Here in SOTF, every day there is an announcement that is made, announcing those who've been killed, usually who by, and how. We'll occasionally gain insights into the goings-on behind the scenes with the terrorists, and it's here that we get our look at the demented mastermind, Danya, and his twisted sense of humour.
Lots of work usually goes into every announcement here at SOTF, and it's appropriate to give credit where credit is due.
(credit for each announcement will go here)
First Announcement Edit
"Bah, bah da da, bah rum pum pum pum!" Danya mused, tapping his hand in rythm with the tune as he sat in his trademark plush chair and studied the paperwork in front of him, "Goodness, I just LOVE the start of new seasons. Don't you, Dorian?"
"Oh!" Dorian, who had been sitting at a computer not far away suddenly exclaimed, "Y-yes sir. O-of course."
"This season's really got potential, Dorian! Lots and lots of potential! They've already soared above the first season's record for day one. Unfortunately, they're a little behind season two, but what they lacked in kills they're sure making up for in pure brutality, don't you agree?"
"Y-yes sir," Dorian yelped, staring blankly at his computer monitor and attempting to evade his glance from Mr. Danya.
"I've got a lot of hope for these kids," Danya continued, grinning broadly and taking another puff from his cigar, "It's funny how much of a difference a couple years can make. Add two more years of high school into the equation and it doubles all the drama and cinematics! It's simply brilliant, I tell you!"
"Well... of course, sir, b-but..." Dorian trailed off.
"But?" Danya piped up, rising from his chair and pacing in front of his desk.
"W-well sir... it's just that... that..."
"C'mon, c'mon, spit it out!" Danya barked.
"S-sorry sir. It's just that, well, there seem to be a lot of groups this time around... a-and a lot less players, to boot... is all."
"Oh?" Danya responded, his eyebrows raising in curiosity, "How many?"
"Um..." Dorian stuttered, scrolling through a menu on the computer in front of him, "Let's see... one of the largest groups seems to be congregated at the hospital, s-sir. It's B22, Ianto Murphy; B26, Gabe McCallum; B19, Dan Wolfe; G03, Serenity Halos; G06, Viki Valentine, and G08, Evelyn Richinson."
"Sounds like they're having themselves quite the little orgy there," Danya cackled.
A disgusted look passed over Dorian's face and he faded into silence, causing Danya's laughter to become that much louder.
"I'm kidding, you fool! If that's the only group, there's hardly anything to worry about!"
"B-but it isn't, sir. There are several others. There's a large group at the chapel, too. B77's in it, along with about four other students. And another group as sprung up at the marsh, this one's pretty big too. A-and there's another at the hollow tree. A-and another in the jungle, and..."
"Alright, alright. So there are a lot of groups. We've definitely got our players to dwindle down those groups a little bit, but maybe they could use a little hand, you think?"
"W-well sir, at this rate, the students may band together and refuse to participate, a-and... the collars would detonate and ruin the show."
"And we simply can't have that!" Danya exclaimed loudly, slamming his hands down on the desk and causing Dorian to jump visibly, "But don't worry, Dorian! I have the perfect plan. I'll just give everyone a little motivational boost... make them realize that they can't trust their classmates as much as they might have thought. That should do the trick. Then, they'll be slaughtering one another like cattle in no time!"
The public access speakers which had been strategically placed inside each sector of the island suddenly sparked to life with a screech, followed by the sound of somebody clearing their throat. Mr. Danya did so love doing the morning announcements. And, he was especially looking forward to this one. He was certain his idea for creating tension and distrust on the island would work like a charm.
"Good morning, Southridge High School!" Danya mused into the microphone, "And congratulations on surviving for one full day on the island! Of course, not all of you survived. I've got to commend you kids, really. In terms of death and mayhem, you guys totalled only three kills behind that crazy group of kids we had last season. Of course, you all did much better than those pathetic little weaklings from Barry Coleson High back in 2005. Two kills on the first day... really now, what kind of joke is that? But! I digress!"
Danya chuckled and the sound of papers shuffling echoed through the microphone for a moment.
"I guess you all want to know who the dead are and all that jazz, right? I guess I can oblige. Over the course of the past day, you all managed to slaughter a whopping nine classmates! And, I've gotta tell ya, some of these deaths were just downright cruel. The very first death on the island was quite interesting. After an extended fight, Nathanial Harris decided to get creative and used a pool of his own blood to electrocute Josh Goodman. Props to you, Nathanial, for your creativity. But really, kid, couldn't you have picked a different victim? Given Mr. Goodman's previous history, I was hoping he'd be quite the little game motivator. Then again, even less people would be suspecting you, now wouldn't they?"
Danya once again laughed before continuing on down the list.
"The second on our list of kills was just as gruesome as the first. You all remember dear Heather Tilmitt, don't you? She died next. Her baby's daddy was off his rocker, that's all I have to say. They found one another in the hospital, had a spat, and Lance Barrett wound up stabbing her to death with the little saw we gave him before he cut her fetus right out of her body! It was quite gruesome. Around the same time, everybody's favorite giant, Gabriel Theobaldt, was in the graveyard devestating the little group of idiots who had decided to hole up there. Unfortunately, he only scored one kill, Jason Foley. If he'd been smart, he'd have killed Will Sigurwhosawhatsitkid and Christian Rydell too. Shame on you, Gabriel!"
"Moving right along though, our next kill goes to a student who was already a pre-existing murderer outside of the school, and no, unfortunately, I'm not talking about Adam Dodd. Though I'm sure our dear fan favorite would have killed already if we hadn't given him such a crappy weapon! But no, I'm talking about Bobby Jacks! You see, Mr. Jacks encountered Tyson Neills on the riverbank not long after waking up on the island. Tyson was looking for friends, comfort, companionship. Instead, Bobby only saw the pretty little gun we gave Tyson, and, well, that was more than enough reason for Bobby to take the needle we gave him and put it through Tyson's skull! That put Mr. Neills as our fourth death of the day."
And that was that. That was Danya's devious, diabolical plan for planting the seeds of distrust in the heads of all the students on the island. It wasn't as if he was completely deceiving them. More like... romanticizing the truth just a little bit. People like Bobby Jacks were playing the game anyway, so they shouldn't mind being made to look even better, right? Danya sure hoped not. Making them out to be vicious, brutal murderers was a lot of fun, after all. The older man smiled a toothy smile and let out a light chuckle before clearing his throat and shuffling through his papers once again.
"Moving right along, fifth on my little list of the dead is Lance Barrett.. It seems one of my favorite little psychopaths didn't get to experience the joys of fatherhood for very long at all. After carving up Heather like a Christmas turkey and cutting her baby right out of her womb, Lance decided to hang around the hospital for a while. Apparently, it wasn't a very smart move on his part. Melina Frost had been hiding inside the hospital and had seen the whole messy scene go down, and I guess that in some weird form of vigilante justice, she felt the need to blow Lance's head apart at close range for his troubles. Now he's the headless horseman! Bahaha. Of course, even if she hadn't killed him, Paul Smith probably would have."
Danya let out a low chuckle and rubbed the side of his head slightly.
"By the way, hospital group? If you wouldn't mind, could you bury that nasty little fetus laying on the ground outside the hospital? Leaving a baby to rot in the sun? Really now, that's just morbid, even for this game. Shame on you people! You should have some decency. Hahaha! I suppose that brings me on to death number six. This one's a doozy, kiddos, so pay close attention while I tell you the story. Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a group of students who foolishly thought that they could band together and save one another from the horrors of the program! Well, one of these kids was a girl named Madison Conner, who had a schizophrenic fit when the group barricaded themselves inside the lookout tower and shot her friend Izzy Cheung. Unfortunately for Madison, she was a horrible shot and didn't manage to kill Izzy, but she did manage to turn her whole group against her."
"Enter Charlie Burchman, a very unlucky little man who wandered into the wrong place at the wrong time. Poor Charlie came into the tower looking for shelter and friendship! Know what the poor guy got in return? A bunch of paranoid kids who thought poor Charlie was trying to kill them! Wanna know what Charlie got for his troubles? This is where it gets confusing, kids, so pay attention. Keith Jackson was the first to attack, shooting poor Charlie at close range with his shotgun. Twice! Now, Charlie didn't wanna die, you see, so he started swinging his golf club around like a madman and got busted in the head by Izzy Cheung for his troubles. It was Ivye Dewley who delivered the coup d'etat, though, when she shoved a grenade down the boy's throat! It might have been a collaborative death, but sorry Keith and Izzy! Ivye's the one who finished Charlie off, so I've gotta give her credit for getting our sixth kill of the day!"
He couldn't help but smile. If he couldn't make more people play the game, he'd simply have to make it sound like more people were playing the game. And besides, he wasn't lying. Just twisting words a little bit. Keith and Izzy had attacked Charlie. Nobody on the island needed to know that it had been in self-defense. All he had to do was consistently twist stories to make the students look like crazed killers and in no time flat, people'd be offing one another like rabbits for fear of being killed themselves. It was such a simple idea with such potentially devastating consequences. It made Danya giddy just thinking about it.
"But Mr. Danya, this is madness! No. This is SPARTA!" Danya blurted out before bursting into a fit of laughter which lasted several minutes. Moments later, it stopped, and the large man took a deep breath before continuing, "Really now, Mr. Villa. You've been watching far too many movies. In case you all haven't guessed, Eduardo Trinidad-Villa scored kill number seven for the day, with a little assistance from Nathanial Harris... or at least, the pool of blood he used to electrocute Josh Goodman. His victim? Tanya Bonneville. Long story short, the stupid cow impaled herself on Eduardo's sword and he proceeded to kick her Leonidas-style into the electrofied pool of blood and fry her. Such a pity."
A fake sob escaped Danya's lips before the smug man grinned once again.
"Now that I've shed a tear of sadness, I'll be moving along to death number eight for the day. Tegan Bianco.. Most of you are probably wondering who the heck this girl was. From what my sources tell me, she was quite the unsociable little creature. Anyway, I wish I could tell you she went out with a bang, but it was more like a ... well, crunch. Hahaha. Tegan didn't wanna play my little game, you see, so the silly little girl hurled herself off the sea cliffs and into the rocky waters below. But, on the bright side, that's one less person you all have to kill! And that brings me to my final death of the day, Alex Steele. Let's see. Alex's game went horribly awry when resident loudmouth Guy Rapide burst into the mess hall and ruined his little party. Alex spazzed out, Guy spazzed out, the two wound up fighting, and Guy decided the right thing to do would be to lock poor Alex in the deep freeze!"
Danya started laughing, apparently finding the event itself quite funny. He laughed so hard that he snorted before breaking off into a light wheeze and finally stopping.
"I wish I could tell you that Alex froze to death, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case. The crazy little guy started firing the pistol we so graciously gave him ninety to nothing trying to get outta the freezer. Long story short, he got hit with his own bullet when it ricocheted off the side of the wall. And that concludes the deaths for day numero uno. Like I said, I'm pretty impressed with you guys overall, but I'd like to see you up the ante a little bit for today, alrighty? You people were offing one another like crazy this morning, and I'm disappointed to say that it's died down a little bit. Because of that, I think I'll be setting some dangerzones for this next portion of the game. You all read your handbooks like good little patsies, didn't you? I hope you did, because it's good to know that dangerzones, just like their name implies, are quite dangerous."
He coughed for a moment and stared down at the map in front of him, pondering just which sectors he should designate as dangerzones.
"I think... I'm going to make three!" Danya announced giddily into the microphone, "First of all, we've just got way too many people in the church! That simply won't do! So, the chapel is going to be the first designated dangerzone of the game! Secondly... let's see... how about the lookout tower? Yes, I think that'll be dangerzone number two. Finally and thirdly, the last dangerzone... let's see... the showers. Get out of there, you stinking kids! Bahaha! But seriously, you have five minutes to vacate the area before I blow your collars! Have a great day, everyone! Get out there and kill 'em all dead!"
Before Danya turned the microphone off, a lightbulb seemed to suddenly appear over his head and he jerked his head away from the speaker, making a loud noise in the microphone so as to keep the attention of the students that was probably diverting away from the announcements by now.
"I almost forgot!" Danya exclaimed loudly, "One more thing! Due to popular demand, the Best Kill Award is back? Know that that means, duckies? That means that if you kill somebody real good, and the boys around the office like it, we'll give ya an even better weapon to kill people with! We're awarding today's prize to B27, Mr. Nathanial Harris, for his cool little electrofied blood trick! This is how this is gonna work. B27, head on over to the sea cliffs A.S.A.P."
"Nobody get any bright ideas and try to follow Nathanial, though. The Sea Cliffs will become a temporary dangerzone for the morning. Once you enter the area, Nathanial, your collar will be deactivated and will not receive the dangerzone signal. It will, however, still be active should you try to remove it, and you'll blow your head off. Anyone who enters the area other than Nathanial will have their collar detonated, so if you're going to try to steal his weapon, please, wait in the bushes OUTSIDE of the dangerzone."
"Now, Mr. Harris. If you take too long and we get tired of waiting on you, we'll reopen the area and any Mr. Nobody can come and steal your weapon. We run the show here, we don't have all day to wait on you. When you enter the area, you'll find a crate with your weapon inside. Sounds all hunky-dorey, right? Of course it does! Get moving, Mr. Harris. I don't like my time being wasted! This is Danya, over and out!"
Second Announcement Edit
blitzkrieg167 has entered the "SOTF Discussion" Chatroom.
BRADLEY075: Hey Blitz!
ElleUnlimited: So, a new season of SOTF is upon us. Seriously guys, I think this is the coolest show EVER!
JimmyEatGod: my favrit caracter is gabriel teobalt. hes cool.
ReallyScooby2k: whaaaat? that guyz a fool!
ElleUnlimited: Well, who's your favorite, Scooby?
ReallyScooby2k: mm, prolly like eduardo or watever his name is. seems like he culd be a big villan.
ElleUnlimited: How about you, Blitz? Any preferences?
blitzkrieg167: hmm. well, i'm a big adam dodd fan, for sure.
blitzkrieg167: my favorite villain's probably that blood boy kid, and for the girls i like izzy and kallie.
BRADLEY075: Man, Izzy's hot. I've always had a thing for asians.
ThePretzel has entered the "SOTF Discussion" Chatroom
ThePretzel: What up, bitchez?
BRADLEY075: Oh hey Pretz. We're just talking about how hot Izzy is in SOTF.
ElleUnlimited: Adam Dodd? That ship's been done all over again. The fact he's back makes me wonder if it isn't fake.
ReallyScooby2k: like survivor rite?
ThePretzel: Haha, exactly. Izzy's okay but how about those guys she's with? Keith and Trey? Mmmmm, scrrrrumptious! :-D
JimmyEatGod: thos guys r totly fags!
blitzkrieg167: you think so, jimmy?
JimmyEatGod: i red this fic abot them and i culd totly see it hapinning.
blitzkrieg167: oh man, speaking of fics, i read one the other day that took place in the church, you know, when that big group all showed up there, and it was something like adam/kallie/sean/andy/matt. it was pretty raunchy, even for my tastes, and i'm normally into stuff like that!
ElleUnlimited: Yeah, I've read some pretty raunchy fics myself. Pretzel writes his fair share, too.
ThePretzel: And proud of it. *wink wink*
ReallyScooby2k: i red a fic about nadine + galen 2, it waz sad when they died yesterday tho
ThePretzel: You should see some of the new onez I've been putting up, I'm really proud of a few of them. now if only they'd happen in real life too. *sigh*
ElleUnlimited: Anything beats that old Sydney Morvran one from way back in the day. Anyone remember that kid?
BRADLEY075: LMAO Sydney, wasn't even the best Sidney either.
ReallyScooby2k: i dont think sotf evr had any1 named cooper yet did they? sidneys so common
ThePretzel: Not yet, I don't think, no. Anyone read my new fic? Just came out today.
ElleUnlimited: Which one's that, Pretz? Was that Guy Rapide, Alice Jones, and Gabriel Theobaldt? 'Cause that one was just downright scary.
ReallyScooby2k: lollerskates i <3 guy, hes so funny
ThePretzel: No, that was last weeks. I put out Kallie Majors/Melissa Diaz lesbian fic yesterday, and today I came up with my crown jewel.
JimmyEatGod: EWWWWWWWW tht wuz adam+ danya rite? that was grosssssss!
ElleUnlimited: ...you scare me sometimes, Pretz. Wouldn't you say so, blitz?
blitzkrieg167: haha, yeah, pretz puts out some strange ones sometimes. a lot of people seem to ship the danya/adam thing, but i personally dont see why. they hate one another, or at least it seems that way. that danya guy is always taking shots at adam, and vice versa. makes me wonder if the whole thing really is scripted or something sometimes. either way, its fun to watch!
BRADLEY075: That Kallie and Melissa fic was pretty hot, imo! I read teh funniest pairing last night! Somebody wrote this fic where Ken Lawson was paired with Burton Harris!
blitzkrieg167: wasn't that the body double kid or whatever? i read the story in sotf weekly the other day and apparently they're both real people and like... switched places and both got put into the game. how crazy is that?
ReallyScooby2k: ommfg, you know wat i read earlier? fukin' blood boy/boxer/mary. who tha hell came up wit that?!
ThePretzel: Can't blame that one on me. I'm working on a Darnell/Eduardo/Boxer rape story.
ElleUnlimited: As if there hasn't been enough of that in SOTF. :\\
ReallyScooby2k: ZOMG CODYJENSEN. hes a rapitst rite?
ElleUnlimited: ...yes, Scooby. You're the only one who still talks about that kid, anyway.
ThePretzel: No real rape stories yet on the island, anyway. Fics're one thing, but how about legitimate hookups? Anyone seeing Izzy turning to one of her strong beefy manfriends? Can Alice look past Guy's small stature? WHat about Corbin and Khystrya? Or whatever her damn name is? Or even Mary? Pregnant chicks need lovin too, right? *wink wink*
ElleUnlimited: Izzy has a thing with Dodd, remember? And he's with Julie, who has a thing for that mystery guy.
BRADLEY075: I bet my bro 50 bucks that dodd and julie hook up
ThePretzel: Haha. I wouldn't take that bet. What the heck do girls see in Dodd, anyway? He's fugly. I'd rather have someone like Darnell pouring hot lotion all over my chest...mmmm. But Dodd? NO thanks.
ElleUnlimited: That was a mental picture I didn't really need. I think the big question is if anyone's ever going to be able to pull off an escape. I'd say it's all but impossible but you never know. Hookups? That'll happen on it's own. This season's been good enough though...
ReallyScooby2k: nobudy wil ever get out, danyas not that dumm
BRADLEY075: Thats true, hes probably sitting in some room somewhere plotting his next diabolical scheme, listening to forums + chats for ideas. I've seen some pretty good ones you know.
ThePretzel:Who knows, Brad, you could be Danya himself! Or you, Blitz. Or you, Elle. Hell, even I could be Danya. *wink wink* JimmyEatGod: no wy pretzel ur more crayzee then danya is for sure =P
blitzkrieg167: i think danya has way better things to do with his time. haha! man, they released some pictures of his wife in sotf weekly. that chick is bangin hot!
ElleUnlimited: I saw that picture! I don't think that's REALLY his wife though. It's got to be a publicity stunt or something.
ReallyScooby2k: naw man, i bet thats really her. danya likes them yunger women. hes got the rite idea. if it was me, and i was put into that game, id be bangin all the bitches i could b4 i died! like, everbody. even if they was ugly. jus put a bag over theyre hed and go on, ya know?
JimmyEatGod: hell ya!
blitzkrieg167: but as for hookups? lets see... guy and alice is gonna happen, you know its just a matter of time. he cant get kallie, he's like a foot shorter than her. she'll probably hook up with darnell or keith or something. seems like she wants to find them a little too badly to me. i think will and christian are gonna turn out to be in gay love with one another or something. and i think brad and terrie is gonna happen, probably adam and julie too, though i personally think i like adam/izzy.
ElleUnlimited: Will and Christian would be sexy.
blitzkrieg167: uh-oh, i think the boss is coming. better skidaddle, people!
BRADLEY075: Bye Blitz!
blitzkrieg167 has left the Chatroom.
The rapping sound that echoed out from Danya's doorway was nothing more than a nuisance, at best. It was such a pity that he had been interrupted during his personal chat time. After all, he so enjoyed receiving the fans' opinions of Survival of the Fittest. In fact, he'd been doing this since the first season of SOTF was aired on television. The fansites, the flash games, the fanfiction... Danya revelled in all the free shipping that SOTF had received since it had first been shown on the air. Granted, it was the accidental reading of a particularly raunchy (at least in his opinion) fanfiction involving season one contestants Jacob Starr and Uriel Hunter that had caused three of his best henchmen to be thrown onto the island two years ago. Well, that, and the fact that Shannon McLocke had called him "pathetic".
"Yes, yes, what IS it?" Danya called out annoyedly toward the door.
The faint squeaking sound reverberated through the office and a tall figure, toned, tanned, and roughly 6'4" in height, stepped through the open door. Despite his intimidating appearance, his eyes were trained on the floor, almost as if refusing to make contact with Danya's eyes. It was for good reason, after all. The man ran a hand through his messily fixed brown hair before shutting the door behind him. His eyes remained trained on the ground as he spoke out in a low, gruff voice.
"You know I don't like to be disturbed when I'm in my office."
"Yes sir. Grossi requested that I turn his report in to you. He's currently unavailable."
The man shifted uncomfortably to the side.
"Oh?" Danya mused, rising from his seated position in front of the laptop and moving over to stand next to the man, who was considerably taller than himself. Danya grinned widely as he took the stack of papers from the soldier's hand and flipped through them, his eyes gleaming with excitement as he skimmed over the information detailed within the files. He turned his back to his companion and moved back over to his desk, allowing himself to sink back into the plush chair behind the large mahogany object. His lips curled into a cheshire grin once again as he looked at the soldier standing uncomfortably in the doorway, "According to Grossi's report, our little season three bunch is causing quite the ruckus down on the island. Seems they're destroying cameras left and right. Must be some silly sort of retaliation for forcing them into the game."
"Mm..." he muttered simply, his arms folding over his chest as his gaze remained averted to the side.
"I think they want attention, how 'bout you? People do lots of stupid things for attention... wouldn't you agree?"
"I think... we might have to give them more attention than they can handle."
A light yawn escaped Danya's lips, and just as quickly, the playful grin that seemed to be perpetually emblazoned on his face reappeared. He leaned back in his chair far enough to prop his feet up on the edge of his desk before taking his laptop into his lap. Unfortunately, the juicy little piece of fanfiction he was about to read would have to wait. It was time for the morning announcements, and as much as he wanted to read the kinky little piece of artwork involving Adam Dodd and a figment of his imagination, it would simply have to wait until after the announcements were over.
"By the way..." Danya smirked, his attention shooting back to the soldier waiting to be dismissed, "I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but I just wanted to say... it's so very good to have you back. We've missed you around here."
His tone was sarcastic, and the playful grin on his face made it hard to tell if he was being sincere or joking. The soldier simply grunted in response before Danya waved his hand, indicating that he could leave the room. The man wasted no time in doing so, shutting the door behind him and letting out a long and labored sigh. The guys running the show at SOTF might have missed him, but the feeling definitely wasn't mutual. His fingers reached up to trace the faint scar just above his brow, and slowly moved down to the eyepatch that covered the eye underneath.
"Goooooood moooooorning children!" the annoyingly cheery voice of Danya boomed from the public access speakers scattered across the island, "So, it's not quite as pretty as it was yesterday out there. Looks a little bit overcast, maybe it'll rain or something. I dunno. Besides that, rain is probably the least of your worries right now. On the bright side, at least it's a little cooler out there! I can't have you guys and gals dying of heat exhaustion or anything, now. It's so much more fun watching you maim and mutilate one another. Of course, that brings me to the point of this announcement, which is to tell you who's dead and who's a murdering psychopath. So, let's get on with it, then!"
"First of all, I've gotta say, you people have really upped the ante from the first day and gotten the lead out. I'm pretty impressed. We had nearly twenty kills yesterday! How 'bout that? Well, on with the deaths then. Tenth to die yesterday morning was Karl Van Buren. Who DIDN'T see this one coming? This kid had the worst luck I've ever seen! I'll give you the short version. Karl and Troy McCann were doing it in the shower when Jessa Vanallen walked in and broke up their party. Gabriel Theobaldt followed her in there and they'd all probably have had some crazy kind of orgy or something except for the fact that I declared it a dangerzone. So, Jessa and Troy hightailed it outta there and left Gabriel with Karl. I'll be honest, I was expecting some sodomization or something, but Gabriel just snapped the kid's neck and went on his way."
"The second death of the day was Owen Fontaine. To be honest, this one made me kind of sad. I liked this kid, and so did the viewers," Danya let out a fake sob, "Anyway, this crazy looking asian kid named Harry Tsai jumped him and tried to kill him, but Adam Dodd and Julie Mikan intervened and thought that Owen was the one attacking Harry. Long story short, Julie shot Owen instead of the guy that was playing. Good job, Julie!"
Even over the PA system, Danya's sarcasm was readily apparent.
"So yeah, he's dead. Number twelve to die was Evelyn Richinson. Ever wonder why your mom told you not to run with scissors, kids? Evelyn was probably the perfect example of that. She tripped, jammed the scalpel we gave her into an artery, and that was that. She bled to death within a couple seconds. Thirteenth to die was Luis Chezinski, who was strangled to death by Brenden Bedard for not rushing to his aide whenever James Brown went all crazy and attacked them both."
"Fourteenth down was the lovely miss Kara Holmes, although I guess she isn't so lovely now. She ran into Nathanial Harris at the sea cliffs, predictably started running her mouth, and dear Nate decided to shut her up... for good. Basically, he chopped her foot off, shoved it in her mouth, then dropped the firecrackers we gave her inside her mouth and blew her jaw clean off. Of course, her actual cause of death was suffocation from the foot wedged halfway in her throat, but I'd imagine she died very painfully... just the way we like it here at headquarters."
"Fifteenth to die, rather predictably, was Randy Flagg, slaughtered by Keith Jackson. Randy met up with the group in the jungle, and tried to jump on the bandwagon. Of course, it's sort of hard to jump on the bandwagon when you want to kill the people sitting on it, so of course, when Randy tried to stab Keith with his pickaxe, Keith turned around and shot the guy full of lead. Meanwhile, at the sea cliffs, Rebbecca Bradbury was busy becoming sixteenth on our list of the dead. Apparently, she'd been hiding in the bushes or something when good ole' Nate took care of Kara Holmes, and I guess it got her hot or something, 'cause she came out and started talking to him. Of course, if you guys haven't figured it out by now, Nathanial isn't the kind of guy who likes to talk, so instead of hanging out with her, he chopped off her arm and raped her with it. Course, she died of blood loss and all that fun stuff."
"Seventeenth was Kristin Washington. Kristin ran into a big group of people hanging out at the hollow tree and decided she'd help them patch up. Know what she got for her troubles? A bullet to the back of the head by Viktor Kurchatov, who tried to tell the group that 'he was just trying to help because she was going to kill them'. I smell bullshit, does anyone else? Unfortunately, that little group didn't kill Viktor like they probably should've, so now he'll probably be the death of them all!"
"Next down was Troy McCann. Apparently, Gabriel wasn't happy just killing Karl, so he decided to off Troy too. I think Gabriel's a homophobe, personally. He chopped Troy's arm off, a page he probably took out of Nathanial's book, then proceeded to tear off Troy's manhood and shove it down his throat before he finally gave the guy a break and beheaded him. SO yeah, that made Troy... or maybe I should call him Tonya now, number eighteen on my little list of the dead. Nineteen was Brenden Bedard, who died in quite possibly the stupidest way ever. He tripped, fell, hit his head on a rock, and died. The end. Boohoo."
"Dan Wolfe wasn't too far behind him. He did exactly the same thing that Evelyn Richinson did. He even fell on the same scalpel! What stupidity! You people have got to be the clumsiest people I have ever seen! He was also shot and robbed by Bobby Jacks, but, you know. On a more emotional note, Adwin Green was shot in the back by Paul Smith when she turned on his group and tried to attack Corbin Arlen. It was kind of sad, I guess. She gave the whole 'Paul... why?!" speech before she kicked the bucket, too."
"Next up on our list of the dead is Katherine Blanco. Sometimes, kiddos, you don't have to wait around for the competition to kill you. Some of you are so imperfect that Mother Nature decides to do it herself. That's what happened to poor Katherine. You see, Katherine was allergic to bees. She got stung while running around the island, and she died almost immediately from an allergic reaction. Sucks to be her! Next was Nigel Gillespie, killed by Dominica Shapiro. Don't let the fairer sex fool you into thinking they're weak, guys. I definitely wasn't pegging Dominica to win that fight, but she managed to kill Nigel!"
"We're slowly starting to wind down to the end of the list, but the deaths don't get any less interesting! Twenty-fourth down was Ric Chee, who was killed by Bobby Jacks. Then there was Burt... Ken... ahhh... Burken Larris! That's what I'm gonna call him, 'cause he can't seem to decide if he's Burton Harris or Ken Lawson. But yeah, this idiot managed to cheat death once before only to fall into an open hole at the graveyard and manage to get himself buried alive. Hey, at least you got buried in a cemetary, Burken! Most of these kids won't even get that! Numbers twenty-seven and twenty-eight are the last names on the list, being Galen Neilson and his girlfriend Nadine Willowbrook. I don't really know WHAT happened here. Apparently, they had a bad breakup on the island or something. Nadine shot Galen with a spear, Galen speared Nadine off the cliff. They both died!"
Danya smirked and cleared his throat before continuing.
"So I guess that winds up all the dead people, and we can move on to the other stuff. Effective immediately, the chapel, the lookout tower, and the showers are cleared as dangerzones. Because I'm feeling generous, I'm only going to set one today, and that's going to be the northern shore. Run while you can, kiddies! And last but not least, I've got to announce the winner of the daily Best Kill Award. Today, that award goes to a former member of my squad's little sextoy, Julie Mikan! Now Julie, the swinging bridge will be declared a temporary dangerzone that only you can access until you come pick up your weapon. We felt it was appropriate, what with you killing Owen there and all. Haha! But, don't dilly-dally! We don't have all day to wait on you, and we can ALWAYS just reopen the zone and give your new toy to someone else!"
"I guess I'll conclude this announcement with this message. Keep on fighting, children! Remember, if you don't kill your best friend, they might kill you!"
The light buzz emitting from the computer in front of him and the pale lighting provided by the black and green screen were the only cause of disturbance in the otherwise tranquil room. Everyone else had already called it a night and headed off into the bunks, but he was still there, idly staring at the monitor in front of him. Dorian hated nights like this. The silence really got to him... it always had, especially since that horrible incident a few years ago.
Dorian clenched his eyes shut tightly as images and memories suddenly flooded back into his mind. Even though the world around him was shut out, the images still persisted. They had, ever since that day... they'd haunted him. It wasn't at all what he'd imagined when he'd taken the job. After all, they had told him he'd be working on the technological side of the SOTF ACT. That was his forté. He was no combatant, that much was for certain. But still, Danya felt the need to shove them into that... that thing. He had been one of them that was forced into it.
And he had failed.
For all intents and purposes, he had "failed" the training exercise. The fact that he wasn't executed on the spot for his performance was, in and of itself, a miracle. They called him a "weak link", and ever since he'd emerged from the island, he'd constantly lived in fear, forever watching over his shoulder, afraid that the slightest move in the wrong direction would result in the forfeiture of his own life. And to think, he had first taken this job as a means to help his sick mother. Easy work for easy money was what they'd called it. Man, had they ever lied.
For a while after that horrible "training exercise", Dorian had resorted to taking what could only be described as "happy pills". He couldn't remember the technical name for them, and he didn't care. All he knew was that for a while, he didn't have to relive the things that happened to him on that island. For a while, all the painful memories were blocked away in the back of his mind and he could rest easy. For a while... he was able to repress all those horrible events.
But when his mother took a turn for the worse, Dorian had been forced to drop the medication in order to supply her with hers. Dorian loved his mother dearly, in fact, many people called him a momma's boy. For her to get the medicine she needed, he'd gladly do without himself. Only... since he'd done that, he'd begun having the nightmares and flashbacks again. He'd gone from being a little jittery to being the person he was when he'd emerged from that island... always cowering, always shaking. Sometimes, it was almost too much to bear.
His eyes opened widely and seemed to zone out as he stared at the glowing computer screen in front of him.
"Next up is... Pello!"
"Come on, come on. Get up here, Pello! Get your gear!"
"DORIAN PELLO! I know you're back there. Get up here and suit up, you're moving out!"
N-no! No! This can't be happening! I'm tech support! I'm not a soldier! I'm not a soldier!
Dorian felt a firm push on his back from one of the other AT members standing behind him. He stumbled forward before his eyes trailed up, nervously peering at Danya from behind his glasses. He blinked in confusion a few times as he looked at the rotund man, but Danya simply offered him a wide and mischevious grin as he tossed a large bag at Dorian. Dorian attempted to catch it, but it fell to the ground. He immediately pulled on the bag, fearing that dawdling around would get him into trouble. He struggled under the weight of the bag for a moment before exiting the room and moving into the door to the left.
"Well, well, well..." a booming voice echoed from immediately beside him, "Didn't expect ta see you here, lil' guy."
Vincent Trilby. They called him "Big V". He was the kind of rough-around-the-edges type of guy that you might expect to find in an operation like this. He was currently suited up in dark grey battle gear and holding what looked to be an assault rifle in his hand. A large grin was spread across his features, as though he were about to go on a hunting trip or something. In a way, Dorian supposed they were.
"I don't think I'm cut out for this..." Dorian squeaked out, only furthering the grin across Big V's face.
"Chill out, guy! S'just a little game! Think of it that way, yeah? We're just... we're goin' huntin'. You ever go huntin' with yer old man or somethin'?"
"I-I didn't..." Dorian stammered, causing Big V to frown somewhat.
"Well, you jus' stick with us then! We'll show ya tha' ropes!"
Big V... he was dead now.
It was pitch black outside, and even the large gun Dorian held shakily in his hands provided no relief from the fear and anxiety that was welling up in the pit of his stomach. Sometime after they had left the boat back on the shoreline, he had lost sight of Big V, and now he was stumbling through the forest all alone.
G-get it together, Dorian. You're a soldier now. Y-you can't be scared of these kids. They aren't the ones with the guns! You're in control here! Don't let them intimidate you!
The internal pep rally he was giving himself was failing miserably, and his hands still shook nervously as he traipsed through the forest. The sound of foliage cracking and breaking under his feet made him even more nervous, and he couldn't help but feel like he was being watched. Dorian stopped in place and wheeled around, checking behind him to ensure that he wasn't being followed.
Dorian let out a loud yelp as the noise hit his ears. He trembled violently at the sound of the wolf's howl, but it appeared that it wasn't anywhere nearby. He looked around nervously, his eyes scanning the woods around him once again. Nearby, he could hear the sound of rushing water. Somehow, it seemed to pacify him a bit, and he found himself running through the jungle toward the water.
Within moments, he saw it. A river, seeming to cut the island in half. The deep, dark woods gave way to a somewhat illuminated clearing. Dorian breathed a sigh of relief as he moved closer toward the running water. There was nothing and no one in sight. It was peaceful... relaxing...
A resounding crack suddenly echoed out and a horrible pain flared up near the back of Dorian's head. He felt himself falling to the ground and his hands instinctively moved to cradle his throbbing head in them. A sharp foot suddenly impacted with his side, causing him to roll over and face upward... right into the face of his attacker.
Much to Dorian's surprise, his attacker... was just a kid. Dirty face, dark brown hair, dark eyes... he looked like the football player type... but still, definitely just a kid. Perhaps more horrifying than the fact that he'd been floored by a kid was the fact that the same kid currently held a gun much akin to the one Dorian had. The look of pure hatred on the boy's face made Dorian cringe, and suddenly, he knew his fate was imminent.
"You bastard," the boy spat out quietly, "I should kill you right now. How's it feel, huh? How's it feel to be hunted down?"
Another voice. Dorian's eyes nervously darted around, and that was when he saw them. A large group of students, some armed, moving toward him. Dorian began shaking violently, sure that his life would end then and there.
To his surprise, the student who had spoken up moments before seemed to be calling his friend off. Was he crazy? Given half the chance, any member of the taskforce on the entire island would riddle their entire group with bullet holes, but this boy was going to let him go? It was almost too good to be true. Before Dorian could utter out any words, he suddenly felt the barrel of the first boy's gun on his forehead.
"Get up and drop your gun. Make any sudden movements and I'll blow your fucking brain outta your skull. Got it?"
Dorian nodded nervously and rose to his feet, allowing the assault rifle in his hands to clatter to the ground before raising his arms up in surrender.
"He's not like the others..." the second boy -- the one who seemed to be their leader -- spoke up, his blue eyes seeming to pierce Dorian to the bone with their gaze, "Maybe we can use this guy. Take him back to the base."
"With pleasure," the other responded.
In the next second, another loud crack resounded from the area, and an unconscious Dorian fell to the ground.
Dorian suddenly snapped out of it, deeply inhaling a shaky and uneasy breath. He remembered that night as clearly as if it had happened that day. He remembered the events that had followed as well. The thought of it all frightened him, and his hands shook as he readjusted the glasses on his face.
"Burning the midnight oil, I see."
Dorian yelped and spun around to face the intruder. Much to his surprise, it wasn't an intruder at all. Rather, it was someone he was quite familiar with. Someone he hadn't thought he'd see ever again.
"Mm," the figure grunted in response, "You've been staring at the computer screen for a while now."
"Y-yeah... I-I... just... lost in thought, you know."
"I think... I can relate," the figure stated with a nod, running a hand through his messy brown hair.
"You know... I'm surprised that you c-came back," Dorian stated solemnly after a moment of silence, "I'd ask the details, but..."
"You know how it goes..."
The large man sighed slightly and moved to walk out the door.
"H-hey... I meant to ask you, but... y-your eye..."
"... Call it... part of the welcoming ceremony."
The figure only grunted as he left the room. Once again, Dorian was left in silence, staring at the green and black of the computer screen. He sighed quietly to himself and shook his head before pulling up his email account, only to find that sometime during the course of the night, his mother had written him. Fortunately, she didn't know about the horrors of his job. She just knew that he had a cushy computer tech position for a very important company. At least he could spare her some of the anguish they had to endure.
Third Announcement Edit
The noise echoing out from the spinning blades of the helicopter seemed to drown out everything else in the vicinity, and even though Dorian Pello was standing no more than ten feet away from the infamous Mr. Danya, he could barely hear the bubbly man's words as he spewed out a stream of orders. Dorian could only squint his eyes and nod slightly in affirmation of Danya's words, although most were completely lost on him anyway. The rather rotund man in front of him didn't seem to care, though. He seemed far too giddy to notice that Dorian didn't have a clue what was going on.
"... You all can handle it while I'm gone, and I DON'T want any repeats of the little incident we had two years ago when I left, is that clear?"
Dorian managed to pick up the last sentence that left Danya's mouth and couldn't help but let out an audible gulp in response. The "incident" Danya was referring to from two years ago happened when a few former members of the Arthro Taskforce took it upon themselves to lounge around in Danya's office when he had gone home to visit his family around the middle of the game. It was all fun and games... at least, until they inadvertantly turned on the speaker in Danya's office while they were trashtalking him.
In Danya's book, that type of insubordination meant only one thing. Death. Dorian had always been a cowardly man, and the fact was, he was horrified at the thought of being killed. If there was one thing that Dorian had learned about Danya since he'd been assigned to the SOTF ACT, it was that the man didn't tolerate a lot of things, and he wouldn't think twice about killing insubordinates. After all, that had been the fate of Rice, Kaige and McLocke two years ago.
The way it had all happened had been quite cruel, really. Maybe they had deserved punishment for their actions, Dorian could see that much. After all, this entire program had strict rules and foundations, and insubordination against the coordinator was a big no-no in the rulebook. But... to cut out their vocal chords and throw them onto the island? He even went so far as to make poor Achyls use their chopper for target practice. It all seemed so... inhumane.
But that was Danya, he supposed.
It was ironic how a man who was so continually cheerful and easygoing in the office could be so cruel and sadistic. But Mr. Danya, he seemed like the type of man who was always drunk on power... at least, that was how he came off to Dorian. A sense of power came with the title of project coordinator, he supposed. Still, it was funny how Danya could watch his co-workers and underlings die horrible deaths and simply shrug his shoulders. In fact, the only time Dorian could recall seeing Danya even look grim about the death of an AT member was when Kimblee was killed in action.
"ARE you listening to me?" Danya spat out exasperatedly, causing Dorian to snap back to reality and stare at the pompous man.
"Y-yes s-s-sir!" Dorian stuttered out nervously, "B-but..."
"But what?" Danya sighed annoyedly.
"What ab-bout the a-a-nna-nanouncement?"
"Oh, right..." Danya responded, a quizzical expression coming across his face. The previous day on SOTF hadn't been all that interesting in his eyes. The kids had slowed down tremendously on their slaughtering from the previous day, which had been quite the disappointment to Danya. Besides all that, he was eager to get home and see Lilly and Amora... not to mention, his son was coming home on leave, and Danya hadn't been able to even speak with him in a long while. After a few moments of pondering, he looked back up at Dorian, a wide smile spreading across his face, "Why, Dorian... YOU can do the announcement!"
"M-ME?!" Dorian spat out.
"Why yes!" Danya exclaimed, "You'll do fine, I have faith in you! Just remember, I don't want any incidents!"
The rotund man beamed once again as he climbed into the helicopter, not giving his baffled assistant time to recover from the shock of his words, let alone adamantly refuse to do the announcement. Instead, the chopper began to lift off the ground and Dorian could do nothing but shield his eyes from the spiraling blasts of wind. Butterflies began to rise in his stomach as he thought about what Danya had ordered him to do, and how horribly it was going to go over.
The fact was, Dorian wasn't much of a public speaker.
Dark, ominous clouds rolled slowly over the still unlit sky of the island, bringing a howling wind that tore through the trees and caused the waves to crash along the beach with them as they accosted the area. The wind howled so loudly, in fact, that it drowned out the normally loud squeal that emitted from the island's public access system every time it was activated. Of course, the wind wasn't loud enough to drown out the voice that echoed out from the P.A. system, but to even the most pea-brained individual, it was quite obvious that the individual on the P.A. system was NOT Mr. Danya.
"H-h-hello?" Dorian squeaked nervously into the microphone before quietly clearing his voice, "T-today is d-day f-f-f-four of the SOTF ACT a-and the t-t-time is currently 6 a.m. This is D-dori--- ahhh, I mean, Mr. Danya's assistant. He c-could be with us t-today so I'll be making the an-an-announ-announcement in his p-place."
The fact that he was standing (he was far too scared to sit in Danya's chair) in an office where no one could see him didn't change the fact that Dorian had horrible stagefright. After all, the ongoing game was being broadcast around the world, and everyone could hear his voice. It made the mousy man all the more fidgety as he stood there, hands shaking slightly, staring down at the papers sitting on the table in front of him.
"S-so I think I'm s-s-supposed to a-announce the names of the s-students who died yesterday, s-so I'll just b-begin now. The first one was A-anderson Walker... I think he c-called himself A-andy. He s-slipped and f-f-fell down the quarry, a-nd he d-d-drowned when he h-hit his head on a rock and f-f-fell into the w-w-water. Next was Ivye Dewley. S-she was incinerated in a grenade e-explo-s-s-ion caused by Adam Dood. Viktor Kurchatov d-died immediately after Ivye, stabbed by J-julie M-mikan. Gabrielle... n-no, Gabriel Theobaldt was n-next, also dying in the g-grenade explosion that was caused by Adam D-d-dodd."
Dorian was rambling quickly through the names, desperately wishing to turn off the public access system and go back to his cozy little cubicle on the other side of the room. Somehow, he didn't imagine that his announcement was turning out quite like a "Mr. Danya" announcement.
"Only four more to g-g-go," Dorian stuttered out, fidgeting once again before playing with the papers in his hands, "Next is Trey Leyton, who was k-k-killed by... by..." Dorian stared down at the paper in front of his hands, barely able to read the name of Trey's killer, "Natanya Hartless!" he exclaimed finally before moving right along, "T-then there was Quale Hutchinson who was killed w-when Bobby Jacks broke his n-neck. S-simon Wood was next, impaled b-by Darnell B-butler. Finally, C-courtney Blaggé w-was our last death of the d-d-day, a-and her throat was slit b-by Harry Tsai."
The relief of the fact that he was almost done with the announcement was greatly starting to outweigh his fear of public speaking.
"The northern shore has been cleared as a dangerzone, if you want to go b-back there... b-but it looks awfully s-stormy out there, the waves are crashing down p-pretty hard. B-but... we have four new dangerzones, going into effect in the next t-ten minutes. T-those dangerzones are the hospital, the jailhouse, the c-chapel, and the c-c-caves so make s-sure you get out of there i-immediately, p-please."
Dorian sighed quietly as he stared down at the final note scribbled onto the paper in front of him.
"J-just one more t-thing..." he stated tentatively, "M-m-mister Dodd... you've won our daily best k-kill contest... s-so if you'd please head to the... the mess hall, we'll d-deliver your prize s-shortly. A-also! P-please don't come near the mess hall for the first f-few hours of the d-day. It will be a d-dangerzone until Mr. D-dodd picks up his prize! T-thank y-you!"
Dorian immediately hit the off-switch on the speaker and let out a relieved sigh. It was finally over.
Fourth Announcement Edit
Every time Danya stepped foot into the foyer of his cushy two-story home, he couldn't help the wide grin that inevitably spread across his face. He was home, and for Danya, home wasn't a place he saw often enough. While many men are content to be "married to their job", Danya simply wasn't one of them. It wasn't that he disliked his job. In fact, he thoroughly enjoyed it. However, as he walked into his home and was assaulted by the smell of something burning in the stove, he couldn't help but be reminded of how much he missed his family.
"Daddy!" a bubbly, high-pitched voice echoed out as the sound of running footsteps came rushing from the kitchen, "Daaaaaaddy!"
Danya couldn't help but smile as eight-year-old Amora rounded the corner, nearly tackling him to the floor in a tight embrace. Somehow, every time Danya saw her, it was like she'd grown up even more. Physically, she hadn't changed all that much... her long brown hair was still tied up in two braids, and her big blue eyes seemed to beam with a sort of youthful innocence. Danya didn't have much time to reminisce before he found himself being pulled into the kitchen by the eight-year-old.
"Guess what, Daddy?!" Amora squealed, not even giving him time to respond, "Guess who's here?! It's Tracen! Tracen came home!"
"So your mother said," Danya beamed, following Amora into the kitchen where Lilly, his wife, looked up and greeted him with a large smile of her own.
As she pulled a casserole from the oven, the source of the burning smell became readily apparent. Her eyes moved down to the hot pan in her hands and then back to her husband. For a moment, she looked upset, but instead simply shrugged her shoulders and let out a small laugh.
"I thought I'd make something special for when you came home," she started, then sighed somewhat, "But... it didn't turn out so well."
"Fine with me," Danya insisted with a nod, "As long as you made it, I'll eat it."
"I don't think it's edible, Dad," another voice rang out with a soft laugh.
"Well now," Danya beamed once again as his attention fell on his son, "Been a while, son."
"Sure has," Tracen responded with a grin.
Twenty-two and a soldier for the homecountry's military, it wasn't often that Tracen Danya found himself at home. The fact that his father, who he'd always looked up to as an idol of sorts, had taken the time off from his busy job to fly home and see him meant a lot to Tracen, and the expression on the soldier's face showed it.
"It's good to see ya, Dad. I didn't think you'd be able to come in."
"Are you kidding?" Danya grinned, "They couldn't keep me away!"
"So... about dinner," Lilly spoke up once again, her face flushing red as she looked at the mess of burnt food that was her casserole, "I'm thinking takeout sounds good."
"How about we go out to a nice dinner?" Danya suggested with a grin, "It's been way too long since we've gone out as a family."
Things might have been going smoothly at the Danya household, but back at headquarters, Dorian was making some vain attempt at preparing himself for another announcement. As he sat, reviewing the tapes from the previous day, he seemed even more jittery than usual. Danya had only been gone for a day, but the strain of essentially running SOTF was taking a toll on his nerves. The fact that the day had been slow only added insult to injury, and Dorian couldn't help but feel that he'd be blamed for the fact that the students had all but stopped killing one another.
"Oh dear," Dorian sighed quietly as he watched a replay of Darnell Butler's kills for the day. One other student, a cheerleader by the name of Jodene Zalack, had managed to score a kill, but other than that, the day had been a total disappointment. Danya certainly wouldn't be happy about that. To make things even worse, the storm that had been on the horizon was starting to kick up on the island, and between the rain and the wind, the cameras weren't doing much in the way of visibility.
It all equated to one thing. They were losing ratings.
Danya was gone for one single day.
And they were losing ratings.
Could things possibly get any worse?
Dorian frowned visibly as his attention turned toward his watch. It was time to make the morning announcements once again. As much as he rued doing the announcement yet again, it didn't seem as though he was going to have any choice in the matter. No word had come in that Danya had returned yet, which meant that Dorian was in for another long day.
"G-good morning, students," the shaky voice echoed out from the island's speakers, "As you might have guessed, Mr. Danya is still away, and so... and so I'll be doing the announcements once... once again today."
Dorian nodded in affirmation to himself. So far, so good. He was sounding much better than he had on the last announcement. Maybe this wouldn't be so horrible after all... except for the fact that he still had to deliver the bad news about there being only three deaths the previous day. He certainly wasn't looking forward to that.
"Well first of all, I g-guess I should mention that the weather outside is... is getting pretty nasty, b-but you guys probably know that already. It might be a good idea to get out of the rain... the cameras work better inside and all... but... but anyway, I suppose you all want to know which students were killed yesterday. W-well, there were only three deaths yesterday, which is... not good, for you all. I'm sure you remember... i-in the guidebook, how it says you have to have at least one kill every twenty-four hours, r-right? T-three kills... it's not very good. If not for the two students who were doing the killing yesterday, you might all have had your collars detonated."
Dorian cleared his throat quietly, trying to keep his voice from trembling.
"B-but anyway... as Danya would say, on to the deaths. T-the first student to die was Daniel Brent at the airfield... he was beheaded by Darnell Butler. Second to die, also k-killed by Darnell Butler, was Eduardo Trinidad-Villa. That brings Darnell's k-kill count to t-three, I believe. Um... t-the only other death for the day was Khrysta Lawrence, whose throat was slit by Jodene Zalack."
In a roundabout way, Dorian was glad that not a lot of students had been killed over the course of the day. That meant he didn't have to sit here and do the announcement very long, and that was a good thing.
"So... so that's all of the students who died today. I think if Mr. Danya were here, he'd tell you to do better or something like that. Um... let's see... b-because the boss is away, we didn't hold any sort of contests this month... it's not like we really had too many kills to vote from and all, s-so I guess I can skip that part. So, I guess all that's left is dangerzones... um... all the current dangerzones are cleared, so y-you can now re-enter them. As for new dangerzones... um... oh, goodness... the... the barracks, the brook, and... and the northern shore. They'll become restricted in ten minutes, so get out soon, please."
Content with the announcement, Dorian promptly cut the speaker and headed back into the safety of his cubicle.
When the cat's away, the mice will play... or so the saying goes. Naturally, the same was true of Danya's lackeys. Since the "Big Cheese" of SOTF had taken an impromptu vacation to travel back to his home, things at the base were getting pretty lax. For whatever reason, Mr. Danya had left his personal assistant, Dorian Pello, in charge of the runnings of SOTF, and for the past two days, that had meant that his more able-bodied underlings found themselves trying to keep things under control.
Still... dissent was forming in the ranks quickly, and talk of treason seemed to be at an all time high around the facility.
"But you know..." one full-geared soldier whispered quietly, "I'm starting to think it's just... not right. Why couldn't we use something else... someone else?"
"You know better than to question him, though," the other replied, his tone even more hushed, "You remember what happened to the others."
The first soldier sighed, rubbing the back of his head a bit.
"I know, I know... it's just... man, I've got a daughter the same age as those kids. I think it's just starting to get to me. I watch that footage and I see her out there getting raped, beaten, and killed."
"Oh come on," the other soldier assured him, "You know that'd never happen. It doesn't work that way."
"But what if it did?" his companion retorted.
"It's not gonna happen that way. Look at me, I've got a sixteen year old son too, doesn't stop me from doing my job."
The pep talk didn't seem to be working. Despite the fact that it was statistically impossible for the soldier's daughter to even be placed in Survival of the Fittest, the fact that they were using children nearly the same age was starting to bring his morale down. The same could be said of many soldiers throughout Danya's base. After all, it's hard to watch children being slaughtered on your own broadcasts and then go home and look your own child straight in the eye.
As the two men were talking quietly, another figure strode down the hallway... a large, imposing figure. He was one of the best, at least, that's what they said. The fact was, although he hadn't seen any sort of battle in nearly two years, he could've probably easily killed most of the "grunts" patrolling the base if he sat his mind to it. The figure's eyes moved to focus on the two grunts as he picked up part of their conversation.
The two were so submerged in their own thoughts that they didn't see him walk up behind them. He brushed a strand of his long, dark hair away from his face as he moved toward the two soldiers. For a moment, he simply stood there, absorbing the conversation that was taking place between the two men. Then, he placed his hand on the first man's shoulder.
"You sound like you're not too happy with your job, soldier," he muttered quietly, his face almost expressionless.
The soldier nearly froze as the man's voice rang out in the hallway. He immediately wheeled around, clearly a lot more nervous than before, as he stared at the figure standing before him.
"S-sir... Maverick, Sir!" he belted out nervously.
They all knew him as Maverick, but his real name was Mark Alura. For all intents and purposes, he was a veteran of the SOTF ACT. He'd been around since the beginning stages of the game, had been one of the most lethal competitors during the infamous Test Run 8, and had proven his loyalty to Danya and their cause time and time again. It was for good reason that the soldiers currently cowering before him were afraid.
"The walls around here have ears, you know," Maverick mused with a faint smirk, "I'd watch what you say in this base, especially when it's insubordinate."
"Y-yes sir!" the soldier sputtered out. Meanwhile, his friend had gone completely silent and was simply staring at Maverick, sure that something horrible was about to happen to the both of them.
"I'd suggest you get those thoughts out of your head," Maverick muttered once again, his eyes briefly making contact with the startled soldiers, "... Carry on."
It was several minutes after Maverick turned and walked away before either of the soldiers could find the will to function once again. It seemed they had lucked out. If some other member of the Arthro Taskforce had overheard their conversation, they might well have been killed for treason... or worse, thrown onto the island and forced to fend for themselves against the students they had helped to imprison. It was a constant thought in the back of every soldier's mind at the base.
With tension building up over the SOTF ACT, every day, that threat seemed all the more real to many of the base's occupants.
Fifth Announcement Edit
It was raining that day too. Still, it seemed like the rain didn't dampen people's spirits any. Why would it? The end of May... school's about to let out, we're all looking forward to an awesome summer and senior year. Sad part about it is, a few hours from now, most of those kids would be dead. Like cows being lead to a slaughter. That's what we were. In the end, we were just a bunch of stupid kids, never suspecting a thing as we boarded up that bus and headed off for the last big "hurrah" of our junior year. It was one hell of a "hurrah", alright.
Everything happened so fast. One minute, we're driving along, listening to Ericka blaring some random boyband music on her iPod while Taryn and Bonnie fawn over the bubblegum-pop brand singers, and the next? Hell. Total chaos. Bullet comes flying through the front windshield of the bus, killing our driver instantly, and these guys bust in with guns. The next thing we know, they're slaughtering all our chaperones. I gotta tell ya, watching my favorite teacher of all time, Mr. Blackmore, get killed? It's not on my priority list for things I wanna do on a Thursday afternoon.
Some guy in a ballcap comes waltzing in... couldn't see his face for the baseball cap covering it up... not like I was lookin' anyway by this point. Things had gone far too downhill. Guy tells us, "Congratulations, you've been chosen to participate in a trial run of the Survival of the Fittest program!" like we should be all giddy about it or something. When he starts to explain what this whole "SOTF" thing is all about... that's when we start panicking. A couple people try to make a run for it, get a few new holes in their bodies for their troubles. Guess the guy wanted to make a point.
Things went black pretty quick after that.
When I came to, I found myself laying in the grass somewhere. Things didn't really register for a minute, but the second I saw a couple guys in full camo gear and armed to the teeth go running past, everything came back to me. The next five days were hell... there's no other way to describe it. By some miracle or another, I managed to survive it... against the odds, I survived, while they all died. Everybody I ever cared about... Quentin, Chance, Keri, Lilly, Eli... Dane... everybody died.
When I look back and ask myself if it was worth it... the honest answer is no. But I'm still here... still alive.
The sound of the rain seemed to drown out the bustling noises of the nearby city as it poured from the sky. The gentle tapping of the rain against the nearby cement might have been relaxing at any other time, but not on this day. On this day, it was a reminder, and a painful reminder at that. He'd been standing on the building's balcony, absent-mindedly kicking at a nonexistent pebble on the ground for some time now. To him, it only felt like a split second. This day, and all the horrible memories it brought back, seemed to drag on endlessly.
The voice that broke the silence caused Zach to glance back momentarily in some inadequate acknowledgement of it.
"I thought I'd find you here," the voice mused quietly before pausing for a moment.
The sound of footsteps radiated off the pavement as the somewhat petite figure moved out into the rain, "Dwelling on the past again, I see."
"Something like that..." Zach muttered quietly.
"You know..." the girl moved slightly, spinning around and offering a wide smile toward the rather glum figure, "They say that people who always look toward the past can never see the future."
Dera... always so cheerful. Always smiling. I just don't know how she does it... after all, she survived too.
It covered the island, causing the brook that normally cascaded gently through the middle of the island to surge through its usual pathway and explode over the edges. The incessant rain had started to flood the island, and the ground was a soggy mix of mud and soaked foliage. The rainclouds had been passing over for some time and even now, showed no signs of ceasing any time soon. For many of the students on the island, the constant downpour was dampening their spirits along with the island.
Of course, the childrens' dampened spirits didn't stop Danya from being in a hearty mood after returning from his short trip home. That much was evident as the speakers across the island squawked to life.
"Gooooood morning children! I've gotta tell ya, it's great to be back! I've missed you all, you've been such busy little beavers while I was away!"
Inside his office, Danya was grinning from ear to ear as his eyes scanned down the nineteen deaths from the previous day -- well, twenty-one, if you count the two that incompetent fool Dorian forgot to announce the day prior. His mistake hadn't gone unnoticed, and after the verbal lashing Danya had given him about it, Dorian had been walking around like a scolded puppy with his tail between his legs.
"I see it's still raining out there. Must be terrible for you all. But hey, look at the bright side! At least the stink on the island had gone away a little, I hope. You all definitely added to it yesterday, that much is for sure! Well, I guess I'll get right into it then, cause it sure looks like I've got a lot to announce. I hope you all won't be too sore at me, but I didn't watch the program from yesterday. Family time and all that jazz, you know, so I'll be relying on notes to get me through this announcement."
"But don't worry guys, I still love you!"
Danya chuckled for a moment before clearing his throat and shuffling his papers.
"First and foremost, I should announce two deaths from day four that got left out, due to a certain incompetent fool who I foolishly left in charge while I was away. Maybe you've seen them around? The first was our dear Monique St. Claire, who, coincidentally, was also killed for being an incompetent fool... or I guess that's how Melina Frost felt when she slit her throat. The other that died on day four was some kid named Adonis Zorba... probably forgotten because he was a big nobody who died 'cause he foolishly fell asleep in a dangerzone."
"But out with the old, and in with the new, right kids! I've got a whopping nineteen new deaths to announce from yesterday, so get your pen and paper ready, kiddos! First and foremost was Lilah Morgan, who was shot and killed by her ex, Clive Maxwell. Boohoo. Oh well, nobody really cared anyway! Second to die was Luke Rowan, who was thrown to the wolves, so to speak, by Nick Jones when Nick shoved him to the ground in a dangerzone to save his own skin. Nick saved his, but I'm afraid Luke might've lost his head... get it? Lost his head? Hahaha!"
Danya cackled loudly at his own joke. So loudly, in fact, that he almost snorted before taking a gasping breath and settling down.
"Next down was Anna Vaan, who stupidly tried to take on the Priestly twins in the marsh. She might've had the right idea, but two-on-one are not good odds, especially when the one is armed only with a lacrosse stick. Lenny Priestly tore this girl up pretty bad. I mean, by the end, his own sister was begging him to stop! It was truly a spectacular moment! You should read all the saucy twincest fics they're writing about you two!"
"Dominica Shapiro was next to score a kill for the day when she offed Bradley Armstrong. Let that be a warning that the ladies are just as capable of murder, gentlemen. Who needs size when you've got a speargun? Certainly not Dominica! Shot that spear straight through Bradley-boy's chest, she did! Killed him dead! 'atta girl! Next down was Julia Lauper, stabbed to death by Jordan Redfield. Guess he's not such a nice guy after all!"
"Not too long after that, Lenny Priestly struck again, finishing off Keiji Tanaka as he tried to commit suicide! Why do for yourself what others can do for you, Mr. Tanaka? Lenny certainly seems to see it that way. Next up... whoo boy, this one's a doozy! It seems Mr. Wade Wilson ran out of medication and went on one heck of a killing spree. He travelled up to the lagoon and offed the entire group that had gathered there! Kode Hairesu, Mortimer Jones, Braden Marsh, Jodene Zalack, and Joe Gai. He killed them all in one fell swoop! Bravo, Mr. Wilson! Bravo!"
"I bet that got your blood pumping, didn't it, kids? Well guess what, we aren't done yet! Mousy little Madison Conner went on her own miniature killing spree next, axing Sharon Kulikov before stabbing Paul Smith to death. I gotta say, Paul, for such a tough guy, you sure went out like a little girl! Next down was Christian Rydell in what was basically a mercy killing from his lover... er... friend, Will Sigurbjor-whatsawhosit! It was more lovers killing lovers next when Steve Digaetano offed Serenity Halos. Such a shame, she was such a hit with the fans!"
"Anthony Burbank died next when his cousin Lyn.... or Laeil, I guess she wants to be called now, went a little bit crazy and decided to slice and dice him. Jeff Marontate was right behind him, axed by Jessa Vanallen. Getting tired yet, kiddies? Don't worry, we're almost done! Eighteenth down was everyone's favorite little loudmouth, Guy Rapide. You see, there was a lot you all didn't know about Mr. Rapide, like the fact that he happened to be the father of Mary McKay's child! Well, Mary didn't take too kindly to the fact that Guy didn't want to protect her and their baby so... she cut off his testicals and killed him!"
"Sadly, she didn't live long afterwards. My favorite loony-toon, Wade Wilson, saw what she did to Guy and decided to gut her like a fish, making Mary McKay last on my list of deaths for the day! So, that brings us to our little office contest! Laeil, we like you, kid. Personally, I liked Wilson a little bit better considering he performed half of yesterday's kills, but the guys in the office say you're the one, so congratulations! But... you aren't the only one! See, this time, my staff was a bit indecisive, leading to a three way tie between yourself, Lenny Priestly, and Harry Tsai! Head on over to the northern coast to collect your prizes, kids! After you get it, the area won't be a dangerzone anymore, so watch your backs when you leave!"
"Moving right along, then, it's time for dangerzones. The north coast will remain a dangerzone temporarily, and will be cleared shortly. The brook and barracks are now clear. The following dangerzones will be going to affect in ten minutes. The hospital, the cottage, the lookout tower, and the mess hall. Run, little rabbits! Run! But first, you might want to stay tuned for the last part of my announcement. You see, there's a little pain in the ass group of students on the island that calls themselves S.A.D.D., and this little pain in the ass group has been going around, destroying my cameras."
"You see, this is a problem. Maybe you little peons think I haven't dealt with groups before... but you're wrong. Very wrong. So, this is how this is going to work. Are you listening, Neil Sinclair? You might want to listen a little closer."
A staticy noise erupted from the microphone for a moment before Danya's voice was wiped from existence. Instead, another voice, the voice of Trinity Sparks, echoed out over the PA system.
"Jazz? I think we're lost."
"We aren't lost... I just... don't know where we are right now, okay?"
"But we've been in this jungle for days and..."
"Shut up, okay? Just shut up and let me think."
"J-Jazz... what was that?"
"What on earth?!"
"J-Jazz... the jungle's not a dangerzone, right? What's going on?!"
"I... I don't know!"
"Oh my GOD! Trinity! TRINITY!"
The static sound burst from the sound system again, and Danya's voice once again rang through.
"Wednesday Ryan. Eliminated."
"Melissa Diaz. Eliminated."
The sounds of the girls anguished screams as their collars exploded filled the PA for a moment, even sending chills down Dorian's spine, who was hunkered over in his cubicle.
"Here's the deal, Mr. Sinclair. For every camera you break, I blow another collar. I think you'll find that I have more cameras than you all have heads, and it's just a matter of time until you or one of your other pesky little members rolls the lucky number. I hope I've made myself crystal clear on that. Toodles!"
The PA cut to silence, leaving nothing but the girls' bone-chilling screams resonating in the air.
Dorian's Error Edit
Dorian was lucky to be alive.
It wasn't his fault, really. The poor bastard had gotten in so far over his head that he didn't have a clue what to do anymore. It was all like a bad dream that he just couldn't wake up from; that there wasn't any escape from. He'd seen what happened to the last person who tried to get out and leave it all behind. It was horrific, and after everything he'd witnessed and seen, Dorian knew that he truly had no choice in the matter. He had to keep working here, and survive as long as he could, until he made a mistake and got murdered for it.
People had been killed for less, of course. Take Kaige, Rice, and McLocke. The three of them had gotten bored, read a fanfiction out over the speakers, and had ended up with cut vocal chords and one-way tickets to the SOTF island, the first time that adults had participated since test run 0.4. Kaige had been the only one who'd done anything of note, cutting down twelve kids before getting killed herself. It was a fate that Dorian wouldn't wish upon anyone, and had first-hand experience with, ever since his fateful encounter with those May 25th kids. He'd barely made it out of that alive, and he never of many of his fellow workers who hadn't. Ever since, Dorian had realized what he'd gotten himself into, and the formerly cool and collected computer programmer turned into a jumpy, nervous wreck of a man to whom doing a good job had become his entire reason for being.
So it was here that Dorian found that he, himself was the recipient of some unbelievably incredible luck, as Danya had not decided to toss him on the island, rip out his vocal chords, or castrate him in some terribly inefficient way. Instead, Danya had screamed at him and given him an assignment that in retrospect, wasn't all that bad. The verbal lashing he'd recieved had hurt, and it had hurt quite a bit. Dorian had been placed in charge, and had essentially fucked up. How could Danya have figured him to do otherwise? Dorian wasn't the 'leader' type, and to be placed in the position where he would have to do an announcement, and run the ship...
Dorian had wished for someone else to come and relieve him, and yet that had never come.
The big mistake hadn't been that terribly important - he'd simply forgotten the names of two dead students, and had neglected to inform the kids of their respective demises. An innocent mistake, he figured. He'd hoped Danya might never realize it. Of course, he was Danya, and he did, and Dorian had been fucked. He recalled the look of dread on the faces of every single person who was working at the time as he'd been called into Danya's office with the tone that Danya only reserved for the kids who won, or those who were about to die, and he felt as though he were walking to his own execution.
...and I hadn't even gotten my last meal...
It hadn't been as terrible as he'd expected, though. Sure, it was awful, and he kept expecting Danya to pull out a gun and shoot him in the forehead, but it seemed as though Danya had a soft-spot for poor old Dorian, and he simply reprimanded him and put him on bitch-work duty. Which, in this case, meant cleaning out one of the older supply cupboards that hadn't been cleaned out since the beginning of V2. It was, for a change, actually kind of nice. Dorian found himself relaxing in the large cupboard, going through thousands of papers and reports, deciding what to catalogue and what to keep. This was the kind of work that he'd signed up for originally, not realizing what it would eventually lead to.
If only Mom knew where her medical expenses were coming from, I bet she'd rather have myself whoring on the street than doing this...
As his thoughts turned to his poor old mother, Dorian put down the box that he was currently sorting through and sighed. Affected pretty severely from leukemia, Dorian was doing everything he could to try and pay for her medical expenses. At first, being a person who was not of means, he had tried working several jobs at once, using his engineering degree to the best of its abilities and running a small computer repair business out of his basement. It had sufficied for a time, but an electrical fire had destroyed his entire home, the insurance only covering the home portion of it, and not the business. As such, his business had gone down the tubes, and without a place to live, he'd lost one of his jobs, leaving him with barely enough money to keep himself afloat, much less pay for his mother's medical bills. Finally, he'd become desperate, applying at every single computer-related job that he could find, hoping that someone would offer him enough money to make things work. It had seemed hopeless, until one fateful day, he'd recieved a call from a man named Greynolds...
At the time, Dorian had jumped at the chance to make what appeared to be a ridiculous salary. Jim Greynolds seemed legitimate enough, and even though the young man seemed a little...young - almost as young as Dorian himself, he came complete with an offer that Dorian could essentially not refuse. At first, it had seemed like simple work, stuff that Dorian could do in his sleep, with the sole provisio that he had to be confidential about the whole thing, with random trips that could be taken at any point during the year. It hadn't seemed like a problem, and Dorian had worked on a large part of the system that SOTF used, without realizing what it would be used for, or how. Once he had...it was far, far too late. There wasn't a way out that didn't involve painful death, and Dorian knew that he was as culpable as the rest of them. "Following orders" didn't make him any less guilty, and even though he had absolutely no zeal for what he was doing, he was helping, and that was painful enough to process...
Pushing the horrible thoughts of what might happen to him if they were ever actually caught, Dorian reached into the box and pulled out the next item he was ready to sort through. Most of it had just been personal effects from deceased members of the SOTF organization, or things that people had filed away, to be looked at later. Of course, they never were, and now sat for Dorian to find. Danya had told him, he was to put everything in it's proper place, and to be absolutely thorough in his filing..."or else". He'd let the "or else" sit in the air, and it had so much resonance to it that Dorian had almost vomited on the spot just thinking about what it might mean.
The next object that came out of the box appeared to be a set of car keys, complete with a funny little pink frog and a USB flash drive attached to them. As he examined the keys in his hand, something caught his eye that was taped to the flash drive. As he picked it up and looked closer, Dorian raised an eyebrow. A small piece of masking tape was attached to the flash drive, with the words 'KAIGE - PRIVATE!' written on it in black marker. A chill ran through Dorian's spine as he realized just what exactly he was holding. Angelina Kaige had been one of the three terrorists who'd been condemned to death for reading the fan-fiction out loud during V1, and had essentially been the 'examples' for all of them to be on their best behaviour. Kaige had also been a woman who the majority of, if not all of the men working in SOTF had held an attraction for. Dorian was undoubtedly one of those people, and had often fantasized about Kaige coming in to his room at night, and...
Dorian shook his head. Kaige was dead, and in his hands, he held her own personal flash drive. He often observed her typing away at what he assumed was a private journal, but never knew just where she ended up keeping it. Eyeing the drive, he thought about what secrets it might hold on it. It was juvenille, sure, but Dorian had often wondered if Kaige noticed him, or who she was really interested in amongst the other staffers in SOTF. Hesitating for a moment, he tried to justify it to himself. If he got caught looking at it without doing his job, he would be REALLY screwed. But just to know...
It was Danya's own words that made up Dorian's mind. If he was truly going to be thorough, he would need to investigate the contents of the flash drive. She'd been working on it right up until her fateful announcement, and if he remembered correctly, it had been plugged in to her computer the entire time that V1 had been on, only being disconnected immediately prior to the system restore that they had done. If that were the case...it was likely completely unedited...
I'd better make this quick...
Palming the keys, Dorian rose from his seat in the storage room and hurried off to his workstation. Quickly booting up the computer, Dorian glanced arount the room. Danya was nowhere to be seen, and being it just about lunch-time, most of the senior staffers were away at lunch. The large display screens monitored the game's progress, with a map that showed the locations of every student still left alive. They were able to pull up the vitals at a moment's notice, and could analyze the biographical information as well. It was a solid system that they used - he figured that he should know, as he designed it.
...and here I figured it was all for a video game, or military training...so fucking stupid of me!
He'd made a few upgrades since V1, and especially after V2, that streamlined the interface and made things much easier to find and load up. Dorian was indeed a little proud of the system, just not exactly thrilled at it's intended usage. Pushing the thoughts again away from his mind, he nervously opened the little drive casing and stuck the flash drive into his station. Immediately, the dialog box to open the drive popped up, and he double clicked, looking to see what was on the drive. As it opened, his eyes widened. He'd hit the fucking jackpot. On the drive were files on what looked to be everyone, as well as a subfolder marked 'journal' and one marked 'personal'. It seemed that Kaige was quite the little writer. Searching eagerly for a specific folder, he almost squealed with glee at finding one marked 'Dorian', and double-clicked it. The folder opened to show eight different word documents, all numbered consecutively. Excitedly, he double-clicked the first one and waited for the document to load.
Finally, I'll get to see what she really thought of me...if I had a chance in hell...
What Dorian didn't notice was that as the file opened, it seemed to take a bit longer to display the contents. The file viewer seemed to take an extra few seconds, but he didn't think anything of it. Finally, the file opened, and Dorian eagerly clicked on it to begin reading, when quite suddenly, all of the lights shut down. With a start, Dorian jumped in his spot.
OH FUCK! THEY FOUND US!
Instantly starting to panic, Dorian forced himself to breathe as the emergency lights turned on. Danya had installed them as a precaution from any power failures or electrical surges. As the emergency lights went on, all of the screens in the large room seemed to flicker off at once, including Dorian's screen and the larger screens with the maps and displays on it. The blood drained from Dorian's face as he watched it all happen. The jig was up, they were fucked. What happened next, however, was something that he didn't expect.
The screens all sprang back to life, but instead of reverting to their previously displayed content, they were all showing...
"Street Fighter 2?"
The confused voice came from the door, and was Achyls, one of the more veteran staffers who was a little more confident and seemed to have a lot less of a concession with what they were doing than Dorian. The confused man was balancing a half-bitten hot dog and a can of Coke, and was staring at the screen with a vague recollection of something he'd seen before. Dorian couldn't help but admit that he, too, was confused. Why was Street Fighter 2 playing on the screens of the-
"Oh sweet Jesus, no..."
The blood flew out of Dorian's face so quickly that an observer might think he'd had it all sucked out instantly. It all clicked within his mind where he'd seen this before, and hie eyes flew from the screens showing a video game, to the screen in front of him with the same thing, to the flash-drive sticking out of his workstation. Dorian HAD seen this before. He'd been one of the only ones on duty at the time, but this was very familiar to him, and if it was what he thought it was, it was all his fault. In fact, he KNEW this was his fault. Trying the previous escape code that he'd discovered the first time around, he was alarmed when it didn't work, and by the time the speakers in the building AND on the island thundered out a massive "SHORYUKEN!", the sense of dread that built up in his chest rivalled anything he'd ever felt before.
Thanks to his lack of foresight, Dorian had accidentally re-introduced Jack O'Connor's virus into the systems of Survival of the Fittest, and thanks to the difference in system, the virus was affecting different parts, and was no longer as harmless as it had been before, nor as easy to get rid of. Slumping back in his seat as the sound effects played loudly and the video started to loop, Dorian struggled to take in a breath. This time, there would be no second chances.
This time, Dorian was fucked.
Sixth Announcement Edit
Ever since yesterday afternoon, Danya's headquarters had been in an uproar. Things hadn't quite gone as planned when Dorian accidentally inserted an old flashdrive in Kaige's belongings into the computer. In fact, they had gone horribly wrong. The flashdrive happened to have been contaminated with the same virus Jack O'Connor had planted in the SOTF systems during V1, except this time, the results hadn't been a minor annoyance.
They had been much, much worse.
For the past twelve hours, headquarters had all but dissolved into a madhouse. For a moment, everything had gone down -- collars, cameras, audio, everything that kept track of the kids. Between Achlys, Dorian, and Grossi, they had managed to get the systems at least somewhat stabilized. They were fortunate enough that between the short time they lost signal to the collars and the few minutes later when the signal was re-established, no one had disappeared. Unfortunately, that was where their good news ended. The cameras were down, and it looked like they weren't coming back up any time soon.
The collars still worked just fine, they could still pick up voice transmissions, but the problem was... there was simply no view of the game. Mr. Danya hadn't been happy about the incident at all. For the past twelve hours, their ratings had been non-existent, and he'd been on quite the rampage, trying to find the cause of all this nonsense. After all, what sort of show were they supposed to be running if America couldn't even see the game? Camera errors, things like that were supposed to happen in the test runs, not the live broadcast feeds.
And hell, even the test runs were being released on DVD now.
Even now, Danya was storming around HQ in a huff, and Achlys and Grossi were busy working away in some vain effort to get the computers back online. Dorian had taken a break and was now sitting in an empty lounge, his back to the door, staring into his cup of coffee. What happened if -- no, when -- Danya found out what he had done? It hadn't been his fault, he had just been following orders... well, somewhat. Danya had said to be thorough, and he had just been curious. He hadn't meant to send the whole system crashing down. Now, what would happen to him? Would he pay for it with his life, just like Kaige, Rice, and McLocke had paid for their screw-up.
Maybe I'll be seeing you sooner than I thought, Angelina...
Dorian let out a shaky breath, his eyes still staring dazedly into his coffee. The sound of footsteps echoing out on the tile floor caused him to jump, and he spun around to see who had intruded on his privacy. The woman standing behind him wasn't what could be considered a physically imposing presence by any means, but of every member of Danya's taskforce, she was only second to Mr. Danya in terms of people Dorian didn't want to see right now.
The rather petite blonde-headed woman moved into the room, a sly smile playing upon her lips as she leaned herself up against the vending machine. The smile made Dorian cringe. Cecily Lacoste was a woman who had practically bought her way into the AT with "daddy's" money. Since then, she had been perhaps the biggest brown-noser the world had ever seen, and had essentially weaseled her way into the higher-up ranks of the AT. She had even been given a spot in Test Run 8. Fortunately, Dorian hadn't been grouped with her. The smile grew wider, and finally, Cecily began to speak.
"I just wanted to say goodbye," Cecily cooed amusedly, causing the color in Dorian's face to all but evaporate into a shade of pale white.
"W-what?" he stuttered out, eyebrows raised, hands now shaking in nervous anticipation.
Cecily giggled quietly, her fingers twisting a loose strand of her braided hair mindlessly as she watched the color drain from Dorian's face.
"I know what you did, Dorian," Cecily mused with a cheshire grin, "I know you're the reason the computers are down. I saw you going through Kaige's things. I saw you reading her files. I saw everything."
Dorian stammered something inaudible, unable to find the words to say. Now, he was panicked. Things couldn't possibly get any worse for him.
"P-please!" he spat out finally, "I'll do anything! Anything you want. Just p-please don't tell Danya it was me! Please, please, please! I didn't mean to! I swear it!"
Moving further into the room and propping herself up against the table Dorian was sitting at, Cecily sighed quietly, "But you see, Dorian... that's the thing. There's nothing I want from you. So, why shouldn't I tell him?"
"Why would you do something like that?" Dorian stammered out, his eyes brimming with tears and his voice quivering in nervous anticipation, "What'd I ever do to you!"
Shrugging her shoulders and smiling to herself a bit, Cecily simply responded, "You're here."
Another figure appeared in the doorway, apparently having overheard the conversation from outside. Dorian wasn't sure just how long he'd been standing there. In fact, the only thing that alerted the cowering man to his presence was the quiet nose he made as he cleared his throat and walked into the room. The dark brown hair. The eye-patch. The face that Dorian had looked at for several years now, and the face that now, brought back memories he'd rather not relive.
"Sorry, but you won't be telling anybody anything."
A bemused smirk spread across Cecily's face as she eyed the new body in the room and she tilted her head sideways in curiosity, "And why's that? Are you going to go tell Danya I'm lying? Please, don't make me laugh. Like he'd ever believe you over me. You're nothing to him. Just a dog that he confines to these walls to keep you from revealing our dirty little secrets."
"Hmph," the man muttered quietly, "No, I'm not going to tell Danya you're lying. This game that you play with people, the way you try to climb your way up the ladder by knocking everybody else off it... I've watched you do it for a long time. Wanna know the problem with the way you do things? Well... the problem is, people can do it back to you."
His lips curled into a light smirk, and his arms fell across his chest.
"May 26th, 2005. That date ringing any bells? The final test run of the game before we went live. You should remember, you were there. So was he. So was I. And Rice, and Kaige, and McLocke. But you know, Lacoste, there's something else I remember about that game."
"Oh?" Cecily shot back with a bemused smirk, "Please, DO tell, what would what be?"
Cecily's eyes widened drastically for a moment before the smirk once again overtook her somewhat flustered visage.
"Regrettable, wasn't it? I was so... traumatized... to watch him die."
"To watch him die, huh?" he mused quietly, though his face was beginning to turn red in anger, "You didn't watch him die, Cecily. You killed him. You killed him, you blamed it on those damned kids, and you took the glory for everything he'd done! I saw it, Cecily. I have proof!"
"LIES!" Cecily yelled suddenly, any air of composure she might have had shattering from existence in that moment, "You don't... no! You can't prove anything!"
"I have the tape," he stated flatly, "We were supposed to be videotaping our kills. Know what I was videotaping, Cecily? I was watching you kill Orsen. Orsen... was my friend, you heartless bitch, and you slaughtered him because you were on some stupid power trip. So tell me, what would happen to you if I turned this thing in to Danya?"
"GARNETT, YOU CAN'T!" Cecily screeched suddenly, "You can't! For the love of GOD, Garnett, I'll do ANYTHING!"
Rubbing the back of his neck and shrugging his shoulders coolly, Garnett simply nodded toward Dorian, "Then leave the guy alone. I find out you've said a word, you'll be the one that winds up like Rice, Kaige, and McLocke."
Lips trembling in nervous anticipation, Cecily glared at Dorian for a moment before spinning on her heel and exiting the lounge. Letting out a relieved sigh, Garnett turned toward Dorian for a moment. They had never exactly been pals, but Dorian's crush on Kaige had always been pretty apparent, and while he'd been the butt of a couple jokes at the office, Garnett had never really had any malicious intent toward the man. Especially not enough to send him to his grave.
"You'd better get back to work," Garnett offered quietly, "Don't want to have saved you from one situation to have you fall straight into another."
"Y-yeah..." Dorian stuttered out quietly, stumbling up from his seat and fiddling with it for a moment as it tilted to the side. Relaxing a bit after a moment, he pushed the chair underneath the table and let out a relieved sigh.
"Thanks man... you don't have any idea--"
"Yeah, I do," Garnett responded with a nod, "Go get those cameras back up."
"S-sure thing!" Dorian belted out before skittering out of the room.
Garnett sighed quietly before taking a seat at the table himself. Being back in Danya's HQ after having fled in fear of his life, it was almost too much to bear sometimes. During the first official game, he'd left four days in after a stupid move on the part of his friends had cost them their lives. He hadn't wanted to wind up on the island either. When Danya's men finally hunted him down, he was certain they would kill him. Instead, they had something much worse in mind. Come back to the organization. There was no ultimatum. There was no "or else".
Garnett had refused at first and had undergone months of painful torture because of it. The loss of his eye was one result of the torture he'd been inflicted. Eventually, he had broken and succumbed to Danya's wishes. That was how he'd found himself back at the organization, and in the company of a man named Lucas Grossi. Surprisingly, Garnett had found more in common with his "babysitter" than he would have expected. Still, even now, he was certain that unseen eyes were watching him, analyzing his every action. The thought of it made Garnett nervous.
He shuddered slightly, not just from the cold.
"Good morning, children!"
The rain no longer poured from the sky in torrents, but still kept on coming. It moved from a drizzle to a quiet rain and back again. The clouds rolling overhead seemed lighter, but the storm hadn't quite passed yet.
"I think it's been a long night for all of us, but never fear, the announcement is here! First and foremost, you can all thank Miss Anna Kateridge for this one -- Jessica Jones and Derrick Taggart, two of your lovely student council members, if memory serves me correctly, have had their collars detonated thanks to Anna's stupidity. What part of "don't destroy the cameras or I'll kill your friends" didn't you understand, Miss Kateridge? Continuing to destroy cameras will result in more deaths. Believe it."
"Moving along to the kills that weren't caused by someone else's stupidity, the first person to die yesterday morning was the one, the only, the infamous Nathanial Harris, although I think you all might know him better as Blood Boy! Boy, this was sure an exciting moment in SOTF history. Picture, if you will, the lookout tower. The area is becoming a dangerzone, when out of nowhere, Blood Boy attacks! Neil Sinclair, Dominica Shapiro, Corbin Arlen, and Matt Wittany were suddenly fighting against time to save their lives! Man, this was intense. Well, it ended with Neil, Dominica, and Matt all shooting Blood Boy, but not before he inflicted a fatal wound on Corbin. That brings me to my next death, of course, Corbin Arlen died of stab wounds inflicted on him by Blood Boy's poisoned sword. Oooh, it was SO exciting!"
"Next down was Reg Robson, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got a bullet put through his skull by the infamous Bobby Jacks. Fourth was John Cox, who thought it'd be a bright idea to go after Keith Jackson, who was armed with a shotgun. Unfortunately for Mr. Cox, he was the slower draw, and got pummeled with buckshot for his troubles. Number five was Benni Davidson. Stupid cow stayed in a dangerzone for too long. Hoo hum."
"But that's not all! Jake Henkie was killed when he walked up behind Jeff Thorne yelling like an idiot. I guess poor Jakie-poo scared Jeff, so Jeff turned around and shot him! After that, Joey McHaimond was killed by sweet, innocent, Cara Scholte when she stumbled upon him trying to strangle Maxie Dasai. Who'd have thought she had it in her, folks? I certainly didn't. Herman Johnson was up next. After being the cause of some freak accident that left our lovely little siren Melina Frost halfway disfigured, she axed him in the chest. Bravo, Miss Frost!"
"While all this was going on, it was time for Trish McCarroll to get some good ole' revenge for her buddy Jake's death. She definitely didn't waste any time tearing Jeff Thorne apart with her gun! Francis Temple was next to die. The idiot fell down a well at the cottage and was trapped when it went dangerzone. BOOOM!"
Danya stopped for a moment, letting the loud noise reverberate into the microphone for dramatic effect.
"His head exploded! The next person to die was the beautiful miss Olivia Swan, but don't worry guys, after Branca Braunstein killed her, she named herself the new Olivia! Trish McCarroll scored her second kill of the day afterward, shooting Sloan Henriksen. Bobby Jacks went on his own little killing spree after that, shooting Arty Williams and Andy McCann before slitting Ivan Roeghmills throat and heading for the hills!"
"Meanwhile, Aidan Kelly had a very unfortunate run-in with one of the old booby traps in the jungle and bled to death, but not before declaring his love for Elizabeth Priestly! Aww, how romaaaaaantic!"
Danya stopped and laughed, then got quiet, taking a few seconds to regain his composure.
"The rest of these deaths, well..."
Danya wasn't about to tell the students that they'd lost the feed for a while and weren't really sure what happened to them, so he decided to simply tell them nothing at all.
"Just add Josh Novikov, Dennis Bernard, Lucy Arber, Pascal Stonely, and Antonio Legarda to your list of dead students. I'd tell you who killed them, but... I don't have to. Besides, making you guys guess is fun! Now then, time for the dangerzones. The cottage, lookout tower, and mess hall are cleared. The Hospital will remain a temporary dangerzone while our lovely little trio of Matt Wittany, Dominica Shapiro, and Neil Sinclair come pick up their prizes for scoring the most exciting kill of the day! Congratulations, Mr. Sinclair! You and your group are coming along quite nicely! Also, the lagoon, airfield, and jailhouse will be going dangerzone momentarily, so run, little warriors! Run away! Good luck to you all, and just think, you've made it halfway already!"
Seventh Announcement Edit
Lucas Grossi was pissed off.
Not only was it because, as one of the senior technicians behind Survival of the Fittest, he was responsible for fixing all of the really complex computer issues that went on, but also because as time had gone on, he'd gone from being someone fairly well-connected in the organization to someone who had seemingly fallen out of favour. His newest assignment was all but proof of that, as he'd been basically assigned to watch and babysit one of the former 'employees', the infamous H. Brandon Garnett, while he did menial grunt-work and basically just wandered around and couldn't do any damage.
Garnett was an interesting case; for certain. He'd completely abandoned Survival of the Fittest during the Kaige/Rice/McLocke incident, and Danya had gone after him subtly, but with a show of force that had probably intimidated the hell out of pretty much everyone who had any degree of doubt as to the man's sincerity. Ever since, nobody had dissented on the topic of Survival of the Fittest - not a whisper, an offhand remark, or a comment. Everyone just kept focused and tried to avoid talking about the moral ramifications of what they were doing. Sure, everybody felt it and had a degree of doubt about it, mass murder was mass murder, either which way around it, but nobody dared speak up. Doing so seemed to equal the removal of vocal chords and getting tossed on the island yourself.
Of course, Lucas Grossi also found himself rather annoyed because thanks to the incompetence of SOMEONE (he had an idea, but opted to keep it to himself - it just wasn't his style to kiss any ass), a virus was running rampant upon the SOTF mainframe. He'd remembered it immediately - Jack O'Connor's virus had been in the systems once before, and easily cleaned, but with the overhaul they'd done, nobody had anticipated it to make an encore performance and wreak even more havoc on the new system. It had been a full ten hours that the system had been down and glitchy, and they had absolutely no idea what was going on in the game. They didn't know who was still alive, what the danger zones were...for all Grossi knew, the collars could have all simeltaneously exploded, killing absolutely everyone. They had no cameras, no visuals, nothing.
At the moment, Grossi was working on trying to restore some sort of tracking system, to try and discover who had died since they lost the system. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't having much luck. All he got for most of his troubles was a Street Fighter 2 screen, and it tended to remind him far too much of Dennis Nedry's 'hacker crap' from Jurassic Park.
Ah ah ah, you didn't say the magic word. Ah ah ah.
Ah ah ah.
Ah ah ah.
Sighing in exasperation, he glanced across the room at Garnett, who almost looked to be enjoying himself. The man obviously had no love lost for Danya, or Survival of the Fittest, but he was here on a single perogative for himself - survival. Grossi knew it as well as anyone; it was a miracle that Garnett wasn't dead, and even that didn't mean that Danya trusted him.
Trying a few more combinations of numbers and letters to try and get through the foreign programming, Grossi blinked in surprise when he found that he'd managed to somehow get through into the main system. Not wasting any time, he tried pulling up the student profiles and locator map. He heard a beep, and the screen kicked him back to the wall of text, with a corrupted status message - something about danger zones.
Great...just fucking wonderful...how're we ever going to sort all of this out...and where's Danya? Longest I've ever seen him away for, and in this kind of a crisis? I'd be surprised if any of us survive the week...
Sighing, Grossi turned back to work.
Eighth Announcement Edit
The mood around Headquarters had been hectic for the last two days, and tempers were growing thin. The tension could be cut with a knife in some places, but for the most part everyone seemed to keep to themselves, holding their tongues for fear of having them removed if they spoke out of turn. After all, most of the staff members were familiar with how they’d end up if they said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Danya’s subordinates operated under one principle: speak carefully, or you’ll never speak again.
In the command center Dorian sat slumped over beside a terminal, mindlessly droning away at his keyboard, covered in blankets of his own sweat. He’d barely slept at all since the incident, working tirelessly in an attempt to counter Jack O’Connor’s virus in some futile attempt to make up for having caused the hindrance in the first place. Despite the recent fortune of having his ass saved by one of his previously mysterious comrades, Dorian was still paranoid that Danya would realize he was the cause of all their grievances, and consequently take out his anger on him. If there was any other way for him to help out his mother, it surely beat this; but now he’d worked himself into a bind...
“Good morning, everybody!”
Awkwardly perky as usual, Danya strode into the command center with a grand smile plastered on his face. Dorian felt his fingers tense up as he quickly shifted his attention back to his terminal, staring intently at the screen in an attempt to look busier than he was. His exhaustion was starting to wear him down though, and try as he might he could barely keep his eyes open. Struggling, he stared up from the desk...
Surprisingly, though, Danya walked right past him and over to Grossi's desk, staring down over his shoulder at the terminal in front of him.
"Any progress?" He inquired mildly, monitoring the screen.
"Yeah," Grossi responded flatly, not even looking up to acknowledge Danya's presence. "The P.A. system's functionality has been completely restored," He began, tapping a few things into his keyboard before continuing. "It's not on, don't worry," he re-assured, inputting a few more commands before pausing to deliver the rest of the bulletin. "We also managed to restore one of the cameras for about five minutes, but it went down again. This is what we caught."
Absent-mindedly, Grossi retrieved and activated a file from a folder, then set it to play back. A somewhat fuzzy image of the small cottage showed up on his terminal, and after starting the file Danya began to watch intently.
"Don't FUCKING help me!"
Alexis Machina proceeded to smash her foot into Vera Lang's skull, and while most other faces that watched on either closed their eyes or swallowed the lumps in their throats, a slick smile formed over Danya's features. The footage ended soon afterward.
"Well, I guess we have our best kill, don't we?" Danya added nonchalantly.
Sighing, Grossi returned to the main screen of the terminal without responding to Danya's comment. His frustration at the people both in the office and in charge was beginning to manifest itself in a more visible form of tension.
"Also," he suddenly spoke up, "The collars are being tracked again. We've lost quite a few students since the systems went down."
"Well, let's not keep them waiting any longer!" Danya replied with suppressed cheer, snatching a document from Grossi's desk that had a list of the recently deceased students on it and moving over towards the P.A system.
"S-sir...wait..." The meek voice of Dorian interrupted.
Curious, Danya strode over towards Dorian's desk, peering intently down towards him. Dorian's finger pointed to a certain point on the map, which had been re-activated along with the collar trackers, to a spot where ten or so collars had all gone offline at around the same time. "It l-looks a bit, s-strange, sir..."
"Dorian, you have seen the list of assigned weapons, have you not? Grenades, grenade launchers, explosives, and all that jazz?"
"Have an imagination! Think of the possibilities!" Danya advised with a smug grin, taking one more careful glance at Dorian before turning back towards Grossi. The man seemed quite pre-occupied with something, and brushing it off Danya made his way over to the P.A. system, turning it on and tapping the microphone a few times before initiating his daily routine.
"Good morning, children!"
The weather on the island had improved dramatically, the rain disappearing and being replaced with a bright orange sun that struggled to shine its way through some dense cloud cover. The storm had passed, leaving a mess both on the island and back at HQ.
"I'm so sorry to have left you alone for the last couple of days, but it just fills my heart to know that you all miss me so much!" He began, giving a moment's pause before continuing his much anticipated speech. "I decided that I enjoyed the idea of not telling you who killed your classmates SO much last time, that I think I'll do it again! I just love a suspenseful drama, don't you all?" The fact that he was improvising and didn't quite know who'd performed most of the kills over the last two days was completely hidden by a well-acted veil of control and intrigue, something he'd had quite a bit of practice with over the years now.
"Well, without further ado, let's hear who's bit the dust now! I'm really proud of you children, I really am. Over the last two days you've managed to kill more than 10% of your competition! That's how we do it! Now, where to begin? Your less fortunate classmates include Nick Jones, Cara Scholte, Ryan Gilbert, Afra Jacinth, Eicca Hietala, Evan Gage, Jim Middleton, Kathleen Martin, Shawn Waits, Raven Lawrence, Petra Andrews, Branca Braunstein..."
Danya snickered at the mention of Branca's absolutely ridiculous name, then took the opportunity to take a deep breath before continuing to rattle off the list of dead students. "James Migato, Clive Maxwell, Anton Wykowsku, Dennis McDonald, Briana North, Edgar Hoskins, Dane Zygmunt, Leo Curtis, Evan Angler, Abel Williams, Vera Lang, Joseph Cande, James Martinek, Heath Trennoby, Lauren Howard, and Anaesthesia Grout!"
Satisfied with how much shock he would hopefully have instilled into the students at this point, Danya was about to conclude his messaged when Dorian cleared his throat louder than usual and looked at him sheepishly. Almost instantly Danya recalled the ten or so students that Dorian had mentioned that hadn't been on this list, whose collars also indicated that they were dead.
Without hesitation, Danya cleared his throat and spoke up again. "Oh, and it gets even better! Joining the recently deceased are Lucy O'Donnell, Dean Portman, Alex Miller, Sean O'Cann, Maxie Dasai, Izzy Cheung, Dorian Ibanescu...and three very special students! Your class vice-president Ianto Murphy, your class president Andrea Vanlandingham, and the newly martyred king of obnoxiousness, Mr. Neil Sinclair!"
Part of Danya was relieved by finding that Neil had slipped off the radar. With the systems in tatters there would've been no telling how a runt like him could've capitalized on the situation, but thankfully it seemed that was no longer one of his worries. Of course, from an outsider's point of view, nobody would've been able to tell that he was even remotely phased by the news.
"Oh, and Miss Machina, please head to the Graveyard to collect your prize for winning our best kill of this month! We're all so proud of you."
"That's all for today, children. Play safe!" Danya exclaimed before pausing and recollecting. "Oh, who am I kidding? Play rough! It's for your own good."
With that, Danya turned the P.A. system off and strode out of the room, leaving a number of the remaining terrorists in awe of how flawlessly he handled the situation.
Curiously, Garnett rose from his desk almost simultaneously and made his way to leave the room, followed by the quizzical eyes of Lucas Grossi the entire time.
Ninth Announcement Edit
Dorian's voice broke the silence that had plagued the terrorist headquarters for the past several hours. They'd just managed to get the majority of the cameras up and running with the exception of various spots throughout the jungle a few hours earlier, and ever since nobody had said a word. Nobody really expected any praise from Danya - it had been one of their own associates fault in the first place, after all - but the silence was mostly unexplained. Perhaps they were all just exhausted from laboriously tiring away at the systems for days straight, or perhaps nobody wanted to be the first to talk for fear of receiving some sort of punishment. Either way, until this very moment, it had been silent.
"What?" Came Danya's collected voice from the back of the room.
"I think you should see this..." he replied meekly, staring straight through his screen. Danya strode over to him, annoyed, and stared over Dorian's shoulder. Almost immediately his expression dissolved into one of complete bewilderment.
"What?" He asked dumbfoundedly, staring at the screen.
"More dead, sir. In the same area as the last ones," Dorian offered.
"I can see that," he cut in sharply. He scanned the screen intently for a few moments, going over the data before shaking his head and turning his attention back to Dorian. "What the hell is out there?"
"I-I don't know, sir..." Dorian admitted, but Danya wasn't satisfied.
"Do you at least know who was affected?" Danya retorted impatiently, staring daggers.
"Y-yes, s-sir..." He croaked out, pulling up another window on the screen with a list of the recently mysteriously deceased. Danya spied the list over his shoulder, and his bewilderment was stifled for a minute by one of the names on the list. He smirked, relishing in the good news he'd received in the midst of all the chaos, before turning around and addressing one of the other terrorists.
"Any news from Garnett or Squad 1 yet?" Danya asked the nameless goon, curious.
"Squad 1's about to land, but nobody's heard anything from Garnett yet, sir," the terrorist replied, turning back to his computer. After Garnett had left the facility he'd been seen heading towards the island, but shortly afterwards his radio frequency had gone dead. Danya had sent a squad of terrorists onto the island to investigate the site of the mysterious deaths, silently wondering if whatever was responsible for the deaths of all those students had gotten to Garnett, too. Now it seemed that one small group of militants might not be enough.
"I need one of you to head out with squad 2," Danya ordered seemingly out of nowhere, casting his eyes around the room. Reluctant terrorists shyfully receded back into their chairs, Dorian included, with the exception of one that remained absolutely still.
"...I'll go," came the tenor of Lucas Grossi after a few seconds of silence. He stood up in his chair, turning to face Danya. "I've been staring at this screen for days. I could use a break."
"...Fine," he confirmed, having observed that Grossi's work had been slipping up over the past few days. He hadn't had much sleep, but since this was as close to a break as he was going to get it wasn't surprising that he'd jump all over the opportunity. Shortly afterwards Grossi slipped out of the room, leaving Danya overseeing the remainder of his incompetent team.
Lucas Grossi's suspicions were what had led him to volunteer to check out the island. Truth be told he was quite sick of Danya and some of the others, and not only would the venture offer him a break from his work, it gave him a chance to clear his head of the constant stress he'd been exposed to over the past few days.
He opened his locker up casually, gathering the standard issue kevlar vest and his weapon and suiting up. As he was prepared to close it and head out, however, he noticed a yellow sticky note resting on the edge of the top shelf. Knowing that it hadn't been there before (and figuring someone had just slipped it through the hole in the top of the locker) Grossi snatched it up, holding his weapon down at his side in his left hand and reading the sticky note out of his right.
Lucas' face froze for a moment, and a few seconds later he sprinted out of the locker room.
"Good morning, children!"
Danya had perfected his faux-cheerful voice to such a degree by now that he was convinced he could pass a polygraph and fool it, too. He paused a moment for effect before continuing his both dreaded and anticipated speech. "You all managed to rid yourselves of a lot of your former classmates yesterday. You never cease to impress me, guys!" While his first sentence sounded like something spoken by the game co-ordinator, the latter sounded more like he was addressing the students as one of his common companions - something he was sure would irritate them.
"Well, without further ado..." He began, clearing his throat and looking down at the list of students. He placed his finger on the first name to mark his position on the list, then continued. "Joining the dead today are Viki Valentine, Daniel Carvalho, Carson Baye, Daniel Clifford, Liam Black, Michael Anders, Nicholas Nutbrown, Hannah Rose, James Trejo, Margaret Tweedy..." Trailing off, Danya paused to take a breath and comment to himself. "Tweedy? Well, looks like Sylvester won this time!" He interjected, laughing for a few moments before sighing and continuing. "Shane Rafferty, Sato Koizumi, Jessa Vanallen, Hayden O'Guinn, James Ellet, Will Sigurb...sig....son, Stephanie Evans, and everyone's favourite femme fatale, Melina Frost!"
"And that's not all!" He continued, after pausing for about fifteen seconds while he gathered the list up of students Dorian had discovered strewn about the jungle. Pinpointing their names on the list, a smile formed over his face as he noticed the same name as before. Nevertheless, he moved up to the top of the list and began listing off the names.
"Also joining the recently deceased are Darnell Butler, Keith Jackson, Brad Kavanagh, Matt Wittany, Bill Ritch, John Sheppard, Kallie Majors, Terrie Brightwell, Alice Jones...oh, isn't this exciting?" He paused suddenly, a wide grin that nobody else could see forming across his features before he could continue. "Ahem, Julie Mikan, Dominica Shapiro, Kyrie Joseph, Denise Dupuis, Marnie Yaguchi, Rio Koizumi, and last but definitely not least, our very own red-headed rat, the no longer so resilient Adam Dodd! I'm proud of you, children."
After the long-awaited conclusion to the deceased, Danya paused a moment to bask in the glory of Adam having finally been taken care of. The windbag had it coming to him, of course, but the sincere jubilation of the moment was unlike what he'd been expecting. Still, careful not to seem too out of place, he lowered his head and spoke into the P.A System once again, continuing the notification.
"All of the old danger zones are cleared, and have been replaced with the Chapel, the Barracks, the Storehouse, the Lagoon, the Quarry, and the Graveyard. Also, these danger zones will not be cleared tomorrow, so I hope you were paying attention!" Smirking inwardly, Danya chuckled.
"Oh, and Miss Machina, you're quite popular around here nowadays! Come to the Field of Flowers to pick up your second prize! Congratulations!"
"Have a nice day, children!"
The P.A went silent.
Tenth Announcement Edit
"Sir!" One of the terrorists called urgently, rousing Danya from his somewhat comatose state. He'd been fervently monitoring the status of his terrorist squads for the better part of twenty four hours and had eventually fallen asleep.
"What?" Danya groaned, rubbing the irritation out of his eyes and rising from his chair.
"You have to see this..." Came the shrill voice of Cecily from the back of the room, and in almost immediate response Danya made his way over to her. The sight that met his eyes filled him with an almost inconsumable rage, as well as a severe apprehension.
"G62's collar has been removed," she stated in flat awe.
"No kidding!" He roared uncharacteristically, which almost floored Cecily. "Get the squads to move faster. I want it all searched and taken care of. Get on it."
"Y-yes sir!" She mumbled in a mix of fear and shock, turning back to her computer and picking up her handheld radio before mumbling a few hurried commands into it. Even her orders sounded less severe. Ever since her colleague called her out on her mistakes during the test run she'd been bordering paranoid, her eye constantly over her shoulder in a futile attempt to make sure Danya didn't catch wind of what she'd done.
Right now, none of that mattered. All of them were dead if they didn't fix this.
"Good morning, children!" The eerily calm voice of Danya rang out over the P.A system, signifying the start of the morning announcements. "There's less than fifteen percent of you left now. Can you believe it's been a week and a half!? Version two was already finished at this point! You kids sure are tenacious," He commended, audibly clapping a few times into the microphone before clearing his throat and returning to his position at the helm. "I wonder who died yesterday? I'm excited! Aren't you?" The twisted satisfaction Danya wove into the words was sure to drive the kids wild...but after all, wasn't that the point?
"First off is our resident tough boy Warren Pace, who was cut down to size by Mark Tavarian. Though, I guess karma bit our little backstabber in the ass when he was attacked and killed by Jordan Redfield, making Mark Tavarian the next to go down. Maybe Miss Lauper's death wasn't an accident after all, Mr. Redfield!" Chuckling a little, the sinister terrorist casually continued down the list.
"Next up is Dawn Beckworth, killed by John Rizzolo. Must've been pretty hard to take out the deaf girl, B58! I'm so proud of you! Amanda Redder was the 161st student to die, by the hands of Adam Reeves. Keep up the good work, Mr. Reeves! I've yet to find an Adam I can stand. Next up was Becky Holt, killed by Kathy Holden, then Velvet Retsiloh killed by J.R. Rizzolo. Now she was a bit feistier, wasn't she? That's more like it."
Pausing for a moment, Danya disappointedly shuffled the papers and sighed a little.
"I'm quite disappointed to announce that the 164th student to die was Bobby Jacks. Our biggest contender thus far decided to add another name to his list...his own! Well, I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. Nobody cares, Mr. Jacks," Danya intoned, smirking a little to himself before continuing. "Next was Johnathan Lancer, marking the fifth kill for Alexis Machina. Then Morgan Ackland, who was stupid enough to get her collar detonated! I have to say, her and Mr. Ellet were the most explosive couple I've ever seen." Danya relished in his own inappropriate joke, breaking into hysterics for a good ten or fifteen seconds before regaining his composure. "I hope that ends up in the bonus material in the DVD! Next up is...well well well, Adam Reeves struck again! Kathy Holden, deceased!"
Flipping to another page, Danya continued on with the names.
"Mr. Priestly earned another check on his kill list by ousting Anna Kateridge. I guess that's what you get for coming between those twins, huh Anna? Kimmy Redmond was the 169th to die, courtesy of Morgan Green. And here's a shocker, Lenny Priestly's own twin sister is dead! Elizabeth Priestly has left the island, ladies and gentlemen. She got shot up pretty bad by Gabe McCallum. How's that for motivation, Lenny?" Part of Danya couldn't help but wonder exactly what the newly invigorated cutthroat would get up to, and after signalling for one of the terrorists to keep an eye on him he continued on. "Up next is Madison Conner who died by the hands of one of our island pacifists, Dorian Sanders, who in turn was quickly shot down by Miss Altaire. I'm sure your grandmother would be proud of you, Louise. I know I am."
"So, for today's danger zones! All of yesterday's still apply, and to that list you'll be adding the Field of Flowers, Babbling Brook, Overgrown Trail, Hollow Tree, Swinging Bridge, Marsh, Lookout Tower and Jailhouse. Be careful, everyone."
After going over the list of kills one more time, Danya looked back up into the microphone. "Oh, and Mr. Reeves, you've been the most impressive of the day. Please head to the Sea Cliffs to collect your prize."
"Have a good day, children!"
The P.A went silent.
Eleventh Announcement Edit
"Oh dear..." Dorian muttered quietly, his eyes still fixated on the screen in front of him.
The expression of fatigue that plagued the scrawny man's face was plainly evident. In terms of game play, they hadn't seen a program as messy as season three had been since back in the early phases of the test runs. It seemed like if it wasn't one thing, it was another. Something was always going wrong. Only this time, it was his fault. It was all his fault. He had been horrified ever since the Jack O'Connor virus had blazed through their systems a few days ago... horrified that Danya would find out.
In the end though, that was what they were all afraid of. It seemed as though Dorian was only one of many at Headquarters who had dirty little secrets... the type of secrets that would see them on the island along with the students if Danya ever caught wind of the things they'd done.
Cecily Lacoste sat nearby at another computer, contemplatively twirling a strand of her long blonde hair between her fingers. She had all but began ignoring Dorian after Garnett had called her out on one of her own dirty little secrets. Now, he was out on the island, dealing with God knew what. The fact that Danya would dare send someone like him out onto the island in the first place completely baffled Cecily. Part of her -- no, all of her hoped that man died on that island. The students, some bizarre electrical malfunction, she didn't care what. She simply didn't want to see him come back.
Because... with you out of the way... he'll never know. Even if Dorian knows, Danya will never know... and he can't know.
She bit down on her bottom lip gently, still twirling her finger through her hair.
Garnett, you bastard... just what the hell do you think you're doing, anyway?
"H-hey Cecily?" Dorian stuttered out, suddenly breaking the awkward silence.
A loud sigh escaped the blonde's lips, "What is it you little worm?"
"N-nothing," he stammered, immediately going back to his own silent contemplation.
The tension hanging in the air was evident to both parties sitting in the small room. Cecily had been essentially blackmailed into silence regarding Dorian's involvement in the virus that had been unleashed on Headquarters. Dorian knew what she was thinking. If something happened to Garnett, he was toast. She wouldn't think twice about throwing him to the dogs to better herself and gain favor in Danya's eyes. There was something else she didn't know, though. Something that brought a slight smile to Dorian's perpetually-nervous expression.
When he had opened his locker that morning, it was there.
An unlabeled black video tape, just sitting inside his locker.
Of course he had been curious. He'd taken it immediately back to his sleeping quarters and slid it into his VCR. The images that the tape held had scared and surprised him. There it was, plain as day. Cecily's coldblooded murder of former AT member Orsen Wyndham. The sight of one of his colleagues being murdered in cold blood had caused Dorian to vomit, and yet he sat there in awe, wiping remnants of vomit from the corners of his mouth and staring at the tape. It showed other things too... things that would completely destroy Cecily.
Garnett... what are you thinking? Why would you show me this?
Meanwhile, down the hallway, Mr. Danya was gearing up for his usual morning announcement...
"GOOOOOOD MOOOOOORNING!" Danya shouted into the PA system in an overwhelmingly sing-songy tone of voice, "Ladies and gentlemen... boys and girls... children of all ages! Do I have great news for you! You see children, twelve days ago, we started up a little game known as season three of Survival of the Fittest. Two hundred students were taken from good ole' Southridge High School in sunny California! Of those two hundred students, only sixteen remain. That's right kids! One of you is almost home-free! Isn't that exciting?"
It was exciting, even for Mr. Danya. Sure, season three had been a little rocky, but it sure seemed to have riled the American public up yet again, and that was exactly his goal.
"Well, I won't dilly-dally... oooh, that's such a fun word, isn't it kids! Let's get to it! I know you're all just dying to know who... er... died! Hahaha!"
One thing was for certain. He hadn't lost his horrible sense of humor or dark puns.
"First down was Mr. America, Gabe McCallum, who sat in a dangerzone and went... KABOOM!" Danya stopped for a moment to laugh, the fact that he was in a good mood becoming blatantly obvious during every passing moment, "The next to die? The lovely miss Reneé Valenti, courtesy of a bullet from Jordan Redfield. I'm sorry kids, but I think Miss Valenti's show has officially been canceled. Next down was good ole' Rick Holeman, who became Laeil Burbank's source of stress relief, or something."
"Dear Emma Babineaux was next to die a brutal death at the hands of J.R. Rizzolo. Edward Sullivan scored a kill next, gunning down resident crazy Wade Wilson. Next up was Quincy Archer, who decided to take the easy way out and slit his own throat. Pfft, what a pansy! Everyone's favorite little sociopath, Lenny Priestly, scored a kill next, shooting down Shameeca Mitchell. Noah Jacobs was next, finished off by Alexis Machina. Good girl, Lex! Way to pick off the sick and injured! Poor, poor Laeil Burbank bit the big one next when she bled to death from the presents good ole' J.R. left her. Poor baby."
Danya stopped for a moment, making faux crying sounds into the microphone.
"Mr. Morgan Green died next. Then again, who really has much chance of surviving when they're pushed off a cliff, right Danielle Champney? Dacey Ashcroft joined the list of the dead afterward when Eris Marquis gunned her down. Oh look Miss Champney! Karma came back for you. It seems Danielle Champney is next on the list, having succumbed to wounds Morgan Green inflicted her with. Oooh, I do so love a good tragedy! Don't worry kids, only one more to go!"
Danya began making a drumrolling noise on his desk, allowing it to echo out through the speakers for a moment before continuing.
"And the winner is... Dante Cooper!! It took a lot to take this fool down, apparently. Eris Marquis, Steve Digaetano, and Dacey Ashcroft all had a hand in killing him! Bravo, ladies and gentleman! Well, except you, Dacey. You're dead. Bahahaha!"
Pausing a moment, Danya cleared his throat.
"Well kids, sixteen remain. I suppose you know what that means. Time to shrink the play space again! First of all, congratulations to Mr. J.R. Rizzolo for your kills yesterday! We like you, kid! So, meet us at the showers to claim your prize! That area will be a temporary dangerzone until Mr. Rizzolo exits the area. Which brings me to... new dangerzones... hmm... effective immediately, the cottage, the mess hall, the sea cliffs, and the northern coast are all dangerzones. Run children, run! And keep on killing! Remember, fifteen contestants must die, one of you gets to go home! Keep up the great work, boys and girls! America is watching! Give 'em a show!"
Twelfth Announcement Edit
Things were winding down. Generally, around the SOTF base of operations, the mood was a lot more relaxed than it was during the beginning of each game. There was less likelihood of anything going wrong, people were usually happy that it was over and done with, and would be able to begin work on the next one, a process that was a lot less stressful and invasive than running the actual game itself. Of course, the third version of the SOTF program had been absolutely overrun with problems, issues, and bugs, the most prominent of which was the virus that had been inadvertantly downloaded into the system, causing a massive failure of all of the cameras and most of the computer systems. The technicians had worked ever-so-diligently and with the utmost of urgency to get the cameras back on, and while some of the systems in the danger zones were still down, at the very least, the systems in the Hospital, the Airfield, the Showers and the Caves had been restored, with bits and pieces of the jungle also available.
At his terminal close to the rear of the main 'war room', Dorian; the man who had both repaired the damage done by the virus and inadvertantly exposed the system to it in the first place, was totally relieved that version three was almost at its end. He'd screwed up HUGE, and thankfully for him, only two people were aware of what he'd done. One of whom was protecting him, for a reason that he couldn't figure out, and the other who he had the potential to blackmail, which would secure her silence. Blackmail, protection, murder...? None of these were things that Dorian had ever expected to be involved in.
All I wanted was to be a computer programmer, make a ton of money, and live a quiet little life in some big city. That's ALL. But now...?
Regret had racked his brain since he'd accidentally infected the system with the virus, but now that everything was seemingly wrapping up, it wouldn't matter if half the cameras were out or not. They'd simply pack up, leave, and be done with it. Maybe then, he'd be able to get out. Maybe he'd be able to talk Danya into letting him leave. Maybe...
Speaking of Danya, Dorian immediately stiffened as the door opened up and the intimidating leader of their group and the public face of Survival of the Fittest entered the room, just on time to do his morning announcement, which would likely figure to be one of, if not the last announcement that he had to make until the game was over. There were nine students remaining on the island, and while this game had already gone longer than either of the other two, Dorian knew that Danya would only be pleased if the students fought to the bitter end. As Danya strode through the complex, glancing here and there to frighten people into making themselves look busy, Dorian saw Cecily across the room, glaring at him. Garnett had still not returned from his...'outing', and if he didn't return, then, well...quite literally, the shit would hit the fan inside of the control centre.
As he watched Danya unlock and open the door of the announcement room, he shook his head slowly. Whatever Garnett was doing, he'd better manage to come back, or he was screwed. Blackmail information on Cecily be damned, he knew that he was done for. He was a computer programmer, seen as a weakling and didn't possess as high a constitution as he would have liked. She was a harlot, a black widow. If she had to cut off Dorian's head in order to climb overtop of him, he knew that she'd do it in a second, and like it.
Reminds me of some of those kids on the island, really...she'd fit in really well there...
"Good MORNING, children!"
“This is your wake-up call! Rise and shine, sharpen your knives and load your guns! To everyone still alive – congratulations, you have broken the final ten of Survival Of The Fittest Version Three!"
Truth be told, even Danya was getting excited, but then, by this point, he always was. The game was finally getting down to the wire, and this point was where it became most thrilling.
"The first to bite the dust yesterday was Jordan Redfield, who picked a fight with our good old friend Lenny Priestly and wound up coming off much worse. Mr. Priestly has been on quite the warpath recently. Shame that poor Lizzie isn't here to support you any more, hm? Next down was Eris Marquis, who tangled with the wrong person and wound up deciding she'd rather off herself than have her head blown off. Very unsportsmanlike, I say! You should be ashamed... if you weren't dead, of course! Hahahaha!"
Of course, Danya was exaggerating the humour he found in the death. However, he knew that even at this late stage, that kind of remark could rile up the contestants and more importantly, the public. It was all about the audience, not personal feeling. Danya looked at the list of deaths again and came to the names of Andrea Vanlandingham and Denise Dupuis. It was probably best to leave those two out, otherwise he and his group would seem incompetent. No sense mentioning that blunder where it wasn't necessary.
"Our next not-so-lucky contestant to get wiped off the face of the map was Harry Tsai. He fell victim to one of our many dangerous traps out in the Jungle. Be careful now, children! Fourth for the day was Nicole Husher, who was the next victim of John Rizzolo! Something, I might add, that was in no way the fault of Eddie Sullivan. Keep on trucking Mr. Rizzolo, you're neck-and-neck for the highest body count of the entire version!”
“The last death for the day was Adam Reeves, our tenth place finisher! Mr. Reeves bit off far more than he could chew with Alexis Machina, having been playing so intelligently up until then. Ah well, I wouldn't make that same mistake children!"
"So nine of you remain, and of course that means it's time for everyone's favourite part of the announcements: the dangerzones! From now on, the Hospital and Caves are dangerzones. It's getting down to the wire, children! Remember, eight more deaths and one of you will be on their way home. Don't let me down now!"
His duty complete, Danya shut the P.A down and returned to his chair, intently monitoring the cameras to watch as the final acts unfolded.
It happened almost on cue, at virtually the same instant that Danya walked out of the announcement room.
Without any warning at all, and much to the shock of every single member of the SOTF staff who were monitoring the cameras and computers, there was an absolutely MASSIVE explosion from somewhere on the island. This particular explosion was so powerful that it shook every single camera, noticably knocking a couple of them off their track, and in one instance, out of a tree and onto the ground. In total shock, Dorian could only sit there and gape. What the hell had just happened?
Achyls, on the other hand, was able to snap himself out of his shock and quickly went to the camera that happened to be on the main screen, monitoring Lenny Priestly and Lulu Altaire. Panning away from the students, it searched the immediate area but was unable to figure out just what was going on. Flipping to a camera at the now-vacant Airfield, he only had to pan to the right and up a bit to see a sight that horrified all of the staff, and sent Danya into a frenzy.
An absolutely enormous fireball was shooting up into the air, filling up the early morning sky with heat, ash, and smoke. It seemed to be coming from the north-western side of the island, and the smoke from the massive explosion was shooting in all directons, beginning to circulate around the island quickly and with ease. The treeline had almost evaporated at the source of the explosion, and from what he could see from the distant view at the Airfield, several smaller fires had started as a result of the blast. The ground had rumbled, as the explosion possessed as much force that it actually turned one of the downed aircraft cockpits on its side, and undoubtedly, every single student still alive would have felt the blast.
Flying over to Achyls' station, Danya's face was beet red and he looked FURIOUS. Almost picking the poor tech up and shaking him, Danya demanded an explanation.
"WHAT IN THE BLUE HELL WAS THAT?"
Stammering, Achyls wasn't sure how to answer, so he simply replied "I-it was an explosion, sir!"
Ignoring the obvious answer, Danya whirled around and looked straight at Dorian. "DORIAN! GET ME A VIEW OF THAT EXACT LOCATION, I WANT TO SEE WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED!"
In what was possibly one of the most difficult things that Dorian had ever had to do, he looked at Mr. Danya and shook his head.
"I'm s-sorry, sir. The cameras in t-that location are still down. I b-believe that they're recording, but they were listed as a non-essential l-location, so we haven't restored the feed..."
That was an answer that Danya was not pleased with, and as much as strangling Dorian would be most fulfilling, he needed the jittery little bastard to get the system back up and running.
"WELL, GET THEM BACK UP! I WANT THOSE CAMERAS, and I want them YESTERDAY!"
Smart enough not to mutter an answer back, Dorian simply nodded, and got to work. This was one task that wasn't going to be easy, not at all. Meanwhile, Achyls was trying to find a better view of the explosion, but the airfield camera was still the best option. Turning to Danya, he shook his head grimly. "I'm sorry, sir. This is the best viewpoint that we've got."
Cursing, the blood vessels in Danya's forehead seemed primed and ready to explode. Walking over to the radio station that was keeping in contact with the four squads of terrorists that were on the island, Danya picked up the radio and blasted in to it.
"Konrad, are you there? KONRAD, I WANT A REPORT!"
...nothing. Scowling even deeper, Danya waited for a moment, and switched the frequency.
"CARVER!? DAMMIT, CARVER, REPORT IN!"
Still nothing. You could almost see the steam coming out of Danya's ears. Flipping the frequency dial again, he again picked up the radio.
"RAIGER!? Raiger, what is going on?!"
A few seconds passed.
There was no response, and this sent Danya over the edge. Firing the radio back down to the table, Danya turned and looked around, his face a contorted mask of rage and fury. The closest thing to him was Cecily Lacoste's terminal and workstation, and he walked right over, picked up the computer monitor, and smashed it to the ground, sending a frightened Cecily scurrying away. None of them had ever seen Danya this furious before...well, maybe once. Not since the infamous 'fan-fic announcement' had Danya been in such a rage over anything at all, and as he walked to the center of the room, nearly every eye was simeltaneously watching and avoiding Danya's glare. Finally stopping in the middle of the war-room, Danya spoke, his words far calmer than his visage seemed to indicate.
"I want to know what is going on, and I want to know NOW. Achyls, I want you to keep sending a message - any of our men who check in on island, tell them to converge upon the explosion! Dorian, you will work on the cameras. EVERYONE ELSE, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON OUT THERE! I want an answer by the end of the day, or else NOBODY IS GOING HOME!"
With that, Danya turned and walked out of the room, leaving a devastated and frightened SOTF staff in his wake. Now they were all on the clock. If they didn't figure this out, then they would face Danya's wrath, which was a brutal thing, indeed. As he set out to work, Dorian could only shake his head.
Just one more thing...maybe it's the other way around...maybe BAD things come in threes...what ELSE could go wrong?
Thirteenth Announcement Edit
There really was no other way around it - today had absolutely SUCKED.
It wasn't enough that Dorian had found himself concentrating on what was perhaps the most important job that Danya could have assigned him, but that his erstwhile boss would stick his head out of his office every few hours, do a circle of the "pit" as the technicians found themselves calling their working area, and find a reason to yell at someone. He'd carry on for a few minutes, and then retreat back into his office, scowling all the way. On his better days, Dorian found Danya to be an intimidating and somewhat frightening person, but today he managed to be downright terrifying. There had been absolutely no word from any of the men that he'd sent out to the island on patrol duty, and while the game continued on its merry way, it became increasingly likely that something sinister had occurred on the island itself.
I'm sure that it would ABSOLUTELY make his day if I had nothing at all to show for all of the work that I've been pouring into this seemingly impossible task...
With a sudden jolt of shame, Dorian put his head down and continued his work. It was a very prominent thought within his mind that he was the one who was at fault for this whole mess in the first place. If he hadn't decided to go through Kaige's things, then he wouldn't have infected the system with the virus; the cameras wouldn't have gone down, and the unexplained explosion would likely be...well, explainable! It helped that Danya had absolutely no idea that he was to blame, but it wouldn't stay that way if he couldn't fix this mess, and Cecily got in Danya's ear. Garnett had managed to keep the vicious she-bitch at bay for a day or so, but he hadn't returned yet from his foray to the island, and being that nobody was responding to anything on the radio, it seemed as though maybe he never would.
I wonder what could have happened? Did someone discover the island? Maybe there was some sort of undetonated bomb that...detonated?! God, this is feeling more and more like a bad dream every single day.
Self-doubt beginning to creep into his mind, Dorian wondered what Danya would do when he came out and finally decided to check on HIS own work. It wasn't that Dorian was incompetent - in fact, far from it. He was probably one of the premier computer technicians in the entire Survival of the Fittest operation, and he'd managed to impliment more safeguards and security programs than he knew even existed. He was sure that some of the programs that he designed were up to the level of high-profile security organizations around the world, and maybe even some that were used by British and American Intelligence agencies. Danya didn't like to surround himself with incompetence, and while Dorian could sometime be a stammering fool, and wasn't the most confident person ever, he knew that the reason that he'd managed to stay alive and involved in this for so long - despite his own misgivings about it, was that he was good at what he did when he needed to be. It hadn't been hard to reconstruct the security systems that had been damaged by the virus. No, that was the easy part. He'd managed to pick up a great deal of the data that they'd lost, and had restored the maps, health indicators on the main screens, and had fixed what could have been a potentially embarrassing error in the danger zone grid. The missing camera data had been easy to locate and he'd been able to put most of it back together, but the big problem was a very complex (and impressive) encryption system that had gone in and password protected the missing files as a side-effect of the virus.
Dorian was impressed enough to be worried about a repeat attack on the system, but he knew that as long as nobody else touched that flash drive, that wouldn't happen. Jack O'Connor was long dead, and Dorian knew of very few people talented enough to be able to write that kind of encryption software. The kid had obviously been a computer genius, and Dorian felt a regret in his chest about his demise. This game was such a needless waste of life, and a waste of potential. This system was so good that it didn't allow the use of a dictionary file to crack a password, which was what Dorian had been trying to do for the past six hours. He'd tried all kinds of different words, none of which were coming up as the right combination. At first, he'd looked through Jack's file to see if he could figure out what it might be, but that had led him absolutely nowhere, and now he was just trying to enter anything that really came into his mind. The problem - and he knew that this was likely the case, if the password used any combination of numbers and letters, it could be absolutely impossible to figure out.
Glancing at the clock, he sighed. It was very close to the beginning of what he assumed would likely be the final day - day thirteen. Danya would be emerging to make his customary announcement soon, and given the fact that there were only six students left alive, Mr. Danya would instruct them all towards one final zone, and have them fight to the death. The standard stuff, really.
Yeah, and then he comes over, and finds out that you still haven't fixed the problem...and then he decides to toss you on the island...or beats you to death with a computer monitor...or feeds you to a gigantic snake...or maybe a - HOLY SHIT!
His finger had slipped.
That was all that it had been - a slip of the finger, but apparently, that had been all that was needed to solve one of the biggest mysteries of HIS day. With a tsunami of relief washing over him, Dorian shook his head at the password - 'SNAK3' was not something that he would have guessed, especially with the number in the password, but it meant that Danya might hold off feeding him to the pigs, and that made him truly relieved. Getting through the rest of the rudimentary protection, Dorian clicked on one of the recorded files, and watched, hoping to figure out what on Earth had happened to cause such a disturbance. As he watched on, the feeling of relief slowly turned to unease, and as he continued on, the feeling of unease turned to dread. The colour drained out of his face as he watched what was on the tapes, and he was so throttled by what he was witnessing on the tapes, that he didn't even notice Danya open the door from his office, take a menacing look around at the technicians, none of whom was willing to meet his glare, and storm over to the announcement room, ready to "brighten" the spirits of those left alive for what would likely be their final day.
"Weeeelll, good morning, kiddies! Today marks day thirteen of our wonderful little game, and I can positively say that overall, I'm very impressed with your progress! This is by FAR and away the longest SOTF game that we've had, and you vicious little kiddies have ensured that it's the most bloody!"
Pausing for a moment, Danya examined the death report that had been placed in the announcement room before him. He couldn't say that he was thrilled with the progress, especially as compared to the other days, but he had come to expect a slowdown when it came to the final ten. Nonetheless, five deaths was better than no deaths, because it meant that the game was finally ready to end. Of this, he was relieved, as SOTF v3 had been fraught with technical blunders and unexpected events. It made good television, but it was sure difficult for them to keep a lid on the whole situation. Clearing his throat, he looked at the list in front of him.
"You'll be happy to know that thanks to the relentlessness of you kiddies, we're finally down to the last four! That's right, we've gone from two hundred students all the way down to FOUR! I know that I'm impressed with the bloodthirst, but let's get on with it, shall we?"
Smiling, he paused for effect.
"Finishing in ninth place was none other than one of the bigger fan-favourites out there, the indefatiguable Mr. Steve Digaetano! It seems that Mr. Digaetano holed up in the hospital with Ryan Atwell, and the two of them whispered sweet nothings into each other's ears until Adam Reeves came across them and tossed a few live grenades their way! They managed to get out of the way in time, but didn't do the smart thing, and get out of the hospital...which came crashing down around them! Ever resilient, Ryan managed to survive the impromptu-demolition, and found Steve in the rubble, dragging him to the airfield. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late, as Steve bled to death in the airfield, after a final speech that moved us all to tears! Or not. In fact, Ryan found himself so moved by Steve's death throes that he decided that he couldn't take it anymore, and succumbed to a bullet wound that seemed to appear out of nowhere."
Glancing down the page, Danya smirked.
"Upon further review, the fatal shot came from the gun of Eris Marquis, managing a kill about a day after she died. Nicely done, dead person!"
Cackling, Danya moved on down the list; the sound sending shivers down anyone who was close enough to hear it.
"Shortly after Ryan and Steve departed this mortal coil, we bore witness to another bout of sheer desperation and angst! John Rizzolo and Eddie Sullivan were obviously both out for the other's blood, and engaged each other in what I would qualify as a classic example of a deathmatch! These two put every force of their being into this fight, and in the end, John Rizzolo came out on top when he managed to drown Eddie. A creative way to finish off your opponent, Mr. Rizzolo. We here were impressed. It was certainly a fight none of us here at SOTF will be forgetting anytime soon!"
Pausing for a moment, he looked at the most recent deaths on his list. These ones had come suddenly, and had barely made the deadline for this announcement. It was nice though, it set everything up for a fantastic finale.
"Finally, our sixth place finisher was James Brown, of acid-trip fame. A popular one amongst our viewers, Mr. Brown managed to take some more of his magical pills before ending up on the wrong end of a shotgun blast courtesy of Alexis Machina, who's been a real killing machine as of late. I'd congratulate her, but then Ms. Machina got in a fight with James Brown's enraged and possibly lovestruck friend, Trish McCarroll, who was so angry at Alexis that she beat her face in with the butt of an AK-47! Now that was a pretty picture, Ms. McCarroll!"
Crumpling the paper, Danya closed his eyes for a minute before continuing. The final four was a diverse array of characters, and for maybe the first time in ages, he had no idea who was going to come out on top. With Dodd, he'd known that Jenson was really his only competition, and he was basically dying anyways; and Calvert had been in such a rage at the loss of his woman that none of the others really had a chance. But this time...this time it would be interesting.
"So that leaves us with only four. Our first finalist, Ms. Trish McCarroll, has seen her fair share of death on the island, and just about every person that she's come into contact with has died shortly thereafter. I have to say, Ms. McCarroll, I took you for cannon fodder when the game began, but you certainly have proven me wrong! Why, not only have you managed four kills of your own, you even managed to get all of your closest friends killed! How's that for a piece of art?" Danya chuckled, satisfied with his jest.
Shuffling his papers, Danya smirked a little as he brought up the next profile. "And joining our lovely artist we have Mr. Lenny Priestly, the incestuous pursuer of justice! Or was that blood? It's impossible to tell with you, Lenny. Although, I must wonder; now that poor little Lizzie's rotting in hell, what's stopping you from joining her? So much for only killing to protect your sister, Mr. Priestly! Not that I'm complaining."
Pulling up the third profile, Danya continued his elaborate charade. "The third member of our illustrious quadrumvirate is one J.R. Rizzolo, whose name just keeps coming up over these speakers it seems! With your superior kill count and lack of inhibitions you boast quite an impressive resume, J.R! Of course, now that you've made such a name for yourself, you may as well have drawn a bullseye right on your back! You know what they say, J.R. If you can't take the heat...murder innocent teenagers!"
"And finally, in what is probably our most surprising twist, the fourth student still gracing the island is the lovely Louise Altaire! Managing to survive by leeching off her friends, Miss Altaire has never found herself without support, even now! Don't be fooled though, children; poor little Lulu's got some blood on those tiny little hands, too! I wonder, Miss Altaire; if poor Mister Priestly just can't take grieving over little Lizzie anymore and does himself in, do you think you could make it on your own? And what would you have to do? I really hope your grandmother is enjoying the amazing little murderer you've become!"
Glancing at the map of the area, he saw that more or less, the students were all in different zones, which made for it to be somewhat of a chore to make them all go to a zone for the finals. Danya knew that he wanted a wide-open zone for the final battle - less of a place to hide, and he'd had one in mind from the get-go. The fact that one of the finalists was already there made it that much easier for him to make the decision.
"So now, final four, you will all proceed to the Airfield, where your final battle will take place! All finalists are to make their way to the airfield IMMEDIATELY - once all four finalists are in the airfield, everywhere else will be a danger zone, where you all will remain until we have a winner! Remember kiddies, this is it! You haven't lasted thirteen days to come in second place! I expect you all to be battling until your very last breath...only ONE can be named the winner..."
As Danya completed the announcement, he was rather surprised to exit the announcement booth and see a lack of staffing in the "pit" area. Furrowing his brow and aware that he was likely going to have to scream and yell at someone, Danya looked around in a bit of confusion. It wasn't like his staff to just up and vanish like this. He had made sure to rule with an iron fist, and he found that fear was an excellent motivator. This, though...this, was odd. Glancing around, his eyebrows shot up in surprise as he saw EVERYONE - down to a single person, standing around a computer at the far end of the room, all intensely focused upon the screen. Scowling, he marched over quickly, and glared at the staffers, who it appeared had just finished watching whatever it was that had captivated their attention. In the center of them all, sitting in the chair, was Dorian, his face pale and sickly-looking as ever. Clearing his throat loudly, everyone's attention went from the screen to Mr. Danya, and the collective expressions of the technicians all went to one of utter despair. No one, however, said a word.
"Dorian...what IS GOING ON HERE?!"
His voice was icy cool, but betrayed a sense of rage; just enough to get his message across. Gulping, Dorian stood slowly, and the technicians cleared out of the way a bit. Stepping forward, Dorian stammered an answer.
"S-sir, I-I found...I cracked the...I found the missing v-video."
Danya opened his mouth to say something, but was shocked when Dorian interrupted him. That NEVER happened!
"You...you REALLY need to see this, sir."
Something about the man's voice commanded Danya - something that was as rare as ever, and somewhat surprisingly, Danya walked over and sat down in the chair that Dorian had just occupied without a word to the contrary. On the screen, all he saw was a box that had a field to enter a password, with the title "???". Looking up at Dorian, Danya said nothing but narrowed his eyes.
"The password is 'SNAK3'. Enter that, and then click the first camera..." His voice trailed off, an almost panic seeming to set in.
With little hesitation, and only a small wonder at what had spooked the technicians so much, Danya entered the password, and clicked the first camera, unaware of what he was about to see...