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The V2 Read-o-thon; Olden days
Topic Started: Aug 24 2017, 06:45 PM (8,995 Views)
CrossbowPig
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I'd like a character too, please.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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Mariavel Varella:

I usually don't do these read-a-thon posts in too structured of a fashion - I prefer a more stream of consciousness take, as it does a better job of showing what I'm thinking while I'm actually reading - but I feel like I'd be doing you all a disservice if I didn't deliver something a bit more…academic today. I'm also going to spoiler it because it's crazy long.

One thing to note before you jump in: I wrote most of this as I was reading, as I tend to do, so if there's something I missed or mixed up early on, I probably didn't go back to fix it, though I did a general proofread before I posted.

THE LION, THE BITCH, AND THE CROSSBOW: AN ODYSSEY


I'd like another kid, please.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Now I had to add Cathalie to my google dictionary too. Strangely enough, Meguro worked, but eh, maybe it's just more common. Doesn't take much to be more common a name than Cathalie.

Burns aside, a look at the profile reveals that at least some thought was put into diversifying her interests. It's startling that a good sign to me is that the Looks section of the profile doesn't mention bra size. Her backstory is relatively tame, as far as V2 goes - at least she hasn't killed anyone. While writing a kind of gothy "damaged" girl raises some flags on its own, it's nothing I can't look past for what is really here. The profile itself is decently well written, and if I wasn't desensitized I'd say that it's almost impressive for the V2 time frame. Her abusive friendship with Mitch Gunther is… cute? It's totally weird and a little unsettling, but I think it's a good thing, for now, unless things turn sexual at some point.

Knowing V2, they always do.

Cathalie's time in V2 is comprised of two pre-game threads and two island threads - a mercy that I am very thankful for - and her first thread takes place at school, Bathurst High, the same school of the winning kid Bryan Calvert. For some reason, when I think of V2, this is the school I come back to mentally. The name is just sort of...iconic? Or notorious? Maybe both? Well, at the very least, it's known as the school with the weird kid who wanders around barefoot and talks to himself about burgers during a class assignment on the atomic bomb. While the other students, here Ian Rico and Sofie de Wilde, try to treat him kindly, Cathalie returns from the bathroom and puts her dog on a leash immediately.

Power Couple
 
"Ahhh Cathalie, the sunshine of my life, the air I breathe everyday. To bask in your presence is to drown blissfully in the rivers of Para-"

"Shut up, Mitch."

"Yes, Cathalie."


Cathalie takes the other's kindness as malice, but caves in once she decides that if she doesn't let Mitch have his first burger, then she'll never hear the end of it. Of course, this dynamic reminds incredibly of Lust and Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist, a Japanese manga series that was decently popular around V2 - still kind of is, but it's faded away gradually with time. Good show, but lifting this dynamic of "Cold girl, food obsessed guy" without any of the symbolic connotations or writing skill that came with it is kind of, well, finicky. Especially as Ali Grayson comes in and makes a mess of thing, requiring Mitch to be reeled in even further. He bites her, which would probably make anyone handle their animal a bit more cautiously. Mitch isn't an animal, sure, but the comparison can be drawn here.

Or not! Cathalie just lets this happen, because she's kind of edgy, and doesn't like popular people, I'm guessing. Mitch is a weird kid, but a good intentioned one, and Cathalie warms up to people that he warms up to, thankfully. If Cathalie was just 100% mean all the way then we'd have some stuff wrong here, because that's just one-note and trite and kind of dumb. Thankfully, instead we get something kind of balanced and internally consistent in the wacky wild world of V2. I'm sort of impressed, already.

Their dynamic is amusing. I'm thoroughly amused. The two actually take up Ian Rico on the offer of burgers, which is fitting right now because in pre-game it's important to set up some story progression or hooks early on for the island stuff. Here, it's social rejection, as Mitch's social unacceptable behaviour is unsurprisingly rejected by the carnival goers. Cathalie decides at some point to avoid curfew and be herself for the evening, which I'm guessing was entirely helped along by Mitch pushing her over the edge. They have a fun time at the park, and that's pre-game. It's all remarkably decently written, and there aren't really any complaints here.

Island-time now. It is time to see if this quality, what we've so thankfully been graced with so far, keeps going into the island. I'm going to hazard a wild guess right now and say that it doesn't, but I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised here.

Cathalie has a bit of a mental breakdown at the start of V2, and a violent one at that. Mitch has her best intentions at heart, but she rejects it, instead electing to throw a desk across the room and overturn a table. Ernest wanders into the thread now, while Cathalie tries to bluff having a shotgun to keep him out, a plot that Mitch foils it by announcing that they don't really have a shotgun in a playful way. They try to ambush Ernest as he walks in with the rag of chloroform that Cathalie got, but he decides that they aren't worth it and turns around to leave. They have some cutesy small-talk, until Cathalie falls asleep, Mitch standing guard and staying in this sort of hypnagogic state while waiting for Cathalie to wake up again.

This girl, Venus, wanders into the room, and starts drawing things on the chalkboard, before wandering back out again. The announcement plays, which somehow doesn't wake Cathalie up, but Mitch's constant mantra mumbling does. She throws a flashlight at him to try and shut him up, since he keeps kind of whining about the dark, but she realizes that she should have thrown a little more than a flashlight when she realizes that they're sitting in a danger zone, Mitch having neglected to inform her of the announcement. They manage to make it out of the school building in time, which is pretty confusing to me given how little time you have to get out of a danger zone and the barricade they put up in front of their door, but, whatever. Overall, their first island thread is solid.

Now, it's time for the moment that you've all been waiting for; Cathalie's second and final island thread.

The first thing that stuck out to me was the handler writing this post. Threads one through three were all handled by LadyMakaze, while the final thread, the pivotal death moment, is handled by Nealosi, and instantly something feels off. It's not as if an attempt wasn't made to keep the style of writing for these characters consistent, but more like the attempt was made without paying much attention to detail. For one thing, Mitch's absurdly large vocabulary and strangely intelligible ramblings are reduced to somewhat plain speak, and he loses most of his quirky charm. Cathalie's change is a bit more believable - she's been stuck on the island for an additional five days, now, and she just seems a lot more tired and stressed out. How these two managed to survive for five whole days without drawing too much attention to themselves is a bit out of the realm of possibility for me, but, whatever, it's some OOC stuff that I don't know about anyways.

Cathalie decides that putting Mitch to sleep is a good idea, now, as a mercy kill. Cathalie has accepted her fate, and probably intends to do the same kind of thing to herself, but Mitch still has the resolve - or naivete - to believe that some kind of rescue or escape is possible. This resolve really touches Cathalie, and she finally extends an olive branch to Mitch after all of her abuse. Everything seems like it's going to turn out okay for the two of them.

Everything seems like it's going to turn out okay, until the tree behind them explodes, splinters tearing holes in their faces and throwing them to the ground.

I'm guessing that Franco Sebberts is Nealosi's own kid, and that these two kids are being fed to his own because of inactivity. Regardless, Franco steps out from behind the tree, a sadistic smile on his face, and reveals himself to have caused the explosion via grenade launcher. Cathalie is on the ground, bleeding out from the mouth, and tries to convince Mitch to run. Mitch, however, can't let anyone hurt his Cathalie, so he heroically charges Franco, who isn't playing nearly as fairly. Using a concealed taser, he zaps Mitch, sending him to the ground, while spouting off about how these two aren't the only ones who want to leave, stating that his way is the only way.

This is the part that I was warned about. I won't get too graphic, because thankfully this scene isn't as descriptive as the Mariavel hotel scene, but it goes something like this.

Franco forces Mitch to watch as he molests Cathalie, using the taser as a torture device, occasionally taking a few breaks to beat Mitch as well. Cathalie begs him to stop, and eventually he caves in, shooting her in the head, though not before she can thank him for his mercy. Mitch screams out in anger, but Franco puts a bullet through his skull, too.

And that's that.

I'm really disappointed by the way this happened to end. I don't blame any of the handlers for how it happened - inactivity was, as we've seen, a commonplace issue in V2, yet one that the site hadn't come together to solve yet. At the very least, we get some closure for Cathalie and Mitch's arc, as they have a moment of understanding at the start of the thread. As far as the realism scale goes for V2, Cathalie and Mitch manage to balance the unconventional nature of a lot of early concepts with some decently well written posts. However, such an intricate concept can't survive as well on it's own in the hands of another, and that is blameless - it's clear when reading some of Mitch and Cathalie's interactions in pre-game that a lot of thought went into how these two felt about each other, thought that was likely inaccessible after the original handler's inactivity, except for going back and reading the original posts.

A case study in how inactivity was handled back in V2, and the pitfalls of the original methods of dealing with it, without resorting to linking someone a Mariavel massacre. Plus, some solid writing early on, if the concept is a little unbelievable. Personally, I think Cathalie's the least likeable of the two as a person, but in all honesty, I have a hard enough time dealing with my completely sane little brother, so I guess I can say I understand, a little?

#mitchdidnothingwrong

Another one, please.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Another kid with four threads. Thankfully, this guy doesn't have any pre-game, so I don't necessarily have to torture myself with invisionfree godawful blue. Then again, having some pre-game time is usually good for establishing a voice for a character - did they not have memory threads back then? - so we'll see how this affected the kind of kid that Darren turned out to be. He also might be the first kid I've had during a read-a-thon to ever have one consistent handler all the way through, but, we'll see.

Darren is fifteen years old, and he's my third kid in a row from Bathurst. His only hobby or interest is sleep, which already doesn't bode well for him as a character, though a pro-sleeper student would be extremely entertaining as comic relief. He seems like a normal enough kid, looks-wise, though the "lady-killer smile" rings a few alarm bells in my head, but, eh, another oddity that you can chock up the weirdness of the version as a whole.

Darren is an orphan, along with his younger brother Maximilian three years his junior, who have been orphans ever since their parents died "in a car accident," though the true cause of their death is left ambiguous to the reader for reasons unknown. Eventually, they're put into the care of the Stevonsons (yes, it's spelt that way), two loving foster parents who accept them as their own, and the family lives happily until middle school. When their foster mother dies in an accident, their foster father turns to alcohol to cope with the emotional pain. Caught between supporting his family financially, earning good grades, and looking after his brother, Darren teters on the brink of a mental and physical breakdown at any moment.

...this all feels oddly familiar…

Well, anyways, the obvious immediate downside here is that, because we don't have any pre-game of Darren, we have no way of actually seeing the dynamic between him and his brother outside of flashbacks during the game. My guess is that during his death scene he has one of these very flashbacks, and it is all very emotional and touching, and that's how it is because it is.

Darren is thrown onto the island with a dulled katana and a bag of supplies and his wits. Let's see which of these three pillars falls away first.

Upon awakening in the farmhouse, he lies down in the dirt and convinces himself that he's still asleep while his mind drifts to various topics of interest, until he eventually comes around to thinking about his brother, springs up, and finds the resolve to make it off the island at any cost. This all comes to pass within the space of three paragraphs, four if you're being generous. Regardless of whether or not this idea needed more time to visibly fester in the mind of the character, this gives him a solid motive for returning home, and a goal to work towards for the rest of his short stay on the island.The rest of the thread is him finding the katana, trying to slice some nearby corn stalks with it, and panicking when he finds out that it's dull.

Darren
 
"Fuck! It's dull... ducking dull..."


His unspecified job mentioned in his profile turns out to be at a steel plant, and this grants him with the knowledge that even dulled steel can cut if you want it to, a fact that he takes great comfort in. Galvanized, he sets off away from the sun, katana in hand.

He makes his way over to the river, where he runs into Seth Malvice, who just got done speaking to Tori Johnson. Seth's unmoving presence on the bridge over the river startles Darren, but he manages to keep his cool largely in part because he can't see a body anywhere, so that must mean that Seth isn't a killer. Isn't this supposed to be an honor roll student here? I understand the distinction between book-smarts and street-smarts, but underestimating a possible opponent is never smart, neither on paper nor in practice, so I was hoping that Darren would recognize that, at the very least.

Darren tries to be cool, and introduces himself. Seth responds in kind, and tries to reach into his bag to show Darren that he isn't dangero-

No, no, I'm not kidding, that's the train of thought that Seth actually had, right here, right now.

Darren, of course, interprets this as a threat, and tries to swing the katana at Seth, but Seth manages to spot it and dodge out of the way, swinging his bag at Darren and catching him square in the head. Darren manages to recover for a second attack, but is unable to find it, as Seth runs away into the Forest. Disappointed in his inability to kill, Darren continues to walk along the river, worrying that he'll never find his way off of the island if he can't bring himself to kill another human being.

Further down the river he runs into Venus Gwendolyn, while lost in thought about how unarmed Seth Malvice actually was. How he managed to sleuth this out is just "intuition" basically, but that train of thought is entirely unimportant, because he spots Venus drinking from the river on the bank across from him and decides that his chivalrous ass has to help her, because something must be wrong if she's drinking straight river water. Venus tries to lure him over, and succeeds, because the boy with the "lady-killer smile" is just so oblivious to not recognize what's going on here. The word "survive" comes up in conversation, which is enough to remind Darren of his original goal, so he swipes at her with the katana all of a sudden. I don't understand how exactly he forgot about this, or why he so instantly reverted back to attacking people, but part of me feels like Darren didn't really know that either.

Venus tries to get out of the situation by stalling, trying to talk him out of it, with the thought of seduction in the back of her mind, but Darren just answers her question of "Have you comp-letley [sic] lost your mind?" with an honest response, and tries to slash at her again. She counters by using her trademark move, Cry, which as a Water move is super-effective against Ground-types like Darren. He's lured in, has a "What have I done?!" moment, and while Venus hugs him out of thanks for sparing his life, she steals his katana and bonks him on the head with the hilt before running off.

He has a flashback - no, an imaginary mind-sequence now - where he sees Maximilian, who makes fun of him for losing to a girl. Darren snaps out of it, realizing he's still standing, and makes one last grab for the girl. Venus, however, gets around this attack, managing to steal his sheath as well before sprinting away. Darren realizes just how useless he is, but also manages to rally himself to kill someone unarmed by befriending them and then betraying them, like Venus apparently did to him.

This is less likely to work for Darren, for reasons that I don't feel like I need to state.

For his final thread, Darren wanders into the residential district, looking for people by knocking on the doors of houses. He rings the doorbell of the house that Paris Persphone, the Gossip King, had been sleeping in, which also contains Nessy Guthrie, unbeknownst to either of them. Darren asks to be admitted inside, and Paris, for some reason, allows him in, showing him kindness. So far, it actually looks like Darren's plan is working out!

Then, Garry Dodd shows up, covered in blood. He greets Paris with an ominous "We meet again," and is still invited in by Paris. All of this plays out while Nessy watches through a hole in the door, waiting around for something to happen. Garry reveals that the blood on him isn't entirely his own, and Paris throws some of the room's glass christmas ornaments at him, trying to cut Darren with one of the glass shards as well. After stunning Darren with the ornament, he tries to choke him with the plug-in cord thing for the tree lights, or something. Eventually, Paris relaxes his grip, and Darren elbows him off, stands up, but then gives out, basically already dead.

Darren's death is incredibly confusing to me and if anyone can explain what exactly happened I'd be willing to hear it.

Would I recommend this kid? He kind of just flounders around for a bit and then dies without doing much of anything, and you'll see all of him there is to offer if you read some of the other more notable kids from this version. He doesn't do much of anything at all except die, and he doesn't explore many of the plot-lines and threads that were available to explore were there time in pre-game for him. For these reasons, I'm not sure what there is to gain from reading Darren. He isn't the worst kid from V2 - you could argue that he's not really bad through any fault of his own - but he's far from the best or even noteworthy.

A quick one before the eternal worm devours us all, please.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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These kids just get shorter and shorter! Well, I mean, this guy's technically not very short, at six feet tall, but you know what I mean. He's another guy who got inactive killed, this time by Bryan. Let's just jump right into it now, shall we?

Jordan McKieman is a seventeen year old kid from Franklin High, and he can't decide what exactly he wants out of the things he does for fun, even though he is somehow good at all of them yet still doesn't stick to one thing for very long. He's apparently good looking, though of average build, which somehow doesn't really make too much sense to me but I'll take it. I'm just glad that he isn't younger than me, like the last few kids.

His mother "wears the pants" in the family, as a successful trial lawyer, while his father is a washed-up former musician from whom Jordan gets the majority of his personality. His dabbling in interests leads to a reputation as someone that's good at everything, which leads to many challenging him at whatever hobby they choose, eventually boring Jordan to the point where he just throws whatever competition they choose. The most fitting conclusion about this kid is just that he doesn't apply himself, and that he has the capability to do whatever he wants, but chooses not to because it's all just too much work, or something.

His advantages are that he doesn't get attached to stuff, and that he has a lot of skills. His disadvantages are that he gives up easily and doesn't follow through.

The weapon he gets assigned? Goggles.

I can already tell that this is going to be something of an uneventful ride.

Jordan's first thread, and first post, are the only things done by his original handler, OnceForgotten. He wanders over to the ranch, musing on how quiet everything is, and investigates the building. However, when he sees someone else, he panics, but steels himself to meet someone else. After all, sneaking everywhere can only last so long, he realizes, and goes over to the meet them at the entrance to the barn. This post shows some promise, but it was promise not to be fulfilled, as from here on out Jordan is given to Cyco, as his handler goes inactive and never returns.

We next see Jordan in the record store at the mall, while Tori and Bryan walk around. In a flashback, Jordan decides to turn tail and walk away after hearing the confrontation inside of the barn, and ever since then he's been hiding out and waiting for everything to blow over. However, he hears noises, noticing Bryan's footsteps, and walks over to the corner, seeing that Bryan carries a shotgun. He's content with just leaving the area until he spots Tori, whom he speed walks towards vigorously, dropping his backpack. Tori doesn't bother to look, thinks that Bryan is the one running towards her, and promptly freaks out when she notices that this isn't her companion. He goes in for the kill, wrapping a hand around her neck, as we get another flashback to his walk to the mall, as he searched for a weapon to replace his goggles and hears a gunshot. I like this method of handling the inactivity - flashing back to the time between threads in an attempt to establish a more cohesive narrative link is welcome, I feel.

He reaches out for a blade on a nearby counter, but Tori manages to elbow free and get to it before him, slashing his ankle out. Jordan falls, but pulls himself up on the counter. Unfortunately for himself, Tori is waiting, and tears his mouth open with her knife, Jordan grasping at the bleeding parts of himself, screaming one last desperate war cry, trying to rally his body for one last lunge, only for Bryan to arrive and shoot him square in the leg. He falls, his mangled leg giving out, and breaks his neck when he hits the ground.

That was quicker than I expected. I could count how many posts this guy had on two hands. I do think that Cyco handled him pretty well, though. Don't know how much I'd recommend him alone, but he's still a decently enough written kid, and a good example of inactivity done well in V2, so on those grounds I think he's worth comparing to someone whose inactivity wasn't handled the best.

Last hurrah! Fight to the finish! One more kid!
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Let's finish our journey strong, friends. We've seen long runs and short runs, obnoxious godmodding and touchingly open scenes. V2apalooza is coming to a close, and so is my tenure in it. My final kid of the version is Kristey Burrowell, and she has 11 threads, but, as always, we're starting with the profile. Spoilered again for length, but nowhere near as organized as Mariavel.

Godspeed You! Kristey Burrowell: Lift Your Skinny Fists like Baseball Bats to Heaven!


I think that's it? This writeup turned out a lot longer than I thought it would have, just a couple thousand short of Mariavel's writeup, which surprised me a bit more than I reckon it would surprise most other people. It was a very draining read, and I'm glad it's over. The V2 read-a-thon may be winding down, but the memories will live forever. I'll let other people take it away now. Thanks for everything, and I'll see you all in another place.

~CBP
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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I'd love to participate!
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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CrossbowPig
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I mean I'm not just going to orphan my own idea like that
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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