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Feral Intelligence
Topic Started: Mar 3 2011, 09:05 PM (4,315 Views)
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.
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?

V4:
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V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
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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

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

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Solitair
Member Avatar
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.
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?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Solitair
Member Avatar
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.
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?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Solitair
Member Avatar
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.
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?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Solitair
Member Avatar
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?

V4:
Spoiler: click to toggle


V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
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