Now I had to add Cathalie to my google dictionary too. Strangely enough, Meguro worked, but eh, maybe it's just more common. Doesn't take much to be more common a name than Cathalie.
Burns aside, a look at the profile reveals that at least some thought was put into diversifying her interests. It's startling that a good sign to me is that the Looks section of the profile doesn't mention bra size. Her backstory is relatively tame, as far as V2 goes - at least she hasn't killed anyone. While writing a kind of gothy "damaged" girl raises some flags on its own, it's nothing I can't look past for what is really here. The profile itself is decently well written, and if I wasn't desensitized I'd say that it's almost impressive for the V2 time frame. Her abusive friendship with Mitch Gunther is
cute? It's totally weird and a little unsettling, but I think it's a good thing, for now, unless things turn sexual at some point.
Knowing V2, they always do.
Cathalie's time in V2 is comprised of two pre-game threads and two island threads - a mercy that I am very thankful for - and her first thread takes place at school, Bathurst High, the same school of the winning kid Bryan Calvert. For some reason, when I think of V2, this is the school I come back to mentally. The name is just sort of...iconic? Or notorious? Maybe both? Well, at the very least, it's known as the school with the weird kid who wanders around barefoot and talks to himself about burgers during a class assignment on the atomic bomb. While the other students, here Ian Rico and Sofie de Wilde, try to treat him kindly, Cathalie returns from the bathroom and puts her dog on a leash immediately.
Power Couple wrote:"Ahhh Cathalie, the sunshine of my life, the air I breathe everyday. To bask in your presence is to drown blissfully in the rivers of Para-"
"Shut up, Mitch."
Cathalie takes the other's kindness as malice, but caves in once she decides that if she doesn't let Mitch have his first burger, then she'll never hear the end of it. Of course, this dynamic reminds incredibly of Lust and Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist, a Japanese manga series that was decently popular around V2 - still kind of is, but it's faded away gradually with time. Good show, but lifting this dynamic of "Cold girl, food obsessed guy" without any of the symbolic connotations or writing skill that came with it is kind of, well, finicky. Especially as Ali Grayson comes in and makes a mess of thing, requiring Mitch to be reeled in even further. He bites her, which would probably make anyone handle their animal a bit more cautiously. Mitch isn't an animal, sure, but the comparison can be drawn here.
Or not! Cathalie just lets this happen, because she's kind of edgy, and doesn't like popular people, I'm guessing. Mitch is a weird kid, but a good intentioned one, and Cathalie warms up to people that he warms up to, thankfully. If Cathalie was just 100% mean all the way then we'd have some stuff wrong here, because that's just one-note and trite and kind of dumb. Thankfully, instead we get something kind of balanced and internally consistent in the wacky wild world of V2. I'm sort of impressed, already.
Their dynamic is amusing. I'm thoroughly amused. The two actually take up Ian Rico on the offer of burgers, which is fitting right now because in pre-game it's important to set up some story progression or hooks early on for the island stuff. Here, it's social rejection, as Mitch's social unacceptable behaviour is unsurprisingly rejected by the carnival goers. Cathalie decides at some point to avoid curfew and be herself for the evening, which I'm guessing was entirely helped along by Mitch pushing her over the edge. They have a fun time at the park, and that's pre-game. It's all remarkably decently written, and there aren't really any complaints here.
Island-time now. It is time to see if this quality, what we've so thankfully been graced with so far, keeps going into the island. I'm going to hazard a wild guess right now and say that it doesn't, but I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised here.
Cathalie has a bit of a mental breakdown at the start of V2, and a violent one at that. Mitch has her best intentions at heart, but she rejects it, instead electing to throw a desk across the room and overturn a table. Ernest wanders into the thread now, while Cathalie tries to bluff having a shotgun to keep him out, a plot that Mitch foils it by announcing that they don't really have a shotgun in a playful way. They try to ambush Ernest as he walks in with the rag of chloroform that Cathalie got, but he decides that they aren't worth it and turns around to leave. They have some cutesy small-talk, until Cathalie falls asleep, Mitch standing guard and staying in this sort of hypnagogic state while waiting for Cathalie to wake up again.
This girl, Venus, wanders into the room, and starts drawing things on the chalkboard, before wandering back out again. The announcement plays, which somehow doesn't wake Cathalie up, but Mitch's constant mantra mumbling does. She throws a flashlight at him to try and shut him up, since he keeps kind of whining about the dark, but she realizes that she should have thrown a little more than a flashlight when she realizes that they're sitting in a danger zone, Mitch having neglected to inform her of the announcement. They manage to make it out of the school building in time, which is pretty confusing to me given how little time you have to get out of a danger zone and the barricade they put up in front of their door, but, whatever. Overall, their first island thread is solid.
Now, it's time for the moment that you've all been waiting for; Cathalie's second and final island thread.
The first thing that stuck out to me was the handler writing this post. Threads one through three were all handled by LadyMakaze, while the final thread, the pivotal death moment, is handled by Nealosi, and instantly something feels off. It's not as if an attempt wasn't made to keep the style of writing for these characters consistent, but more like the attempt was made without paying much attention to detail. For one thing, Mitch's absurdly large vocabulary and strangely intelligible ramblings are reduced to somewhat plain speak, and he loses most of his quirky charm. Cathalie's change is a bit more believable - she's been stuck on the island for an additional five days, now, and she just seems a lot more tired and stressed out. How these two managed to survive for five whole days
without drawing too much attention to themselves is a bit out of the realm of possibility for me, but, whatever, it's some OOC stuff that I don't know about anyways.
Cathalie decides that putting Mitch to sleep is a good idea, now, as a mercy kill. Cathalie has accepted her fate, and probably intends to do the same kind of thing to herself, but Mitch still has the resolve - or naivete - to believe that some kind of rescue or escape is possible. This resolve really touches Cathalie, and she finally extends an olive branch to Mitch after all of her abuse. Everything seems like it's going to turn out okay for the two of them.
Everything seems like it's going to turn out okay, until the tree behind them explodes, splinters tearing holes in their faces and throwing them to the ground.
I'm guessing that Franco Sebberts is Nealosi's own kid, and that these two kids are being fed to his own because of inactivity. Regardless, Franco steps out from behind the tree, a sadistic smile on his face, and reveals himself to have caused the explosion via grenade launcher. Cathalie is on the ground, bleeding out from the mouth, and tries to convince Mitch to run. Mitch, however, can't let anyone hurt his Cathalie, so he heroically charges Franco, who isn't playing nearly as fairly. Using a concealed taser, he zaps Mitch, sending him to the ground, while spouting off about how these two aren't the only ones who want to leave, stating that his way is the only way.
This is the part that I was warned about. I won't get too graphic, because thankfully this scene isn't as descriptive as the Mariavel hotel scene, but it goes something like this.
Franco forces Mitch to watch as he molests Cathalie, using the taser as a torture device, occasionally taking a few breaks to beat Mitch as well. Cathalie begs him to stop, and eventually he caves in, shooting her in the head, though not before she can thank him for his mercy. Mitch screams out in anger, but Franco puts a bullet through his skull, too.
And that's that.
I'm really disappointed by the way this happened to end. I don't blame any of the handlers for how it happened - inactivity was, as we've seen, a commonplace issue in V2, yet one that the site hadn't come together to solve yet. At the very least, we get some closure for Cathalie and Mitch's arc, as they have a moment of understanding at the start of the thread. As far as the realism scale goes for V2, Cathalie and Mitch manage to balance the unconventional nature of a lot of early concepts with some decently well written posts. However, such an intricate concept can't survive as well on it's own in the hands of another, and that is blameless - it's clear when reading some of Mitch and Cathalie's interactions in pre-game that a lot of thought went into how these two felt about each other, thought that was likely inaccessible after the original handler's inactivity, except for going back and reading the original posts.
A case study in how inactivity was handled back in V2, and the pitfalls of the original methods of dealing with it, without resorting to linking someone a Mariavel massacre. Plus, some solid writing early on, if the concept is a little unbelievable. Personally, I think Cathalie's the least likeable of the two as a person, but in all honesty, I have a hard enough time dealing with my completely sane little brother, so I guess I can say I understand, a little?
Another one, please.