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Plutonian Wharf; Open
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 06:19 PM (729 Views)
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If you’d told Jasper before the trip that he’d soon find himself on an abandoned dock, bawling his eyes out in front of the whole world, he would’ve thought you were lying.

And yet, that’s exactly what he was doing.

B007, Jasper Bustamante: START

He had woken up sprawled on the ground, staring up at a grey sky. He sat up and found himself looking across a small bay, with a bridge off in the distance. He could see buildings on either side of the bridge, and an endless expanse of blue beyond it. If not for the grey sky and the building’s apparent poor condition, this scene would’ve been somewhat picturesque. It had taken Jasper a moment to remember the presentation he’d sat through: the death of Mr. Graham, the bone-chilling video, and the announcement that he was now on Survival of the Fittest. His eyes welled up at the thought.

Jasper hadn’t paid much attention during the presentation, preferring to look down at his lap instead of the carnage in front of him, but he knew what was happening all too well: he and his classmates were stranded on a deserted island, and nobody was going to leave until everyone else was dead.

He buried his head in his arms, squeezing his eyes shut and heaving. His mind was flooded with thoughts of his family back home, distraught over his disappearance. He thought about his friends, of Oskar and Abby and Caedyn, all in the same predicament he was. If he wanted to go home, they’d all have to die. If one of them went home, he’d have to die.

It was all too much. Jasper couldn’t think straight. All he could do was curl up and sob, trying his best to shut out the world around him. He couldn’t handle it just yet.
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Jasper had done a good job drowning out the world around him, but that meant that he hadn’t heard the other boy approach until he was right next to him. His wailing quelled as he heard someone very winded speak to him. The voice was friendly, at least, and recognizable. He took a moment to collect his thoughts before slowly lifting his head up.

He turned to see a familiar face crouched next to him. Henry. Another junior he’d shared a few classes with, and Jasper was familiar with his social circle. Their interests didn’t line up exactly, but they were similar enough to spark conversation. Henry was nice, funny, and very talkative. A true force of optimism.

And exactly the type of person Jasper wanted to be around right now.

Jasper sniffled and wiped his eyes on his sleeve. “N-not really…” he replied, flashing a forced smile in return. He slowly relaxed, taking his knees of his chest and letting his legs sprawl out.

“H-how about you?”
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Intimidating-looking whip aside, Henry’s demeanor had remained unchanged by their situation. He rambled on about ghosts and turtles, and proposed that they go fishing. Jasper chuckled, and felt his shoulders relax. For a moment, he forgot they were stranded on an island and left to die. He was just at the coast with a friend.

“No, sadly, I don’t have any sort of fishing pole.” He sighed. “But maybe we could find one somewhere?” Jasper turned around to see a large warehouse at the base of the dock, towering over them. He doubted that there were any fishing supplies there. He looked around more, and his eyes fell upon the duffel bag lying next to him. He could’ve just pretended that it was a bag of his own, brought from home for a fun day fishing. But four symbols shattered the illusion: one letter, three numbers. B007.

The gravity of the situation returned. Jasper sighed, pulling the bag towards him. If he was stuck here, he may as well see what they’d given him. He unzipped it and reached in, feeling around. He felt the edges of a box, some sort of bottle, and-

“Ack!” Jasper winced as something sharp grazed his hand. He yanked his arm out, finding a small cut on his palm. He looked into the bag to find...broken glass? He groaned, figuring that it was the weapon he’d been ‘assigned’. With his free hand, he started to rummage around for a first aid kit, being a lot more careful this time.
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As Jasper looked closer, he realized that he’d cut himself on a broken bottle. At least there weren’t any glass shards in his bag. As he searched for a first aid kit, Henry offered to find a bandage for him.

“Oh, no, it’s fine, I can do it myse-” Jasper started, turning to find him already digging through his bag. Well, Jasper didn’t want to stop him now.

Without much else to do, he fished the broken bottle out of his bag and turned it over in his hands. There was nothing special about it: it was just a broken bottle. But it was given to him for a specific purpose: to hurt his classmates. That thought sent a chill down his spine. Part of him wanted to get rid of it, but another part of didn't. A smaller voice in his head wanted him to keep it for self-defense.

The fact that he had to take that into account scared him.
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Jasper’s musing was interrupted by Henry handing him the bandage and alcohol pad. “Oh, thanks,” he said, putting the bottle down to take care of his wound. He took a moment to look at his bandaged palm and sighed. He’d just woken up and he’d already injured himself.

Then he remembered that it wasn't supposed to be a big deal. People got cut like this all the time at home, and it didn’t matter. But here, every little thing impacted your chance of survival. Everything he did here on out would decide whether he lived or died.

Jasper knew, deep down, that this was wrong. They were high schoolers, for crying out loud! They were supposed to be at school, studying, socializing, preparing for college. Their days weren’t supposed to be numbered, spent watching their backs around their closest friends. Survival of the Fittest was cruel, wrong, and unnatural. And Jasper wanted no part of it.

His thoughts drifted back to the bottle. It had been given to him as a weapon, but he knew that he couldn’t bring himself to hurt anyone. He wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Jasper picked up the bottle and rose to his feet, walking to the edge of the dock. Taking a deep breath, he raised the bottle above his head and threw it out into the bay with all his might. He watched it sail across the sky, getting smaller as it went farther and farther. It hit the water with a barely visible splash, and then it was gone. Out of sight, out of mind.

Jasper exhaled, and felt a weight in his chest lift. He walked back over to Henry, picking up his bag. “So what do we do now?”
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Henry didn’t answer him. Maybe it was because he was too busy looking into the water, but maybe it was because of someone calling out to them right afterwards. Jasper turned towards the voice to see yet another familiar face. Arthur was a senior on the soccer team: They weren’t exactly friends, but they were on good terms. Jasper felt lucky, having run into two friends so far.

He was momentarily worried when Henry tripped over his whip, but he recovered quickly, inviting Arthur to come fishing with them. Jasper chuckled as Henry called him a silly nickname. He didn’t even like jazz.

“Yeah!” Jasper added, waving. “It’d be better if you had, like, an actual a fishing pole we could use,” He paused, eyeing the gun Arthur held at his side. “But by the looks of it, you don’t.”

It had made Jasper jump at first, but as the other boy drew closer, he noticed the tank and a cord connecting the handle and the barrel. Arthur had either gotten a really freaky modified gun, or just some sort of paintball gun. Either way, he didn’t seem to mean any harm. Jasper didn’t think he was the kind of person to start ‘playing’ anyway.
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“Oh, uh, sure,” Jasper replied, taking the paintball gun and turning it over in his hands. Now he could tell for certain that it wasn’t a real gun; not that he’d ever held a real one before. Arthur’s gun just felt lighter than he expected.

Despite that, Jasper still felt a sense of danger while holding it. He’d always been like that, always nervous around things like knives - anything that could be used to hurt others. But knives were also used for benign acts like cooking, and Jasper could handle one while helping his mother around the kitchen. A paintball gun, however, was made with the sole purpose of shooting others. Sure, it wasn’t lethal, but Jasper heard that getting shot with one still packed a punch.

If he felt this way about a paintball gun, Jasper was glad he hadn’t been assigned a real one.

He handed the gun back to Arthur as Henry babbled on about finding sticks and twine. Yeah, that seemed like their second order of business. Even though they were currently on the beach, wood wouldn’t be hard to come by if they just trekked inland. But the twine, however, would be harder to find.

Jasper looked back at the warehouse again. It was the only building in their immediate vicinity, and thus the only place they could really go. He pointed it out to the other two. “Maybe we could check in there?”
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Jasper couldn’t help but feel incredibly lucky: he’d run into two friends right off the bat, and they all agreed to stick together. He hoped they’d run into others, people like Abby and Nate and Caedyn: good friends he wanted to see before...well, before he died.

There was always the possibility that he wouldn’t die, though. Jasper remembered the big rescue back in 2008, when roughly thirty kids made it out of SOTF alive. It hadn’t happened again in 2012, but there was always the chance that the rescuers would repeat their stunt here. Jasper hoped it would, but if it didn’t, if he was going to die...well, Jasper didn’t want to think about that. Besides, there were more pressing matters.

They needed twine for fishing.

((Jasper Bustamante continued in Self Doubts and Hurricanes))
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