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Don't Be Just An Observer; It's not enough to watch, you have to do as well. [CONCLUDED]
Topic Started: Apr 24 2011, 09:58 PM (958 Views)
Lord_Shadow
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((Jennifer Steinman continued from Small Comforts))

Jennifer wandered for a while, before settling on entering the Barracks. The smell of death filled the air. It made her retch, but she finally felt as if it were a familiar smell.

What the hell was wrong with this place? The Program was a goddamn death trap. A gladiatorial combat spectacle of epic proportions. That's all it was. It existed just to satisfy the blood lust of those few in power. Why else would they abduct citizens of their own country and make them fight and kill each other? And what would be their reward? A bullet in the back? That was most likely the case.

And somehow Jennifer had avoided so much of it. She had just basically drifted along as her classmates fought and died for empty ideals and empty dreams. All of it was devoid of meaning. The encounter in the Field Hospital had shattered her thoughts about making through this thing unscathed. Sure she was fine, untouched. But she had just stood by and watched as her classmates were brutally murdered.

And she had tried to manipulate one of them into following her around and protecting her. Somehow that made her just as bad as the actual killers. Or at least she thought so. She was tired, she was hot, she was hungry, she was lonely. But most of all she was sick of the place. She looked around the room. She spotted a camera. The sight of it disgusted her. But she didn't even have the strength to smash it or do something else incredibly stupid that also was a waste of time.

Instead she plopped face-down onto one of beds, if you could call them that. She rolled over, and brought the knife in front of her face. She turned it over again and again. "I can't do this. I can't use this. I'm not... I'm not able... to..."

For the first time in a long time, Jennifer Steinman let out all her pent up emotions. She cried and cried, and she didn't want to stop.
Edited by Lord_Shadow, May 9 2011, 10:10 PM.
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outfoxd
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((Bryant Carver continued from Absolution))

After Megan had hit him, Bryant had found his course directed from the mess hall to the barracks. He wasn't entirely sure why, considering that was where he got shot. Maybe it was because the people who shot him might still be there. Maybe it was he had wanted to put down a true danger in the game, do some damn good for a change.

That white girl Megan. The Lebanese chick Kendra. The little Jap Marilyn. Innocents.

So he had come back. To his surprise, the door was open and the barricade was gone. There was the sound of someone crying inside.

Been there. Motherfucking done that.

He had heard what the girl said, seemed like she was losing it. Bryant hefted the shotgun, crept in silently.

He made it in, and he found the girl on the bed, sobbing. He had a vague recollection of her name, something like Jennifer. He knew he hadn't heard her on the announcements. Bryant let the shotgun rest across his shoulder, watched her for a minute. Cleared his throat.

"Fuck you got to cry about? You ain't killed nobody yet. You ain't bleeding. Man up."

Swear to Jesus I'm not hugging another goddamn white girl.
Edited by outfoxd, Apr 27 2011, 04:25 AM.
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The sound of Bryant's voice caused Jennifer to fall off the bed, startled like a cat shooting straight up in the air. Only, she just rolled off and hit the floor instead of jumping in the air. She landed with a soft thud and a cry of, "Ow."

She scrambled to get to her feet, gripping the knife as tightly as she could. "Who is that? I-If you come near me I swear I'll cut you! I'll do it. I mean it! I-I...". She dropped both her sentence and her knife when she saw the shotgun. She wasn't exactly relishing the thought of having a gun in her face again.

"Please don't kill me. Please don't. I-I don't want to die." Tears streamed down her face. The manipulative, stoic, nearly always calm facade she put up wasn't up anymore. Now everyone could see exactly what she felt. And she hated knowing that.

"Stop looking at me. Don't look!" She covered her eyes with her arm and sunk to her knees. She was a mess, and she knew it. Finally, Jennifer understood The Program. It was an exercise in nothing more than showing the kids put through it that they had nothing. That they were nothing. That their lives amounted to nothing.

And that realization was soul-crushing. This was the result of the American Dream, as it had become. An empty, meaningless life that pretended the savagery of the world at large did not apply to it. "Why... why did this have to happen to us?"
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Bryant sat down on the bed across from the girl after she had her little scene with the blade. She must have realized that she would've been fighting a losing battle from the start. That was fine by Bryant. He laid the shotgun across his lap, regarded the girl with a raised eyebrow.


"I'll look at who the fuck I wanna look at. Ain't no white girl 'bout to start telling me what to do."

It was clear the girl was going through some shit, like they no doubt all had.

"I ain't about to kill you either. So shelve that mess right now. White folks ain't worth killing, swear to god."

He coughed, almost didn't hear the girl ask her quiet question. He sighed.

"Been wondering that myself. Guess we were the wrong Americans in the right place." He tapped the barrel of the shotgun idly. "For beautiful, for spacious motherfucking skies, for amber waves of cocksucking grain. Wonderful country, huh?"

He looked down into his lap. "I killed two. Guess I'm a fucking patriot, huh?" It seemed like as good a way as any to lead to new conversation. Kendra hadn't run. This girl seemed like she needed someone to talk to. Too bad Bryant wasn't a particularly tactful speaker.
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"It's not fair." She said, still on the floor, tears still streaming. "What's patriotic about killing other people?" She looked up at Bryant. "What the hell is wrong with this country if something like that is expected here?" She balled her right hand into a fist, raised it, and slammed it on the floor.

"Fuck!" Jennifer wiped the tears from her face with her left arm. "Why am I crying? Goddammit. You're right. I've done nothing. I've just cruised through this thing as people I knew fought and died. They died for nothing!" She stared right at Bryan't eyes, an intense hatred filling hers. But not hatred for him, though he was an admitted killer.

It was hatred for the sons of bitches that put them all here. "Don't be just an observer." She started to get up, reaching for her knife. "They want us to kill each other for no reason. Fine. It's time I stopped being so goddamn useless anyway."

She stood on her feet. "You've killed people. You know what it feels like to have blood on your hands." She looked at her own hands, took a deep breath, and sighed. "I don't know what that feels like, but I can't afford not to. Will you teach me? Will you help me overcome my fear, so I can fight?"
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Bryant broke the gaze, looking down into his lip. He didn't say anything for awhile, just listened to his own breathing as the girl seemed to look at him, expecting an answer.

"Put the knife down."

He didn't look up at her.

"Yeah, I got blood on my fucking hands." He held up his right hand, palm up, looking at it, as if he could see stains on it. "I got blood on 'em, and I wish to god I fucking didn't."

He looked up at Jennifer, his tongue working on the inside of his cheek.

"Not gonna teach you nothing. What I know, what I learned from all this, no one needs to fucking know. I'd rather be dead than having this blood on my hands."

He gave a laugh, a flat one with no indication of mirth.

"I don't know if I'd be fine with winning this thing. What I've done, I don't think I'd have much of a life outside of here anyway."

Bryant let his eyes drop back down to his lap.

"You keep that fear. You keep those hands clear. I'd rather be dead and innocent than alive and dirty."

Under his breath, he muttered "Fucking crackers."
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Lord_Shadow
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So much for that idea. Jennifer decided it wasn't a good idea to press the matter, what with him having a few kills, by his own admission. "Fine, don't tell me. I suppose I'll just have to go out and die by myself then."

She grabbed her bag. If he wasn't going to kill her, and he wasn't going to help her, there was no reason to stay. Just then, a thought occurred to her. "You, haven't seen a girl called Megan, have you? Megan Jacobson? She's... my friend."

It was a long shot. First, there was the chance he hadn't seen her. Second, there was the chance that he had seen her... and killed her. Third, there was the unlikely chance that he had seen her, and parted ways without violence. Jennifer didn't know why, but she had to find Megan.

She was the only person that had any meaning to her in this place. "If you can't help me fight, then can you at least help me find her. All I need to know is her location. I don't need you to come along." She sighed. "Please, if you know anything about her well-being, tell me."
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Bryant smiled a little at the name, had to stop himself from laughing.

"Megan. That little white punk."

He tilted his neck, working a dry pop out of his vertebrae.

"Little bitch headbutted me in my back. Couldn't fucking believe it. Yeah...yeah, I seen her."

He swung his feet up onto the bed and lowered his back to the mattress, tired of sitting up. He slid the shotgun off his lap and beside him.

"Firing range. Said she had friends there. Heh. She's a...she's a-"

My how times change.

"-a good kid. Needs to watch out next time she hits somebody, before she gets smoked."

Bryant leaned all the way back and laced his fingers behind his head, resting himself on the bed. The mattress, lumpy as it was, felt good. He hadn't laid down since that short bit of sleep he had with Marilyn, and that had been on the floor.

He looked up at Jennifer.

"You wanna go out there by yourself, I ain't about to stop you. Tell you right now, there's worse motherfuckers out there than me. And you don't wanna kill nobody. I'll tell you that one more again."

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Lord_Shadow
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For reasons she couldn't comprehend, let alone care about, Jennifer was overjoyed to hear that Megan was still alive. At least, she was for the moment.

"Thank you." She was so happy to hear that, she could almost kiss Bryant.

But she wasn't going to. He'd killed kids after all. He was the enemy, or at least he would be as soon as she left. But for the moment, they were just two kids talking back and forth, desperately trying to make sense of the hellish nightmare they were a part of.

"Maybe you're right, maybe you aren't. The only way for me to find out is to go out and see for myself. I'm heading out, but before I go I want to tell you something. When I leave here, we'll be enemies. But for the short time we're not, I wand you to know that I think you're alright. As far as I know, you haven't killed anyone important to me, so I have nothing against you."

She put her knife back in her bag, and walked up to the boy laying on the bed. "Thank you again. If we had met under different circumstances, I would have liked for us to be friends." She held out her hand. If he didn't return the gesture, it really wouldn't have meant anything. It was just a courtesy.

She was surprised that she actually meant what she had just said. Friends. Not fake friends, or a person to use. But real friends. That's what she needed right now. That's why she had to find Megan.

Jennifer needed to start being a true friend.
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Bryant had his eyes closed again by the time the girl had started talking, and he smiled, almost smirked.

"Alright. Shit. I'm pretty fucking far from all right. You never know, someone you do think is important might try to put me down and they'll end up the next notch on my belt.

Then she got closer. He could feel her walking up, and he looked up at her, talking about friends and holding her hand out. He shouldn't have taken it. As much for himself as for this girl. He wasn't about giving any more false hope than he had to.

That hug notwithstanding.

He took her hand, clasping it lightly.

"Not friends, but I wouldn't want to punch you in your bitch cracker mouth quite so much."

He let go.

"Don't do shit I wouldn't do." He said, closing his eyes.

Of course, after Program there apparently wasn't much he wouldn't do.
Edited by outfoxd, Apr 29 2011, 07:31 PM.
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Lord_Shadow
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For some reason, she laughed when he made that comment about not wanting to hit her. Despite how he said it, she felt a sort of warmness in the intention of the words.

"Right. I'll be on my way then."

She reached the door, looked back at Bryant, and sighed. The next time she saw him, they'd be real enemies. It was sad to think about, but that's the way it worked it in the Program.

She had to find Megan, had to make sure that she was safe. It was time to make amends, to be a real friend for someone who needed one.

It was time to get involved.

She walked out the door, and didn't look back.

((Jennifer Steinman continued in The Opening Faceoff))
Edited by Lord_Shadow, May 9 2011, 10:11 PM.
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Bryant just nodded at Jennifer as she turned and left. There wasn't much left to say. The bed was feeling too nice to give too many shits.

He lost track of how long he'd laid there, would argue with himself that he never would have done something as stupid as doze off.

((Bryant Carver continued in Show Them What the Backs of our Hands are For))
Edited by outfoxd, May 3 2011, 03:41 PM.
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