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No One Gets Left Behind
Topic Started: Dec 4 2016, 12:14 PM (900 Views)
shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
((Wade Cartwright continued from They Stumbled into Faith and Thought.))

Backtracking it again, in a more direct manner. It wasn't unpleasant this time; he was with companions. But he tried hard not to consider what would happen if they did get into a stand-up confrontation. The 'cowardly' choices he went over mentally made a strange, sick kind of sense that again raised the specter of psychopathy and like Hell he was going there willingly. Previously, before all this started, he would've regarded them with no trouble. Often, he'd see in it squeamishness, a reluctance to do what was necessary and obvious. But it was one thing to contemplate what he or anyone else would do in a dangerous situation and another entirely to actually be in the thick of it trying to make a snap decision; people in general were far more impulsive and emotional than they liked to believe.

That truth had never been revealed to him as deeply, clearly or painfully as in the past several days. He had vague thoughts of trying to approach the entire situation in a clever, thoughtful, coldly analytical way, as 'smart' people did in so many portrayals. But the world just didn't work like that. Or didn't feel like that. Whenever he got things right, it was this flow-like state of intuitive discovery that was hard to describe. Pieces just fell into place and arranged themselves into a whole that seemed coherent. Not knowing exactly how he decoded problems was itself a problem.

It was... some time during the night, Wade couldn't be sure when anymore. Still with Irene and the others. (There he went again, placing the familiar one first!) This room brought dark images of grinning, white-coated medics to the fore.

"Makes you think about how people treat each other doesn't it?" He would've responded, yes. Something to the effect of, 'oh, back then they didn't know, oh, lobotomy had its successes, they were duped, fooled, deceived themselves'... but it was held out. It seemed pointless to try and defend all present humanity against the charges of past atrocity. In general, everything felt.. not pointless, adrift. Like they were in limbo, or waiting for something. Almost unbearable in its own right, but it carried the promise of a better tomorrow, unlike many other moods that may have struck.

Then Cass, abruptly and without warning, made a small breakthrough.

"So, uh, how are you guys holding up?" And he felt compelled to respond. It stirred real emotion he could connect and respond to, as banal as it felt. A conversation really could emerge from that. He could start it off, even. Just had to focus. focus. focus.

"Doing great here, really. I'm curious, though. What's our next move?"
Edited by shotgunkid, Jan 8 2017, 03:59 AM.
2015: V6 Incident
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shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
Listening in, Wade had been trying to compose an effective response. He felt their words bounce around in his head, fishing for little nuggets of meaning and understanding, then picking them out, composing a picture of what everyone else was trying to convey. Rapidly, as the back-and-forth started from Trav's previous comment, he realized why he felt strangely indifferent: the entire topic was rather tangential to the real discussion to be had. As a matter of fact, Cass had seemed to brush off this core: what his question was really getting at.

The real discussion wasn't why the killers were killing; there were plenty of potential motivations. Myriads given the complexity of human thought and the plain statistics of chance, and it seemed a bit dehumanizing to start writing a select group people off as some vague cartoon evil separate from the rest. Even as chilling as it was to accept that serial killers were on the loose on this island - terrifying given that they had come from the very same senior and junior class as himself - that was the reality they were grappling with. And the whys of it weren't all that important. The hows were. Namely: how they did so, and how this group were to prevent that from happening to themselves.

"Does it matter why they're out there murdering? One way or the other, they're all the same kind of threat. A-a hostile human. I-I could care less if they did it out of jealousy or hatred or any-any other kind of passion. They all pose the same danger. And we're not thinking about how to protect and defend against that danger, which is all that truly matters here. Killers will kill. And if we die, we die. It's irrelevant whether or n-not we know about their mistakes and motivations and whatnot. They'll do the same thing to us no matter what those are: kill. How do we protect ourselves from being killed?"
Edited by shotgunkid, Dec 17 2016, 07:24 PM.
2015: V6 Incident
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shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
Wade's mouth stayed for a moment as Cass spat out the answer. It felt as though things were about to fly apart at the seams now -- strange, like some unspoken taboo had been crossed. It only took another moment to realize what it was: one of the things that simply couldn't be openly talked about on this island, he realized. Brute, painful fact that pierced through all the mental and verbal gymnastics they were doing to skirt around reality in a heartbeat. It instantly brought to the fore everything they were ignoring through omission, the longer term: namely, that there wasn't one. That faux pas could slip, though. Unconsciously, he had been preparing his own retaliatory misstep:

"That's not a given." It was already clear what he was talking about, but he refused to so openly vocalize it. "Remember the -- I mean, what happened in Vee Four?" Fairly transparent. But that was the intent.
2015: V6 Incident
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shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
Naturally, Wade hadn't noticed his arms shaking. As always, he didn't notice the ADD rush his mind had clung onto until it had already taken hold. Presumably, it stemmed from the mental and intellectual buzz of arguing with others and actually having to use brainpower to engage in both receiving and transmitting ideas. No, he was definitely on it, or coming off slowly. His arms and legs were shaking, he could feel the start of a desire to get up and start... moving. Usually that would shortly result in acting pretty spastic.

And many, many small reprimands and reproaches had come his way when someone noticed that in normal life. Usually whenever he was engrossed by music or some powerful thought or not paying attention. Here, there wasn't anyone but his tired companions to notice, and they all seemed somewhat out of it themselves. Especially Cass; he pretended not to notice the choked sobbing noises and watery eyes.

Trav seemed the most focused. Relatively calm and collected, and he made a good point with that weapon. Not to mention his own body.

Unless someone had a large group, or was cocky, they'd be scared off attacking. Unless they had guns of their own - but that was certain death anyhow. Another chill. Wade really didn't want to lend too much thought to death. Cessation of existence was still terrifying to really wrap his head around. The afterlife was a long shot.

What was the right thing to do? Really, the best possible course of action they had available was to somehow formulate an escape plan - a workable one - without the terrorists noticing a thing. Even though that was even more of a long shot. Getting right with God, Allah, Vishnu or whoever started looking more and more appealing in comparison. Bleaugh, religion's aftertaste..

Well, the afterlife also involved dying and being incapable of accomplishing his dreams. That meant it was out anyway, even though it enabled him to continue existing in some form. Closing his eyes, he steeled himself, trying to deaden the movement, and tried to think systematically about the problem, the way they did in mind-game thrillers and cop shows. He tried to combine it with his intuition and, surprisingly, it would often work. On the few times he had the presence of mind to approach a problem deliberately, he felt far more clear-headed teasing things out that way, both when mentally weighing philosophical questions and when doing academic work...



They came fast and furious. First, as anything else, the collars almost certainly had to have been manufactured in pieces, then assembled together. The processes used to do so would have left seams in the construction of the collar, visible or otherwise. It was always easier, he realized, to tear along the lateral grain of a piece of meat or the connection between two different parts of a structure. The seams were the weakest point of any thing and any construction, and striking at them meant objects came apart faster.

But he couldn't feel any on the collar. Not inwardly, not outwardly. His skin, beside the stretch of it on the hands, had a low sense resolution. His throat didn't feel anything beside the almost crushing grip, and he didn't dare actually touch the thing - that would give the game away in a heartbeat. Even the dumbest guard would realize what he was doing if they were paying even the least attention to him. He glanced carefully at the others, slowly trying to visually analyze theirs --

He shimmied slightly closer to Cass and tried to subtly steal a decent glance at the thing, trying to make it look as though he were staring at her face and not her neck because then they'd realize. He didn't know where the cameras were - couldn't do anything about them - couldn't avoid their sight even if he knew because then the terrorists would know he knew, and so on. With how advanced camera technology was, tiny spycams could have been placed in all the rooms and walls and cliffs and beaches of this island in such a tight pattern and high density that they missed nothing. Unaffordable, maybe, but doable. He absolutely had to presume if the terrorists could have done something to stymie his escape, they would have done it. And piled on extra duct tape to make sure.

Even in the bad lighting and with the few glances he did manage to take that satisfied him, he could tell there wasn't anything. Nothing he could unscrew or jam a knife into for certain. The collars did seem fairly small, as he expected - probably using a shaped charge. He didn't know the details of human anatomy and the power of small explosives, but from what grenades could do it probably sufficed to sever his neck cleanly in half. Another shiver. He'd read about how one could remain conscious for several moments after decapitation, and-- yikes. It was chilling enough to remember Nguyen's account of the way collar-blown corpses looked, make a few inferences, and apply it to here. Well, he didn't have to dwell on it. It was enough to know that the terrorists would probably either observe him very closely or blow the thing if he made the slightest error.

He absolutely had to presume that if they found a good reason to kill him, they would. His fists clenched, but no tears or sadness came. Quickly, he'd broken his sight off Cass. That felt extremely close. As unhealthy as it was, he absolutely had to be paranoid about this. Again, the slightest error could bring it all crashing down upon him..
Edited by shotgunkid, Jan 6 2017, 12:34 PM.
2015: V6 Incident
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shotgunkid
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don't take no guff
[ * ]
First Trav and Cass went, then Irene. It felt as though Cass was the least sympathetic out of all of them to Wade, but he figured Irene needed the alone time. And yet-- he was wracked by a few moments of indecision as he thought of all the ways the latter could get into trouble, then dismissed them.

As the first two got up and walked out of the room, he simply followed.

At the moment, escape felt more and more unreal, like a bust, like it was a false hope that he only clung to because of his emotions, even though he knew it had solid foundation in his mind. What now..?

((Wade Cartwright continued in Remember Everything.))
Edited by shotgunkid, Jan 24 2017, 09:36 AM.
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