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File 130655450583.png - (0.97MB , 1020x1024 , A friend like me.png ) [iqdb]
34382 No. 34382
11:50 A.M., Morning of the First Day, 68 hours and 10 minutes remain.

The quiet of the forest surrounds me. The less I move, the more I can hear the quiet. The rustling of the trees in the breeze, the tap-tap-tapping of a dead leaf rolling across the ground. The morning becomes midday, and the sun shines through the thin canopy of trees I’m ensconced in, almost like stars in the sky. I am at peace with myself, despite the grave game I find myself playing. I am calm. I am relaxed. Everything around me is an image of serenity.

And than that god-forsaken woman starts shouting again.

She’s been going at it for a half hour; at least a half-hour. Not straight, god no; she takes breaks. Which only makes it worse. Sometimes two minutes, sometimes ten. Just when I think she might have come to her senses and finally realized that everyone on this side of the peninsula knows where she is now:

“So, whaddya do for a living? You some dumb suit, trying to make a quick buck? Think you’ll wish your way to the top? Oooh, better yet, wish for immortality so you can outlive the competition? That’s a pretty good idea, you know; you should give me something for that one! Ooh, how ‘bout you tell me what your damn name is!”

I have absolutely no clue who she’s talking to, or shooting at for that matter. By the sound of the blasts she’s either got the Mossberg or the Python. If it’s the Mossberg I can take her; easy enough to keep out of range. With either weapon she’s probably the kind of woman that’ll empty her gun without even thinking, and then it’s the easiest thing in the world to catch her while she’s reloading. You’re opening your hand too soon, lady; ain’t gonna last very long with an attitude like that. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and at this rate the only thing you’ll be doing is burning that house down. Cool. Keep your cool, lady.

Or don’t. I could use an easy out like you.

My brain considers such a proposition even now. I’ve crept closer to the town proper ever since I heard the crazy lady start obviously being focused on something else. I know the exact building she’s hiding in; a long barn-like structure with few windows and a heavy sliding door I doubt is operable. She’s pinned; me from the south, whoever she’s yelling at from either north or east. She must know that she’s pinned, even; maybe the shouting is her way of coping with stress. To each their own, after all. She’s in no position to be making threats.

And yet… an assault on a fixed position… Dangerous. She would have the split-second advantage once I breached the door, and even an amateur can shoot at a silhouette in a doorway and hit them more often than not. She is in a very good position to do a great deal of nothing. Except continue shouting.

“You know, we’re both stuck here; we both know where each other is! Might as well shoot the breeze, right? I’m having a devil of a time, how ‘bout you? Yeah, can’t think of a better way to spend my weekend than out in the wild. Real living, there. Food from a box, water from the ground, nice burned-out wood floor to sleep on, a real man’s life, aye?”

God how I want to kill that woman just to have the comfort of silence again.

I would feel bad about not paying attention to my surroundings if I had not already done so several times before this loose cannon appeared like a phantom to make us all curse our tactically superior positions in the town. The forest is, as I have constantly taken solace in, quiet. No signs of movement have I seen from anywhere or anyone else in the town, though I’m in a very poor position to see much. I watch. I wait…

“Oh, I just thought of something I’d rather be doing! Staying at home taking care of my daughter! But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you, you bastard?! Chasing tail wherever it shines and being far too busy to bother with any sort of commitment, mmm? What’s a few more single mothers; it builds character, doesn’t it?! Yeah, you men can all go straight to hell.”

I can’t take it anymore. Justice demands it. Assault tactics demand it. Common sense demands it. My AK is up to my cheek within a second, eye looking right through the ironsights to the left side of the barn. I sweep, left to right, the rifle bullets making her single raging shots pale by comparison. Hold the trigger. Saturate the target. Do not over-saturate, do not needlessly expend ammunition. One pass, and back over again. Be quick, be clean, be precise. Be cool.

As soon as the sweep is complete, I drop to the ground. I inch behind a tree. I wait for the retaliation.

None comes.

Whatever hot-headed curses were made by that strange woman, they were either made during my gunfire, or not at all. Silence, once again. My eyes wander over to the scattered shell casings I can see in the dirt. From this position I can make out eight, though I feel like I’ve fired twice that. Once I get a chance to breathe and hide I’ll count the bullets left in the magazine. Later. Not now.

Still no retaliation, from anywhere. Two minutes feels tenfold that as I dart my eyes from building to building, searching for anyone who might have seen the muzzle flare. I return my focus to the barn, the fresh bullet holes visible even from my moderate distance away. No retaliation. No sounds. No curses. No ranting about how she hates men. Quiet. Finally… I can be alone again, for as long as it may last. And how I hope for my sanity’s sake that it does.

[ ] Move up. Move in. Confirm the kill.
[ ] Approach the barn. Find a hole; look inside. See the aftermath.
[ ] Move. Hide elsewhere. Relocate to (state destination)
[ ] Retreat. Let the situation cool. Move back to (state direction/destination)
[ ] Stay hidden.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder

No. 34383
[x] Stay hidden.

If Shell is still alive and realized that she attracted others, she shut up now. If she decided to play dead and prepare an ambush, approaching in would be dangerous. So let's see if she'll move out. We can move in after a while if she's really down anyway. If someone else approach, even better.

<x> Shell

Time for fate. Was the wall enough to protect Shell or not?
No. 34385
[x] Retreat. Let the situation cool. Move back to your previous position
[x] Shell

It's too easy to write her off as a loud, raving idiot, and move in for the easy kill. However, her shouting did make us fire, and we did reveal our general location to all around. A cautious man would say that was her intent all along, as she is heavily fortified in her barn.

Also, someone post the map in this thread so everyone doesn't have to go dig it up all the time. Just saying, as I'm voting blind on these directions.
No. 34386
[x] Stay hidden.
<x> Bolt
No. 34387
[x] Stay hidden.
<x> Clip
No. 34388
[x] Approach the barn. Find a hole; look inside. See the aftermath.
<x> Powder
No. 34392
[x] Stay hidden.
< > Chamber

No. 34407
[x] Retreat. Let the situation cool. Move back to your previous position
[x] Shell
Clip really got to Shell, didn't she?
No. 34433
Clip helped to that, but Shell worked herself into a rage pretty much by herself. If she paid the ultimate price for it, we shall see.

As for choices...

[x] Stay hidden.
<x> Shell

Magazine is here for only one kill. One. I'm wary of coming closer, but it's a chance to be done with it then stay the hell away from everyone else.
No. 34434
File 130669131711.jpg - (1.20MB , 1876x3072 , Field.jpg ) [iqdb]
5 – Hide
2 – Approach
1 - Retreat

<4> - Shell
<1> - Bolt
<1> - Clip
<1> - Powder
<1> - Chamber

Wow; been a while since we’ve had such a clear-cut vote. Finally I can rest at ease knowing that what I’m writing is clearly the winning vote. I’ll get this update out to you hopefully tonight.

>Clip really got to Shell, didn't she?
Well, but that’s from Magazine and Clip’s individual perspectives. All people interpret things based on what they’re inclined to think, though they observe the same events.
No. 34450
File 130672221554.png - (196.09KB , 800x500 , Shell.png ) [iqdb]
12:00 P.M., Morning of the First Day, 68 hours remain.

“You know, we’re both stuck here; we both know where each other is! Might as well shoot the breeze, right? I’m having a devil of a time, how ‘bout you? Yeah, can’t think of a better way to spend my weekend than out in the wild. Real living, there. Food from a box, water from the ground, nice burned-out wood floor to sleep on, a real man’s life, aye?”

I shout at the tenant next door again, actually wondering how well my voice carries through the boarded-up slats of the window. As before, no response. Playing it close to the chest. Playing smart, not hard, I reckon. To each their own. You just stay up there feeling superior you son of a bitch. I ain’t shuttin’ up. Maybe hearing another human being’ll make you start behaving like one.

I’m not doing this because I don’t understand the consequences of my actions. It’s not like I don’t know that I’ve just painted a giant target on this workshop; I know damn well I have. Been at this for at least half an hour; I’m surprised nobody’s bit back yet, actually. And it’s not like I just plain don’t care whether I live or die, either; if I didn’t I’d have charged after than bastard across the street by now and be bleeding all over the ground. I care. Damn straight I care. It’s because I care that I’m doing this. That I’m yelling at him like a lunatic. That I’m shooting at him blindly.

They think it’s a damn game. Strategies, tactics, pawns on a board, reading your opponent… what does any of that have to do with this? Ain’t no game rules in a place like this, and I’m not some dumb pawn that has to go straight all the time every time. Win a game, lose a game, cut your losses, best two out of three; the hell with that rubbish.

It’s because they don’t care. It’s because they’re heartless bastards that they don’t care and don’t understand. What would they wish for if they won anyways, a hundred million dollars? An infinite supply of one-night stands? Pointless. It’s just gravy, just icing on your horrible, hollow, pointless cake of a life. Ain’t something you’d fight for; ain’t something you’d die for. If you don’t care about the destination, you sure as hell aren’t really going to care about the journey. You’ve gotta find something to fight for.

I care. I care about this… whatever you call it. Test. Gauntlet. Experiment. Price. I care enough to not just sit on my ass and wait for “the most opportune moment”. Sure, whatever, we’ve got three days. And so you’ll wait for the rest of today, and the rest of tomorrow, and suddenly it’s the evening of Day Three and you haven’t done one single thing worth mentioning yet because you want your perfect game, your perfect win. S’not about winning and losing; it’s give and take. Give a dead stranger, and take a wish. But you’ve got to give God-knows-what before you take that dead stranger in the first place.

And so I’ll shout. “Oh, I just thought of something I’d rather be doing! Staying at home taking care of my daughter! But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you, you bastard?! Chasing tail wherever it shines and being far too busy to bother with any sort of commitment, mmm? What’s a few more single mothers; it builds character, doesn’t it?! Yeah, you men can all go straight to hell.”

I’ll fire my shotgun hoping to hit someone, and miss. I’ll do something. Sooner or later, someone’s got to start the shooting; someone’s got to start the killing. I ain’t going to rely on strangers to do it, I want that damn ball in my court first. Two kills, sister. Two kills. One for Mary, one for me. Let them come. Let them—


I’m hit before I really even know what’s happening. Someone’s shooting bullets from somewhere; lots of bullets. The impact spins me to the ground, probably inadvertently saving me for getting shot again. An incoherent oath escapes my lips as my shoulder connects with the hard wood floor. The surge of adrenaline through my veins at the sudden shock of the broken monotony almost masks the pain of the bullet itself; at first, I don’t even know where I’m hit. But I am hit, and I know it as clear as I know anything in this godforsaken place.

The firing feels like it stops as soon as it started, as my mind comes out of the shock-fueled slowness of the attack. A part of my brain vaguely registers that the south wall is letting in more light than it used to. My right hand white-knuckles my shotgun instinctively; it’s when I pull my left hand over to do the same that I realize where I’ve been shot.

No time to get angry; no time to check the damage yet. South wall… I half-crawl half-run to the nearest overturned table and push it around with my shoulder to put a shield between me and the unknown shooter. Stay alive. Stay alive. You’ve been shot, but you’re not dead. Not yet. Not yet. You knew this was coming. You asked for it. Stay alive…

I let the anxiety stay with me; I let my heart race as fast as it wants. Awkwardly I shuffle the overcoat off my back, quickly realizing as the initial shock fades that my forearm responds to the slightest movement with whines of pain. The dark red of the blood is already mixing with the faded red of my turtleneck as I roll the long sleeve back, wincing all the while. My eyebrows furrow and my face grimaces as I look at the wound. Halfway between the wrist and the elbow is a pulpy hole on both sides of the arm, spitting blood. A small part of me is put at ease; the bullet went through. I can’t tell if it hit bone or not, but the bullet did go all the way through. Well… one less thing to worry about.

I tear a makeshift bandage out of the hem of my skirt and stem the bleeding as much as I can. The pain throbs through my arm, over and over again with each beat of my heart. A lot worse than I expected, but… still doesn’t hold a candle to being in labor.

Take that, army men.

There’s no reprise of gunfire, and I can’t hear anything else happening outside. Not yet, at least. I try moving my bad arm around and am met with a lot more pain; too much pain for me to try and steady the Mossberg with it. For the moment I settle for wedging it against my waist and bracing it with my one good hand. Shooting a shotgun one-armed… brilliant. I hope for my sake nobody’s actually stupid enough to check inside, because I’m not sure if I’d be able to hold them off if they did.

Not yet, at least.

[ ] Stay behind the table. Don’t aggravate the wound.
[ ] Move to the south wall. Check for the shooter.
[ ] Wait by the barricaded east door for intruders.
[ ] Wait by the unbarricaded west door for intruders.
[ ] Evacuate. Find a new fortress. Move (state destination)

{ } Keep silent. Let them wonder.
{ } Say something. Depress them.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 34453
That's... a critical situation for Shell isn't it? Wrong choice and she dies here. Gonna have to think about it.

Obviously, checking for the shooter is a bad idea with the wound. A false move and the shooter will see and shot again.
No. 34455
[x] Stay behind the table. Don’t aggravate the wound.
-[x] Say something. Depress them.
[x] Shell

Holy fuck that was close. Thank god she's relatively okay. We need to keep shouting though, letting them know we are perfectly fine and their bullets didn't do a damn thing. It's a total bluff, but we need to get the ball rolling; get our wishes on, y'know? They don't know it yet, but the ball is firmly in Shells court, and it'll stay like that. Fuck yeah Shell, let's do this.
No. 34481
[x] Move to the south wall. Check for the shooter.
[x] Say something. Depress them.
<x> Clip

If she wants a kill, she needs to keep pissing the others off.
No. 34496
[x] Stay behind the table. Don’t aggravate the wound.
{x} Say something. Depress them.
<x> Clip
No. 34498
Hmmm... Guys? Just because we decide on an action doesn't mean that the action will be executed flawlessly. If we stop mid-speech due to pain, the bluff is pretty much done for.
No. 34504
Whats your point? We have no control over that, so what do you want us to do about it? Besides, unwittingly letting everyone know we are injured can still be a strategic move.
No. 34514
[ ] Move to the south wall. Check for the shooter.
<x> Powder
No. 34517
2 – Stay by table
2 – Move to south wall

{3} – Say something

<2> - Clip
<1> - Shell
<1> - Powder

Clip wins the switch, then; I’d ask for the next voter to please break the Shell action tie, if you would. Thank you.

My new job starts today, and is 3rd shift, approximately 10 PM – 8 AM EST factoring in the commute. As such you’ll be seeing my updates happen either mid-morning or mid-evening, depending on when I feel like sleeping, but I’ll no longer be posting at like midnight as I’ve been doing. Not really sure why I’m telling you this, but maybe it’ll be useful in some way.

Only thing I really have to say about this is that I do not purposely try to take votes and make bad things happen. I make realistic things happen.

For example, realistically a fresh bullet wound could make it difficult to talk due to the pain. But also, realistically, a person who just got shot isn’t going to think that monologuing is going to be a very smart idea. As such Shell would realistically just shout out a snide comment or two.
No. 34553
[x] Stay behind the table. Don’t aggravate the wound.

There goes your tie.
No. 34556
File 130697055479.png - (207.12KB , 722x387 , Clip.png ) [iqdb]

Decided to vacate. Moved northwest into the open, away from Shell. Kept to the sea coast; kept low. Did not opt to find a sound structure; opted to keep my previous building between Shell’s line of sight and myself. A safeguard, should she have been watching.

Currently reside in a poor, burned house at northern crossroads. Will not stay long. Contemplating next action. Unsure whether to abandon town for time being or remain.

Cannot write more. I am nervous. Will resume later.



Relocated across street to large C-shaped building; strange construction. Interior partitions are not uniform, rooms vary wildly in size, lofted ceiling with upper deck. Possible livestock barn or warehouse of large goods. Currently writing from upper loft behind barrels and soggy piles of hay. No windows visible from current position; I am cut off from the rest of town. Will remain so for


Position uncertain; not in immediate vicinity. Automatic fire. Moderately-short salvo, one unbroken stream. Silence. No sound of suffering, retaliation, rage. Target does not appear to be me; building seemingly undamaged. Must relocate to visible window posthaste to observe. Will resume later.

“It’s gonna take a lot more than that, little man!” ← Shell, 5-10 minutes after gunshots.


And so begins the introduction of unknown variables.

Shell has just been shot at by a participant carrying an automatic weapon, from an unknown direction. I could see no traces of movement from portions of the town visible from my current safehouse, and did not expect to. The shooter is not Belt; I know enough about that fabled German machine gun to know they the bullets fired were too slow. Drum, or Magazine, is close. Very close. Close enough perhaps to hear Shell’s muffled voice through her wooden walls, as I have been. Close enough perhaps to have been goaded into firing by them. I will not fault such a person for taking the opportunity presented to them; Shell’s proclamations were indeed risky. She should be grateful she is still alive.

I have not dampened her spirits, and neither has this shooter. Whether she is foolish or wise, she is strong. She welcomes adversaries; she taunts fate, and gambles with Death. Even so soon after being attacked she goads us to shoot again, to try and kill her as she knows we want to.

“Wanna try again? Maybe you’ll hit me this time!” she now taunts, seemingly none the worse for wear. To another, they might assume she does not fear death. I believe I know better.

She is afraid. She is concerned. She cries out to convince herself that she is not spineless, to force herself to action, whether she consciously knows this or not. She cries out to draw us in, to make us lose our heads and attack her, gambling on the hope that she is invincible within those walls of wood and pitch; that to kill her we must lay siege, and that to do so would be her victory with her namesake in her hands.

Just as a sniper rifle is to be feared, a shotgun is to be respected. Must consider further.

This is one hypothesis, of course. She may just be extremely foolish and not understand the consequences of her actions. If so my interest in her would diminish greatly, though not disappear entirely. In theory, I would very much like to catch her off guard and hold her at gunpoint to see what she might do; it might better assess her character.

This would be extraordinarily foolhardy.


New thought: The shooter. I must think to my own safety.

Drum, or Magazine. Both whose armaments exceed my own, and pose significant threat even at range. I cannot hope to best them in a fair fight. My advantage is ease of mobility, only. Stealth is what is required to best them, stealth and precise positioning, especially in a semi-urban warzone. I may easily move behind walls and fire from cover; they cannot.

Again, I sit shielded behind adequate cover in a corner of a loft; I do not believe I can be seen from the ground. An intruder may enter the building and not know I am here to miss. Unfortunately, a supposed Drum or Belt may use his or her superior ammunition count to fire wanton bullets at possible hiding places without looking first.

But now cometh the mind, their own greatest enemy.

I know there are at least two other people in this town besides me. So does Shell. The Drum/Mag shooter most likely knows Shell was shouting at someone other than herself, so they know as well.

But no one knows where.

No one has all the information. Shell no longer knows where I aim, but may know where the shooter is. I know her, but not the shooter. The shooter knows her, but not me. And anyone outside of this loop will have only vague knowledge that there are multiple people in town, but locations will be entirely unknown.

They will fear this unknown. They will no longer move about assuming probability will save them, assuming the “action” is happening “somewhere else.” The action will happen, and is happening, here. Exactly as we must have all predicted. One hasty run outside could mean death. Or it could not. The question now is, what price are they willing to pay to take that chance?

Side note: I realize a very significant advantage I possess. Neither Shell, nor the shooter, knows what weapon I possess. Shell knows only that I am not Powder, and nothing else; the shooter does not know even that. But they do know I am here. Will they be more cautious, unsure whether I may be Belt, or worse, Bolt? Will they strategize assuming the worst case, or the best?

When is it both pertinent and logical to assume a best-case scenario rather than a worst? Must consider further.


This journal’s quality and coherence appears to be dropping as of late. I will not correct this; I understand now that every variable is important. If the quality is poor, I will look back on this and understand why. I will understand that I was stressed from hearing the unknown gunfire, that I was stressed from my own uncertainties about my safety.

All I can promise myself is that I will endeavor to continue writing, perhaps though it cost me dearly. I am yet considering the prospect of martyrdom, of writing on and on even if I were to be shot, lose consciousness and die. Undesirable, yes, but… intriguing. Perhaps someone may pick this journal up and gain some understanding from it. Is that not what a thesis is?

To whoever is reading this right now, if you killed me, I ask only that you give this journal to someone who might put it to good use. Of course, if you killed me, I ask myself if you would even have the respect to do such a thing. Then again, are not these killings nothing personal? Are we not strangers in a strange land? Surely even in the midst of killing we possess the ability to be civil. Our deaths are not senseless, nor purposeless; we all of us have a reason to die, to kill, and to be killed. Surely you can respect this, my killer?

You can.

But I do not expect you to.

So come, then. Kill me, and may this journal occupy your spare time, if you believe you have time to spare. Know that I may not have killed you, had you allowed me to live. Know that I may even have helped you to kill the others, for the sake of my research. But if you are reading this than surely I am dead, and no one will help you now.

Aren’t I generous?

[ ] Ignore all else; focus. Write and write and write
--{ } Talk to the theoretical killer from the future
--{ } Ruminate on “the contractors”
--{ } Ruminate on “the sponsors”
--{ } Write whatever comes to mind
--{ } “Consider Further”
[ ] Write casually, as before; react if suspicious sounds occur
[ ] Spy out the windows towards Shell and the shooter

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 34558
[x] Write casually, as before; react if suspicious sounds occur

No reason to be stupid now: The longer Clip is alive, the longer she can observe and write. The first kill should at least be observed and recorded at the very least.

<x> Powder
First wanted to vote Magazine, but realized my vote was tainted: I prefer Magazine over Shell and thus impartial voting wouldn't have been possible. Those who want Shell to die would vote for it. Those who want Shell to survive would have voted for that too.

So let's see where Powder is and how he feels with two weapons now.
No. 34559
[x] Ignore all else; focus. Write and write and write
--{x} Ruminate on “the sponsors”
<x> Chamber

Conflict? Who cares? I want reflection on the sponsors from someone with even less information than I have.
No. 34560
[x] Write casually, as before; react if suspicious sounds occur
<x> Drum

> [ ] Ignore all else; focus. Write and write and write
Let's not die quite yet.
No. 34561
[x] Spy out the windows towards Shell and the shooter
[x] Shell

Clip doesn't seem to give a shit about the wishes; she just wants to write in her journal to the exclusion of everything else. I can't accept that. If she ignores the happenings around her, and merely writes, she'll die for sure. She needs to strike a balance between recording her mental state, and actually playing the damn game.

This last update worries me, as she shows a concerning disregard for her own life. If events continue along like this, Magazine is going to slaughter both Shell and Clip at this rate. That'd be awful.

Also, Clip's sponsor is Aya. You heard it here first, folks. I kid. Everyone knows the only sponsor is Yukari, because she's behind everything.
No. 34604
2 – Write casually
1 – Write about sponsors
1 – Spy

<1> - Powder
<1> - Chamber
<1> - Drum
<1> - Shell

The four-way-tie gives precedence to Drum, who has only had two updates. I’ll get this post out to you later today.

Also, you may ignore everything I’ve previously said about jobs and schedules. I just got a better job at a local engineering firm as a 3D CAD modeler, so I quit the 3rd-shift job; they were cool with it despite me only having worked there for three days. This new job has a much more standard 8-to-4 schedule, so I’ll be moving back to updating during the mid-to-late evening for the most part.

I have no idea if this information is in any way useful to you, but I figured I’d just lay it on the table.

>Those who want Shell to die would vote for it. Those who want Shell to survive would have voted for that too.
Well, perspective switching in and of itself doesn’t kill anyone; both Magazine and Shell’s actions have already been locked in from previous votes, so what’s going to happen is going to happen regardless of who’s eyes you see it through. And as far as that’s concerned, they both were voted to hide, so Shell’s not going to be dying anytime in the immediate future.

Not from Magazine, at least.

This sounds like the greatest of ideas. I approve.

>This last update worries me, as she shows a concerning disregard for her own life.
Not exactly. More like, her life is not necessarily the most important thing she’s concerned about. It may amount to the same result, true, but the mentality is quite different.

>I kid, etc. etc.
You mean, she was behind everything three years ago. Times have changed. Unless, of course, they’ve changed so much that “Yukari is old hat” has itself become old hat and Mastermind Yukari is original again. This paragraph spoils absolutely nothing and most likely has wasted fifteen seconds of your time.
No. 34608
>Not from Magazine, at least.

But he won't stay hidden forever, will he? Shell confirmed by shouting that she was still alive. He could either go away or move in for the kill if he decide the shouting is a bluff.
No. 34610
File 130724623432.png - (159.17KB , 800x289 , Drum.png ) [iqdb]
12:20 A.M., Morning of the First Day, 67 hours and 40 minutes remain.

There is always time.

There is always time to be calm, even in haste. My legs scale the hill, my brain not trusting the road for a second. My pace is brisk. Not rapid. Brisk. And my weapon is ever in both of my hands, ready to be lifted should the occasion call.

I keep both buildings in my sight; the one by the crossroads, and the one at the bottom of the hill I have just now reached the top of. I crouch down at the crest, shield my eyes from the sun. Six minutes… Six minutes in which I had lost Clip. Six minutes in which she could have done anything from staying exactly where she was, to jogging a kilometer away. My haste prevents the error in judgment from become larger, but an error it remains.

And now there is automatic gunfire.

Magazine, or Belt. Either possess the weapons to do so, but Clip it definitely is not. Was she the one firing at them an hour ago, or were they at her? Or is this yet another contender? These questions take a back seat to the one I continue to ask myself, over and over: Is Clip dead now? Were her movements across town noticed by another, and then punished? Has my only lead already been extinguished? And if the gunner is close enough for me to hear, am I walking to my death by moving forward?

This is why there is always time to think.

I put the spyglass to my eye again, every time getting more and more acclimated to its limitations and compensating in turn. The town grows ever closer, but a toy model it remains, in the glass’s eye. No signs. Quiet, and dead. This means Clip was not so carelessly gunned down in the middle of the street, at the very least; she is apparently not that stupid. I try not to assume too much about anyone for the moment. In lieu of proper information, the competitor must always be assumed to be more superior to yourself. You must always assume your very best is required of you.

Unlike some people…

I quickly stride my way down the hill, using what trees I can as cover. My memories assault me once more, fueling my ambition and erasing the pittances of doubt in my heart while retaining the more important aspects of caution. It’s not my fault I’m in this mess; it is not my fault. I did everything a hard-working member of society is asked to do by the universal standards of life, everything. Any other company, any other superiors even, and I would not have to be hiding outside a dilapidated, abandoned house, wondering if there is a young woman inside that I need to kill. I would have been promoted half a dozen times over and turned my company around by now, and those road-blocking slackers would be the ones killing people for a chance at glory.

I should have quit. I should have found a better company. Three years ago, even two years ago. Yes, I would never have met young Miss Yates, but she is strong; she would have found her own way. Why didn’t I quit…?

This isn’t me… I am not meant to be a person running around a forest with a machine gun. This, is not, dignified. I repeat this in my brain as I crouch down under a window, dirtying the pants of my suit even more than they already are. I must look like some sort of ridiculous 1920’s mobster with this brown pantsuit and Tommy Gun. The sooner I can get back to civilization and wash the horrid memory of this place behind me, the better.

Means to an end, I keep repeating to myself. A means to an end.

The chant continues as my torso bursts into the window frame and I point my gun at anything I can find inside. Clip? No. No Clip. A simple one-room cabin with no furnishings worth mentioning, and certainly not enough to hide behind. No reason to shoot, no reason to get agitated. Business. This is all just business. Calm down, Ms. Drum. Caution is good. Emotion, perhaps not.

But the memories continue. The memories are the reason I’m here, the reason I’m forced to take for myself what I’ve rightfully earned and have not been given. It’s old emotion, old emotion I’ve learned to live with, and which continues to fuel me with purpose. If there is any justice in this world, then I will triumph here. Is it so much to ask for the truly superior to be in their rightful position?

Then again, one must assume one’s opponent’s are superior, until a more accurate assessment can be made. After all, I don’t know weapons. I don’t know war.

I have three days to learn.

I walk to the outer edge of the building’s wall and peer around it, my eyes gazing towards that building on the crossroads. That Schrödinger’s Box of a building which may or may not contain a Clip in it… No. I refuse to dwell on past mistakes. I refuse to dwell on why I suddenly feared Bolt, or why I never quit my job after I knew it was pointless. The past is past. Learn from it, and never make the same mistake twice.

But, so many variables to consider… The theoretical presence of half a dozen opponents in half a million different configurations, and so many of those leading to my imminent demise. How does a soldier cope with it, I wonder; cope with the unknowns of a quiet front line, just sitting there for hours on end, waiting for the enemy to show themselves. Is this what the creators of this competition intended? A battle more of mind than of body, placing eight of us in an expanse so large we could pass within half a kilometer of each other and never know we were there to miss? It is no small wonder this town is alluring. Even when approaching it means almost certain ambush and death, perhaps it is a welcome change to the uncertainty of the forest. One might even go insane if they were to hide alone, waiting for a target that might never appear.

Which may very well be what I am now doing.

[ ] Don’t get too close. Observe from afar.
[ ] Move on the crossroads building. Determine the truth.
[ ] Circle the town counterclockwise and approach from a different angle

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 34614
[x] Move on the crossroads building. Determine the truth.
[x] Shell

Sitting and waiting around isn't going to do anyone any good. The only reason it's justified with Shell is weapon limitations. Magazine and Drum have no such compelling. Their weapons are arguably superior, so they should be more proactive.
No. 34615
[x] Move on the crossroads building. Determine the truth.
[x] Powder

Yeah. Sure. That sounds like a good justification. I'm not picking this because I don't like Drum at all. I'm picking it for that reason he posted. Totally.
No. 34624
[x] Circle the town counterclockwise and approach from a different angle
<x> Clip
No. 34627
This is something I’ve been thinking about, and I feel like I’d trot it out to you folks and see what you think.

Lately I’ve felt like more and more of my updates have been getting shorter and possessing less overall genuine content. Now I don’t want to force updates to be longer than I feel they should for fear of degrading their quality with needless filler, but I also don’t want to just give you readers a rather small update every few days. I’ve always been one for quality over quantity, but I’d like to try and shoot for both if I can.

So hear is my possible proposal: I do not worry about update size whatsoever and switch to doing daily or near-daily updates. If they’re short, they’re short; maybe the next day will be longer. This would allow me to write only the parts that really matter, and not feel like I have to keep writing past the point where I should stop. The flaw with this plan is that I have not been receiving a lot of votes during the 24 period after I’ve updated. They do come in, but only after a few days. I don’t want to progress the story through the inputs of only two or three people if I can help it. But short of asking everyone to vote more, I don’t know how it can be helped.

Of course, this is all just from my perspective. As always, I could just be paranoid and overly-critical of my work, ready to overhaul more than is necessary at the first sign of imperfection. Do you think the updates are too short, or too boring? Do you think that maybe I should try to speed things up a bit and focus less on parts without action? Like I’ve said in the past, Priceless is experimental, and I’m still not totally sure on the best way to make it work. Perhaps shorter and faster updates would benefit it; I don’t know. That’s why I’m shooting this idea out and asking your opinions.
No. 34628
>switch to doing daily or near-daily updates.

It'll be the death of you.
No. 34629
Update frequency and size is fine as is, in my opinion. If you want to speed things up, you could try going with a "writing starts after n votes" approach, which might make people vote faster. Or not.
No. 34630
I have no idea how this would pan out, but lately, I've started to feel each update is taking too little time. We're on the second thread, and only 4 hours or so have passed. For a relatively short and experimental story, this is a little strange.

I only bring this up because I feel it's giving a much too relaxed atmosphere to the story. Everyone feels that they can play it safe, cause after all, they have all the time in the world.

Now about those quicker updates. Aside from telling you to do what you are comfortable with, I haven't really noticed a decline in quality. Perhaps you're only feeling this because we have centered the story around 3-4 characters all in close proximity that are usually performing actions relative to each others? I can see how you would need to pad out an update since a fair bit of the recent ones has been confirming the situation at hand that you have already gone over from someone elses perspective.

I don't know, but you said this fic is mostly experimental right? So experiment. Try doing daily updates for a while, and if it doesn't pan out right, just stop and go back to doing slower updates over the course of some days again. Go wild with it. It's not we'll stop reading.

This is, of course, just, like, my opinions, man.
No. 34643

I would like more frequent updates. And I feel like it would also benefit you if won't be forced to write past the point you should stop.

[x] Move on the crossroads building. Determine the truth.
[x] Powder

It is also my opinoin that power and bolt need more screentime.
No. 34648

Well, it seems that the best laid schemes of mice and men continue once again to go often astray. My new company is starting me off at a 54-hour week, and with the workload they’ve been getting that might go even higher very soon. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the starting time wasn’t 6 A.M., but it is, meaning I can’t stay up late doing much of anything anymore, and I certainly don’t want to commit to a daily update schedule with so little free time. Looks like that problem solved itself, I guess…?

But after thinking about it, I believe I know part of the reason I was feeling uncertain; mainly, I have not really been trying very hard. Priceless uses an experimental format, but I’m still thinking and planning like it’s a normal story. To make it feel really good, I need to actually plan out good ways to use the non-linear timeline to its advantage. While writing A Fairy’s Tale, which was very dialog and character-interaction heavy, it was like the story wrote itself. I rarely ever had to stop and think about what should happen next, because I just though about what everyone would say and do in a given situation, and could fill up a quality 1500 word update without much trouble at all. Priceless isn’t like that, and I feel I’m just having a tough time switching gears. Fortunately I seem to have caught it before it’s gotten too bad.

In any case, due to my work schedule update speed won’t get any better or will probably get worse, in addition to me focusing less on filler and more on quality. As I said up above, I’ll keep this vote open for a day or two longer to give myself time to think about things, as well as get used to the new job. No telling what the long-term effects of the job will be, so I’ll keep you posted.

Go back and take a look at A Scarlet-Stained Memoir. That was 155 posts in 167 days, which is practically the definition of “daily or near-daily”. Unless I am terribly misinformed, I am still alive.

The “First To X” vote approach is, in my opinion, a thing of the past, and also wouldn’t work here anyways. First To X needs a consistent and relatively high volume of voters to actually reach the X-cutoff mark, as well as a relatively low number of options to prevent the diffusion of votes, neither of which Priceless has.

Also, no amount of incentive can cure the general public’s general laziness. Example: The switch vote is nearly always razor thin, to the point where a single voter can run in at the last minute, vote for practically anyone they want, and win. And yet, this seemingly never happens. So, yeah.

>I've started to feel each update is taking too little time.
Believe me, I know it too, and it’s been addressed before. I think I might have a solution in the works.

>For a relatively short and experimental story, this is a little strange.
I never said Priceless was going to be short; I planned for it to be a fairly full-length story, honestly. Of course, being experimental, there’s no way of knowing if that’s the best plan or not.

>Perhaps you're only feeling this because we have centered the story around 3-4 characters all in close proximity that are usually performing actions relative to each others?
Not really; I knew from the start that the focus would be uneven, which is why I didn’t plan for any character to be deeper or more important than anyone else.

>a fair bit of the recent ones has been confirming the situation at hand that you have already gone over from someone elses perspective.
I think this is the heart of the matter, which I hadn’t truly realized until you brought it up. So thank you very much for that. Obviously the suspense of the unknown is lessened for the reader when they know where all the (pro/an)tagonists are, but I really dropped the ball by going over events that already happened. I suppose I wanted to shoot for a sense of “You think you know what happened here, but let me show you what’s really happening.” Either it didn’t work, or I’m just not good at it.

I think I have a possible solution, for both this and the slow story pace, which is to increase how much time passes “off screen” for a character. Right now it’s maybe one hour-ish between character’s updates, but I’m thinking of maybe increasing that to like three or four hours. Now, yes, it’s jarring and probably confusing, but I think that’s the point; you don’t actually know what happened between Time X and Time Y, until later when you vote for a character who’ll fill it in. It might help the suspense.

The downside to this, of course, is that I’m going to have to plan out tons of events in advance and work voting options so that you can’t cause time paradoxes when you vote for characters in the past. But that’s actually what I wanted to do in the first place with this story before I got lazy about it. So… hooray, maybe?

I think perhaps I’ve just been indoctrinated by ASSM and AFT to think that if my update is under 1500 words, I am lazy and a failure. It’s a hard habit to break.

And what is it with everyone loving Bolt?
No. 34649
>if my update is under 1500 words, I am lazy and a failure. It’s a hard habit to break.
I know that feel.
No. 34664
[ ] Circle the town counterclockwise and approach from a different angle


I think things will be easier for you after the killing starts and some characters die. Which may happen soon, considering the last updates.
No. 34665
File 13074680804.jpg - (901.87KB , 2157x2188 , ab219b1a29151c52f5ceb6c780c1a6d7.jpg ) [iqdb]
It's not about length, it's about substance. Argh.
No. 34679
File 130749970784.png - (246.03KB , 660x660 , sup.png ) [iqdb]
3 – Move up
2 – Circle around

<3> - Powder
<1> - Shell
<1> - Clip

I’ll call it now so I can plan out stuff in my head during my newly-acquired 11 hours of being at a computer manipulating CAD drawings all day. It’s really quite a great job and I will not hate the paycheck one bit; it’s just not a cakewalk, is all. No guarantees that I’ll have the update for you by tomorrow, unfortunately. Just sit tight.

Juggling eight characters isn’t as big a deal as you’d think; it’s not like I’ll be writing any less once people start dying.

Oh no, blasphemy, look! It’s a writer posting with his/her trip in a story not their own! Surely they must be blatantly attention-whoring and they do not understand THE RULEZ! Let us all shun this heinous breacher of board conduct and remind the overpretentious writefag to know his or her place, while also chanting fervently at them to get back to work! Without the milky white marble pillars of standards and precepts which hold the Photon-green ceiling over our heads, however shall this site stand when writers roam free to state their non-anonymous opinions and plague threads at random with their names, the most hideous of all things on the internet?! To arms, to arms!

Hi Taisa. Glad to see you’re dedicated to quality. I just lost my way a little; I’m good now, I think.
No. 34680
File 130750419731.png - (227.78KB , 744x867 , 1290320039146.png ) [iqdb]
Get the fuck out of here. Not writing is one thing but fucking with your readers who await your return is another.

Go to IRC, where you belong, and do not bother to come back until you start writing again.
No. 34681

Or maybe you could get over how butthurt you are to see an experienced writer trying to give advice. If he's not gonna write, that is damn sure something worth showing up for.
No. 34682

Someone is quite upset, I see. Though I half think you jumped on Owen's joke about writers posting with their trip to troll.
No. 34684
It's both.
No. 34685

I miss you, pease write again.
I hate, please get the fuck out of here.

Also, why are you still here? Didn't you leave the site for good?
No. 34686
Please don't derail any thread Taisa posts in into being about Taisa. Thanks!

So, how about that Powder? He sure did give Chamber a lecture and steal his gun last time we saw him. Wonder what that guy's been up to?
No. 34687
>see an experienced writer trying to give advice.
Even with eyes closed like you can clearly see that this is not the case.

And, yes i mad. But can you really hold it against me for what he did? That was a dick move and we all know it. Just seeing his name gets me all riled up.

But with all due respect to Owen i am still holding back and will refrain from further going into this.
No. 34688

Hopefully still alive and well. And not in a bad situation, and very far from Bolt.
No. 34689
File 130758359554.jpg - (582.88KB , 700x1017 , cd4b9922d0c96daeb277495c8f5386dc.jpg ) [iqdb]
I forgot to remove my trip. Sorry.
No. 34690

Screw them, Taisa. You're better than these anons and shouldn't have to worry about what others think if you put your trip in.

Too late for a vote, however.

Can't wait for the update, Owen.
No. 34695
>You're better than these anons and shouldn't have to worry about what others think if you put your trip in.

I can see you don't understand why trip/namefagging isn't allowed.
No. 34697
Enlighten us. Maybe in a different thread, though, this is getting out of hand.
No. 34731
File 130780859265.png - (69.16KB , 600x200 , Powder.png ) [iqdb]
12:50 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 67 hours and 10 minutes remain.

Above the gentle lapping of the pond on the shore I barely manage to hear it; even after listening again at first I think it’s nothing. Been on-edge all morning hoping no one’ll find me until I’m good n’ ready; I swear I’m just making up these noises out of guilt for being here or something. But unlike those bullets that I keep hearing from town, this doesn’t die out. A steady rustling, like leaves brushing against each other. Exactly like the sound of someone nearby walking through a forest.

I freeze, like anybody else would do in the same situation. Press my back up against the damp rock wall and stop breathing, trying to hear it. There… there it is again. A faint sound of shuffling feet and crackling brush. My hands clench down on the grenade launcher out of reflex, the revolver unloaded right at this moment. Why, why’d I leave it unloaded? Tinkering around with the bullets like some young gun, “practicing” with the speedloader… Stupid, stupid stupid. Ain’t got no right to be taking chances like that. Guess I’ll have to make due with the launcher. Again.

I arch my back downwards, keep my chest low as I try to crouch-walk step by cautious step out of the shallow lakeside cave that’s been my home for the last two hours. One step at a time. Be careful. Try to find out who’s making the noise, now. Keep your finger off the trigger, damn it. I just want a look…

The trees are thinner in this part of the peninsula; not like a mile down where I started. Wouldn’t exactly feel too sure about calling this area a “forest” really. “Wood” maybe. Not a lot of cover around here… for me or for them. Sun’s high in the sky; should make looking easy. I sweep around the shore of the lake, look for something out of place. The telltale dark overcoats, or something that blurs in my peripheral vision. Come on, come on, I know I heard it this time. I hold my breath again; I listen for it, try to hear where it’s coming from. My ears starting picking up all the garbage noises of nature I don’t want to hear right now instead, as if conspiring against me. Like they want me to be at a disadvantage.

Confound you, Eckers, get your sermon out of my head. Not, now. I swear to God almighty if this turns out to be him following me I am going smack him upside the head with his own revolver. I’m going northwest; don’t, follow, me. Is it so hard to understand?

The rustling again. Where the heck is it? Nothing by the pond, nothing back the way I came. Doesn’t sound like it’s on the hill above my cave… It’s not in my head, damn it I am not hearing things, and I am not crazy. High strung is all. Too high strung. Just gotta see the guy, see ‘im and know he’s there, then go back into my cave and let him pass. You’ve got a hundred and forty thou in the bank, Mr. Powder. No need to, be…

Oh God, no. Please God… no, don’t, don’t do this to me. Not this, anything… anything but, this… Why God… why?

She’s just a child.

Can’t be more than fourteen, fifteen years old. Short little redhead with a maroon overcoat that’s too big for her, lugging that giant machine gun in front of her with a woodsplitting maul wedged behind her backpack. She looks tired and worn-out, and she certainly would be carrying all that weight around. I watch her ease her way down a nearby slope and possibly start making for the pond.

Please God, no… Not this. She’s just a girl. She’s young enough to be my daughter… my granddaughter. How could she have done this… why the hell would she have done this?! For a girl that young…

My hands start slipping away from the launcher as I sit there in my cave, heart in my shoes, just staring at her. She walks over to the edge of the pond and crouches down, one hand fumbling for her canteen while the other keeps its finger on the trigger of that German monster, not more than a stone’s throw away from where I’m hiding. Look at her; she’s not even looking for an ambush. I could do it right now. Pull this M79 up to my cheek like I did with Chamber. At this range there’s no question that the grenade would prime. As long as it doesn’t land in the water, I’d have her. She wouldn’t even know where it came from. As, easy, as, that.

And then I’d live the rest of my laughably short life knowing that I shot a little girl in the back to provide for my family.

It’s wrong. It’s sick. This has nothing to do with damn Chamber and his damn preaching, this is just not right. I don’t know who to blame anymore. The schools for not teaching these kinds of kids about war? Her parents for not keep a closer eye on her? The television telling her that she can be a superhero if she just believes in herself? When did this happen to us? When did we reach the point where a fourteen-year-old girl would even consider killing someone just for a shallow wish? And she’d be too young to know what to use it on anyways. “I wish Grandpa would get better”, “I wish I had a billion dollars”, “I wish the other kids would stop making fun of me.”

Those aren’t wishes, little girl. That’s called being a normal human being, just like everyone else.

My head shakes back and forth, still in shock at seeing this child come out of nowhere. I don’t even know where to begin. Can I just pretend like she’s not there? Should I pull a Chamber and try to talk some sense into her? I look past the hills to the east, and remember the bullets I’ve heard. If I just ignore this, if I just let her go, she’s going to march right into that town and get herself killed before the sun even sets.

I… I can’t let that happen. Anyone else, fine, go ahead, get yourself killed, it’s your life, live it your own way; that’s what America’s built on. But this girl… Too young. Naive. She doesn’t know what she’s doing here. It’s the same with all kids; you bring ‘em up right, teach ‘em how to live their own life, but until they leave the house they are your responsibility and you will stop them from killing themselves until they know better.

I am going to her a good long talk with her father when this is all over.

”Drop the gun, young lady!” I shout only loud enough to make it across the lake, bringing my own gun back up to its sights. She jumps up in surprise, nearly losing her balance with that maul on her back. Its probably only the weight of that machine gun in front that keeps her up. Her head swivels around madly, trying to find the voice. She does not drop the gun.

“Do it or you die!” I don’t care what I say right now; anything to get her to drop that gun. Anything to keep her away from the town until I find out what the hell is going on here. She swings her weapon around feverishly in my direction, still not quite seeing where I’m shouting from but narrowing down the location quickly. Too far away to see her face. Just drop the weapon, kid, please! Do you want to die?

And then she goes and does something very stupid: she shoots at me. Not even knowing if I’m there or not, she shoots at me. Rock dust and dirt suddenly puff into the air as stray bullets graze the entrance to the cave and the sound of a buzzsaw fills my ears. I backpedal my way into the hollow again, nearly having a heart attack. No, no no no! Idiot, you stupid stupid girl! Telling the world exactly where you are! Where I am! You’re going to kill us all!

[ ] Shoot back, now, with the launcher.
--( ) At her. Silence this.
--( ) Near her. Shrapnel MIGHT not be lethal.
--( ) Nowhere near her. Scare her into cease-firing.
[ ] Load the revolver; shoot back.
--( ) At her. It MIGHT not be lethal.
--( ) Near hear. Scare her into cease-firing.
[ ] Don’t be hasty. Keep on guard and wait.
[ ] Surrender. Try to negotiate.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 34733
[x] Shoot back, now, with the launcher.
--(x) Nowhere near her. Scare her into cease-firing.

I will not let Powder compromise his integrity for something lame like survival. I cant; I just like him too much. He's going to give that idiot a stern talking too, or he's going to be ripped apart. No middle ground.
No. 34734
[x] Shoot back, now, with the launcher.
--(x) Near her. Shrapnel MIGHT not be lethal.
<x> Clip

If she's hurt, she might realize that this isn't a game.
No. 34735
[x] Surrender. Try to negotiate.
<x> Belt

This is dumb. Incredibly dumb. I wanna do it anyway. Talky updates are more interesting than fighty updates.
No. 34741
[x] Shoot back, now, with the launcher.
--(x) Near her. Shrapnel MIGHT not be lethal.
<x> Clip
No. 34747
[ ] Shoot back, now, with the launcher.
--( ) At her. Silence this.
<x> Powder

Powder can't die, he's the most decent person on the island.
No. 34748
Anonymous 11/06/12 (Sun) 15:26 No. 34747
[ ] Shoot back, now, with the launcher.
--( ) At her. Silence this.
<x> Powder

Yes, a chance to get rid of Belt! One less unconsequential killer.
No. 34749
[X] Load the revolver. Keep on guard and wait.
<X> Bolt

If/once she gets closer we should try to disarm her by shooting her in the arm she is holding the machine gun with, and only then should we attempt to lecture her.
Unlike shrapnel, we can control where bullets go.
No. 34772
[x] Shoot back, now, with the launcher.
--(x) At her. Silence this.
<x> Clip
No. 34778
3 – Shoot at her
2 – Shoot near hear
1 – Shoot nowhere near her
1 – Load & Wait
1 – Surrender

<3> - Clip
<2> - Powder
<1> - Shell
<1> - Belt
<1> - Bolt

Since there’s an undisputed count right now, I’ll call the vote as it is. My hours have been temporarily jacked up to 60-per-week, meaning even less time to write, and I don’t want to finally get the chance only to be stuck with a tie when I do. Truthfully though, I do actually prefer this method of calling the vote early before I have time to write, since it gives me more planning time, which I’ve been saying I probably need more of in this story. So fingers crossed; maybe I’ll have the next update posted by Wednesday? Can’t make any promises with a schedule like this; sorry.

Or perhaps more accurately, I’m better at writing talky updates than fighting updates, thus making them more interesting.

You say as you vote for him to kill a little girl.
No. 34793
>You say as you vote for him to kill a little girl.

Powder may be a decent guy, but nothing was said about your readers. Better her than him, and I don't want to risk him being killed by Belt. In fact, I don't want anyone to be killed by her.

Guess I really want him to get that wish of his. Confrontation with someone eager to kill another person was to happen sooner or later, and Belt sounds like one of the most dangerous people on the island. Most dangerous being Bolt. He doesn't have any wish, just wants to feel important.

Also, this may be a good time to ask something about those wishes. Every chrcter has a default wish they want to come true, even if they have to kill someone (except Chamber, and maybe Bolt). If, by any chance, one of the characters win the right for more wishes than they needed...will they/you take this decision, or will the readers have any say on that matter?
No. 34794
Belt fired back at us. If we kill her now, we won't be getting that wish. Just saying.

It would be far more prudent to talk her down and then gun her down. That would definitely get Powder a wish, though Powder would never do something like that.
No. 34798
>will they/you take this decision, or will the readers have any say on that matter?
First off, I would hesitate to use the phrase “default wish”. It’d be more accurate to say that most of the protagonists signed their contract with a wish in mind. However, it’s very important to note that a wish is not made until the three days are up. During these three days, events may conspire to make a character change their minds, whether that means changing their wish, wanting more wishes, or perhaps wanting none at all. What they are fighting for is not so much a wish as it is the ability to make a wish.

As such there is no real decision I can “take” from you, as the only time a wish really matters is the very end, when the so-called victors are sitting down with their sponsors. Up until then any discussion of wishes is not about what they have wished for, but what they will wish for, and that may change throughout the story based on either the characters, or the voters. You’re free to think about wishes all you want, but until the end there’s no need to make a set-in-stone choice about them.

I already called the vote to shoot at her. Just saying.

It would be far more prudent to talk about vote justifications and then cast your vote. That would definitely get Anon thinking straight, though Anon would never do something like that.
No. 34799
Cool facetiousness bro, but I already voted. Just saying.

And to make this post a little less worthless, what's to stop the winner of this game from wishing everyone back to life? I think you touched upon the limitations and scopes of a "wish" earlier, but I see nothing that could deny this. I'm a little surprised nobody has even mentioned this before.
No. 34801

I could have sworn that was mentioned earlier, but I can't find the post now.
Nonetheless, even if a character decides to try that, they're betting the lives of everyone they kill on themselves winning and the wishes allowing for such a thing.

I don't think someone like Powder, though, would take a life lightly even if they believed it could be restored later. If he really does blow Belt to chunks, maybe he'll think of trying it.
No. 34805
File 130809924955.png - (207.12KB , 722x387 , Clip.png ) [iqdb]

Commotion nearby, likely outside of town. Heavy gunfire, automatic. Short bursts interspersed with constant streams. Belt?

Low rumble or thumping. Explosion? Avalanche? Powder? Gunfire ceases. Twenty, thirty second duration. Southwest of current position.

Silence in town. No snide remark from Shell. No return fire.

I close my eyes and nod; dull smile on my face. It is beginning. The inevitable pull where all will sooner or later be drawn into town. Three already are here, including myself. Two more seem to be quite close. Contrary to old and pointless adages, this town is indeed large enough to accommodate the eight of us.

Only not safely.

Belt? Most likely. Long duration without audible pause for reload. Powder? Debatable but likely. Odd noise very possibly grenade explosion. Belt shooting down trees, causing odd rumble? Will not discount but will currently put aside in favor of greater likelihood: skirmish between Powder/Belt.

Shell: "So, is anyone gonna saying anything about that, or what? I mean, what the hell?" Her commentary falls upon deaf ears once more.

Hypothesis: Belt fires, laying heavy suppressive fire for many seconds. Keeps Powder pinned due to high volume of bullets. Powder cannot afford missed shots; low volume of reserve ammo. And yet Powder manages a shot, and Belt ceases fire. Cease due to shock? Wound? Death?

Shell: "And for your information, no I am not crazy!"


Still silent. Belt has not returned fire, nor has Powder. Killed each other? One dead one living? Both pinned by each other? Each is as likely as the other from here. Would they make for town afterwards? If one is dead, the other has now gained a prize. Belt gains a wish, Powder only a million. A conservative mind would escape south with their prize and hide in obscurity for the remainder. Greed for "the wish" would compel Powder to stay. Belt, with one wish already, perhaps not.

Shell: "I swear if nobody around here's gonna stop me I'm gonna keep talking!"

It is at this point when I hear a single bullet fired from the south/southeast. Presumably the same perpetrator who fired upon Shell in the first place.

Shell: "You missed."

Three more bullets in short automatic burst.

Ahh, the fool. The shooter does not give Ms. Shell enough credit, whereas I have been increasingly inclined to give her more.

Shell: "Oh yeah, well why don't you come in here and say it to my face, you bastard!"

She knows exactly where she stands; the disadvantage of having her location known counterbalanced by removing the uncertainty of it. She knows she is a target, rather than forcing herself to struggle with the possibility that she is one. And as long as she knows this she may talk as long and as loud as she wants, her only concern being a parched throat. Which may not be the most pointless of concerns.

Hypothetical: Man who loves to hear himself talk stranded in desert with no water. At what point does he realize listening to his own voice is less important than conserving moisture?

Addition: Desert, two men, one who loves to talk and one who does not; one bottle of water between them. Talker becomes parched faster due to talking; quiet one does not. What will transpire? Must consider further.


I think I would very much to meet Ms. Shell, if a way could be found to reach hear without being attacked. Perhaps to understand what drives her to such risks. It is equally enjoyable to speculate, of course, and no doubt her motivations I would find boring and simplistic once discovered. As such, far more productive to get her to question these simple motivations and gauge the strength of her will. Unless she is devout it is likely I will find some crack in her logic.

Unlikely that such an opportunity would arise; equally likely that I would be able to divulge the sponsors’ identities. A topic of thought for a later date, perhaps. Must consider further.

Another shot from outside of town. Notable difference in sound from previous shots. Hard to describe. “Slower”. “Older”. Foolish words.

A second shot, identical to the first. My feelings get in the way of objectivity. Creates hypothesis without evidence out of ephemeral words like the above. I cannot trust my initial reaction; I cannot attribute brilliance to the knowledge of “the gut” or “the heart”. These organs tells lies and eat nothing but hope for sustenance, which is the most unfilling of vittles.

But I will write what my heart says anyways:


The sniper has come at last.

The demon, to plague and haunt our waking dreams.

From which direction does it come, and to what form does it take?

Is it content with the blood of one, or it its thirst unquenchable?

With every toll of the bell, does it take another life? Does one lie dead from the demon’s kiss even now? And to whom would the fate be bestowed?

I return to sensibility.

Bolt is indeed a possibility. Just as easily could it be Chamber; I do not claim to know the sound of guns. Shot is far away, like the possible skirmish mentioned before. Others will hear the noise and wonder as I do. The uncertainty will blind them. It will shackle them. They will wonder, and they will fear. They will try to resist; they will try to cling to probability, but they will be weak, and they will fear.

I hope they will not. I hope they will defy expectations. After all I did not come here to study the predictable. I did not come here to be the hypothetical man in the desert. I did not come here to read my own writing, but to

I did not come here to read my own writing.

I did not come here to read my own writing.

I did NOT come here to read my own writing.


[ ] Ignore emotion & capitalized letters. Continue as before.
[ ] Fear not the demon. Investigate the shots outside of town.
[ ] Leave town. Go into nature. Become inspired.
[ ] Try to sleep. Be awake during the night.
[ ] Move closer to Shell & the “shooter”.
[ ] Answer Shell.
--( ) Be antagonistic
--( ) Be neutral
--( ) Be amicable
--( ) Be ominous

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 34809
[x] Ignore emotion & capitalized letters. Continue as before.
<x> Belt
I believe you're talking about >>34327
No. 34811
[x] Ignore emotion & capitalized letters. Continue as before.
Not sure if moving is really good at this point.

<x> Belt
Time to see if a name shall be scratched off. A theory may be that Powder did just try to kill himself after realizing what he just did too but faltered twice.

By the way, a question: Shouldn't Chamber's name be replaced with his real name now that he is no longer a participant (disqualified)?
No. 34812
[x] Fear not the demon. Investigate the shots outside of town.
[x] Shell

It's about to become incredibly dangerous in town. It would be prudent to get as far away from the danger as permissible while still retaining distance enough to observe and record.
No. 34815
[x] Leave town. Go into nature. Become inspired.
<x> Belt
No. 34822
[ ] Fear not the demon. Investigate the shots outside of town.
<x> Powder

If Belt survived, Powder is her only chance of receiving first aid.

Might want to check on Bolt next, to confirm his location.
No. 34825
[x] Try to sleep. Be awake during the night.
<x> Chamber
No. 34828
[ ] Fear not the demon. Investigate the shots outside of town.
<x> Powder.
No. 34836
File 130818403837.jpg - (40.98KB , 498x263 , our plotter is better than this.jpg ) [iqdb]
3 - Investigate
2 – Continue normally
1 – Be inspired
1 – Sleep

<3> - Belt
<2> - Powder
<1> - Chamber
<1> - Shell

It has recently come to my attention that I spend 11 hours a day at work in front of a computer. While the majority of this must be spent working and my computer screen is largely visible to other workers as we have no cubicles, I realize that with some discretion, the occasional lulls in work may be filled up with bouts of writing if I feel so inspired. Even a quick paragraph while waiting for the plotter to spool a 5-page part print is a step in the right direction, however small, and it helps keep the danger of monotony in check. I mean, about half of the recent Clip update was written at work, and it really helped in getting it posted sooner than expected.

As such I think I’ll try to start calling votes sooner so that I have more opportunity to write at work if the opportunity presents itself. I’ll still try and leave around 24 hours minimum before calling it, but I’d recommend not dallying with your vote in any case. I should be able to get back to twice-a-week updates this way, and thrice-a-week might even be a possibility now.

Yes, it was mentioned previously, and I forget to address it then. Regardless, I am purposely not going to answer this question, because that’s one of the points of the wishes: a certain uncertainty about just what they are. A wish is a wish because it can’t be explained or measured; otherwise it’d just be a really, really, really big paycheck.


>Shouldn't Chamber's name be replaced with his real name now that he is no longer a participant (disqualified)?
Hmm… not a bad idea, really. I’d just been monotonously copy-pasting the options from update to update. I hesitate because although the reader knows his name, it’s still not common knowledge to the rest of the characters. Also I don’t exactly plan on having a lot more character disqualifying themselves like that, so he’d probably be the only one with a real name up there. But I’ll definitely consider it.
No. 34838
It may not be common knowledge to others, but he doesn't have a weapon to identify himself as Chamber anyway, so one can say he is no longer Chamber. Just saying.
No. 34860
File 130835724334.png - (95.88KB , 740x266 , Belt.png ) [iqdb]
12:50 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 67 hours and 10 minutes remain.

Freakin' gosh this thing is heavy as hell.

I mean, like, I knew it was, 'cause it is, but now it's, like, really heavy. Feel like I've been walking for two hours with this thing. How long has it been anyways? 45 minutes?! God this is so freaking retarded; shoulda made it to the town by now. No, I'm not lost; I'm not some idiot that doesn't know how to use a compass and doesn't know that the place I'm trying to get to is in a direction called "North". God I just want to strangle people who somehow manage to still get lost in the woods when they've got a compass, or a map, or both. How hard can it possibly be?! You walk straight in the same direction, christ. Idiots.

And at least I've got an excuse, which is this freaking like 30-pound gun in my hands and this freaking like 15-pound axe on my back. My arms are just killing me; there's no good way to carry this thing! It doesn't even have a handle; I thought they said heavy machine guns were supposed to have handles so's you could carry them everywhere all the time like I'm doing right now. Stupid Germans. I mean, they're awesome, but they're still stupid. And… Well, Hitler and all that, that's, y'know, that's still not cool.

I set the gun down and rest for like the fourth time since I started moving; take a drink of water and all that. Check behind me and make sure I'm not being followed, you know. I think someone maybe might be following me? But I'd have seen them by now if they were close enough to actually hit me. Except, like, that sniper guy, but you don't snipe three hundred some yards through the middle of a forest. That's just, like, something you don't do. Plus I'm short. Harder to hit. Sniper guy's probably sitting in some lighthouse on the coast by now spying on the people in the town and waiting for 'em to go outside. Hey, no skin off my nose. S'long as you leave some for me.

Boring. Boring boring. Where's the action? Why haven't I heard anybody shooting 'cept me? Where is everyone? Seriously, it's like five hours in. You'd think the people who set this up'd have put us in a smaller place. Map says it's like three kilometers by five kilometers--metric sucks by the way--and that's, like the size of a huge city. When's the last time anybody managed to find anybody specific in New York City with nothing but a nickname?

I pull my folded and wrinkled map out of my coat pocket. One hand on my gun, one hand on my map, just like always. If I am where I think I am and this hill is where I think it is, there's a pond up ahead, then another ridge of hills, and beyond that... Townsburg.

Hate waiting. Hate hate hate hate. But if I wait just a little longer, then I can finally stop waiting.

...That makes absolutely no sense to me. Ah well.

My arms don't want to pick the gun back up, but I make 'em anyways. They all laughed at me when I decided to try out the weight room a couple times a week. Sophomore. Girl. Hitting the weight room. Bitch I hit home runs; you shut your mouth. I'll still be glad when I can finally find a good spot to sit down and watch the fun; I really need a rest. Canteen's sloshing around a little too much, though; probably time to refill it I guess. Not like I'm thirsty or anything. Can make a stop at that pond on the way there. No rush, no rush. I got three days after all, right? And, I guess, like, if I move too fast I'm just gonna end up waiting longer someplace else. Stop and smell the roses or some hippie crap like that.

I walk along the top of the hill for a while longer, following the map like a smart girl who's going to win would do. Maybe that's why nobody's doing anything: 'cause they're all lost. Wouldn't surprise me. Bet they're all, like, desperate lame office workers who want a second chance because they screwed up their first one so badly. Never held a gun in their lives, can't even remember the last time they played a real competitive sport. News flash, idiots: you screwed up. It's over, you're old, give up, give it to the new generation.

Pond comes into sight, a heck of a lot bigger than it looked on the map. Not quite as many trees down by the water... I don't stop walking, but a little red flag goes up. Tells me, "Hey, girl, maybe be a little more careful?" I don't plan to stay here very long anyways. Just filling up the canteen is all; two minutes, tops. Bath? Who's gonna care about something stupid like that in a place like this?!

Tomorrow maybe. Depends on whether or not I'm gonna dig a foxhole with that axe or not.

The pebbly gravel crunches under my feet as I trudge over to the edge of the pond and pull my Belt over to the side. Dang hard to unclip a canteen from your pants one-handed, or unscrew the cap for that matter, but you do not, ever, let go of your weapon when you're on the move. They could be anywhere... You gotta be ready. See 'em, shoot 'em, just like that. Bam. Don't even think about it. You think about it, and they're gonna shoot first. Do you really want that to happen? And if you do then why the heck are you holding a gun?

"Drop the gun, young lady!"

Speak of the freakin' devil... The shout makes me jump back up and nearly fall over the other way. Dang, forgot how heavy that axe was. My skin tingles as I pull the machine gun up against my waist and swivel it around. Come on, who said that?! Who's dumb enough to talk first and shoot later?! I'll show you how dumb you are!

”Do it or you die!” the voice shouts at me again. That second shout definitely came from somewhere around the lake coast. I know I've only got seconds to look for him; come on come on come on! Don't think, just find him! Gun him down! End it now! Can't find him, can't see him; know he's here, I know he's here! Whatever. When in doubt, shoot. That's what you do when you've got a machine gun. You shoot things. My finger squeezes down on the trigger as I let whoever this guy is have it, hosing that vague area by the coast down.

Not my best idea. Shouldn't have stood up in the first place. The butt of the gun slams into my waist as the kick hits me, driving the barrel to the sky within seconds and slamming me onto my back within a few more. No time to call myself stupid, not now! I crawl back onto my stomach and flip the bipod out, jamming it into pebbles and laying right back on that trigger. I don't even care that I don't know exactly where this guy is; I'm close enough, and for a heavy machine gun, close enough is good enough.

As I fan on and off the trigger just to let the smoke and dust clear a little, I smile. I've got this. Out of like two hundred bullets one's bound to hit him. And even if he ain't totally dead after that, I can use that axe to finish the job. I’ve got this. I’ve got this! I win! It’s all over! I keep repeating my wish over and over in my head, knowing that it’s about to come true:

I wish I were better… I wish I were the best… I wish that’d I’m always going to be the best at everything forever and ever… I wish that I would be better than Rosalie at everything. I don’t ever care if I don’t even care about it, I deserve to be the best, and I want to be the best. I WISH I WERE THE BEST.

Over the ripping sound of Hitler’s chainsaw I think I hear some sort of “thumping” noise, and suddenly I see some sorta rock getting thrown at me. What the heck? If I was standing up I think it might have hit me, but since I’m on the ground it just sort of flies over my head and lands somewhere on the ground behi








Dyingdeadpaindontwannadiediedyingbleedingpainingpaintingpaintwaterandblooddeathdeaddeadhurtsowdead dontdie legshurt backhurts cantbreathe canthear hurtsbad hurts ow owie dont wanna die cant die please god no dont no die death dying dying feel bad fire… hurts… everywhere… help… me… i… dont… want… to… die…





[ ] Go to sleep
[ ] Stay awake

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 34861
[X] Stay awake

<X> Powder

Now I just feel sorry for Belt. Sure, she was going to kill Powder without hesitation (He's my favorite, yes) , but I don't think she deserved to get lit up like that.
No. 34864
[x] Go to sleep
-[x] Shell

Even provided she somehow manages to IRON HEART SURGE her way out of this, it appears her legs are totally fucked, with one of her feet especially screwed. It would be better for all parties involved if she quietly and quickly died, lest she be forced to endure a tremendous amount of pain until Powder comes to directly see and interact with the young lass he fatally injured. I don't think Powder could handle that sort of stress, hearing the last words of a girl dying by his own hand.
No. 34865
[x] Stay awake
<x> Bolt
No. 34870
[x] Stay awake
<X> Magazine

Owen, I've got a few questions to ask.
1. Does a kill have to be made with the weapon that was assigned or does any kill count?
>>34799 Brings up a good point.
Can the wish bring the dead back to life?
3. If Powder were to shoot the dying Belt would that count as a self defense kill,or an unperturbed kill?
No. 34876
[x] Stay awake
<x> Powder

Angst time.
No. 34889
[ ] Stay awake
< > Powder
I like how people are just now wondering if people can be brought back, when it was brought up at the end of the last thread.
No. 34891

That's because no one died in the last thread.

[x] Stay awake.

Remember the last two shots Clip heard?
No. 34904
[ ] Go to sleep
<x> Bolt

I don't want him to see her die. I'd rather have her dead before he gets to her body.
No. 34909
[X] Stay awake

-<x> Bolt

As much as I want (or don't want) to read Powder's inner monologue after maiming/killing some girl he didn't know, the action is elsewhere.
No. 34939
7 – Stay Awake
2 – Go to sleep

<4> - Bolt
<3> - Powder
<1> - Shell
<1> - Magazine

I’m predicting that I’m probably going to be doing Father’s Day stuff tonight and not finish the update, so maybe Monday/Tuesday night, I guess? It happens when it happens, as always.

How quickly we can go from hating someone to feeling sorry for them, eh?

Let us not be so quick to presume her condition based on the shock-fueled ramblings of her mind immediately after getting hit.

As much as it pains me to say this, I am not going to answer any of these questions. The protagonists don’t know the definitive answers to these, so to avoid blatant metaknowledge, I’m not going to tell you either. If you knew for certain, it would drastically affect how you viewed death and attempted deaths in this story, and as such it’d subconsciously change the way you would vote during potential clutch choices. I really do hate having to reject your questions like this, but readers of a book aren’t meant to know all the answers in the middle of a story, even if they have the ability to talk to the writer while it’s still being written.

#1 and #3 aren’t really that hard to answer by yourself though, if you give it some thought.
No. 34944
Heh, got an even better know that I can probably imagine the answer: When the rules say 'unperturbed kill', does it mean a participant's death only? Notice how nobody commented on birds or insects around so far...
No. 35024
>How quickly we can go from hating someone to feeling sorry for them, eh?
Wow, I just realized something.

This story is all about (or heavily focused on) people and their willingness to kill another person in order to further their own goals.

And yet, the very nature of the CYOA format means that, in some respects, the readers are being put through a similar sort of experience, killing off people-- or trying to --and then suddenly feeling that same sense of "Oh god, this was another actual person that just died," when we see it from their perspective.

Heavy, man.

But well fucking played.
No. 35034
Status Update: Still on a 60-hour week at the office, and between that and having to look for an automobile there's been no time to write other than the small gaps at work. The current update's probably more than half done despite this, so you'll hopefully get it either tonight or tomorrow night. Sorry for the delay.
No. 35075
File 130884508471.png - (62.61KB , 450x350 , Bolt.png ) [iqdb]
1:05 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 66 hours and 55 minutes remain.

I step as lightly as I can through these trees while still tryin' to keep up with Baldie up ahead, scope stuck up against my eye so's I don't lose him. I ain't matchin' him step for step or he'd prolly catch wise; baby steps, man, baby steps. Move up a little, wait, move up a little, wait. S'always a good plan to wait and just watch the man; gives me good practice steadying that nice little scope. I'm gettin' pretty fair at it, gotta say; probably'd be able to actually hit 'im now if I really tried. But I ain't gonna lie to myself; I know I'm gonna be pretty much shit with this gun unless I get close enough for them to see me. Ain't got shots to waste, that's for sure, and ain't gonna be scarin' nobody if I just shoot and shoot and don't hit a damn thing near where I'm aiming. But even if I gotta come inside-a one hundred yards to hit 'em, I still bet they won't find me if I play it smart. Hundred yards in a forest's a hell of a lot longer than people think it is, and people don't start lookin' for somethin' until they think they got somethin' to find.

Baldie keeps on the move, way more interested on looking forwards than on looking back anyways. I don't blame 'im; there's some serious shit going down somewhere with that machine gun. Don't right know what's he's planning on doing when his piece is so small I can't even see it. Must be carrying one-a them pistols in his pocket. I sure as hell wouldn't be runnin' straight for a buzzsaw like that with a peashooter. Must think he's some kinda hero. I'll sure as hell take care of that soon enough, then.

He seems to not really have much of an idea where he's going. Doesn't follow a straight line, doesn't walk particularly fast or anything, just sort of wanders around the forest going vaguely north. If I didn't know any better I'd say it looks like he's looking for something he dropped on the ground. Ain't nothing worth looking for here, not unless he dropped his gun, and it sure don't look like he's doing somethin' like that. Dunno. Maybe he's just crazy. I ain't about to get close enough to find out; I don't need to care. "Complete strangers", just like the suit lady said.

Keeps wandering around for a few more minutes, looking for his damn contact lens or whatever and not finding it. Startin' to get on my nerves. I already know I'm gonna shoot 'im once he finally decides to stop moving, if he ever does, 'cause he sure hasn't for the last half-hour. Always pacing around like he's thinking 'bout some deep shit or whatever, lookin' at the ground, lookin' at the sky, lookin' into his hands. Hey Baldie, got some bad news for ya: you're in a warzone. Ain't no time to be thinking 'bout no deep questions like some philosophizer. Find some cover or something you retard; that's how y'all don't get shot by guys like me who've been scoping your ass for the last forty-five minutes.

And if that's not bad enough now he's gotta start talking. Figures.

"Hello?!" he shouts into the forest, raising his hands slightly. "Is anyone there?! My name is Sean Eckers; I am not part of this! I'm just here to help; do NOT shoot! I just want to talk a bit!"

Oh God damn it no. Not this crap. I am not falling for this crap for a damn second. It's too damn obvious; that ain't his name. Sure, yeah, try to fool us Baldie; get us to remember that stupid part of that fool contract about names disqualifying you and shit. Look at you; you're even holding your hands up like you ain't got a weapon no more. And then you get close enough and shoot ‘em in the back. Waaay too early for folk to be desperate enough to believe that shit, Baldie. Day Three, maybe; not Day One. I can't believe the gall of this guy. I mean, yeah, points for having the balls to try it at least, but your ass is dead now. Best start praying that you don't stand still long enough for me to line up my shot.

But he does exactly that anyways. Stops walking and looks like he's seen something up ahead; cranes his neck up and maybe tries to find out if it's really something that's anything at all. Calls out to it like an idiot, "Hello? Who's there? If you're going to shoot me anyways you could at least hear me out. There's no harm in talking a little first, is there?"

Like hell there isn't, Baldie.

I nestle my feet firm into the ground and slide my rifle to the flattest part of the boulder I've been resting behind. No idea what the range is; don't care either, 'cause I sure ain't far enough away to have to factor in a whole buncha physics and math and shit. Gotta get 'im while the gettin's good. The crosshairs sweep down to the center of his big blue coat as I brace both my arms solid against the rock. Keep it cool now, boy. Ain't going for no elitist shot to the head here, just bring the man down. Even braced against the boulder the scope's still wobbling. No time to make it perfect. I take a deep breath and hold it; nudge the gun just the tiniest bit to the left one more time.

I miss.

The sound and feel of shooting the Enfield ain't nothin' to write home about, but that ain't important. Goddamn it I miss. No clue which side of Baldie the bullet goes to, but he's sure as hell still standing after I pull the trigger. He winces just the same and turns around, head looking every which way, panicking almost as much as I am.

Damn. Damn damn dammit. I slide my right hand forward and grab the bolt of the gun. Flip up, forward, backward, flip down. Eye back in the scope. Still time... still time to fix this. If he knows I'm here might as well take the second shot, 'specially if he still ain’t moving. Only takes 'bout four, five seconds for me to fire again. Feels like hours.

This one hits 'im. Can't tell for sure but before he falls over it looks like I got 'im somewhere above the belly. Slumps down into the leaves and rolls to the side a bit, tree blocking most of my view of him now. I re-chamber again and keep my scope on him for a bit, but all I've got now are his feet, and they don't look to be moving. Satisfied for the moment, I pull my eyes back into the real world and relax. Gotta say, that was pretty fun. Sure as hell weren't perfect, but still pretty fun. Might have even been worth missing that first shot just to see that scared look on his stupid face; that was priceless. That’s what makes this shit world all worth it: the little things.

Don't really hear much of anything soon after I take the shots; no whining from Baldie or shots from other folk outta reflex or whatever. Nope, all quiet out on the home front. I move to the side a little and take a gander at Baldie again. He's definitely there, face down on the ground not really movin'. Can't tell where I hit 'im or if he's alive or not. I should prolly care, but I don't. Well, not really. Kill don't matter near as much as the hunt for me. Huntin's fun.

Looking at Baldie gets boring mighty fast, so I start sweeping the scope around ahead of 'im, maybe try an' see what the hell made him stop. I'm thinkin' maybe he saw someone or other, or thought he did, if he was gonna go all crazy and start shouting crap out to the world. Can't imagine he would actually believe stuff like that, tryin' to talk all nice to people here and come to some kind of peaceful agreement or god knows what else. What you here for in the first place if you ain't gonna even kill? I mean really, what the-Hellllo, what's this now?

Way up ahead of me I can make out a lake-type-deal, and right on the edge there's this weird sploch-a dark red. The more I look at it the more I think it might actually be movin' a little; no clue what it is, though. Too far away, even for me. That what Baldie thought he saw? Wonder if it's the guy with the machine gun; sounded like it might-a been coming from around here. Small, small world after all, ain’t it?

[ ] Just shoot it, whatever it is.
[ ] Stay put. Semper Preparate.
[ ] Reposition; find a better vantage point to view the area from.
[ ] Move up. Check on the red thing.
[ ] Move up. Check on Baldie.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 35076
[x] Just shoot it, whatever it is.
<x> Magazine

Welp. Chamber had a good run... hahaha I can't say that with a straight face. I like Bolt even more now that he's probably caused the death of my favorite.
No. 35078
[x] Reposition; find a better vantage point to view the area from.
[x] Shell

Bolt is shit with his gun. He'll absolutely need this superior position if he is to have much hope of hitting them.

Though I hated Chamber's ass with a passion, I suppose I can respect the fact he went down rooted in his convictions. If he is done.
No. 35079
[x] Reposition; find a better vantage point to view the area from.
Trying to shoot a target so far away with his skill? Ah ah, no.

Why not find out?
<x> Chamber
No. 35085
[x] Move up. Check on the red thing.
<x> Clip
No. 35086
[x] Move up. Check on Baldie.
<x> Chamber

I would love to confirm the kill for sure.
No. 35096
He didn't go down rooted in his convictions. He went down confused and desperate to talk with someone. Uprooted.
No. 35102
[ ] Move up. Check on Baldie.
<x> Powder

Need to check on how he is doing and if Belt has any chance to be saved.
No. 35104
[x] Reposition; find a better vantage point to view the area from.
<x> Chamber

Torn between having Belt check Chamber or investigating something more interesting. I don't think he's stupid enough to leave a potential threat pretending to be dead. But on the other hand it seems like he believes Chamber incapacitated at best, and doesn't really care about scoring kills.

That was a rather pathetic end for Mr Eckers, if he's done. But I respected him enough that I at least want to know for sure and/or see his last moments from his own perspective.
No. 35105
>having Bolt check Chamber
Damn typos and their completely changing the meaning. Sorry.
No. 35204
[X] Reposition; find a better vantage point to view the area from.
<x> Belt

She's still moving, but I don't like that description of the dark red stain.
No. 35205
[ ] Move up. Check on Baldie.
<x> Powder

Is she still alive, or is it Powder?
No. 35206
4 – Reposition
3 – Check on Baldie
1 – Check on red thing
1 – Shoot it

<3> - Chamber
<2> - Powder
<1> - Belt
<1> - Shell
<1> - Magazine
<1> - Clip

Still unsure about whether I’m on 60 hours or the “normal” 54 hours this week. So, as per usual these days, writing whenever, updating whenever.

Sorry about no update over the weekend; was at a local (a.k.a. small) convention with the college friends. As far as the late teens demographic goes, it seems Naruto and Bleach cosplay has finally gone down in density, only to be replaced with lots and lots of Pokemon. A step in the right direction, maybe?

Pointless cosplay commentary below:
Touhous found: Reimu, Chen, Marisa, Cirno, Wriggle, Patchouli, and Satori

Homestucks found: Karkat, Vriska, Terezi (maybe), Aradia, Kanaya, Gamzee, Nepata, Vriska-costume John, God-tier John with Hammer of Zillyhoo, Grimdark Rose, Dave with Caldescratch, Dave with timetables, Doc Scratch, and Bec Noir

Other notable costumes: Deadpool (hosting the MvC3 tournament), Bug Catcher trainer with the “!” bubble, Trollface.jpg, and Santa Claus.

Notably absent: Magical Madoka, My Little Pony

What there could have been less of: Guys in semi-formal suits with loose ties, because all high-school protagonists look exactly the same and no one knows what anime you are from. At least the girl uniform is distinctively Japanese on its own merits; you just look like a slobby hipster.

Interesting observation: In the three years I’ve gone to this con I actually have yet to see a poorly-done Yoko from TTGL; most are even fairly attractive for that matter.

No. 35229
I know the feeling. The UK cons last year where swamped with Pokemon cosplay. At least they were more varied and colourful than the generic shonen/uniform hoards.

And I consider you lucky to see any Touhous! The only I've ever seen here were a small group doing crossplay (And I have to hand it to them - they were pretty impressive.) and someone else's photo of a Suwako.
No. 35256
File 130945694496.png - (168.57KB , 539x279 , chamber.png ) [iqdb]
1:30 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 66 hours and 30 minutes remain.

I hear it at the same time as I feel it, the slow lurching blast of a rifle and the pulse of air as a bullet sails somewhere past my head. They both come from nowhere, as phantasmal an occurrence as anything on this peninsula is bound to be. My feet stop moving, and my heart with it. A dumbfounded expression of shock and confusion somehow freezes itself on my face as I wince and look around me in a panic, doing everything except the one logical action of simply dropping to the ground and finding cover.

I don't think about why I don't try to find cover; the thought for some reason simply doesn't work itself into my head during the momentary seconds after the shot. Perhaps I believe it to be a hallucination, something so ludicrous and random that it didn't really happen. Or maybe I fail to understand just how real a gunshot is, and just how fortunate I am that it missed me. My fear, as well as my hope, is that for the few seconds after the gun was fired at me, when the shot was still echoing through the trees, my subconscious was telling me that this was yet another opportunity to try and "talk them out of it".

If it was, my subconscious was wrong.

The second bullet hits me like a bad car accident; amidst the explosion of pain I don't even feel myself colliding with the ground. The entire upper half of body feels as if I pressed my skin up against a hot stove, and in my momentary blindness due to the pain I can't even tell where I've been hit. Any miniscule movement I try to make is met with electricity shooting through me, numbing me and searing me at the same time. Breathing feels like a nightmare I can't wake up from, so much so that I cease to even know if I am breathing anymore.

It feels like I'm already dead, and my brain still hasn't got the message.

Face down in a pile of dirt and leaves, I try to push myself to my side. Pain. I try to turn my head. Pain. I try to twist my legs and make my body follow. Pain. The pain is everywhere, deafening me, blinding me. Can't move. Can't breathe. Can't think. Can't do anything except continue, continue existing while being dragged mercilessly by Father Time across a burning field of agony as seconds become hours become days become minutes become instants. Brief moments of unconsciousness don't even register in my mind; just one long string of chaos and torture.

The blindness subsides; the pain does not. I crane my head up from the ground to see where I am. Without realizing it I seemed to have rolled myself onto my back, my blue coat quickly being stained with more and more red. My right arm refuses to move in the slightest, the pain from the attempt so great I want to believe that it’s short-circuiting the nerves themselves. Don't want to move. It hurts to move. Hurts to breathe. Have to breathe to live. Don't have to move to live. But it hurts to live. Must live. And so must hurt.

Inch by agonizing inch I pull my left hand around and try to peel away the fabric by my chest, fearing with every gasping breath that tastes of blood that I've been shot through something important. My shirt is already completely saturated with blood, and more continues to bubble up from a wound somewhere on the right side of my chest near the shoulder. Through the lung? Through the liver? Somehow missed both? I have no way of knowing, and no motivation for caring. I have been shot, and I am bleeding; this is the only portion of the truth that matters to me right now.

My left arm fumbles around lethargically, trying to find something to stem the bleeding. No rags... no blankets... only the worst of idiots would wad dirt-covered leaves into an open wound... The only thing available is the coat itself as I try to tug a dry corner out from behind me and press it against the hole in my chest. Even amidst the old pain that's moved from a searing shock to a dizzy numb pulse, I can still feel every contour of the hole as I press against it and it presses back with a pain beyond even what I've already been feeling. It doesn't feel like it's helping even a little, but I have to try. No medical team here; no morphine, no gauze, no fire to cauterize, no comrade in arms to hold my hand and help dress the wound. Only me.

I shouldn't move, but I have to try and get behind some sort of cover; maybe elevate the wound like I've heard you should do. My feet clumsily try to push myself up against the nearest tree I can find, triggering new spasms of agony from my back. Too much pain; can't tell if the bullet is still in there or not. Wouldn't even be able to get it out if it was. I slump against the rough bark of a dead pine tree and watch in a dizzying shock as the blood continues to ooze out of my chest past the wadded corner of my coat, each short breath matching the frantic beating of my heart as I continue to taste blood coming up from my throat.

I know I'm dying; I don't even consider denying it. The bullet must've missed my heart or I'd be dead by now, but it's only a matter of time now. I'll bleed out, or I'll suffocate from a collapsed lung, or the wound will get infected, or someone else who heard the shots will come along and put me out of my misery. Might be minutes. Might be hours. I might even last until sunset. But it doesn't matter anymore. I can't move like this, not without killing myself even faster from blood loss. Even if I could whoever shot me's got to still be watching; he'd just end up shooting me again anyways. I’m useless now. Good for nothing but contemplating my past for the rest of my very foreseeable future, provided I can stay conscious long enough to contemplate it. As I continue to press down on my wound, I just wonder how long the pain will allow that to be.

Failed. I failed, according to the contract rules, and my own. Accomplished nothing. And as I think about that… did I even really have my own rules? I told myself that if I could give my life to save someone else here, that would be enough. And what have I given it for? So that one old man already staunch in his beliefs could resent me for being an idealist and make me question myself instead. And then take my gun so I can’t even contemplate a merciful suicide. I don’t believe in suicide, but… If death is inevitable and your remaining life will accomplish nothing for anyone, I won’t deny that I might have wanted to consider it.

It’s not fair.

But, it is.

I deserved this. I realize this now, for all the worthlessness its worth. Perhaps it’s my despair at the inevitability of my own death, but I’m finally seeing how stupid it all was. I stuck my own neck out and let it get chopped. There wasn’t a single thing that I didn’t do to myself. I’m the one who got Powder angry enough at me to take my gun. I’m the one who walked towards the gunfire and not away from it. I’m the one who shouted out to someone and painted a target on my fool bolding head. And now that someone probably has an even better chance of surviving than I do.

I can still see her if I turn my head. There’s no doubt about it now; a young woman with red hair in a red topcoat, struggling and failing to drag herself across the rocky shore of a pond a stone’s throw away from me. If I strain my ears I can even just barely hear her occasional yelps of pain over the sound of my own heart in my ears. She must be hurt. Perhaps not as bad as me if she’s still moving, but… she needs help. And I was the only one who could have helped her… the only one who didn’t want everyone I saw dead for a fool’s ransom. The only one who was impartial to all this.

I could have made everyone satisfied. Not happy. Satisfied. I could have talked to them. I could have gotten them to talk to each other, even. So long as they’re weren’t completely trigger-happy and single-minded they would have listened long enough to consider it. We could have compromised. Find out who just wanted the money. Find out who was just confused. Narrow it down to the few people who wouldn’t take anything less than a wish and decide who deserved it, or at the least let them kill each other and leave the rest out of it. It could have worked… it would have worked. It’s just that I got shot.

The dizziness turns reality into more and more of a dream, though I struggle to stay awake, pushing my hand harder against the bullet wound to force the pain to keep me conscious. I still end up nodding off for what feels like seconds at a time, only to jerk my head back and forget the last thing I was thinking about, save the same phrase over and over again, “all is fair in love and war.” It starts to feel more and more like I’ve been awake for the last 40 hours, and now I’m stuck in some meeting, fighting to keep my head up with the most boring present—

A face.

Over to the northeast, leaning behind a tree but visible from my perspective. Dark hair hidden under a black shirt’s hood and a drab olive green coat. Pistol in hand; Clip. Too far away to tell much else, but Clip was looking at me. Looking and not shooting. Now Clip looks over towards the pond at the girl. Still not shooting. Goes behind the tree and fusses with something I can’t see. Comes back out from behind the tree and starts looking at me again. We’re too far away to really “see” each other, but we both know we’re there. And for whatever reason, we are both not shooting.

It’s not fair

I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve another second chance. I failed with Powder, and didn’t die. I failed with this red lady, and still didn’t quite die. And now comes a second Powder, a second person that doesn’t shoot the moment they see me. I just finished saying it to myself: so long as they’re aren’t completely trigger-happy and single-minded they would listen long enough to consider it.

One more chance… One more chance to screw it up again. One more chance for idealism to fail.

I don’t deserve this.

[ ] Do nothing. Let Clip do as Clip pleases.
[ ] Signal to Clip.
--( ) Shake head.
--( ) Nod head.
--( ) Wave over.
--( ) Point to the girl.
--( ) Point behind, towards the sniper.
[ ] Call out to Clip
--( ) “Please… Help.”
--( ) “Sniper… Close.”
--( ) “Kill… me.”
--( ) “Save… her.”

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder


Comment on the story: Feeling like I dropped the ball on Chamber overall in this story; trying to make an idealistic good-guy character and failing at it. Just want to apologize for that; rereading his updates I have to say that I don’t really enjoy him all that much either. Nothing I can really do about it at this point though, since I can’t go back in time and fix it. Combined with the similar (though old) debacle concerning ASSM’s Nathaniel, I think I’ve learned I probably just can’t write the one-dimensional hero very well and should stop trying to do so.

This might just be me setting too high a standard for myself (my “mediocre” being other people’s “above average”), but I still feel like I should mention it. If it’s just me having low self-confidence, so be it; there’s a reason I spoilered this, after all.

I totally forgot to respond to you last time. You are a classy guy who knows the score. Well played yourself for doing more than just reading words that I write.

>At least they were more varied and colourful than the generic shonen/uniform hoards.
Too true. While it might have overstayed its welcome now that’s it’s on its fifth generation with I-don’t-even-know-how-many-hundred monster species, at its heart it’s a timeless classic I think everyone can appreciate on some level.

And yeah, considering the size of the con, that many Touhous was rather impressive. I think some of them came in groups, but it’s still pretty cool. A friend of mine once went to a Canadian con and got a picture of a Canadian Flandre, which to this day has still been the only example of a non-Japanese Flan I’ve ever seen. She was pretty cute, too, I have to say.
No. 35258
[x] Call out to Clip
--(x) “Sniper… Close.”
<x> Clip
No. 35259
[x] Signal to Clip.
--(x) Nod head.
<x> Powder

I'm voting for this purely because it should fuck with Clip's head majorly. What the fuck is he nodding for? Must consider further.

As for the psychological aspect, it'd be more interesting if this wasn't a democracy... Characters doing things I wouldn't do kinda takes me out of it.
No. 35266
[x] Call out
--(x) “Save… her.”

And, if it's possible for him to say two things,
--(x) “Sniper… Close.”
<x> Powder
No. 35268
[x] Call out to Clip
--(x) “Save… her.”
[x] Shell

A foolish idealist to the bitter end. Either he'll save someone with this and have that much more relief in death, or he'll die without saving anyone, or accomplishing anything at all.
No. 35270
[x] Call out to Clip
--(x) “Sniper… Close.”
<x> Clip

Anything to improve the survivability of SCIENCE!
No. 35271
[X] Call out to Clip
--(x) “Sniper… Close.”
<+> Powder

Would vote for Shell, but as far as I know, she's on top of things at the moment despite her injury.

Waiting for Chamber to gurgle incoherently to Clip.
No. 35274
[x] Call out to Clip
--(x) “Save… her.”
<x> Powder
No. 35275
[ ] Call out to Clip
--( ) “Sniper… Close.”
<X> Powder

Poor Chamber. I'm feeling bad for him now.
No. 35282
[x] Call out to Clip
--(x) “Sniper… Close.”
<x> Powder

You know, normally I hate idealistic, 100%-pacifist characters, too, but I never hated Chamber.

He's dying a dog's death in the middle of ...somewhere, and failed utterly at his mission.

I feel sorry for the poor son of a bitch.
No. 35286
File 130961687839.jpg - (741.59KB , 850x1208 , i am america and so can you.jpg ) [iqdb]
5 – Sniper… Close
3 – Save… her
1 – Nod head

<6> - Powder
<2> - Clip
<1> - Shell

Mercifully back to a 54-hour week, plus I get the Fourth of July off. Also since Powder is one of the easier characters for me to write, I’ll definitely be getting this out to you by Monday, or maybe Sunday if we’re lucky.

Speaking of the Fourth, here; have an America. There was also a picture of Flandre sitting on that Hetalia guys’ lap, but he looked like a total poser.

>As for the psychological aspect, it'd be more interesting if this wasn't a democracy...
I actually kind of like the anonymous democratic voting system for powering stories. Obviously I have my own ideas of what I want to have happen, as does everyone else. But sometimes the vote goes in unexpected ways that forces me to think, “How will this wild card change what I had in mind?” The result is usually much better than what anyone had originally planned.

Though yeah, it does hurt the psychology of the matter.

The possibility will be taken into consideration.

Yeah, pretty much. It’s not a completely lost case though, since the bullet appears to have missed the meat of his lung.

Man, and right when I’m feeling very blah about Chamber’s character, you guys have to come and try to inadvertently cheer me up. What if I want to be depressed and feel like I screwed up, huh?!

>Poor Chamber. I'm feeling bad for him now.
Are you that one person who’s going to feel bad for everyone regardless?

>You know, normally I hate idealistic, 100%-pacifist characters, too, but I never hated Chamber.
Which is rather odd considering as far as creating characters go he is certainly not my best effort.
No. 35287
>Are you that one person who’s going to feel bad for everyone regardless?

As long as it cheers you up, then yeah, why not? Of course, I won't stop voting to kill them.
No. 35293
Fuck, I meant to vote for Clip. Oh well.

>i am america and so can you
I loved that book.

>Are you that one person who’s going to feel bad for everyone regardless?
The kind of person who would do that, or the person who said they would do such a thing?
I think I might be the former. Not the latter, though, if there was such a person.
No. 35334
File 130974260048.png - (69.16KB , 600x200 , Powder.png ) [iqdb]
1:35 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 66 hours and 25 minutes remain.

I sit on a beach of grass and sand, looking out at the afternoon sea. My breath comes to me in quick gasps even still, though I’ve been seated here for a good five or ten minutes now I reckon; my heart doesn’t slow down either. My legs burn and shake after the run, a run the likes of which I haven’t taken in a good twenty years. Though my body and mind is ablaze with heat, it brings me comfort to sit here and stare out into the blue sea. The cold, endless, unchanging sea.

None of it feels right anymore. Not one part. I’ve gone over it, and I continue to go over it, and I can’t find a damn thing in any of it that gives me an ounce of comfort. Complete strangers? No comfort; they stop being strangers the moment you actually get the chance to look into their face and realize they’re as lost as you. Self-defense? No comfort; there’s not a judge in the world that can ease my conscience about what is and what isn’t justified. Shooting second doesn’t mean a godforsaken thing. Wishes? Money? No comfort; a hollow reward to a deal with a devil.

I shot her. I shot her. I fired a grenade directly at a young girls’ head with every intention of ending her life, all so she’d stop shooting at me. That I aimed too high and missed gives me no sense of relief, not when the blast flings her body like a ragdoll all the same.

Self-defense… Was it? Was I really saving my life by trying to end hers? If I’d not have shot, would she really have killed me? The kick of the gun alone was enough to send her skidding all over the place. I was behind cover. She was shooting blind. She’d have burned out her belt eventually, and I could’ve caught her on the reload…

Could have. Might have. Might not have. Might… Might have died. Might have gotten hit by one of those hundred bullets as easily as gotten hit by ten of them. Might have gotten my chest split open with that maul of hers if I’d have gotten any closer.

And then I have to go up to that little girl when it’s all over, after I shoot her and the smoke clears… I have to. I have to see her… Of course I can’t just take the revolver and put a hole in her head, no matter how easy it would be, no matter how much peace of mind it’d give me to know with one hundred-ten percent certainty that she’s dead. No, I have to go up to her and stand over that little body as it’s laying there half in, half out of the water. Can’t just leave her like that. No, I drag her out for Christ’s sake. See the shrapnel and broken stones stuck in her legs like chocolate chips on a cookie, rapidly turning her calves as red as that coat she’s wearing. Girl even wore shorts to a death game in the middle of a forest.

I rip open her pack and look for the bills: the twenty-kay I know she has. I stuff it in my own pocket like a mugger, so desperate to make any venture a profitable one no matter the cost. I try to turn over her face, and I don’t. I try again, and I don’t. Every time, every time. I must have told myself half a dozen times back there: Check her face. Check her breath. Check her pulse. Know that you just killed this person. You don’t know her. You’ll never know her now. It’s done. Just finish the job. Finish, the job.

But I don’t. I can’t. And so I run. I leave her there, and just run. Take the MG42 with me, God only knows why I bothered, and run as fast as I can any way but back. I don’t turn my head around. I don’t see if she gets up, or stays there, or disappears, I just run, and run, and try to put it behind me. I drop the gun somewhere; slowing me down, hurting my arm. I keep running. Keep not looking back. Keeping trying to outrun the questions, the uncertainties, the truths. Keep thinking about putting one foot in front of the other foot. Keep hoping someone might even be following me so I can think about them instead. Keep hoping that I’ll trip and break my leg, or run myself into a heart attack, so I can think about that instead… Think about anything except thinking about her.

And when I get to the sea, I have nowhere left to run.

I throw a rock into the sea, and curse this wretched peninsula, this wretched game, that wretched woman. I curse myself, and my life, and my pointless, shallow desperation that brought me here. Money. Money. The most pointless of humanity’s creations. And not even a windfall worth mentioning. My heart’s already done the math long before my brain even considered steeling itself to try putting the unfeeling numbers together. The mortgage. The loan. Treatments for Daisy. College for Richard. These aren’t impossible requests… I’ve seen the numbers on the bottoms of all those papers. I’ve told myself that maybe we can make it, maybe if we tighten our belts just a little more we’ll find a way to pull through…

One gun. Three wads. I lay it all our before me like they’re the only thing I have left in the world. One hundred sixty. One hundred and sixty thousand dollars.

It’d be enough.

If I went home, right now, with one hundred sixty thousand dollars, it would be enough. Not enough for perfection, but… enough to save us. Enough to dig us out of the hole. Even… Even sixty would be enough, if this all turned out to be a lie. Twenty would have been enough! I could have walked out of that office without any of this ever happening! I wouldn’t have to be here right now, for another two days. I wouldn’t have sent a good man to his doom, into battle without a weapon. I… wouldn’t have killed a girl I’d never even heard a single word from…

My fist slams itself in the grass and sand. All of this. All of it. What does it even mean?! Desperate people at the end of their ropes, pulled in by promises of miracles and money, sent here to be abandoned by God and die! And the ones that don’t will end up in Hell anyways. Selling their souls, for the price of a wish from a magic lamp. No… for the hope of a wish, if wishes even exist in the first place. Something everyone says they’d do if only they got the chance; the easiest thing in the world to say because they know they’ll never get the chance; wishes don’t exist.

The knuckles of my hand grind into the ground, over and over again until I think I’m starting to peel the skin off them. How many have died already? How many bullets that I’ve already heard have taken a life? And how many times has this game been played?! Who’s won that got their wish? Billionaires? Politicians? Presidents? Is our entire country run by eight shadows in the darkness that decide the fates of millions? Why do I even bother thinking about going back?! Back to a world where that woman and her co-conspirators remain free to do this again? Would they come to Richard? Daisy? Sam? What if that already have?! Did they say no? Am… Am I the only one who gave in…?

I grab fistfuls of sand and throw them out into the sea, shouting at the top of my lungs. “What are you waiting for?! What do you want from me?! You demons! You soulless monsters! Damn you all, you think this is a game?! Take me out! Kill me! Will that make you happy?!”

It doesn’t help. Nothing helps. I shout. I curse. I beg. I pray to God to save me. I try and fail to throw the money into the water. I look at the hills to my east and think about running. I look at the water in front of me and think about swimming away. I look at the gun at my feet and think about using it. Think about ending it all…

Sixty thousand…

My hands turn into lightning as I snap back to my bag. The file folder… The contract… The rules… The map… It’s there. It’s all there…

Section 5 – Bounds
If at any point during the 72-hour period of the engagement the contractor leaves the bounds of the map they have been provided with in regards to Section 2, they shall immediately forfeit the right to any and all payments they have earned or will earn in regards to Section 3. They shall retain the sole ownership of any bank notes or other possessions on their person at the time of the infraction.

They shall… retain the sole ownership of any bank notes… The bounds of the map…

God… God, didn’t, abandon me…

I pull my hair and arch my back to the ground, thinking like I’ve never thought before. Sixty thousand… What’s most important, what’s most important?! Would it be enough…?! Daisy, have to, have to save her… Have to stop the loans, have to get rid of the banks… The house… My father’s house, my grandfather’s house… The house he built… The house we mortgaged and paid off and re-mortgaged again… We, we don’t… need, the house… And Richard… He wanted to go, to the university, all his life… worked so hard… So, so so expensive…

Sixty… Sixty would be enough.

It’s as if I truly see the sun in the sky for the first time, and look at the three green bricks strewn about the sand as more than just promises that have yet to come true. I pick them up and place them into my pack like they’re made of glass; the revolver follows. The pack goes to my shoulders as I look at those hills to the east, as I look at the map and confirm beyond any doubt that If I climb those hills and keep going, I’ll be out. I could run. I could run. Run away from it all, right now. Run where none of them would dare follow me. Run and run and run until I found a cabin, a town, a boat. Scrape my way back to civilization day by day, until I stumbled through the front door of the house I knew we couldn’t afford to live in any more and kiss my dear sweet Samantha and hug my beautiful Daisy that wouldn’t have to worry about being sick anymore…


It’s the first time I look back in almost an hour. Back into the trees I came from. Not the first time I think about it, but the first time I realize. Realize how close in age Daisy and that little redheaded girl must be. Realize that in another life they might have been classmates… Realize that she might have spent the night in my Daisy’s room during a sleepover, and I might have popped her popcorn, told them to not stay up too late…

I don’t know that she’s dead. The grenade hit behind her deadly close, she neither moved nor whimpered, but I do not know that she’s dead. Laying down close to the ground, explosion behind her… Shrapnel blows outwards and upwards; legs are closest to the blast, head furthest, torso partially covered by the backpack. She may never walk again, but there’s a chance…

I could finish what I started.

[ ] Go back. Find out for certain.
--( ) End her suffering.
--( ) Get her out of harm’s way; let her choose her own fate.
--( ) Bandage her legs. Protect her.
[ ] Go back. Look for the MG42. Don’t act rashly either way. Calm down.
[ ] Cross the boundary. Leave this place. Belt is not Daisy.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 35337
[x] Go back. Find out for certain.
-[x] End her suffering.
[x] Shell

Powder can't just run from this. This is reality, this is what he did. He good as killed that girl, and he should finish the job. At the least, it'll give him some small amount of closure.
No. 35338
[ ] Go back. Find out for certain.
--( ) Get her out of harm’s way; let her choose her own fate.
<x> Bolt

Damn, if we had chosen him earlier, we could have done something to help her.

But Bolt is keeping an eye on that area now. Let's hope Clip can keep him busy.
No. 35340
[X] Go back. Find out for certain.
-[x] End her suffering.

<o> Shell

I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Belt.
Not for much longer.

Now time to check up on another wounded female.
No. 35346
[x] Go back. Find out for certain.
--(x) Get her out of harm’s way; let her choose her own fate.
<x> Powder

Whatever he chooses to do when he finds her, it's certainly better than the option of just bailing. At the very least, even if Belt is still alive and wishes to continue being so, he can just leave the area and find a place to hide for the rest of the event. He nearly triples his reward that way (sixtupling it if he can find Belt's MG as well) , and given the size of the area, it's very unlikely someone could stumble across him if he covers himself up well enough.

On the other hand, should Belt ask him to finish it, it might count as an unpertubed kill, giving him a wish to do... something with. We're not too clear on what the boundaries of that wish are. At the very least, he'd be a million dollars up, and could then revert to the plan above of hiding till the game is done.

On the subject of the wish, I have the feeling that wishing Belt (or anyone, for that matter) back to life is out of the question seeing how it would cheapen everything that was done here, but a fallback wish to not remember what he did to earn his money would give him peace of mind when this is over, and probably wouldn't be too unreasonable.

Voting for Powder to ensure he doesn't do anything stupid like decide to run off after checking in on Belt.
No. 35347
[x] Go back. Find out for certain.
--(x) Get her out of harm’s way; let her choose her own fate.
<x> Powder
No. 35348
[x] Go back. Find out for certain.
--(x) Get her out of harm’s way; let her choose her own fate.
<x> Drum
No. 35352
[x] Go back. Find out for certain.
--(x) End her suffering.
<x> Drum
No. 35354
[x] Go back. Find out for certain.
-[x] End her suffering.
[x] Powder
No. 35359
[X] Go back. Find out for certain.
--(X) Get her out of harm’s way; let her choose her own fate.
<X> Powder

He's feeling guilty and locked in a downward spiral of depression. Do you really think having him kill a young girl in cold blood will put him in a state of mind where he could survive this game?

>Speaking of the Fourth, here; have an America.
I look at that, and instead of "America, FUCK YEAH!", all I can think of is Mary in Fallout Gensokyo. Man of African decent needs to resume his labors.
No. 35373
5 - Let her choose
4 - End her suffering

<4> - Powder
<2> - Shell
<2> - Drum
<1> - Bolt

We'll go with this; I don't want to risk being stuck with a 5-5 tie up there in any case. Updating at the speed of my new rolling office chair, which doesn't hurt my back like the old one did.

Also, a question: What is your opinion on someone dying without really getting an action vote beforehand? I.e., if Bolt had actually killed Chamber nigh-instantaneously. I want to be fair and give everyone a sporting chance (including the voters who want to see their favorites make it through by voting intelligently for them), but at the same time I don't want to force the story into a situation where deaths will never be shocking or unforseen. Your thoughts?

>Damn, if we had chosen him earlier, we could have done something to help her.
Try not to fall into this rut of thinking. Who you choose has a far greater impact on the story than when you choose them, if that makes any sense. Had you chosen Powder the update right after Belt's, you probably would have just seen him walk up to her and then run away in confusion, like he did anyways. Remember, the characters perform the actions you vote for, but after those actions are complete I gain control of them until the end of their next update, and they'll act as I believe they personality dictates.

I believe you'd be better served appending your votes with some written-in extra actions to better control a character. I mean, if that's what your shooting for.

You know, the logical conclusion of all this guilt is going to be one of the characters saying, "I'm actually really very sorry I have to kill you," as they look at another character with either a perfectly straight face, or one that's sobbing tears. Then they shoot them anyways.

This is not a joke because it is actually not that far from the truth considering some of these people.

Listen to this guy, other peoples. This guy knows where it's at. He doesn't even get hung up on the ambiguity of the wishes either. See how easy it is?

>Voting for Powder to ensure he doesn't do anything stupid like decide to run off after checking in on Belt.
He's also smart enough to know that I might try to pull something like this.

Yet another good story on THP I probably should have read in the past, never did for whatever stupid reason, and now can't because I don't have the time to. Also because it's hard to get emotionally involved in a story that has a good chance of never getting finished.
No. 35422
File 131014997488.png - (94.59KB , 600x200 , powder.png ) [iqdb]
2:20 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 65 hours and 40 minutes remain.

My feet pick up speed as I try once more to push myself past my limits. I'm already dead tired from the run before, and my calves are certainly making it known to me as I make the jog back the way I came. But I can't stop myself. Slow down, maybe; stop, no. I keep hearing more and more ambient gunfire in the distance; quick bursts of automatic that sound like the AK47, low rumbles that could only be the Mossberg, and sharper pings that might be either of the small caliber guns. It's all tumbling down, now; people must finally be finding each other and taking the leap of faith that comes from revealing their position.

I have to find her. I have to go back. I don't want to, God knows I don't want to, but... I have to finish what I started. I'm not yet sure if I could live with myself knowing I killed a young girl to save my family, but... I know I can't live with myself not knowing one way or the other. I have to know... I have to know she's not laying there on a pile of rocks with a pair of useless legs, just asking for someone else to come along and kill her. With all these bullets flying around a part of me fears she might already be dead. Better dead than suffering, I suppose. But... better not dead than dead. Even if she's lost her miracle, at least she can try to keep her life.

My jog slows to a walk once more as my age catches up with me, and my breathing borders on a wheeze. Sixty might not be eighty, but it sure as hell isn't twenty either. I take the opportunity to look around for where I might have dropped the MG42, but it's a lost cause; no way of remembering what landmarks might have been near it. I'd consider it a shame to have let go of a hundred thousand like that, but between carrying that and the launcher I'd have just been asking to get gunned down. And besides, there's far more important things to be worrying about that padding my wallet more than it already is.

I'm a fool, I tell myself as I push my legs back into a jog. I should have just run. I should have just crossed the border and ended it before I had the chance to second-guess myself. It's some sort of sick joke; I realize now that maybe that Chamber fellow, whatever his name was, maybe he had the right idea after all: put all your cards on the table and remove all doubt from your mind. Might not get you very far in a place like this, but at least you'll know where you are. Certain kind of comfort in that, I suppose. Hope he's doing better than I am, wherever it was he ended up going.

I crest the final hill between me and the pond where I left Belt. Soon the water starts poking through the trees, and I slow down, a welcome relief to my lungs and thighs. How long ago was it that I ran away from here? An hour only? And any number of bullets could have come from here during that hour. Belt's been the only person I've seen in this area since leaving Chamber, but no telling how many more our little firefight has drawn. I try to calm my breathing as much as possible, preparing for the worst. No clue what I'm getting into here... Could be walking into an ambush just as easy as walking into a wasteland where the only thing I'll find is Belt's body. Steady, old man... You're only human. Too old to think about being the hero anymore. Just focus on living for now.

One tree to the next becomes my shelter as I work my way down the hill, paying a lot more attention to the woods around me than the pond despite that being the whole reason I came back. The seventy-nine's familiar stock is in my grip once again; despite how its' stained my hands with blood already, I can't seem to let it go in favor of the revolver. It's... reliable. Something that's difficult to miss completely with. Something that makes an old man like me less of a joke and more of a threat. Not to mention that nine grenades feels like a lot bigger number when I've got over a hundred rounds for the revolver in reserve now.

Back on level ground now. I can see the pond, see the shoreline of it… can't see Belt.

I look again, check every inch of the water's edge, wondering if maybe I came from a different angle. No Belt. My hand goes to my map, making sure I've got the right pond. No Belt. No lumpy pile of a red coat, no body floating in the water, and not even wayward supplies like that maul left behind by a scavenger. She's just, gone.

I cement my back against the large birch and pull my weapon to my chest. Not here. What does it mean, what does it mean...?! Dead? No... doesn't make sense... nobody'd take the time to move the corpse. No reason to kidnap her in a place like this... Did she crawl away? With her legs like that I wouldn't think she could, at least not far enough that I can't find her now.

My initial thoughts all revolve around Belt, but it doesn't take long before the doubts and paranoia begin to have their way with me. They tell me that I came back for nothing, that I've just put myself on the chopping block again. I could have been safe... Now who knows what lurkers lurk behind the trees? I'm too soft, I care too much about children, I don't care enough about my own children, oh God if I die here they'll never even know what happened, they won't have a prayer if I'm gone. I care more about Belt than about my own Daisy, just because of a guilty conscience I wouldn't even have if I could have held off being trigger happy for five more bloody seconds. It's all gone to hell... I made a deal with the devil and I'm in hell and I'll never get out, three days that will stretch on into infinity...

The wounded yelp of a young girl brings me back to reality. Without even thinking I bolt away from my tree and head for the sound, realizing it's coming from the shallow cave I'd hidden in myself. She's still alive. It's the only thing that occupies my mind as I race over to the cave, forgoing other trains of thought for the hope that I might still be able to redeem myself before I botch this up any more.

The scene freezes before my eyes to the point where I don't even know how long I stare at it. Nothing moves; as still as a photograph. To the side of the cave lies the young Miss Belt on her stomach, her backpack and overcoat removed, and her dark grey shirt rolled up enough to where I can see a few pieces of shrapnel lodged near her waist. Her legs look as bad as ever, and with the coat removed I can see that there's even a few shards in her arms. Her eyes are squeezed shut with tears drying on her cheeks, face marred with pain and fear, seemingly unresponsive to the world around her yet still conscious.

Pointed at my chest is the grand old Mauser C96, and the hands which hold it are stained with blood, but it's the person those hands belong to I focus my gaze on: Miss Clip, I presume. Another young lady, though hardly the child Belt is; early twenties, perhaps. Her raiment is wholly unimpressive, tan slacks and a black hooded shirt with a balled up olive coat resting near her. Black hair hangs lank down to her shoulders, and at a first glace I feel like her skin is paler than most. But like all people that make an impression on you, the face... Her face is calm, calculative, cold yet soft, red-rimmed glasses offsetting a pair of cool blue eyes. A face you might expect to see in a college lecture hall, focusing on an exam without obsessing over it. A not altogether remarkable face anywhere else, but here... It does not belong here. It is a face that has no time for feelings, never seems to be surprised, and has everything under control.

This woman is dangerous. I can feel it in my bones, and right now my face must certainly be showing signs of it. Why she hasn't shot me yet I don't know, but my mind is too blank to take advantage of it. I can only soak up the scene before me, hear the whimpers from Belt, and wait for something to happen.

Her eyes flick down to my launcher, and back to me. "And what exactly were you planning to do with such a weapon at such a close range?" she asks me very matter-of-factly.

Despite the biting logic present in her question, I ignore it. "I'm not here for you; I'm here for her."

Her expression doesn't change. "You were already here for her, and you did not take her then. You return an hour hence in an attempt to take her again."

The implied question weighs heavily on my conscience. I do my best to mask the guilt of my foolishness and just keep this conversation as simple as possible. "Yes. Yes I have. This isn't your concern."

"No, but it is. As you can see, she is already spoken for. Your claim is null and void."

"I'm the one who got 'er like this in the first place," I growl, gritting my teeth. "I should be the one that decides what's happening to her from here."

"You will decide no such thing," she tells me like it's a simple truth and not just her opinion. "Your opportunity to decide her fate expired when you wounded her and did nothing else. All your options of attack, including your revolver, are futile endeavors because my weapon is already aimed and ready. I have no reason not to shoot you and thus will do so at the slightest provocation. This girl is under my control now, and I will kill her when and how I see fit."

My expression falters while hers remains as solid as a rock. My revolver... How could she possibly know I have it?! It's in my pocket, true, but a lump in someone's pocket could be anything! She wasn't just guessing when she said it; she knew. But how?!

No. Not important. Focus, old man; she wants you to be confused. Gotta stay focused. "I'm not here to kill her... If you think this is about one of those wishes, it's not. I just wanna make sure this girl doesn't spend the rest of her life in utter agony." I hesitate a little in the middle when I decide whether or not to mention the fact that I'm actually here to try and help her out. No clue what kind of response it'll illicit from such a... peculiar, woman, but with these kinds of people I've found you're usually better off telling the truth.

"Irrelivant," she responds coldly. "Your insolence will cost you five of your grenades, and the Colt Python sans its ammunition."


She moves the barrel of the gun to my head instead. "Or would you rather I just kill you?"

"No, no no no!" Instinctively I drop the grenade launcher and hold my hands up in good faith. "It's just... why?"

Switching the Mauser to one hand, she stands up and unceremoniously reaches into my right coat pocket for the Python. She fumbles quite a bit trying to flip the cylinder open one-handed—the first time I really see her be "imperfect"—but she doesn't take that Mauser off me for a second. As she awkwardly shakes the cartridges onto the ground, she answers me.

"Foolishness should be punished, both in life at home and life at war. Death is a poor punishment, allowing its victims no chance to suffer the consequences of their past mistakes. Relieving you of a portion of your arms will I think cause you to consider your actions more wisely next time."

Slipping the unloaded revolver into her own pocket, she moves forward and pulls five of the grenades out from the bandolier across my chest, poking her pistol into my gut all the while. The man inside me is telling me to not stand for this tripe; fight back, swat that pistol away and push this know-it-all girl to the ground. But there's something about her, in the way she talks and acts; a different kind of confidence than one brought about through simple overblown pride. It's what makes me know that despite the fact she's talking to me as calm as could be, she would shoot me if I tried anything, and probably wouldn't skip a beat in doing it.

Why do I always have to run into the people who like to talk?

Her "transaction" concluded, she picks up the six discarded bullets from the ground and hands them to me; why she doesn't keep them I have no idea, but at this point I don't think it'd be the smartest plan to keep asking questions with that gun in her hand. "Now if you will excuse me," she says as casually as if I'd phoned her at an inappropriate time, "I have more pressing matters to attend to."

I roll the bullets around in my hand as one would twiddle their thumbs, completely at a loss. "What happens to me, then?"

She shrugs nonchalantly. "That is entirely up to you. If you are so hell-bent on being a good Samaritan, there is a dying man not far from here that might appreciate your company more than I."

[ ] Stay here
--( ) Keep out of Clip's way; at least it's safe here
--( ) Try to make conversation; see if you can help her get what she wants
--( ) Wait until she's distracted and disarm her
[ ] Find this dying man
[ ] Find a different hiding spot; rethink the situation
[ ] Cross the border; Belt is fine

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
No. 35428
[x] Find this dying man
<x> Magazine
No. 35429
[ ] Stay here
--( ) Wait until she's distracted and disarm her.
<x> Clip

>5 – Sniper… Close
>3 – Save… her

What is Clip is doing here? Did she deal with Bolt in the meantime? Just in 50 minutes...
No. 35430
>Just in 50 minutes...
Please note that the timestamp at the beginning of an update is just that: for the beginning of the update. Time passes during the update itself, and the length of the update does not always directly correlate to the passage of time; please take this into consideration.
No. 35446
[X] Stay here
--(x) Try to make conversation; see if you can help her get what she wants
<o> Bolt
No. 35448
[x] Stay here
--(x) Try to make conversation; see if you can help her get what she wants
<x> Clip

Clip remains my favorite, this just makes that twice as obvious.
No. 35450
[x] Find a different hiding spot; rethink the situation
[x] Shell

For all her talk, Clip is rather foolish. I don't see any reason why Powder can't walk a couple of feet out of that cave and blast them to shit with his launcher. Well, besides his conscience.

Oh jeez. I forgot to vote for character. How embarrassing.
No. 35461
[x] Stay here
--(x) Try to make conversation; see if you can help her get what she wants
<x> Clip

Oh, Clip.
No. 35464
[X] Find this dying man
<X> Bolt
Curious as to whats going on in the bolt front.
No. 35465
>He's also smart enough to know that I might try to pull something like this.

If it makes you feel any better, Owen, this isn't something I attributed to author maliciousness; It's just something I could very well see him doing, given how he was portrayed in the last update.


Pretty much this. It's a shame that there's no way to use this information to our advantage as a bargaining chip: Dropping this tidbit to Clip will only give her more motivation to just shoot Powder on the spot.

[x] Find a different hiding spot; rethink the situation
<x> Clip

He doesn't need to find the dying man: The only reason he came back was because he was responsible for Belt's condition. For a while, I pondered the option of disarming Clip, but it's too risky: as he noted in the previous update, the sixty thousand he still has is still (barely) sufficient for his needs. Weighing the risk of his life against an extra two hundred thousand is not worth it here. Clip is smart enough, at least, to keep her weapon trained on him at all times, hampering whatever Powder might want to help with, not to mention the possibility of incurring another "transaction", leaving Powder defenseless.

The reason I'm not voting to cross the border just yet is that there are still opportunities for Powder. After reconsidering, he could decide that he has it in him to kill people who [i]don't[i] happen to be teenage girls, in which case he could still get his wish. On the flip side, if he realises he can't end a person's life, or just wishes to play it safe, several weapons carried by the other participants seem too big to carry around in large quantities, especially as I don't recall any mention of weapon slings: It's highly likely that some of the larger weapons will be left behind with dead people (particularly as the person who killed them already has a minimum of a million: What's another 100k on top of that?), and he may well have opportunities to scavenge, listening for the sounds of firefights to know generally where to search once things have died down.

Owen: The second paragraph isn't technically part of my vote per say, but should the option to hide and reconsider win, it would be nice to see the discussion pondered by Powder, even if he discards the ideas in the end.
No. 35468
>He doesn't need to find the dying man.
Really? He sure as fuck would want to on some level, if he knew it was Chamber. Though there are perfectly good reasons for him not to follow through on that desire.

The obvious thing to do here is ask Clip what the dying man looks like. Or what weapon he had.
No. 35502
3 - Stay, talk, try to help
2 - Hide elsewhere
2 - Find the man
1 - Wait & disarm

<4> - Clip
<2> - Bolt
<1> - Shell
<1> - Magazine

Sure, we can do this. No sense typing more here, because I have nothing else to say.

Though since no one answered this last time, I'm going to ask it again: What is your opinion on someone dying without really getting an action vote beforehand? I.e., if Bolt had actually killed Chamber nigh-instantaneously. I want to be fair and give everyone a sporting chance (including the voters who want to see their favorites make it through by voting intelligently for them), but at the same time I don't want to force the story into a situation where deaths will never be shocking or unforseen. Your thoughts?

Unless Clip assumes Powder isn't evil enough to kill the person he turned around to come rescue, which isn't too big of a stretch considering if he was he'd have done it by now.

>If it makes you feel any better, Owen, this isn't something I attributed to author maliciousness
No harm done; I didn't take it that way to begin with. Author maliciousness is something I outgrew with the conclusion of ASSM, even if the facade remains.

>Owen: The second paragraph isn't technically part of my vote per say, but should the option to hide and reconsider win, it would be nice to see the discussion pondered by Powder, even if he discards the ideas in the end.
Well, it didn't win, but I'll still keep it in mind since you asked.

Yeah, I probably should have made the update a little longer for the sake of making the scenario a little clearer, so you wouldn't have NEEDED to ask those kinds of questions.
No. 35504

Depends. If the intent of the 'last vote' is to save the character from dying, it could be done, as long as it is a possible scenario. Like what happened to Belt; she was going to die, and seemed to, but Clip was there to save her, unfortunatly. Now, if someone like Belt had found chamber, instead of Clip, would you, the author, say she would spare him?

There is also the time factor. If a character is injured now, and is dieing, etting him live until we chose him again after a long time would be silly, wouldn't it?
No. 35564
I really don't know what to vote for regarding a last chance before death. I'm torn between wanting practicality and NOOOOO DON'T LET MY FAVORITES DIIIIE

>I look at that, and instead of "America, FUCK YEAH!", all I can think of is Mary in Fallout Gensokyo.
Glad I wasn't the only one.


*elicit (illicit means illegal)
*irrelevant (this was just a misspelling)
No. 35602
File 131078612032.png - (207.12KB , 722x387 , clip.png ) [iqdb]

Moved to abandoned churchhouse. Dusty, smell of water and moss, yet in proper order. Sense of peace. Why? I care not for gods. Must consider further.

Must continue to move; must get outside of village limits.


Successfully left town. Saw no one, heard nothing. Will write more when distance away improves.


Apologies for handwriting; taking notes while walking. Will be brief; may expound later.

No shots. 40 min. since Belt/Powder. Too late? Must try. Priceless opportunity.

Interview? Difficult. Impossible? No.

Gunpoint? No, doubtful. Risky.

Ultimatum? No. No trust. No proof. No truce.

"We do not negotiate with terrorists."

Back to the gun. More later.


So quiet... Too quiet? Cliché.

The silence is real. Tangible. Oppressive. "The unknown." Fear? No. no fear. Humans fear what they do not understand. However, do not fear what you do not know until you know it. If you do not know it, you may fear that which is not real. That which is not real cannot harm you and need not be feared.

Something ahead. Must return to gun.


Wounded female, side of pond. Signs of movement. Sounds of crying/pain.

Wounded man ahead. 50 meters? Gasping two words: "Sniper. Close."

Must write faster.

Man wounded, does NOT shoot, gives others advice? Illogical. Dying? Delirious? Given up hope? Unknown. Must ask him.

Female, possibly young. Wounded, crying. Riding bicycle, scraped knee. Clichéd normally, but not here. Young girl killing for selfish desires? If so brave, then why weeping? If so cowardly, then why even here? Must ask her.

Sniper? May assume so; previous reports confirm. Cannot write long. Likely amateur, cannot hit weaving target with low ammo stock. Fire shots as distraction to frighten and intimidate; chance of returning fire low. Flushing out optional but preferred.

Moving now. If killed here, this is last report. Future reader, you may think me a fool, risking much for the sake of empty curiosity. Then I ask you, how does a fool learn, if not by risking much to learn what is uncertain?

Stay there, then. Stay in your chair, your bed, your house, your place of work. Stay safe. Risk nothing. Tell me I waste my life, while you waste yours.

The world is a gamble, one's life a wager on the table. Now do I roll the dice.


Man is Sean Judd Eckers. "Chamber"
- Do-gooder
- Middle-class
- Idealist
- Seeks fairness.

Dying. Worthless to me. Explain later.


Still alive.

It was... satisfying. I will know what this means when I reread it. Must expound further.

I have a young girl.
- Teenage years.
- Pronounced red hair.
- Below average height.
- Legs and feet lacerated with shrapnel.
- Weapon missing.
- Likely Belt, wounded by Powder

She is still alive. Consciousness tentative. Breathing ragged, often whimpering. In a great deal of pain. Delirious. Does not answer questions but reacts obliquely to words. Hearing damage from explosion likely; whispers have no reaction.

Excerpts (often repeated):
- "I don't want to die"
- "Hurts so bad"
- "I'm sorry"
- "I didn't mean it Rosie"
- "I don't want to be the best anymore"
- "Please help me, someone"

She piques my interest, someone so young being here. Much potential. However, cannot let her bleed to death before I learn anything of value. Too much to write; no time. Must get to work.


"The best-laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry." - Steinbeck, taken from Scot poem

Powder appears from the aether. Old man, grizzled beard. Tries to make peace, "finish what he started" with Belt. He left her for dead and returns to nurse her to health. A man with a conscience.

He watches me as I write this, assuming that my eyes never veer away from the paper. Can you read this, Mr. Powder? Do you see what I am writing right now? I think you are going to die, and it will be because you treat those around you like people.

None of you are people. You are nameless archetypes with a label conveniently provided for us by the creators of this experiment. Three days is insufficient time for me to care about you, thus I see no reason to try. Your actions are unsurprising at best, and outright predictable at worst. Nothing new under the sun.

Prove me wrong.

I welcome it, I relish it, I yearn for it! Show me something different! Show me something I do not expect, that will make me think, that will make me imagine! Smash my hypotheses to dust! I implore you! Make me care about your existence in the least bit! BECOME PEOPLE! LIVE, FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE! MAKE ME PROUD THAT I AM A HUMAN!

I will wait for that day. Until then I am forced to fabricate my own forms of enjoyment.

I digress.


I neglect my journal proper.

Powder wishes to be the "good Samaritan" to this girl. For the moment I indulge him. He foolishly agreed to disarm himself as per my request. I am a wild card, a dangerous opponent; a smart man would not give up his weapon in such a position. I sit atop it, and keep my own pistol ever within my lap. He will try something. Perhaps only once, perhaps not for hours, perhaps painfully obvious, but he will try to get the better of me. I will not let down my guard.

Powder no longer an obvious threat, I allow him to administer treatment to the girl; gives me more time to write, and observe. He knows something of first aid it seems; does not remove shrapnel immediately. Would aggravate wound & cause more bleeding. Applies tourniquet and tears bandages from overshirt.

I return to archetypal commentary.

Chamber - Bleeding out from chest wound; likely will not last till sundown. Explained what he could when I ran to him. Met Powder early, gun taken, wandered towards sound of Belt, got lost, wandered again, followed sounds of gunfire, shot by Bolt from the South. Wished to get contractors to talk out differences and reach fair agreement. Told me Powder was " a good man".

An idealist in a realistic world. Chases hope, sees the good in people. Even dying holds to his principles. A boring hero in pauper's clothing mentality. Black and white. Nothing worth staying by his side for. Let him ruminate on his life in agony; it may open his mind to a more realistic worldview.

Bolt - Took two shots to hit Chamber; did not even attempt to shoot at me. Amateur sniper. Do not hide from an amateur sniper. Do not run in the same direction; sniper shoots in front of you. Change trajectory constantly. Ran a perimeter around area south of lake while shooting pistol as diversionary measure. Found no Bolt but was not shot at. Unsure as to current position; may become problematic later.

Note: Shot twice at Chamber, hit him, but did not kill him, and has not shot again. Must clearly have a good view of him right now, must clearly know he is not dead, Chamber obviously easy to hit, yet has not fired to obtain the kill.


Must consider further.

Powder - Met at approx. 14:35. Man of few words and determination. Perhaps pretends to be tougher than he really is so as not to appear weak and old in the eyes of others. Visibly flustered at my calm demeanor and omniscient facade. Not a fool, but acts foolishly.

His compassion for the girl interests me. Of note is the fact that he shot at her to begin with, as he now works to heal the very same wound. Why shoot at all, if you will feel guilt over it? A reflexive action? A sudden change of heart? In our few words he seemed to dodge the question. Must investigate further.

His aim appears to be money and the avoidance of murder, else he would have killed Chamber when he stole his weapon, or would have killed Belt when first he shot at her. This limits him to the twenty everyone should posses, and the one hundred a weapon is worth. Explains why Belt has lost her weapon; likely scavenged by him and hidden due to encumbrance. Others' weapons are his lifeblood; can be used as bait, bargaining chips, punishment by confiscation, and the like. Taking his stolen revolver was a fortuitous move, it seems; likely he will not leave until he reclaims it. I should be cautious.

He is not an altogether worthless subject. I will humor him longer until his motives become more clear.

Belt - A curiosity. Engaged Powder in firefight and lost. Wounded, dazed, possibly knocked unconscious, but was not killed. Afterwards struggled in vain to drag herself somewhere while crying and whimpering. Currently nigh-oblivious to the outside world under post-traumatic stress or similar psychological condition, continues to cry and whimper even now, mumbling unintelligibly.

But why is she here?

Age likely early to mid teens; "young". Likely too young to truly understand the world, to understand past and future, life and death. Delusions of grandeur and heroism never die but are rarely acted upon. Young people are capable of horrible and extreme things but are not usually inclined to do so under normal circumstances. Clearly, her circumstances are not normal. Parents too protective, or not protective enough; parents are the television, or the bottle, or the belt (amusing coincidence if so). Any number of possibilities to create a different child with violent urges.

Why then the crying? The weeping? The apologizing? The pleading for help? A child strong enough to sign the contract in question should have grown past such childish actions. They would bite their tongue and swallow their tears and put on a brave face, convincing themselves that they are not a child. It begs a question more of the one who reviewed Belt's "survey", likely the mysterious "sponsor" all eight of us have.

Why did the sponsor pick her, out of what must have been thousands of other surveys, and perhaps dozens or even hundreds of boys and girls her age? Surely there was no shortage of other children who said yes, that they would perform socially questionable acts if the reward was great enough. The very word "sponsor"--which I heard out of that woman's mouth and is written on the contract itself--implies that these people have something at stake; that they wish for their "contractors" to perform well. Belt's sponsor would not have offered her the contract unless this sponsor was certain Belt would rise to the occasion. They would not have knowingly picked a weakling or crybaby, someone who would give up all hope and cower after the first instance of true pain. Either something has not gone according to plans, or there is a very, very good reason I do not yet knew that Belt is exemplary. But why?

Why did any of our sponsors pick any of us? We are nothing. A college student, a crying teenager, a balding janitor, an old man, a misandrist with a chip on her shoulder. It does not even seem like we answered the survey in the same ways. What makes us special?

Find this answer, and perhaps one may come closer to answering the question of who "they" are.

Must consider further.

[ ] Try talking to Belt (topic suggestions welcome)
[ ] Try talking to Powder (topic suggestions welcome)
[ ] Shoot Belt in an extremity; see how Powder reacts
[ ] Shoot Powder in an extremity; see how Powder reacts
[ ] Kill Chamber. A wish might be useful.
[ ] Move elsewhere; position is compromised (Vote for all the below options)
--( ) Take Belt / Leave Belt
--( ) Let Powder come / do not let Powder come
--( ) Give Powder back (revolver/launcher/neither)

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder


All right then, I guess I’ll just go with whatever makes for a better story, since there’s not a lot of strong feelings. Obviously I’m not cruel; if people die out of the blue, there will be a good reason for it. Just giving you the heads up that this is on the table now.

And yeah, >>35564, I’m surprised people don’t call me out on my typos more. I make handfuls of them all the time and no one seems to notice, or they just don’t care enough to say anything. I would have caught these if I was caring, but I’m usually just too anxious to get the update out before I go to bed.

Not unlike right now.
No. 35603
[x] Shoot Belt in an extremity; see how Powder reacts
[x] Shell

Now this is interesting. How would Powder react to see this woman so callously shoot Belt when he is desperately trying so hard to save her? Furthermore, how would a person like him respond to such generalized cruelty?
No. 35606
[x] Kill Chamber. A wish might be useful.
<x> Chamber

He can't be saved. So either Bolt or Clip get the wish. Might as well be her. She is an observer, but she is also a contestant. If Bolt made the mistake of not finishing him off, might as well take advantage of it.
No. 35607
[x] Try talking to Belt (ask why she entered)
[x] Try talking to Powder (ask why the sponsors chose who they did, ask if he wants to kill Chamber)
<x> Chamber

Double-voting because by god, we can talk to two people when they're in the same room. Voting for Chamber because it increases the chance of SOMETHING happening to him. Maybe we'll get to see him die. It's like nobody in this game has heard of mercy-killing. It's not even mercy-killing, they're directly compensated for it. And yet they just let him lie there. Fuck that.

And his death is sort of a direct result of us passing the buck for that one vote instead of deciding properly. and him being a dumbass. can't forget that.
No. 35610
[x] Kill Chamber. A wish might be useful.
<x> Clip
No. 35619
[x] Try talking to Belt (ask why she entered)
[x] Try talking to Powder (ask why the sponsors chose who they did, ask if he wants to kill Chamber)
<x> Belt

I want to see how she is feeling now. What is she thinking now?
No. 35630
[x] Try talking to Belt (ask why she entered)
[x] Try talking to Powder (ask why the sponsors chose who they did, ask if he wants to kill Chamber)
<x> Belt

Now I don't care anymore about killing Belt. Pity, she was on my wish granting characters list
No. 35642
3 – Talk
2 – Kill
1 - Move

<2> - Belt
<2> - Chamber
<1> - Shell
<1> - Clip

Tie goes to Belt here for having only 3 updates versus Chamber's 4.

I finally purchased one of them newfangled automobiles, so now I can stop spending my evenings on the phone calling potential sellers and driving to their locale. Theoretically this means I have more free time after work, and theoretically that means update speed can improve. Or I could stop slacking off at work and write more there. They may track my internet activity, but they can’t track a .txt booted off a flash drive!

Yes, I know that work takes first priority and I need to do my best to impress. Updates happen when they happen, and update speed is not a measure of how awesome and dedicated a writer is or is not.

>Double-voting because by god, we can talk to two people when they're in the same room.
Finally. Someone who understands that vote options are guidelines and not rules! Follow this man! Follow him to freedom!

>Now I don't care anymore about killing Belt.
Well that’s no good. We’ll have to fix that, won’t we?
No. 35645
>Well that’s no good. We’ll have to fix that, won’t we?

Do your worst, Owen. Once I've become the most compassionate reader, nothing shall stop me from wishing only good things to your characters.
No. 35686
Ahh, my mistake. I thought you were saying it like, "I don't care about Belt anymore, so let's go ahead and kill her." It's certainly not my intent to make people outright hate anyone in Priceless, because that would defeat the purpose. It's far better that you would more or less like everyone, so that it's that much more of an emotional dilemma when you inevitably have to make Sophie's Choice.

Whether you're a writer, or a reader, the true challenge isn't in being able to like every character. It's in being able to look past what you want to have happen to them, and seeing what needs to happen to them, for the sake of making a better story.
No. 35707
>"I don't care about Belt anymore, so let's go ahead and kill her."

Well, that was what I used to think about Belt. She was a character I would vote to kill without a second thought.

But now...well, no need to repeat myself, right?
No. 35768
Ironic how some people now care about Belt and reget that choice yet all forget how the choice we took with Chamber (continue regardless of what just happened) pretty much sent him to his doom.
No. 35769

What's wrong with people sympathizing with Belt but not Chamber?
No. 35770

There is a difference between voting for an action that inadvertedly lead to someone's death by virtue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and voting to pull the trigger on someone. It's not surprising that we'd feel a stronger responsibility for what happened to Belt.
No. 35774
We didn't pick continue regardless of what happened. We picked "calm down and think." He turned that into "stomp around in a funk and scream things at the air."
No. 35781
File 131145605131.png - (95.88KB , 740x266 , Belt.png ) [iqdb]
1:40 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 66 hours and 20 minutes remain.

No. No no no no not happening.

Where... where am I? Water, rocks, dirt... Did I crawl here? I, can't remember...

Hurts. Hurts, so much... If I move, if I move at all... My legs... Tingly, tingly all over, like ants, fire ants crawling in my legs... get, get them out... Too hot, too hot, but it's cold, cold everywhere else... Can't shiver, shivering bad, makes the ants come back...

Can't hear, ringing, ringing in my ears, ringing but all muffled, like underwater, but I'm not underwater... Someone, talking to me? Don’t, don’t know, can't hear.

Tired. So, so tired... Don't wanna open my eyes. Too hard. Go to sleep... can't go to sleep. Ants won't let me. If, if I go to sleep the ants will get me. Gotta, stay awake...

Where... where's my gun? What happened to him? Gotta, gotta look. Gotta be close; gotta reach. No, no no no, hurts to reach. Hurts to move. Don't move, don't move. Hurts, hurts so bad. He's, he's not here. No, no... come back. I need you. I need you to win. I... don't, can't lose. Gotta... gotta, keep going, gotta be the best. Gotta, win... Gotta, get up...

Can't... can't get up. Hurts. Legs, not worky. Hurts, hurts hurts hurts ow ow ow. Make it stop, make it stop make it stop. Make the ants go away, bad ants, bad ants everywhere they're in my legs get out get out get out. Stop it. Stop it.

Can't... can't, stop. Bad, place. Bad place with bad people. Bad guns. Gonna kill me. Gotta, gotta get up! Gonna kill me! No! Don't, don't, no! Don't, don't kill me! Don't, die! Dying bad! Gotta, get up! Gotta, hide! Get up, get up get up legs getup getup getup!

Can't... get up. Legs don't work. Hurts, hurts too much, no! Move! Move move move they're gonna find you! No pain, forget pain, move move move! Can't move. Gotta move. Can't move. Gotta move! They'll kill you if you don't move!

But... I, can't... Oh god, oh god oh god oh god oh god no no no god oh my god oh my god this is not happening please don't let this be happening no no no no no.

They... I, can't, get up. They're... they're, going to... to kill... No. No! No no no no no I can't die! I had it! I had it! I'm not gonna die, I'm gonna win! Win, and be the best forever and ever! I can't die! I can't! I, can't! I... can't... move, can't walk, can't crawl, can't hide, can't do anything oh god oh god they all know where I am, we made so much noise they're all gonna come running and they'll see me and they'll find out I'm not dead yet oh god oh god please no, I won't even be able to hear them coming, why can't I hear anything?! Buzzing, buzzing and ringing and cotton in my ears, can't make anything out of anything anymore. They're coming, they're coming down the hill and they're gonna see me and I can't see them, can't hear them, they're gonna kill me any second now and I won't even see it coming, oh god oh god I'm dead I'm dead I don't wanna die please don't let me die, don't move, don't move an inch or they'll see you, play dead, maybe they won't come closer. Play dead, even though I'm already dead, dead and dying and dead and bleeding and oh god it hurts so much I don't even wanna look at my legs they're all exploded and I can feel the stuff stuck in them, the ants the little fire ants burning me and crawling around and eating my legs go away go away you're gross and you don't belong here!

Oh my god oh my god, what am I saying, I'm the one that doesn't belong here. Why'm I here why'd I sign that thing why'd I think I needed to be the best anyways? Don't wanna be the best, don't wanna get anything, just wanna live, don't don't wanna die, please god no god don't let me die, I'm sorry I'm sorry I take it all back I didn't mean it! I'll be good, I promise! I'll let Rosie win at everything forever and I'll tell her how awesome she is and how I'll never be as good as her, just don't let me die, don't let me die I don't want to die I'm sorry please god no no no don't let me die it hurts why does it hurt so bad make it stop make it stop make it stoooop.

Please... please... I, I don't want to die... I, I can do better this time...

P-please... Someone...





No. 35782
Whuhh... Where? What...? Where am I? Did I fall asleep? Still, still hurts. Hurts worse. Poking, poking poking, the ants have sticks now they're poking me oh god get them out get them out why do I have to feel my legs why do they have to hurt so bad? Stop, stop it! It, it hurts... go away, please, just, just go away, let, just let me die...

N-no, no no, can't, don't-don't want to die. Please, anything... g-gotta, gotta live, gotta not die, dying bad, dying bad... Rosie... Rosie, Rose, Rosalie, h-help me! Sorry, so, so so sorry, I didn't mean it, I don't wanna die, I don't hate you, please, please, I'm sorry forgive me I don't want it you can have it just please anything anyone don't let me die...

The poking... the poking... Hurts, hurts more, hurts so bad. Stop it, please, stop it, just, just go away... W-wait, no... no... It's, no... It's, different... Poking, no, touching... Touching... Someone, here... Someone, here...!

No! No! Go away! Get, get away from me! I'm dead, don't touch me! Go away go away go away, shoot someone else, don't shoot me, don't shoot me! I don't want to die oh god they're gonna kill me they're touching me to see if I'm alive don't move don't move you're dead I'm dead I'm not important go away leave me alone leave me alone I'll kill you if you don't leave me alone I don't want to diiiiiee!

Someone, someone talking... maybe? Can't, can't hear. All messy, like underwater. What're they saying, can't hear, don't make no sense, all nonsense. Don't say anything, don't tell them you're alive oh god why does it have to hurt so much I'm sorry I'm sorry I didn't mean it Rosie I don't want to be the best anymore just oh god don't let them kill me. Still, still talking? Don't tell them anything. Don't give in. Don't talk. If you talk, they'll win. They always win. Can't let them win. I gotta win, can't let them win. Please god no don't let me lose, if I lose I die, don't wanna die don't wanna die don't wanna die...

Still poking, still poking at my legs. Stop it! Stop it oh god it hurts so bad why would you do this? Go away, what do you want?! Don't kill me, oh god oh god please don't kill me, just go away, just leave me alone. So scared, so scared... They're all trying to kill me and they're coming and they're gonna shoot me and I'll be dead oh god what if they shoot me and I'm still alive? Hurt even more, no no no don't please don't hurts so bad I don't want to hurt anymore make it stop make it go away please I'm sorry I'm sorry I won't do it again oh god anything please just make it stop...

"--on't yuh--gouh... --eye'n... me."

What? Who, who said that? I, I heard it... didn't I? I didn't say that, someone... someone else said it. What'd they say? Can't, can't understand it. Can't think, too... too tired, dizzy. Go, go away, leave me alone...! Except, n-no... don't, I... no, I don't, I don't know. I don't know anymore...

I should... I should, try to open my eyes again...

Bright! Ahh, no, too, too bright! Not used to opening my eyes; closed for so long... what time is it? Getting, getting a little clearer now. O-okay, umm, rocks, rock, rock walls, and dirt, dirt too. I guess it's, it's not that bright, just... just, over there. Am I... Is this a cave? Where... what happened? Where'd the lake go?

Wait, there's... Who's that girl, over there? Sitting around writing stuff... writing stuff? What, is she some kinda reporter? Blah hair and bleu eyes and red glasses, looks like some kinda geek. What the hell... this, this can't be, right... I'm going crazy...

Oh god oh god she's looking at me now don't make eye contact she's know's you're awake oh crap she's got a gun it's right there she's gonna kill me go back to sleep don't hurt me please oh god oh god help I can't run away so helpless someone don't let her killll mmeeeee!

Is she still looking...? Oh god she's still looking at me just staring, staring, staring you stalker get away from me what do you want I don't got nothin' why don't you just kill me already oh god she's putting her hand on the gun no no no don't please don't please I don't want to diiiee!

Please... don't... d-don't...

She stops. She stares at me again. She shuffles closer to me oh god oh god don't come closer please god don't kill me. She sits down right in front of me as I'm lying here on the floor, like some kinda giant.


Wh-what...? Why, why what?

She puts her hand on the gun again. "Why not?"

I, I don't... under, stand...

She picks up the gun oh god oh no what is she doing she's holding it up into the air starting at me staring staring who is this girl what's happening oh god oh god she's pointing it at me no stop what oh god I can feel it the barrel she's sticking it on my forehead no no no so cold so tingly she's gonna kill me she's gonna kill me she's gonna kill me!

"Why, not?!" she asks. Still staring. Still staring. Blue eyes red glasses blue eyes red glasses.

Oh god oh god help me there's a gun I can feel it scared scared everywhere hurts everywhere tingly I don't understand what's going on why, why not, what's why? Go away go away please who are you I don't understand scared help Rosie someone save me! No one... no one here all alone... She's gonna kill me please no don't why are you doing this what did I do I'm sorry I didn't do anything!

Head shaking... can't shake too much, gun in the way... Staring, staring... can't, can't look away. Blue eyes red glasses. Wanna run, run run away away from everything, can't run, legs no worky hurts so bad oh god what do I do what do I do get that gun out of my face get that gun out of my face!

I don't know why... doesn't make any sense... My arm flings up, oh god the ants are in my arm too! Why am I doing this she's gonna kill me it's not gonna work my hand reaches over and slaps the barrel off my head, it's off my head it's off my head can't feel it anymore dang it hurts to move my arm the ants the ants! Gotta, gotta win... Can't die, dying is bad, get that gun out of my face...

Don't look at her, don't look at her... blue eyes red glasses. She wants to look at you, she wants you to look at her; don't look at her. Look at the gun, look at the gun! Ugly gun, old gun, piece of crap gun. I, I... I don't let go... I, I want it. I want it. I want that gun, I'm gonna die if I don't have a gun, she's gonna shoot me I gotta get that gun I need that gun give me that piece of crap gun! Let go! Let go! Let go! Leggo leggo leggo gimme that damn gun you stupid geek girl with your stupid geek glasses! Limp wrist with your skinny little fingers, you can't hold on! You stick it in my face you deserve what's coming to you now I said gimme!

The pulling stops; hand snaps to the side. What... just happened? I, I have it...? I... I have it. The gun, it's, it's in my hand and not hers. My hand. Mine. I got it, I got i--NO! The girl reaches for it again, no no no you don't it's mine I found it it belongs to me! I reach my other arm around and gaah, the ants, the horrible stinging ants, they're everywhere! Gotta get the gun, spin it around, don't let her have it don't let her have it it's mine she's gonna kill me I gotta stay alive!

Gun. Her gun. In my hands. My gun. In her face now. Blue eyes, red glasses. So tired. So scared. So confused. Hurts everywhere. Worst day. I look at her. She looks at me.

Nothing. I, her, it’s… it’s just a face. Nothing there. Just a face.

[ ] Kill her. She'd do the same.
[ ] Shoot her somewhere. Let her know this isn't a game.
[ ] Demand answers. Demand protection. Demand everything; she has no gun.
[ ] Ask her for help. Ask her what’s happening.
[ ] Drop the gun. Apologize. Beg, even. It was a mistake. A reflex.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder


In case you don’t check other boards, I recently revived my derptastic Derp Wars on /sdm/, for all your dry comedic needs: >>/sdm/45749. Because Derp Wars can be easily-written during work since it’s so short and punchy, and because I feel I need a little derp in my life right about now, I’m going to try focusing on that during the weekdays, and move Priceless more-or-less exclusively to a weekend update schedule. I know by now you’re tired of me explaining plan after plan after plan only to change it every two weeks, and I’m sorry for that. I’m just trying to find a way to still do what I love doing (writing) amidst what needs doing (work).

Because she is the little girl. People feel bad about killing the little girl. The balding hero man, not so much.

To be fair, you picked that several hours ago and have not voted for him since. He did calm down and think for a while, but then he kept going. This is the price of the vote switch, remember: you put the characters’ fates in my hands when you don’t vote for them, especially when you don’t vote them for extended periods of time.
No. 35784
Huh. This is odd. There's no sign of Powder, which means one of two things: Either this takes place before Powder shows up, or that she's been out of it long enough that Powder has either left or been... disposed of. I believe it tends towards the latter, seeing how there's no mention in Clip's journal about this little episode.

If it's the former, then whatever choice we make, only the intent matters: not the outcome, for it has already happened and cannot be changed here. If, however, this takes place after Powder has shown up and left, something bothers me: Belt is severely wounded, and according to Powder, even has several shards of shrapnel lodged in her arms. I can't really see her managing to overpower Clip, even if just to snatch the gun away. I suspect Clip might have unloaded the gun before passing it to Belt, to observe her reaction. Unless, of course, I'm wrong, and Clip is crazy enough to have handed Belt a loaded gun to observe her reaction. For SCIENCE.

No vote for now. Must consider further.
No. 35791
>This is the price of the vote switch
Yeah, I'm not complaining about that. That guy was wrong (on the INTERNET) and I was correcting him.

I'd love to see the vote switch in another story. It's a really cool device and I don't think a single story is nearly enough to discover its full potential.

[x] Shoot her somewhere. Let her know this isn't a game.
<x> Magazine

Clip needs to learn about ~consequences~. So, is this after Powder left or what? I'm confused.
No. 35792
Waaaaait a second. The gun is Chamber's unloaded revolver, isn't it?

Haha. I'm sticking with my vote.
No. 35793
She's still got her own gun too. I'll just let you know that the gun in question is Clip's Mauser, hence why Belt was saying it looked like an ugly piece of crap.
No. 35796
[x] Demand answers. Demand protection. Demand everything; she has no gun.
[x] Shell

If Belt wants any chance of coming out of this fiesta intact, she'll need constant attention and help. She's currently isolated and dying in a dank cave somewhere, with only this single person around. Killing or shooting her would be tremendously stupid.
No. 35798
[ ] Demand answers. Demand protection. Demand everything; she has no gun.

Christ, Clip is one cruel bitch. I hoped she would be more subtle, watching from the shadows. I may have hoped wrong, but to threat killing Belt in that state, just to watch her reaction, is too much.
No. 35799
[x] Demand answers. Demand protection. Demand everything; she has no gun.
<x> Magazine
No. 35800
[x] Demand answers. Demand protection. Demand everything; she has no gun.
<x> Clip

You know, that was pretty annoying to read. So much non-content to pick the actual pieces of information out of. I mean, I get why it is that way, but still.
No. 35832
[X] Demand answers. Demand protection. Demand everything; she has no gun.
<o> Shell

Let's get back to everyone's favourite scorned woman.
No. 35867
5 – Demand
1 – Shoot

<3> - Shell
<2> - Magazine
<1> - Clip

I’ll call it here so I can starting thinking about it, maybe get it started tonight since I don’t feel like derping the wars. Work density’s been picking up lately at, well, work, so it’s actually been kind of hard for me to sit down and write. As such there’s no way of knowing what’s in store for the update speed of Derp Wars, but I’ll do what I can. It’s at this point that some people might say, “Owen, you’re working 54 hours a week, maybe you shouldn’t be so ambitious as to try and update two different things on top of that.” My response to that is that you probably wouldn’t tell a different person in a similar situation to stop playing video games or drinking a beer at the end of a long day.

Writing: My Anti-Drug

>I'd love to see the vote switch in another story. It's a really cool device and I don't think a single story is nearly enough to discover its full potential.
That’s why I’m taking the hard road and biting all the bullets for the next person who tries, so that they can look at me and see everything I did wrong.


>So, is this after Powder left or what? I'm confused.
That’s the general side-effect of non-linear timelines. Eventually it’ll make sense.


It is a high price one must pay… FOR SCIENCE!

When you write in first-person present tense you can get away with all sorts of crazy writing styles and hide behind the excuse of artistry. The sad thing is that I know it’s kind of a dick move to do and really shouldn’t take advantage of it. For what it’s worth it was annoying the write, too.
No. 35969
File 131224304125.png - (196.10KB , 800x500 , Shell.png ) [iqdb]
2:50 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 65 hours and 10 minutes remain.

The cold water runs down my neck and across my chest as I pour it over myself, each cupped handful washing me with cool relief. My breathing is slow and heavy, fighting against my raging heart which still feels like it’s beating a million times a minute. My hair droops over my eyes, a mixture of hot sweat and pondwater sliding down each clumped strand like a firepole, dripping down onto my heaving breasts. Hot. The sun, the stale forest air, my oppressive turtleneck, my flushed skin, my racing heart… Everything just feels so hot. My coat, my turtleneck, my perspiration-soaked bra just lay in a heap next to me as I sit topless and utterly drained by this little puddle of a pond. I could care about being properly clothed, protecting myself, thinking straight… Every inch of skin the water runs down is a joy to my aching flesh, and it is my only reality right now.

Have to cool down… I feel like I’m going to explode if I don’t cool down, and despite my feeling that I’ll never be cool again, I owe it to myself to try. They say you have to breathe deep, think calm, if you want to slow down your heart. It doesn’t work. Nothing works. Forever burning, my heart on fire for the rest of my life; this becomes my new fear. Bullets, murderers, manipulators, the unknown… A pale fright compared to the terror that this right now, this heart, this racing heart, might become my new reality; that I’ll never be able to calm down again.

I can’t give up trying, not now… Not after I’ve come this far, to this godforsaken peninsula, to this cool and heavenly pond. Not after I’ve been shot, and shot at, and shot back, and shot again. I didn’t come here to die. Didn’t come here to pray for mercy or beg for charity. I did all that ages ago, in another life it seems. I came here for a miracle. We all did, didn’t we? Put our life on the line for them. The “miracle” of life… One miracle for another. We treat them like shit… Our lives, other peoples’ lives… Billions and billions of lives everywhere. Billions and billions of miracles. Could just reach out on the street and take one in your hands just like that. What’s so special about one or the other?

I look at myself, my sweating, fidgeting, bleeding body. My wilting, tired, thirty-nine year-old past-the-flower-or-her-youth body. It’s so… pathetic. And it’s still a miracle. A miracle I got that damn letter at all, that I made it onto this peninsula, that I’m still alive in the middle on this hell. A miracle that I’ve been shot twice and am still moving around. Miracles I’m getting for free without even trying or wishing or killing. Little miracles, but… miracles. And I’m grateful for them.

But I didn’t come here for little miracles. I came here for something that would change my life… Mariah’s life. Something I looked for and looked for and begged for, and never got. Something I knew I was going to have to take for myself, and the only question left was how. Well I’ve got my how now, and all that’s left is when. When do I find them, when do I kill them, when will I see Mariah again.

My heart still won’t stop, and I’ve started to give up trying to breathe properly. No use resisting; I just try not to let it get too comfortable. This isn’t what I want to get used to. This isn’t who I’m going to be when this is all over. I fill up my canteen again and again, filling my parched mouth and pouring the sweet water over me. It’s the closet thing to a bath I’ll allow myself to have in this place; God knows how awfully I want to just jump in and forget everything else. But I can’t. Can’t get too comfortable.

I fill the canteen one last time and get a better look at my leg now that I finally have a chance. Big wound, but clean all things considered, right through the thigh. I’m lucky; if he hadn’t been firing those big rifle bullets the lead might have stuck in there. No idea how long I’ll be limping on it, but at least I can walk. I wad a torn piece of my stocking into both sides of the hole and wrap it tight; no use making it perfect, I’ll have to change it later anyways. Left arm still hurts like hell, but compared to my leg now it’s small potatoes. Bleeding might have stopped, at least.

I stand up and test the leg, walk around a bit. Without the adrenaline to help me I realize how gimpy it really is. No more running; not today. Have to keep going, though. Have to walk it off. Have to. Have to stay alive. They don’t care if I’ve been shot; they’ll only shoot me sooner if they knew. No fairness. No mercy. No justice. Just me. I gimp myself twenty yards or so from the pond and look down.

I don’t care who he is, or was, or would have been. I don’t care why he was here, or what he believed in, or what he would have wished for if he had lived. I don’t care that he looked like some high-school boy that was too young to die. I can’t let myself care. He was here, he signed the paper; it makes him the same as me. Just a name. Just a weapon. Mine is Belt. His is Magazine. We fought. He lost. He’s dead. The end. You want to try and tell me I should show compassion for a fellow human being? Someone’s son, someone’s boyfriend? You want me to treat him like a person? Guess what: I’m a person too. My Mariah is a person too. And I care a hell of a lot more about our little family than about some stranger who shot me twice. He had it coming. They all do.

I scavenge everything I can off the body. AK-47, pack, coat, shirt for more bandages, the works. A scathing reminder that I left nearly all my supplies back in the workshop to chase this guy. Least I still have my shells in the bandolier, and now I got his weapon too. No carrying strap or anything; might make it tricky to carry both guns with one bad arm. But it’s “tricky” to shoot with one bad arm and it looks like I still managed. Luck, maybe, but I ain’t gonna complain here. I drag it all back to the side of the pond and dry myself off with the guy’s coat before getting dressed again. Still hot. Still racing. Still trying to fully wrap my head around this new truth.

One down, one to go. Ain’t no doubt in my mind that I got a wish out of this. I have one, right here, in my hand. I should be relieved. I should be pumping my fist and saying “Thank Jesus it’s all over”. But one isn’t enough; not for me. I could care less about anyone saying I’m greedy after already having one. My life’s screwed up all to hell; everyone’s is. There’s no one reason people hate their lives, and there’s no one miracle that fixes them. All these other names out here in the forest, they think they know exactly what they want, what they need? And I’ll bet just about anything that before this decade is out they’ll realize that they wished for the wrong thing; that their “miracle” wasn’t quite miraculous enough. If only they’d tried just a little harder all those years ago…

I didn’t come here to half-ass this. You want to change your life in an instant, you’d better damn well work for it. And I ain’t ever wanted something more than this for as long as I’ve lived. The first wish can be for us; Mariah deserves that. But the second one, the extra one people’d say I don’t “deserve”, that one is mine, and mine alone. If I can finally put my past to rest once and for all, I don’t care what kind of complete stranger’s life I have to end. They want their miracle just as much as I do. This isn’t murder. This is war.

All is fair.

[ ] Hide in the forest inconspicuously. Rest up and heal; tomorrow is a new day
[ ] Hide in a cabin to the south. Rest up and heal; tomorrow is a new day
[ ] Move away for now; come back in the evening for Round Two.
[ ] Investigate the shootings to the west, but don’t get too close.
[ ] Return to town for the forgotten supplies.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Magazine
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder


>All right then, I guess I’ll just go with whatever makes for a better story, since there’s not a lot of strong feelings. Obviously I’m not cruel; if people die out of the blue, there will be a good reason for it. Just giving you the heads up that this is on the table now.

>This is the price of the vote switch, remember: you put the characters’ fates in my hands when you don’t vote for them, especially when you don’t vote them for extended periods of time.
No. 35974
Dammit, I liked Magazine.

[x] Hide in a cabin to the south. Rest up and heal; tomorrow is a new day
<x> Clip
No. 35976
[x] Hide in a cabin to the south. Rest up and heal; tomorrow is a new day
<x> Clip

And I was just thinking how Magazine never got much time to shine. How many updates? 1? 2?
No. 35977
[ ] Return to town for the forgotten supplies.
<x> Magazine

I'm curious to see how he died. Also curious about what his wish was.
No. 35983
[x] Return to town for the forgotten supplies.
[x] Shell

I assume "supplies" refer to our food, bedroll, and shit like that, as it appears we already have our ammunition. It's been about three hours since the shootout in town. It should be relatively safe to head back and get our stuff.

>Just a name. Just a weapon. Mine is Belt.
No. 35990
[x] Return to town for the forgotten supplies.
<x> Magazine

Welp. Can't say I didn't try to switch to him.
No. 35993
[x] Return to town for the forgotten supplies.
<x> Clip
No. 35994
>>dripping down onto my heaving breasts. Hot.
[x] Return to town for the forgotten supplies.
<x> Magazine
So to clarify, by choosing Magazine as the next target, we can see his final moments or how far does it extend prior to that?
No. 36002
[X] Return to town for the forgotten supplies.
<o> Magazine

Well, it had to happen eventually.
Poor Magazine. We hardly knew 'ya.
No. 36004
[x] Hide in a cabin to the south. Rest up and heal; tomorrow is a new day
<x> Bolt
No. 36022
6 - Return to town
3 - Hide in cabin

<4> - Magazine
<3> - Clip
<1> - Shell
<1> - Bolt

That'll do it for this vote, then.

You know, I realized that by staying late an extra half-hour Monday through Thursday (which in the long run is a pittance), I can leave early on Friday and give myself more weekend to enjoy. This extra two hours could be invaluable for doing things such as writing Priceless, making crap like this >>/sdm/45964, or watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Looking at my authoritative timeline megachart, it says he got two.

No bedroll, but the "supplies" are listed back in Post #2, along with any miscellaneous tools Shell managed to pick up along the way. She still had the ammunition on her because she was given a bandolier.

This is the point at which I should probably stop being an elitist and get a bloody proofreader, because seriously, after this many typos I have no excuse anymore.

You know, I flipped back and forth on writing that, asking myself: Does this really need to be in the story? Will this scene be vastly improved with some manner of pornography? But in the end I decided that it conveys a sense of detachment from normality and a return to basic impulses, which she would definitely be feeling after just killing someone.

>by choosing Magazine as the next target, we can see his final moments or how far does it extend prior to that?
This next update will cover as much as it needs to to give him some form of closure. But it’ll be more than just his last few moments.
No. 36094
File 131284442147.png - (86.56KB , 650x293 , Magazine.png ) [iqdb]
2:00 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 66 hours remain.

I can do this. I know I can do this. It’s not that hard. Come on, I know it’s not that hard. I know exactly what a guy like me needs to do in a place like this. It’s easy. Stick to the plan. It’s not that hard. It’s not that hard.

Oh god why is it so hard.

She’s so close… so close… My back is against the wall of the building she’s in. She’s somewhere in there, and god dammit she’s still alive. Taunting me, taunting me now, not the other person. So safe and so secure inside those old wooden walls, she thinks. Seven-sixty-two shells don’t give a damn about your wooden walls, woman; I’d have expected you’d have realized that after I shot you. She just doesn’t get it, does she? Doesn’t get how real this is. Yeah, maybe it’s a game, but it’s a real game. If I can just find a hole in the wall, if I can just get a clear look at her for one second, that’s all I’d need. I can’t go in through the door, through the windows… if she knows I’m there she’ll blast me. Already screwed up by not killing her the first time… I got one chance left at this.

I try to keep my grip on the rifle, palms now sweating bad enough to make me think I’m losing hold of it. This is insane, this is madness… I could be less than ten feet from her right now, hidden just by a few planks of wood, and neither of us would know it. Aimless shooting right now could kill either of us if we only knew what the other one does… It’s crazy. It’s my ass on the line right here, my death right here.

But I love it.

I hate it. I’m scared to death of it. But I love it. The reality of it all, the feel of being out here, man hunting man, where it’s just you and your gun. None of the damn complexities of life weighing you down; no worrying about the next test at school, getting a job, going to college, mom harping on you day after day to get out of the house and make something of yourself. Physical trials are easy compared to social ones; everyone says it, and everyone who doesn’t thinks it. If only life could be so simple all the time…

But that’s what wishes are for, aren’t they?

I move my body inches at a time, breathing barely at all and making no noise. Can’t be seen, can’t be heard. If she finds me it’s all over. Got to find her and see her first. Got to shoot her first. Got to do it quickly before she catches on. Got to—

Footsteps, on the floorboards, inside. I don’t breathe. She’s moving, moving to the west side of the building, walking past me. I hear her footsteps get louder then softer as the distance between us fluctuates. I want to take the shot, I want to, but I can’t see her yet! No second chances; do it right the first time. But what’s she doing? The footsteps stagger; the creaking and grinding of a rusty door hinge. Damn it no she’s going outside! My heartbeat suddenly doubles. Did she find me? How did she find me?! Is she just checking out something else? Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, she’s coming and she’s going to see me!

Retreat. When in doubt, retreat. Only one chance to do it right. Don’t let them have it their way. Don’t go into the fight unprepared. I’ve got to get out of here now. I stand up, eyes plastered to the corner closet to her. Run, or walk? Think smart, think fast. Mossberg, short range. The further away, the better. Even if she sees me if I’m too far—

Footsteps on the gravel outside. I run.

I dash behind the wall of a nearby burned-out house, away from the barn. Behind me I hear the blast of the shotgun take a chunk out of the wall next to me. Too close. Without thinking I spin my gun around and spray four or five bullets in Shell’s direction, then make a break for it. Keep her under fire; keep her pinned until she’s far enough behind not to hit you! Damn it how did this happen I was so close!

“You son of a bitch I’ll kill you!” she bellows at me from somewhere behind. “You think you can spray me like that and get away with it?! You’re dead!” She blasts at me again. It misses, but it’s close. Still too close! Gotta move, gotta move! I spray behind me again, just looking long enough to get an idea of where she is. And damn it, she’s chasing me! Another blast hits the tree I passed half a second ago; I think I feel a pellet find my upper arm. Out of ammo; I jam myself behind a thick tree and yank the empty box out of my gun, rapidly reaching into my coat pocket for the next one.

I can’t keep running; the running plan isn’t working. New plan, new plan… I brace the barrel of the rifle against my tree and aim this time. I see her dash behind a tree of her own just as I lay down on her. I have to pin her down, I have to get out of her range! Get her scared enough that she won’t follow me as I jump back from tree to tree.

She returns fire the same way, barrel against the trunk. I never knew shotguns were so loud; never knew AK-47s were so loud either! Real guns, real bullets… Real games. This is what it’s all about. Adrenaline pumping through your body, your hearting beating so loud you don’t have time to think about all that crap you thought was important five minutes ago. You’re alive. You’re scared as hell and you keep shooting, because you’re alive!

I shoot. Move backwards to another tree. She shoots. She moves up. Neither of us see each other move; we dash as the other hides. We have to hide, or we die. It’s like a chessboard where the moves don’t exist and reality simply rewrites itself into a new board. She was there, but now she’s there. You don’t question it because you don’t have time to. It just is.

I can’t get out of her range; it’s like she’s tethered to me by an invisible rope. But her aim is terrible, schizophrenic, like she’s shooting one-handed. I want to take advantage of it, but I can’t. The second I think she can’t aim will be the second she gets a lucky shot. Play smart. Think. If I stay here, if I don’t move, I get a better shot at her. But then she moves closer. The closer she gets the higher that probability climbs that she can kill me. And… I’m not that good of a shot either. I didn’t realize it was going to be this tricky; didn’t realize what that automatic kick would do to my aim. I can’t tell if I’ve hit her or not yet, but she sure ain’t slowing down. No, don’t… Stay positive. Stay cool. You’ve got this. Focus on what I can do. I can keep her pinned. I can spray her the instant she tries to jump trees. Stop running. This is a fight; this is living. This is my wish, my life, my new life!

And then it hits me. Just this split second of realization that instantly starts turning my lips upwards into a smile. It’s nothing that makes me zone out or lose focus, it’s just something that I know: I’m already here. I already got my wish. I mean… what is my wish in the first place? Still haven’t had time to sort out the details, but at the heart of it, what really is it?

I wish that I could live in some other world. A world like the books I’ve read, like the movies I’ve seen. Maybe a world from the past, maybe a fantasy world, but… a simpler world, one that strips away all this legal bullcrap and societal expectations and turns life into the kind of life life is supposed to be about. Food, water, shelter, clothing. Doing whatever it is you love doing. Staying alive. A world where I can actually feel like I’m doing something.

What am I now? Some nobody 19-year-old, no job, no college, no car, sitting around caught up in his dreams, just waiting for something to finally happen. What’s the point of even trying? Get some dead-end desk job that doesn’t mean anything, bachelor for life because what girl wants somebody who doesn’t have anything going for him at all, and every time I’d try and do something amazing I’d remember that a million people already have and they’ve done it three times as good. Every day is the same for fifty years and then I spend the rest of my pointless life in an old folks’ home realizing that I wasted my life and there wasn’t a damn thing I could have done about it.

If you’re good, you can make your own dreams. If you suck, other people will help you find your dreams out of pity. But nobody cares about you when you’re average, and nobody has a reason to. You’re the background. You’re an extra. You’re exactly where you should be and you should be grateful you’re not worse off.

I want to do something, be somebody, look at myself and say that I accomplished something for myself. I want to have an adventure, fight a battle, feel what’s it’s like to slay the dragon and save the princess. I wouldn’t care if I lived or died from one day to the next in a world like that, because at least I’d be doing something.

And now here I am. In a world apart from the world, fighting an epic battle of life or death; this gun in my hands the only thing I can trust. Living the dream. Slaying the dragon. Being my own hero. I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out sooner. It fills me with this indescribable peace and happiness though it has no right to, as shotgun pellets thud against the bark on the tree I hide behind. It doesn’t matter anymore. If I live, I live knowing that after this I’ll go on to a place that’s exactly like I always dreamed. If I die, I die a man fighting for his life, as a real man should. Either way, I already got my wish granted.

I swap out my half-empty magazine for a fresh one, each movement my hands make bringing new meaning to the battle I fight. I breathe in the fresh forest air and the smell of gunsmoke, see the grey haze of battle between myself and this Shell. Come on then, you crazy old lady; you fire-breathing dragon.

Have at you.

< > Clip
< > Chamber
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
< > Alex Marion


A small commentary on Magazine
I must sadly admit that I feel Magazine was the weakest character in Priceless, and not merely because he barely had any updates. During the character-planning process I had already decided on eight weapons, and he was pretty much the last character I designed after I had started running out of ideas, so to speak. I wanted a sort of “average” character that really didn’t have any defining features to round out some of the more volatile personalities and provide some contrast. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize at the time that this meant there was really no reason to vote for him because his updates wouldn’t really have any zest or hook. Again, in a regular story where I could have full control, his normality might have been guided and refined into a grim take on “the everyman”. But my poor designing of his character mixed with a character that really wasn’t that unique to begin with made short work of those best-laid plans, and he never even came close to the vision I had for him.

As such I don’t really mind that events conspired to have him leave the stage, as it were. I gave him what closure I could for the time frame I had. It is what it is, and with CYOAs especially I feel that plot threads which have either completed, failed, or never had a purpose should be quietly tied up and left alone so that the rest of the story can grow.

No. 36095
<x> Chamber

But Magazine had gimmicks, in my eyes: he loved plans and he was full of doubt. He hated being unprepared. In a story full of people like Shell and Chamber and Bolt, he was a refreshing change.

I'm glad he got some peace. Now I'd like to see if we can get some for Chamber.
No. 36096
Good idea. Let's get closure on Chamber now.

<x> Chamber
No. 36099
[x] Shell

I don't have anything amazing to say. I liked Alex because he's the character I related to the most. I'm just sad that he died before I could realize this.
No. 36141
File 131327017364.png - (356.47KB , 1996x2076 , MyLittleFlandry.png ) [iqdb]
<2> - Chamber
<1> - Shell

Chamber it is, then. Killing two birds with two subsequent stones sounds like a plan. Update out Sunday or Monday, as usual.

This picture makes me very sad inside and I'm still not entirely sure why.

Mmm, yes, you do have a point, and those were the beginnings of a personality that could have later blossomed into something bigger. But when you’ve got eight characters and a near-impossibility in having all of them be equally liked and equally in the spotlight, something’s gotta give. Not to mention that regardless of people’s importance or likeability, war marches on regardless and anyone is fair game.

Take that, clichéd plots with well-defined main characters that the plot will not allow to die.

That was actually another point I would have slowly developed and even used as a sort of satire. Magazine was a late teens young man caught up in his games and his fantasies, so very sure of himself but completely at a loss when faced with the big picture; perhaps not so very different from some of us on this very site. I might have eventually used this as a sort of commentary on the mentality of such young men, or even as a grim parody of “Anonymous”, the faceless male protagonist of so many of this site’s CYOAs.

Welcome to Gensokyo. You lasted six hours before some crazy lady killed you. Par for the course.

No this fight is not actually taking place in Gensokyo.
No. 36142
>Welcome to Gensokyo. You lasted six hours before some crazy lady killed you. Par for the course.

Fuck yeah, I knew it!
>No this fight is not actually taking place in Gensokyo.


>My Litte Flandry

That's actually cute. But why is she so sad? ;_;
No. 36154
File 131335686730.jpg - (146.37KB , 1000x750 , remi (46).jpg ) [iqdb]
So, [spoiler}wheres my remilia?[/spoiler]
No. 36155
Self bereavement for spoiler mishap.
No. 36156
Self bereavement for spoiler mishap.
No. 36157
Self bereavement for spoiler mishap.
No. 36162
I thought I wasn't going to care about Ten Desires this weekend, but then I accidentally cared about Ten Desires this weekend. Update probably pushed back a day or two because of this. Sorry.

Currently up to the last card on Stage 5 boss and am only stuck because of my chronic inability to use bombs.

Thoughts so far:
The Spirit system is basically just a combination of the old Cherry system and the recent UFO system. You'll be surprised how quickly you get used to the fact that the spirits don't scroll down the screen, because that's basically what the UFOs did anyways, and at least this time you don't have to wait until they turn the right color. I feel like overall you're getting more bomb drops but less life drops compared to previous games, and this might be a subtle hint from ZUN telling us to bomb more so we stop dying.

Difficulty seems on the easier side this time around, or it would be if I would actually use the eight bombs I have and stop dying from chasing spirits. Spell cards feel pretty uninspired to me as of seeing everything in Stage 5 and below. When the best spell card gimmick I've seen is from the Stage Two boss, I think something might be wrong. Jury's still out on the music, but I don't hate it. ZUN accidentally mixed up the Stage 4 boss theme with the Stage 5 boss theme; Seiga's music is frantic and full of energy (Sakuya, Yomou, Rin) while Mononobe's music is quiet and laid-back (Patchouli, Satori).

Reimu's shot is boring and I don't care.
Marisa's shot is the usual and I don't care.
Sanae's shot is not interesting and unique like it was back in UFO.
Youmu's shot is the greatest thing. The sword-charging mechanic is fun despite the learning curve, not to mention that during the stages you can pretty much treat it like a mini-Bomb for all the enemies it kills at once. Also the ghost "Options" are about the closest thing I'll ever get to my favorite shot type in the entire series, which is Remilia's.
No. 36202
File 131353773920.png - (123.68KB , 539x279 , Chamber.png ) [iqdb]
3:20 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 64 hours and 40 minutes remain.

How long has it been? The hours and minutes and seconds mush into a blur, and I don’t even feel like opening my eyes to check my watch anymore. The pain of the wound keeps me awake, if barely, and as the throbs dull more and more I know it’s only a matter of time before I slip into unconsciousness. Dying on the battlefield seems to be anything but glorious; lying in the dirt and your own blood as each breath becomes more painful and more laborious, and the energy you once had running around all creation bleeds out of you bit by bit. You’re dead and there’s no questioning that you’re not, and yet… you linger.

Off in the distance the crying and whimpering of the girl seems to have quieted down. I can only hope that doesn’t mean she’s dead. Haven’t heard any nearby gunshots that I can remember, but… it’s not hard to snap the neck of a girl who can barely move. And I really don’t know what that woman was planning on doing with her anyways.

That woman… Clip, was she? I remember the pistol in her hand; yes, that was Clip. I don’t understand her, and I think that even if I was fully awake I still wouldn’t. She felt… wrong, to me. What was she doing? Shooting blindly into the forest without expecting to hit anything; was she trying to chase off bears? And then she comes up to me and asks me the most absurd and tactless questions. Felt like she was trying to get my life’s story from me all in the span of a minute. Why was I here, what was my wish, what was my opinion on this whole affair. Felt almost like she was asking me the same things that suited woman asked my in the… No. Couldn’t be anything like that. She wouldn’t be her herself… would she? Nnngh, too… too dizzy to think straight. Can’t tell if I’m making sense or not.

Before she ran off she asked me if I wanted her to shoot me. I said no. Now I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should have said yes…

Footsteps, coming? Coming fast; running. I don’t even bother looking to see who it is. If they want to kill me I can’t stop them, and if they don’t then there’s no need for me to rush. No sense talking anymore, not unless they actually want something from me. Need to conserve what energy I can, keep holding on. I’ve already given up hope, but it feels like a small piece of me thinks they maybe the bleeding will finally stop, maybe the wound will finally clot up and I might actually be able to make it out of here, if I just stay where I am, save my strength, don’t do anything foolish anymore…

“Damn it, man, I told you not to follow me,” a familiar voice scolds me. I think maybe I try to manage a smile; it’s hard to tell.

“Got… got—ehauchk—lost,” I wheeze back, blood still sitting in my throat and bubbling up into my mouth again.

“They gave us a compass for a reason, y’know.” Powder sighs angrily. “What happened?”

“…Shot. Think… Bolt. Stupid.”

I feel his hand pressing up against mine on my chest. “How bad?”

“Nnnggch, don’t… bother. ‘M dead already.” I open my eyes just a crack to look at the man for a while. Hasn’t changed much by my reckoning; still gripping that grenade launcher and my revolver both for dear life, and his face still feels like it’s full of about a half-dozen emotions at the same time. His clothes have splotches of blood on them not his own. “Unnggh… You killin’ me?”

He breaks eye contact and looks away, down at the ground. “No… No, I ain’t killin’ ya. If I could’ve killed ya I’d have killed you the first time. I don’t… I just don’t want that blood on my hands…” Angrily he jams the butt of his weapon into the ground, making a grimace with his face. He talks either to himself or to me; I can’t really make out which.

”Damn it. Damn this godforsaken game and that godforsaken woman. This is what they wanted, wasn’t it? To get us all here preaching miracles and then make us sell our souls to the devil if we don’t lose our minds first.”

“My… Mine didn’t…”

“Yeah, yeah, yours didn’t; I remember. Sorry, buddy, no comfort there; none. Doesn’t make a damn lick of sense, any of it. Surveys and contracts and sponsors… Wish I never got that letter in the first place. Hah. There’s their damn wish for them.”

I realize, or perhaps I just assume, that wherever he came from or wherever he’s going, talking to me here will just make him a target. That sniper can’t be far away; why he hasn’t shot at anyone but me I have no clue. I try to get him out of here. “You need… get going. S’not safe here.”

He waves me down, though at the same time he starts looking over his shoulder into the forest for anything that was making it not safe. “ I know it’s not, but, gah, that woman told me a dying man was over here, and I had to see if it was you. Didn’t want the uncertainty hanging over me.”

“Woman… Glasses?” I ask in as few words as possible, realizing with every syllable how hard it is to talk intelligibly.

He looks at me concernedly. “You saw her?”

I try to nod and feel like my head almost rolls off my shoulders in the process. “Mmm… Watch, nnnh, watch’er. Up to some’mn.”

“Damned if I don’t know she is. Gives me the shivers she does. I don’t know what the hell she’s playing at, but… it, just ain’t right. She isn’t helping anyone, that’s for sure. But… damn it, she’s got that little girl with her, and I don’t trust that woman with that girl.”

The way he speaks, more to himself than to me, sets my heart at ease as he confirms what I had hoped in my heart: Powder is a good man. Troubled, confused, even bitter, but good. A better man than I am for sure. I talk. He does. And it didn’t take him getting shot to realize which one really influences people. If only I could tell him as much in as many words as I wish I could.

“Don’… be a savior, Powder. Just… be a man.”

He looks at me uncertainly; I know I must be pretty hellish for him to look at, but he does it anyways. He asks me rhetorically, “…What is a ‘man’ supposed to do in a place like this, Mr. Sean Eckers? I say I sure would like to know the answer to that…”

“You’d—cchhuchk—know better than me, old man. Go. Do. Kill me, or… let me die, but do it n’ stop talking…”

He looks at the revolver in his hands; whether it’s “mine” or “his” I really can’t say anymore. “Do you want to die?” he asks me.

“Not… my call.”

“Like hell it isn’t.” Reaching forwards he brings my left hand up from the ground helps grip it around the revolver. “You want to die, you do it. I won’t. I’m goin’ home to my wife and kids, I am going to wash my hands of this, I will try and forget every damn thing that happened here, and I am not having you on my conscience for the rest of my life, so if you want it to be over you be a man and do it quick or I swear to God I’ll leave you here and not lose a bit of sleep over it.”

I look at the gun placed in my hands, the gun given to me and taken away and given back. Suicide…? At any other time, and in any other place it would be unthinkable to me; utterly repulsive. A life is priceless, irreplaceable, a real wish that no one would throw away. But here… now… without any hope of rescue or medicine… I’ve told myself I’m dead already, that all there is left for me is to go through the motions; endure languidly for God-only-knows how long before I finally pass out and die. And yet I still might not. Again, God only knows. The wound could heal and I might walk away from this in two days’ time… Or I could just be telling myself that to wrap myself in the warm embrace of hope for a few hours before the inevitable happens and crushes that hope all the same. I don’t want to suffer… But I might deserve to suffer for my stupidity.

Who am I to know which? Who am I to judge?

I can’t explain why I do it or why I think it’s better than any other option I have; it just feels like the path I need to follow. My shaking right hand finally slides itself off of my chest and fumbles open the cylinder of the revolver. Only one shot…? In another place I would deem it pertinent to question it, but my mind is already made up. The cylinder clicks shut and with what little dexterity I have left in my fingers I spin it, the bullet’s location now a mystery to all save those with powers beyond human reckoning.

One bullet. Six chambers. I tell myself I will pull the trigger three times. Either I die now or die later, but no one present deserves to choose which, not even me. Fifty-fifty; all that Is left is chance. Luck. Or perhaps if God it watching me right now, justice. I tell myself that whatever happens, I deserve it.

The cold barrel slides up against my temple; only now do I realize just how large and heavy the gun really is. I hope for the sake of fairness I don’t somehow miss. The trigger is heavy in my finger; at first I don’t even think I have the strength left to pull it. The wooden grip of the gun slips in my hand from the fresh blood still on my palm. Pull harder… Pull harder…!


My hand flinches, subconsciously expecting the recoil to snap it back. I steady the barrel against my temple again; don’t think about it, don’t reconsider. This is justice. Two more to go…!

< > Clip
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
Sean Judd Eckers
Alex Marion


A small commentary on Chamber.
Much of what I think of Chamber I already said in a previous spoilered explanation. He was a good-guy idealist that I simply have never been able to write as convincingly as I would wish. Either such a character comes off as too good to be believable, or else just a self-righteous jerk, and I seem to have a hard time hitting that small middle ground between the two undesirables. Had events transpired differently and Chamber had managed to make it into town early-on, his sermons of fairness and decency might have fallen on ears that would have given more interesting reactions than Powder’s. But again, what happened happened, and so another of my weaker-written characters leave the stage.

Now for people you actually care about to start dying…

No. 36211
<o> Bolt

>Now for people you actually care about to start dying…
I cared about both of them...
No. 36212
<x> Bolt

Goddamn, you're good. I don't care for the characters or the plot, but the introspection is ~so good~ that it makes up for it.

Voting Bolt because I wanna know where he is
No. 36213
<x> Bolt

Last two POV's were deaths, so hoping for lucky number 3
No. 36221
<x> Powder

>Last two POV's were deaths, so hoping for lucky number 3

No. 36245
<x> Drum

Haven't had anything about Drum in awhile.
No. 36274
<3> - Bolt
<1> - Shell
<1> - Drum

I think that's good enough. I'll try to start writing this today and also work on it tomorrow so that I can get it posted by Sunday, rather than postponing it until Sunday like I usually do. However, note that I will be playing Ten Desires this weekend since I haven't gotten a chance to play it since last Sunday. I want to achieve my 1CC with Youmu and at least get to the EX Boss so I can unlock the music and see what the hubbub is with her spellcards that are supposedly crazy. Then I'll be content and go back to remembering that I am an old man who no longer has the time for games played by elementary schoolers.

Thanks for making me feel like a horrible person.

You're reading this story solely for the introspection? That's a little odd in my mind, but I guess I can see it happening. If you don't me asking, though, could you pinpoint any specific reason why you don't care for the rest? I know that as an experimental story Priceless is going to miss the mark in places, and I'd like to learn from my shortcomings if that's possible.

It's not like I'm trying to kill everyone off, it's just the way the votes fell. Considering it took 37 updates to get a death in a story about eight people trying to kill each other, I'd say we're doing pretty well.
No. 36290
I don't like the premise (normal people in a battle-royale situation). The characters are almost completely defined in relation to that premise. It's difficult for me to care when everything is so hyperfocused.

But the entire story is delivered through delicious first-person and we can choose between varied viewpoints at will. That's awesome.
No. 36417
Massive apologies for the nonexistant update that should have been done a week ago yesterday but wasn't. As I said in the Derp Wars thread, to avoid stressing out too much over my writing (since my free time is very tight right now), I've been trying to go back to the mentality of "Write only when I feel like writing" that I held myself to back during A Fairy's Tale. As it stands I've just felt like updating Derp Wars but not this.

The current update is about half-written and I'll try to get it finished in the first half of this week.
No. 36430
File 131466226613.png - (54.74KB , 450x350 , Bolt.png ) [iqdb]
2:40 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 65 hours and 20 minutes remain.

The grub tastes as bad as ever from these damn box meals. Hard, tasteless, lifeless, soulless; doesn’t help anything that I’m mad at hell right now. The crumbs from the crackers stick in my throat and I chuck ‘em off the side of the tower in disgust. Yeah, I know, hella old watchtower on the toppa hill’s bound to fall apart under me and shit, but I wanna be here. Someplace high, someplace tall, where I’ll see ‘em comin’ a mile away if they trying some lame shit like chasin’ me. Let ‘em come, I say.

I am gonna fucking kill that little bitch.

Who the hell is she?! I mean where do you find people like this? Does she even care?! Talks to that fat bastard I somehow didn’t kill, doesn’t even kill him afterwards either?! She’s gotta knowthere’s a sniper around by now, and what the hell does she do?! She prances around like some ballerina shooting everywhere trying to hit something by accident! And the sick part is it worked! I get the hell out of dodge fast as I can; I’m not sticking around to deal with some crazy bitch like that!

She had to know I was there, had to know it, and she went and did that anyways? Man, who the hell does she think she is… Is she someone? CIA, black ops girl, secret government project? Is she even part of this damn game?! Urrnnngh, this damn game! Fucking piece of shit contract, fucking shadow-suits an’ there damn scheming whatever it is they’re up to! What the hell you want, lady? You wanna see me kill some fool? Did that. Shot that dude right in the chest. Couldn’t care less. Doesn’t matter. None of it matters.

I slump against the old sideboards of the lookout platform and cradle my gun in my hands. Can’t ever let my gun get too far away from me, not here. The view sprawls out everywhere in every direction. Trees, hills, ocean, some ghost-looking town over there a-ways… Too bad it’s all wasted on me. Here, there, city, country, doesn’t matter. Place is what you make of it and I don’t make much-a anywhere.

I look over down the hill to a thin clump of trees that looks like every other thin clump of trees on this damn island, except she’s down there. Clip, I guess they say I’m supposed to call her? Like I’d believe them any more if they told me her name is Sally Anderson or Tiffany Bethany LeToya Elizabeth. Damn little bitch and her little smart glasses and stupid hipster hoodie. Flushes me out like it was nothing; bet she’s real proud of herself, ain’t she? Thinks everything’s going according to her plan?

And goddamn it all, the worst part is that it is. I ain’t here for no bloody wish so what do I care if I run? But her… She deserves to get pegged for that stunt she pulled; nobody tries a stunt like that in war and gets away clean. I peep down the lens of my gun at the lake, but it ain’t no good; trees are in the way and it’s too far. I can’t shoot for shit, not unless they’re in my face. She’s all safe n’ snug somewhere with two dying people to play with all she wants. Two kills, two, right handed to her, free! She didn’t have to do nothing for ‘em! I stalked this guy for like an hour and it was all for shit!

What the hell is going on here? I was supposed to be the sniper. They were all supposed to be afraid of me. They were supposed to crawl on their bellies and hope I wasn’t lookin’ for ‘em. And all I get is a fat man who didn’t even know I was following him and a hipster girl who ain’t afraid of death. She ain’t afraid?! It don’t make no sense; everyone’s afraid. This is serious heavy shit we’re all in. Guns, wilderness, creepy suits and their creepy plans. No skin off my nose; I’m used to living on the edge every day. Who are these people? They all special agents or something? Is it all just some big setup, slip the pros in with the suckers and watch ‘em squirm?

It doesn’t, make, any, god-damn sense.

I’m still in the tower. What the hell happened? Gun’s still there, pack’s still there, sun’s still there. My head feels all woozy; must’ve drifted off for a bit or something. All this stress n’ hiking tiring me out, maybe. I check my watch; 3:37. Out for a half-hour or so; nothing big. Lucky someone didn’t sneak up on me, I guess. But if they did what would it matter anyways? They kill me in my sleep, I don’t wake up, I don’t even know what happens. I don’t need to care about dyin’; when you got nothing you got nothin’ to lose.

Nap didn’t help my mood any.

It’s all gone to shit, or else it’s always been shit. Why the hell am I even here? I never believed in them wishes from the start. Really? ”Wishes?” Goddamn, suits, at least try to hide your crap. I’m surprised you managed to find seven other people that actually believe in fairy tale, magic lamp bullshit like that. Doesn’t matter. There ain’t no wishes, ain’t no prize. Shit, wouldn’t put it past ‘em to just leave up here after the three days are done. Social experiment my ass; they’re just sittin’ in a plush room with their rich booze and their rich whores, watching some satellite feed and betting on how long we all last. It’s entertainment for them, watching the little people like us try to survive. Circle of fucking life: you start small and The Man keeps you down, you break your back getting to the top any way you can, then you’re The Man and you keep them down.

All I wanted was to have a little fun; shoot up some idiots dumb enough to believe in this shit and be a man. Man oughta know what it’s like to kill. Man oughta be feared, be respected. Don’t get no respect back at home, but you’d think they’d respect the damn sniper of all people. Nope, no respect. None. They run around, they do their own thing, they don’t give a shit about me. I think I finally figured it out; maybe it was the nap what did it. See, you might be afraid of what you don’t know exists, but you won’t be afraid of what you forget exists. Self-serving self-helping selfish bastards, only care about what they care about right now. Too busy to remember every little thing, too busy to remember every big thing. The sniper don’t exist to people like that until you shoot ‘em and they feel the whistle of that bullet in the air. Too busy being afraid of what they can see.

I’m nobody. Nobody as a kid, nobody as a man, nobody as a sniper. Can’t even shoot worth a damn! Why the hell am I even here?! Trying to get some glory, feel good about myself? What’s the goddamn point?! You live, you die, you’re not special, no one cares, no one remembers you, it’s like you were never there to begin with! And all the while are these stuck-up elitists all around who’re either doing everything better than you’ll ever do, or else they think they can which makes ‘em even worse! Why do they get to feel special about themselves, huh, huh?! You’re not special, no one is! You get old, rot in a nursing home, die, and end up in the dirt just like everyone else on the planet! And if you don’t fucking understand that you deserve to die all the faster you goddamn bitch!

I slam the front of my piece-of-shit rifle against the railing of my piece-of-shit tower and aim down at that piece-of-shit lake. She’s down there. I don’t have a damn clue where, but she is. Wouldn’t go through all the trouble of shooting me out of hiding if she was just going to leave. I’ll kill her. I’ll kill her and make her understand that she can get shot just like anyone else that runs around out in the open during a war. I let loose a bullet into the trees, not even expecting to hit anything. I don’t care. I want her to hear it. I want her to know that I am still goddamn here! Only twenty bullets? Bullets aren’t worth shit unless you use them.

The town… That bloody goddamn town. How many people are hiding in there, thinking they’re safe inside their little houses? I send a shot their way too. That’s right, bastards; I can see you. Bolt’s watching over you from on high. Doesn’t matter if I can’t shoot worth a damn because you can’t either. If I wanted to I could sneak right up behind you and there’s not a damn thing you could do about it.

And damn do I want to.

[ ] Move into the town itself; find a high building to shoot from
[ ] Move in around the outskirts of town; try to scare someone out of hiding.
[ ] Move in back to the lake; find that bitch.
[ ] Wait until evening; go on the hunt

< > Clip
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
Sean Judd Eckers
Alex Marion
No. 36431
[x] Wait until evening; go on the hunt
<x> Clip

Bolt is mad. Most probably going to make a mistake if left alone for too long.
No. 36432
[x] Wait until evening; go on the hunt
<x> Shell


I think a rant that big goes a little beyond mad.
No. 36433
[x] Move in around the outskirts of town; try to scare someone out of hiding.
<x> Drum

Hah, sticking in one spot and going to high places is what they expect the sniper to do.
No. 36434
[x] Wait until evening; go on the hunt
[x] Shell

Bolt can't shoot for shit. Aiming to be the sniper when you can't even snipe is just pathetic. If he ever wants to have any hope of showing the riffraff who's boss around these parts, he'll have to get down and dirty.
No. 36435
[x] Move in around the outskirts of town; try to scare someone out of hiding.
No. 36436
[X] Wait until evening; go on the hunt
<o> Drum

Bolt's just waiting for another slip-up.
No. 36456
Don't forget a character!
No. 36458
Man, Clip is good at getting to people.

[x] Move into the town itself; find a high building to shoot from
<x> Drum

Gotta have some more Drum.
No. 36588
4 – Wait
1 – Town
1 - Outskirts

<3> - Drum
<2> - Shell
<1> - Clip

I’ve been working on this for a while now; just been too distracted to actually officially call it. My will to write has also been slowly but surely getting sapped by work, which I keep trying to fight, but to little effect. I don’t want to force myself to write when stressed, lest quality drop significantly, so the alternative is slow update speed I’m afraid. Bear with me as I get through this low point and eventually my willpower should pick back up.
No. 36589
Take your time, as long as it's not forever. Quality over quantity after all.
No. 36649
File 131587650667.png - (159.17KB , 800x289 , Drum.png ) [iqdb]
2:55 P.M., Afternoon of the First Day, 65 hours and 5 minutes remain.


It is something we must all learn to accept in life, myself moreso than others I believe. Time waits for no man, but neither will it pass by more quickly than a man wishes. I have spent all my life waiting. Waiting to grow old enough to understand the world around me. Waiting to grow old enough to have a job and pay my own way rather than asking my guardians whenever I wished for a trifle here or a trifle there. Waiting to finish college, then graduate school, so that I might enter the real world and make a difference, and then waiting for a miracle to come when I realized that effort and excellence is not magically rewarded in the real world, despite being told the contrary all my life.

Even my time on this peninsula has been nothing but an exercise in waiting. Creeping around the borders of the action and the participants, observing but never involving. Waiting for the appropriate time, the most advantageous time. Waiting because the only other alternative is death. Those who rush into things here will be taken advantage of by those who don’t, and I have been taken advantage of for too long to let it happen again here.

It was already over an hour ago that the confrontation occurred, when I saw the contractor Shell leave her position to chase after the contractor Magazine. The heated sounds of their firefight lasted nearly a full half-hour, getting more and more distant with every passing minute. Why they chased each other and why it lasted so long I have no clue; I know only what I saw and heard. But even that small knowledge is adequate for me: the last shots I heard were Shell’s, and though this alone proves nothing, the chance is adequately high that Magazine is now dead. High enough to where I believed, and still believe, that it was worth the risk to occupy the very building she had vacated.

So I wait. I wait, like a hunter in a blind, slipping into the scenery of his surroundings until the deer no longer acknowledges his presence. Making the most of the time that has been given to me, all seventy-two hours of it. Hoping that she will at some point come back here. I have no guarantee that she will; she may be the type that believes she must always stay on the move, or never backtrack across where she’s already been. And if this Magazine is indeed dead and her wish now in the palm of her hand, she may just as soon disappear into the monotony of the forest and hide herself where none would find her again, though they spend the remaining two and a half days looking. There are any number of reasons why she would not return here.

So why, a part of my consciousness asks myself? Why do I crouch uncomfortably behind the halfway open door of this building, unable to see anything of the outside world save through a few cracks in the walls? Why did I risk moving through the town, exposing myself to who knows how many other contractors lying in wait? Why do I spend my precious time and efforts on the mere chance that she will return? Yet the answer is a simple one: Because I knew this house would be empty. And this is the very same reason why I believe there is a chance she may come back; she may think she “knows” that this building is empty as well. In a world where nothing seems to be certain, we will take solace in that which we know. A heated battlefield where enemies surround you on all sides may yet be preferable to a forest of illusions where your enemy is both everywhere, and nowhere.

If my suspicions are correct, as they often are, the woman Shell has been in this town for some time already. She is familiar with it, familiar with the house I now occupy. She may even know how many of the others are here, and where precisely they are. The fear of possible adversaries may drive her away, just as easily as the comfort of the known will bring her back. I know nothing of her personality, of what she may or may not do. So I wait. I wait, on a chance. Gambling neither with the dice nor the wheel, but with the cards; wagering on what I do know rather than what I do not. At the worst, I am wrong, no one comes, I fire no shots, and I am no worse off than I was when I started. At the best, Shell or some other unsuspecting soul walks through that threshold and I empty my drum into them though the door without them even knowing I was there.

A rather profitable chance to take, I think.

My left knee grows sore as the minutes roll by, ever-ready to stabilize my eventual shots as it rests against the hard wooden floor. I shift my wait as much as I can but dare not move; the determined hunter must be as motionless as the trees she shares the forest with. Wait, and wait and wait, hours if you must, all for that one fleeting chance of a shot, and even then victory is uncertain. Seven years I have waited for this chance. Far too long to make a mindless sprint for the end now. I think back on those endless and meaningless hours spent in my cubicle, and I am tired of it. Tired of the futility of it all, tired of living life maintaining my status-quo, tired of a thankless job where I carry the weight of my supervisors on my back only so that I can come home to a mediocre paycheck and expectations of the same damn thing the next day. I could give the world so much more than this, if it would only let me…

The waiting continues. Even when I hear the cracking of gravel or the rustling of grass outside, I can only wait. It’s been ages since I last truly experienced nature; I can hardly tell the difference between the normal din of the forest, and what might be interlopers passing nearby. They might have walked right up to the building and circled around it, and unless they passed by the few cracks of light I can see from my corner, I’d never know they were there to miss. But I take an odd solace in that ignorance. After all, if I don’t know what I’m missing, I can’t truly regret missing it.

I’ve started to learn to accept it, this life of mediocrity that’s been thrust upon me. I despise it, but… such is life. If I fail here, and return to the tedium I hate, I will be no worse off. I do not reject the hope of success, but… hope is a dangerous thing to have, for someone in my position. When you are low, you have nothing to lose, and everything to hope for. When you are high, you already have what hope would bring you, and have no need for it. But the middle, the middle has something to hope for, and yet something to lose when their—

The doors blasts open, kicked with a resolute foot, and even as it swings like a scythe the tumultuous report of a shotgun follows immediately. The door collides with the barrel of my gun, stinging my palms and making me well-aware of the immediate need for action. The wait is over; I wrap my finger around the trigger of the Thompson and aim through the door. Over the sound of my own weapon I can no longer tell if the other one is firing. My gun pulls itself upwards with each slug; it’s all I can do to keep it level. My aim is non-existent, my target a vague unseen point behind the door. In this instant I think of nothing. Not of repositioning to see my opponent, not of conserving ammunition or maintaining discretion. My intelligence, my wisdom, my propriety… it fades away as I am taken by these primal animalistic urges…



At first I can’t tell the drum is empty; the ringing in my ears drowns out all else. My hands wobble uncontrollably, yet their grip is like iron on the gun. Two seconds or twenty, I can’t tell how long before my left hand shakes itself loose and grabs wildly at my coat pocket for a second drum. The time it takes me to blunderingly pull free the spent magazine and reload is an agony, every moment that I know I cannot shoot becoming an eternity of the worst sense of being completely and utterly vulnerable.

My knees and ankles no longer remember they are sore from my eternal crouching.

I do not ruminate. My mind has forgotten how. It has forgotten how to do anything. It has even forgotten how to remember what I may have just done, what I may have just won. I emerge from behind the door only out of a strange, emotionless sense of curiosity.

The thing on the ground outside is very dead.

It was once a woman, but is no longer. It sprawls itself out below me, propped up on its side by the bulging backpack it carries. It bleeds from the head, the chest, the legs, the arms, staining its clothes and the dirt below it. I turn my head away; I do not wish to look at it. It disgusts me. Blindly I take the blood-splattered shotgun from its hands and place it behind me, inside the house. Touching the still-warm flesh sends shivers coursing through my body, and I feel almost like I want to retch. I try and fail to remove the pack on its back; I can’t bring myself to handle its body like this, though I will myself to do so. A voice in the back of my mind is telling me that I must have supplies, that I must take everything I can so that I will be safe. I try again, this time to remove the belt of shells around its waist. My eyes keep themselves tight-shut as I fumble with the slippery clasp—


A lone bullet, fired from outside of the town to inside it. Close, close! I know that I hear the bullet thud into its target, though how I know this makes no sense. My hands seize up even though they caress the waist of the object of my disgust. The ice returns, the icy fire that sears itself into my neck and head, numbing me, whitewashing my mind with that same vulnerability I felt when my rounds were expired.


[ ] Run. Run now, and run hard.
--( ) Take to the road.
--( ) Take to the forest.
--( ) Take to the coast.
[ ] Get inside. Barricade everything.
[ ] Find another building. This one is not safe.
[ ] Take the time to loot the body (pick this in addition to one of the above)

< > Clip
< > Bolt
< > Drum
< > Belt
< > Shell
< > Powder
Sean Judd Eckers
Alex Marion
No. 36664
[x] Find another building. This one is not safe.
[x] Take the time to loot the body (pick this in addition to one of the above)
<x> Belt

Drum really needs to look into starting her own business or non-profits or something. I am so glad that Shell is dead.
No. 36672
[x] Find another building. This one is not safe.
<x> Shell

We're being shot at. We'll loot later. Ahhh, poor Shell. Returning to get your things was a fatal choice in the end. Complete surprise attack so now Drum is up a wish.

...But how is Clip doing? She's my favorite and I very much want to her to live. I know how I'll vote next time.

Not even 8 hours and we have 3 deads now. Look like the experiment shows that blood is flowing faster than expected. I predict this will be over before the third day.
No. 36692
[x] Get inside. Barricade everything.
[x] Shell

I'm always loathe to vote without saying something, but I often find myself speechless after reading every subsequent update. I am indeterminate as of yet whether or not this is because it is following a character I do not care for, or if it is because sequences are not foreseeable in any capacity. For instance, I am mega hurtmad at Shell's incredibly anticlimactic and sudden demise, so much so that it is almost eclipsing my ability to write a "meaningful" post. Long story short, I mad.
No. 36707
[X] Get inside. Barricade everything.
-[x] Take the time to loot the body (pick this in addition to one of the above)

<o> Shell

Well at least Bolt's filling someone with fear.
More people should follow this, even if it isn't explicitly touhou-related.
No. 36708
[ ] Find another building. This one is not safe.
[ ] Take the time to loot the body (pick this in addition to one of the above)
<x> Shell
No. 36750
3 – Find another building
2 – Get inside

3 – Loot
2 – Don’t loot

<4> - Shell
<1> - Belt

As expected, a switch to Shell so we can find out just what happened. I actually did not plan for Shell to die like this, as she’s a strong character and was generally enjoyed. However, I had already charted out quite some time ago that Drum would be lurking inside the town, and that upon seeing Shell leave would jump in and steal her shelter, banking on her coming back later. If you want to be meta about it, you could say that she was banking on you having your blinders up and forgetting that she was nearby. Guess it worked.

That’s pretty much her plan; if I never explicitly stated it in the story it’s definitely been implied, and Drum’s next update will elaborate on that. Good call.
Sometimes making a good character is making a character people dislike for valid reasons.

>Not even 8 hours and we have 3 deads now. Look like the experiment shows that blood is flowing faster than expected. I predict this will be over before the third day.
Definitely faster than I initially expected, to be sure. If I knew things would move this fast I probably wouldn’t have put the contract at 72 hours to begin with. But, like you said, the experiment is showing results at odds with the hypothesis, and the results don’t lie.

>or if it is because sequences are not foreseeable in any capacity
I don’t mean to sound argumentative here, but I really don’t believe this to be the case at all. You, as the reader, have ample information about all eight participants, including where and when they are, how they view their surroundings, and what they plan to do next. Unlike a normal suspense story told from only one perspective, you’re getting them all. The only uncertainty is in the gaps where you don’t yet have the full picture, and that’s intentional on my part to try and keep the energy and the suspense up.

As for the anticlimactic demise, I’m trying to be realistic. Not every death in life, or even in war, is going to be climatic. Death is ever-uncertain, whether it’s a sniper who picks you off as you sit in your foxhole enjoying some coffee, or an aneurism you never even knew you had. In a real story where I can plan out the details, I might have plotted out Shell’s death differently, but when it’s a CYOA I have to do the best I can with what I have, when I have it. To only have characters die when you can see it coming destroys the suspense. Perhaps I’m not conveying that idea as well as I might, and if so I’m sorry, but that’s what I’m going for in any case.

>More people should follow this, even if it isn't explicitly touhou-related
Well, but I think that’s sort of a cyclical problem. The Touhou element does exist, but it’s hidden and takes some effort to find. However, because it’s not explicitly Touhou-related, people tend not to follow it, and because people tend not to follow it, we’re not getting the discussion we would need to find the Touhous and make it Touhou-related.

I am going to say that this is my bad; I kept the Touhous in the dark because I expected the natural discussion of the readers to eventually find them anyways. As this has not been the case, I feel I owe it to you to drop a hint. Not the whole explanation, mind you. Just a hint.

Please do not look at this unless you want to know where the Touhous are!
The “sponsors” of the eight characters are all Touhous, and the clues to their identities can be found by observing the characters and seeing what qualities they possess. Two or three people seemed to have guessed this already, so I’m confirming it for certain now.
No. 36973
File 131759302726.jpg - (27.84KB , 205x210 , Ride Temp Closed.jpg ) [iqdb]
After thinking it over, I’m just going to put this story on official hiatus for a while. I’ve been questioning a few elements of the story recently, and I also haven’t really been able to get myself into the right mood, so I think it’s time to take a break and get some fresh air; come back to the story with a clear head and new ideas. As I’ve said a number of times, there’s no need to force myself to write when this is all for fun at the end of the day. Derp Wars’ll keep going though, so go read that instead or something.

No telling when this will pick back up, but I do still plan to finish it in the near future. Don’t worry about “waiting”; you’ll see it on the front page when you’re least expecting it.
No. 37005
Fuck yes, hiatus! Come oooon, marked quality improvement no whammy no whammy!

Belt is totally Flandre's player. She's the little sister constantly in big sister's shadow that wants to prove herself.