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Waking up in a strange place isn't so unusual for some...; It's the circumstances surrounding it that truly matter.
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 09:04 PM (1,292 Views)
shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
((B038: WADE CARTWRIGHT. START!))

No, no no no no! Wade simply lied in bed and uneasily rocked his head from left to right, trying to rid himself of a throbbing headache but also trying to keep his cool and ignore the rising tide of emotions raging inside of his mind. He was barely holding it together. The headache was probably a result of the terrorists giving him too much of that sleeping--

The gas. The terrorists. He was reminded of a furry novel he'd read, long ago, that made a major plot device out of mind-controlling gas. However, he also felt no discontinuities in his consciousness, even though he was intellectually aware that a long time had passed. The bus ride, Mr. Graham's death, that awful 'presentation' all melded together as one continuous memory. Most of all, though, he remembered the enigmatic young Danya, whose face and features stuck out oddly in Wade's mind. Come to think of it, they sort of reminded him of--

Dover. Dover Cheetah, a character the memories of whom were already becoming distant in Wade's mind. Very distant. The gas again? But he would never read another strip of SJ. Or.. of any other webcomic he had learned of. He would never see the ending of Rough Housing. He would never experience anything he had been looking forward to up until that point. As hard as he tried to suppress the onrushing flood of despair and anger-

It's not fair. He sat up, noting the duffel bag squeezed under the bed. The room seemed old and looked something like a teacher's office, strewn with furniture, which itself was stacked with books and charts and folders, many of which looked oddly familiar to Wade's eyes--

He would never have the chance to write more stories, never learn how to draw and animate, never listen to another Eurobeat song, never hear another amazing opening or ending, never watch the second seasons of Sword Art Online or Attack On Titan, never see Zootopia or play Civ 6, never enjoy another good round of CS:GO or Civ 5, never achieve or earn or accomplish anything of note in life.

It's not fair... He stood up quietly and tightly balled up his fists, his hands and arms shaking almost uncontrollably in place. In spite of his best efforts, his face twisted itself into a mask of pure grief. He was tearing up. As his throat moved, he became dimly aware of the collar, attached tightly to his skin just below his Adam's apple. If he didn't follow the rules, or just took an unlucky stray bullet, he supposed, it would explode, killing him in one of the most excruciating ways imaginable. Now that I think about it, it kind of reminds me...

As a matter of fact, it sunk in for him, he would almost certainly never read, watch, listen, think, feel, love, or enjoy anything ever again. His very existence would be erased, his memory destroyed for all time, his dreams and hopes and labors all rendered futile. He would never have a chance to make them reality, as he had so hoped practically his entire life. And it was all because of the actions of this hideous, heinous, monstrous terrorist organization who had chosen him and many, many among his class just like him to have all of their potential, hopes, dreams and lives cruelly dashed, no, stolen from them, aside from a horrifically traumatized winner, who often did not survive long anyhow.

All of that simply for the sake of.. revenge, or religious zeal, or sheer misanthropy, or whatever it was that had motivated those very terrorists to embark on this decade-long campaign of sowing fear and pain throughout the world. In his mind, he cursed them to the high heavens-

IT'S NOT FAIR! Those words reverberated through Wade's mind as though they were a mantra. He was captured in a haze of grief, terror, shock, pain, and a litany of other emotions he could not name, and it was all he could do to keep himself from repeating that phrase out loud. He could barely stand, but there was no room in the cramped office to fall over completely and he instead leaned, hands-first on the filing cabinet at an awkward angle, crying silently. IT'S NOT FAIR! IT'S... NOT... FAIR! He remained in that posture for awhile, thinking back to his past. He wracked his mind thinking of what he would never attain, of what he would never experience again, of everything that he'd started and would never finish...

He fell backwards into sitting up on the bed, devastated and drained. It's not fair... He was more or less relaxed, having rid himself of all his immediate feelings. All of them weren't gone, strictly speaking. He had the faint sense that new ones were being spun. But to his mind, he'd already expressed them. He felt an odd sense of pleasure at being hollow for now. In his rage-filled stupor, he had been so fixated on all his own emotions at the situation that he hadn't noticed the footsteps or creaking as someone moved their way down the hall. He could faintly hear the whispers of crying and talk and more crying, which he disregarded for the moment, trying to analyze a new sensation bubbling up from his semi-conscious mind.

He was thinking, unwittingly, on his own survival instincts trying to speak to him. He went through many mentally-constructed scenarios of victory, defeat, and death, and escape. More narrowly, he fixated on how his present situation would play out. Through all that, however, one thing was increasingly clear:

I just want to live.
2015: V6 Incident
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shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
Wade had remained sitting up. He hadn't moved at all. His eyes appeared glassy. The completely vacuous, but strangely reassuring, feeling of emptiness now pervaded his mind. He'd poured out his grief and anger and everything else that came with them. All that was left was to ask himself: what would he do? More importantly, what did he want? He wanted most to survive the game, of course. That feeling lingered. It seemed trite and obvious, but he grasped the genuine determination which underlied it. His goals, ambitions, and dreams called to him. He wanted, desperately, to return home to his family and his art and work on everything until it was polished. Put his work out there, become a true writer, a true director, a true artist. Accomplish his dreams, complete his goals as he always meant to. Beat all of the odds, achieve greatness. Wouldn't that be an amazing way to stick it to the terrorists? Succeeding in spite of having gone through this horrific ordeal, defying the precedents other winners set?

Yes. Sure, reaching for his dreams would be wonderful and all, but he had to focus on survival first. Getting there in the first place. There were only two workable routes to survival: escape and victory.

Escape was obviously the preferable choice, but it couldn't be relied upon. And it was not perfect. The one time it had succeeded, during Version Four seven years ago, 29 students out of... 279?.. had been rescued. That was around one in.. seven. Not bad, all things considered, but it wasn't the majority. And none of the other escape attempts in any of the other versions had succeeded, as far as anyone knew. It was especially unlikely to work now that the terrorists had locked down security and tried to make their procedures as airtight as possible. So as far as Wade was concerned, he wouldn't start an escape attempt. But he would join one if their prospects were looking good, and of course he'd be stupid not to take a clear route to escaping. If one presented itself.

Victory, then, was the likelier and much less palatable way to survive. He was loath to even consider it, as he'd have to get his hands dirty with someone else's blood, one way or the other, or he'd just be thrown back in. He definitely couldn't and wouldn't try to murder his classmates. Forget it. Out of the question. Trying to kill the murderers was dangerous and more than a twinge hypocritical. But trying to rescue others from being killed? For a moment, he almost considered it. But then he realized the problem: unless they went on to escape or win, saving someone would merely prolong their suffering on the island. As ghoulish as it sounded, it was pointless to try and be a hero. Unless it was close to the end and he was already mortally wounded. Or there was a rescue going on.

So, those were Wade's rules of engagement. He would essentially restrict himself to self-defense. He wouldn't--couldn't play, but if someone attacked him, they were fair game. He was energetic, but weak, and he didn't have the endurance for even mild workouts. He'd just have to trust in maintaining situational awareness and think quickly during any fights. Ideally, he'd avoid fighting until the end, but there had been about a hundred or so students on the trip. Assuming the island was... where was the map? The bag!

He'd almost forgotten about his issued bag. Quickly pulling it free and throwing it onto the bed beside him with some racket, he first saw the lettering: B038. That was his numerical designation. Paying it little mind, he opened the zipper quickly and loudly. Inside? Ration bars, bread, crackers, a compass-- the map! Ignoring everything else, he quickly opened it and carefully inspected it. His suspicions were confirmed: this really was a mental hospital. And if it wasn't deceiving him, he was inside the main asylum building.

Sunlight had been filtering in from a small, shuttered window just above the bed. Crawling on top of it, Wade opened the shutters, which were surprisingly clean after what must have been decades of abandonment. Peering through, he saw a large, kind of rustic-looking bell tower dominate the view, meaning that he must be on the back end of the asylum. Nowhere in particular stuck out as being potentially safe or dangerous. Yet. Students were probably spread evenly among the buildings, so everywhere was equally safe. But off to his left, in the distance, was that... human screaming?

He turned back around and rummaged through the rest of the bag at his knees, the ancient bed's frame groaning quietly. A flashlight. A first-aid kit, which was, oddly enough, filled to the brim with medical supplies. A 'guidebook', which he flipped through and immediately discarded back into the bag. He didn't want to read sadistic shit-talking from Danya just yet and the rules were nothing he didn't already know. As he was nearing the bottom of the bag when he saw a hypodermic needle and a small bottle, both filled with a clear fluid. Alongside them was a small piece of paper, simply reading: 'Adrenaline and needle'.

He could feel it now. The sensation of his heart dropping abruptly and violently into his stomach.
2015: V6 Incident
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shotgunkid
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[ * ]
That was it. Dread freely pooled in Wade's stomach, turning it into a turbulent lake and making him physically ill. That was simply it. His odds were definitely slim before, but there was absolutely no way he was going to make it now. He couldn't stand up to anyone without an actual weapon. He was too weak for the adrenaline to help in unarmed combat, and the needle alone was worthless without something to inject. Maybe if he found some extra medicine. Or venom. But-

"Hey, you alright in there?"


What? Someone else? The terror and dread vanished instantly. Taking their place, a shallow tension. The voice was coming from just left of the doorway, being held open by the person it belonged to. Probably male, definitely Scottish. The tension gave way to a sick tingling feeling all over Wade's body. The sensation of vulnerability.

He realized: Most of the room's furniture aside from the desk was against the left-hand wall. And being more or less crouched on the bed, which was against the right-hand side... meant he was utterly open to attack. If the person was hostile and armed, they'd have a clear shot immediately.

Wade moved to quell the awful sensation by closing and grabbing the bag. As silently as possible, he moved off the bed and tried to quickly position himself behind the desk. That way, he was at least behind cover. He'd get forewarning if the unknown person came in and he'd at least have a chance to disarm them if they went in to attack. It had already been several seconds since he heard the words and he was running out of time to reply--

"Yeah! I-I'm fine!"
2015: V6 Incident
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shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
"Alright, I'm just going to open the door so we can see each other properly, ok? No potshots now, or I'll return fire."

Wade tensed, peeking cautiously over the desk. The seconds that followed that phrase seemed to stretch relentlessly. He tried to frantically analyze what the other boy's mental and physical state might be like and what path of action they'd take. The very real shadow of death lingered frightfully around all that. The boy was probably not hostile, but if he was- The desk would be good cover against any melee weapon, but a gun- He couldn't overpower someone with a gun-

There the other boy was, lingering cautiously in the doorway. Big. Long hair and heavy clothes making him look like he walked right out of Wade's half-asleep character imaginings. Stoic expression. Rippling muscles, and revolver at the ready. Oh God no. No. He was aiming it dead at Wade with a thumb already over the hammer. A sign- if it was a single-action he'd have a moment to react-

"Let's start with names, shall we? Will. Will McKinley."

So he wasn't immediately hostile, but if Wade said his own name in reply he might just be making some kind of final courtesy. There was no time. He had to make a response-

"I'm Wade Cartwright. And you can put down the gun. I've only got this syringe, see. Y-you're free to check my bag," he said, making a furtive gesture toward it as he stood and retreated from the desk hands-up.
Edited by shotgunkid, Sep 14 2016, 12:55 AM.
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shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
Wade felt panic, then anger, then confusion, then.. nothing again. He wasn't going to be robbed or killed after all. When the other boy waltzed in and essentially seized the bag from him at gunpoint, violence became a visceral, real possibility to his mind. Will could easily have run off with the damned thing or shot him and there wasn't much Wade could have done; the other boy utterly outmatched him in every respect but perhaps mental acuity, and how much did that count for?

He'd probably never know Will's real intentions, one way or the other. The girl had come and, well, distracted him, maybe. But as soon as she arrived, it felt like he'd changed tack. He just gave Wade a few kind words before running off with her down the hall, leaving the bag on the floor. It occurred to him: should he leave or not?

Really attempting to take stock of the surroundings was impossible much beyond the almost suffocatingly cramped office itself. The door could be shot through easily if he made any meaningful noise, and the terrorists would almost certainly declare this entire manor a death zone if anyone lingered too long.

The rest of the island wasn't much better. After all, it was crawling with other students. They had an even chance of being just as bad or even worse as Will had acted toward Wade as they had of being friendly, unless perchance he met Hannah or some of the others, and even then Danya's words and the video still clung in his mind, cast a sickly shadow on his friends. As loath as he was to even acknowledge it was there.

But he wanted to leave, Wade realized. He didn't want to spend the next day or so, at least, just cooped up inside a messy room and waiting to be killed or forced out like a pest from the building. Uneasily, he took steps and picked up the bag. It was surprisingly light; he'd believed it would be painfully heavy maybe thanks to what was inside it, but he could handle and maneuver it with relative ease. Not much worse than his schoolbag.

Wade was at the doorway when he started to really analyze the surroundings again. The two had gone left. He didn't want to confront them again, so he turned right. It was a long hallway with an open metal gate transitioning to another room at the end.

Listening carefully to the sounds, Wade moved down the right side and down the right side until he reached the gate, and tread lightly into the adjoining room.

He tried his best to ignore everything else and just concentrate.

((Wade Cartwright continued elsewhere))
Edited by shotgunkid, Oct 8 2016, 08:00 PM.
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