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The Gully
Topic Started: Feb 22 2011, 05:33 PM (4,983 Views)
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[ *  *  * ]
(Liz Polanski, Brendan Wallace, Mirabelle Nesa, Jeremy Franco, Garrett Hunter and Madeleine Smith continued from The Beggar King--Evening, Day 6)

Her stomach was pressed, nauseous, over Brendan's shoulder. Breathing hit her throat hard, scratching. The energy she'd had earlier was gone, sapped. Inevitable, maybe.

I'm not going to survive this.

Staring at the crackling skin on her hands.

Brendan was carrying her as gently as possible. It wasn't working. Her hands were stinging around the gun.

"Terrorists…" she whispered "…probably fixing cameras. Go where I point."

Rasp, rasp. Shooting pains. Trachea burns were slow.

I beat your game, Mister Danya, but I killed myself doing it. Bet you're happy.

Bubbling laughter, stuck in her throat. Came out as a cough. Ow.

So. One last stand. Going out with the glory, going out with a bang. This is shitty. Why am I doing this?

Fluttering memories. Tearing up a corpse as soon as she understood the island. Survive, survive, survive. Why the shit was she going on a suicide mission?

Easy answer: tracheal trauma. Also, a bounty and a death squad.

But no, that wasn't it. That was too simple.

Closed her eyes. Tried to ignore the pain. Tried to give herself adrenaline. She needed energy now.

Kids, I believe in--

It was funny what memories could energize her.

They were close to the caves now, and Brendan looked confused. She pointed. There were sounds in the distance, muffled to her ears, shouting and buzzing. The other people? She could deal with sounds later.

She needed memories to get her energized for revenge--recalls of her broken hand bandaged in first grade, memories of herself, pale ugly girl, in math class, the clean feeling of the solution, Liz, I would never give you a problem you couldn't solve, everything falling into place, working nights on a formula that was beautiful, beautiful, the only beauty she'd ever appreciated, Liz, you need to have more faith in other people, teaching her how to throw a softball pitch, clean curves and arcs it's just formulas until it was easy, easy enough to get her on an athletics team she hadn't even wanted to be on. And other memories, voices on the bus now, full of fear, and Belle heaving her upright, and Jeremy talking to Danya on the cameras, Garrett wanking on about the revolution and Liz was laughing at herself because this was so stupidly perfect, but it came out as a cough again.

And Brendan put her down on the gravel of the cave, keeping her feet away from broken camera glass. He was confused at her wheezing cough.

She continued to sputter after he put her down. She looked up, finally. Too hard to speak.

I'VE BECOME A REAL GIRL, FINALLY.

She had stopped giggling, finally. Her legs were shaking. She had to hold the Beretta in both hands, if she wanted to conserve energy.

Brendan raised an eyebrow. She pulled off a sheet of paper, went on to the next page.

DIDN'T THINK I'D HAVE PEOPLE CARE ABOUT ME UNTIL UNIVERSITY.

That wasn't quite all. She crossed it out and wrote some more.

DIDN'T THINK I'D HAVE PEOPLE I'D CARE ABOUT UNTIL UNIVERSITY.

Crooked smile. Even smiling hurt now.

FUNNY OLD WORLD, ISN'T IT?

That was something Mr. Kwong had said, a lot. She'd always wanted to say it.

No more paper on the notepad. Just the cardboard backing now. She tore off the last sheet of paper and wrote one more thing.

THANK YOU FOR CARRYING ME.

Then she was gone.
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Brackie
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i love him, i love him, i love him, i love him
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
And it was as soon as the girl left Brendan realised why he was doing this for her.

It was 3 months after he arrived at Bayview. He'd just broken the heart of one of the kindest most beautiful people in the world, and, well, he was feeling rather down. But you can't really blare that to the world when you don't have any friends outside of clubs. You suffer silently, your performance plummets, and you become late for Mr. Kwong's math class.

They were working on a project. Maths project. He'd never done one before, and everyone else had already been paired up. All except one person. Kwongy paired him with Liz Polanski, a goth girl. Short goth girl.

She...wasn't like him at all. She wasn't even sure if she did like him, not like he cared. Remember, when you're a loner, you don't really care for impressing people. But they worked, they chatted every so often, and Brendan was so oblivious to the eyes of one of his classmates, who was looking over at Liz and him with a combination of contempt and jealousy. Mainly Liz.

A few days later, he was cutting down behind the school to get to his class quicker. If it was on the other side of the school, then was definitely quicker to go around rather than bumble through the crowds of students. He didn't see the guy following him, grabbing him and throwing him against the brick wall. He didn't see the knife.

But he saw everything afterwards. The snarling. He had something against her. Or he wanted her. It was something, he could barely remember. He never really found out what he wanted, only that he was grateful when the girl appeared suddenly behind him and hit him over the head with a discarded beer bottle.

He never bled. But he was furious. Brendan never questioned what happened, or what was going on, he only fled to his next class, silently and not answering the teacher when she asked why he was late. English wasn't meant for truthful answers.

But he knew that this strange goth girl had done him a massive favour. She'd essentially saved his life. He never found out how she knew the guy with the knife, or how the guy with the knife knew her, or even how he knew him, but he didn't question it. There was plenty of time to write up new theories on how it all went down behind the scenes later. The important thing was that Liz showed up for second period Maths, safe and sound.

They worked silently from there in.

Silence ran good with Liz Polanski.

Her scribbled notes were still clasped in his hands as her hair, then her clothing, then her skin, blended into the inky darkness of the cave. She was gone now. With his gun. He had his own gun now. 12 bullets was it?

12 to 50.

It wasn't like he was going to use them anyway.

He knew Liz was a smart girl. She was spectacular on that one and only project they shared, but he was never paired with her again. Liz was smart, smarter at the things he never could be. She had a plan. She'd thought it over. She'd taken every single risk, and now it was paying off. Brendan was part of her life once more, and he'd returned the favour. He'd done what no one else could.

DIDN'T THINK I'D HAVE PEOPLE I'D CARE ABOUT UNTIL UNIVERSITY.

And the best part was that he'd done something that made him famous. Someone cared about him, people would remember him, people would know his name. In this whole fucking game, of which almost half his friends, classmates, acquaintances, they were all gone, he would be remembered outside of the people who loved him.

He'd helped make something worthwhile.

A few seconds of silence after Liz disappeared. He'd thought it over.

Helpful.

Make something worthwhile.

Brendan zipped open his bag again. There lay the gun she gave him. 12 bullets for 50 bullets. Not a fair trade, but so damn worth it. He picked up the gun in his hands, and slid it in. Way too familiar.

"Okay. Tell me what I need to do."
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(Mirabelle Nesa continued from The Beggar King)



There might still have been some ounce of doubt somewhere in the recesses of her subconscious, but there was no longer any hesitation. She could not afford any hesitation, she could not allow it, and she did not allow it.

"You need to ask?" Belle said, shouldering her bag and drawing one of the knives from her belt. "We go after her."

She was going on alone, for whatever reason. That was fine, but somewhere on this island there were a bundle of trained killers and one injured goth geek wasn't going to be anything like a match for them.

Certainty, she lacked. But she had a cause, and that was something.

She walked into the darkness, digging around for her flashlight as she descended.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


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Hollyquin
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A friendly clown welcomes you to LOCAH. It seems he would like to be your guide.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
[[Garrett Hunter continued from The Beggar King]]

Garrett had hummed to himself the whole way from the mansion. This was at least mostly to distract from the stabbing pain in his leg.

Show me how to lie, you're getting better all the time
And turning all against the one is an art
fucking hell that's hard to teach
Another clever word sets
this fucking leg off an unsuspecting herd
And as you step back into line, a mob jumps to their feet
GOD FUCKING DAMMIT-


This, predictably, went on for a while. Cursing did help him manage the pain a little bit better, so in a way it was actually a good thing. Garrett did manage to keep up, a miraculous feat not at all spurred by the fact that he'd literally rather die than fall behind, given the group he was with. Thank whoever they were all going pretty slow anyway, given that their Glorious Leader (or whatever) was currently being carried. But yeah, they made it to the tunnels eventually, which was the point, and Garrett didn't fall behind, and his leg didn't fall off, though it felt like it wanted to.

He fingered the trigger of his net gun. Fuck...I don't like this. Having a gun. Even a fucking NET gun. That shoots nets. ...I have a fucking gun that shoots nets.

We're all gonna die here, aren't we?

Whatever.


"You need to ask? We go after her." Garrett looked over at Belle, having successfully missed whatever she was responding to. But Liz was gone, off into the tunnels presumably, and that was context enough for her words. Garrett nodded. What else were they even here for?

He took what he figured was pretty likely to be his last breath of fresh air and followed her into the dark.

A cause worth fighting for's worth dying for. Where'd I hear that shit...?


Now dance, fucker, dance, man, you never had a chance...
Edited by Hollyquin, Feb 28 2011, 10:34 PM.
being meguca is suffering

[V5] ALIVE:
[x] Aidan Flynn [B???] // Passing slowly though the vector, damp with fog, the bog that grows the former business sector...
[x] Chitose Saionji [G???] // 公園に千歳は本を読む!

[V5] CONCEPTS:
Winston Evans aced the last English test and would like to point out how gorgeous your shoes are.

Those Who've Known - V4
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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
((Jeremy Franco continued from The Beggar King))

Sky painted a nice shade of red on the first evening of the rest of Jeremy's life, little grin on his face as he took a good long look at it. Yeah, shit, it looked nice. All symbolic and shit, all sorts of symbolism up in that bitch. Wasn't exactly clear what it was supposed to be a symbol for (Jeremy didn't really know how symbolism worked), but it was obvious that he had to keep looking at it long as he could. Might be the last one he saw, right? First time he'd really said that to himself, because, well... first time he'd come to terms with the idea of a swiftly approaching mortality? Epiphanies and shit, owing to his little heart-to-heart with Danya?

Also, the death helicopter. Those things tend to remind you of impending mortality.

Yeah, well, fuck the death helicopter. Jeremy had a crew now, and if it was gonna be them against whoever was coming in that chopper, then shit couldn't be too rough. Because Jeremy Franco- and feel free to check the record on this because you will find several pieces of supporting evidence filed in the appropriate places- got shit done.

So he took his eyes off the sun just before it slipped past the horizon, put his game face on. Picked up a little slip of paper with a little bit of scribbled magic on it. Something from Liz, who'da thunk it. Something that, if he was gonna make it past these next few hours and this next one potential-deadly-encounter-with-heavily-armed-terrorists, might just make a miracle or two happen.

Hi, I'm Jeremy Franco of J. Franco and Associates. Would you like to buy a miracle today?

Hahaha fuck yeah, nice ring to it.

So there were these other people here, and they were... well, God knows why they were along for the ride. Liz had never really seemed that... magnetic? Back off, assholes, Jeremy was into her before she was cool. Get it? Into her? Here, if you don't get the wordplay there, allow Jeremy to explai-

Point is, they were there. And they all had this look of grim fucking determination, so, well, fuck. Looked like they'd already all made their inspirational speeches to themselves, shouted out their serious-as-fuck battle cries in their head. Which meant there was a nice void, maybe, for Jeremy to fill with a not-really-serious-as-fuck battle cry.

“Just for the record, boys and girls, anyone who kills a terrorist gets a 40% discount at J. Franco and Associates.”

That. Will motivate. Those fuckers.

And so, feeling motivated motivated motivated as he'd ever felt, Jeremy took point on the Let's follow Liz into the scary tunnels! expedition and drew his trusty sword cane.

His what?

His sword-cane.

I'm sorry, his what?

His sword-cane, dammit!

No, no, say it like you mean it.

Oh, right. Of course.

His swooooooooooooooooooord-caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaane!
Edited by Jonny, Mar 4 2011, 05:27 AM.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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SOTF_Help
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Winner
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Carla Conners continued from The Various Downsides of Becoming "Paranoid as Balls"))

Carla had been laying low since the fun fair, laying low and trying to avoid getting into any unnecessary altercations. She knew what was going on, of course. It was hard to miss the implications of those special announcements. It was also hard to really find it in herself to do anything about them. Some girl she didn't even know had annoyed the terrorists. She hadn't gotten free, though. Hadn't changed anything at all in the long run. It just didn't really mean anything to Carla.

All that changed when she was near the tunnels.

She'd seen the group making its way towards the entrance, but she hadn't thought much of it. A boy carrying a girl, another three or four in their wake. Just some team fleeing Lombardi or something like that. It suggested to her that she should head off in a thoroughly different direction, so she did. She assumed that she'd hear some more names on the announcement the next day, probably in conjunction with an epic shootout, and that'd be it.

Then she stumbled across the soldiers.

They were headed in the same direction as the group she'd seen, on what looked like an intercept course. There were six of them. It was clear at a glance that they weren't her classmates. They were armed to the teeth, decked out in combat uniforms, and moving with precision and purpose. One of them, a woman, was consulting her wrist. She seemed to be setting their course.

It didn't take much to put things together. That group she'd seen before was the one causing trouble, and these were Danya's troubleshooters. Carla had heard the helicopter. It all made sense.

Carla took one look at her gun, then back at the terrorists. The woman who'd been looking at her wrist glanced straight at Carla's position, said something to one of the others.

Carla ran.

She ran back the way she'd come. At first, she wasn't sure what she was doing. She just wanted to get away, wanted to hide. She wanted to live, though. That meant getting off this island. And there was a group that had caused enough trouble to warrant attention. There were people on the ground. That meant this was serious. That meant that there was a chance.

So Carla was going to warn them. She was going to tell them to run, tell them the terrorists were coming. Give them a shot at fleeing, or at accomplishing whatever they were trying to do. In return, she'd ask to join them. She'd ask them to let her come with them, help them, escape with them. They'd all survive.

Carla could see the entrance to the tunnel, could see people vanishing into it. If they went in there, they might be able to lose their pursuers. They might also get trapped in a dead end. It wasn't gonna be pretty if that happened.

Carla ran to the people in back of the group, not even taking time to see who they were. Her gun was stowed. She didn't want to alarm them. Well, okay, she did, just for valid reasons.

"Guys," she gasped. She was panicking. Hyperventilating. She forced her breathing to slow.

"Guys, maybe I'm wrong, but if you're the group with what's-her-name that Kwong talked to, you should know that people are coming. They've got guns and they're right behind me. They're coming here. They know where you are, because they've—"

And then, Carla's collar detonated, and her headless corpse dropped to the ground.

G111, Carla Conners: DECEASED
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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Death Squad continued from Repairs))

Shamino nodded and lowered the radio as the group headed towards the entrance to the tunnels. They'd be in sight in about twenty seconds. The girl had run, but she'd taken a roundabout way, while the terrorists had taken a little shortcut.

"HQ says it's done."

"That should get their attention," Domino said.

They were done screwing around. It was time to stomp out this little rebellion.





Christina had first noticed the girl about two seconds after she stopped to stare at the terrorists. For most of the day, they'd been following the signals from the GPS, replacing key cameras on the way. As they'd gotten closer, though, repairs had taken a backseat to finishing off the troublemakers. The team had nothing but combat gear, now. They'd resupply later, spend a couple more days fixing things. Right now, though, Polanski had to die.

Before Christina could even shout a warning to the girl (Carla Conners, according to Shamino's conversation with HQ), the student had started running. That made things easier, albeit far less interesting. Still, they'd have plenty of action here soon. No need to worry about one girl getting a look at them.

Then Christina noticed where she was going. After a quick consultation, a rough plan was hatched. After all, they didn't want to kill the whole team protecting Liz unless they had to. Not that they would hesitate if they couldn't scare them off, but... some fairly interesting students were a part of it. It'd be best to let them get killed by the others on the island. Conners, by contrast, hadn't really done all that much lately. She'd make a pretty nice demonstration. Certainly, she'd lend the squad's entrance some drama.

So they let her get to the group, let her talk a little, and then they got HQ to blow her up.

Shamino reported their success, and Domino made her comment.

And then they were about to step into sight, and Domino turned to Greynolds and said, "All you, boss.You're the best with greetings and all those social niceties."
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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Brackie
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i love him, i love him, i love him, i love him
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
They all acted with confidence. Rationality. At least they knew what they were doing, unlike him. He'd really only wandered into the whole thing, so it wasn't that much of a leap to say that he didn't belong here. He watched them, Mirabelle then Garrett then Jeremy, wander into the tunnel only a few moments after her. And he was left out there, alone.

Brendan'd been thinking it over. A lot. He had the only gun in the entire group, outside of what Liz had. He was basically...well, the guns of the group. But what did it really mean for him? He'd just be able to kill. But not just anyone, if push came to shove, he'd have to shoot of the death squad, right? Could he...really do that?

...I don't want to find out. I never hope I have to find out. If it goes to plan, then...Liz won't die. Liz won't have to die. She won't. Die. Never.

He watches the murky dark tunnel seep around, adjusting to the light. Morphing. Moving. God, don't think about that. If you go in there, you're a rat running around blindly, but if you're out here...then, well, you're a stone gollum, stopping anyone from crossing your path.

Anyone.

That means anyone.

Brendan took a deep breath, and scratched the back of his head. Still facing the cave. Deliberating whether to enter.

Fate made that decision for him, a long time ago it seemed.

"Guys..."

He whirled around on the spot.

"Carla?"

It was her, Carla Conners, that cheerleader. Cheerleader, what the hell, summing up a girl he barely even knew in so few words. But whatever her past, whoever she was, she was providing them with a hell of a good information. That, or hell of a bad turning to freaking worse information.

They were coming.

That's all that went through his mind before there was a loud bang, a fine spray of blood that coated his front, and Carla the cheerleader becoming no more.

He stepped back instinctively. Millions of emotions swamped his brain, all trying to battle each other out. Relief, despair, anger, sadness, flight, fight, vengance, EVERYTHING. This was a new experience, something he hoped he'd never have to face. Again, someone died in front of him. Again, he wanted to hurl, the fine coat of blood sprayed across his front fueling these senses and scents like the copper catalyst it was, again he wanted to grieve, but the moment Carla's body fell to the ground, her words struck their meaning.

It was them.

The death squad.

They were literally seconds away. Close enough to possibly kill him as he gaped at the dead body. Every instinct in his body screamed.

Run.

Run.

Run.

Run.

Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

Run. Run.

RUN.

RUN.

RUN.

RUN.

RUN.

RUN.


He didn't even realised he'd done it. He'd swooped down to Carla's body, and began rifling through her bag. Again, disgracing the dead, again not even trying to pay any mind to the people watching back home. He was doing this as blind as a bat, still on the lookout for the coming storm. They could have been right there.

His hands felt an ammo box. Paper. He knew what this meant now, a gun. Third time he'd done it, third time he'd disgraced a body by taking its belongings. Third time. He felt around more, skin touching metal, steel. Brendan yanked it out. A gun. He had two now. Two guns.

What the hell was he going to do with two guns? If a squad to kill him was really coming, he needed a fucking rocket launcher! But Brendan didn't have time to think about that.

He looked back, back to where she came from.






There they were.

Brendan's heart jumped up to his chest and floundered. ThumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpTHUMP.
The primal urges beckoned him to shoot. Kill them. They put you here. He resisted. He couldn't do anything except clench the two guns in his hands, and slowly back away. Slowly.
He went so slow it seemed like they'd overtake him.

His eyes caught one of them. He looked old. Moustache. Bald.

....what? I know him!

*~*

"-and there was Pandaemonium everywhere!" Chase exclaimed, already starting to giggle at her own little joke. Brendan had to let out a sigh. He'd heard that joke already about 10 times in his old science class, it was really already starting to get old. Well, it was one of the folleys of sitting next to a girl who was as bright and exuberant as Chase. She always liked making jokes.

"Chase, I think he needs to drive the bus or something, you might make him careen off the road if you make him laugh too much." Brendan commented to the goth girl sitting next to him, at least forcing a chuckle. It was that kind of joke he always fumbled, didn't remember the words correctly. She seemed to stop for a moment, almost as if she were considering what would happen if the bus careened off the road. He shook his head and laughed.

"Okay, I'm feeling a bit tired, so you just...keep talking to him I suppose, and I'm gonna nod off, okay?" Brendan said to Chase. He leaned his head against the window, before taking a look at two things that floated in front of his mind before he started to get heavy headed.

Is that...that's a nice necklace, wonder where she got that...

That's...a nice mask that guy has, I wonder what's it's for..

for...

for...

zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

*~*


It was him.

The bus driver.

He recognized that face, that head, anywhere.

And...he was the one who delivered the whole class to the terrorists.

He was the one who made occasional sarcastic jokes while noting the safety mechanisms of the bus.

He was the one who chuckled at Chase's jokes while he knowingly delivered that little girl, his best friend, to her death.

Brendan was still backing towards the cave, but his guns were both clenched tightly in his hands, aimed right at the upcoming group. But they had guns too. They had much worse than he could ever get.

His back-tracing steps almost stumbled over Carla's corpse. He avoided that grisly fate. He went around. Every little step brought him closer to the cave, while every tiny step only brought him closer to death...

Soon he was there. The darkness parallel. He stood there, breathing. There was an anger rising inside of him. He wanted to kill them.

A new decision popped up.

Run.

Shoot.

Run.

Shoot.

Run.

Shoot.

Run.

Shoot.

Run.

Shoot.

Run. Shoot.

Run. Shoot.

Run. Shoot.


He could hear one of them speaking. Were they speaking to him? He didn't care. He was only this close away from possible safety, or death. He didn't know what to choose.

Brendan turned his head towards the bald one. He had no idea whether their eyes met, he was too busy trying to shuffle into the cave.

"Three scientists work in a lab. The first one adds sodium sulfate to chlorine, and creates sodium chloride."

Run. Shoot.

"The second one adds a combination of sulfur to a magnesium compound, and creates Magnesium Sulfate."

Run. Shoot.

Run. Shoot.

Run....shoot...

"The last one adds a panda to a spread of ammonium-"

Run....

"-and there was Pandaemonium everywhere."

RUN!

He squeezed the trigger on his left finger. It wasn't aimed at them, they must have known that. He aimed it at the sky, above the terrorists. His flight instinct told him that he shouldn't be killing them. They detonated Carla's collar. She wasn't even a threat to them. If he shot one of them, it was all over. The bullet wasn't even meant for them. It was for himself.

Brendan bolted inside the cave.

"THEY'RE HERE!"
Edited by Brackie, Mar 6 2011, 12:26 AM.
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
They hadn't gotten very far in when she heard it.

There was yelling, first, words she could almost make out over the sound of her quick footsteps. She turned, confused, and her flashlight beam swept over Garrett and Jeremy, each turning themselves to look back the way they had where is Brendan?!

Next there was a muffled, strange-sounding sort of explosion, like what she imagined a firecracker would sound like if it had a blanket thrown over it. A short, sweet, dark silence, and then

A gunshot.

No!

She didn't need Brendan's shout (though there was some part of her glad to hear that voice, to know that someone was alive, that they hadn't lost anyone besides Madeleine yet, and that none of their little band had die). That gunshot told her all she needed to know.

Her flashlight beam darted to the walls around her, to Garrett, to Jeremy, to the way they had come and the way they were going and shit what was she supposed to the terrorists would have guns or grenades or night vision or all amounts of shit how could they win and-

Thinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthinkthink

They couldn't win if they were in the open like this. They needed to get some place where they could...

"This way," she said, darting her head back.

And hope to God Brendan gets here soon.
Want to buy my book? See my short stories? Read my fanfiction? Visit my website!

V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

V5 Players


V4 Players
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Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Of course, the squad wanted to impact the game as little as they possibly could. Danya had made that objective very very clear to start with. But, well... Greynolds did so like to make an entrance. Besides, every one of the group they intimidated with that little display was one less they actually had to deal with. It would be such a shame if they decided to be principled about these things.

Or foolish. One or the other, really.

Greynolds gave Domino a nod and stepped forward, projecting his voice, calling out to the group that the GPS was saying was clustered around the tunnel entrance.

"Listen up people, and listen well, because this is NOT something that we're going to repeat! You folks have got exactly one chance to get the hell out of here before we start getting violent. That there was your one warning, and we will NOT hesitate to do it again! Your choice, boys and girls. Run or you are dead. This is non-negotiable."

Somebody almost immediately fired. Greynolds very nearly laughed at the sheer brass balls that it took to do that directly after the warning. Whatever, it had been a pisspoor shot anyway. Instead he looked over his shoulder, keyed his radio.

"Baines, Domino. There's another entrance close by. Flank them through there. Use torches, not night vision. Not ideal, but we run the risk of them blinding us if we use NVGs... the rest of us will just bulldoze straight through the front. They fuck around, we either blow their collars or blow a hole in them with a little rat-tat-tat. No exceptions, no compromises. Let's move."
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Brackie
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i love him, i love him, i love him, i love him
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
An eternity passed as he tried to run. They would have been right behind him, and Brendan would never know. He'd feel the piping hot slug of metal rush through his head and decorate the cave wall, and that would be it.

Every step was turning into agony, and he knew why. The stitches on his leg, he could feel them tearing through the skin, and it fucking hurt. The copper smell residing under his nose would need a lot to compensate.

The darkness whipped past Brendan's face, and soon there came a fork. Two paths. He had no clue how fast they were moving, or how far they'd gone, but...he couldn't speak to them in person ever again, really. If he took the wrong path, they'd be gone forever, and they'd not know what was coming. Of course, they knew the basics, but he had to let them know what the consequences of their heroics were. Brendan wanted to be a hero, just wanted to save Liz, help her, get off this rock with as many people as possible, but if he did that now, he knew that realistic consequences faced him. Collar explosion. Death. Imminent death.

He took a giant breathe, then yelled as loud as he could.

"GUYS, RUN! THEY CAN BLOW OUR COLLARS ANY TIME THEY LIKE! THEY KILLED CARLA CONNERS RIGHT THERE, THEY CAN KILL YOU IF YOU DON'T GET OUT OF HERE! MIRABELLE, JEREMY, GARRETT, GET! THE FUCK! OUT! NOW!"

Liz still had a chance. The variables were jumping up and down the scale like a hyperactive child, but...Liz had a chance. Her chances decreased with every person not there to help her, but every person who helped her faced imminent death. But whoever fled had a chance of living. If...if Liz lived, then they would definitely live. They'd get a way to get the collars off, find escape. This school was a smart school. If a girl like Liz Polanski, who dealt drugs, played baseball, beat him of all people at Math, could pull off something like this, then who knows what else his peers had come up with?

He hazarded a guess as he yelled into the pitch black. The caves echoed with his voice, there was almost no way to tell if they heard him or just a cacophony of sound. They had to hear him. Please.

Noises popped up behind him, it sounded horrifically like crunching gravel. Brendan didn't care where he was going anymore, he just picked a direction and stretched himself into the unknown.

C'mon, they're this way, I have to be going the right way, I better be going the right fucking way...

((But alas, Brendan Wallace unintentionally continues in Peripeteia...))

If I can't save Liz and escape...
What do I have left to live for?
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Shamino was on the radio again, in contact with HQ. Greynolds had made things clear. The score was pretty well known. The kids in the tunnel were lacking one thing, though: pressure. It was time to clear things out, get Polanski unprotected, then finish her. Shamino said into his microphone, "Who else is in there?"

The reply came. He considered.

"Who's least likely to run?"

A little longer of a reply. Shamino said, "I'm about to make a threat. Carry it out, please."

Greynolds, Cecily, and Richards were standing back a bit, providing cover. Shamino pulled out his shotgun, then stepped to the entrance to the tunnels. He shouted into them, "Hey, listen up.

"I hear there's four of you left. Well, that's about to be three. Garrett Hunter, you have thirty seconds for HQ to tell me you're running down the tunnels to the other side of the mountain. Otherwise, you lose your head."

He'd considered reiterating the bounty offer, but it seemed absurd. They wouldn't turn to violence now. The way to hit them was cowardice.

"Thirty."

He was pretty sure they'd be able to get things clear. No one wanted to die, especially by explosion. No heroism in that. It made it a very effective threat.

"Twenty-nine."

It'd be best if these kids returned to the game. The one who'd yelled the joke at him was already going. He was mildly disappointed by that. It took some guts to stand strong. That sort of thing deserved a quick death. It'd been his choice, though.

"Twenty-eight.

"Twenty-seven."





Christina was heading into the tunnels by the side passage, Baines right with her. Shamino was doing a good job of keeping the main entrance as the center of attention. She figured she and Baines would be able to sneak into the middle of the resisters and light them up. The GPS on her wrist told her where most of them were. The tunnels were dark, hard to navigate, but she was good in that sort of situation. It wouldn't be long until they had the girl in their sites.

She checked the safety of her assault rifle. Off. This was going to be quick. She and Baines both knew how to handle themselves in a fight well enough to take on every one of the kids here. They were armed and armored. Trained.

No point being arrogant, though. She was more than ready to toss a grenade and finish things like that.

They were closing in. The relays that transmitted the signals to the collars down here kept the GPS working, too. The only one they couldn't exactly pinpoint was Polanski. Christina was pretty sure the girl would tip her hand soon, though.

Then, this would all be over.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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Hollyquin
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A friendly clown welcomes you to LOCAH. It seems he would like to be your guide.
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Yeah, that whole singing thing? Didn't last very long.

Fuck, Garrett did not like tunnels, not that he'd had the opportunity to know that before now, but very quickly it got dark and damp and colder and urgh, he would have done a lot of things to get the fuck out of there immediately, but there was that whole plan thing again. Except it wasn't really a plan. It was really head to the tunnels and uhhhh chill while Liz gets herself killed or something. Seriously, this was a stupid fucking plan and he was growing more and more irritated with himself for having gone along with it, for having insisted they left the mansion right then, because it wasn't like the fucking hit squad whatever was banging down the mansion door. They had time to think up some plan that actually made sense. This was just gonna get them all killed, probably. All the bravado and confidence and lack of fucks given about his own life were thrown out the window in the dark of the tunnel.

On the other hand, he couldn't just leave, because Garrett was a lot of things but he was not a fucking pussy. Besides, whatever went down down here, he wanted to be here for it. It had to be pretty extreme if Liz was pretty much throwing away her life for it.

They were rushing for a while, down into the tunnel, away from the light, Liz was out of sight, Belle and Jeremy fucking Franco (A discount? Fucking...seriously? This guy...fucking Christ.) were nearby, Brendan was...somewhere, whatever, he didn't care, he was getting uncomfortably claustrophobic, how the fuck was he supposed to know he was claustrophobic, he'd never really had the chance to figure that out before-


There was a muffled explosion.

And a gunshot.

"Goddammit," he muttered to himself, looking at Belle as the words "THEY'RE HERE!" came echoing through the tunnel. No shit they were here, not that knowing that helped them much. It gave them a good idea of exactly how soon they were all going to die (answer: really fucking soon), that was pretty much it. He hated looking to Belle for advice on what to do next, but he would be the first to admit that he had no idea what they were doing, and his giving orders would be completely stupid. God, a few days ago he'd literally rather die than listen to anything Mirabelle Nesa had to say. This was obviously some serious shit. He needed to get his memory back in short order.

Sounds like a bad movie plot.

"This way."

...Well. Alright then.

They kept running, the air growing colder as the night, Garrett assumed, grew darker. Fuck, this place was creepy as shit. Garrett liked to believe he wasn't afraid of anything, but this place was freaking him the fuck out and he kept fingering the trigger of his net gun. He hated guns but this place still managed to make his trigger finger itch. God, and the fucking death squad of horrible death was behind them now too, that was some shit. He'd seen the fucking helicopters, they were not fucking around. And they could probably pop their collars with the press of a button, which was some bullshit. Especially given that Liz didn't need to give two fucks about that, she didn't have a collar to pop. Then again, they could still shoot her in the face.

A voice came again, from further back.

"GUYS, RUN! THEY CAN BLOW OUR COLLARS ANY TIME THEY LIKE! THEY KILLED CARLA CONNERS RIGHT THERE, THEY CAN KILL YOU IF YOU DON'T GET OUT OF HERE! MIRABELLE, JEREMY, GARRETT, GET! THE FUCK! OUT! NOW!"


His first thought was who the fuck is Carla Conners?

His second thought was shit.

Shit. Yeah, that whole collar popping button, that existed, and so did the massive guns he was so sure the death squad had, and they could easily all die here, and...fuck. Yeah, a cause worth fighting for was worth dying for and all that, but if they all died here, what would be left? Nothing. They all died here and everyone else went on killing each other and trying to win the fucking game and really Danya won, that was all that'd happen. Liz would die here, that was almost definite and he wasn't gonna waste any emotion over that; he didn't even like the girl. But they needed to live through this. They had to. If they didn't, what the fuck was Liz dying for?

"Hey, listen up."

Garrett stopped dead. That was an unfamiliar voice, an adult voice, and there was no way anything good was going to come out of it.

"I hear there's four of you left. Well, that's about to be three."

He blinked. Were there four of them left? There was him and Belle and Jeremy, and Brendan was...somewhere. Were they not counting Liz? Or was Brendan gone? He sounded freaked as fuck, it'd make sense if he'd beaten it-

Garrett Hunter, you have thirty seconds for HQ to tell me you're running down the tunnels to the other side of the mountain. Otherwise, you lose your head."


He froze.

Garrett Hunter was no coward, but he was pretty fucking fond of his head if he was gonna be honest with himself.

"Thirty."

He didn't want to die. If that made him a fucking coward, then fuck it, maybe he was a fucking coward.

"Twenty-nine."

No, fuck that again, he wasn't. Dying now would make him a coward. Instant death. No more suffering. The easy way out. Dying a martyr.

"Twenty-eight."

He couldn't do that. Couldn't leave this game without getting anything done. Couldn't die without a few more scars. If it meant leaving Liz Polanski alone, fine.

"Twenty-seven."

She'd understand. She'd want this. The revolution would go on.

Not that he was happy about running.

"Fuck," he growled, looking back and forth between Mirabelle and Jeremy. "Look, we've got to get out of here. Dead fucking serious, Liz doesn't need us. She came here to die and she's going to and if I sound like an asshole I don't give a shit. There's more work to be done on this fucking island and who's gonna do it if we're all dead?"

He looked straight at Mirabelle now.

"Come with me. We can get some shit done. For real. Franco, do whatever the fuck you want, honestly, but Belle, for real, I think we can-"

The countdown was down to ten now; he cut himself off.

"Don't play hero. We've got better things to do."


And he dashed off down the tunnel. Pissed as all hell.


[[Garrett Hunter continued on the other side...]]
Edited by Hollyquin, Mar 14 2011, 10:29 AM.
being meguca is suffering

[V5] ALIVE:
[x] Aidan Flynn [B???] // Passing slowly though the vector, damp with fog, the bog that grows the former business sector...
[x] Chitose Saionji [G???] // 公園に千歳は本を読む!

[V5] CONCEPTS:
Winston Evans aced the last English test and would like to point out how gorgeous your shoes are.

Those Who've Known - V4
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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
See, Jeremy was no stranger to death threats. Can't hardly count how many times he was in the middle of a joke and someone told him to just shut the fuck up or I will kill the shit out of you, can't hardly count how many times he was back in action, yakking away, maybe thirty seconds after hearing that. He was pretty zen about that kind of thing, pretty forgiving. Death threats weren't something to be feared, they were something to be expected. Fuck, even welcomed. They were a sign that things were operating as usual. You say you wanna kill Jeremy? Well daaaaamn, son, pull up a seat and you guys can work this out. Just keep your wits about you or you're gonna accidentally buy a 12-pack of Doritos.

The terrorists did not look like they would be buying any Doritos today.

Which was just as well, since Jeremy didn't have any. And guess what, assholes, you are not preferred clientele. So even if he were to magically receive a shipment out of the sky right now (which you would have to admit would be totally awesome if he did), they were gonna go to someone else. And the terrorists would each shed a single tear and Jeremy would not give a single fuck.

Okay, okay, maybe too zen about this right now. Maybe these terrorists and their death threats and their countdown... maybe they meant something. Maybe Garrett, telling him that he should get the fuck out of here right now (oh and by the way Garrett, Jeremy doesn't really mind the “do whatever the fuck you want, honestly” part, since he fully admits that you have no reason right now to think he's anything other than a useless asshole), meant something. Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe...

Was it a dick move to just run off now? A dick move to Liz? Maybe, maybe, but maybe not. It was... okay. First off, an admission: Jeremy knows full well that anything he says here is gonna sound like pathetic attempts to rationalize saving his own ass. Second off: fuck that admission. You wanna disagree with any of Jeremy's points, go ahead. Just try it, and he will rhetorically kill the shit out of you.

See, staying here and trying to protect Liz wasn't gonna do shit. He couldn't take a terrorist and he couldn't even distract a terrorist. He just didn't have enough in his arsenal to even be an annoyance to a bunch of assholes with guns. He physically stands in the way, he gets shot or his head explodes. He tries to lead them astray, they refuse to give any fucks about him and just keep going after Liz. Nothing in his arsenal at all. So staying and delaying the terrorists was a great plan, provided his goal was to be a giant ostentatiously suicidal douche.

That wasn't really on the agenda.

Because fuck all that noise, he still had a miracle up his sleeve. And when someone gives you one of those, you don't look it in the mouth and you sure as fuck don't get yourself killed straight away. You don't, Jeremy, you don't, you just don't. You live on- yeah, yeah, just a few days more and then you're probably dead anyway, who gives a fuck- and you start to actually implement those four-dollar words you're promising. Miracle. Philanthropy. Nice-sounding shit like that.

You make those words happen, Jeremy Franco. You bring them to this godforsaken island and you burn them across the sky till everyone sees them, everyone thinks them, everyone believes them.

And until then, you run.

(Jeremy Franco continued elsewhere)
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Come with me. We can some shit done. For real."

There was nothing Belle wanted more at that moment then to run.

Gunshots in the distance, voices yelling at the others in her group, and one by one they fled into the darkness, running as fast as they could, fleeing from the fight. She didn't even have time to feel angry or indignant with them; she understood full well why they had left. Getting your collar blow? Hell, she was surprised it hadn't happened yet; had they simply been nice to her? Had it been because she hadn't even helped Liz yet?

They hadn't shouted her name. Wordlessly, she slammed a hand into a nearby wall.

She couldn't fight as many as were back there. That was a simple fact, and there was no getting around it; she hadn't even seen the only one of their number with a gun, and now the other two were fleeing off into the darkness. They hadn't done a damn thing; they hadn't protected Liz, they hadn't changed the game, they hadn't hurt the terrorists.

"Fuck!" she yelled, walking rapidly down a side tunnel, trying to disguise her cowardice behind measured steps, trying to pretend she wasn't running from this, trying to pretend things weren't going to be different. She'd been feeling empty since her fight with Samantha Ridley--since she'd lost the energetic edge, the certainty that she could change things, make a difference, swing her fists and break the opposition. There was nothing simple about fighting here; they were all victims.

Could she fight again, now? Could she go back to being just a participant in this fucking game?

And then she froze, because she saw it. Without thinking her finger flicked up to her own flashlight and turned the light off, and she crouched low against the wall, body rigid.

There was a flashlight heading down what she assumed must be a juncture, getting steadily larger. She gritted her teeth, stared at it, tried to think as she crept closer and the light swelled steadily. None of the others had come this way, she was sure of it, so...

Who was walking down the tunnel right now?

She swallowed. Looked down at her flashlight. I don't even know if it's one of them. Could be anyone. And if is one of them, what the hell am I supposed to do? I've got knives, that's it, I can't fix anything, I'm a weak little girl who couldn't save anyone and the only guy I ever beat in a real fight wasn't even a monster, just a kid like me, just dumb and I can't do this and-

She felt goosebumps break out over her body. She lowered her head. She let the light pass her.






Except she didn't.

She lifted her head. She tightened her grip on her light. She got to her feet.

She wasn't devoid of fear anymore. She was, in fact, riding on a current of complete terror that chilled her to the bone and left her feeling a little weak, a little dizzy. Beneath that fear--beneath the all-consuming realization that if she did this that might be the end of the road, that she might fucking die just for doing what these sons of bitches had put her here for in the first place and providing a damn good show--was a very simple thought.

She couldn't walk away from this.

She couldn't walk away. She might die somewhere else on the island. She might live, by whatever chance it is that governs such things. But at the end of the day, if she walked away right now, without taking the fight to these miserable bastards, she'd hate herself every moment until she died.

She could abide death. Maybe because death was easier. But if she had to live with the memory of being a coward--if she had to know that, when a girl she'd chosen to help had been hunted in tunnels beneath her feet and she had fled for fear of her own life--she would destroy herself.

Liz Polanski had burned herself that badly, just to fuck the system. Belle was going to do the same thing.

She turned the light in her hands sideways, flicked it on, and tossed it across the opening. She saw the other light swivel after, vaguely--she wasn't looking too close. As she was throwing the flashlight, she was drawing the knife from her side, eyes narrowed.

Come on, you fuckers. Let's dance.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 10 2011, 06:59 PM.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Lily is still Away, so I'm the whole team for the moment.))

HQ was talking with Shamino. It sounded like everything was working well. Of the kids that had been in the tunnel, all but Polanski has scattered. It seemed like their show of force had been sufficient. Now it was time for cleanup. Baines and Domino were heading around. They'd be in a good flanking position. They could catch the girl in a pincer, surround her and take her down. As long as they were careful not to catch each other in the crossfire, an overwhelming response seemed most prudent. She was a high school girl, sick and weak and wounded, but she had caused serious problems, and underestimating her would be a very bad mistake.

"Clear," Shamino called to the others.

"Right. Move in," Greynolds replied. Further orders were unnecessary. They already knew the formation, could adjust instantly to the absence of two team members.

Shamino and Richards took point. Shamino held his shotgun. It was the best choice in close quarters like these. A good hit from it would end things on the spot.

Greynolds and Cecily brought up the rear. It wasn't cowardice on their leader's part; his job was in all likelihood the most critical and dangerous. If the girl was planning an ambush, or if someone else came after them, Cecily was the one most likely to land in trouble, and most important to the repair mission. Guarding her was vital.

They started into the tunnels, moving fairly slowly. There weren't many places for the girl to run now.





Christina and Baines were heading down the side tunnel, Christina watching the blips on her GPS scatter. Things were going perfectly, that is, until she saw that one of the students was heading directly for them. It seemed like she was content to let them pass, though. This would be simple. No one fleeing would throw their life away.

And then, it turned out she was wrong.

The flashlight went flying by, blinding her for half a second with the afterimages. She automatically jerked her own light after it. This was probably going to get really ugly really quickly.

But Baines was already on top of things. He'd dropped into a defensive stance at the first sign of trouble. Christina couldn't see what he was doing, couldn't see if the student was going for him, but she could hear him clearly.

"I've got this. Get the girl."

Priority was the little rebel.

"Got it."

Christina took off at a jog, leaving Baines and the student, counting on him to watch her back. She glanced at her GPS.

There was a new dark spot.

The tunnels were deep enough under the mountain that relays were required to route the signals. They kept the collars functioning, and fed data to Christina's GPS. A blank spot meant something had happened to a relay. Polanski was knocking them out. It was a damn shame she'd never realize what she was doing was totally useless. She wasn't freeing students. She was turning random parts of the tunnels into surprise danger zones.

Christina pulled out her radio. Depending on how quickly Polanski worked, she might run out of chances to communicate really quickly.

"Got her position," she said. Shamino was on the other end. They all had their own personal units. No more mistakes like V3, when everyone on the island had managed to lose communication.

She related the information about the girl's location, then hurried on further. She'd get a good way down the tunnel, then circle back. They'd surround Polanski, cut her off.

End this.
V7:
Juliette Sargent
Alton Gerow
Lavender Ripley
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storyspoiler
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Leader
[ *  *  * ]
End this.

Bang.

That was the wrong sound. Guns sound like small bombs going off by your head.

Stupid girl.

Clear your mind.

Almost out of bullets.
 
For the last while, she had been hearing echoes in the cave. The soldiers were close now.

She was going to die here.

Those are not the right thoughts.

Brendan, Garrett, Belle, Jeremy. Belle had instructions, Jeremy had instructions. Faraday cages. It should be easy. Plans around the island. Everyone knew about the blackout zones. Mr. Kwong could tell her. He was right. Liz, you need to have more faith in other people.
 
She was looking around, mentally calculating the area she'd covered, the relays left. Someday she should learn the properties of radio waves in caves. She'd been here before. 

Ethan Kent.

Ethan had been the one with the note, by the ranger station.

And she had two relays left.

One was nearly above her, the one that she and Feo and Ethan had spotted. She had tried to smash it, then. Now she could destroy it for real. She had enough bullets.  

Bang.

It shattered.

There was another one. Had to be another one, up where she had first met Ethan and Feo, and Frankie, and Duncan, and Haruka, who'd been scared of her. They had all missed it.

Come on.

Running. She was using the edges of the wall for balance, air pushing out of her throat. Wheezy and stumbling, half-falling.

Closer.

Stagger. Land. Pick yourself up again. Rest soon. Try not to think.

The relay was now painfully obvious. Haruka. Feo. Duncan, Frankie, Ethan. The voices were closer now. Liz swore silently. She hadn't thought about the tunnels manipulating sound. 

Last relay. Far away. High up. 

Bang.

Just like pitching. 

It shattered.

Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? A softball cheer. Now she could let herself stumble against the wall, let exhaustion sap her movements.

I've won.

Jeremy, Mirabelle, Brendan, Garrett, all needed to do their part. Liz, you need to have more faith in other people. 
 
She could lean against a wall. 

She could stay alive a little longer, wait until the terrorists came, kill one or two of them with her. For Mr. Kwong. It was the least she could do.

But standing in the open wasn't the best way to do it. There was the alcove she'd been in before, the bag where she had stolen Cyrille's clothes, the corpse. Cyrille's body was rotting; Liz breathed through her mouth. She stepped into the alcove as Danya's mooks rounded the corner.

A crackle of voices. They had her location now, surprise surprise, and were arguing over who had to go first.  Liz almost sighed. She had heard this so many times. People asking for drugs, people asking for math help. You're afraid of me.
 
Yeah. Danya's soldiers were afraid of her. It wasn't a bad thing. 
 
She grinned reflexively.

No life flashing before her eyes, just people. Jeremy, Brendan, Garrett, Belle, her makeshift team. Kimberly, with her vendetta and Daisuke's gun. Dave, Isabel, Charlie, Winnie, Helen. The ever-bewildering Milo Taylor. Teo Weinstock and the bruises on her neck. In school, Jeremy counting cards, the fleeting camraderie of the girl's softball team. Hammy, Mom and Mr. Kwong.

Dad.

Had she thought of him that way before? She didn't know. But it seemed obvious.

Her voice could take a little more. And it's not like Danya would show it to him, but it was good for posterity. Or something.

"Bye, Dad." She said. "I love you."

Was she crying? She hadn't realized she could cry anymore.

Bye, Dad. Thank you for teaching me. I wish I could save you. I think they're going to kill you now, and you're scared, I know you're scared, and I wish I could be there, take your place, drive a bargain. I wish I was cleverer. You always taught me to be clever. I wish I had done this better, gotten you free...

The soldier was getting closer.

I'm sorry, Dad.

She made sure the gun was steady, pulled off the safety. Something complicated, factorials of multiples of nine, could calm her hands.

Concentrate.

She could hear the soldier's gun click. A squeak of shoes. An intake of breathe.

Bang.

(G055 Liz Polanski: Deceased)
--------


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

And who the hell is Radio Asuka?
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Grim Wolf
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The Very Best
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Impact.

The gun darted left, Belle had cleared the distance between them before it had trained back on her. She felt it, though; cold, cylindrical steal, right up against her arm. Two more inches and that piece of forged death would be in her ribs; two more inches, and its deadly cargo would have smashed her bones to pieces and shredded her organs apart.

Combat is built upon a hairs-breadth. The more narrow your dodges, the better your counters. Simple fact. The more skilled you were, the more you could exploit the minuscule openings in an opponent's attack.

Not that Belle being this close was a result of skill so much as luck. But at this moment she'd take what she could get.

She lashed out with her left hand, knocked the gun to one side, and then tightened her grip around the arm she found. She drew back the knife in her right hand and let it plunge, discovered what it feels like to let a knife slip into another person's flesh--easy, like stabbing a piece of steak with your fork, slipping right through. Fragile, she thought vaguely, in that part of her mind that wasn't wholly here, on her body, on this.

A short, sharp cry. The arm twisted out of her grip, a leg connected with her, she stumbled back into the dark as her fingers scrambled around the barrel of the gun. It flew off into the darkness, clattering against the stone and he's a soldier don't assume he's only got one gun get back in there!. She flung herself forwards, curling her fingers back, lashing out with palms. She connected with something solid and bony--a shoulder?--and then something softer--part of an arm?

That was before the fist connected with her face, an explosion of bright, star-laced pain as something cracked in her nose. Another fist lanced into her stomach, knocked the air out of her; a leg raced up from the dark and crashed into her. She staggered backwards, one hand around her nose and split lip, the other on her stomach.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:18 AM.
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Baines shouted Domino on. The mission took priority. Besides, he was sure he could handle himself. After all, this was a student. It couldn't be that challenging to take her out.

He swung his pistol towards her, planning to eliminate her with a quick shot to the chest. A gun was a pretty damn awful choice in this situation, but it was what he had at hand, so it'd have to do. Then, the gun was knocked aside, and the girl grabbed Baines' arm. In that moment, he knew he wasn't dealing with some random student. She had training of some sort. The knife biting into the back of his hand told him she knew exactly what she was doing. He let out a cry of pain, half involuntary, half vocalized rage, and twisted his arm free, lashing out with his leg to knock the girl off balance. His hand was burning like a bitch, probably bleeding everywhere too, but it wasn't crippled.

The girl took that opening to disarm him, though. The gun clattered off. It wasn't the right weapon for the job anyways, not against someone like this at this range. The girl came in close, trying to press her advantage, but she picked bad targets, giving him a few strikes to the shoulder and arm. It was more than enough of a respite for him to regain his balance and snap into gear.

He sent a fist into her face. Baines knew full well that wasn't a very good plan in most circumstances, delivering little damage for the effort, but it was a wonderful distraction. Besides that, he was using his wounded hand. Getting blood on your opponents also did wonders, especially when they couldn't tell whose it was. He managed a nose shot, though, so there'd be plenty of blood from the girl. His other hand followed through with a strike to the gut. Then he went after her with a knee strike.

It was enough. She was on the defensive, now, and Baines wasn't about to let her retake the initiative. He lunged forwards, continuing his attack, fists and elbows flying. She'd started this, and she'd hurt him. She was now fair game.





They were closing in. Christina knew it. She was still separated from the others, but they were drawing the net now. Polanski had done a remarkable amount of damage to the infrastructure of the tunnel radio network in very short order. She was out of places to hide now, though.

Up ahead, Christina could see the others. They were paused for a moment. They must have cornered the girl. It made her slightly bitter to have been so far away, so inconsequential to everything except securing an escape route.

It didn't matter.

Used to be, she preferred not to get her hands dirty.

A shape moved forwards, and there came the sound of gunfire.
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Oh
God
Oh
Christ No Stop
FUCK
Please...


Those two fuck-ups had cost her everything; she'd failed to capitalize on her momentary advantage, failed to strike at something vulernable, something that would turn the rhythm in her favor, and now he pummeled her without mercy and without apparent effort and her body turned to pain. It wasn't absolutely one-sided; here and there she threw up her hands or knees, catching inbound attacks; here and there she sidestepped the blows raining down upon her, throwing an open-palm to slam into his chest, his side; here and there she simply darted away, out of the range of his attacks.

These brief back-steps, however, would last only as long as it took her to remember that somewhere within this darkness there was a gun that this murderous, terrifying shadow knew all-too-well how to use, and then she'd throw herself back at him, striking, dodging, trying as best she could to hurt him.

Trying, and failing.

Once, twice, thrice she darted back, head spinning and body crying for release; once, twice, thrice she thrust herself back into the fray. She couldn't turn back, she couldn't let this sonofabitch through to hurt Liz, she couldn't turn away from these miserable bastards but...

But she hurt.

Her nose felt twisted and out of place, and was fountaining blood (and their was blood everywhere--on her face, on her hands, on stained and dirty gi), her body felt as though it had been permeated with cracks--as though this terrorist's blows had struck some fundamental bodily fault-line and sent terrestrial turmoil through every inch at her. Try as she might, she simply couldn't see him, and every time she pressed the attack she exposed herself; he, unlike her, had the luxury of time.

Master Liang had warned her of aggression, a warning Belle had had plenty of time to understand for herself here on this miserable island. But what was she supposed to do now, when her aggression (and all the fucking Christ-bitching pain it brought with it) was all that was stopping this silent bastard from shooting her?

Brief, useless thoughts, brought on by her pain, and they cost her.

A blow, out from the darkness, to the side of her head. She stumbled, lost the defensive posture she'd been struggling to keep up; a knee raced up and collided with her stomach and she keeled over without thinking, hunched, useless--all thoughts of protecting herself had vanished with that blow to her stomach, the blow that had robbed her of air and left her gasping.

A powerful force hammered into the back of her skull; it felt like it burst a dam, felt like it had caved in her head and driven all the way into her brains. Stars exploded in the wide-eyed darkness, miniature supernovas; she fell to her knees, struggling to breathe, struggling to think, struggling to stay conscious.

She felt, rather than saw, the something being readied above her; the killing intent like a knife and like an odor, gleaming out of the black and stinking of everything she'd ever feared in her short life.
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Baines continued his assault, the pain in his hand and the discomfort from the intermittent blows he received entirely lost beneath the adrenaline and ingrained reflexes. Surprisingly enough, this girl was actually a damn fine fighter. Not up to speed with a trained soldier, of course, but a formidable opponent nonetheless. This was taking too fucking long. It was time to step things up. She wasn't falling for the newbie tricks. She wasn't running away.

Yeah, definitely time to wrap this.

He managed to fake her out and hammer her skull. His angle was a bit off, so she didn't drop entirely, but she did cease her offensive, unable to respond for a second. Baines snaked his left hand to his side, and brought it back up full with his favorite combat knife. Some fighters believed in things like honor and art. Baines believed in getting people dead in as big a hurry as possible. It meant he did really well against those with concepts of fair play.

The girl seemed disoriented. Baines looked at her for a split second, wondering why they were fighting. By all rights, she should have been out there on the island, tearing through the competition. She should have been one of their top players, giving the killers who'd just gotten lucky a run for their money. She had no survival instinct, though, no sense of self-preservation.

Whatever. Made her easier to kill.

A knife strike to the skull wouldn't do much good, but Baines figured he'd just give her a good smash and then slit her throat. Easy.

And then, there was someone else who needed killing.

He swung.
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She felt, rather than saw, the something being readied above her; the killing intent like a knife and like an odor, gleaming out of the black and stinking of everything she'd ever feared in her short life.

He moved; they were closed enough now that she felt the tension in his body, the swift movement like a taut bow-string being released, and that thought brought memories--memories of Simon and of Jackie, memories of that brutal fight by the Sawmill. She'd let Samantha go--why had she done that? Had it just been the thought that Jackie had given up?

The moment separating her and her death seemed to be infinite; she felt it in all its intricate slowness, the slow undulation of her last moments. Garrett and she had allied, in the end; the boy she'd thought of as her enemy had turned out to be just like her, helpless, desperate, alive. The girl she'd traveled with had committed suicide-by-proxy, and Belle hadn't even noticed the despair that led her to that decision. And Liz? Liz was somewhere down this tunnel, and this sonofabitch would find her and kill her because Belle hadn't managed to a damn thing. All her desperation, all her aggression, all her raging against the trap in which these murderous fucks had placed her had done nothing but lead her to her knees, deprived of oxygen as death raced towards her.

Surrender, then. Let the bow-string be released, let the arrow of her end fly; she was done with this, done with struggling. She was done with her struggle.

Her hands lifted up into the infinite slowness of that eternal moment. She felt it--the slick, sleek agony of a knife drawn across her hand and fingers, bright and burning pain as the blade sliced deep into flesh. The fingers of her uninjured right hand curled around his wrist and she twisted with his slash, turning the hand in her grasp: the blade clattered to the floor next to her.

"Do you know why Baguazhang is oriented upon the circle?" Master Xiang asked her.

She kept her hold on his wrist; when the counter came (a low, brutally-fast kick--Christ, he was quick!) she felt it, flowing out of his leg and into the rest of his body. She was too close to dodge entirely, but when it hit she moved with it, turning to one side with the arm still in her grasp and driving an elbow into his side. A low, pained grunt greeted her efforts; the muscular arm tensed in her grasp and pulled backwards. She went with it, swinging her elbow out behind her and driving it into his stomach; for an instant he stopped fighting, his body going rigid.

"Baguazhang is not meant to be aggressive, nor is it meant to be passive. It is meant to be like water--to occupy the cracks in his defenses your opponent cannot help but have."

A sudden push shook her off his hand. She dug her feet into the dusty stone of the tunnel, feet skidding over the floor, and then took a step in, palms raised. His hand raced out and crashed against hers, and for a fleeting moment the spilled blood of one hand mingled with the spilled blood on the other.

"Your opponent's blows have force--this force cannot always be dodged or blocked. All energy goes somewhere; control the system, and you can use even the energy of your enemy to strike back at them."

She turned into his attack, stepping forward and twisting under his grasp. A quick strike to his chin; she felt his head jerk back, even as a crushing blow swept into her side. She moved with this, too, turning at an angle and coming out low with a swift kick to the side of his knee that left him stumbling.

Her whole body ached. She was still short on breath. Ever blow she took was a sharp, agonizing reminder of her other aches, her evident injuries, but...

Control the system, and you can use even the energy of your enemy to strike back at them.

Endless turns, endless strikes, but she moved with them, moved against him, moved to fill the cracks in his defenses.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:17 AM.
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The girl wasn’t quite as down as Baines had anticipated. She managed to get her hand into position and deflect the knife strike away from her vital areas, though she clearly sustained some damage in the process. It wasn’t enough, though. She was out of luck. She knew it, he knew it. She just wasn’t lying down, though, wasn’t giving up. Damn. This was a complete pain in the ass diversion. Didn’t she get it? It didn’t matter what she did. The other girl, the troublemaker, was already doomed. There were six heavily-armed terrorists in here. This girl was stalling one of them.

Baines growled as she grabbed his hand and knocked his knife away. He didn’t try to fight it too much, using the opening instead to launch another kick. It had worked so far; she wasn’t a good enough defensive fighter to hold him off. She moved with his strike, though, minimizing and redirecting the energy. Dammit. Just what he needed right now.

Almost as much as he needed that elbow in the side. This was a case where body armor didn’t help so much, the blunt impact still packing quite a punch. Bullets, knives, those wouldn’t be much use compare to their normal effects, but good old punches still got the job done.

The next strike to his stomach winded him. He was too good for it to take him out of things for more than half a second, but she was too good not to capitalize on it. He shoved her away, got his arm free again, and took another shot, but she met it. She got in an attack against his chin, but he countered with another shot on her, a decent one. She’d stepped it up, though, had hit that adrenaline surge that kept her going in the face of adversity and near-certain death. That desperation was the one thing Baines didn’t have; as pissed off as he was, he had thus far had no cause to doubt that he’d emerge victorious.

Shit, she was just a high school kid. She shouldn’t have known this stuff.

He stumbled away from the blow to his knee, borrowing the tactics used against him, moving with it to some degree himself and sparing himself a debilitating injury. The lack of light was messing him up too. Normally, it’d have been to his advantage, but she seemed comfortable blind-fighting as well.

The problem was, this fight was far too even and protracted. It needed to end, and now. As she moved on him, Baines let her make some headway Then, when the time seemed right, he feinted a shot for her face, followed by a vicious punch aimed for her solar plexus. If she froze up for even an instant, she was dead.
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Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. Again and again, trading blows, keeping close. She couldn't hear especially well, but from this close to him she couldn't help but feel him move, and as long as she moved with those movements (danced with them, to each side, back and forth, each touch moving her with the force of an order and she whirled about) she no longer too much damage, she no longer lost her feeling for him.

There was a rhythm here, a rhythm she hadn't yet mastered, but it was there and she could follow it, it was there...

She felt his arm tense and shifted as a fist came hurtling towards her out of the dark; it was only as she turned her head slightly that she felt the slight change in his body, a ripple of force extending out from his core, and suddenly the arm had changed direction, changing the rhythm once more, and was heading straight towards her stomach.

The blow hit and she turned with it, turned even as the air rushed out of her in one smooth rush and made it hard to breathe, turned with it in that fragile second before she realized how much pain she was in. One high elbow caught him in the chin; she felt his head knock back, felt him stumble. She continued the turn, directed two blows with her palms to his head, then swept low again with her leg. He stumbled again, his balance precarious, and for the first time in their whole fight he was the one with a hole in his defenses, he was the one who wasn't ready.

She'd only been learning Baguazhang for three years or so-not long enough, really, to have become really good at it. And there was no doubt this guy was stronger than she was, better than she was--he had more experience, the only reason she'd done nearly so well was because he'd been underestimating her and because he'd lost his gun. She wasn't yet a great martial artist, but...

But she had been learning savate since she was five years old, and her kicks, as she had learned, were as good as they got.

One quick step, then she was in the air, and the kick she threw towards his chest had not only twelve years of practice behind it but 127 pounds of mass and practice and fury.
Edited by Grim Wolf, Apr 26 2011, 02:20 AM.
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

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All it took was one wrong move. One miscalculation. She'd gotten lucky on that last blow, had kept up her responses, and had managed to drive Baines backwards. She'd managed to punch through his defenses and get him off guard for a second. He knew he'd be able to pull back, knew he'd be able to regain control of the fight and end things, but it would take a second.

In that second, she changed things up on him.

The kick came out of nowhere. She'd fought with her feet before, but not like this. Had there been sufficient light to track her movements, he'd have been able to anticipate it and get out of the way. As it was, the blow hit him square in the chest, sending him falling backwards. In itself, that wouldn't have been a problem at all.

The problem came from the fact that he was too close to the walls of the tunnel. He knew it, of course. He had a very good feel for the terrain. It was enough to let him duck his head forward and push his arms back to cushion the blow.

He still slammed into the wall with a sharp gasp, then slumped to the ground.
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