For just a moment, Karen felt genuine terror.
It wasn't prompted by the girl she liked. No, the girl from lunch shouted that they should run. She started to run straight at Karen, but that seemed to be poor luck, not an attack. She hadn't brought her weapon up. She was exactly what Karen feared to be, what she had thought she would become: a victim.
It wasn't prompted by her "teammate", presumably the most dangerous person in the group, at least in the long run, and the one Karen was most directly trying to eliminate. No, he was a coward as well, bailing as soon as he got the chance.
It wasn't prompted by the weapon the final boy, the one who had been having a breakdown, held. She'd known she would deal with people holding more firepower than her. This was exactly why she was taking shots from the undergrowth, using cover and surprise to keep herself safe.
It wasn't even prompted by the boy himself. He seemed relatively inept. He was firing from way too far away, using a weapon clearly less accurate than Karen's own to shoot at her, when she had ruled him out as a target based on distance. He was not a direct threat.
What terrified Karen was the boy's reaction. He fired at Karen, directly along the path his allies had taken, forcing the other member of Purple Team to hit the ground. He screamed about how he wasn't playing, offering an ultimatum that made it sound very much like he was. He was clearly insane, and the one thing Karen wasn't ready to deal with just yet was a total psychopath.
Then her fear shattered as the boy threw an insult over his shoulder and ran off too.
He wasn't crazy. He was just a player, one who had pulled together a good act. He'd been planning to kill the others, and Karen had blown his plan. Too bad for him.
Karen's pulse didn't have time to drop, because she was already moving again. She'd kept her pack on for the decreased preparation time that bought. She tried to maintain a little stealth, but it was less of a concern now. Maybe lunch girl would get a look at her. Maybe even recognize her. That wasn't a bad thing. It would help cement her reputation, help dissuade others from attacking her.
Karen briefly considered plugging the girl she liked, but dismissed the idea. It wasn't sentimentality. Quite simply, having someone who knew her walk away to spread the story was a boon. Besides...
There was one girl here, but two boys had run off down the beach, one carrying a weapon that he had no idea how to use, a weapon that would be better in Karen's hands, and the other one of her assigned allies, a member of her biggest target group. The choice was ridiculously simple.
Karen took off after them. But she still sent a final, poorly-aimed shot back towards the girl she liked. Best to discourage the girl from following her, and, hey, getting lucky was always a possibility.
Then she was off in pursuit of her opponents.
((Karen Ruiz continued in Meanwhile, Back in the Jungle