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Will Alone
Topic Started: May 29 2013, 02:43 PM (1,917 Views)
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

((B062: Garrett Wilde Start))

Repeat the mantra. Find a center. You're no good until you find a center. Stay clear, stay alive.

On the outside, Garrett was calm. He'd been calm from the start. He spent a brief moment examining his surroundings when he awoke to their grim orientation, but he had barely moved since. When he awoke here in this abandoned office, cleared a space away from the door and assumed a cross-legged meditation position, never letting the measured line of his lips so much as quiver. An observer might say that he was coping well.

They'd be wrong, though. Despite his outer facade, Garrett was cracking inside. He was being pulled in a thousand directions, a thousand distractions really, as he tried to concentrate. He wanted to run. He wanted to die. He wanted to live. He wanted to look for people. He wanted to hide from them. He wanted to do everything at once, feeling every animal instinct vying for his attention.

So he silenced them. He repeated the strange mantra until it was deafening. He would respond to them all in time, but right now he needed to be able to select them at leisure. Acceptance measured by control. This was his tool for survival, far more important than anything they had included in the duffel bag at his side.

Mostly because it would allow him to break their game, rather than play it.

Garrett's knowledge of game theory was incredibly limited, but it was enough to form a rough idea of how they were operating. The best example he knew that fit was Exit, Voice, Loyalty. If it weren't so sickening, he'd have to appreciate how well these terrorists had set this up from a tactical perspective. The students have no Voice to exercise because the Terrorists don't rely on them for support and there's no way to get assistance from a third party. We have no credible Exit threat because we can't leave. If we refuse to express Loyalty, we die. If we exercise Loyalty, we die anyway, but one of us won't, and everyone has a slight chance of being that lone survivor. It was a game without options. Even if both paths, Loyalty or Disloyalty, were equal for 99% of the student populace, nearly everyone would choose Loyalty. It allowed for survival. Even he was tempted to take it, despite how much he hated violence.

That assumes the terrorists have absolute authority, though. He couldn't lose sight of how false that was. Garrett didn't know a lot about Survival of the Fittest, but he knew he'd never heard of a winner getting a happy ending. You couldn't just go home. Even if you won, your life was over. Most of your friends would be dead, and your family...how could they ever look someone like that in the eye again? No. Loyalty was a false option. The idea that you could survive this was a lie. What else are they lying about, I wonder?

Garrett thought back to the Exit portion of the game. Perhaps things weren't as air-tight as they had been lead to believe. Perhaps there was a way to escape without even leaving the island. There was a glimmer of hope forming in his mind.

Other concerns were gnawing at his mind now. One in particular: Bella. Is she alive? Alone? Should I be looking for her? Would she even want me to? As much as it pained him, he forced that train of thought from his mind. Until he had a plan, he was useless to her. His calm shell eased open, and he let out a long, shaky sigh. He would find her. Not until he could save her, though.

Repeat the mantra. Find a center. You're no good until you find a center. Stay clear, stay alive.

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
(Tyler Lucas: Start)

You are by now quite used to seeing our assembled players at their most intimate. You are privy to their inner thoughts, their turmoil, their conflicted feelings, their memories. You assume that you will be given insight into the minds of martyr and monster alike.

Rid yourself of this assumption.

Tyler Lucas is not an especially reflective individual, but like all people he does dwell on the facets of his life, he does think. He is as complicated as every other person on this earth. But you will not be granted an insight into his reflections. You will not get to understand the drives of this man. You will see him at his most private and intimate--you will see him when no one else can, when he thinks he is truly alone.

But you will not get to hear his thoughts. You will not understand what it is that drives him to those actions. You will see what he does and hear what he says. That is all.

So. Tyler Lucas. He awoke slowly on the edge of a forest he'd never seen before. His eyes went wide for an instant. He said a single word.

"Coach."

And then he closed his eyes and simply lay on the ground for several minutes.

Then he searched his bag. Found little of interest besides an energy bar and a bottle of water. After a moment's hesitation, he put the water bottle back, but kept the bar out. And then, shouldering his bag, he went to the nearest building he could see. He took a few wary glances at the reactors and the parking garage, then settled for a ramshackle building that looked a little less dangerous.

It is only by chance that he found Garrett Wilde.
Edited by Grim Wolf, May 30 2013, 01:09 AM.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Garrett found his fingertips grazing against the collar around his neck. He didn't have any intention of toying with it, but it was the key to their imprisonment. If he was thinking things through correctly, it might also be the key to their escape.

He thought back to the enforcement mechanism of the game. If no one dies for a whole day, everyone dies, no questions asked. It was an effective ploy. It kept people concerned with the action to preserve their own survival. They could die just as easily hiding in a cave as they could in gunfight, and even if you managed to survive without killing anyone, they'd just throw you into the next game. They made it painfully obvious that the only way to survive was to kill.

They tried to, at least. It was a lie though, just like the idea that you could really leave the island and go back to your life was a lie. While the latter was more smoke and mirrors trickery than anything else, however, this was a blatant, bald-faced lie.He was certain that they would never go through with their threat to kill all the students. They couldn't afford to. They might kill one or two for being disobedient, but that number had to have a ceiling. 30%? 40%? No matter what, it couldn't go higher than 49%. The point would be completely lost by then. They did all of this to prove to the world that these "civilized" children were just as monstrous as any terrorist or insurgent could ever be. They did it to force the world to watch as its future caretakers tore each other apart, and to make everyone who witnessed the horror watch their fellows a little more warily. If, however, the terrorists had to do the killing themselves...well, we already know they're monsters, don't we?

There was a noise outside. Someone was in the hallways of the office. He made no move for his bag, or to leave his meditative position. The only way out of this was to avoid conflict. He spoke, just loud enough to be heard outside the doorway, in the mildest tone he could manage, his voice straining slightly as he gathered himself.

"I hear you. I mean you no harm, and right now I'm hoping you feel the same way. No point in playing the game this early, right? You can come in and see that I'm unarmed, or I can come out there if that'd make you more comfortable, but I'd like to talk to you if you have a moment."
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[ *  *  * ]
((Eliza Patton V5 Start))

Eliza was pissed.

She hadn't even wanted to go on this stupid trip in the first place. None of her friends were going, and having to spend time in the same place with her asshole of a brother and his loser friends was not high on her priority list. She kicked over a stack of books as she walked by. Unfortunately, the satisfying thud of the books hitting the floor did nothing to calm her roiling emotions.

The trip seemed like a good idea at the time. Fuck, who hasn't wanted to go to Disneyland at least once in their life? It's not like it was her fault that some terrorists happened to choose her school out of the thousands that had went on senior trips in the past four years. She took a hand off her rifle and punched at the wall beside her. Pain shot through her knuckles as she continued to hit the hard surface. She ignored it as she looked around for something to kick.

To put it bluntly, Eliza was having a temper tantrum.

She turned the corner, running her hands over the gun the terrorists had given her. Who the hell did they think they were? Kidnapping kids and forcing them to kill each other. Eliza made another kick at the side of a cubicle as she walked by. Fuck that noise. There was no way she'd be playing by their rules. Nobody was going to tell her what to do, not her brother, not her teachers and definitely not these people, whoever they were. She scratched an itch behind her ear as she turned down another hallway.

As she did, she noticed someone down the hall, standing by one of the office doors. Her hands gripped her gun tightly as she strained to see the person's face.

Just great. A football player. She hadn't taken the time to get to know any of her brother's friends or teammates, but as far as she was concerned, they were all the same. They probably wouldn't even be able to shit without a coach telling them what to do. Idiots. They all made her sick. Especially Cody.

Still, it's not like he couldn't pose a threat. Even the dumbest animals could still kill when angered, and she wasn't about to let this joker end up running her over. She raised the gun -no, her gun, and pointed it at him, about to yell at him to put away his weapons. She smiled smugly as she waited for what would happen next. If she couldn't take out her frustration on her brother, surely this was the next best thing.

She was suddenly distracted from this goal by the sound of a voice from the office beside the boy. She lowered her rifle and stepped back, prepared to run if things got hairy.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Tyler stared at the office where the voice was coming from, his head cocked to one side. Then he took two creaking steps and-

He jerked his head to one side--in the direction of Eliza Patton. He didn't seem to see her, though; a few moments inspect the darkness and he shrugged and stepped into the office.

Garrett was sitting crosslegged on the floor. Without saying anything, Tyler sidled over so that he didn't have his back to the doorway--now he could see both it and Garrett.

"You want to talk?" Tyler said, folding his arms in front of his chest. "Why?"
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Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

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

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Garrett could have asked for a better first meeting. He didn't know Tyler very well, but he recognized him as a member of the football team. There were 50/50 odds as to whether he was playing, and he probably had a pretty good chance of winning. Convincing him to not play, especially with a plan that could end in everyone dead, might be difficult. He needed to hedge his bets. Still, he couldn't let Tyler see him sweat.

"Because I'd like to live, and I'd imagine you would as well. Tyler, right? There are two ways I see this going down that end well for both of us. We could go our separate ways and pretend we didn't see each other. I have someone I want to look for, and I'm hoping you don't have any particular reason to stop me." He gestured to the left with his head. "I walk out that way, no questions asked, and nobody has to get hurt. Or..." His eyes narrowed as his characteristic smile returned to his face. "We can stay here for a little while and chat about what I've found. These people aren't giving us the whole story. Short version? If I'm right, we're not players. We're hostages."

He stared up at the large man in front of him, careful to look him directly in the eye. "If you're interested, I've got a plan that should force a stalemate and buy us some time until help gets here. It's your choice though: I can leave, or we can talk. I'm not looking for trouble."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Tyler stared at Garrett for several long seconds, his arms still folded in front of his chest.

"Hostages," he repeated. He closed his eyes. "Don't think so. Think we're more like those guys. The Roman ones." He snapped his fingers. "Gladiators. They were captured slaves, right? Had to fight each other while the crowd watched."

His eyes were still closed. "You want to be...that guy? Russel..." His mouth twisted to one side. "Russel Crowe?" He shook his head. "He died, remember?"

But then after another few seconds he opened his eyes again. "Buy us some time," he said. "How?"
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V6 Players

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

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

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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[ *  *  * ]
Eliza inched closer to the door as their conversation continued. Her hands gripped her gun tightly as she strained to listen. She couldn't really make out what they were saying, but she was sure that it wasn't just friendly chit-chat. Something about... a plan?

She shuffled as close to the door as she dared. There was no way she could take either of them in a fight, with or without a gun, but she couldn't just run away either. A chance for freedom, no matter who slim, was always worth taking. Wasn't that the essence of anarchy? She stood, trying desperately to make as little sound as possible while the two in the room continued their conversation.

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Garrett nodded at his observation. "You're on the right train of thought, normally. Gladiators are exactly what they want us to be. I think they've overestimated their mark on this one, though. See, they assume that no one is going to find them. After all, we feel pretty important, but in the grand scheme of things a hundred odd High School students being abducted isn't a huge security concern. It'd get token service at best. We've got an edge right now, though. Remember what President McAllister said four years ago? Survival of the Fittest is supposed to be over. It's not. Everyone relaxed because of his declaration, and that makes this his fault. What's more, he's up for re-election in the fall. He'll get crucified for this if he just lets it pass. If there's any intelligence in his cabinet, this just became his number one PR concern. That means we've got everything from drones to satellites looking for us right now."

That last statement was a bit of a bluff. He had no idea whether anyone was actually blaming President McAllister for the attack yet, but they might, and if the footage of this conversation ever made it off the island, he'd just given them a soundbite. It was a long-shot, but he was screening every angle. They needed help, and they needed it fast.

His grin grew as he caught Tyler's reference. "You make a good point about us being gladiators, though. That's an important comparison. The point of the gladiators was to fight to the death for the amusement of the Romans to keep them happy, right? We're like that, but the opposite. We're supposed to kill each other to make the rest of the world afraid. We have to kill each other to do it though, which means that this," he stated, tapping his collar, "is a bluff. At least, the idea that they'll blow us all up if we don't kill for a day is. They can't just kill us. If they were going to, they would have done it by now. They need us to kill each other, and they're doing everything they can to make it happen. That means they won't kill us until they have no options left. They're more likely to try and send a team out flush people out and get the action going."

His eyes narrowed as he found the question he'd been waiting for, the hook that might just draw Tyler into his plan. "Which option do you like better: Hunt each other until we're all dead or dying, or waiting it out until we've got a shot at the bastards that dragged us out here and tried to make us into a side-show?"
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Tyler stared at Garrett for a long moment, then spat to one side.

"Bullshit," he said. "I knew kids like you in juvie. You talk fast and you act like you know what's going on and it all comes down to the same thing. Bullshit." He slowly unfolded his arms and loomed a little taller, stretching his shoulders so that he cut a very menacing figure as his small eyes narrowed into a glare. "Hell, sometimes they even believed it. Thought they could beat the system 'cause they were so fuckin' smart. But they all got beat down just the same."

He tapped the collar. "See this?" he said. "It's a gun to our heads. You can't change that. You can't make that not real. Even if they won't kill us all, they'll kill enough." He lowered his hand. "Gladiators," he snorted. "Remember, they could all fight, and they couldn't fight their way free. Never made any fucking sense that they got to leave at the end of the movie. There were gladiators before that stupid emperor that hated Russel Crowe. There were gladiators after."

He took a few steps towards the other boy, his hands curling into fists. "You think someone's gonna come save you?" Tyler asked. "You think they're sending the army for us? They've done this before." Tyler's nostrils flared. "They've done this before and yeah some kids got away but a lot more died. You can't count on someone to save us. And if that's the only plan you got, it's not fuckin' good enough."

"You want to fuck with them?" Tyler asked, and tapped his collar again. "Want them to pull that trigger? Do it without me."

Then he turned, and stomped towards the door.
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V6 Players

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

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

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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[ *  *  * ]
((Mild GMing approved.))

Well, that was a bust. And to think, just for a moment Eliza had begun to think that there might've been a way off this god-forsaken rock. She gave a quiet sigh of frustration as she stepped away from the door. Her hands trembled as they gripped tightly to her rifle. This was it. Now or never.

After what seemed like an eternity, the football player stepped out of the office room.  Eliza smiled. Now was her chance to work off some of the frustration she was feeling. As long as the big lug wasn't a complete idiot, this might actually work out pretty well for her. She pointed her rifle directly at the boy in front of her and barked out an order.

"Stop right there! Drop your weapon and put your hands where I can see them."

She disengaged the safety with a satisfying click. That should help him get the message. God, how she needed this. Heh. He talked tough, but she bet he wouldn't last a few seconds against a real threat. Clearing her throat, Eliza spoke again.

"And don't try anything stupid. You know you'll regret it."

Good piece of advice, that. Now here's hoping that he would follow it.
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
In one ear and out the other. Of course he can't think the mechanics of the game through. That would make this too easy.

Garrett sighed as Tyler stalked away. He couldn't help but think that if he actually thought things through, he'd find the collars to be a far weaker threat than he was making them out to be. They simply wouldn't work as an enforcement mechanism without sacrificing the integrity of the game, and that was a misstep the terrorists couldn't afford. He was about to fire a brief retort on the nature of slavery when a barking demand cut off his train of thought.

You have got to be kidding me.

Someone outside had a gun. It sounded like a woman, and a very upset one at that. This had gone south very quickly. This was a game of bluffs, though. He was about to play his through.

"May I make a suggestion? Retract that threat. It's either empty, or very, very stupid. Are you really so intent on being the first murderer here?"

He hopped up with a practiced stride, grabbing his bag in one hand and a piece of discarded wood in the other. He was ready to run if he needed to, and if he was quick enough he could throw the wooden block as a distraction and dart through the cubicles while she hesitated with targets. He leaned on the doorway from the inside, adopting Tyler's former position and calling out into the hallway, "After all, are you going to kill both of us? That should paint a lovely target on your back."

He couldn't help but chuckle at the grim absurdity of the situation. "Is everyone really so intent on playing this game? I suppose we will make great gladiators. We're already operating as perfect slaves."
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Tyler walked out, heard the girl speak, and immediately grabbed at his duffel bag. He froze the moment she disengaged the safety. He remained where he was, one hand on the duffel bag.

Garrett spoke. Tyler kept his eyes fixed on the girl.

"You're Cody's sister, right?" he said. "Easy. I'm not going to hurt you. Want my weapon? It ain't worth much."

Then in one quick twist the bag was flying through the air, towards her head. And Tyler himself spun to one side, then lunged for her gun.
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V6 Players

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

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

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Breaking Post Order to Exit Thread))

Tyler created a distraction, and that was all the excuse Garrett needed. As the angry, sentient wall blurred past his door way, he ducked out behind him and ran the opposite direction.

Pangs of guilt rushed through his mind as he blindly ran for the doorway, but he shut them out. Right now, these two were beyond his help. He needed to prove his model. He needed more time to plan. If he just had more time, he knew he could convince them.

If they're still alive by the time you figure things out. Rome is burning, Garrett, and no tune you play can stop it.

He grimaced as he tried to force the encroaching panic from his mind, but he could only delay the inevitable. He knew that no matter what he did, he couldn't save everyone. He knew that people were going to die. Worst of all, as he reflected on the violent, illogical actions he'd just witnessed, some small part of him couldn't help but wonder if they deserved it.

((Garrett Wilde Continued in Rome Is Burning))
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[ *  *  * ]
((GMing approved))

Son of a bitch! Eliza moved backward to avoid the bag flying toward her as her fingers closed around the rifle's trigger. Fortunately for Tyler, her arms jerked upward as she moved, causing the bullet to bury itself harmlessly in the ceiling. 

The next thing that she felt was 240 pounds of muscle slamming into her at full speed.

The impact sent Eliza sprawling as her rifle flew from her hands. She was vaguely aware of a throbbing pain in her chin before her head hit the ground. She saw stars as pain flooded her consciousness. She lay motionless on the ground as she began to fully realise how much trouble she was in. The weight of the large boy shifted itself over her body. She braced herself for his next blow.

Fuck.
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