(F18: Julia Wilson START)
Julia hated the sun. To anyone else, cloudless days meant summer trips and picnics; to her, it meant a day wasted inside with the curtains closed, reading fashion magazines. It certainly didn't mean a day spent pacing inside an empty train station, peering out towards the far horizon where the tracks disappeared into the heatwave. It had to be a set-up.
She had woken up to the smell of rotten wood and dust with something on her neck. Some sort of belt, too heavy to be a choker - she was fiddling with it when she remembered the cowboy-drawl guy's voice. Something about not screwing with something else.
Of course, there had been the bit with the killing everyone and the enemies-thing. Something about a game.
That was when Julia realized it was exactly that : a reality show of some sort. Everything was a dead giveaway - the faulty train ride, the thematic location, the PA system... there had to be hidden cameras somewhere. Maybe a POV Cam attached to the dog collar thing on her neck. It was typical, really. She spent some time looking for the cameras, dragging her bag, leaping up and down like they always did for the audience. No, she wasn't about to get fooled by a simple ruse like that. Maybe the winners won cash prizes or a 15 minute spotlight or something. The losers?
There had to be some way to forfeit. Julia didn't want to embarrass herself on national television, not yet. Besides, the agency would be concerned if she left her gig for too long. The sun would burn her to a crisp and she would return home bruised and eliminated and-
She banged on the old locomotive. She tried pressing her collar. She tried shouting at the little wood knots on the beams. Eventually, she settled down on a bench and waited for a train to come up.
There had to be some kind of transport out of here; Julia figured she could reason with the producers and go home quietly.
Someone must have set me up - Julia could pin down a few names. They were jealous, always waiting around the corner to trip her up, waiting for that one moment when they could kick her down. Some friends they turned out to be. Of course, it would be fun to get back on them, play along for a while then reveal their little secrets. Shout their names on national telly, vote to eliminate them, that sort of stuff.
Julia retreated further inside when the sunlight crept up. Maybe there's something in the bag. Something indeed, she thought. It felt like she was hauling a small country.
Cornflakes, bread, water, medical kit, flashlight. Tin without a can opener. Some weird meat she threw away. A toy gun; an ugly metal thing, not plastic like the ones she had posed with at one time.
Maybe it's laser tag.
That would make sense, Julia thought. The collars would be their life indicators. It didn't seem too hard either, just point and pull the trigger - then a beep and they'd be 'dead'.
Wasn't like anybody was about to really die or anything right?
(F05: Renee Murphy - START)
When she woke up, Renee wasn't entirely sure of her current situation. Renee had found herself on one of the passenger seats, quite unceremoniously slumped against the window. Groggily, she scanned her surroundings. She was in some kind of train, but it was devoid of any signs that anyone was there beside Renee. The train looked like it'd been sacked, emptied of anything and everything except the seats.
What is going on here?
Then, in a split second, everything came back to her in a rush. Everything from the screeching halt of the train and that godawful voice on the PA system was now slipping back into her mind.
"The situation you find yourselves in is pretty dang straightforward: ya'll have gotta kill or be killed. That's it."
Renee suddenly felt very alone and very, very insignificant. Kill or be killed? Did that mean that she was supposed to kill her classmates? Renee honsetly didn't know what to do. To make it worse, her neck seemed to tighten and tighten. Feeling her neck up, she was alarmed to find a collar, like a belt, attached to her.
"Oh... and t' discourage anyone taking off, ya'll are gonna be fitted with some nice little surprises when the time comes."
It didn't take long for Renee to figure out that these collars were supposed to be the "nice surprises."
This is just perfect, you know? I thought we were heading off on a nice field trip, and now I'm here forced to kill my classmates becuse some maniac with a southern drawl said so. Thanks, powers that be. Thanks.
Renee shook her head. She needed to get her head in gear if she wanted to get through this thing. Renee looked around and found that there was a green backpack. Renee vaguely recalled Southern-Drawl-Man saying that he had assigned them daypacks with randomly assigned weapons. Weapons would be useful right now, even if it's just to defend myself.
Rummaging through the backpack, she found some rations, a map (of the "Zone", apparently), a compass, flashlight, first aid kit, and... a gun?
Renee picked up the metal thing, weighing it in her hand. She didn't know what kind of gun it was, but it looked like a pistol with a large opening jutting out just beneath the barrel. Renee figured that that was where the magazine would go, but she had never seen a pistol that used a magazine like that before. Placing it carefully on her lap, she took another look at the backpack. Looking closer, she found four very long magazines. An inscription on the side of a magazine said that it held about twenty bullets. That was eighty bullets, all in all. There was even a gun manual inside, stating that the "pistol" was called a TEC-9.
Renee had to admit that she probably got the luck of the draw on this one. Not many people would be fortunate enough to be sporting a weapon like this. Then again, I don't know how to use a gun. But how hard could it be, really? Just point and shoot...
After she was done fiddling with the gun, Renee looked outside the window. Peering, she saw someone, a girl, pacing back and forth on the train station with an annoyed look on her face. Julia Wilson, if Renee wasn't mistaken. Renee ducked down to avoid being seen. For the next few minutes, she listened to the girl bang on the train and shout at the wooden beams of the train station. Eventually, Renee saw that she settled down on a bench, an annoyed look still on her face.
Think, Renee, think! What do you know about Julia Wilson? Uh, she was really popular when she was young! She modeled during middle school, I think. I'm pretty sure I've talked to her once or twice before, but she's a lone wolf, so she might be tough to handle. I need allies, but is Julia really the right person? Better than nothing, I suppose, so I'll have to make do.
Inhaling hard, Renee decided to go out and try to appeal to the former model. But just in case something went awry, Renee slipped a magazine inside the TEC-9 but left it in her backpack. Renee slung the backpack on her shoulder and proceeded to step out of the train and onto the station, approaching Julia.
"Hi," Renee said in the most friendly way she could manage. "I'm Renee. You're Julia Wilson, right?"