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Broken Like the Sun; this is private, scram
Topic Started: Feb 4 2011, 01:36 AM (2,888 Views)
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[ *  *  * ]
(Naoko Raidon & Mizore Soryu --> All's Fair)

Mizore and Raidon had made it to a field.

It was a field covered in logs, but also thickets, wildflowers. Wiry undergrowth, thicket flowers, columbine, sage and and indian paintbrush. Flashes of bright colors on a background of green and grey.

Mizore breathed and slumped to the ground.

---------

They had woken to static, announcements shrieking, Mizore's knee throbbing in pain. Danya had made a tasteless joke about Raidon's kills; Mizore had winced. And then suddenly, the Residential Area was a danger zone.

Beep.

Beep.

Fuck.

"Fuck!" Raidon yelled.

Because Mizore Soryu was in no condition to walk, so Mizore Soryu was going to die here.

Mizore struggled to peel off the bedsheets, trying not to put too much weight on her bad knee. If she was going to die, she was at least not going to do it tied down in bedsheets his arm was around me, wasn't it? But agh, no time to think about how much I liked that, she was going to die, and she had to make peace with that.

Raidon was running, checking his bag, throwing her a shirt (what?), which she hastily put on, buttoned up. And fiercely, she realized she didn't want to die--not like this, not waiting, with noises ticking down, until her collar blew her up. She'd been zen, accepting her death, done this right, been a good girl but she didn't want to die.

Well, that thought hurt.

I want to die better than this.

And Raidon was looking panicked, hardening his mouth. "Get on."

Raidon was slight, beautiful, unmuscled. He couldn't carry her. That wasn't even a thing.

"Raidon--" She started.

But he silenced her, and she pulled on his jacket, and pulled her on his back, like a backpack or a small child. Bags in both hands. Rest easy. And somehow he could still move, some insane combination of adrenaline and fear, and she stiffened against him.

And they left.

----------------

The logging road had been packed--well, packed by island standards--with people evacuating the Residential District. Mizore and Raidon had stayed back, hiding in the scrub at the side of the road, making slow progress; a murderer and an injured girl made too tempting a target. At some point, Mizore had insisted that Raidon take her off his back; she could hobble, using his shoulder as a crutch. They stopped once to wrap her knee. It wasn't a break, at least; Mizore was pretty sure that it was a bad sprain the kind that might need surgical repair if that were ever an option plus a vicious, swelling bruise to make the thing look even worse than it was.

She lied to Raidon about how painful it was.

They finally found permanent shelter in this old field, the splashes of color on the mural of sage, grey-green and smelling of sawdust. It was calm here; no one else was in sight. Calm

So she was on the ground. "You need to rest." She said. "And I need to eat. And I'm going to give you a backrub, because you saved my life, and I owe you that, at least." Even though you're a terrible murderer and I should be getting away from you, but can't I be in denial for a little longer, at least?

Raidon breathed. She pulled him down in front of her, turning him to get his back, fluttering touches on tattoos, scars, dark and faintly visible when his shirt touched skin. Pretty boy. He pulled the bag over to his feet, started mechanically unloading water and bread. His breathing was calmer now.

She could turn her head now, turn it to the outside of the field where the sun was spotting the high grass. A man was there now, a black man in a black t-shirt and jeans. She couldn't recognize him from far away, but--okay, he was striding toward them.

Raidon hadn't seen a thing.

Well, let's work under the assumption that the majority of people on this island are not murderers.

Plus he didn't look like he was going to stop coming toward them any time soon.

She waved.

--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Julian Avery.

Mizore was trying to remember what she knew about Julian Avery. Because she was sure there was something to remember.

He was nice, she remembered. Complimented her on her art from art class, when it got displayed. A lot of people did that, but it was nice of him to notice when they didn’t really know each other. She got the impression he was someone on the student council, but that could have been completely inaccurate. And now she was wondering about him, because now she was wondering why he had come up to Naoko Raidon if he knew exactly who he was.

Raidon was on his knee with a gun, like a man proposing. And Julian was talking to Raidon like they'd met before.

“Nah, you wanna finish what you started. It's okay, you can say it. I ain't gonna get mad.”

And Mizore was confused, for a moment, for a minute. Looking up at Julian’s soft, sympathetic face. If Raidon tried to kill you before, why did you walk toward him? Are you trying to commit suicide?

But no, that wasn’t it. There was a game afoot.

I ain’t gonna get mad.

The idiot. He was goading him. This Julian Avery had come across the field of dead tree branches why are you here? for the sole purpose of goading Naoko Raidon.

Which is acceptable. He’s a killer. Part of her brain was moral and cold.

But not here. Not now. They were just supposed to sit, for now. There wasn’t supposed to be any killing. Not until Mizore could walk again. Not until she could stop thinking about the pain in her knee, remember Victoria Logan Alice with enough vividness to leave Raidon, make herself a makeshift cane with one of these fallen branches and walk away for good and ever.

There wasn’t supposed to be more death yet.

But here came this kid, Julian Avery, across the field to goad Naoko Raidon, and Naoko Raidon had a gun on his knee, and everything was suddenly terrible and why is he trying to rile him up?

Our twentieth kill was a little bit of justice, or at least that’s what the murderer, Julian Avery, would claim.

Omar Burton. Omar Burton had killed on the first day.

A little bit of justice…

Oh. Hell. No.

“Nobody else needs to get shot.” Julian Avery said. “You think you can make that happen?”

There was a tree branch next to Mizore, a dead tree branch, a bit shorter than her. The bark had rotted and fallen off one end. Perfect.

Mizore pressed the sturdier end against the ground and used the branch to heave herself upwards. There was pain in her knee. She winced and ignored it.

She was angry. It was pressing like a fist on her chest. And the feeling of command, the lightening, angry power she’d felt laying in the cream-and-gold guest bedroom—it was back.

Words spoken. Softly, intensely, hyper-articulated. Make them lean forward to hear.

“If anyone’s getting shot here, it’s me.”

She was keeping her eyes on Raidon and Julian both, narrowed, but not paranoid. She was not going to grab anyone’s wrist if they raised a gun. She was not going to shout, or duck, or pull a piece.

Nope. That wasn’t her style.

Raidon had been saying sarcastic things in the background, mockery to Julian's comments. He had stopped now. Julian’s face was impassive.

One thinks he’s a justicar. One just saved my life.

And the pacifist, the pacifist, the pretty little helpless pacifist, was not against using some pretty stupid emotional manipulation to make sure that no one else got shot.

“One of you is going to put down your gun.” That was Raidon. “The other one is not going to draw his.” That was Julian. “I don’t know what kind of bullshit is trying to go down here, but congratulations, it’s about to choke on itself.”

Fury added an accidental twist to the last line. She could have spit at their feet.

“I’m going to stand right here. If either of you try to shoot each other, you will shoot through me, and I will die. If either of you are okay with that, by all means, go ahead with your killing spree, but I’m being an emotionally manipulative person and banking on the fact that you won't. Moreover, if you try to move and have your stupid standoff of destiny somewhere else, that will just force me to limp after you with a bad knee and fucking catch your bullets for you. I don’t care what danger you think we’re in, or how right you think you are.”

Her voice was ragged. No more sorrow. She was standing, feet planted apart, hair fluttering like a flag in the wind.

She was thinking about Victoria Logan, and she was furious.

And Julian and Raidon were listening.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Mizore was sweating, shaking. Who knew a sprained knee could be so painful? And now, and now she could talk, say the things she'd wanted to say ever since she'd gotten on the island, before she'd gotten on the island, whenever anyone casually advocated killing people Victoria Logan, because this guy was asking her about it, so damnit, she could tell him. And she was a little afraid, because maybe she wouldn't do it well, but mostly she wanted to speak, and speak for a long time you'll put your two cents in, because you've got a gun, but I'll put in three because history owes me one.

Sierra Manning. How is Sierra Manning feeling?

And she spoke quietly, precisely. "I'm guessing she's shocked. I'm guessing she's sad. And I'm guessing she's very, very afraid. And I think I'm guessing she's angry too. And there are so, so many ways she could become a killer, now. She could come after you for revenge. It's classic. But perhaps you think that only ends with you. Only ends with you, perhaps, getting shot in the face by an enraged girlfriend. It doesn't. It ends, perhaps, with her getting paranoid--she's less and less safe now--shooting someone she thinks is you, reminds her of you, reminds her of someone who shot Omar. Or maybe just reminds her that the island is a terrifying place, because people hunt other people, good people, she knows he was a good person, in pursuit of some ideal of justice--so what does that say about her safety?"

Sierra Manning wasn't getting anywhere. Typical. Julian Avery probably thought she was talking in hypotheticals. Time to show him that he wasn't the only one paying attention to the announcements.

"You're going to say I'm feeding you hypotheticals, while I'm sitting in front of a real killer--someone who's killed before, and presumably has no qualms about killing again. But most of the murders on this island have been one-time kills--by people like my hypothetical Sierra, people angry or upset or fucking paranoid, acting in terrified self-defense, or what might be self-defense, or what might be pre-emptive self-defense or what surely, surely is justified revenge--I know how violence works." Not as well as Raidon did, not as well as those who'd known vicious violence in their pre-island lives, but life in a commune, police raids, protests, Black Bloc and keeping up with the newspapers had to count for something. "Omar was a one-time killer. Are you going to kill all the other one-time killers too? Or just stick to the three and five-time killers like Sarah Atwell and Raidon here?”

Pause, breath, furious and softer. "There's no such thing as a bad apple. It's a stupid, stupid concept. Every kill, and not-to-kill is a choice--including Raidon's choice not to shoot you, when I was not in fact standing between him and your chest." She waits a beat, to let Julian realize that yes, she's not actually standing between him and Raidon, and yes, the bad bad serial killer had the chance to murder him, but didn't murder him when he had the chance. And continues not to murder him. The biggest secret is that people aren't at all like iron. We're quicksilver. An edge slips into her voice, that comes out in too many curses, too much intensity. "So when you say people have made their choices by now--I disbelieve. They're still making their choices, every fucking day. And you think you can stop the island by killing all the bad apples?"

Many people believe there are no bad apples, in theory. Mizore believes it in all seriousness. This makes her different from the vast majority of people. Perhaps it makes her crazy. Perhaps it makes her wise. Perhaps it makes her impragmatic, or hopelessly naive. Un-debatably, it makes her certain when she speaks.

But now she is winded, from talking, from speaking, from all that certainty. So Julian gets to speak now, quietly, his voice sharp, cutting, trying to draw blood. There is no mercy here.

"He told me he was gonna kill as many as it took to make sure Sierra got off the island. And there was no way I was gonna talk him down from that. And you got Max and Reiko out there, killing as many as it takes to win this for themselves. So you and me can argue philosophy long as you want. But in that time, those pieces of shit are gonna be adding to their bodycounts. And until you can tell me with a straight face that the island is a safer place with people like those two alive than it is with them dead, I'll stick with my plan."

It is not obvious that Mizore is firing back. It is not obvious that she has a trap laid for Julian. But she is, and she does, even though she is as soft-spoken as he. But only he can tell she has met his eyes and will not let go. "And Raidon--the island would be better off with him dead as well?"

"I ain't worked out the math yet. And if you keep your promise about limping in front of bullets, I'm not gonna be thinkin' about that one too hard."

Mizore scowls. That's a coward's answer, a non-answer. Wimp. Stand up for what you believe. Don't think I'll back down because you're offering me a safe way out.

She has wanted to say what she has said now for a long time.

Bur ahe is scowling, still, to start. "Then the question still stands. Naoko saved my life. Back in a danger zone. What is a saved life worth? One dead? Two? Who are your bad apples, Julian Avery? How do you decide who can't be redeemed?" Break pause and then, yes, she's been paying attention to the announcements. She's been paying attention, wanting, for a moment like this, for a talk like this, because these words and a listener are what she's wanted since before the copters took them to the island. "Kris Hartmann--we haven't heard about her for a few days. Has she gone back to the light side? Is she protecting someone like me now? What about Sarah Atwell, the torturer? She isn't dead, and yet she hasn't killed. for a few days. What is she doing? If you find one of them now, and they're not the evil you thought they were--what will you do then? Will you kill them even so, to punish them for their sins? Have you decided they're your bad apples, never to contribute to the good of our short island lives again?"

Her face was twisted, in something not quite dissimilar to fury. Zealotry, maybe. But she still has her facts, her announcements she remembers, and she's still not done, she's not done yet, though her voice goes softer. She is, perhaps, coming to a close, perhaps preparing for another barrage. "Ivan Kuznetsov, the best killer on the first day. I've heard he's now protecting some wee girl. And Clio Gabriella's just been shot--this is good, yes? But I'll be surprised if her boyfriend, Simon Telemon, does not show up in tomorrow's announcements. And yet it has been nearly a week, and you act as though people have made their choices. You act as though killing murderers won't spawn more murderers, more fear, more revenge cycles gone wrong."

Radio Asuka, the communalist pacifist graffiti artist, has wanted to fight this war for so damn long. And it shows.

And Julian, Julian Avery, man with morals and missions and a mandate shaped like a gun, looks entirely appropriately overwhelmed.

Radio Asuka has to stifle a smile.

And Julian looks at Naoko Raidon and, in the politest tone possible, asks "What made you decide to save her, Raidon?"
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Sunset, now. Beautiful across the flat forest felled.

"How could you be so stupid?" Her voice broke. Mizore's preternatural cool was gone. "You think killing Maxwell--do either of you think killing Maxwell is going to solve anything?" Yes, yes they did. They thought he was a Bad Apple. Just like Raidon wasn't. "You think his death is going to bring less misery to the island? You think the number of murders here will suddenly, precipitously drop? You think you won't just be another two idiots waltzing to Danya's tune? I bet he loves it, you know, when people kill for 'justice'. When that cycle of violence, that I speak of so tritely, continues and feeds his fucking island." Pain shot up her leg, apropos of nothing.

But no. She was crying now, again, not out of fear but of pure frustration. They heard me! They listened to me! They seemed to understand! She sobbed, coughed, spat on the ground, cleared her throat. Venomous and soft-talk.

"Julian. Do you--" Hiccup, okay, she really wasn't as impressive as she wanted to be. "--you've suddenly gone off and decided, like a chump, that Raidon here, who you've met, is an okay guy, but this Maxwell guy, now he's a creep? If you still think taking out people with killcounts is going to save the island, shoot him, for God's sake. And shoot me, too. I'll limp in front of the fucking bullets, asshole that I am." Not venomous anymore. Snarling. "And Raidon, Naoko Raidon. Do you really think killing Maxwell Lombardi will get Simon back?"

And still there are tears. "You're not justicars! You're not Danya's goddamn police." Breathing. "Will you kill Maxwell Lombardi for justice then? For punishment? For sweet, sweet revenge? You're idiots."

And Mizore tried to heave herself up, tried to walk away, because these people are puerile, because you loved him, you loved him, and you failed, failed, failed, they still want to kill, because they're morons, and they just waltz to Danya's tune. But her leg was sprained, she forgot, and now she screams and falls.
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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She had lost her composure, here on the island, in front of Danya's cameras, in front of two people who she could least afford to lose composure around. Some kind of artist pounding her fists against the world like a small child because people just wouldn't live up to her standards.

And crying. Let's not forget crying.

And now Raidon and Julian, far from telling her she was pathetic and leaving her, were trying to comfort her.

Why were they doing that?

Raidon wanted her to come. Come with them. Find Max. Hold them up, because she was a crippled girl. Maybe get them shot.

Julian wanted to talk to her. She nodded, held her head stiff as he came closer. No weapons drawn. He wasn't planning to shoot her. Good.

Instead he wanted to talk to her. About how they probably wouldn't find Max. About how this was all a ruse to keep Raidon out of trouble. She was fine with ruses to keep Raidon out of trouble.

And, funny. He sounded like he actually believed in her.

I'm not trying to turn over a new leaf, I'm not trying to be something new, something more heroic.

It could be a ruse. Trying to find Maxwell Lombardi. It's not like finding someone on the island was easy. They could only track him by his kills in the announcements, and only then, hours apart.

I am not good and I never have been and I'm sorry that I can't live up to your expectations.

She would be a crippled girl. She would delay them.

…if only because I will knock you out and force you if you don't agree.

And if they came upon another dangerous killer? They could cross that bridge when they came to it.

The killer, the player-killer, and the pacifist. A terrible team. They wouldn't get anything done.

But if the only way out is by winning the game, then I'll win the damn game.

She'd fallen on Raidon when she'd tried to stand up, fallen on him and scratched herself away before he could even pick her up. She didn't want him to see how helpless she was.

Radio Asuka.

"Fine." She said. "Let's go."

(Mizore Soryu continued in That Morse Code Thread)
--------


Alice Boucher was a liar.
Liz Polanski played with fire.

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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