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Altering the Deal; During the rescue
Topic Started: Jun 5 2011, 12:28 AM (2,948 Views)
MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Aaron Hughes continued from No Such Thing as a Perfect Plan))

They had moved on to the sawmill, eventually. Aaron had been hoping to come across Bounce, wary of finding an ambush, a ball of nerves and excitement and caution, all hidden behind a mask still grieving for the loss of a likely psychopath.

What he had found had been much less exciting than he'd been expecting: absolutely nothing. The sawmill was a bit trashed, apparently damaged by an explosion at some point. Parts of it were still intact enough to use, though, so they'd found a place to rest for a while, to wait and hope Bounce would turn up. Aaron was just killing time, trying to think of something else, some way to escape that hadn't already been tried, that wasn't sure to fail.

He knew Bounce wasn't coming, though he didn't tell that to Charlie and Aileen. If Bounce had thought they could link up, she would have remained in the area. She would have been here waiting for them. She'd probably never even really planned on meeting them. She knew the score, knew how to play the game. In all likelihood, she had been lying about having a friend earlier, and had just been trying to get clear of the group. She was hiding, lurking, waiting. She'd probably gotten a decent weapon, and was just playing it smart until the end. It'd be her style.

She'd always been the group's dissident, the troublemaker in the D&D sessions. She had probably realized that wouldn't fly here, and had decided to avoid Aaron, hope that someone else would remove him from the equation before they came into conflict. It was a pretty good gamble, all things considered. It wouldn't work, but she couldn't have anticipated that. She'd always underestimated him. It was one of the few blind spots in her otherwise impressive intellectual capabilities.

Aaron was squatting on the floor, gun in his pocket again, waiting. They'd been waiting long enough. He was about ready to just go to his backup plan entirely, to abandon the idea of escape.

Then the voice cut in, not an announcement, but one being broadcast some other way. The promise of escape. Aaron froze, doing his very best to keep his face neutral.
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Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
((Charlie DuClare continued from No Such Thing as a Perfect Plan))

She'd liked this world better when there were people in it.

You could walk so far now and not meet another soul. You could keep going in a straight line, any direction you wanted, till you got lost in the stillness and you had to stop. And even though you'd been walking pretty slowly, hadn't been working up a sweat at all, you had to catch your breath every time.

It used to be you could stop and you could hear things. And it didn't matter if they were frightening. Shouts, or gunshots. Because it was someone who was shooting the gun. There was a someone out there. A someone else.

And that was good to know.

And now this stillness. Growing, all around you, in the air, bigger and bigger, till it just threatened to crush you. And what could you even do about that kind of threat?

Huddle together.

With who?

With Dave? With Helen? With Winnie? They were all so quiet now. They'd made one last sound, the sound of their own names in that awful man's voice, and then they were just silence.

Silent and still, on a dead patch of earth, with nobody to visit their graves.

This place was emptying out. All the lights winking out one by one. Hush, hush. We need the rest of those lights out so we can get to sleep. And if you don't turn those lights yourselves, then by God we will come up there and do it for you.

So it felt crazy to hope, more often than not. And it felt like that might not be so bad right now, to just go crazy. Because God knows that sanity wasn't working out too well for Charlie lately. Sanity attached a cold, hard meaning to the sight of blood or to the words on the speakers. And it never changed. You closed your eyes or you covered your ears but you couldn't do that forever. And the truth wasn't going anywhere.

So it felt crazy to hope. And maybe that wasn't so bad.

And then the words on the speakers told her something different.

And that was good to hear.
Edited by Jonny, Jun 11 2011, 12:34 AM.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Aileen Borden continued from No Such Thing As A Perfect Plan))

Aileen, once again, wasn't in a good mood.

The memory of what happened with Milo still stuck, even after all this time. The smell of burning flesh, the screams... it stayed. The bare amount of sleep she had involved what had happened. She knew how much she suffered; anyone who saw it could tell he didn't die peacefully. She was an idiot. She'd had another look at the manual? And it flat out said that you couldn't shock it off.

Her. Idiot.

And she went along with it.

And guess what? She was now a murderer. Not only that, but now everyone on the island knew that detail, as well. Either that she was a murderer, or that she was a complete moron.


But oh. Want to know a way it could be any worse?


Remember Melissa? Yeah. She's gone now too. Exactly the same way as Milo. Melissa. Gone. Aileen could close her eyes and picture her screaming and the smell of flesh, just like... just like...

Fuck. She didn't deserve that too.

No one did.


It was all useless, you know? They were making no progress. Everyone was dying or dead. There was no use to escape. What was there? They weren't able to figure out a way to get off this piece of shit rock before everyone died. It was taking a long time for them to even find a loophole. And when they did think of something they electrocuted an innocent man.

What was the point? They should just all kill themselves right now. It was starting to look like the only means of escape. At least some psychopath wouldn't eviscerate them or something. Heck, if they were lucky and destroyed their bodies enough, they might stem off necrophiliacs. Or hell! She could start playing right now. It wouldn't matter. At least she'd no longer be a victim. That guy doing that to that girl in that SOTF clip she saw, at least he was hap-

Oh god, what was she thinking?

Was she seriously considering killing herself or playing the game? That was fucked up. People who played the game were horrible people, obviously. Why would she need to do that? Players were disgusting people. They were the ones who deserved to die, not Milo, not Melissa, not Reika, not Trevor, not Lily, not Tom, and not Richard!

So, this entire time since they had arrived at the sawmill, Aileen had been staring off into space, seemingly looking at nothing and lost in her own thoughts. The perpetually cranky expression had been replaced by a blank look, as if she didn't know how to feel.

But oh. What now? They were just screwing around in this place, waiting for Aaron's lovebunny who probably left a long time ago. Seriously. They were screwing around without figuring out new information? What the hell? They'd screwed around enough already, for fuck's sake.


A faint sound found its way to the sawmill, snapping Aileen out of her thoughts.

Escape?

Okay, this was a joke.

"Guys... hear that?" she whispered.
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

Coming to a V7 near you.
Bree Jones- "I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fish are smarter."
Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- "Next video? Oh man, tons of ideas, dude. Lemme get the makeup for that."

In Loving Memory

Kami's Promise for v6 (doing this again)


Let's show that private threads aren't necessary! I pledge not to start any private threads on island in V6. If I started a thread, you are welcome to join it.
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MurderWeasel
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"I hear it," Aaron said. He'd had a couple of seconds. he'd had time to plan, his mind working in overdrive. He knew exactly what was going on, what was going wrong, what he had to do.

"Too bad. It's almost believable, too. Whoever's doing it's clever, so it's not Lombardi or Reid."

The implication was clear, but he decided to pound it in a bit, just to be sure they understood. This wasn't the time to risk someone misunderstanding or being a dissident. This was the most danger he'd been in since the start of the game, and it was absolutely imperative that he control everything completely. This could very well spell the end of everything he had struggled for, if he made even a single mistake.

"It's a player. I'm sorry, Aileen, Charlie, but there's no way a rescue could get through the patrol boats. There's no way something could be launched without Danya blowing all our collars, or making some sort of announcement trying to keep us away. It's a fake. We've just got to keep trying on our own."

He was phrasing it well, keeping calm and logical, presenting evidence. It was almost enough to fool even himself.

Of course, the possibility of it being a trap had absolutely nothing to do with why Aaron was avoiding the boats.

He was keeping cool, keeping collected, but only externally. Inside, his panic was increasing every second. It was legitimate. No way it wasn't. No way someone was messing around like this. They wouldn't keep the players away, not in a real ambush. They'd welcome them with open arms, use it as a chance to take out the worst of the opposition. No, someone had made it here and was actually saving kids.

That meant Aaron was completely fucked.

If it had been his plan that had caused this, sure, he'd have been welcomed home with open arms, hailed as a hero. He'd have been the person who finally beat SOTF, who shoved it all back in Danya's face. It'd have been a PR coup, and he'd have lived the rest of his life in luxury, running the talk show circuit, all that good stuff. He'd have been a legitimate national hero, maybe gotten a holiday. Everyone would have seen that he had done only what he had to, that he had never been needlessly cruel or violent, that it had all been for the greater good. It would have been very easy to ensure that Tom and Milo were forgotten.

The problem was, Aaron had nothing to do with the boats.

That meant that, upon returning to the United States—assuming, of course, they didn't simply refuse him outright—he wouldn't have anything near that warm a welcome. He'd probably be grabbed by the government, slapped in cuffs and interrogated. Everything he'd done would come out, and it suddenly wouldn't look like the actions of a hero. He'd be demonized, cast as a coward and a fool, blamed for not being prescient. They'd say he'd manipulated those around him, that he'd been nothing but self interested. They'd entirely miss the point of what he'd tried to do. They'd cross examine Aileen and Charlie, and they'd doubt him even more. He'd be murdered by the families of those he had failed to save, slashed to pieces by the vengeful relatives of those he'd had to sacrifice.

They'd look in his notebook. They'd find the little message, scribbled two pages after the end of his plan.

dont worry, ailleen. milo was going to betray us. this is for all of our safety. its not out of control. i knew this would happen

It had seemed a good idea at the time, a way to calm her down from a distance, depending on the attitudes of anyone else nearby. Simple enough not to point out, otherwise. Now it was a horrible liability, something he had to reclaim and destroy as quickly as possible.

All of this added up to something very simple: there just was no future for Aaron on those boats. He was stuck here. He was stuck here, and if he wasn't getting rescued, no way was he allowing Aileen and Charlie to go.

It wasn't that he begrudged them their relative innocence. They'd been adequate allies, certainly useful in their own ways, and loyal to the end. They deserved happiness, probably, if anyone did. The thing was, those very same qualities made them completely invaluable to Aaron. They would follow him, would chase his mad dream of escape, until the very end. With any luck, they would never realize that they'd been grasping at straws.

It was over. Any last vestige of a hope of escape had died with this rescue. All that was left now was to finish this game the hard way. The terrorists treated the winners well, to Aaron's knowledge. When it was all done, surely they'd listen to him. Surely they'd drop him off in some other country, Japan or something, with a different identity. They'd have to, if they wanted him to live. If anyone actually did survive the rescue attempt, all moral defenses would evaporate. He'd have been lynched even before his current actions. By holding Charlie and Aileen from safety, he knew he was only further damning himself in the public eye. So be it. He was done trying to do the right thing. He was done fighting for others. They were unappreciative and useless. They were unwilling to step up, unable to do what had to be done.

It looked like it was time to embrace the selfish nature he would surely be accused of anyways.

Aaron's way off this island was going to be the way of Dodd, Calvert, and Rizzolo.

Aileen and Charlie were going to help get him there.

It was simple. They were an escape group. They'd remain one, at least in name. They'd continue to recruit, continue to outwardly work towards good and proper goals. They'd band together, and they'd defend their leader, their most important member. They'd keep Aaron safe from harm, die to keep him unhurt. They'd kill for him. He already knew they would kill for him, and now that blood Aileen had spilled held her to him more strongly than ever. They'd stick with him, and they'd carry him through, and then, when they were the last people on the island, Aaron would kill them. He would tell them that they all had to trust each other with their lives, and he'd hand the gun to them, and he'd close his eyes and say that they should shoot him now if they were going to betray him, if they had any doubts at all, and of course they wouldn't. They'd prove themselves trustworthy.

Then Aaron would take the gun, and he would have them close their eyes, and he would tell them that they had to trust him, too, that they had to keep their eyes closed, no matter what they heard, that they had to trust him that much if they were to escape, and then he would put a bullet in each of their brains and be home free.

This was the backup plan. It had been for a long time now.

But for now, for the moment, they were still a happy escape group, a close-knit team of friends avoiding the siren's deathly wail, and Aaron was their bold and fearless leader.

"I hope people don't fall for it. When the announcements come up, we'll have to see who was responsible and keep away from them."

He shifted, adjusted his posture a tiny bit.

"Say, Aileen, could I have my notebook back? I have a couple things to write."
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Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
Maybe if she replayed it in her head again, she'd figure out the hole in the logic and she'd get a great big smile across her face and she'd speak up and tell them why, false alarm, it was actually a miracle after all. Yeah? Maybe. So here goes.

It was a player. It couldn't be a rescue. The patrol boats would've gotten them. Danya would've announced something. Or he would've blown their collars. It wasn't a rescue. Couldn't be.

... she had nothing. It still made sense.

And that scared her.

But the happy coincidence here was that being afraid and not making sense were the two things that had never stopped, would never stop Charlie from saying things very loudly.

“I'll go!”

Okay maybe not quite that loud.

“I'll- okay, I know it's dangerous. And you're absolutely right, it could be some sort of trap, or even worse. Like- okay, fuck, I don't actually know what would be even worse than a trap, but Danya could- Danya's a fucker. He could figure something out.

“Um, okay, fuck, point is I still wanna go check it out. Cause if there's even the slightest chance that it's a rescue, I'll take that chance. Right? That's all we can even do anyway. Just take the slight chance we have of making it out and- it's here. So we take it. Or I take it, at least, and then I tell you if it's clear or not.

“So I mean, I'll head over there and stay out in the bushes or wherever so I can just get a clear look at whether there are even any boats or anything. And you guys stay a safe ways away, and... if I tell you not to come, or if I scream, or if I don't come back, then you guys just get the fuck out and you don't worry what happens to me. But if it's real... oh man, fuck.”

And the great big smile managed to spread across her face anyway.

And for a moment or two the world was kind.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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MurderWeasel
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"No."

Aaron had let her speak. He'd let her go on, let her build her hopes a bit, let her work up to her heroic sacrifice. He'd let her imagine playing the savior. Better that way, better for her to have her little moment. It would make it easier for Aaron to turn it around, to talk her out of it. If Charlie went, she'd come back and tell them that there really was a rescue. She'd tell him that, and they'd laugh, and they'd go, and they'd get brought home, and Aaron would be institutionalized at best. Realistically, he'd probably be shot first. It couldn't happen like that. Even if he stayed away, if he let the others go, it would drastically reduce his chances. He'd be left alone to face off against the fiends on this island.

Aileen and Charlie were his. They weren't going anywhere.

"Charlie," he said. "I appreciate that. I really do. You can't go, though.

"We've done a lot in our time here. We've made it pretty far, made some pretty good progress. I think we'll have a breakthrough here soon. I'm onto something."

He had to keep it vague, had to pretend like he was still being cautious. Secrecy was his new weapon. All the precautions to keep Danya from listening in could now help him keep the girls confused, keep them from realizing that there was no plan, at least, not for escape.

"I wish we could go check this out. The fact is, though, it's too dangerous. I made a horrible mistake with Milo, Charlie, and it cost him his life. We lost Lily and Richard and Tom, too. No more. We can't lose anyone else. We're a team, Charlie. You're part of this. I need you. We all need each other."

The words came easily. They even contained hints of truth.

He held out his hand.

"So let's make sure no one else gets hurt, okay? We're together. Until the end, right?"
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Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
This was...

This was...

Well, she couldn't believe it. She simply couldn't.

Escape.

And at that moment, Aileen's expression lit up. Now, Aileen usually didn't look too happy. Oftentimes she had that bored or frustrated expression, and ever since the other day she had seemed quiet and small, like a small puppy that had been beaten and was now hiding. But at this moment in time, something in her face changed into something much softer and hopeful.

They could escape.

They could get out of here.

She couldn't believe it. It had to be too good to be true! She and everyone else could go home! Yes! Maybe then they could-

Aaron.

That... had to be the dumbest thing she heard.

A player. Yelling through a megaphone about escape. If anything, she'd think it was the terrorists doing it. No one would have the foresight of doing that. She had no idea why the terrorists would lure them to a beach.

Her facial features turned back into that trademark frustrated expression. Damn it! Couldn't they at least investigate? What if there really was a boat out there, waiting to take them home? What if she could see her mom again? What if everyone was making it home without them? What then?

As many people as possible alive. Being back home. It's what she wanted. It's what she'd been fighting for. She'd been fighting to bring herself and everyone else back home. It didn't matter who they were, as long as they weren't the idiots playing the game. They needed to get back home safely.

For the past few days, that had been her wish.

And she wasn't going to give it up just because of one moment of suspicion.

DuClare even offered to check it out herself, but Aaron declined. And she saw the look on the girl's face; she was happy too. How could Aaron decline such a thing? He was being a coward. Couldn't they at least scout it out? Get a view of the situation? That sort of thing?

"Aaron, stop being a pussy. I swear to god, just at least let someone investigate and report back. Heck, I'll go. I know you're worried, but you know what? It may be our only chance."

She stood up.

"Now, will you calm down if I come back and tell you it's safe?"
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

Coming to a V7 near you.
Bree Jones- "I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fish are smarter."
Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- "Next video? Oh man, tons of ideas, dude. Lemme get the makeup for that."

In Loving Memory

Kami's Promise for v6 (doing this again)


Let's show that private threads aren't necessary! I pledge not to start any private threads on island in V6. If I started a thread, you are welcome to join it.
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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
She let the hope grow small and dim, she let the hope fade out and get quieter, she let it drift away without saying goodbye. She didn't really mind.

She would probably mind later, some faroff point in the future where things were maybe different, maybe better, and she'd start looking for it and it'd be gone/. Silly Charlie, forgetful Charlie, misplacing something important like that, like gaaaaawd what paaaiiiin.

Come on now Charlotte DuClare, where is the last place you remember seeing it?

Seeing Aaron hold it in his hands and do some kind of magic trick (some very pretty magic trick) and whoa, hey, where'd it go? Away. Elsewhere. He had that effect on people, didn't he.

No, not really. Person. Singular. Cause there was Aileen, and she was brave enough to hope. She was just telling Aaron he was a pussy- Are we allowed to do that?- and she was gonna fight for rescue without giving a single fuck. Good for her, good for her, raise your fist and cheer for her. Go on, Charlie, tell her how much you support her, like:

“Aileen, please...” Is this like Bitch, please or something, are you maybe dissing her smackdown on Aaron because you're about to show a much greater smackdown on Aaron. “I know you- I dunno, you probably hate me or something, but... please don't... go.”

No it turns out you are doing something different.

“I don't... I dunno. I wanna go too. We could- could we go together? Except fuck, no, Aaron would be, I don't think we ought to leave Aaron alone, but...

“I don't want for anyone to be alone.”

And that's your thesis.

It's stupid.

“I'm sorry, that was stupid. I just... I don't like the idea of us just splitting off and doing these dangerous things and then there's... less of us. I've seen that horror movie, it fucking... sucked. I didn't like it. I... don't like it.”

A fun fact about Charlie is that she had not actually ever seen any horror movies.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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MurderWeasel
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Charlie's right," Aaron said. "We've made it pretty damn far, you know? And it's not because we've gone off taking every risk that comes our way. Every time we've done that, someone's died. We are close to a break. I know it. Now, we can go over there and get ourselves killed, or we can ride this out and save some lives.

"Think about it: if there's a real rescue, why haven't all of our collars dropped off? Why is someone using a megaphone or whatever? Why isn't it over the PAs? Why exclude the players? It's a trap. Keep away everyone dangerous, lure the weaklings to you, kill them, take their supplies and weapons. They don't expect anything. It's what I'd do if I was playing."

That wasn't true, not now, not with what Aaron had learned, but they didn't need to know that. All that mattered was keeping things in control. He had to keep them moving, keep them with a goal. This was causing trouble, this sitting around and talking. The problem was that Aileen was thinking. She was thinking rather than doing. Aaron didn't need anyone else thinking.

"Anyways," he said, standing. "We need some supplies. Specifically, I'd like four small pieces of woods, maybe a foot long. Also a saw blade, if you can find one. The smaller the better. I need my notebook back, too. I have something to show you."

He glanced around the building, searched his mind. There had been something else nearby, something that sounded like it could help. Trucks. That was it. There were trucks outside.

"Also, we'll want to look through the trucks, see if there's any gas left. They've probably siphoned it, but we might get lucky. I think we can still do this. It'll just take a little creativity."
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Misty Browder
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KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Aileen...

Well, Aileen didn't know what to think.

Here they were, telling her not to run off. DuClare asked to go with her so they wouldn't be split up. Aaron, on the other hand, continued his line of reasoning. Really, the guy was so stubborn!

He stuck with the idea that some killer was running up and down the beach screaming that there was help. According to him, since there were no announcements, no collars being broken, and the fact that they apparently didn't want killers nearby told him there weren't any boats. Aaron seemed to think that someone was doing this to rack up kills. In which case, why were they doing this now? Why haven't there been any major signs that someone would be doing this, such as the typical sly hints in the announcements and things like that? Why hadn't they heard about such things until now? And to be honest, she did find it mildly disturbing that he would admit to playing similarly if he was, but she very quickly discarded the thought, paying it no mind.

DuClare was slightly more reasonable, though not by much. She was worried that if they split up, they would be picked off like teenagers in a bad slasher movie. Which... was actually reasonable enough, at least. Running around alone was bad. Aaron himself did point out that whenever someone left the group, they ended up dying. Well, okay.

But, she still wanted to scout it out. Just because one person had a theory that some guy was running up and down the beach with a megaphone and shooting at people who wanted to go home didn't mean that such a thing wouldn't warrant looking at.

Still was nice of DuClare and Aaron to be worried about her to some extent, though. Aileen... wasn't the kind of person most people cared about, to be honest. She bet that if she died, not many people would notice, especially at this point. She'd just be another corpse, created by some killer. That would be the only relevance her death would ever have. It wasn't her being modest or "emo", it was fact. And then she'd rot until there was nothing left. In a way, it was comforting to know that someone would be concerned for your safety, even after you electrocuted someone to death recently.

But she had to convince Aaron.

"Guys... even if there is some douchebag running up and down the beaches screaming that they know how to escape and killing people that way... why haven't they done this before? Even if they have, you'd think a mass murder of people wishing to find help would be all over the announcements. Hell, it'd win best kill honestly."

Deep breath.

"Look. I'm not the most optimistic person out there. We all know this by now. But, thing is, I'm not going to just sit here and wait if it turns out someone does know how to escape. We took a risk with siding with you too, Aaron, to tell the truth, and sticking around this long. I was worried at the start that they would do something if what we were doing came to light, remember? Like, I dunno, exploding collars?"

And another deep breath.

"Don't worry about me. It's nice of you guys to worry about me heading off by myself, but I can manage. Some killers might see me as their killer buddy or whatever now, based on what happened earlier. It'd suck, but not as much as being dead."

And what else...?

"Just, let me go investigate. I'll be fine. If I come back in one piece and tell you guys that there is some killers doing just that, then I'll give the notebook back and do whatever. If I come back and say that there are indeed a bunch of boats, you guys come back with me. How does that sound?"

There. Bargaining. Harsh bargaining, but bargaining.
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

Coming to a V7 near you.
Bree Jones- "I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fish are smarter."
Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- "Next video? Oh man, tons of ideas, dude. Lemme get the makeup for that."

In Loving Memory

Kami's Promise for v6 (doing this again)


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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Aileen just wasn't going to drop it. This was getting annoying. More than that, it was getting dangerous. If she decided to blow him off, to actually go and handle this herself, she'd come back with the news. They'd want him to come. He wouldn't be able to talk them out of it. He wouldn't be able to extract himself without explaining his reasoning. They would drag him home and he would be killed.

Good thing he had a contingency plan. He'd come up with it while Aileen was talking. It was dangerous too, but it was better than nothing. It would let him maintain control of the situation. It would let him ensure that everything stayed on plan.

"Aileen," he said, "I appreciate that. I really do. But you can't go. It's too dangerous.

"I'll do it.

"If it's this important to you, I'll go check it out. I know how to be stealthy. I used to run around the woods all the time, hide from people, that sort of thing. I have a gun, and I know how to use it. If I'm right and things do go wrong, I'm more likely to be able to get out of there than you are. If you're right, I'll come back here right away and get you guys."

He paused a second, then said, "Stay here while I'm gone, okay? Bounce might show up, and I don't want her to get hurt. Plus, if something is going on, we can bring her too."

That said, he turned and stalked out.





An hour and a half later, Aaron stumbled back into the sawmill. He wiped sweat from his brow. It was hot out today, absolutely baking. He'd been in the sun for quite some time.

"Nothing," he said. "There wasn't anyone. Whoever was doing it had left by the time I got there. I didn't see anything except a couple bodies. They might have been old, though. It was hard to say. I didn't want to get too close."

He sat down on the ground, leaned against the wall. "How were things here? Anyone turn up?"

Of course, he hadn't gone to the beach. No need. Unless Danya's entire organization was brought crumbling down, anyone who did get free was sure to be announced as dead. If the terrorists were on their way to annihilation, they'd have heard something to that effect over the PA by now. That was all safely handled.

Aaron had actually lurked behind some cover, a few hundred feet from the sawmill, watching, gun in hand. He'd been ready to open fire on Charlie and Aileen if they followed him, to drive them back and make them think they were being attacked by a player. It would have worked perfectly, so long as he didn't kill them. Fortunately, it hadn't become necessary. The dust and grime from his hiding spot also lent credence to his story about checking out the beach. It was all perfect.

The only catch would come at the announcements. He'd told them he didn't see anything, though. He could always claim the rescue crew had left by the time he arrived. Just a mistake, right?

Hopefully it wouldn't come to that. Hopefully they'd make his excuses for him. But, if not, it was always good to have a plan.
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
Maybe that was what she needed. A shape in sable armor to chase everything pretty away, to gently close her eyes and tell her nothing would be alright. Nothing would ever be alright.

So here was Aaron again, bearing the bad news but keeping his chin up like such a good soldier. And it didn't even matter if she believed him (she did), didn't make a bit of difference if she thought there was still a way out (she didn't). What mattered is the group was back together so not a step towards the shore and not a goddamn word of protest.

God, to put it like that...

It didn't make her feel good. But good seemed like such a fool's errand right now. Alive was much easier to work for. And so step one was always to take another breath in. Step two:

“No, nobody. It was just the two of us.”

Which hadn't been the best, cause there was still that idea of- remember how she'd said You probably hate me and Aileen hadn't offered a correction? Yeah, mainly that. So a word here and a sentence there, a nervous glance and then downcast eyes. A collection of wishes that if she stayed very silent and stood very still, she'd disappear completely and maybe float away. Call that your escape plan and make a hundred copies.

“You, um... we didn't go looking for any of the stuff you mentioned. I figure it's probably better we just stayed here so we didn't all get lost, right?”

Because otherwise she'd have chopped down some trees and hammered out a sawblade and shouted invectives at a gas tank till it opened up and poured itself out from the shame. That is the punchline here.

“Hey, Aaron. Probably a stupid question... but fuck it, wanna know: what are we gonna be building? Some kind of, like... a... yeah, I don't even know what the fuck.”

Which was good for a shrug and a shake of her head and a smile that didn't hurt.

Didn't even hurt.

So all in all today was good.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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KamiKaze
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Can you hear me?
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
No Aaron.

Aaron what. What are you doing.

He was checking it out himself. She had offered to go look herself, but she didn't want others to run off. Too dangerous. Aileen could handle herself fine. She was technically a murderer, after all, and after that dilemma should be the one to go.

But before she could protest, off he went.

Aileen sighed. Okay, so he was going to run off to look for the noises. He better keep safe, no matter whether they were real or not.






It seemed like forever until Aaron came back.

Aileen had sat around in a daze, looking around. She had an urge to flip through Aaron's notebook, just to see what he had been writing this entire time, but for the most part it lay untouched.

Nothing.

There was nothing.

And Aileen's hopes were dashed.

Was it really a lie, then? Just something that some jerkwad was doing? Or did Aaron not see it? Did they miss out on it? That would have been horrible if they had missed out on it. In any case, the idea of no rescue boats seen meant... well, their chance to go home either was gone or non-existent.

And so, Aileen looked down, feeling herself tremble a bit. She... really wanted to go home. And that moment, that moment of brief joy? Was the only time she felt happy since she came here. After all the idea of finally making it home seemed too good to be true.

So as DuClare and Aaron talked, Aileen continued staring at the ground, fists clenched. She could here DuClare asking what Aaron had planned to build, anyways. Oh, that thingy. It had better be good, because...

"Guys, this better work no matter what it is. I'm not in the mood to make another fucking death trap", she said, in a low voice.

In all honesty, she wasn't that emotionally invested in whatever Aaron wanted to make. What happened earlier was still going to stick with her, honestly. Just... the thought that within the next few hours she'd be on her way home. Everyone would be on their way home.

Bummer? Oh you bet. She wasn't the type to use that word, and frankly it seemed like an understatement. But somehow it fit.
RICHARDS/BAINES OTP!

Coming to a V7 near you.
Bree Jones- "I'm not exaggerating when I say that my fish are smarter."
Roxanne "Roxie" Borowski- "Next video? Oh man, tons of ideas, dude. Lemme get the makeup for that."

In Loving Memory

Kami's Promise for v6 (doing this again)


Let's show that private threads aren't necessary! I pledge not to start any private threads on island in V6. If I started a thread, you are welcome to join it.
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MurderWeasel
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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Things were going alright. Pretty well. Acceptably, at least. They were asking questions, but he could blow them off under the pretense of group security. All of this was stuff he could deal with. He just had to calm them down, keep them busy, and keep moving. They had to get out of this sawmill, for starters. This was not a good place to linger.

"I'll fill you in on it once I'm sure it's going to work," he said. "Until then, it's dangerous to say too much. I'm fairly sure it'll all work out, though."

Good enough. He had to get them moving, now. Had to get them tired out, get them less willing to resist by the time the announcements came. A walk sounded like just the thing for that.

"For now, we should head back to the residential area. There'll be more materials there, and our odds of finding some gas will be higher."

He stood, made it clear with his body language that he was getting ready to leave. He looked back at the two girls, though, and flashed them a quick smile.

"I just wanted to say, thanks for sticking with me through this. You've been a great team. I'd be dead a dozen times without you. I know I haven't always... been the best, and I really appreciate you. I never even saw most of my friends from school, so this has all meant a lot to me."

He told himself it was just words, just a way to win their trust, but it contained just a hint of truth. Back at school, Aaron had never been taken that seriously. He'd had his little group to lead, but even they didn't respect him consistently or totally. Aileen and Charlie, despite their myriad failings, did make him feel like he was really in charge of something.

When this was all over, he was actually going to miss them a bit.

"Let's go."

((Aaron Hughes continued in Lies, lies, lies))
V7:
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Jonny
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
[ *  *  * ]
Words of encouragement, huh.

She didn't feel all that encouraged. Felt like in the ocean on a gray cloudy way, waves kicking her around back and forth and back and forth and paddle just to stay above the salt and the spray, everything with the colors washed out and in slow motion and it felt weird to move, not impossible not exhausting but somehow not easy, like a gentle little reminder of give up, give up, it's only gonna get worse from here on in so give up, stop the paddling for just a second and sink, straight down, falling, nobody's gonna catch you but nobody needs to because you're falling so slowly, slowly, feet on the ocean floor now and wiggle your toes in the sand one two three times before you're out of air and it's over as easy as that.

No, take a breath.

And another and another and please don't ever stop. Said the little voice that no matter how weak it got, no matter how loud the silence around her got, was always gonna be there. Always gonna tell her not to stop. Prometheus's flame, gently flickering with all things beautiful and fleeting and worth fighting for. Gentle dancing in the wind, kicking up sparks and warm and bright and so warm.

“Yeah. Don't mention it.”

And she felt alive and she felt determined and he had nothing to do with it.

There was... there was something of a rock bottom in how hope had just floated away. Which may have, in a slightly sadder or slightly happier set of circumstances, led her to accept the inevitable. Hope was gone was a little spot in the wind a little shape on the horizon and then nothing at all. So might as well get it over with, right?

But that would require courage, wouldn't it. To pull any real or imaginary trigger. To say no in that most sacred most profane of ways.

And Charlie had always been a coward.

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

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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