Every Cloud

The south-west of the valley is probably the most inhospitable part of the entire area. The slopes here are steep and covered in detritus, as well as thick gorse bushes. If you somehow managed to fight your way up the shifting slopes and bristling thickets, you would reach something of a plateau giving a decent view of the surroundings... though really it probably isn't worth the difficulty of the climb. =THREAD LIMIT: 2=

Every Cloud

Iceblock
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November 10th, 2012, 11:58 pm #1

((Audrey McKee continued from Sketchy Ponderings))

She had to be honest with herself. If she was honest with herself, she had to admit she didn't know anything anymore.

Audrey thought she had known her classmates. She thought it might have meant something that they went to school together, struggled through homework and finals and all those little petty things, like television show cliffhangers and boyfriend drama.

But she had known Maxim, and Maxim had shot Dylan. She'd been running, and she'd heard the gunshot. She'd felt guilty and sick, but she couldn't possibly have done anything about it.

It was all so wrong. The military jerk had said something about a number of traitors. Was that supposed to make a point about something? Was shooting her classmates patriotism? She was pretty sure she wasn't a traitor, and this whole Program suddenly didn't seem fair at all. She hadn't ever thought excessively about it before; it hadn't been her business, and surely the government was doing what it needed to. Now that it was happening to her, she wasn't so sure anymore.

Audrey didn't know where she was going. She just looked around every few moments to make sure somebody like Maxim wasn't sneaking up on her again. She'd put on the jacket she'd found in the daypack, which was warm and protective, enough for trudging up these slopes. Strangely, it was the little things in her life that seemed to matter at the moment, like how she happened to wear her tennis shoes that day. She was glad that she'd forgotten to wear her flats to Announcement Day, even if it meant that she'd spent so much time trying to cover her shoes up with the feet of the person standing in front of her.

They'd had on these little black heels, and Audrey had almost been jealous of how good they looked. Now, though, she wasn't as much. They probably hadn't been picked. Lucky for them. Not so lucky for Audrey, but she had tennis shoes on now, and they helped immensely on this tricky footing as she made her way up the brush-infested slopes.

She guessed it was the silver lining to her increasingly possible death.
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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November 11th, 2012, 3:06 pm #2

M17 Frank Callahan: Start

Frank was no stranger to accolades in his life. Patriot High's football team rarely dropped games to rivals, and people often cited the defense and subsequently, Frank as the reason. He pulled good grades in school, especially in history. He was getting so good at cooking it possibly could have been a secondary career. Hell, he could probably go to school anywhere in the country on a football scholarship if he hadn't planned on joining the military out of high school first.

So when Frank heard his name called for Program, he saw it not as punishment, but as an honor. As a chance to truly prove what he could do for his country. He knew when they had said that this was an opportunity for traitors to be culled, they weren't talking about him. They were asking him to perform his civic duty.

The fact that he received a sleek, lethal sniper rifle as his draw only furthered his belief in himself.

He had awoken from his gas-induced nap at the base of some hills, regained his orientation, and got himself checked out on the weapon as best he could. They hadn't given him the chef's pick of food, but what was he gonna do? It would provide energy for the work in the coming days.

Considering he had a sniper rifle, he had thought it best to start scaling what he could of the hill, fully intending to stop if it was too difficult. A high vantage point would be a good start. He was no marksman, but he doubted if he took a few practice shots at people from far off they'd be able to spot him anyway.

Practice.

Frank smiled as he started up the hill. Practice. This first hour was just football practice before the big game. Had to get his drills in.

He'd been climbing for about fifteen minutes when he spotted another classmate doing the same. He couldn't quite see who it was, except that she was Caucasian. He toyed with the idea of unslinging his rifle and bringing the girl down, but he wasn't sure he wanted to betray his position so quickly.

Besides that, he had a better idea. People often made alliances in Program. If there was anything Frank new from football, it paid to have someone else watching your back and, if need be, be in front of you to stop or at least slow down the line.

So he stayed his hand, and started making a beeline to the girl. He called out when he made it within earshot.

"Hello!"
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Iceblock
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November 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm #3

Audrey had disregarded a figure in the distance for a little while, hoping that it wasn't someone she knew, and that they didn't see her.

Unfortunately that didn't work out.

When he came close enough, she saw that the figure was the last thing she wanted to see right now. She'd had about enough of tall light-haired guys with rifles.

The guy's name was Frank, though, and not Maxim. He had that going for him. Definitely a football player, and she was fairly sure one of her friends had a crush on him at some point. Or maybe it had been one of those drama-filled arguments that had mentioned him, that had made her remember his name and his face. She didn't remember which really well; she usually stayed out of her friends' arguments. He wasn't bad looking, she figured. Maybe not her type, but, you know, not bad looking.

Those seemed like unnecessary things now, things she would have thought about if she was making small talk with him in a school hallway, instead of what she was worried about in this situation - getting shot. What was important was that he was a little more friendly than Maxim, at least for the moment.

All she had to do was keep it that way until she could safely leave.

"Hey," Audrey said back, trying to sound nonchalant. "How's it going with you?"
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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November 12th, 2012, 3:18 am #4

The conversation was so goddamn normal Frank was almost not sure they were currently embroiled in a gladiatorial game. He found himself smiling his winner's smile, teeth bared and (he hoped) shining in the sunlight.

He thought he recognized her, too. Adrian or Audrey or something like that. Member of the track team. Not particularly notable, as far as he knew; she seemed to be there to fill out the ranks than to contribute much to wins. Still, athletes deserved some measure of respect.

If he remembered correctly, she wasn't one who was on the lesser Americans side. In all, not a bad first person to run into. And she wasn't armed, as far as he could tell. So if his instincts were wrong, then what the hell was she gonna do?

He took a subtle glance up and down at the girl. Didn't look too bad, either.

"It's going alright. Better, now that I've found someone. Been alone since I woke up."

Frank made a show of dropping his hands by his hips, away from his rifle.

"What'd you manage to get for your weapon?"

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Iceblock
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November 12th, 2012, 7:09 am #5

Audrey smiled back at him, but the smile never reached her eyes.

"I wish I had been alone when I woke up." She didn't elaborate, just glanced down at her glove, feeling its slightly heavy weight at the end of her arm. She could play this off; it wasn't a lie if she didn't intend to slap him with it or whatever. "All they gave me was this glove. They didn't even give me the other one."

Her eyes flickered to the rifle slung on Frank's back, the gun looking as pristine as if it were more of a fashion accessory than a lethal weapon.

"It's some kind of joke, I guess," she said, only smiling with one side of her mouth now, in some sort of halfhearted smirk. "You got lucky with yours, didn't you?"
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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November 13th, 2012, 3:05 am #6

She confirmed Frank's prior suspicion, which put him at ease. If she ended up turning on him, she wouldn't be much of a thread.

Frank smiled and shifted the weight of the rifle on his bag.

"I guess so. Not sure how lucky. Never fired one." An obvious statement, considering people weren't allowed to just have firearms. He dropped his hands to his pockets, looking at the ground in a fair facsimile of sheepishness.

He kept his gaze averted toward the ground when he spoke again. "You have a plan in place? Seem to be heading up that hill with purpose."
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Iceblock
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November 13th, 2012, 6:40 am #7

Audrey opened her mouth, originally intending to say something along the lines of "you'll learn," but then she realized that was a stupid idea. Of course he'd learn, if he decided to use the rifle to shoot people. That wasn't an idea she necessarily wanted to encourage while he was still hanging around her.

He wasn't in rifle range, though. He was too close for that. A Clark-like idea occurred to her, that she could just try to hit him and run away with the rifle. She might have done it, too. It was probably the fact that he was a football player and he could hit harder and run faster than she could that dissuaded her. And the fact that her brother was stupid. She couldn't forget that.

"A plan?" She couldn't formulate a lie that quickly, so she just went with a half-truth. "Um, not really. I figure it'll help in seeing people before they see me, though. How about you?"

In fact, Audrey was thinking about avoiding people entirely. No one could hurt her if no one was near, and being at the top of a tall, tough hill was a good way to ensure that no one came near. She'd probably get really lonely, but if they were all like Maxim she'd be better off. There was no way to excuse herself from this conversation, however. That's just how it went. She didn't feel like she had safety, but at least she had company.

She started making her way up the hill again.
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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November 13th, 2012, 2:14 pm #8

"Sounds like we had the same idea, then." She started walking, and Frank followed her. He felt like she wasn't trusting him, and that threw him. Everyone should have been dying to have him on their side. Everyone who was a red-blooded American, anyway.

As they went, he took a glance through the detachable scope he had put on the rifle. It looked like it had a fair magnification setting. He was beginning to enjoy his choice more and more.

"Looks like I can scope out the whole ridge when we get up there." He said.

He let the rifle dangle back down at his hip again.

"You run into anyone else yet?"
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Current Thread: Killer Munchies
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Iceblock
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November 13th, 2012, 4:22 pm #9

The way Frank was talking, it didn't take Audrey long to put two and two together and figure he was planning on killing, sooner or later. She hadn't expected much else from anyone who got a decent weapon and wanted to survive.

Perhaps it was a good thing he was staying so close, then. At the moment, anything was better than getting shot in the head.

"Oh. Yeah," she said, pressing her lips together indecisively for a moment before going on. "I didn't exactly wake up alone. Dylan and Maxim were there, and Maxim kinda held us up at gunpoint and tried to take our stuff."

Audrey felt pretty uncomfortable just reliving the scene in her head. She wasn't sure what bothered her about it. Sure, this was government sponsored, and yeah, people were going to kill each other. Maybe she just couldn't accept it was happening to her and people she knew. Maybe it was just the fact that Maxim had been such a dick about it all. She didn't know if it was too much to feel like she had deserved more than that. She'd known him at school, and as far as she remembered, they'd only ever been polite to one another, but once they were dropped into the Program, it apparently didn't matter anymore.

Even silence would have been better.

"And, uh, he..." No, she didn't want to talk about the gunshot she heard. She had her arms around herself as if to protect from the cold, and she looked up at the sky, then back at Frank. "I just ran. Wasn't much I could do with what I've got."
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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November 14th, 2012, 5:04 am #10

Frank curled his lip up his teeth in a gesture of revulsion. Senders. Frank had heard through the grapevine of a certain incident that kid wasn't right in the head. It was bad enough he seemed to have a soft spot for all the unsavory types around the area.

Apparently, the kid was also a faggot. That was almost as bad, if not worse. And now he was showing his true faggot colors and already trying to hurt people that had done no wrong.

Frank made a mental note that Maxim was presenting himself as a threat and deserved a bullet through his brain as soon as possible.

"I understand. Not much you could have done." Frank patted the butt of the gun. "We see him again, I'll deal with him."

He lost his balance for a second, pitched forward and caught himself on his hands. He started scrabbling up before returning to his feet.

"Used to football fields. Not much climbing." He chuckled.
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Current Thread: Killer Munchies
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Iceblock
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November 14th, 2012, 9:11 am #11

Frank was acting like he was on her side and he probably was, but somehow it didn't comfort her much to know that he'd "deal with" Maxim given the chance. It might have just been the fact that he kept touching his gun. It reminded her that she didn't have one, that she was supposed to depend on him to deal with other guys with guns, whether he meant it that way or not.

Audrey was getting used to Frank's company, and minding it less and less. The thing was, she knew this wasn't a permanent arrangement. They'd just been thrown together by chance at the moment. Sooner or later, she'd have to deal with people like Maxim by herself. She was just getting to the point where she needed to figure out how she'd do that, whether by fight or flight, when Frank tripped.

He just looked so silly getting up from his fall. She couldn't help but giggle.

"Should have taken cross country."

They were almost at the top of the hill, and she found herself wondering what they would see when they looked back down.
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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November 15th, 2012, 4:13 am #12

It really was a spectacular view from the plateau. As spectacular as their surroundings could have been, considering it seemed like they were in a mostly barren alley. There was a collection of squat, ugly huts off in the distance, a burned out ruin of what was probably a bridge. Frank didn't much care for the area. He heard some of the Programs took place in a military compound, which sounded like a better idea. Better than this, anyway.

He pulled up the rifle and started peering through the scope. He had trouble discerning what he was looking at, however, because at first he was checking things out that were far too close for the magnification of the scope until he adjusted it.

"Anything interesting?" He said to Audrey as he scanned.
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November 16th, 2012, 3:23 am #13

Audrey brushed off a branch that had somehow gotten stuck onto her skirt on the way up. She was feeling calm, calmer than she had been feeling for a long time. It was weird, because thinking about it, she knew it hadn't been so long since she had been taken for the Program. It had been barely an hour since she woke up, but it felt like so much longer ago that she'd been home.

She wouldn't be home ever again, she realized, as she looked over the valley she was trapped in. The realization was a perturbation in her calmness that vibrated slightly and receded.

Audrey took a deep breath before she answered Frank's question, the air cold but refreshing on her throat. "No, nothing." She squinted at the collection of cabins in the distance. "Well, I mean, that thing" - she pointed to a speck next to one of the cabins - "next to that cabin could be a person, but I doubt it."

Her eyes dropped to the gun he was sighting with, then back to his face. "Are you, um, looking for someone?"
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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November 16th, 2012, 4:31 am #14

Frank swung the rifle over to sight on the set of cabins. He looked to where Audrey had pointed, and looked through the scope. He could make out that yeah, it was a person, a white kid as far as he could tell. Nothing interesting. He didn't want to shoot because 1; he didn't need to startle Audrey and 2; he was damn sure he couldn't hit much of anything anyway. His finger stayed outside of the trigger guard, as the manual had helpfully explained he should do to avoid accidental discharges.

"No, not really." He kept his view on the scope. Far as he could tell, the figure was talking to someone else, maybe inside one of the cabins or out of view. "Just getting the lay of the land. Seeing if any of our classmates have started the uh...the party, yet."

Frank took a breath. "You, uh. You scared?"
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Current Thread: Killer Munchies
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Iceblock
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November 16th, 2012, 6:50 am #15

"Yeah," she said. She didn't need to lie. Everyone was scared of death. It was just a matter of who'd actually admit it. "Aren't you?"

Audrey sunk to a sitting position, hugging her knees but still looking out over the landscape. The scenery was nice enough for a deserted valley; she tried to enjoy it. She'd been thinking too much, and she didn't want to do anymore at the moment.

She rearranged the folds of her skirt underneath herself. It didn't help much against the rocky plateau. At least the skirt was long enough that she didn't have to worry about decency.

"I miss the high school parties. You know, the ones without the killing involved."
This signature intentionally left blank.

Program V3 Prologue:
Sylvia Veneski -- F32 -- Clothes Hanger -- Alive -- Someday We Won't Remember This
[+] spoiler
SOTF TV:
Katherine "Kathy" Clements -- ORA5 -- Swordcane -- Deceased -- Last Page

Virtua-SOTF:
Samuel Wilson -- M02 -- Bottle of Maple Syrup -- Deceased -- Swan Song

Program V2:
Audrey McKee -- F11 -- Weighted Leather Glove -- Alive -- Semper Fi

SOTF TV V2:
Caroline Leveson -- BB2 -- Fire Iron -- Deceased -- It's Bad. We're Hit, Man, We Are Hit
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