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Whatever Happened to the American Dream
Topic Started: May 5 2013, 04:40 PM (624 Views)
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((Jasmine Stone continued from Step Two: ?))

Jasmine had thrown her hands out to avoid slamming into the ground. The ground was extremely loose on the slope, what ground that wasn't covered in bushes that was. She let her breathing calm down before pushing herself back to her feet, wiping her hands on her skirt once she had.

"This fucking sucks." She muttered to herself as she started moving again.

The continued searching had been fruitless. Maybe it was the news of Amanda's death weighing on her mind but Jasmine hadn't made any real progress. She had just begun to wander aimlessly and once she had seen the slope she had decided to check the top of it. That had been a real bad idea, since it seemed to be next to impossible to make any progress. The whole slope was either covered in thick bushes or what open ground there was always seemed to be in danger of falling away as soon as Jasmine put her foot on it. That wasn't even taking into account the fact that her shoes were in no way designed with hiking in mind. In short it was awful.

The likelihood of anyone she knew even being at the top was low as well. It was a long-shot at best. If there was actually someone at the top Jasmine would be glad because at least time the climb wouldn't have been a complete waste of time. If the amount of times she had actually seen people during her search was any indication there wouldn't be anyone at the top and she was just wasting her time.

It would sum up her entire time in the Program and maybe her life as a whole; what with everything she had been told by her parents and the government being bullshit. Looking up Jasmine could see the top of the slope was only a few steps away, being careful to not snag herself on a bush or fall down again Jasmine climbed to the top of the slope.

She looked around the plateau at the top but as she had expected there was no sign of anyone. She turned and looked out over the valley before collapsing into a sitting position. She shrugged her pack off her shoulder and took a bottle of water out.

At any other time the view could have been considered beautiful.
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(( Frank Callahan continued from Reveille ))

Frank had retraced his steps since leaving the town, or at least as much as he could remember and could access. Ostensibly it was because he had nothing else to do except maybe get back to the slope and scope out his options again. Part of him just didn't want to admit he was hoping he'd run into his erstwhile companion somewhere along the way.

Now he was scaling the slope again, legs burning, hands scraped up from the effort. There was an odd, manic energy in his ascent. One would think he was hoping someone or something was waiting for him at the top.

"Fucking mountain." He muttered.

He spent the better part of a half hour getting back to the plateau that he had started this whole thing on. Once he crested the incline, his heart almost skipped a beat when he saw a blonde girl sitting down on the plateau.

When he gained the plateau, his lip curled back against his teeth. The girl wasn't what he was expecting after all. She was dressed like a vampire in one of those shitty low-budget horror movies. Still, she might've been worth something to him.

"Hell of a climb." He called to her. At the same time, he slid the rifle off his shoulder into his hands. He had no idea who was a threat, and who wasn't. Might have just been safe to assume anyone was.
Edited by outfoxd, May 8 2013, 03:10 PM.
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Jasmine's head snapped around when she heard someone call out to her. Turning she saw a boy approaching her with a gun in his hands. It wasn't a pistol either. It looked like a full on rifle. Jasmine tensed up before realising that if he was going to shoot her he could have already done so. Even so she slid her hand into her bag and carefully removed the brick, just in case.

"Yeah it is." She called back as she stood up, brushing the blonde strands of her hair out of her eyes.

The boy was taller than her and easily more muscular, if Jasmine were to guess he played football. She couldn't quite place a name to his face though. If he wanted too he could easily overpower her, he would be stronger, faster and tougher than she was by far. It wouldn't even have been close.

Keeping that in mind Jasmine was careful not to make any sudden moves that could have been considered aggressive. She didn't want to get shot.

"Are you looking for anyone?" Jasmine asked as she stepped closer to him being sure to make her steps slow.

She only really asked because everyone seemed to be looking for someone. A friend, a teammate, a lover. Everyone wanted to spend what could have been their last moments with someone, or just see someone they knew one last time. Hell that was exactly what Jasmine was doing. So it didn't seem like too much of a stretch to assume that the football player was doing the same thing.

Jasmine stopped walking once she saw the scar on the boys’ eyebrow. She didn't do well with faces normally but if someone had an obvious defining feature like a scar she found she could easily remember their name, meaning the boy was Frank Callahan. He'd already killed two people if Jasmine remembered the announcements correctly. That knowledge made her more nervous about the way the conversation could go.

She didn't let it show on her face though. If he didn't think she was a threat he could just end up talking to her like a normal person. After all he could have killed in self-defence and regardless he didn't seem aggressive towards her.

In the end she decided to see how the conversation was going to go. After all if the Program had taught her one thing it was that there was more going on than what you were being told.
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"No." As smooth a lie as anyone could muster. His face was nearly blank. He closed with her, taking a note that she was reaching in her bag for something. She was defensive. Goddamn good for her.

He looked out over the vista the plateau flanked. It really was beautiful, when you forgot about what was going on down there.

"What about you? Odd place to be hanging out alone, isn't it?" He didn't worry about the fact that was exactly what he had been planning on doing.

He thought he might have recognized her, but only in passing. Maybe he saw her in the hallways, or something. A person of little note.

He didn't put the gun away.
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He wasn't looking for someone. That didn't fill Jasmine with confidence. If anything it made her more worried. She mentally calmed herself though. He still hadn't been outwardly aggressive so there was no reason for her to assume he was going to attack her. He seemed too calm for something like that anyway.

He then asked why she was on her own on the plateau.

"I was looking for a friend," She said keeping her eyes on him. "Haven't had much luck though."

She didn't feel the need to go any further than that. The chances a member of the football team knowing who Ashley was were slim to none. After all between Ashley and herself they hardly knew or cared about any members of the football team, so Jasmine didn't expect the football team to care. They would normally hang out in their own group or as members of the 'popular' crowd. Not that stuff like that mattered anymore.

Breaking her own rule she looked out at the view again.

"It's a beautiful view isn't it?" She asked not looking at him. It was almost like she was talking to herself. Just getting her thoughts off her chest. "Shame we have to see it during all of this, with all of this death around us."
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Frank nodded. He was chewing his lip as he looked.

"Just us..." He stopped, getting a hitch in his throat. He swallowed past it.

"It's just us all doing our duty to the country, you know."

His voice seemed to rise, as if he had found some sort of truth in his own words.

"I'm really learning some things about myself out here. About everything."

Maybe that's what patriotism was. Maybe someone who embodied the values for you. The will of the country manifest.

If that was the case, then Frank had found it, and subsequently lost it.

With understanding, he felt a little better. The corner of his mouth turned up in a half smile.
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Frank looked out over the view as well. He started to say something but stopped. Jasmine turned to look at him; maybe he was dealing with his own emotional issues. She didn't consider her place to say anything after all she was also dealing with issues of her own.

Then he said it was them doing their duty to their country. That made Jasmine raise an eyebrow.

Before she knew it she was speaking without thinking.

"Fuck our country." She said looking back out over the valley. "Everything I've been told for my whole life has been bullshit."

Jasmine ran a hand through her hair; it felt good to say it.

"There's no difference between us and minorities, despite what the government says. I mean I saw the same person kill a minority and A-and an American like us. It didn't make a difference to them."

She turned to face Frank.

"In the end everyone bleeds and dies exactly the same. What difference does anything else make?"
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Frank gritted his teeth against Jasmine's choice words for the country. There it was, all out on the table. And Frank couldn't say he liked the hand she had just played.

No difference. Right. Jasmine hadn't seen what he'd seen. Hadn't seen the sheer, predictable savagery Angel had fallen into when given the chance to get one over on his betters. Frank had respect for the Mexican's spirit, but what it came down to was what it was expected of foreign individuals.

She turned to him, her face having a confident expression of conviction in her (inherently wrong) declaration. He had to halt himself from wiping that expression of her face with a pull of the trigger. He kept his composure. He figured he'd give her one last chance to change her position.

"We bleed and die the same, but what we die for, that-" He took a hand off the rifle to wipe a bead of sweat from his brow "is what makes all the difference."

He tilted his neck, working out a dry pop that sounded like a gunshot. "If I have to die here, I'll do it as a paragon and not as a transgressor."

That he wouldn't die until he gave a certain someone even odds didn't come off the tip of his tongue.
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Frank said what they died for was what made the difference and Jasmine thought about the statement for a moment. It would have been a nice thought, if they were anywhere other than the Program as it was though they were being used to remind everyone of the power the government had.

To remind the rest of the population that the government was powerful enough to just send a group of school kids to their deaths and no one was able to speak out against it or stop them.

Frank than went on to say that if he was going to die he was going to die a patriot. It reminded Jasmine of the way she used to view things; better to be a real American than anything else. If only she had realised sooner what being a 'true' American had entailed.

"It'd be nice if I could believe you." Jasmine said as she scratched her lip piercings. "But in the Program we just die to remind everyone else how powerful the government is. Where's the point in that?"

She motioned over the valley with her hand.

"We were brought here to fight and die as a scare tactic. Sending kids to their deaths doesn't seem very patriotic to me."
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Frank almost shook his head, so casual was this girl's disrespect. She just didn't quite understand.

"That's goddamned unfortunate." He said, half snarling the words.

He closed what little gap had been between them with frightening speed. He raised the rifle up on its sling so the stock faced her, and with savage power he brought it down, directly at her face.

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Frank mentioned how something was unfortunate and Jasmine turned to face in time to see him rush her.

Next thing she knew the butt of his gun smashed into her face. There was a crunch as the blow broke her nose.

The blow was delivered with all the power the football player could muster and it knocked Jasmine backwards, as she feel she reached out with her hands to try and break her fall, she found nothing but air as she tumbled over the edge of the slope. Jasmine's heart skipped a beat as she realised what was about to happen.

The impact as she hit the slope knocked the wind out of her lungs. She tumbled backwards down the slope crashing through the bushes she had taken her time to avoid on her climb up the slope.

She tried to cover her head with her arms but a rock colliding with her head knocked her senseless.

After that it became a blur of pain.



When Jasmine regained consciousness she was aware that she was lying on her side. There was a pain in her head that felt like she was being stabbed and her hair was wet and sticky. She didn't remember what had happened. She remembered that she needed to find Ashley though. She tried to roll over but the movement caused another spike of pain that made her black out.

Soon Jasmine's breathing became more and more shallow until eventually it was barely noticeable.

Not long after that she stopped breathing altogether.

F14 - Jasmine Stone: Deceased

She never did find her friend.
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Frank didn't expect the girl to fall from the slope. It was just as well, he supposed. One way or another, he would've gotten the same results.

He watched her tumble down the slope, creasing the bushes and being chased by rocks and pebbles disturbed by gravity and her fall. Slowly, he raised a finger to give a solemn salute as she no doubt rolled to her death.

When Jasmine fell out of view, Frank looked back up at the view. Yes, it truly was beautiful. He'd never seen anything like it back home. The fact that he might never see anything like it again made him linger for a moment before turning to head back down.

He'd seen and done everything he needed to here.

((Frank Callahan continued in Walden)).
Edited by outfoxd, May 7 2013, 03:37 AM.
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