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A Couple of Cooks in the Kitchen; Open
Topic Started: Jan 23 2011, 07:47 AM (2,666 Views)
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(Juliet Watanabe continued from Strange Fruit)

So it seemed like the smartest move was to find as many people as possible and tell them they were looking for Marilyn, Claire and Durriken. Wandering around the compound when everyone else was wandering around the compound--including those three--seemed liking a losing game, but if everybody knew she was looking for them (and would pay handsomely for finding them, ugh, she'd have to think about that later) then there was a good chance someone'd find them and return them to her unharmed.

At which point she'd have to think about paying. But paying would be alright. She wasn't expecting to survive this place anyway.

What's there for survival anyway? You go back out, get killed like Mom and Dad. With dental tools. If not now, then in two years. You got family. You protect them. You stash them in a safe place, and you make sure one of them gets out. Everything else is moot.

God, she missed Claire. Claire would snap at her, snap her out of this funk, if only for a while.

Instead she had Karl. Rodent. But she wasn't sure she distrusted him so much anymore. He looked so bashed up with his face broken in like that. She had to keep herself from compulsively checking if he was alright.

But they weren't searching for more people now. Juliet had decided it was night. She wasn't sure what time it was--she never wore a watch, Karl's had been broken at some point when they'd been gassed, and there didn't seem to be any clocks in this stupid place--but she was feeling worn and force-extroverted, Karl was looking worse for wear (yeah, she kept wanting to compulsively check if he was alright, but that did not stop her from pushing him around, especially when there were other people nearby), and she was fucking starving.

So. Mess Hall. The hall was deserted, dusty benches interrupted by marks of what had clearly been people, but not anymore. No Marilyn, no Claire, no Durriken. The kitchen, Juliet found, had doors that locked from the inside--she had to play around with the locks a little, but they worked, finally, and she was ashamed at how much more secure she felt afterward. There were high windows, up above the hanging racks of pots and pans, but Juliet decided not to worry about them at the moment. More to the point, the kitchen was degrees warmer than any of the other rooms she had found--she realized, after a few moments of investigating, that this was because the assholes who ran the place used pilot lights on the stove, and hadn't bothered to turn off the gas. Karl found a closet in the back of the kitchen that turned out to be full of tablecloths: Juliet decided they could use them as beds. Also, they were going to eat Karl's chicken first--sure, she trusted the guy more now, but that didn't' mean she wasn't taking his stuff. They could get separated.

It was freeze-dried. This was gross. Juliet actually put the gun down to follow the instructions--warning Karl that if he stabbed her in the back with any of the nonexistent knives in the kitchen, she would hurt him enough to make Bryant's haymaker feel like a massage--and ended up with slightly plumper, watery chicken breasts that still looked disgusting. Scavenging the cabinets turned up a saltshaker and some lemon juice crystallized at the bottom of a plastic bottle. So this was dinner, cooked on a pancake grille, chicken breasts (thank God they hadn't cut all the fat off) with salt and lemon, cut up and stir-fried, with Juliet wishing for multivitamins or vegetables. She figured if she was stealing Karl's chicken breasts, she might as well cook, and anyway, she couldn't imagine Karl being capable of cooking anything edible. She used a kerchief to keep back her hair.

Karl was bruised and mostly quiet. He nodded when she handed him chicken on a paper plate and nodded again when she complained about how the organizers were idiots not to give them any vegetables. Then the world went SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, and the fucking announcements came on.

"Nope, that honour goes to Matt Gourlay, who I doubt anybody liked anyway. Hey that rhymes…"

Matthew Gourlay? Oh fuck. Matthew Gourlay. Matthew Gourlay was the only one dead.

She had killed Matthew Gourlay.

She hadn't thought she had killed him, in the warehouses, then, but she had fucking shot at him. Like a chump. Of course, he was shooting her back at the time, but motherfucker now all this violence was going to start because of her, and people were going to think she was a fucking serial killer and the announcer was the biggest dick ever and--

"--As I was saying, Gourlay died, John Ferrara shot him--"

John Ferrera?

Okay. Whatever. She didn't know John Ferrera at all. How had this Ferrera kid fucking killed Matthew Gourlay? Maybe he also had a giant space-gun.

Well, good on him. Matthew Gourlay was a jerk.

Ish.

Ugh. Even Matthew Gourlay was being killed.

People were dying.

Fuck.

Fuck.

And if it wasn't John Ferrera, it would have been me.

Motherfucker.

Chicken forgotten, she turned to Karl. "I guess he was a dick to someone else, too."

Her voice was shaking a little more, a little more than she would have liked.
-----------

Program: Juliet Watanabe ~ Dead ~ Let's Make Life A Living Hell ~ LeMat Revolver
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MurderWeasel
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((Karl Chalmers continued from Strange Fruit))

Karl didn't have a whole lot to say as they made their way to the mess hall. He was lost in his own world of speculations and doubts, worries and questions. It helped him avoid paying attention to the dull ache of his jaw, the sharp sting of his cut cheek. At least the blood had stopped flowing. In retrospect, his brief encounter with Bryant was several more shades of horrifying. He could have died. Not just been beaten silly—that was nothing new, more of an old enemy back for an unfortunate visit—but actually been killed. Finished off. It was something he couldn't even begin to wrap his head around. Weird, how it had felt so much more real when he was dealing with Bryant than with Juliet, who had actually threatened to kill him.

He didn't bother trying to puzzle that one out. Not now. Now, they were somewhere. Somewhere safe, at least for the moment. Juliet spent a while messing with the locks, while Karl poked around. It didn't really matter if they locked themselves in. The others wouldn't have trouble getting in if they wanted to, and it wasn't like it would make the end any less inevitable. Still, at least they'd get a warning if anyone tried something fishy.

After a little poking around, Karl found a cabinet full of tablecloths, while Juliet was investigating the appliances. It wasn't much, but they could probably do something with them later. Juliet then took Karl's rations, put her gun down, gave him a stern warning about betrayals, and started cooking.

It made him stop, just a little, and think. She'd put the gun down. He could probably have reached right over and grabbed it. Turned the tables. Become the captor instead of the captive. If he did that, though, he'd have had to deal with a very, very angry Juliet. She'd be an awful prisoner, always trying to pull something, always there, ready to stab him in the back.

And, he realized, surely she was dealing with those same paranoias and fears. No reason to make both their lives worse, not now when things were getting better. She was showing him some trust. Break that, he'd be on a shorter leash for the rest of his life, if she didn't just kill him. After all, a gun wouldn't stop her. She'd proved that pretty nicely when she decked Gourlay back in the warehouse. So, while she cooked, Karl just took some time to poke around some of the cabinets and drawers.

He found a bunch of packets of condiments. Mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, even some relish. The ketchup, about half a dozen packets of the stuff, went into his inner suit pocket for safekeeping. The rest, he brought back. It probably wouldn't be any good on whatever was in that MRE, but maybe it'd help the crackers be a bit better.

Juliet gave him his half of the food, and he just nodded. Nodded as she complained about nutrition. Almost kept on nodding as the announcements came on with an awful screech.

The announcements weren't going to matter. He'd just ignore them, analyze them from a tactical standpoint and nothing more. He braced for it. Harris. No way this would kick off with anybody else.

Then it did.

Matthew Gourlay? Gorulay was first to die? Did that mean?

Karl shot a glance at Juliet, cringed, tried to estimate the distance to the gun and the distance to the doors. No knowing how she'd take this, what it'd mean for them in the future. But then order was restored. It had been someone else. John Ferrera. Karl let his breath out.

Juliet turned to Karl. Tried to make a clever remark, sound flip. Coping mechanisms. This was some pretty awful stuff. Anything to keep sane was good.

He couldn't smile back, but he could at least force out a, "Yeah."

Then, because he just couldn't let well enough alone, he added, "Still, things are... pretty quiet. There's that."
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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"I guess so." Said Juliet.

They ate quietly, not quite looking at each other. Juliet and Karl had interacted before--political arguments, Juliet vicious and snapping, Karl rational and cold. But it wasn't time for that now, so they had nothing to say, and ate awkwardly, like two teenagers on a blind date.

The tension broke Juliet first. When she finished her chicken--a bit fast on the mark--she started looking up at the dish trolley, narrow and empty below the window. After a few seconds, she heaved herself up on it, climbing fast, until she could sit on the top, oblivious to the wheels tilting beneath her. One of the high, small windows was there, covered in sticky grime; she spat on her hand and rubbed it until the dirt came off in streaks, and twilight stars were visible.

When she looked down, Karl was looking at her as though she had gone insane.

"There's nothing else to do here," she said. "And I like the stars."

She could give him a little crooked smile, a little deliberately unhinged. She liked freaking him out.

And Karl, Karl who could never keep quiet, asked "Why?"

The deliberately unhinged evaporated, to an expression a little distant and a little thoughtful. And Juliet licked her lips and didn't speak for a long time.

Finally she said, slowly: "My parents used to teach me about constellations. When I was small. Stars and other planets. And after they--when they died, I used to use them to go to sleep. Count the stars. Just the visible stars, there are more than two hundred for every person on earth, that's what my Mom said. And I used to think about--" why was she telling this to Karl? "--other places. Other planets. If there were places where, all the stuff my Mom and Dad said about people--if it worked. If people lived like that. Or sometimes I'd think my parents were on another planet, that's where you go when you die. They'd probably be happier there."

And she had her head facing her knees now because she was crying, maybe she was crying.
-----------

Program: Juliet Watanabe ~ Dead ~ Let's Make Life A Living Hell ~ LeMat Revolver
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((All GMing done here is done with permission. This post is the result of collaboration with story))

Juliet climbed up onto a food cart, after a while, and Karl looked at her. And of course, she explained. She liked the stars. It was... well, it made a bit of sense, but there was liking something and then there was liking something enough to leave cover in a death game potentially full of dangerous people (even if only one was confirmed). So Karl just had to know.

"Why?" he asked.

And she explained. It was idealistic, of course. Happy. Hopeful. There was somewhere better out there, she thought. Somewhere better? Karl frowned. It wasn't a philosophy he could easily accept. He probably should have kept quiet, but something like that just seemed to merit a response.

"Other places?" he said. "Makes sense, but... do you really think there's anywhere better? I mean, everywhere has its problems."

And then he noticed she was crying, and stopped talking. There was silence for a bit. Then Juliet sniffled, wiped her eyes, and turned to him, an odd, almost sheepish look on her face.

"Yeah," she said. "But they wouldn't be these problems."

For a moment, she seemed better, but then she lapsed into crying once more. As she cried, she spoke.

"Like Dad--Dad's from Japan. They're a proper democracy. They've got problems--corruption and stuff, and some kind of mafia people--but--fuck." It seemed like she wasn't entirely sure what she was saying, but Karl sure wasn't going to interrupt her. "You can be--you can be--everyone's so obsessed with safety here. So much that they can--they let this shit go down because they think it's making them safer. This place is so fucking scared."

She paused a second. Karl was about to chime in, when she spoke again.

"Just look at us! We're scared of ourselves! We're scared of every random person so much that we gotta put them on the Program, keep them in line! Where the fuck did we go so this got okay?"

She was crying even harder.

"This can't be normal!"

Karl had been preparing for something, a debate maybe. Not this. Nothing like this. What was he supposed to do? Comfort her? She was holding him captive, was dangerous. Was crying. He looked at his food, considered it. Didn't take a bite. Gave up trying to find the right thing, and fell back on plan A.

"Maybe," he said, "but... what if the other problems are worse? Here, you'll never get gunned down in the street." He sighed. "Nothing's perfect. Safety isn't everything, but it beats a lot of stuff."

Juliet flipped her gun out, clicked back the hammer, and gave it a flourish. "I feel like I could be gunned down in the street right now," she said, grinning. "Do you?"

Karl returned the smile, more by reflex than out of any sense of humor. This he could handle. This was the sparring again, the Juliet he'd antagonized back in school.

"Sure," he said, "but... I could also get hit by a car any day of the week. You know something? There's a traffic fatality, on average, every thirteen minutes. That means..."—he paused, ran the numbers, made some rough estimates—"about fifty people have died in crashes since we left school. Maybe more. I don't know how long we were out."

That didn't seem quite sufficient, though, so after a moment, he added, "So... I'd be lying if I said anything about this besides that I hate it."

"Me too," Juliet replied. "Fuck randomness. I hate this too. I thought the deal with this government was you were supposed to cooperate with it, and it was supposed to keep you safe. Kind of smothering, but—well, I thought it was awful evil. Supposed to be—well, you weren't supposed to be here. Or Claire, or Sean, or any of the good guys. Just me and Marilyn and the guys they don't want. I mean, I was gonna die in two years, it doesn't really matter, but the rest of this is—well, it's unfair bullshit.

"I guess it's the little petty cruelties that really drive it home," she continued. "Like—well, motherfucker. Like, they gave you an American flag. They should have at least given you the gun."

Karl listened her words, then sighed. She was... well, she was right and she was wrong. He glanced at his bag, thought. Wondered. Then, he spoke.

"Well... ironically enough, the fact that I'm here, the fact that you have the gun... It's a pretty damn good point of proof that the government isn't as crooked as a lot of people say."

That got Juliet laughing, nice and loud. Karl tried to ignore it, tried to continue unperturbed. "I mean... Well, we're all supposed to be equal," he said. "Maybe that's not how the real world works. It's the same everywhere, though."

"I know it's not crooked," Juliet said. "It's sadistic."

And finally, finally Karl had had enough, enough trying to justify things the normal way, enough dancing around the real issue, so he just opened his mouth and started talking, not really pausing to think as much as he should have.

"Yeah," he said. "You know what? It is.

"But... the world's a sadistic place. Lynch mobs in the streets. Soldiers captured and tortured to death for information they were never allowed to know. I can't well see how this is any less constructive than that."

Juliet coughed, then spoke.

"But it's not all like that," she said. "At least, I don't think it is.

"I've watched foreign media. We—we've got people fleeing to Cuba because it's better here than there if the government thinks you've got your nose in stuff, or if people think you look a traitor. There are places, out there, even Japan, where my Da's from, with proper governments who—" She paused for a second. "—my parents were all into autonomy. Personal autonomy. Idea that people can't be—can't be moral beings unless they can make their own choices. Governments—our own government used to be way up on that. We got founded because some people decided that freedom of conscience was more important than a bunch of other bullshit, and it worked. Then some General took over, but it worked till then, and not too many people were gunned down in the streets, and—fuck them! We were founded for some shit, and it was cool, and now—now my parents aren't even allowed to live here. Fuck them. Fuck them for letting other countries get better than us. Fuck them for killing our own fucking dream."

Karl sighed again. Glanced once more at his food, stalling a bit.

"Well..." he said, "I don't think you're quite right. I think people need guidance. We've always had some. Even before, there were police. We weren't some ideal nation before The General. There was corruption and death and injustice. What's important is, someone decided to try to change that. I guess... I don't know. It's not like we can change much now."

He took a bite of the chicken from the package, chewed, considered, then made a face. Juliet made a face back at him. She seemed to be recovering somewhat, getting some of her fight back in her. Normally, Karl would have felt defeated by that. Now, though, he was glad to see her coming out of her slump, glad to return to something close to normalcy. This argument wasn't new, not entirely, at least.

"And you really think this is better?" she asked.

"Better?" Karl replied. "No. I think... I think this is a poor system. It's hypocrisy, I know. But... I think it's better than thousands starving to death every day because the government's stealing international aid and selling it to the rich at a profit. I think it's better than ethnic cleansing."

Juliet laughed again, and turned her gaze back out the window.

"Yeah," she said. "It's better than some things. But you think in the thousand, thousand worlds up there—there couldn't have been one where my parents would be able to live?"

Then, after a brief pause, she continued. "Bah. I'm being manipulative. Talking about them so much. I just miss them.They got taken to a place like this, I guess. But... it just seems like we could fight for better than this. There has to be better than this."

Karl was silent for a moment, then swallowed a mouthful of nothing.

"Yeah," he finally said. "I want something better too, I guess. But... I still think we can get something better without tearing the system down. Without throwing away what good we have with the bad."

Juliet started laughing yet again. "I'm a bloody anarchist, you know?" she said. "I just want to tear it all down. Rip it up, and build it back from the goddamn foundation. But that wouldn't go."

She Karl a strange, sideways look. "D'you miss your parents, or are they blockheads?"

That took him by surprise. He paused briefly to formulate his reply.

"They're fine," he said. "They care for me. I mean... we have our issues, but so does every family."

Unsaid: I miss everyone who raised me, everyone who watched me while my parents were off at conferences, while they were out conducting business.

"I... don't know," he continued. "I hope they're alright."

Juliet shrugged.

"Guess I don't know, and I'm hardly a comfort," she said, climbing down off the cart where she had been perched throughout the conversation. Then she spread the tablecloth she had appropriated for use as a blanket onto the ground. "Anyway, sorry for boring you with my quixotic better worlds. I guess now that you know my weakness, you can shoot me and betray me, if that wasn't easy enough already." She sat on the blanket and examined the gun, checking the hammers. She looked just the slightest bit uncertain.

Karl shrugged.

"I... don't want to shoot you. Like you said, we have advantages in working together. And besides, killing people is a strategically idiotic move. It does nothing except draw attention. Menace isn't an advantage; it's a giant target on your back."

He paused, considered leaving it there, but then added, almost on a whim, "I don't... really think I'd kill anyone anyways, even if it was smart."

Juliet looked at him again. "You know," she said, "my instinct is to ask you if you're saying that in truth or if you're saying that to lure me into a false sense of security. But on second thought, that question seems moot. Why the hell couldn't you kill someone?"

Wonderful. Now he was stuck, neck deep in explaining this thing he couldn't quickly put words to.

"...killing is... look, I don't know. It just... it's a means to an end, but that doesn't make it attractive. I was going to do my service as an officer, skip the ground-pounding." He laughed a bit, then cut to the chase. "Who am I kidding? I'm just scared of it."

Juliet looked a bit surprised, and also like she was trying really hard not to.

"You are?" she said. "I mean--why?"

He wondered if she was kidding, ribbing him, but the look on her face and the tone of her voice were serious.

"I... I don't... this whole thing is terrifying, you know?" Karl replied. "Death is... dammit, it doesn't go away. I guess... there's a difference, you know? It's one thing to do what has to be done to keep society running. It's another to protect what you care about. But... just killing? That's not either of those things. "

He stared at his hands, lapsing into silence. Juliet set the gun to the side and shrugged.

"I dunno," she said. "I always told myself death was just another country. Another place. Might be stranger than here. You can't go back, sure. But there are a lot of things in life where you can't go back. You wake up one morning and suddenly everything's changed forever. And it's not the same again. Never. You can't even fake it. You can't even try."

By now, she was looking into her lap. Karl was fine with that. It wasn't really the time for eye contact.

Juliet continued, "I guess I could kill—without thinking. Instinctively. If I thought what I was doing was right. I'm alive now so I can find Marilyn, Claire, Durriken, so I can make sure one of them wins the game. So I can make sure all of them are okay. I'm alive now, and I'm a vessel for that purpose. So I can kill."

She kept looking at her lap, though her mouth twitched slightly, as though something was just a bit off. Karl let the silence stretch for a bit, considering. Then he said, "Well... it's good to care. It's good to have something worth fighting for. You just have to make sure you don't lose sight of what it is."

"Don't patronize me," Juliet said, her voice soft.

Karl couldn't restrain a smirk. "Apologies," he said. "I'm talking to myself too, I suppose."

Juliet's hand jerked towards her gun, then instantly back away from it. Karl flinched backwards on instinct, panic flashing through his mind, the thought that maybe he'd pushed it too far, found her breaking point, sealed his own fate. Quickly, he stammered out, "I, uh... I'm sorry."

Juliet closed her eyes. She didn't look very happy now.

"I'm sorry," she said. "Go on." Karl watched her hand relax, though it seemed to take conscious effort on her part.

He sighed.

"I guess I just hope it... well, I hope it's all worth it, in the end. I guess that's what I'm trying to say."

He considered clarifying, explaining things further, but decided against it, instead looking back at his food.

"I figure I don't have anything to lose. And you're my hostage," Juliet said, giving him a dry smile. "It's not like either of us are going to win." She shrugged, and looked at the gun. "This is utterly bullshitty, but I figure—oy. Even if I don't—if I can't make sure Claire or Marilyn or whoever win, if I can't be a great bloody brilliant engineer, I can at least—"

She sucked on her lips. Karl watched them go pale. Then she spoke again.

"I hate to bring up my parents again, but they're always around now. I guess they died in a place like this, ugly as sin. We were all—we were big on family, home. But they died in some cell, probably separate, probably cold. If they're going to die, I want to—Jesus, it's stupid—I want to cram us all in some place, the nicest place, something. Have Durriken play the guitar, let Claire sing on her own for once. Pretend there's home again. Die someplace nice.

"We're all going to die. We don't need to die alone."

Karl shrugged.

"I hope you get what you want," he said. "Me... Well, you're right. I'm not going to win. I've never had a chance. Give me the biggest gun in the game, I wouldn't have had a chance. I'm not popular. The people who do like me, hell, they're probably out there shooting. If I don't hear about Harris in a day, I'll be shocked, and..."—he snickered—"and maybe just have a bit more faith in people."

Juliet's mouth twisted strangely.

"Why the shit did you even pretend to like them, then?" she asked.

"Pretend? I... I guess..." Karl fumbled for the right words, the right way to describe something so hard to convey. "I guess it maybe isn't pretending. They're okay. Decent enough people. They could even be good. Certainly could be good for the world. They're just... in the wrong situation."

Juliet snorted, but he kept talking anyways. "You know, if things had gone differently, who knows? Maybe I'd be the one with the radical ideology and knack for stirring up trouble."

He started to smile, but moved something wrong, setting his jaw aching again. He rubbed it softly. Juliet was looking a bit skeptical.

“Harris?" she said. "He’s not a decent block in his clock. He likes hurting people. He fucking picks on Marilyn, of all people, which is just shit. He should at least pick on somebody who’ll fight back, instead of being gutless—“ she paused, cut herself off, and started on another tangent. "And I can’t see how you would have done radical ideology. You’re too scared. You be whatever stupid shit the grown-ups want you to be so you can go to them for help.”

For a second, Karl couldn't think of any suitable response, completely taken aback by her words. Then he smiled. "Well, grown-ups do a lot of 'stupid shit'. I mean, someone has to indoctrinate revolutionaries, right?"

Juliet leaned back and let out a laugh. "I guess," she said. "But you would never do what's dangerous, I bet. You'd only be a revolutionary if everyone else was too." She looked rather pleased with herself, or maybe just what she had said. Karl shot her a glance, but stayed silent.

"What?" she said. her tone was mocking, goading, gleeful. It was exactly the sort of thing that could have had Karl launching into a debate a week before. Instead, he stayed quiet for a bit, thinking. Then, he spoke.

"I know what it's like to get hit for being different," he said, not quite sure why he was sharing that particular piece of trivia with her.

Juliet looked at him sideway, blinked. Seemed to be trying to decide whether he was joking or not. Eventually, she said, "You do?"

He laughed. "Sure. What, you think I just decided to turn in troublemakers one day?"

"I thought you were a slimy bitch who wanted power," she replied.

Karl couldn't even find it in himself to be offended by her bluntness. "I... Well... Power's only good for getting what you want, I guess. Otherwise, what's the point?" he said.

Softly, she said, "Then what did you want? I've never seen you depowered in your life. Not until now, at least.""

"Well..." Karl said, "I guess, at first, maybe I just wanted to be left alone, you know? I mean... man, this sounds dumb... but... Rich people do have problems too. I'm not exactly popular, you know."

"And I'm not exactly poor," Juliet replied. "So what? You had problems that the teachers could fix, and you started going to them?" Her words still held a slight edge of mockery, but were more curious than anything. "What gone done hurt you like that?"

"Well... maybe they were jealous," Karl said. "I don't know. They used to make fun of me. Hit me.."

Juliet actually seemed a little bit shocked at this prospect. the mockery was gone from her voice now. She sounded, if anything, almost concerned. "Why the fuck—why? I mean, this was before you were a rat, right?"

"Well..." Karl replied, "I got sort of sick of things. It turns out you don't have to be a good fighter if you know the teachers."

Juliet looked at her leg, the one that was a bit twisted. Karl winced slightly. He'd heard about that... incident. "Guess not," she said, looking up again. "So is that how you became a fighter for the good old American way?

"Well... it's not when I first believed that our country was doing what's best, no," Karl said. "It's more... when I realized that there were multiple approaches, that the right technique isn't always the popular one."

"Approaches to getting what's right?" Curiosity in her voice.

"Yeah... or to protecting yourself, I guess," Karl said. "I don't have many friends, but I haven't been hit in years." He rubbed his jaw again. "Well... until today."

Juliet laughed again, but this one didn't sound so enthusiastic. Her heat wasn't in it.

"We were never any good at protecting ourselves," she said, a thoughtful, crooked smile on her face. She closed her eyes. "My parents, Simon, yours truly—even Claire, damn her and her honesty. We were—I dunno. Maybe if we'd been less proud of things, less convinced that we were so damn right, we could have gotten more done. Maybe there were multiple approaches. Maybe we should have been, I dunno—pragmatic."

She looked at her leg again, continued.

"But we were so damn convinced we were right—and we were right. There's no reason the government should—nah, I shouldn't go there. But we were dumb as shit. We were so convinced that being right would make us win."

Karl was again silent for a time.

"Maybe... I don't know. I just..." he said, then trailed off, staring at his plate.

"What?" she asked. Curious again, not goading in the slightest.

Karl sighed. "Maybe everyone thinks they're right, in the end," he said. "I guess they have to."

He stopped talking, but she just stared at him, so he picked up again after a few moments.

"I guess..." he said, "maybe... Look, I still think I'm right. But... I guess that doesn't mean you're all wrong, you know?"

"What the hell is that even supposed to mean?" she asked, but despite the biting words, there was no malice in her voice.

"It means... well... never mind."

Karl, now I'm not going to sleep until you tell me what you're talking about," Juliet said. "I promise I won't hit you. You're a coward and a wimp but you're relatively intelligent."

He sat for a few seconds, gathering his thoughts. Finally, he said, "I... suppose I've always assumed that working within the system and putting pressure on the system were mutually exclusive. That fighting the things that were wrong directly was an inherently traitorous action. But... well, you're fairly smart yourself. And I do know that many people—many smart people—believe that our society is wrong. I think that... maybe everyone's a little too sure they've got all the answers. Why support something if you think you're wrong, you know? But if that means you stop listening, then... well, how can you really be sure you're right at all?"

He took a breath, then kept talking.

"I've always tried my best to pay attention. You can't argue against a philosophy you don't understand. But... to be willing to die for an idea, instead of just protection or yourself... something someone cares about that much can't be all wrong, can it?"

Another pause.

"Ah, forget it."

Juliet looked at him for a long, long time. Then she said, "You're actually alright, you know that?"

Karl considered that for a second, rolled the idea around in his head. Said, "...you too."

And then, to fight the silence, he said, "We should probably eat now, before someone wanders in."

"...Yeah."

Juliet crawled back over to her food, looked at Karl, and smiled. Then she stuck a piece of chicken in her mouth.

"Yum."

Karl took a couple bites of his portion, and tried to keep from making a face again, with only partial success.

"Yup."
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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[ *  * ]
They slept, after that, joylessly, switching watch and trusting each other. At some point an announcement rumbled through; Juliet, who wasn't on watch at the time, pulled a tablecloth over her head and tried to ignore. If anyone she cared about died, she was sure Karl would wake her up, for real.

And Adams was an asshat. Good for her, not listening to him.

Karl woke her up when the sun had begun peeking over the horizon, grey tips on the concrete floors. She didn't know how long it had been--was it dawn or dusk? Dawn, Karl said. She had slept for too long. She had a headache.

Swallow a painkiller by putting your mouth to the kitchen sink. Hope Karl isn't looking at you in disgust. He's pretty okay, really. He's pretty okay. But you have to find your friends. Make sure Karl's coming with you oh come on, I'm not putting a gun to your head anymore, unless I really have to, then out of the Mess Hall. And tell him your plan.

---------

Juliet's plan was simple, stupidly so. She'd found chalk, found it in one of the lower kitchen drawers, a big blue stick and a pink one, just as big. The colors of baby bottoms. She wanted to write on the asphalt, in letters huge enough to be seen from the sky (or seen anywhere on the ground) that IF ANYONE FINDS MARILYN WILLIAMS OR CLAIRE HEARTLAND AND BRINGS THEM TO ME (JULIET WATANABE) IN THE LIBRARY IN THE OFFICER'S QUARTERS, I WILL OWE YOU FAVORS. Karl seemed to object to this plan on the grounds that it left them vulnerable and easily manipulated; Juliet replied that she had no problems with people knowing that she was easily manipulated as long as she got her friends back. Anyone who talked to her for more than two and a half minutes inside Programverse would probably know just how easily manipulable she was.

Just keep them safe.

And any danger Claire and Marilyn were in from being known, publicly now, as people Juliet Watanabe treasured even within the context of the Program--well, it was less than the danger they'd be in if they weren't obviously valued by someone, even a person whom much of the student body had problems with. At the very least, if there were sadists around, they'd bring some kind of chained-up Marilyn to Juliet's office before they began torturing her or whatever--at which point Juliet would kill them.

Yup. Guns were handy.

Karl finally got through to her that they should at least not actually wait in the Officer's Quarters, but wait somewhere with line of sight to the Officer's Quarters, so they could jump down and corner any potential applicants for Juliet's reward and make sure they didn't have nefarious plans or a cannon.

So the obvious place to do this was from on the roof.

At least that's what Juliet thought, and after a while, she convinced Karl to think the same. It was the only way they could survey all the entrances to the Officer's Quarters. It let them jump down from the low Mess Hall roof and get to almost any interesting group fairly fast. And, unlike the barracks roof, the Mess Hall roof was obviously accessible, from dish trolleys and the skylight.

And Juliet liked the sky.

So now they had written the message. And now they were on the roof.
-----------

Program: Juliet Watanabe ~ Dead ~ Let's Make Life A Living Hell ~ LeMat Revolver
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
The night went by. They traded off watches, hoping that no one would show up and kill them. No one came, though. At one point, Karl thought he heard something from the other part of the hall, but he didn't investigate, just tensed up. Nothing good would come of borrowing trouble.

After some time, the announcements sounded. This was more like what Karl had expected. The slow start had been more than made up for. A few of the quiet loners had died. Not a surprise. Allies were important. Then the singing. Karl winced. There was... something was wrong. He still couldn't quite give up on the thought that this was all some awful joke, some test of loyalty. This just couldn't be a military official. Maybe he was a deranged vet or something, a decorated war hero just being humored with an easy post. He'd looked awfully young, but it wasn't hard to get blown up in some war, not these days.

And then, the real bombshell: Harris was dead. At that, Karl almost stopped paying attention. His words from earlier came back to him. Well, he'd been right, in a manner of speaking. Seemed Harris was on the announcements, just the wrong side of them. Karl glanced at Juliet, sleeping off to the side under a tablecloth. He was starting to realize just how lucky he was. She'd saved him from meeting Harris' fate at Bryant's hands.

As morning dawned, he woke Juliet up. Another day to survive. Another day to watch their backs. Juliet popped some sort of pill. Karl just tried to ignore it. Maybe her leg was bothering her. Then, she was off, heading outside, and he was right behind her.





The plan... well, it could use some work. A lot of work. Actually, Karl would have been pretty hard-pressed to think of a worse course of action. The only thing harder was coming up with something better to do.

Juliet wrote her message in chalk on the ground. She originally wanted to actually play things straight, just go and wait for someone to come and deliver Marilyn or Claire into the library. Luckily, Karl was able to dissuade her from that course of action. There was simply too much potential to get ambushed, to get grenades thrown at them, to get cornered and killed by one of the players. Better, far better, to wait within sight, to spy on anyone who showed up for a bit, to effect a rescue if need be, rather than be at someone else's mercy.

The roof was not ideal for his purposes, but it wasn't all that bad. The cover it provided was tied to its visibility; by lying down, they could get clear of most shots, but they also wouldn't be able to track an attacker. At least, via the skylight, they had a good shot at escaping unscathed if they had to, though Karl wasn't at all sure the trolley would be as useful a step down as it was a boost up. Still, he didn't have any better ideas, so they were on the roof, waiting. The wind ruffled his tie a little. It wasn't as cold as on the watchtower, though.

He hadn't been planning to speak. Hadn't really known of much that needed to be said. Still, there was one tiny piece of information Juliet might appreciate, since he was assuming she'd missed the announcements.

"Someone got Harris," Karl said quietly. His voice was fairly neutral. No real judgment. He hadn't hated Harris, but he hadn't loved the boy either. It had been... an odd mix of respect and revulsion, fascination and fear. "Ben something. I missed the last name."
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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[ *  * ]
"Someone got Harris," Karl said quietly. His voice was fairly neutral. No real judgment. "Ben something. I missed the last name."

Juliet nodded. She was glad Harris was dead. No two ways about it. He would hurt people. Now he was gone. One less danger. One less horrible scenario to imagine, Marilyn brained against a wall, hair-pulled, arms broken, by that ugly cock.

"I'm glad." She said.

Karl gave her an odd look.

And they waited.

There's the excitement, the guns, the saving-the-life-of-someone-you-hardly-cared-about. The bloody hands, the throwdowns, the tense kitchen standoffs.

And then there's the waiting.

The waiting was harder.

Waiting for the sun to rise, waiting for the static crackle of announcements, for asshole Adams to announce more deaths. Some deaths she didn't want to hear. Waiting for Claire or Marilyn (or Durriken, it could be Durriken) to pass below her, to the office compound, maybe someone leading them there, danger or no, maybe with knives, maybe with guns, it was a different world, this compound. And she'd taken to it like a fish out of water, pretending that she knew what she was doing when she didn't, no she didn't, and her plan could get them all hanged. Best plan she could think of. The roof was cold, and her knees hurt after a while, but she wouldn't look away from the edge.

They could be there. They could be down there. Anytime now. Anytime.

Please keep them safe. Please, please keep them safe.

Karl was with her. His presence was more comforting than anything at the moment. He worried about the dangers, about the possibility of getting stabbed or shot. Thinking about being stabbed or shot was easy. Gonna die anyway. Better than thinking of Marilyn or Claire or Durriken come on announcements, tell me they're fine.

Listening to the sunlight, for the static crackle. Looking, eyes wide open, eyes dry, for Claire. Claire, Marilyn. Claire, Marilyn, Durriken.

Eyes tearing up because of the wind.
-----------

Program: Juliet Watanabe ~ Dead ~ Let's Make Life A Living Hell ~ LeMat Revolver
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Juliet was glad Harris was dead. Huh.

Karl looked at her. That wasn't exactly the response he'd been expecting. It fit. Of course it fit. Harris had tormented people. Tormented Juliet herself, he was sure. He'd been the one to yank Marilyn's hair out. Karl himself had been pretty positive that Harris would start killing, would take gleeful part in the carnage. Otherwise, why the fatigues?

Still, it just felt weird to express satisfaction at a classmate's death.

Of course, just maybe a little part of that was that Karl had his fair share of enemies. It was pretty likely a good number of his classmates would celebrate when he came up on the announcements. Maybe Juliet even would have, had they not met.

No point worrying about it now. Now, it was time to wait. This plan was probably going to explode in their faces. There was no way something like this would work.

But he had no better ideas, so he waited.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Fiori
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Shut up or Ryuhei will kick you...... IN THE FACE!
[ *  *  *  * ]
((Sophie Mason continued from Deception))

Swapping her headband with her sister's without the cameras noticing proved to be a particularly tricky task for Sophie Mason.

She wasn't sure how long she'd spent lying in bed, trying to figure out how she could pull it off without any of them noticing. She considered for a while the idea of simply covering them temporarily so that she may quickly swap them over. However, as she counted the number of cameras present in the room, she quickly realised doing so would be both impractical and more then likely to raise suspicion. Besides, she didn't want to risk having that idiot David Adams send a platoon of soldiers to deal with her.

In the end though, she managed to figure out a relatively simple way of swapping her headband without the cameras noticing. Firstly, she subtly removed her own headband, making sure to do so inconspicuously so as to not raise suspicion. Then, she grabbed the coverlet of the bunk right above Stephanie and turned it onto its side so that the ends shielding Stephanie partially from view. After which, she then grabbed her own coverlet and threw it over another part of the bed, covering another part of Stephanie from view. Soon enough, after placing two more covers over the side to the top bunk, Stephanie was completely hidden from the cameras. Sophie had, in every sense of the word, created her own little temporary blind-spot.

Alright, I'll have to do this quickly and quietly. I doubt they'll let me get away with creating a blind spot for too long...

Taking a deep breath, Sophie moved the coverlet aside as she crept onto Stephanie's bed, taking care not to accidentally awaken her sister. Then, once she was certain that she was no longer being viewed by the cameras, she grabbed onto Stephanie's hairband and carefully removed it. Thankfully, the frightened young girl had been too tired to acknowledge her sister's action, and was barely even aware of the fact that Sophie had now swapped their hairbands over.

Then came the tricky part...

Biting her lip nervously, Sophie slowly removed Stephanie's jumper, praying to god that she wouldn't suddenly awake and start asking why she had done so. Thankfully though, whilst Stephanie definitely stirred, if anything she put her arms up to make the job easier for her. Sophie's guess was that her sister was dreaming of have her jumper removed thanks to her actions, hence the reason why she hadn't fought back against her attempts. It wasn't an impossible concept, after all Sophie remembered other times in the past when actions such as singing or talking managed to effect Stephanie in her dreams, but it was without a doubt an exceedingly lucky one. Once she had successfully removed Stephanie blood-stained jumper without her noticing, the young girl quickly put it back on, hiding the telltale injury in her left arm.

Once she'd done so, Sophie subtly turned Stephanie over onto her front before getting off the bed, wiping the sleep from her eye as she did so. Or at least, she pretended to. From now on, she had to take on the mannerisms and facial expressions of her sister in order to keep up the illusion of being Stephanie Mason rather than Sophie Mason. This also meant that she had to act as though she was nervous and frightened of everyone around her, something Sophie knew she was definitely have to fake. After removing the coverlets from the bed to remove the blind spot before the barracks became surrounded by armed guards, acting as though she was confused as to why they where there in the first place and why her sister had seemingly moved into her bed right next to her.

After which, the young girl wrote a quick note which she place in Stephanie's hand, moved the barricade out of the way, grabbed the shotgun and headed out right after informing her awoken sister of her brief absence.

In hindsight, as Sophie crept along the ground in the general direction of the mess hall, her careful attempt at fooling the people behind the Program that she was Stephanie Mason could very easily prove to be entirely meaningless. After all, she had no intention of actually getting any blood on her hands. If anything, this was just a precaution if she was forced to kill so that she wouldn't put an even bigger target on her head.

Not that Brigadier General David Adams made her job any easier... She was still somewhat irritated by the fact that he couldn't seem to tell whether it was her who killed Henry Barren or Stephanie, causing him to name them both as potential killers. She hoped that he wouldn't name them both again when he announced Logan's death at Stephanie's hand, seeing as doing so would make her job twice as hard as it really needed to be. She wouldn't have to go through all this trouble in the first place if they didn't announce the names of the killers alongside those who're killed.

In all honesty, she was surprised that a man like Adams could be capable to running all of this, considering how monumentally stupid he'd proven to be. Reciting the whole National Anthem during the announcement? Really? Either this imbecile was simply a front for the real brains behind the program... Or, his idiotic appearance belayed the heart and mind of a true sociopath.

Still, nevertheless, whether the government officials watching her every movement were aware of her deceit or not, the fact remained that as far as her fellow classmates were aware she was Stephanie Mason. In other words, she was the more sociable and likable of the Mason Twins. And the one more likely to earn other people's sympathy if she was forced to make up some sob story to explain why she had done the thing she'd done... In fact, she had on prepared just for when that inevitably happened.

Still, first things first, she needed to get a better idea of how things were shaping up for her classmates. As she approached the mess hall, she couldn't help but spot a large message written in chalk on the asphalt. IF ANYONE FINDS MARILYN WILLIAMS OR CLAIRE HEARTLAND AND BRINGS THEM TO ME (JULIET WATANABE) IN THE LIBRARY IN THE OFFICER'S QUARTERS, I WILL OWE YOU FAVORS.

Marilyn Williams? The Japanese coward? What would Juliet Watanabe want with HER of all people?

Sophie couldn't help but stand there with a confused expression on her face as she tried to figure out where he had last seen Marilyn. She definitely remembered coming across her at some point... Was she with that group which ended up shooting each other in the back? Or was she with Luke and Logan before she convinced them to follow her to the ambush she'd set up. The young twin just couldn't remember.

"Marilyn... Darn it, where did I last see her?" she said out loud to herself, blissfully unaware of the fact that she was within earshot of the very two people who had set-up the message in the first place......
Edited by Fiori, Mar 1 2011, 12:41 PM.
THE PROGRAM V2

M02: Damien Stone - Pitchfork/Ballistics Knife - The Lake

BRAURP

SOTF: Evolution

Program V1

TV V1
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[ *  * ]
Juliet Watanabe was bad at waiting.

Juliet Watanabe was really bad at waiting.

No one was surprised.

So when a tall, ethereal appeared under the window, with an alice band that looked suspiciously like the kind Marilyn sometimes wore, it didn't take much for her to convince herself that this was, in fact, Marilyn. She was fluttering around the door to the officer's quarters, looking unsure, the way Marilyn always did, and Juliet wanted to jump from the roof, grab her from behind, and hug her, only that would probably break her knees and freak out Marilyn besides.

So she climbed down from the roof. Silently. Tabi boots were a blessing here. Simon had taught her to sneak like a ninja, once upon a time, when she was twelve. Maybe he knew?

Nah. Couldn't have known this. Stupid boy. Wouldn't have left her if he did.

You sure? Adams-voice said in her head.

Shut up, asshole. She replied.

Revolutionaries. Always cowards in the end. She could hear a deep rumble of laughter. He knew she was thinking of dental tools. Goddamn dental tools.

She put her boots on the ground. The girl didn't startle. But fuck ass cock damn this girl wasn't Marilyn. Maybe that's what Karl had been trying to signal to her on the rooftop. She should have listened.

It was Stephanie Mason. Or Sophie Mason. She could never remember which one was which, and she and Claire referred to them as clones, although she had the sinking feeling that Claire kept better track of them than she did. As it was, she knew nothing about the Mason twins. So this was incredibly annoying.

And then the Mason twin spoke aloud. "Marilyn... Darn it, where did I last see her?"

Oh, thanks, asshole. Guess you detected me.

Things Juliet would freely admit to herself: she was in a much worse mood now that she knew this wasn't Marilyn.

But there was no use hiding now, and maaaaaaaaaybe this girl knew something useful?

Better find out.

"Yo." She started. Her voice came out more shaky than she intended. She gripped the gun beside her, fingers slippery on the hammer. Sophie's eyes (yes, arbitrarily decided name) reflected faintly in the darkness. "Have you seen Marilyn around?"

So. Let's see how this goes.
-----------

Program: Juliet Watanabe ~ Dead ~ Let's Make Life A Living Hell ~ LeMat Revolver
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Juliet noticed the newcomer first. This was somewhat problematic, because it prevented Karl from arresting her rash course of action. Specifically, Juliet got started towards the newcomer, moving nicely and quietly. Karl had no clue what she was thinking. He knew who the newcomer was, though. At least, he could narrow it down to two possibilities. He'd have to see the hairband to narrow it down further. Why did they have to dress so alike?

Unfortunately, one of the Mason twins had killed, and, for added confusion, the announcements hadn't really made it clear which was responsible. Karl was pretty sure Sophie would be the one to snap, if it was either of them and not self defense or a mistake. She was, after all, the less friendly one, the one with less attachments to overcome. Then again, it would be a big mistake to assume Stephanie was safe to be around. It seemed like all assumptions were dangerous in this game, and, more than that, that many of them were completely incorrect. Harris as anything other than a serious contender was shocking to Karl. He still hadn't quite wrapped his head around the idea, and it was nearly time for the next announcement.

He tried to gesture at Juliet, slashing his hand horizontally across his throat, trying to stop her from going towards Mason. She wasn't really paying much attention, though. This could get really ugly in an awful hurry. If Juliet didn't realize the danger, she might now be prepared to defend herself. If she got gunned down, Karl would be next in line. More than that, he just didn't want to see Juliet die, especially not because of some rash action.

Juliet had climbed down from the roof. Following her would be a mistake. Then they'd both be in the line of fire. So Karl headed to the section of roof closest to the two, so he could watch over the exchange, chime in if required, and maybe jump down to help out.

Well, maybe not. Jumping off a roof was a great way to get killed. They should have planned this better. Karl should have held onto the gun, provided cover from an advantageous position. Not much they could do now, though.

From his improved vantage point, Karl could see that the person was Stephanie, and that she had a gun. This could get really, really bad. At least Juliet was prepared. Karl just waited. If things got shaky, he'd shout out and duck back, create a diversion. If Stephanie looked up, he'd wave hello and act like he'd been just about to talk.

He just hoped this didn't get violent.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Fiori
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Shut up or Ryuhei will kick you...... IN THE FACE!
[ *  *  *  * ]
"Yo."

Sophie shrieked.

Mainly because that was just the kind of thing Stephanie would do in this situation, shriek and start to panic. That being said, there was a slight element of truth to her reaction to being addressed by a girl she hadn't of expected to come across so soon.

The young twin turned around quickly, almost instantly recognising the girl who'd snuck up on her. Juliet Watanabe. Another one of the Japanese girls who seemed to think they're so special just because they happen to be a minority, not to mention one with an unpleasantly promiscuous reputation. Unlike Marilyn though, Juliet was far from cowardly. If anything, she was probably too brash for her own good. For one, she was actually one of the few people she'd ever seen stand up against Harris Van Allen, although considering the fact that the mindless thug had died at the hands of a boy whose name she couldn't even remember made that fact a little less impressive.

Nevertheless, she was the one with gun aimed at her right now, and raising her own in defence would only give her an excuse to open fire. For now at least, she'd simply act pitiful until she could figure out a way to get away from the oriental whore...

"Have you seen Marilyn around?"

...Now THIS was interesting. It was at that point that Sophie was reminded of the fact that the reason she'd let her guard down to begin with was that she was trying to figure out where she'd last seen Marilyn, because APPARENTLY a certain Juliet Watanabe was waiting for her in the library. Seems that wasn't entirely true, seeing as Juliet was standing right before her. Which brought up the question as to why would she would put a marking on the ground claiming she was inside when in reality she'd probably been watching her the whole time from some kind of vantage point...

Perhaps... Perhaps she's simply setting up an ambush for whoever brings along Marilyn or Clair so he could take them all out at the same time? It'd make sense, seeing as it would be trapping her targets in a narrow space rather then trying to blindly fire on them from a rooftop or something. But, why Claire and Marilyn? Does she have some kind of grudge against the two of them? Or perhaps, would it make more sense to ask for her former friends so that it'd be easier to trick her targets first?

Sophie knew it was all just a theory. From all she knew, she might of been majorly overthinking a simple case of someone wanting to locate their best friends. Even so, if her theory turned out to be correct, she'd be more than a little impressed with the oriental whore.

Hmm, right now, I better give her an anwser before she gets impatient...

"M-M-M-Marilyn?" she stuttered, visibly shaking. After living with her sister for so long, mimicking her mannerisms and habits was something Sophie had more-or-less perfected over the years. Only someone who'd intereacted with the two girls on a daily basis would be able to tell the difference, after all her classmates seem to get them mixed up all the time anyway without her deliberetly tricking them. She remembered this one time when she and her sisters switched places during April fools day as a joke, and NOBODY seemed to noticed. Not a single soul...

"Why, y-yes I did see her! I think... YES, it was definitely Marilyn! I'm absolutely sure it was....."
THE PROGRAM V2

M02: Damien Stone - Pitchfork/Ballistics Knife - The Lake

BRAURP

SOTF: Evolution

Program V1

TV V1
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[ *  * ]
Why the hell did this girl keep trailing off?

Clearly she was insane. Cracking because of the Program. Or something. She'd apparently seen Marilyn, but she was taking a while to get around to it because she had to shriek and tremble a lot first and shut up Juliet, you sound like a fried mental patient, let the girl speak, she's probably just scared. Seriously. If you act like this towards the Mason clone, how do you expect to deal with Marilyn?

It was a valid point.

So she calmed down because you're freakishly tense right now and let the Mason twin speak.

"Why, y-yes I did see her! I think... YES, it was definitely Marilyn! I'm absolutely sure it was....."

She trailed off, looking at Juliet helplessly. Juliet raised an eyebrow, what? But the kid wouldn't continue. Apparently she wanted Juliet to fill in the blanks.

"Where did you see her?" Juliet asked calmly. When did you see her? Was she okay? Was she injured? Did some fuck take a whack at her? People were always taking hits at Marilyn. Juliet couldn't understand--no, let's see, she loathed--the instinct. Pick on someone your own size, bitchface. Seeing Marilyn hurt had always made her want to rage, to scream, to bite. Savage not like they think our kind is anything else. Didn't you know, white girl? Minorities are dangerous. We haven't been naturalized, not like you.

That was Bryant talk. Claire would tell her she was being morally unsophisticated, Atticus Watanabe's term.

But Marilyn was beautiful. Even with her head down, hunched, never tall, even with her ragged clothes, her bruises and her backpack, she was radiant. Juliet could watch her read, her face light up when she thought no one was looking and she's a goddamn princess.

No, it wasn't wise. It wasn't real love, the kind where you talk to someone and get to know them before you kiss. But she loved Marilyn Williams for that, and if love meant anything, it meant that she would protect her.

Not that you did that so much before. Always intervening too little, too late. When her rage got the better of her. After Marilyn was already injured. Always trying to stay back, not get herself tossed out of school because I want to be a normal kid for a few more years, goddamnit she wanted to stay with her anime, with Claire, with the little things she had for a few more years before the government took her away because they will. They will.

And she'd never talked to Marilyn. Not in all that time. What would I say? How do you go up to a girl who's scared of her own shadow and say "I love you?". How do you do it when this is the first time you're sure you're bisexual, but Mom, mom, I wish you were here, I don't know, and Claire can't tell me a Japanese troublemaker, exactly the kind of girl Marilyn wouldn't want to hang out with. She just wants to not be noticed. Live her life. Smarter than I. And Juliet was the class whore to boot, sleeping with every good American boy she could get her hands on for some petty idea of revenge I'm sorry, Marilyn. I didn't want to be alone.

God, she was no prince for Marilyn. She was trash with a family you couldn't even manage to protect the first time.

Adam's voice again. Goddamn you! Get out of my head!

The stupid Mason twin hadn't answered yet.

Juliet tried to remain calm. "When did you see her?" she prompted.

Because it wasn't like anyone else was going to protect her. Marilyn Williams. Beautiful girl.

Hunched back, hacked hair, bruised face. She deserved a better rescuer than Juliet Watanabe.

But for now, I'm what you've got.
-----------

Program: Juliet Watanabe ~ Dead ~ Let's Make Life A Living Hell ~ LeMat Revolver
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MurderWeasel
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I can trick them into thinking anything
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Karl waited on the roof, still listening to the exchange from hiding. He was paying very, very close attention to Stephanie. After all, she could be a killer. He took a glance at the sky, tried to estimate the time. The next announcement should be coming up any time here. He'd be very curious to see who'd taken the violence to heart since last time. All bets were on a whole bunch of the weak kids getting into the thick of things after Harris' death. It usually went that way. Once the bully went down, the rest could suddenly see that they really had shots at winning. Then the carnage truly kicked off.

Karl wasn't feeling so good about that. Most of his classmates weren't the brightest people on earth. Most likely, a good number hadn't even really considered what came next. They were just caught up in the day to day affairs, the simple things like avoiding getting shot. Fact was, though, no one knew what came after The Program. It was pretty widely presumed the winners got whisked away to a life of luxury on the taxpayers' dollar, true patriots rewarded by Uncle Sam, but Karl wasn't so sure. After all, how would that serve the nation in the slightest? Common sense said that the winners should be used for propaganda. Karl had always wondered why that didn't happen. Now, though, he knew.

Even a patriot would be hard pressed to say something nice about The Program. The only sort who'd be able to give it any sort of endorsement were the psychotics and the madmen. By virtue of their insanity, they would also be poor spokespeople. You didn't want to teach your citizens to randomly murder each other for the love of blood, not if you planned to rule a country for any length of time.

No. There was only one logical conclusion. Karl could see it now. They opened the gates for the winner, led him or her out through a full parade setup, all military majesty and polished solemnity and photo ops and national anthem. Then, at the end of that walk, there would be a bunker or building, and the winner would be told to go in to see that crazy general. They'd step inside. The doors would close behind them. They'd take two steps towards Adams, he'd tell them congratulations, and a soldier behind them would plug them one in the back of the head. They'd ditch the corpse after the media cleared out.

Karl could have laughed. That was what people were fighting for. That or worse. And yet, his classmates were dying all around him in the hopes of being the one to catch that special bullet.

Good thing Karl hadn't ever gotten his hopes up when it came to winning.

He'd just do the best he could. Live as long as he could. Stick with Juliet for now. She was as good as anyone else. Better than most. At least she had ideals. At least she knew what she was doing.

Back below, it had finally been stuttered out that Stephanie had seen Marilyn. Juliet wanted details. Karl wanted both of them to put their guns down so he could stop worrying that things were going to go to shots any second. He was almost tempted to step in. That'd be a bad idea, though. Better to keep patient and be ready to serve as Juliet's backup.

Just to be sure, he quietly stood up a bit more for a moment, glancing around, checking the area to see if anyone else was coming. Getting flanked would be an awful surprise.

Especially with the announcements coming right up, ready to provide covering background noise.
Current characters:

The Program: V3 Prologue:
Mina Mashall - Digital Voice Recorder - Making a good impression - "I didn't know you felt so strongly about me."
Erik Bell - Jericho .941 - Having lunch - "May I?"

SECOND CHANCES: V2:
Assorted flora and fauna

SOTF-TV V2:
EW4: Jewel Evans - Chatterbox Communicator Headsets (0/5) - Online - ELIMINATED - "Scars are just reminders to be better next time."

Past characters:

If you want an honest assessment of your character's storyline, feel free to PM me and I'll whip one up as soon as I am able.

Thanks to Bear/Frogue/Kotorikun/Ryuki for the avatar art.
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Fiori
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Shut up or Ryuhei will kick you...... IN THE FACE!
[ *  *  *  * ]
Alright, Sophie had two options here.

She could either A: Simply tell them the truth that she had seen Marilyn Williams somewhere in the Officer's quarters the day before, and hoping that they would just leave her alone after that.

Or... She could lie to them. Tell Juliet that Marilyn was on the other side of the compound. No, that wouldn't accomplish anything... Perhaps she could tell them that Marilyn was at the barracks, then shoot them in the back when they go in to investigate.

No, that was far too risky as well... She could accidentally hit Stephanie in the process. Besides, directly killing anyone WASN'T something Sophie wanted to do anytime soon. She already had enough on her conscience as it was to add committing direct murder to it as well. No, there had to be some way she could take advantage of Juliet's obsession with Marilyn to further her own goal. And, after giving it a little bit of though, Sophie had just the perfect plan up her sleeve...

"When did you see her?"

*sigh* So impatient...

"I... I saw her in the Officer's quarters yesterday, w-w-w-when I was looking around for.... For Sophie."

There was a sullen look on her face as she mentioned her own name. Accusing yourself of committing murder wasn't something you got the opportunity to do every day, after all.

"I... I wanted to see if I could stop her from killing. After I heard about Henry Barren on the announcements, I was so shocked. I mean, how could she do such a thing?!? I mean, I was sure sure that... That....."

The young girl tried to stop herself from bursting into tears on the spot, wiping her moist eyes with her arm. Or at least, she was pretending to stop herself from bursting into tears on the spot.....

"A-And then, when I got there, I found Marilyn in the corridor... W-with Luke Mendoza and Logan Sorenson aiming their guns at her! I overheard their conversation and... They were planning to kill her. ACTUALLY kill her! I was so shocked... I-I couldn't just stand there and let them execute her like that, so I........."

Sophie took a deep gulp as she prepared herself for what she was about to say. After all, she didn't really have much of a choice seeing as the announcement would probably ruin the surprise anyway.

".....I... I shot Logan. I shot her right on the spot..."

She paused for a moment, looking as though she was remembering the event with vivid detail. Which, in all honesty, she was. Seeing another human being getting shot wasn't the kind of sight that someone like Sophie got used to, even if she was doomed to see it happen much more often over the next few days...

"I-I-I didn't MEAN to hit her! It was just supposed to be a warning shot! But... But I misjudged it, hit her right in the chest and.... And got her blood all over me..... After that, Marilyn and Luke ran off in separate directions. I.... I haven't a clue where they are now."

By this point, Sophie allowed herself to shed a couple of crocodile tears. She was about to think of something else to say, a plead for forgiveness or something pathetic like that, until she was interrupted by the sound of the third announcement blaring across the island. Well, here goes...

For the most part, it was fairly expected. Adams made a couple of bad jokes, got herself and Stephanie mixed up yet again...

...and from the sound of things, Luke Mendoza actually HAD ended up killing someone after all.

...Perfect.
THE PROGRAM V2

M02: Damien Stone - Pitchfork/Ballistics Knife - The Lake

BRAURP

SOTF: Evolution

Program V1

TV V1
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