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While Rome Burns; Open
Topic Started: Jan 28 2012, 05:01 PM (1,167 Views)
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[ *  *  *  * ]
((Samuel Wilson continued from Grasping at Straws))

So he'd finally made it to the town. Sam didn't feel like celebrating, though. His temples throbbed as he leaned sideways against a wall of a building, the sun beginning to rise in the distance. He hadn't got much sleep; he'd caught a few hours, or maybe just one, or half of one, near the river. It wasn't practical to sleep much more than that, not out in the open. In fact he couldn't say that the sleep had done much at all.

Sam had refilled his water bottles too, but he wasn't going to drink them until he was all out of the water that the Sheriff had supplied. Who knew what was in that river, after all? Sam wasn't willing to risk it until he had to. So he was probably suffering from some form of dehydration, as well. His right hand clenched around his second-to-last "clean" water bottle, already half-empty. He took a swig. Two. Three-fourths empty. He stashed it back in his bag.

He had two bags on his back. One held all his belongings, and the maple syrup he'd been assigned for a weapon. The other was Delilah's, and it had pretty much the same things inside. He'd put Clair's toque inside, though.

His eyes scanned the surroundings, looking for others, for threats. He hadn't quite given up on finding others, forming a group, but it was beginning to look increasingly infeasible. He had to find Delilah, though. For Clair, if nothing else.

Sam made his way around the corner of the building, and managed to make out what it was. It looked like a saloon. It probably was a saloon. Thematic, for someone who called himself the Sheriff. It looked a little strange inside, from what he could see. He pushed open the swinging doors cautiously. It could be a trap.

It wasn't. It took a little while for his eyes to adjust fully, and when they had, he almost wished they hadn't. It wasn't strange inside the saloon. It was just utter devastation. There were tables flung over, chairs wrecked. There were bullet holes in the wall. And the stain in the middle of the room... Sam looked away, made his way across the room towards an intact corner table. There were cards lying on the table. More importantly, there was someone lying on the ground, next to one of the chairs. He checked. Warren Davies. He didn't bother asking if he was alright. Warren was dead. Sam's gut tightened again. He'd heard his name on the announcements, hadn't he? Someone had got him, someone who he couldn't remember right now. Probably one of the big killers. Rebecca or Simon or someone. Not Delilah.

Warren was clutching something, and Sam eased it gently from his cold hands. A gun. Shotgun, it looked like. Probably not much use for a gunfight, but Sam weighed it in his hands for a moment. This could help. It was short-range, but... it could help.

He made his way over the bar with the shotgun, still avoiding the middle of the room. Leaned on it, facing the swinging doors, trying to stay as out of sight as he could be. It felt wrong, especially with Ken Danielson dead behind the bar. It didn't feel right that he was just living in a saloon filled with the dead. He felt like he should do something. Bury them somewhere, instead of looting their bodies. He didn't have a shovel, though.

Ten, fifteen minutes. Maybe Delilah would show up. If not, he'd move on.
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His eyes flickered across the room to the piano. As devastated as the saloon seemed to be, the piano still looked mostly intact. There was debris on top, but that didn't mean that the insides of the piano couldn't still work. It was tempting, as irrational as it seemed, to just sit down and play a tune.

Classical music probably wouldn't cut it. The Entertainer, maybe. Joplin. Ragtime. That was a later time period, but it was as close to Western music as he could remember.

Just sitting there, playing ragtime music, miles away from home, while his classmates died around him. Eventually, someone would come in, put a bullet in his brain.

The reverie broke. Sam shook his head slightly, shifting his vision back to the swinging doors of the saloon. The shotgun felt heavy in his hands.
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It struck him then. What was he going to do when he did find Delilah?

There was the other thought, the one that told him that he might not find her at all. He might die. She might die. They might all die. The knot in Sam's gut grew and he pushed the thought away.

But regardless, she was a killer - two times, now. She'd killed Patrick. Probably out of fear, but he wasn't sure.

Well, then, he'd just have to find her. Calm her down. Tell her what Clair said. Neutralize the threat that she posed to others. Try to keep people safe, as much as he could, until rescue came. That was the plan. It could work.

Sam knew that probably wasn't viable. He'd already lost a lot of classmates. There was no telling how many more would be lost by the time rescue came, if rescue came. The more that died, the more desperate the rest would get.

He was sure he could calm down Delilah. He'd known her at school, he'd helped her in this wasteland. It had to count for something. The others he'd known at school, but... he didn't know if he could trust them.

He didn't want to have to use the shotgun.
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Renee Murphy, as Facemade by me!
[ *  * ]
(Renee Murphy continued from Rebel Without a Clue)

Renee had slept in a ditch somewhere between the chapel and the river. She caught maybe two, three hours of sleep? She didn't know and she didn't feel like sleeping more after a terrible nightmare involving Julia Wilson and a tomahawk. But that was real, wasn't it? Renee ate her breakfast in that ditch, munching on half of some baked bread and downing half of a water bottle. She felt sick, especially after hearing about what happened to her friends.

But she kept walking on, eventually reaching town while holding the submachine gun she got from Julia. She headed into a saloon, hoping to find somewhere she could hole up and find supplies. What she found... wasn't that. Blood was everywhere, the place was wrecked, and on the ground were two, no three, bodies strewn around the place. She recognized the one on the ground as Warren Davies. The other was Kenneth Danielson. She couldn't even recognize the one blown apart.

Renee searched her memory to see if she could remember who did these guys in.

"Simon Mattheson caused some further damage when he attacked a group. He shot Kenneth Danielson and Warren Davies, and somehow Ramona Shirley got blown up in there. Dynamite's a dangerous tool. You have to have respect for your weapons, if you want 'em to do right by you.

Simon Mattheson was the one that killed them. Unbelievable. Renee felt like she should be puking, but managed to hold it in long enough to see that someone else was in the saloon with her.

At the counter of the bar was someone who was very much still alive. Samuel Wilson. Friendly guy, just the type of person she needed right now. Of course, it very much looked like he wanted to be playing the piano while holding a shotgun in a saloon full of dead bodies. Renee still had the logical thought of gripping Julia's submachine gun just a little tighter.

"Hey, Sam," she said. "Er... how are you doing?"

Fantastic greeting, Renee. Next thing you know he'll be playing with his shotgun, not talking to you and thinking it's all a game. Then one of your friends will throw an axe at his neck and he'll be dead. Maybe you should even offer to have sex with him while you're at it?
Edited by kervin555, Feb 22 2012, 11:03 PM.
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Threads: Holding Out For A Hero > Inexplicable > Rebel Without a Clue > While Rome Burns > Far From Home > Breaking Point > Swan Song > Still Red > Last of the Alderbrooks

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The shotgun shot up. Reflex. A girl had just appeared, all of a sudden, at the saloon doors. Wasn't Delilah.

Renee. Renee Murphy. Sam didn't know her that well. He'd seen her around Alderbrook. She was friendly, back then, when things were normal. Still, he didn't know if he could trust her now. Things changed, and a death game changed them pretty damn fast.

"Hey," he said, eyeing the gun she held in her hand. That was a pretty viable threat, but at least she hadn't come in shooting, so she probably wasn't a killer. Yet.

Best to keep things as cordial as possible. He lowered the shotgun slightly, so that it was pointing towards the ground at her feet, rather than at her. No need to add to the body count; it could be his corpse if he wasn't careful. One more errant twitch and that could end it all, and he still had a mission to accomplish.

"Renee." Her name lingered in the air a while, as Sam tried to figure out what to say next. "Sorry about that. Kind of twitchy. I'm okay, considering the circumstances. What's been going on for you?"
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[ *  * ]
The shotgun pointed upwards, toward Renee. She couldn't say she was surprised. People would be paranoid in this situation. Of course they would. But Sam was a nice guy, he wouldn't shoot her even if it was on reflex. It just wasn't in him.

Of course, it also wasn't in Vivian to throw a tomahawk at someone. Nor was it in Simon Mattheson to start shooting people.

"What's been going on for you?"

"That's the question, isn't it?" Renee walked over next to Sam and sat on one of the stools still left. She put the submachine gun on the edge of the counter. She didn't feel like holding it right then. She laid her head down on the counter, trying to keep Danielson's dead body out of sight. After a minute, she faced Sam.

"I feel... I don't know. I don't know how I feel right now. I woke up in the train station, I encountered Julia Wilson. You know, that loner fashion model? She seemed to think the whole thing was a game, just some reality television show. I left her alone. Then I found Brian Larke and Vivian Cathwell. They seemed pretty okay at the time. But then Vivian killed Wilson in the forest and I... well, I didn't want to have them at my back anymore."

Renee didn't know why she was suddenly telling Sam what happened. She knew that she shouldn't trust him, or anyone. But she found herself talking more.

"And then I found that goth girl, Cameo Conroy, on the ground. Brian and Vivian didn't care; they just walked away. I could have helped her, you know? Patched her up. But I didn't. I ran away. She's probably dead now, actually."

She glanced around the room for a second, silently grateful that Warren's body was out of sight. "And everyone else will be dead too, soon."

Renee rubbed her eyes and sighed. "God, I'm tired. But hey, you probably didn't expect me coming in here and spilling my whole experience on you, right?" Renee chuckled humorlessly. "How's your stay so far?"
Mini Characters
Virtua SOTF - F05: Renee Murphy - GAME OVER - Tec-9, H&K MP5 - "Are you going to talk to me this time? "Well, now or never, right?"
Threads: Holding Out For A Hero > Inexplicable > Rebel Without a Clue > While Rome Burns > Far From Home > Breaking Point > Swan Song > Still Red > Last of the Alderbrooks

Virtua SOTF - M16: Patrick Reynolds - GAME OVER - 2x Molotov Cocktails - "Um, I think we're lost." "Is that odd? Handsome guy like me and he doesn't have a girlfriend?
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Despite the shotgun being pointed at her feet, Renee approached. Sam gripped the shotgun tighter. It was a slow advance and she didn't seem to be paying too much attention to him. It made him uncomfortable, though. She was an unknown quantity and he didn't know what she had planned. He backed away a little from the counter as she sat down, shot another glance at the door.

But he listened as she put her head down on the counter and began to talk. It helped that she put the gun down as she did so.

More deaths, more killers. Julia, Brian, Vivian, Cameo. They were all going to die, she said. He would have approached, maybe tried to comfort her with a pat on the back, but he couldn't do that. Not anymore.

Instead, Sam just said quietly, "It's fine. Let it out." If they were all going to die, he couldn't begrudge her that. He could listen. He was good at that, and keeping secrets. He had thought he was good at compromise; Richard had proved him wrong.

"As for my stay..." He exhaled slowly. "I saw Richard die. Saw Clair die. Not much more to it than that." Saying it hurt, as if it made their deaths irreparable, irrevocable. Over time, he'd come to regret even Richard's death. But they were dead, and nothing would change that.

As for Delilah, he wasn't sure that Renee would understand. Best to just let her keep talking.
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[ *  * ]
Renee nodded. "Yeah," she said. "It doesn't take a lot to break people these days." She turned around on the stool and looked around the saloon. She absorbed every detail of the chaos. She stared at the bullet holes, the overturned tables, the broken glass, and the bodies. They were being accompanied by the dead as they talked. Fantastic.

"Can you even imagine?" she asked quietly. "Can you even see Simon doing all of this? I didn't know him very well, but could you really see him do anything even remotely resembling this?" Renee shook her head before frowning. Sam said that he saw Richard and Clair die. So that meant that Sam had seen the other two killers in this place. Delilah and Rebecca. It felt so weird to call them killers, as if that were some foreign word that one couldn't imagine applied to them.

"And you were there, weren't you?" Renee asked Sam. "You saw Rivers and Clark. You saw what they became, what we could become."

Renee didn't really know where she was going with this. So she just spoke her mind. Anything was better than the silence of the last couple of hours. She faced the counter again, face burried in her hands.

"I don't know anymore. I used to be so confident, so sure in myself. In school, I always made sure to get the best marks I could get, you know? I wanted to go to medical school, become a doctor. Now, it's all pointless. I'm going to die here and so will you. Some killer will win this. He'll be the last one left, and he'll never be able to live with himself, especially after all of this. I mean, I wouldn't. Would you? So even if we do win this, we'd have to deal with all of this trauma. So... there is no winner. No one wins. Everyone dies, one way or another."

Renee didn't realize it at first, but something was hampering her ability to speak. She felt her eyes getting wet. For the next few minutes, she cried silently as Sam watched her. God, she didn't need this. She didn't need to look weak. It would just make her such an easy target. Why couldn't she stop crying?

She managed to regain her composure after a few minutes. Drying her eyes, she faced Sam. Placing a hand on his shoulder she said, "Hey, uh, thanks for listening to me. I really appreciate it. And, um, sorry for all the drama. I know that you probably don't need any more of this, especially from me."
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Virtua SOTF - F05: Renee Murphy - GAME OVER - Tec-9, H&K MP5 - "Are you going to talk to me this time? "Well, now or never, right?"
Threads: Holding Out For A Hero > Inexplicable > Rebel Without a Clue > While Rome Burns > Far From Home > Breaking Point > Swan Song > Still Red > Last of the Alderbrooks

Virtua SOTF - M16: Patrick Reynolds - GAME OVER - 2x Molotov Cocktails - "Um, I think we're lost." "Is that odd? Handsome guy like me and he doesn't have a girlfriend?
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Sam listened.

He only winced a little inside as Renee ventured close to his lies by omission. Rivers and Clark. It seemed kind of cold, like how Renee had referred to Julia as just Wilson. Impersonal. Detached. That was just the way it seemed to him, the act of calling people by their last names. Sam was a Wilson as well. He was distracted from the thought, however, because now Renee was crying.

It was kind of uncomfortable. It reminded him of Delilah's fear and his continuing failure to find her.

Again, Sam would have approached, patted Renee on the back a little, but he couldn't. Or wouldn't. There weren't any tissues, either, so all he could do was stand on the spot like a fool. By all accounts, it was hard to believe that this might be a ploy designed to draw him into a trap, but he had a mission and he couldn't afford to die.

Maybe he'd become cold, stone-hearted. Maybe that was necessary, now.

It didn't matter how he felt about it. She just needed to let it all out, all that pent-up emotion. Sam understood the feeling, the twisting in his gut that never seemed to go away. It wasn't the time nor the place to discuss his own problems, though.

Somehow in the past few seconds he'd allowed her to approach him again and place her hand on his shoulder. As she apologized, Sam hesitantly lifted his hand, and placed it on top of hers, as if he were patting his own shoulder. He gave her hand a squeeze, then lifted it away from his shoulder and let it go.

"It's fine. I don't mind listening." He did mind the crying, but a half-truth was half true, and he'd settle for fifty percent. He hefted the shotgun a fraction of an inch higher, unconsciously. "It's a rotten situation, yeah. But I think we can make it 'til they find us, and if we die... we ought to be trying to do something to get ourselves out of this mess when we bite it. Doing something that matters."

"You looking for anyone now? Anything?" Hesitation, on his part. Maybe he'd already said too much. It was probably unwise to say the next thing he was about to say. "Because, uh, I am."

"I need to find Delilah."
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Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Stroke of Midnight

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kervin555
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Renee Murphy, as Facemade by me!
[ *  * ]
Renee was able to smile while Sam comforted her. It felt good, to hear him say such hopeful things. She hadn't heard hope in a while. The only other things she'd heard were the musings of mad people. Including her own musings. Sam was going to be a good ally. Maybe they would make it, maybe they wouldn't. But Sam was right, they'd better make their stay count or it'll all have been for nothing.

"I need to find Delilah."

Renee's smile disappeared.

No. That was not good. Renee found herself in that situation again, where a friend had said something completely unreasonable. Something completely nonsensical.

"Sam..." she said hesitantly. "Delilah Rivers is a killer. You saw her; she killed Richard Ormsby. I realize that it was probably in self defense but... she killed Patrick Reynolds, too. Patrick would never hurt anyone. What reason could Delilah have to kill him?"

Renee furrowed her brow. This was going to be difficult. She'd been in this situation before, with Vivian. She went off on her own, not listening to Renee. That's why Julia was killed. If Vivian had just listened, then that might not have happened.

And now, Renee realized that Delilah was becoming like Vivian. A good person that just snapped becuse they couldn't take it anymore. Renee gulped and she could feel herself beginning to sweat.

"Sam, if you're trying to help her, I suggest you don't. If you're hunting her down, that's even worse. Just leave it. I'd rather not have a murderer at my back or my front."

Renee left that hanging a minute. She felt uncomfortable as all hell right there, calling Delilah a murderer. It just didn't sound right. But she killed Patrick. Patrick was Renee's friend and she was pretty sure that he knew Sam, too. It was too... wrong to be looking for a girl this dangerous.

But Renee still had a question to ask. She realized that Sam hadn't mentioned Delilah at all when he was explaining what happened to him. "Sam... why are you looking for Delilah?"
Mini Characters
Virtua SOTF - F05: Renee Murphy - GAME OVER - Tec-9, H&K MP5 - "Are you going to talk to me this time? "Well, now or never, right?"
Threads: Holding Out For A Hero > Inexplicable > Rebel Without a Clue > While Rome Burns > Far From Home > Breaking Point > Swan Song > Still Red > Last of the Alderbrooks

Virtua SOTF - M16: Patrick Reynolds - GAME OVER - 2x Molotov Cocktails - "Um, I think we're lost." "Is that odd? Handsome guy like me and he doesn't have a girlfriend?
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Foolish move. He'd known it from the start. Renee was making points against finding Delilah, and he knew they were valid - he'd gone over them many times before.

"You won't need murderers anywhere near you." He was dodging the pressing question. He'd get around to it. Sam was acutely aware of the shotgun's pressure on his palms, the two packs resting on his shoulders. One was Delilah's. "I'm not going to kill her."

One of his hands was off the shotgun, gesturing out the saloon doors, as he looked her in the eyes and tried to explain.

"I was with Delilah when Richard died. Richard attacked us. She was afraid. She made a mistake. She ran away." His feet took small steps, sideways, towards the brightness outside. "I don't know about Patrick."

"I heard what you said, and you might be right. But she's probably out there scared and about to kill more people, and I might be one of the only people that can help her, stop her. It sounds like arrogant junk but it could be true. It's something that matters." He hoped he was making the right points; he hoped that somehow he could make her understand that this was something he needed to do. It didn't seem likely.

"I'm not asking you to come."
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[ *  * ]
"It is arrogant junk," Renee said promptly. She looked in the direction of the counter again, not facing Sam. What were her options? She could knock him out, drag him to his own safety. Or she could just kill him, but Renee had the feeling hat she probably wouldn't be able to pull it off. There was still the other option, of course.

After a minute of silence, Renee said, "But you'd be a fool to not ask me to come." Renee got up from the stool she'd been sitting on. She walked over to her submachine gun and picked it up. Careful to hold the muzzle at the ground, she faced Sam again.

"In case you haven't noticed, Sam, I'm carrying a submachine gun. I have another gun in my pack, too. If you're out there, alone, looking for Delilah, I think you're out of luck. You'll need another person for this, especially one with as many guns that I have. You don't know how dangerous she's become, yet. Until we find out, you're going to need me."

It felt so strange, to talk like that. To say that she had so many guns on her. She would never have imagined ever saying something like that before all of this. She gripped her submachine gun tighter as she said her next statement.

"And I'm not about to let you get killed so quickly, Sam. So far, you're the only other sane person I've met. And... yeah, I really like you Sam."

Renee didn't know where that last part came from, but she quickly realized that there was probably a better way to phrase that. But hell, setting an aside to correct herself would be to much of a hassle. She just went with confirming her intentions.

"I'm coming with you, Sam."
Mini Characters
Virtua SOTF - F05: Renee Murphy - GAME OVER - Tec-9, H&K MP5 - "Are you going to talk to me this time? "Well, now or never, right?"
Threads: Holding Out For A Hero > Inexplicable > Rebel Without a Clue > While Rome Burns > Far From Home > Breaking Point > Swan Song > Still Red > Last of the Alderbrooks

Virtua SOTF - M16: Patrick Reynolds - GAME OVER - 2x Molotov Cocktails - "Um, I think we're lost." "Is that odd? Handsome guy like me and he doesn't have a girlfriend?
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Oh, come on.

"No," Sam shot back.

Hadn't he told himself that he was going to try to keep people safe? Hadn't he told Delilah and Clair he was going to gather a group? Hadn't he considered the option of breaking out of this place? For that he'd need allies, friends.

But he'd realized something earlier - that that wasn't feasible, because he needed to find Delilah first.

Renee had good intentions, he was sure, but that'd get her killed.

"Look, she's afraid. You've got two guns. She doesn't know you. What do you think's going to happen?" One of the packs slipped slightly on his shoulder, but he ignored it. "If I get killed, I'm going to get killed on my own, on my own terms."

Sam paused.

"You're a good person. You should stay alive. That's why you're not coming."
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Program V3 Prologue:
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kervin555
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Renee Murphy, as Facemade by me!
[ *  * ]
"I'm not a good person," Renee said. She could feel her heart pumelling inside her chest. "What sort of a good person leaves a bleeding girl on the ground? Conroy's probably dead because of me!"

That last part made it out louder than she anticipated. It made her realize something. She was dead. Cameo was dead because Renee refused to help her. Because Renee was so scared of failing to help someone.

Renee looked at Sam right in the eye, not caring at all that both of them were holding guns. This just became much more personal.

"But you were right, Sam. You said that you're going to die on your own terms. I'm going to die, too, but I've accepted that now. And just like you, I'm going to die on my own terms. If that means I'm going to die with an ally, a friend, then that's already more than I can ask for."

Renee knew very well that she was going to die at some point in the near future. The inevitability struck her, but that didn't mean she couldn't do something in the mean time. She could still help someone.

Renee sighed and turned away a little. She realized that what she was insisting on was absolutely stupid. She knew that Sam was right, that he'd only get her killed. But she needed to come on this trip. If she could help Sam get Delilah back to normal, to the way she was before then that'd be great. If she couldn't... well, at least she'd be with him.

Of course, there was another reason that Renee wanted to come with Sam. It was something that she didn't want to admit herself, but it didn't seem like there was any harm in telling Sam. She'd already poured out all of her other feelings on him.

"I just... I don't want to be alone, Sam. I've always had my friends, but I'm alone out here. I need someone, please." Maybe she was asking the right person at the wrong time. But Renee needed someone like Sam. To keep her sane, so as to not fall into the same trap that Vivian did, of trusting someone that shouldn't have been trusted.

"Look," she said. "I know that you want to find Delilah really badly. But that doesn't mean I can't come along. I promise I'll be careful. I'll stay out of sight when you find her. I'll do whatever you say, just don't ask me to leave. Is there any room for compromise at all, Sam?"
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Virtua SOTF - F05: Renee Murphy - GAME OVER - Tec-9, H&K MP5 - "Are you going to talk to me this time? "Well, now or never, right?"
Threads: Holding Out For A Hero > Inexplicable > Rebel Without a Clue > While Rome Burns > Far From Home > Breaking Point > Swan Song > Still Red > Last of the Alderbrooks

Virtua SOTF - M16: Patrick Reynolds - GAME OVER - 2x Molotov Cocktails - "Um, I think we're lost." "Is that odd? Handsome guy like me and he doesn't have a girlfriend?
Threads: The Funniest Joke in the World > I Can Hear the Bells > From Where You're Kneeling

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Sam let out a breath. A long breath, as he considered it all. All of Renee's heartfelt entreaties, all his own reasons and emotions and-

"I can't stop you."

He was turned almost sideways to her, issuing his words to the empty air.

"I won't stop you. If you want to follow me, then it'll happen."

His feet were moving, heading out the saloon doors. His right hand lifted off the shotgun and pushed one of the doors open. Sam could feel the hot breeze blowing across the streets as the sun ascended towards noon.

"There'll be other people, set on less dangerous stuff. If you do decide to follow me, then we'll talk again when we find those groups." It was the most responsibility he feel like he could take at the moment. He didn't want another situation like Clair's death. That's just the way it was.

He stepped out into the streets.

((Samuel Wilson continued in Far From Home))
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Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Stroke of Midnight

Auld Lang Syne
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