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Feral Intelligence
Topic Started: Mar 3 2011, 09:05 PM (4,321 Views)
Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Kris Hartmann continued from Corpsewalker))

Had you asked Kris Hartmann exactly where rough terrain had given way to ordered streets and rows of houses, she probably would have been unable to tell you. Heck, if you'd asked Kris Hartmann where the mountain had ended and the countryside had begun, an answer would have been unlikely to be forthcoming. She was... not in the best state of mind.

Crunch.

Crunch.

Crunch.

Spike.

Straight.

Through.

Blll
ooo
d

Scream. Murder. Again? Again.

Again.

Again.

Control?

None.


Smiling, Kris tripped over a metallic box and faceplanted on the cobblestones around the fountain. Her hand twitched, very nearly pressing the button on the detonator switch inadvertantly. That'd have been something. She rolled over so that she was face up, one foot still on whatever the heck it was she'd tripped over.

Sprawled out. Kris giggled. Just a little.

She stared up at the sky for a few seconds, eyes rolling drastically, then touched her free hand to her forehead, still ringing from the impact against the hard ground. Kris touched wetness, brought her hand forward, and saw yet more blood on her hands. A cut? A graze? Either way, it didn't seem to hurt too badly. What was that trickle compared to the bursting gouts that had come from...

the others... all of them. Reika, Kimberly, Amber, Al, Etain, Janet. Her victims. One failed kill, one not directly her... but her fault nevertheless. Four dead. Because of her. Stone hard facts, up on the announcement, that only ever reached her when her own name came up. Kris could've stumbled straight into a DZ and wouldn't have noticed.

And yet, through all that... and this was the first time she'd personally shed blood.

Kris's expression turned sombre and she stared into nothingness.

Hurt...
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Stark
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[ *  *  * ]
((R.J. Lowe continued from They're Made Out Of Meat))

It'd been a solid day of training in the woods, and R.J. was confident. Confident, and more than a little tired. He'd heard the announcement, but was barely cognizant of it. All he wanted now was peace, quiet, and rest. He remembered the town. He reasoned that there were beds there. And with the danger zone only just clearing up, it seemed unlikely this would be like the previous two times he'd passed through this area of the island, and with fatigue and pain rapidly taking their toll, it was the least he could hope for, especially with Mary-Ann not far behind. He wasn't about to lead her into danger. Not after all they'd been through.

He planted his sword in the dirt in front of him, dropping to his knees. His grip tightened around the handle, face contorting in agony as his abdomen burned.

He stared down at the ground. Leaned forward, head rested against the flat of the blade. Deep breaths.

One.

Two.

Three.

Crash.

Giggle.

Look up.


They weren't alone. A girl lay sprawled out on the ground before him, not thirty feet ahead. A girl who was all too familiar by now.

Blond hair.

Blood.

Murderer.

Threat.


<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Mary-Ann Warren continued from They're Made of Meat))

Mary-Ann's arms were sore from practicing all day, but it was a good kind of sore. She was proud of herself for the progress she'd made in such a short amount of time. However she and R.J. were both long overdue for some rest, R.J. especially. Mary-Ann was worried about him; she knew that even when she rested he didn't sleep much. It made her feel a little guilty that he was exerting himself while she had been snoring away.

At the moment the two were heading down to the little town area. R.J. reasoned it should be safe since it was just freeing up from being a danger zone.

There should be lots of places we could haul up, hide for just a little while and sleep together. Well, no! Not SLEEP TOGETHER, just.....sleep next to each other at the same time. We really need to get some recuperation time in. He really needs to.

Suddenly R.J. doubled over, using the sword for support. His face was twisted in pain. Mary-Ann zipped to his side and knelt down next to him.

"R.J. what's wrong? Let's sit down for a sec. You have to take it a little easier."

He looked up ahead and his expression changed from one of just pain to something like rage. She followed his gaze and saw Kris sprawled out on the ground, laughing to herself.

"Kris.....Come on, we can go around her or something. There's got to be another way to get to the houses," she whispered.
things
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Eiko Haraguchi continued from Amazing Journey/Sparks))

As it turned out, her detour was anything but quick. Peter's instructions to finding the supplies he left for her hadn't been the best. The mansion was a big place, and it would have been far more helpful of him to specify where in the mansion he'd hidden those supplies. So it took a good amount of time for her to find them; it was fortunate that she didn't encounter anyone else in the meantime. Finally, she found in a closet what must have been Peter's gift: a few outfits he'd found for her and two more tins of crackers. He'd been true to his word.

Eiko immediately changed into one of them, finding that it was mostly her size, except for some tightness around the waist. Another victory for small blessings. She'd have to bathe later and maybe wash her dirty clothes in a river or something; she'd do it now, but she didn't know if the mansion had running water and she'd spent enough time there already.

As for the other part of her plan, tracking Chase and Bennett's trail, well, that didn't go as well as she'd planned at all. It was dark when she arrived back at the tunnels, so even if they'd left a trail an untrained tracker like Eiko could follow, she couldn't see any part of it. Defeated, Eiko slumped against a rock, clutching her polearm reflexively.

Well, it was back to square one for her. Did she want to try and find Peter, possibly berate him for leaving her behind? Go in the vague direction she remembered Chase leaving in and hope she stumbled across them or another friendly, instead of a bloodthirsty madman like Lombardi or Hartmann? Try to find someone with a gun and trick them out of it? As much as she hated to admit it, her goals of trying to survive this wretched game and preserving her image as a sane, respectable woman to the audience watching at home looked more mutually exclusive by the sec-

"Hey kids, it's Uncle Danya!"

DANYA.

No honorific could possibly convey the contempt Eiko had for the man who ruined her life. She had a future. She was going to Yale. She was a favorite to become valedictorian, or at least salutatorian. Now she would be a corpse or a pariah, as anathema to the business world as shell-shocked war veterans. And for what? So she and her peers could be used as marketing icons or sacrifices to prove a vague political point?

Every morning, it hurt her to listen to that sneering, ugly voice for even the short time it took to announce deaths and danger zones, but Eiko tried her best to suffer through it. The fact that she could put faces to half the names she heard didn't make it any easier. This corpse was her date for Prom. That corpse was her study partner in statistics. That other corpse was the student body president. So many other futures utterly destroyed. She could barely imagine the shock and despair the other students were feeling, not to mention their families and friends from outside the game, another lifetime ago. She could barely imagine what her own family must be going through.

Then two magical sentences at the end of the announcement gave her a shock to the heart.

"Our last winner made a horrible waste of her reward and left it sitting in the town center. Her loss is somebody else's gain, I suppose!"

She checked her map. The town center was directly north of her, scarcely a third of the map away. She could reach it in one, two hours tops.

With as much haste as she could muster she set her pack on her shoulder and jogged north to where her salvation lay. Doubts and second-guessing sprouted in her mind as she ran, of course. They always did.

There would be others coming, others more savage and desperate and deadly. But she would take that chance; she wasn't the sort to pass up a golden opportunity, even one as risky as this.

She had no idea what weapon awaited her; it could be even more useless than her current one. But that was unlikely, and she'd never know for sure if she didn't go.

What would the home audience think of her craven scavenging and opportunism? They would see it as the actions of a girl driven to desperation; if not, would dying really be a better option?

-----

Eiko came to the town center light-headed from her sleepless night and achy from the exertion of sprinting from the tunnels. Her vision blurred briefly, and she shook her head to clear it. All she needed to do now was find the prize before anyone else did.

Speaking of anyone else, she quickly found three other people in the square. The first she didn't recognize, a girl traveling with a friend, probably one that she depended on for protection. That friend was R.J. Lowe, whom Eiko recognized as the boy who couldn't speak. The third was a little harder to make out; she lied down, staring up at the sky and not caring one whit about her surroundings, it seemed. It wasn't until Eiko was thirty feet away that she saw her face, and recognition made her heart skip a beat.

It was Hartmann, Kris Hartmann. The same Kris Hartmann who'd murdered four or five people already. Discounting the far more dangerous Lombardi, she was a strong candidate for the worst person on the island to run into. Eiko held her polearm in front of her, on edge and ready to bolt as soon as Hartmann noticed and attacked her. She almost considered leaving altogether, and letting Lowe and his friend deal with Hartmann themselves.

But then she saw something next to Hartmann's legs.
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Brackie
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personification of adhd
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
I'm not sure how long I've been searching, but all traces of Quincy Jones and Tiffany Chanders have turned up fruitless.

After leaving the Fair, and Goth Girl Chase to her own devices, I started North. I once again had to skip the Mansion, as it was not a place I intended to go any time soon now. I'm not sure if Chase has been following me, I haven't even bothered to check. Frankly, she looks far too precious to watch me commit such...atrocities crimes revenge(?), so once I stop, I'll check.

I further travelled North to the clinic, where I saw only a few people. Should I have bothered to check inside, I probably would have found more. I spotted that Sarah Xu, the communist dyke who runs that Activism Club, and what do you know, Bridget Connolly. It'd be fair to call Bridget a^n...acquaintance of mine. I'm not really sure what brought us together, but we remain on speaking terms. Or we would have, were I not slightly irked off by Simon Telamon, lurking around. I know he's a killer now. I didn't want to tangle with more than I had to, so I left.

Next would have been the Docks, but instead I was forced to skip them since they were also declared a Danger Zone. I travelled North, to the Lighthouse, where I spotted some people I also wished to not tangle with. From there, I headed back to town. I searched. I failed to find the two, even with my most thorough of all possible searches.

But I did not check here yet.

It's the centre of town, and according to the big gelatinous slob of a man that is MR DAYNA there is also a weapon here. I won't need it. Only the really desperate scramble for weapons when they have no confidence in their goal.

I, however, do not. I know the one thing I need to do, and that is all now.

I will write up my findings and discoveries later.


~*~

((Aston Bennett continues from Later, Buddy))

The notepad she packed with an absent mind met her hands for the first time. After deciding she wouldn't play almost a week ago, she saw no need to get it out. Her final words didn't need to be written down, not when she had a solid, independent voice. She was better than that.

But...this path was going to be tough. You can't remain rational and observant and throw away all of your previous mantra without learning a little from the experience. The attitude she adopted for her pre-choice travels were inadequate for this road.

She needed to remember the basics of who Aston Bennett was, and how Aston Bennett was going to murder Quincy Jones and Tiffany Chanders.

First of all, she didn't trust the first people she came across unless she had a damn good reason to. No more business with Marty, it was straight up "can you benefit me?" or "Why should I trust you?". If you're not on Team Aston, or if Aston isn't on Team Aston, then she was out like that. No questions. No exceptions. No begging from a goth girl to change her mind. Yes, or no.

Next, this came from first. Let people know that she was in the mood for killing. Be honest. Tell them what you really mean by it, don't pointlessly scare them if they're already on edge. You're not going to kill them unless their names specifically spell out the one you're looking for.

And finally, don't make mistakes. It can be that one little action, or inaction, which will fuck you up big time. That's what happened to Michelle. To Ben. To Flare Girl. To...Josh...
Why do I still miss you...
The town centre approached rapidly, and before she knew it, there it was. People. A whole group of them, and not one of them resembling a boxer or a pretty peroxide princess.

However...
Hmm...
This was interesting.

The strong back of a familiar figure was seen doubled over on the ground, sharing the company of two short haired girls and...the girl from the caves.

Aston stowed away her gun. It was time to find out who she could trust, and all the while remain an impartial observer as long as she didn't find out who the focus of attention was on.

If it was her, then bye-bye.
Edited by Brackie, Mar 11 2011, 06:53 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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Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The heel of Kris's trainer drummed on the metal box aimlessly, entirely unwares of exactly what was held within it. For a few seconds longer, she stared up at a cloudless sky, unseeing. Then, Kris's eyes dipped down to regard the shoe making a thunking beat on the surface of the container. It was a sort of faded red. Ah. Right... she remembered...

Force. Her. Down. Crunching bone. Pained gasps. Blood spatter, spurter. Pitter-patter, like rain... pitter-patter on the sneakers...

Momentarily fascinated, Kris stopped twitching and stared at her blood-soaked trainer, angled higher then her head because of where it was resting. A moment or two of that and then... she blinked. For the first time, she looked beyond merely what was right in front of her, and saw him. A familiar face.

That encounter... well, here, more or less. Not by the fountain, but definitely in the streets. When she'd collapsed and awoken to find herself restricted, grabbed by others. Accusing, pouring guilt and judgement on her. ...Deserved. Kris had managed to extricate herself from that group, just barely. This guy... well this guy was back, now. He had somebody else with him. A name came to Kris's head. Not the girl, the tall dude with the sword. R.J.

How'd she know that? She couldn't remember, maybe they shared a class somewhere. R.J. looked far warier now than he ever had done before. Kris's reputation preceded her.

Herald... herald of blood. Herald of unspeakable acts...

Kris pushed herself up off the ground, detonator clutched in her fist almost unconciously. She slid forward, up onto the box, then perched on it and hauled herself into a sitting position. The container wasn't massive, so Kris was still close to the ground, looking up.

Her expression... was not welcoming. Nor was it hostile. She simply stared placidly, eyes that little bit vacant beneath a blood-matted fringe. Seeing, yet... glazed over.

Will there be more?

Festival?

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Stark
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[ *  *  * ]
His gaze was sharp enough to cut a silk cloth in mid-fall. How many had died now as a direct result of his misguided acts of mercy? How many families would never see their children again because of his inaction? He had two chances to stop her cold, and twice, he failed. Who else was going to die because he had too big a heart? Mary-Ann?

Fuck.

That.

Noise.


R.J. pulled himself to his feet, using his sword for leverage. With his right hand, he made a gesture behind his back to Mary-Ann. Pinky and ring fingers extended, thumb pointed up, bent back ninety degrees at the interphalangeal joint. She knew what this meant. They'd practiced it. The message delivered, he wrapped the fingers of both his hands tightly around the handle of the khanda. Kris moved into a seated position atop a metal box. What was in it, R.J. neither knew nor cared. He had one objective in mind. He had to eliminate every threat to Mary-Ann's survival that he possibly could. If he failed now, it wouldn't be because he didn't try. If she got away this time, it wouldn't because he showed her mercy.

His eyes never left the blonde, his face fixed in a feral scowl, eyebrows threatening to sever his nose. Thousand yard stare met thousand yard stare. He approached her with long, slow strides, raising the blade toward the sky. Once he was in range, he would allow gravity to take care of the rest.

Third time's a charm.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The girl was just rolling around on that crate. She didn't seem to care about anything at all as she stared blankly up at the sky.

Mary-Ann knew the signal. R.J. had made sure she was absolutely, one hundred percent clear on what to do when the time came. She nodded slightly and picked up the gun. It was always threw her off at how heavy it was, but after she'd spent time practicing with it, the gun had become oddly familiar in it's heaviness.

This time it wasn't practice. She knew that this time if she pulled the trigger it wasn't going to just be that hollow air sound and an empty 'click.' Mary-Ann's fingers tingled unpleasantly and felt cold against the gun.

"Whatever you do.....I trust you, R.J. I don't want to fight someone. I don't want to have to use the stuff you taught me. But if you decide that that's what we gotta do, then I'll follow you. I trust you to do the right thing," she whispered.

Soon the girl was upright sitting on the box. Mary-Ann squinted to see what she held in her hand, but couldn't really make it out. When she'd stopped looking at her hand, Mary-Ann noticed that the girl's dull, straight gaze was directed right at them
things
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
Eiko stood still for the next few seconds, just observing the murderer taking center stage in the square. Hartmann didn't look well, to put it mildly. Instead of behaving sensibly in this sort of situation and standing with any sort of weapon at ready when meeting new people, she was lying on her back and gazing up at the sky as though she were attending a picnic and basking in nature's glory. And the way she gazed around in wonder at her surroundings indicated a childish mindset Eiko could have sworn she didn't have before all of this.

Is this what would happen to her if she killed people? Would she have to choose between her life and her sanity?

But then her eyes darted back to the box Hartmann sat on. It didn't look like it belonged. It sat right in the middle of the town square, looking brand new and barely battered at all. If the box didn't contain Gweneth's abandoned prize, Eiko would eat the rotten flesh of her dead peers.

That still put Hartmann in the way of better self-defense. Although, Eiko had to admit, she thought there might be a possibility she could take Hartmann now. All she's have to do is swat her prone form off the box, snatch up the contents, and run.

...unless this was just an act Hartmann was putting on to get a victim in close. No, that would be stupid. Anyone with a gun could pick her off at a distance. But something like that wouldn't matter to an insane girl.

Better to wait and see. Her eyes turned to the other spectators in the audience. Lowe and his friend - her name started with W - didn't look like they noticed the crate, or at least didn't know what it meant. They just looked concerned for their safety.

Suddenly, she spotted another girl. It was Bennett! Somehow Eiko'd met up with her again without even trying. But... Bennett was acting shifty, looking for escape routes and trying to read everyone else she could see.

In other words, behaving almost like Eiko herself was.

No words were spoken, aside from whispers to Lowe from W-san. Perhaps it should come to her to break the ice. "Hartmann-sa-"

Wait, what was Lowe doing with that sword?
Edited by Solitair, Mar 11 2011, 06:52 AM.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

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Brackie
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personification of adhd
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Ha...no way.

Well, look at that, 7 days gone and R.J. Lowe was still alive.

Now, who the hell would've thought that was even possible? Look, R.J. was a huge fucking guy, a really huge fucking guy. He had a great body, even someone who didn't give a crap about that sort of thing like Aston could admit that, so he wasn't just a weak little twig like that guy he saw walking around with the fedora. But...honestly, he couldn't speak. That was either a gamebreaker or the gamemaker.

But...somehow, he'd done it. He's survived. He'd killed two people, two people she didn't care about. And...

R.J. Lowe, you are my hero right now, and I could possibly need you more than anyone else on this god damn rock besides whoever got a Rocket Launcher and a good radar, but what the hell are you doing?

There he was, with the sword, about to cut a girl on a box into ribbons with said huge sword, while that girl he was hanging out with back at school stood right behind him, and that girl back at the caves who spoke like a cartoon character was now speaking to the crazy girl on the box...while she was about to get attacked. Yeah, that would end well.

The box...hmm. Aston's money was on that box being that weapon everyone was going after. So...huh, she could either go for the weapon, or get R.J. + girl he was with on her side after they were finished.

Hmm. Guaranteed weapon. Balanced against allies for her one goal.

Hmm. Aston needed to think. But she needed to watch as well.

Don't disappoint me, R.J., if you don't get out of whatever you're going to do I'll bring you back to life myself and kill you again for doing it wrong.
Edited by Brackie, Mar 11 2011, 06:45 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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Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Abruptly, focus snapped into Kris's eyes. Crystal clear clarity. For once.

For the first time in ...quite a while, she actually saw. No filter, no obscuring mist, no justifications... no excuses. RJ was bearing down on her, sword raised above his head. Half of Kris felt like she deserved whatever he intended to do to her - which was pretty damn obvious. Part was wondering what the hell he was playing at, coming towards her so blatently; what, did he not think she had any capacity to harm him?

A good part though... froze up. This... was fear, genuine fear. Not fear of getting found out, like she'd had the first time she met R.J. Not fear of what she could do to somebody else, like had happened with Amber. This time, Kris was afraid because she didn't want to die.

The feeling came out of nowhere, yet for all that, wasn't entirely unfamiliar, like an old friend that left years back and then made a sudden dramatic entrance. The surprise was still there though, that brief moment of lacking comprehension... before the subtle changes could no longer hide what remained the same, and recognition clicked into place. This... this fear, that was how Kris had felt when holding the gun she'd pulled out of her pack, in those few moments where she was still innocent, still unsullied...

Still not a murderer.

Before she shot Reika.

Lucidity, of a kind. Seeing a replica of a destroyed painting no more restored the original than memories of the dead kept them alive.

With it... guilt. Crushing guilt. Reika. Kimberly (not dead, yet...). Amber. Albert. Janet - oh god what had she done to Janet? Everyone around was treated to the odd sight of Kris's gaze suddenly snapping to the ground, accompanied by an audible whimper.

With that... understanding. It was impossible to use reason, impossible to try to ally with anybody, to seek to be diplomatic. Perhaps, if she'd stuck with Etain, they could've... he might've- no... what happened was all that was ever going to happen. Kris should've forced him to go, ran away from him, the way she had done when he'd stumbled upon her in the swamp after Reika... He wouldn't have left her just because she asked, because... He loved her. The same way, Kris had come to realised, that she loved him.

Too late.

In any case, talking civilly was out.

Which left fighting... and that wouldn't end well for her.

And talking... not so civilly.

Kris held the detonator above her head, fist thrust towards RJ - instantaeously spawning a legion of 'clever' photoshopped screencaps of Nazi imagery. Her face was set.

"There is a block of C4 in my bag, RJ," Kris said matter-of-factly. "Either nobody dies or..." Kris caught sight of somebody not far behind RJ, and her eyes narrowed. "Or everyone. Turn around. Leave."

Was it a bluff?

Kris... wasn't sure.
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Stark
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[ *  *  * ]
And with a little push, the massive blade came barreling down toward Kris Hartmann's face.

There is a block of C4 in my bag, R.J.

And with a mighty pull, the blade began to swerve to the left.

a block of C4 in my bag

And as the giant struggled to maintain his balance, the blade slammed into the cobblestones, shattering rock and denting steel.

block of C4

His eyes glazed over, staring silently at the girl in front of him. Was she bluffing? Was there a bomb in her bag? If so, would she really go through with blowing herself to smithereens?

Could he afford to risk it?

For a short while, he just stood there, frozen, blind and deaf to the world around himself and Kris. He never broke eye contact, his face betraying only an eerie calm. He was focused, weighing all his options, considering every possibility. Eternity passed by, in the space of a few seconds. Save a cool gust of wind, carrying with it some scattered dust and fallen leaves, all was stillness, until at long last, a bemused sigh broke the silence. R.J. returned to an upright stance, raising the sword up to rest on his shoulder. He acknowledged Kris with a nod and a smile. Almost as if to say, "I understand." Quietly, he turned back the way he came, back to Mary-Ann. It was a walk not thirty feet back to her, but it felt like an eternity. Time slowing down was fast becoming a theme, it seemed.

Three times, he had a chance to end it.

He knew what had to happen now.

He approached Mary-Ann, set the khanda aside, placed his hands on her cheeks, closed his eyes, and pulled his lips into hers. Just for a few seconds, the two of them stood there.

Yeah. There was a pattern, alright.

Slowly, he released her, a single tear dripping down his cheek, but a smile on his face all the same. Definitely worth the wait, he thought to himself. Shame we couldn't have done it sooner. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he looked the love of his life dead in the eye, and silently, his lips formed a single word.

Go.

He knew exactly what had to happen now. If Mary-Ann could live, he was ready to die.

If I fail, it won't be because I gave up.

A single bloodstained steel-toed shoe took its first step back toward Kristina Hartmann.

And with a little effort, the massive blade rose up from the ground.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Oh god," Mary-Ann couldn't watch this. She turned away as R.J. brought down the blade to meet Kris' head and squeezed her eyes shut. Everything was so quiet in that moment. Quiet until, to her surprise, she heard Kris shouting.

Mary-Ann looked up and let out the breath she'd been holding in. R.J. hadn't killed her. The girl was holding that item she'd seen earlier above her head like it was a magic shield or something. And it may as well have been too, as she announced that it was actually the detonator to a whole lot of explosives in her bag, not too far away. Mary-Ann scanned the scene, sure enough, there lay the bag. So harmless looking, just an ordinary bag, but if Kris was telling the truth it could end them all in the wink of an eye.

R.J. sighed and walked back to her.

Good. He's coming back. We can walk away and it can be like we never saw Kris. We can-

And before she could finish thinking she felt his hands on her cheeks on his lips firm on hers. She trembled a little in surprise. Her first kiss.

He was so warm. After the first few seconds of shock fizzled away she was enveloped in his warmth. Mary-Ann tilted her head just slightly to the right and pushed back against him. Her heart was ringing in her ears and her stomach was in her throat but it felt like......like they could be safe and happy together in that moment forever. Their kiss could pierce through death and survive as one perfect moment, crystallized in the privacy of their hearts.

And though that one moment may be everlasting, R.J. and Mary-Ann are finite. R.J. pulled away from her and a tear rolled down his face.

No.

"R.J...."

He took a step away from her, back towards Kris. He mouthed one word to her, very clearly, very slowly. He wanted her to go.

"R.J......You promised. You promised me that you'd never leave me again. You promised!" she nearly shouted. Mary-Ann could feel her own eyes start to well up in tears.

"You did. You told me you'd never leave. I'm not ready for you to leave. I'll never be ready." And now she was crying too.

"Stay."
things
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
Well, that answered her question. Hartmann wasn't crazy enough to retard her survival instincts after all. All she needed was a sword barreling toward her face to get her to be attentive again. Now how would she deal with this, exactly?

Eiko got another answer to her question when Hartmann raised a fist to block the sword. Amazingly it actually worked; Lowe's sword veered out of the way mere inches from the fist and buried its point in the cobblestones between him and his target. The sound of the impact, of metal scraping against stone and a sharp edge squealing as it wore itself down, made Eiko cringe. She kept her sodegarami in front of her, as if it could shield her from the sound, or anything else in the game. She kept her eyes on the two of them, though, and heard every word Hartmann said after she survived.

"There is a block of C4 in my bag, RJ. Either nobody dies or... or everyone. Turn around. Leave."

A chill ran through Eiko's body, and before she could stop herself, a pathetic, mewling squeak escaped her lungs; if Hartmann hadn't sensed Eiko before, she sure as hell would now. Eiko looked for all the world like a feather about to collapse, her last, shining hope snatched away by a cruel spirit who only wanted to see her destroy herself. She'd gotten her hopes up so high for this sign of divine providence, and now she'd be thwarted, not by a hellish adversary who'd proven herself a diabolical scourge to be feared, but by this nobody, this punk girl who fell ass-first into possessing motherfucking explosives!

How dare she? How dare she?

Half-formed images and fantasies flickered through Eiko's mind, images of beating Hartmann to death with her sodegarami, of grabbing the gun in the box and shooting off that hand with the detonator in it, of firing every single bullet it came with into Hartmann's weaselly black guts. Those whiny, insecure thoughts about what other people would think, about what the employers of the world and her family would think, deserted her. Hadn't Mr. Kwong told her she shouldn't care what people think? The irony of that thought almost made her smile. Almost.

The only response she deigned to give Hartmann's cowardly little trick was taking a few steps backward. After all, she wasn't the main threat to Hartmann, now was she? That was Lowe, the one who attacked Hartmann in the first place! After taking a quick glance at Bennett to make sure she wasn't planning anything, she focused her attention back to him.

He wasn't going to back down either, it seemed. He gave Hartmann a long, hard look, then turned to his companion and gave her a kiss, a kiss he wanted to make sure would leave a lasting impression. It was meant to be the best - and last - kiss they would share. W-san realized it as well as Eiko did, and tried in vain to get Lowe to stay with her for just a little bit longer. Her words were heartfelt, desperate, moving, exactly the sort that would wring tears out of the audience, were they from an actress in a movie. But Lowe ignored her, and yanked his sword back out to take one more swing. Almost too late, Eiko remembered the threat of the C4, and took several more steps back, hoping that that measly distance would be enough to protect her from the blast radius.

Lowe and Hartmann were in it for the long haul, determined to play chicken for the highest of stakes. Perhaps Eiko would see her first death here after all.
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Brackie
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personification of adhd
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((crappy post, sorry, I'm rather busy atm :x)

This wasn't good.

That Hartmann bitch was armed and primed.

What the hell can you do when you're in a situation like this? Well, besides doing what Aston does best and just standing there and analysing the situation? Nothing, really. You're glued to the spot, just fearful for your life. Of course, the thing was, Aston thought it over, and decided that she wasn't going to die today.

For starters, she remembered reading somewhere that a single block of C4 had a blast radius of approximately 15 feet. She was more than far enough away to escape unharmed, even if she just pulled out her gun and shot that girl right there. She'd still get a shock from the blast, but really, nothing else.

The other main important point about the entire situation was that Kris Hartman seemed to have no idea she was on the scene in the first place.

Aston watched. The crazy girl's eyes slid from RJ, to his girl, to the girl from the caves, but not. her. This was good, it meant that she was what they called an unfactored variable. Something you can't take into account when making a rational or a rash decision.

So...what was the plan then?

Aston thought this over, several times, don't think she chose this lightly, and then...she decided what to do. RJ needed to live. His girl, cave girl, they needed to get out of here alive. Aston needed to get out of here alive, and doing what she was about to do was not a step towards that.

She started edging around the circumference of the centre.

Aston was far enough away that she could do this discreetly, but her movements had to be small. No point getting her drawing attention to herself when the point here was to remain an unfactor.

It took a while, a while of developments and a while of edging, but she made it. RJ had kissed his girl, she was begging for him not to do anything, and the girl from the caves was scanning the area. Okay, she needed to do this quick. If she gave her away, it was all over.

She made it so that she was directly behind Kris...only in terms of her field of vision.

Aston knew that she was now visible to everyone in the area.

No time to waste.

She removed her shoes, almost like they were engulfed in hot fire, and she stepped forward onto the cobblestone.

A silent step. Good.

Another silent step. Even better.

I need to get this bag and I need to do this quick.
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cause I found my treasure in you
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Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Kris breathed again. He hadn't called it, bluff or no. She'd gained a little breathing space. For now. Kris wasn't entirely sure she deserved it. Yet... for her guilt... Kris didn't want to die. She didn't want to be another corpse. RJ was staring at her, then... backing off. But the intent look in his eyes told her simply that it wasn't the last she'd heard of this. Heading back to the girl, was he?

She had a bad feeling about this, Kris's hand holding the detonator wavered. RJ didn't have the look of somebody who'd given up. Kris watched RJ, half an eye on the squeak that had come from nearby. Less of a threat, much less. Kris watched, and swiftly, she realised.

Not retreat.

Farewell.


...What was she sitting on?

Cool metal.

Snatch of...

The voice.

Best kill award.

Town center.

BKA.

Town center.

This box...


Kris slowly, in a near daze, rose to her feet. Turned. There was the box at her feet. Large, cuboid.

A box... a container.

Kris looked down at it, back to RJ. Back to the container. RJ was moving towards her. Time for a gamble. Time to put her faith in the man that had made her four times a murderer, purely because like before... she was too selfish to set aside herself.

Whatever, Kris was never a saint. Repentence. ...tear. That wasn't going to change anything, not anymore.

She opened the box.

...

Beautiful.


A light came into Kris's eyes as she looked on it.

An M79 grenade launcher.

Gently, almost reverantly, Kris reached down, picked the weapon up, hefted it, cradling it in her arms like a child.

Smile.

Kris swerved around, her attention on the weapon and the box before it meaning she hadn't yet spotted Aston. She raised the grenade launcher, pointed it straight at the advancing RJ. Pulled the trigger.

Click.

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Stark
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Nuts.
[ *  *  * ]
It wasn't that he didn't hear Mary-Ann's pleas. It wasn't that he didn't care. It wasn't that he was abandoning her. It was the exact opposite of any of that. He wasn't leaving her. No matter how far apart they were, he was never going to leave her. Never. But he couldn't tell her that. He couldn't vocalize it. He didn't have time to write it down. He just had to hope she found the note. That, and that she got away as quickly as possible. This was all for her. He wished he could tell her that. This was all for her.

He slouched toward Kris, slowly but steadily, sword dragging heavily along the ground. His gaze was fixed. Aston, who he only now had noticed was there, was behind her. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that she was closing in. He liked Aston, really, he did, but that idiot was going to get herself killed like this. Kris, meanwhile, was going for that box she was sitting on. That big, shiny, metal box. The kind arms dealers carried the tools of their trade around with in movies. Opened it. Pulled out its contents. He recognized it fairly quickly as an M79 grenade launcher. He grinned. Something she wouldn't shoot at him at close range. Better yet, something she didn't seem to realize wasn't likely to come pre-loaded.

It would take time to load the weapon. Time she didn't have before he closed the distance between them, and from the look on her face, she knew it. The discordant scraping of the steel against the cobblestones was jarring to anyone's ears. Normally he'd carry his weapon properly, but it would work to his advantage all the same. Tap into Kris' primal fears. Get her to make a mistake. The world seemed to blur around him, but it didn't matter. He was this close to putting an end to her. There was no stopping now, as each step forward seemed to last forever.

This time, though, they were just coming that slowly.

Two hundred seventy five students had a shot at surviving version 4 of Survival of the Fittest. However small, two hundred seventy five students had a tangible chance at returning home from the island. Some, like Maxwell Lombardi and Reiko Ishida, who had transcended humanity and become pure forces of nature, had the odds stacked in their favor. For some, be they fools the likes of Remi Pierce, or simply unfortunate, like Dallas Reynolds or Megan Nelson, had negligibly infinitesimal chances, but they had chances all the same. For most, they were just as likely as anyone to see the game through to its conclusion, but in the end, two hundred seventy five students had a chance at surviving.

It's worth noting, then, that two hundred seventy six students made the senior trip.

That one further student, Robert Jacob Lowe, sealed his fate the moment he stepped on the bus. From the moment of his conception on a cold February night in 1989, to this hot summer day in 2008, a long, impossibly complex series of chemical reactions shaped R.J. into the person he had been precisely three hours ago, the very moment his appendix finally gave way to its growing infection and ruptured. Had he stayed home, he could have caught it early, received appropriate medical attention, had the offending vestigial organ removed, and gone on with his life, empty though it might have been when his class never came home. Oh well. For want of a nail, they say.

R.J. dropped to his knees before Kris. It was purely a fluke of nature that they'd carried him as far as they had. He tried to raise the sword, perhaps fight her off from here. Tried, and failed. His arms didn't have the strength to lift the sword on the way back, so why would they now, when he couldn't even feel them anymore? Slowly, the blade slipped from his numb fingers, clattering on the ground. His extremities had been abandoned by any sensation. Everything else was pain. Roiling, searing pain. But he refused to show it. Even now, when it was so obviously an exercise in futility, he had to stay strong. It was all he could do. Just sit there, endure the agony, and show no weakness.

Just laugh it off.

He stared up at Kris, primed as she was to turn this entire town center into her own little charnel house in a bath of fire, and he smiled, letting out a raspy, voiceless chuckle. Of all the times for him to give out, of all the places, this is what it all amounted to. The light in those brown eyes of his began to fade. His eyelids were growing heavy. Whatever happened now, it was over for him. He glanced briefly back to Mary-Ann, smile still on his face, albeit a bit gentler now, and nodded her off. With a little effort, he was able to form a thumbs up for her. Let her know it'd all be okay.

This isn't goodbye, babe.

He turned his gaze slowly back to Kris. Breathed in. Out. In.

He would need every ounce of strength he had left.

Like a giant, hellish jack-in-the-box, he sprung up from his knees, diving straight for the girl with the grenade launcher. His left arm outstretched, his eyes focused on her neck, he made one last, desperate attempt at her collar. It was probably futile. He knew full well it would be. But in that last moment before he blacked out, he thought that maybe, just maybe, he felt the warm metal of that explosive neckband brush against his fingertips.

He was gone before he hit the ground.

But hey, at least he tried, right?

B119 Robert Jacob Lowe: Deceased






Mary-Ann,

As I write this, it's occurred to me that these stomach pains probably aren't from hunger. Truth is, they've been bothering me since before I ran into you that second night here. I didn't want to say anything - okay, wrong choice of words, I guess, but the thing is, I didn't want to worry you. I wanted to be strong, to protect you. I guess I wanted you to need me as much as I needed you. Funny how that worked out for us, right? All I can really do now is apologize, if I'm letting you down in any way. It's just that this is my time, I guess. Not a lot to be done about it. I've made my peace and said my prayers, and the rest is in God's hands now.

Some people might curse their lot in life if they were in my shoes. Personally? I think that's bullshit. I've been blessed with a family that loved me and cared about me, and I hope they always will. I've accomplished more in eighteen years than most people will in eighty. Sure, I didn't get to do everything I wanted to, but that's the best way to live life, isn't it? Be happy with what you already have, but never settle for just that or rest on your laurels. The only thing I can really say I regret is that I couldn't stay with you. When I told you I loved you, I really did mean it. There were other girls before you, we both know that, but you made me feel something I never knew I could. When you were around, I felt more alive than I ever had before. You're the kind of girl I could've honestly seen myself settling down and starting a family with. We'd have two kids, Michelle and Claymore, because no one messes with a dude named Claymore, and a nice house in the suburbs with a white picket fence and everything. It's just as well I'll never have any of it. I know now that I don't deserve it. But it was nice to think about for a while.

Before I die, I've got one last favor to ask. Since I couldn't be strong for you, I want you to promise you'll be strong for yourself. I reloaded the gun. You've got thirteen rounds left, so use them conservatively and aim them well. Be smart. Understand that some won't hesitate to kill you if it means going home. Respond to these people in kind. If a peaceful means of escape presents itself, seize it. If it doesn't, do what you have to. Much as I'll miss you, I don't hope to see you soon, so prioritize survival above all else. Go home. Hug your parents. Forget about me. Find someone better for you, and live your life like you always have. Anything less, and the bastards who did this to us have succeeded. And if it helps, remember that whatever the announcements tell you, I'll be with you every step of the way. If you're scared, I'll be here to hold you tight. If you need to cry, I'll be here to give you my shoulder. If your aim falters, I'll be here to steady your hands. If you lose your balance, I'll be here to pick you up. And when it comes time that you're strong enough that you don't need my help, I'll bow out gracefully, but as long as you need me, I'm right here.

Most of all, I want to thank you for everything. For giving me a purpose in life. For being there when I needed someone the most. For being you. And for all this rambling, thanks for listening. I really do appreciate it.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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Stark
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Nuts.
[ *  *  * ]
[Writing credit goes to Rugga for this one!]

Mary-Ann could only watch in horror, frozen to the spot as R.J. walked back and then sank down to his knees. He was maybe thirty feet away, but it felt like there were miles between them. Something was wrong with him. He turned back to her and smiled a smile of soft kindness, but there was unmistakable pain in his eyes. Mary-Ann bit her lip as her mind started to work out the awful truth of the situation.

It was a good bye kiss. He knew.

Her eyes brimmed with tears.

She figured it out seconds before he leapt forward and smashed back down, like a rag doll.

The droplets crept down her dirty face as her head made the slight nod that followed the arc of his body.

Everything was quiet. And then suddenly it sounded like she’d swallowed a drum kit.

Mary-Ann ran forward with a total disregard to Kris and her grenade launcher. She threw herself down to him with such urgency she was sure she’d scrapped her knees, but that was of little concern to her.

She dropped her bag and gun down next to him and turned him over, face up.

“R.J.” she whispered shakily through her tears that were twisting her face in distress.

Check for a heart beat. Check for breathing.

She pressed her ear against his chest. He was still so warm. Dead people were cold and hollow. He had to be alive. It would be like last time. He’d sit back up in a minute and she’d yell at him again for scaring her like that again.

Nothing.

She put her hands to his face. She brushed back some of the dark hair off of his face. He was still.


“Please please please,” she mumbled desperately.

Now the tears were coming like a torrent. None of those polite single tears drops running down her cheeks. She was sobbing and hiccupping and swallowing air.

Mary-Ann wrapped her arms around his shoulders and buried her head into his chest just as she had in life. Small muffled whimpers escaped.

“Don’t leave,” she choked out.

She felt so empty now. She didn’t even have anyone to be angry at except R.J. But she couldn’t be angry at him, as much as she would have liked to.

Mary-Ann couldn’t bring herself to let go of him. She couldn’t step back and wipe the tears away because she knew that as soon as she left him, she’d never see him again.

She sat up. She’d gotten his shirt wet with her crying. Her eyes wide and her hands wringing together she looked at him.

It was then she remembered Kris. Mary-Ann looked up at the other girl. It was as if there was just a big question mark spread on her face.
Edited by Stark, Mar 29 2011, 02:21 PM.
<Mimi>: You are much nicer than I thought you'd be!
<Stark>: Shut up, fatty.
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
As if Eiko's heart couldn't sink any lower, she saw comprehension dawn in Hartmann's face. The next few seconds felt like an eternity to her. She felt the warmth of her body radiating away, felt sweat dripping down her forehead and off her chin, felt her new clothes already starting to get heavy and wet. Any action she took would put her at risk of being blown apart, or hideously burned. So she did nothing but fume as Hartmann made claim to the prize she sought.

Hartmann's hand made its way down, diving toward the edge of the metal box's lid. It opened easily, the lid turning over the side of the box and banging against it. For the first time, Eiko saw her prize.

It was a gun, alright, but something looked off about it. It had a stock, a trigger, a sight, and a barrel, the only parts of a gun that Eiko really recognized, but she was assuming that the hollow metal rectangle on top of the gun was the sight, and she couldn't believe that there were bullets big enough to fit that monstrous barrel. It had to be something else. She would have settled for a normal gun; once again, she'd have an unwieldy weapon she might not have been able to use at all. How much did that thing weigh? Twenty pounds? Thirty? Hartmann didn't seem to have a problem lifting it, though.

Hartmann. For a moment, Eiko actually thought the weapon was already hers. But she suddenly noticed that Hartmann held it with both hands.

No more detonator. This was her chance.

As Hartmann hefted the stock to her shoulder and aimed it squarely at Lowe, Eiko charged her.

As Hartmann pulled the trigger, Eiko pulled back the head of her sodegarami, prepared to slam the metal spines coating the pole below it into the side of Hartmann's head.

As Lowe collapsed, his own attack on Hartmann thwarted by his ailing body, Eiko swung with all her might.
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Brackie
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personification of adhd
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
A burning sensation scathed Aston's chest as she saw the RPG hoisted out of the box told her to run away. That burning sensation? Common sense. Yet she pressured on, getting closer, stupidly closer until she saw what was going on on the other side.

...

Whatever she saw, she suppressed it. Caring about everything that happened just then wasn't part of her goal so she blocked it out. It wasn't relevant. What was relevant was the facts. Cold. Hard. Facts. The facts told her that there was one less person on the scene, the facts told her that Kris Hartmann was now holding an unloaded weapon, the facts told her that Japanese Weaboo idiot was now about to attack her, and now the facts told her to act. Don't think. Act.

She swooped down towards the bag lay right near the box, and clenched it in her right and strongest hand. Stupid. She didn't know where the detonator was, she didn't know where the bomb was, but all she knew was that this thing had to be disposed of.

Aston spun around, prepared. Aiming in a useless direction, useless because no one was or would ever be there in the immediate future, she threw the bag as far as she could muster.

There wasn't enough time to see it land, because just like that, she was off.

Her reason for being there was gone and rendered useless. Of course, the numbing sensation she felt long before wasn't there, but it would be soon, and that was when her motives were unguessable, her actions reckless and her goals shifted as suddenly as the weather.

The numbing came back as soon as she scooped up her shoes. She shook her head and tried to ease it off, but it came quickly. Aston was quicker though. The girl was off through the town almost as speedily as she came.

((Aston Bennett continues in No Such Thing as a Perfect Plan))

*

No goddammit, this wasn't supposed to happen.

He wasn't supposed to die.

RJ Lowe was there. As was his girl. And that Japanese girl from the cage. Oh, and Kris Hartmann, 4-time killer. She's gone insane, and she has explosives. A lot of them now.

But RJ's dead. I'm not sure how it happened, but he's no longer among the living.

I feel numb. I want to throw something, kill something, this is just how I felt almost a day ago, but I can't give in like I did then.

Someone could die. I don't want to be responsible for more than one two deaths here.

Tired.

I need time to think.
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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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Ruggahissy
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i'm not upset
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Slight GM approved))

There was perfect silence. It was the sort of silence that soufflé chefs aspire to. You could hear a pin drops, or perhaps in this case, a heart break.

Mary-Ann was locked into the unanswered question she'd posed to Kris. Was she going to kill her? The grenade launcher needed to be loaded still. Neither of them moved.

Mary-Ann's fingers dug into R.J. still warm skin.


And suddenly time started up again and seemed to be running in fast forward now to make up for before. Kris moved and Mary-Ann tried to grab her gun and bag to run. They were heavier than she'd accounted for and Mary-Ann stumbled and fell, landing on her right knee and then her right shoulder. She could feel the point of impact in her knee start to heat up, but that took a backseat for the moment. She picked her things up again and starting running, this time with success.

Her bag strap dug into her banged up shoulder but she didn't care. It was fear that had a hold of her and kept her sprinting back towards the woods right past the spot were she'd gotten that kiss.

Breathing was so hard. She gulped for air as she ran because she had never stopped crying. Strands of her hair were sticking to her face where it was wet and getting in her mouth. She tried to brush it away.

Mary-Ann began to cough and her cough turned to retching. She stopped for a brief second to choke down some air. She was alone and so scared and she'd left R.J.

For as long as she lived now, she'd never see him again.

((Mary-Ann Warren continued in Waves of Devotion ))
Edited by Ruggahissy, Apr 14 2011, 07:35 PM.
things
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Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
There was no time, there wasn't enough time.

He moved in on her, R.J raised the sword, bearing down to attack and... dropped.

Kris froze.

...What?

The sword dipped, not towards her, simply to the ground. Not threatening. A look of sheer incredulity came onto Kris's face. What had just happened didn't add up, it didn't make the slightest bit of sense. It was absurd, ridiculous. R.J had fallen to the ground with barely a whimper.

Stare. Smile. He smiles.

Bloodshot eyes widened.

Look ou-

R.J sprung up, somehow launched himself all the way up from the ground. Kris's breath caught in her throat for that heart-stopping instant.

Collar. No. No...nono

He fell away. She breathed again.

Smile. Gloriiooous. A treasur-

A broad, relaxed grin on her face, Kris started to turn back to the box... only to see somebody rushing towards her.

What is... sharp, blades.. doesn't...

There was a brief instant of panic, and then all of a sudden... it seemed like she had all the time in the world. Kris raised the treasure and casually blocked the bizarre weapon being swung at her. Kris jolted with the impact and a clang echoed through the area, but she caught the blow nonetheless.

"Ah-ah... two on one's not fair..." Kris's voice was low, hushed. Just a little sing-song.

More than a little deranged.
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
The triumph rushing through Eiko's head almost had an intoxicating quality to it. So assured was she of her success that her mind already ran through the possibilities of what she could do with her newfound grenade launcher. She wouldn't be vulnerable to the whims of the predators; instead she could be one, if she so chose. With one click of the trigger, she could reduce anyone to a smear on the soil, including the great and terrible Lombardi!

But reality hit her like a bucket of ice-cold water when Hartmann blocked her clumsy strike with ease. Eiko trembled then, wondered how it was possible that Hartmann could possibly be this good at thwarting her every ambition. Did she have divine protection?

No, Eiko realized, anyone could have seen Eiko coming. The power and ferocity and true aim of her attack existed only in her own mind. In reality, her feeble arms were no more capable of causing intentional harm with her clumsy weapon than they were capable of delivering the knockout punch in a boxing ring.

Hartmann taunted her, mocked her for taking advantage of her distraction, the only way Eiko could possibly hope to win in a fight. Eiko felt tears brimming in her eyes as her outrage quickly turned to shame. Not a month ago, she'd been a proud, successful, confident young woman with the best opportunities in the world available to her. She was a strong candidate for valedictorian! She'd gotten letters from dozens of prestigious colleges, including Harvard and Yale! Now she was an anemic jackal, trying to scavenge scraps from more deserving players and being chased away by jackals even more rabid than her.

She imagined her father frowning and shutting off the TV, prematurely ending his vigil in watching his formerly darling daughter. He would never speak her name again, would refuse to open the door for her when she returned a broken and worthless shell of a woman. And even that was pathetically naive of her to imagine.

The only thing keeping Eiko from collapsing on the ground and weeping was Hartmann. Hartmann had every advantage, and could kill Eiko at any moment, if her mad whims gave her the reason to. Eiko kept her weapon locked with Hartmann's, preparing herself for a mad dash away from the center, a dash that would end when Hartmann used her new toy to blow her body apart.

As Eiko desperately weighed her options, she looked into Hartmann's eyes. There was nothing in them. Nothing at all.

"P-please..." she whispered. "I'm so sorry..." She felt her grip on the sodegarami slacken, the strength leave her knees. She collapsed as hot, bitter tears finally ran down her face. "I don't want to die..."
Edited by Solitair, Apr 23 2011, 04:06 PM.
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Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
All of a sudden, Kris was feeling invincible. So invincible that it hurt.

It didn't matter what this island was throwing at her. Each and every obstacle and attack, she was overcoming. It could do everything but kill her. Take her morals, take her beliefs, take Etain from her... but when it came to finishing her off, landing that final blow, it was almost like she had divine protection. Reiko couldn't do it, gun and all. Ilario had failed to kill her. Even R.J... he'd all but dropped dead as he made to attack.

This girl... she was nothing special. Look at her. Was there even any blood on her hands? Trying to kill Kris with that... hell she couldn't even tell what it was. It almost felt insulting that somebody like her thought that they could be the one to kill her. It was extraordinary, this sudden high that Kris felt, and after a couple of seconds staring Eiko down, she figured it out. Patched it together in her disturbed, fraying psyche.

It was that dark corner of her mind that had told her to pull the trigger when Reika appeared, told her not to abandon the gun, told her that dealing with Amber required a bullet, that the group at the beach would come after her. It was that little piece of her that was too frightened not to try and survive, too cowardly to take a moral stand. And it rejoiced because... now she had a true weapon. The treasure grenade launcher. It exulted, because this was true protection. It could instill fear, intimidate, threaten, perhaps, if necessary, kill...

Eiko broke down in front of her. Something like a smile played across Kris's face, more of a smirk than anything showing true humour. This wasn't a threat. This was pathetic. She hesitated.

Kill her... ? Murderer... attacked. Look at her... crying. Etain... Can't... no...

Kris jerked her head brusquely to the side.

"Leave. Go," she repeated herself in German, then Swedish.

She backed off a step, fiddled with the grenade launcher, figuring out that she needed to snap it open to load it. Kris crouched, still glaring at Eiko, then slotted a grenade into the weapon. She regarded the other half dozen in the box, then looked around. Her bag was gone. Had... someone stolen it? Wait... off in the distance, in the middle of the street.

Huh. Somebody had tossed it over there. Whatever, she'd just go get it.

Kris looked at RJ's body, stripped off his pack, tossed the grenades inside, took off up the street.

She'd collect her own bag along the way.

As she walked, she cradled the M79 like a newborn.

Treasure...

((Kris continued in The Ballad of Ackbar))
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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
[ *  *  *  * ]
Eiko didn't need to be told twice. She clutched her bag and weapon and ran as fast as she could, as far as she could. Her sight grew blurrier by the second, making her blink tears away. Once she felt satisfied that she'd gotten far enough away from Hartmann, she stopped, leaning against the wall of a nearby house. Sorrow overtook her, and she eventually found herself curled up on the ground, sobbing uncontrollably.

She'd felt raped. There were no other words for it, not that she could think of. Every last measure of dignity, independence, or skill she'd possessed while in high school had been stolen away from her, and she'd changed too much to ever get them back again. Even if she lived, if by some miracle rescue occurred or she became the last, she'd always have nightmares of that voice on the speaker.
Of Miller's glassy eyes and vapid smile.
Of Peter slicing open Lupradio's neck and collapsing in a fit of laughter.
Of Harris shooting Tiffany in the back and killing her.
Of Brooks punching her in the face and throwing ethnic slurs at her.
Of Peter abandoning her while she slept, assuming that she could get along just fine without him.
Of her one last chance for protection snatched away by a lunatic.

Rage boiled in Eiko once again, made her slam the bottom of her fist against the wall of that outside house. She got up and grabbed her useless fucking weapon again, slamming it into the wall and hearing the sound of crunching wood. Over and over she slammed the end of her weapon into the wall, feeling the force of each impact vibrate through her bones, threatening to rip her muscles from their tendons.

The wall held firm, of course, the only damage being vicious but ultimately harmless scratches from the barbed prongs on the head of the weapon. Eiko continued smashing that same spot, the fatigue adding longer and longer pauses between swings, until she heard a very different kind of crunch, and the weapon came apart in her hands. The wooden shaft had practically split open; Eiko had caused a very messy break that extended down at least two feet through the shaft.

She finally loosed her grip on the shaft, letting it fall apart, the top half hanging onto the bottom half by a thread. The sight of what she'd done to her weapon made her burst into tears again. Now that it was gone, she suddenly missed it, remembered the excitement she felt when she took it from Lupradio's body. She didn't have the energy to do anything anymore, didn't know what to do. Sleep overtook her then; her last waking thought being that being shot in her sleep would be the best thing that could ever happen to her.

When the sun rose the next day, no trace remained of Eiko, only the splintered remains of her old weapon.

((Eiko Haraguchi continued in A Slight Change of Plans))
((The End))
Edited by Solitair, May 22 2011, 08:49 PM.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

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