Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]
Welcome to Survival of the Fittest, a RPing board loosely based off of Koshun Takami's Battle Royale, with its own unique plot and spin on the 'deadly game'. We've been around quite a while, and are now in our thirteenth year, so don't worry about us going anywhere any time soon!

If you're a newcomer and interested in joining, then please make sure you check out the rules. You may also want to read the FAQ, introduce yourself and stop by the chat to meet some of our members. If you're still not quite sure where to start, then we have a great New Member's Guide with a lot of useful information about getting going. Don't hesitate to PM a member of staff (they have purple usernames) if you have any questions about SOTF and how to get started!

Let the games begin!

Username:   Password:
Add Reply
Could Have Been Worse
Topic Started: Jan 5 2011, 03:58 PM (3,494 Views)
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Aaron Hughes continued from When My Fist Clenches, Crack It Open))

Aaron hadn't gone far. It had been some time since the incident in the forest, though. It had been getting on towards night then, and there had since been two announcements, two unscheduled announcements, and they had Aaron's blood boiling. Someone had done something to their collar, had disabled it somehow. Danya was in a towering rage over it. This wasn't good, though, not at all. One person had been saved from immediate explosion. One. Nice job there. How totally useful to the rest of them. Whatever gap had been exploited, it had almost certainly been closed by now. Aaron just had to hope it wasn't the same trick he'd thought of. If someone had stolen his plan, had messed up their one shot at salvation, he would... he would...

He would try again. He would find a new hole. More than one way to skin a cat, and all that.

He thought he might have lost the others, at least, the ones he was trying to lose. It was hard to keep track of people in a forest, but that worked to the advantage of the person fleeing. He was sure, simply sure, that he'd nailed Rob. Equally sure he'd still heard the boy behind him. What the hell? Was he unstoppable? Did bullets mean nothing to him? He should have been bleeding to death or something.

Right now, though, that was all irrelevant. It was time to make a plan, to bring the situation back under control. Now was not the time for Aaron to go losing his cool. His time line had been moved up quite a bit, now that Danya was dangling the threat of collar explosions over them at random. The priorities now were simple. First off, regroup. Grab everyone reliable. Next, deal with the collars. Nuking the cameras was completely out. Aaron was pretty sure he understood Danya now. If all the cameras went down, it'd be curtains for the whole island. Boom. After all, what other purpose could that beep each collar had given have had? Danya was reminding them. He wouldn't lose. He wouldn't let them go. Never.

After dealing with the collars (or heck, even perhaps before, if his first plan didn't pan out) Aaron had to find Liz Polanski.

Because, screw up or not, poor planning or not, she had something he needed. She had the technical expertise to make a difference, to get those little things that were just a bit beyond Aaron's grasp. At least, he assumed that was the case; how else would she have gotten herself into a position where Danya couldn't blow her up? Yes, Liz would be a fine addition to the team.

Panting, a stitch in his side, Aaron paused for a moment, slumped backwards, leaning his weight against a tree. He couldn't sit down. Not yet. Not if he was going to keep moving. No, he had to do something else, though. Had to fill in more of his plan. Just in case. In case something happened. In case Rob caught him. In case Jacquard was still lurking out there.

Quickly, he checked that no cameras could see what he was doing, and started scribbling as quickly as he could, momentarily oblivious to his surroundings.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Shouting snapped Aaron's attention away from his notebook, jolted him into awareness. He didn't reach for the gun, because his hands were full. Anyways, no need to worry. It was just Aileen, all upset and ranting. Yeah, no real surprise or change there. Ranting was pretty much Aileen's role in this operation, along with being annoyingly contrary. Still, she got points for being competent enough to keep up. Maybe she'd even managed to drag Richard or Lily along. And yet... her tone wasn't really befitting a subordinate in a serious organization. She was tossing out an order awfully confidently.

"We had to get moving," Aaron said. "Rob was a killer. Jacquard too. The best bet was to make a quick surprise move, neutralize any resistance preemptively. He was clearly trying to split us and kill us. If we'd just left, he could have started shooting. You saw how he was hanging on to that gun. Instead, with any luck, we now have one less player around, since I'm pretty sure I got him."

Yeah, hey, that was a good point. Aaron was going to be on that happy morning radio show. That was a pretty bad thing to have happen, but at least Rob was a familiar name, a murderer. That meant things weren't too dire. Aaron would just have to be careful to play things a little cooler in the future, choke back the aggression just a bit. Okay, if that's what it took to get them off, he could do it. He hoped the announcements didn't scare Bounce off. Will and Alice, too. They weren't likely to be happy, but they knew him, right? They'd trust him.

He'd told Bounce they'd be at the sawmill after a few days. As long as he kept that appointment, things should roll along just fine. Of course, he'd have to be careful with the approach, now. Good chance that, knowledgeable or no, someone would get hold of Bounce and pump her for information. Yeah... best to be very careful indeed. Maybe show up a day late.

Aaron glanced around, hoping to see Lily or Richard coming along, hoping to be spared the sight of Jacquard and Rob. Still, it was a girl with a bum leg and a guy who was probably bleeding to death. How hard could they possibly be to ditch?
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Milo had Aaron's back, it seemed. Granted, this was at best a dubious vote of confidence, since Milo seemed rather lacking in the intellect department, but that was quite alright. Aaron could use an enforcer, someone who'd keep away the troublemakers and dive in front of bullets if need be. In a way, he was probably doing Milo a favor, anyways. Poor guy would have just wandered around aimlessly had he not stumbled upon the group. Heck, Rob would likely have killed him. He'd been more than ready to talk everyone else into doing it. Yeah, and here, Milo could serve a useful purpose, could be, in his own way, a bit of a hero. Especially if he bailed out someone important with his death.

Aileen was ranting at Aaron now, too. Going on about how lucky he was to escape. Blah blah blah. As if he hadn't planned things. As if he'd just set off on a lark, abandoned his team to their fates without making every effort to give them the best shot at surviving. Typical. So much ingratitude. It was rather frustrating.

"Aileen," he said, "luck had nothing to do with it. I know Jacquard. She was unstable before this mess. Then she killed someone. She's also a gimp. Used to carry a cane around in school. When I saw she didn't have it, I knew we could outrun her, and with Rob stalled, or dead, or whatever, we could easily effect our escape."

Framed that way, the whole thing came across not only as reasonable, but as rather brilliant. Some days, fate was kind to Aaron. It seemed he wouldn't look too bad after all. Sure, things would be a lot better if Lily turned up. Richard, too, even if he didn't exactly have anything to contribute to their little squad. Still, he'd cope. Even if they both got murdered by Nick Reid or something, he'd cope. Find Bounce again, and Alice and Will. Then he'd have actually competent followers, people he could rely on to watch his back without that tiny niggling fear that they were waiting for the right moment to put a knife in it (or a hammer in the back of his head).

Turning back to Milo, Aaron said, "What we do now is pull back together. Our next move is going to be complicated, and potentially very dangerous. We'll need to look around some, find an appropriate place, do a little reconnaissance. Maybe get hold of some people who can double check things. No point walking into a trap."

That was probably good enough to keep Milo happy, but vague enough to keep the terrorists and any spies nearby unsure of what exactly he was talking about. Aileen had seen enough of the plan to know he wasn't just blowing smoke. They'd stick around a bit longer, hold out just a little while for the others, then split. Follow the woods north, maybe check the swamp and try the tricky bits under cover of the vegetation assuredly growing there. Then, on to the sawmill, to link up with Bounce.

It was a plan indeed, and a darn good one.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Milo and Aaron were at least in agreement on the fact that Jacquard was terminally idiotic. It was good to have some common ground, even if the volume at which Milo was sharing his views was somewhat problematic. Aaron just casually shifted a little bit away, hoping that anyone who decided to come in firing would start their run on the most obvious target.

Aileen fired back with an insult of her own. Having a group turned against itself was all well and good if they were the sort of people to stab you in the back, but Aaron couldn't even begin to imagine Milo running a coup, and, skeptical though he was about Aileen's continued worth to the team, he couldn't well ditch her, not with Lily and Richard missing and possibly dead, or worse. Yeah, come to think of it, how much did Lily know about the plan? That was... potentially going to be very, very unpleasant, if she got grabbed by Lombardi or someone of the sort. The last thing Aaron needed was to run into an ambush laid by killers who had tortured the info out of one of his subordinates. He'd have to make sure to wait things out at least a day, to get a better read on the situation at hand.

Aileen went over to her bag, and started rifling through it. As she did so, Aaron could have sworn he heard some other noise nearby, something artificial in the general natural stillness of the forest. He waited, but didn't catch it again, not over Aileen messing with her stuff. Had it just been his imagination? He tried to concentrate, but it wasn't any good. Now that he'd started down the path of suspicion, every little whistle of the wind sounded like a muffled footstep. He settled for causally checking his gun. Still in his pocket. Safety off. Excellent.

Aileen was making suggestions. At the start, she was being pretty helpful. Counting cameras was a great idea, especially given the recent announcements. Cameras were suddenly important again, more than just a trivial annoyance. The whole thing also reminded Aaron that he was on stage, was performing, not only for his allies, but for the viewing population back home. He wasn't sure how his actions would be portrayed, but, well, he knew enough to suspect things maybe didn't look so good from an outsider's perspective. That was the problem with his plan, though. By its very nature, it required hiding things away, concealing secrets from anyone watching. Would any observers be able to tell that he had something up his sleeve?

Several somethings, at that. After all, Aaron always had a plan, and while he was pretty sure he could get everyone off this island, he wasn't going to stake everything on it. Not now, with over a third of the class dead.

Of course, he wasn't going to share any of that particular train of thought.

Aileen had shifted from helpful to unreasonably needy and demanding, but Aaron could live with it. She didn't want to go back to town. Yeah, sure, fine. It wasn't like Aaron wanted to go back to town anyways. There were, as Aileen said, too many people. He had what he'd needed, in the form of a bundle of wires stuffed into his pack. When he had some time, he'd strip the ends.

He pretty much ignored Aileen's spiel, responding with, "Yeah, the town seems like a bad idea. Too many spots to shoot from, anyways. I'd be surprised if some killer hasn't set up a choke point at one of the entrances yet."

In fact, had he not seen her, had he not been assured that she lacked a gun, that's where Aaron would have expected Jacquard to be. She'd always been the sort to play the long game. She wasn't half as smart as she thought, but she was strange now. Something was wrong. She'd only had one kill. She's teamed up with Rob, another small-timer. All the big names were people Aaron didn't really know or care about. Maxwell Lombardi was a blustering fool, someone who had likely gotten lucky and skimmed by on bravado instead of skill. Reiko Ishida was driven by vengeance, presumably. Clio Gabriella... wasn't she religious or something? It sounded appropriate for a divinely inspired bout of psychopathy.

The only other ones Aaron cared about at the moment were Nick Reid, who was public enemy number one, and Hayley Kelly. Hayley, she was one who bother him. Headhunter. No doubt about it. She'd been in the bad crowd, he thought. Maybe ran with Alice's girlfriend, the one whose name he couldn't quite recall. She was bad news. He was sure of it.

Right now, Kelly, Ishida, Gabriella, and Lombardi made up Aaron's kill-on-sight list. They were all dangerous, and they were all making too much progress. The reason, of course, was simple: people didn't know how to shut up and take care of business. Aaron had been able to handle Rob because he understood the psychology of idiots, understood the sot of person, like Rob, who tried to play mind games and didn't know when to quit. The key was to hit a planner before they could see it coming, and with such overwhelming force that they couldn't recover. Likely, some of the killers knew that. The only way in that case was to fight fire with fire.

Time for the rest of those plans later. Aaron checked his gun again, then said, "Well, then. It seems like we're in agreement. Find somewhere nice and isolated for a bit, stay away from people. Find out where the others went, and recover them. Get a bit more manpower, then get moving. Right?"

Of course it was right. Everything was under control.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Things certainly went downhill quickly. The alacrity with which Milo rose to Aileen's baiting was nothing short of impressive. It was also fiendishly loud. Milo started screaming out for Jacquard, too, just in case they're position wasn't unstable enough already. It was really getting to be too much. Aaron had tried. Man, he'd tried so hard to put up with this nonsense. He'd had a team at one point, had some semblance of cohesion and unity and sanity. Now, that was gone. Everyone useful was lost or being neutralized. His remaining allies seemed to clash in such a way as to negate each other's assets, leaving only problems.

He was tempted to fire the pistol into the air once or twice, just to shut everyone else up. It wasn't like the noise could possibly make things worse. If anything, it might make Aileen freak out and move them along.

It seemed she was ready to go anyways, though. She mentioned finding Bounce. Good. Someone remembered the plan. She also mentioned the others, from way back at the start. Hm. No. Absolutely not. Aaron knew who was worth grouping up with and who wasn't. Rekka and Lily were traitors to the cause. He'd told them they could leave with no hard feelings, but that didn't mean he'd ever trust them again. They had opted out. They'd probably die soon, if they weren't dead already. Francine was dead, burned up or something. He'd noted it.

"I think they made their choice clear," Aaron said. "We don't want to force anyone along. And yes, let's find Bounce."

And then he realized that someone else had stumbled into the scene, had greeted him. He glanced at her. Some popular girl or something. He didn't know her name. Right now, he didn't care. She wasn't Aileen. She wasn't Milo. Good enough for him.

He nodded politely in her direction, and said, "Hello. You seem to have caught us at a bit of a... stressful time. Things are usually more organized."

He gestured to his allies, then let his hand fall next to his pocket, within reach of the gun. Better safe than sorry.

"I don't suppose you'd be interested in helping us get out of here?"
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Under any other circumstances, Aaron would have completely lost it to Jacquard's barbs. He was smart and self-aware enough to realize he was being goaded, but armed and angry enough not to care. Normally, he'd have screamed her down, threatened her, made her eat her words. Maybe even popped her. If he was going to be announced a killer, it might as well be for taking out two second-rate murderers instead of just one. Or, better than that... oh yes. Yes, that would be perfect. But he spent a half second too long planning, and someone else stepped up to the plate, and for once, Aaron didn't mind a bit.

Aileen laid into Jacquard. Just let her have it. Milo said something, but it didn't matter, so Aaron ignored it. Then, icing on the cake, the new girl started in on Jacquard too. It was everything he'd hoped for back at school, everything that had been building for so long, all the poetic justice the crippled girl so richly deserved. Under any other circumstances, Aaron would have melted down. Now, though, he felt energized, felt like he had a bit of a buzz going. He wasn't going to shout. He wasn't going to be goaded again. He was going to win.

"Stalemate, Jaquard. Maybe next time one of us will prove something."

Words from school. Words from the past. A silly saying, a witty comeback to a string of biting remarks. Now, in retrospect, prophetic.

And so, he spoke. He spoke evenly, confident that no one would interrupt him, ready to blow them off completely if they did. No one else had a gun. No one else was close enough to do anything to him before he could react. The stage was all his.

"Yeah, Jacquard, sounds like you've got my number alright. I'm the leader. And yeah, I've offered to get them out of here. Will we succeed? I don't know. I think we will. I think we'll come out of this one ahead, pull one over on Danya.

"But hey, what if you're right? What if I'm just deluding these people? Say I'm just keeping them around me for kicks or something, keeping them safe to feed my own ego. I mean, clearly I couldn't possibly be doing this because it's the right thing, could I? Clearly I couldn't have good intentions. Clearly I couldn't be trying my damnedest to keep everyone alive and safe from psychopaths and killers like you. Yeah, keeping a group alive since day one, keeping them safe even as people abandon us and die like dogs, keeping them safe even as we're ambushed, even as one of our own sacrifices himself to allow us to escape, to allow us to take a shot at the guy who put us here, that's all clearly immoral and wrong. Better to look to you for an example. Better to go butcher some girl, right? Surely there's nothing wrong with that.

"Let's talk about that girl you killed, Jacquard. Let's talk about how you got her. You can't run too fast, so it had to be a sneak attack. You have no ranged weapon, so you must've got in close. Did you lie to her, Jacquard? Did you maybe try to cash in on what smarts you have, offer her a way out like you say I'm doing? Is that where this theory comes from? Or did you not even give her that chance? Did you slit her throat in her sleep?

"See, Jacquard, there's one little thing you didn't quite take into consideration here, and that's that you're a killer trying to frame as a bad guy someone who's pulled his friends out of the fire more times that you can probably count. And, more than that, you're forgetting that this guy, he happens to be armed. Some people assume there isn't any law here, Jacquard. They probably think the only rules left are the ones we make. Me, though? Along with escaping, I'm trying to bring a spot of civility to this mess. And the way I see it, right now, you're a criminal and I'm the closest damn thing to a cop we've got left. So you wanna debate? By all means stick around, but we're not going to be playing election, we're not going to be playing like we're two politicians trying to slander each other's character.

"We're going to be playing court, because you're a murderer, and I have a gun. We're going to be finding out exactly what went on, in painstaking detail, and then we're going to see that justice is served.

"Alternately, you could fuck off and we'll pretend you never caught up with us again. Sound fair?"

Aaron hoped it sounded intimidating. He hoped it would make her consider things. He hoped she'd really understand just how badly she'd messed up, hoped she'd fume, hoped she'd see that finally, finally things were right again, finally she'd been undone, finally all that she'd built, all that influence she'd exerted over him back at the gazebo on campus, had been turned right back around and rammed down her throat.

But, more than anything else, Aaron hoped Jacquard decided to see if he was bluffing or not.

He flexed his fingers, ready to go for the gun if she tried anything.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
MurderWeasel
Member Avatar
You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((We are so far behind the timeline it's not even funny. I'm gonna get Aaron clear here, then PM everyone to figure out how we're going to timeskip back to near the present))

Jacquard was going on. Talking about how Aaron wasn't better than her. Talking about how he ran, how he shot at Rob, how that was clearly some terrible crime against humanity, despite the fact that Rob was a murderer. She got under his skin. Always had. His body temperature was rising. She was talking about how he didn't care about the others. That was untrue. Of course he cared. If he didn't care, he'd be nothing but another player, trying to lie and scramble his way to the top of the heap. That wasn't it, though. They had a plan. If sacrifices had to be made to carry it out, then sacrifices had to be made. Jacquard wouldn't understand that. She was a simple creature, unable to see the world beyond spite and instant gain, unable to understand hard calls.

Aaron opened his mouth, about to fire back, but instead he took a deep breath. In that time, Aileen stepped in, screaming. She did exactly what Aaron wanted to do. He closed his mouth. His lips curved into a smile. Retribution by proxy. He could get used to this.

Then, Charlie got started, telling them to calm down, saying maybe she should go. No. No way. She wasn't leaving now. Not if she had information. Jacquard could go die in a hole. She probably would. Aaron was going to get out of here. He knew just how to handle things.

He took a deep breath. Forced himself to calm. Forced himself not to draw his pistol and punch some holes in Jacquard.

Instead, he spoke.

"Think what you want. It's your right, I suppose. The girl was Lily. She got lost while we were fleeing from a pair of killers. Our search party got delayed when one caught up. That was awfully lucky for this killer, because we had to go search for Lily instead of sticking around to see justice served."

And with that, he turned his back and stalked away, passing close to Charlie.

As he passed her, he said, "I'm sorry things were tense here. If you still want to come along, we would love to hear what you can tell us about the escape plans you've seen. If not, well, walk with us a little, at least. That girl back there is a murderer."

Then, over his shoulder: "Milo, Aileen, come on. We're going. Just... make sure we don't have any unwanted guests along, alright?"

And he was off once more, this time making sure not to run off and lose what remained of his team.

He kept his hand by his gun, though, just in case Jacquard tried to hobble after them.

Their business wasn't done, after all. Not by a long shot.

((Aaron Hughes continued in No Such Thing as a Perfect Plan))
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
Online Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
1 user reading this topic (1 Guest and 0 Anonymous)
ZetaBoards - Free Forum Hosting
ZetaBoards gives you all the tools to create a successful discussion community.
« Previous Topic · The Woods: Coastal · Next Topic »
Add Reply