"I'm sorry. Ishida can't come. You two are fine, though."
"If you still want to come, I mean."
Sarah's eyes drifted to the pistol at the man's waist, her heart skipping a beat when the subtle threat registered. The tone of her voice had become a lot less excited when she opened her mouth to explain. "Look, It's okay, she's unarmed, she's not dangerous, I'll look after her."
He sighed. "I'm sorry," he said. "This isn't about you looking after her. We're not allowing murderers or players off."
"Why not?" She was confused, if it wasnt a safety issue, and they were there to rescue them
"Because, in all honesty. We're making a point. We're taking the long view here. If it wasn't for these people killing, we might be saving a lot more people today. Next time they hold this awful gameif there is a next timewe want people to think back to today before shooting their classmates."
"Why do you think there's going to be a next time? Why aren't you ending this?"
"You may not know the whole situation. We've got a plan to stop this. If it works, and that is a big if, we're going to come back for the others. The thing is, we cannot at all be sure we'll be able to stop Danya or achieve anything lasting here."
"Except saving some people."
She still didnt understand, if their primary plan was to come back later then why werent they reducing the work by taking whoever was there? And it wasnt like they didnt have the resources
Something felt off, beyond the fact they hadnt given Reiko the okay yet. She wasnt sure what, but it was making her nervous, and it showed in the continued waver in her voice.
"Theyre, theyre just one terrorist group, you've got a whole fucking military, you've got-... And then it clicked. Wait, who the fuck even are you people?"
"We're... an independent group, of sorts. People with our own axe to grind with Danya and Survival of the FIttest. Seeing it ended is our top priority."
hadnt expected that. So they were just a small group? She glanced at the few other guards, towards the couple of rafts that were to carry them to the boat. Suddenly she wasnt so impressed. It felt kind of stupid that she even had to ask the next question.
"Right, so, so if that's your "top priority" why the fuck didn't you relay our location to a real
"We didn't have this island's location until less than a day ago. Moreover, we're talking about a terrorist organization that can get whole classes of students out of the United States and avoid being bombed out by other countries. Any concerted military effort would have been noticed by them, and they'd have blown all your collars."
The fact that theyd already pushed the exact same risks on them seemed to be lost on him. Confusion and worry were rapidly giving way to a rising anger. Stupidity was one thing, stupidity that could get them killed was another.
"That's, thats complete bullshit, they're better equipped, better trained a-and just as able to act in secrecy when its needed, that's what special forces are meant to be for
. You already decided to risk our necks to do this and now you're not even trying to rescue everybody, so, again, why the fuck didn't you do this properly?"
He looked annoyed, she really didnt think he had the right. "Yeah. The special forces are totally capable of saving you. That's why they're all over this place. That's why you got stopped on the way to the border and rescued then. That's why they've managed miraculous saves the past three years. Guess what? Governments have leaks, and operations take time to mobilize."
Begging the question and
delusions of importance. Wonderful. When she next opened her mouth, her voice had risen several more decibels along with her frustration.
"Yeah, because you're doing a much better job. Everyone except the ones you have time to fucking cherrypick are going to die
decided not to give them the coordinates. What makes you think you're going to find them next time? There's been three of these things and where the fuck have you been?... Actually, you know what, i don't fucking care. If you meant what you said you'd be letting us onto that fucking boat."
"You're fine." He gestured to Reiko. "She's not. She killed seven people. You do realize that, right?"
"So what? What makes you think you get to judge her for that? You're prepared to sacrifice what, 50 of us? For what? She was just trying to fucking survive
"Your friend strangled another of her friends for no real reason. That's why she's on our list. If you say that can't be judged, that's entirely your business. Me, mine's to judge people like that."
She was shouting now, and she knew she was starting to cry in earnest by the heat around her eyes.
"No it isn't your fucking business, that's for the courts, that's for her family, that's for Carol's family and friends to judge. You do mean Carol right? You think I don't fucking know? You think I didn't fucking hate
Reiko for killing her? You think I didn't cry myself to sleep for them? For Carol and Cyrille and Raina? They were my friends too, okay? And you, you've got no fucking right to judge her, you don't have a fucking clue what it's like to be in this situation."
He gave her an odd look, she was too pissed now to read it, before continuing. "Do you know who John Rizzolo was? He was the survivor last game. It turns out, the courts don't care so much what you do here. RIzzolo got away completely unpunished. He cashed in on his crimes. In the end, he died because some vigilante went after him."
"But, more than that, as I said, our goal is to make people next time think twice."
"Don't you fucking dare compare her to that monster, she's not a fucking psychopath. And weren't you fucking listening? I honestly don't give a shit what the courts make of it, it's up to Carol's family if they decide to forgive her. It's still not your fucking responsibility."
She was starting to get the feeling he didnt give a shit what she actually said, the answer was going to be the same.
"And you know what, yeah, Rizzolo got a free pass, so did Dodd, so did Calvert, they all got off without court retribution and they all
killed more than she has, they all
committed worse crimes, and they got off free. Why does she deserve to die when they didn't? Why would you send her back to that fucking hellhole and make her have to choose between killing and dying again? And don't try to use your fucking 'message' as an excuse, it's weak, it's not going to change anything, and by sending her back you're just sending a point that says 'if you've killed, you might as well keep killing since redemption doesn't mean shit.'"
"She's done what to redeem herself, again? But anyways, you're the second person to make this argument to me in the past half hour, and I have to say, the last was a lot more convincing. I'm not going to argue about whether Dodd or Calvert deserved to die. Fact is, we wouldn't have given them a lift, and we're not going to back down here."
She would have called him out for yet another logical failure, another feigned misunderstanding, but his flippant little dismissal caught her full ire instead. She finally registered the gash on his face, she hoped it was from the last person, he deserved it. He deserved it for every fucking question he dodged, for the two lives hed apparently already decided werent worth their effort.
"Oh, great, 'I'm in authority so you can't question me', that favourite cover when you're completely full of shit
. So what, youve already consigned two people to death who dont fucking deserve it? Like youre going to do to Reiko? Her sister is dead, you piece of shit. She could have killed me twenty four hours ago, but she didn't, she could have killed Bridget, two more steps closer to her really malevolent fucking goal of not dying
. But instead she disarmed, joined us in trying to save fucking everyone
, and that was exactly what we were going to try and fucking do before you
turned up. So yeah, I think she's fucking redeemed herself."
She swallowed, sniffled, trying to regain her composure, she was starting to get lost in the argument, getting lead into tangents. Her next sentence was quieter, no less spiteful, but quieter.
"And anyway, if we want to talk about facts
, the fact is I'm not leaving without her."
"I don't really think I count not killing people as redemption. By that argument, Rizzolo could have been sainted after V3. But anyways, good luck. I hope it works out well for you."
That set her screaming in his face again.
"Will you shut the FUCK up about that bastard? You keep bringing him up like his actions are some kind of fucking excuse for yours when he isnt fucking relevant. And thats it, isnt it, you're perfectly happy to condemn me to death because i have a fucking moral compass? I haven't hurt anyone, fuck, I saved someone's life. How does that work into your fucking
"I'm not killing you. You're choosing to die for an ideological point. I can respect that, but please don't pretend it's anything else."
Every part of her was shaking, like every other time she'd ever been angry, but this time it was different. This time it felt like every instinct in her body was pushing her to lash out, pushing her to discard all caution and just tear his fucking throat out. She clenched her fists, digging her nails into her palms so forcefully that they almost broke the skin. A part of her wanted that, she wasn't sure why, and she didn't really care why, but the pain was just enough to get her to focus on words instead of violence.
"What is it they say? A choice given under coercion is no fucking choice at all. So no, it's not my choice, it's yours, you're the one with the power to save us, you're the one saying we both deserve to die. Take some fucking responsibility!"
"I'm not coercing you. You're free to come or go. And if you want to talk responsibility, are you taking responsibility for those seven kills?
Fuck you, Im taking responsibility for her life.
Now he was just point-scoring, making snide little comments to egg her on, hell, that was all hed done for the past few minutes, and she was falling for it. He had her shivering uselessly in front of a crowd of people, crying and screaming and shaking, and shed realised it, buts she didnt fucking care anymore as he continued talking sophistic bullshit.
"Even by your standards, I've only got five deaths on my conscience. Come back and talk when we're even, and maybe I'll see reason."
Your fucking maths is off. S-seven kills in-in self defence and, and fear between us leaves about three and a half, throw in K-kimberly and we're down to three. Wh-which is a couple orders of magnitude less than who you're going to fucking let die this version and next so you can keep playing the fucking
He was ignoring her, she knew she was being petty now, but he wasnt fucking listening anyway so it didnt fucking matter. She began to advance on him, the only thing stopping her an unwelcome grasp on her jacket. She didnt need to look to know who it was, but before she had the opportunity to protest Bridgets interference, she found an assault rifle pointed in her face. That and the comment from its owner that followed made her nauseous, made her hate them and their guns and their conceit that much more.
"It's time for you to decide, and, if you aren't coming, it's time for you to leave."
"Shut the FUCK UP. What you're doing is worse than anything she's done, how dare you fucking hypocrites moralise us. Are you sick? Are you that fucking delusional? Or no, it's just fucking narcissism isnt it? Youre scared that if you did this properly, if you got the adults involved, you wouldn't get to play your sick, self centered little game anymore? You are
sacrificing our lives just so you can have all the glory to yourselves so i guess that reason seems pretty fucking likely
I hope someone does this to you, i hope someone drags you down for war crimes and i hope you all fucking die
because this is all, your, fucking, fault. Your excuses are paper thin bullshit, you know that right? You're immoral, you're unlawful, and
you're fucking morons
. So fuck
you and fuck the fucking boat you rode in on.
Sarah wanted nothing but to tear the bastards in front of her to pieces, but instead, like she'd done every other time she'd gotten this angry, every other time shed been stonewalled and treated like her and her opinion were equally worthless, she turned and left, absorbed in her own silent shouting match, trying to mop up her dignity with her sleeves.
((Sarah Xu and Reiko Ishida continued in Oxidation