, okay?"

Bounce took a moment to orientate herself, then started off down the street in the direction she HOPED was out.

((Bounce --> Make Your Own Kind of Music))
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