SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2012: UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, 7AM"So," said Monica Brown, "you need to frisk whoever it is. Carefully. I don't care if someone cut off both their hands; you make sure they don't have anything on them that could give you a paper cut."
She stood in front of half a dozen men and women in the fatigues favored by the AT's more militant branches. Behind her, a video projection was frozen on an image of Bryan Calvert holding a knife to the throat of Victor Danya. Everyone in the room had seen this at some point or another in the run-up to Version Five, but Monica found that reminders rarely hurt. Half of the troops in this room had served under the elder Danya. While none of them had been part of the crews that let Dodd and Calvert sneak weaponry into headquarters, they weren't so different from the personnel back then. It was easy to get lax at the end. Easy to make mistakes.
That was why Steven Wilson had okayed this meeting. The scheduled escort was made up of some of the most attentive members of the AT. This whole thing was, if anything, redundant. And yet, somehow the same mistake had been made two years in a row, and the crew back then hadn't been amateurs.
"Excuse me," called a tall man with close-cropped brown hair, standing off to the side. "What do we do if we do find something?"
"You take it," Monica said. "If they cause problems, you use whatever force you need. We'd ideally like them alive. It would be preferable if they were also mobile, but that can slide in a pinch. But at the end of the day, each of you comes before whoever it is."
That was not true on an organizational level; the winner was much more important to the AT's ends than any single grunt. It was good for morale to pretend otherwise, however, especially when there were few fanatical enough to lay down their lives just to ensure one kid survived. It was one of the quandaries they facedafter spending so much time making sure nobody had a sudden attack of conscience or empathy, it could be a little difficult to make sure the more violent sorts would still treat the survivor, who actually mattered, appropriately.
But when a kid getting a little roughed up was the biggest concern they had left, it was all going fairly well. It felt almost miraculous. No further great security threats had been reported. There was one suicide with some camera damage, but Gladney's crew had verified it was on the level. For once, there were no traitors, no malfunctioning collars, no crew of heavily armed vigilantes breathing down their necks. No aftershocks from the earlier attempted trickery had manifested.
It was just ten kids off on an island, and the organization devoted to making sure only one left it alive.
"Anything else?" she asked. When there wasn't, she dismissed the crew. They were all off duty until the final survivor was determined, the better to be fresh and aware for their task.
SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2012: UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, 9AM"Good morning, kids."
In the AT's broadcasting room, Tracen Danya idly stirred the cup of coffee sitting on the desk. The papers in front of him told the tale of the game's progress: only ten students remained. It was amazing how time flowed during the game. It felt simultaneously quick and extremely slow; he could remember with crystal clarity how it had felt first speaking to the students less than two weeks ago, and yet by now it had become almost rote.
This was one of the last times he'd address the remnants of the Aurora senior class.
"I've harped on how few of you are left enough over the past few days. Let me be brief: ten of you remain. Yesterday saw everyone else eliminated.
"First to fall was a leftover from the prior cycle: Stacy Ramsey, shot down by Amaranta Montalvo, the conclusion to a little project she set for herself a few days ago. Was it what you hoped for, Ms. Montalvo?
"After that, we saw two deaths without killers. Travis Webster let himself go, and either passed out or fell asleep in the School Grounds. Whatever the cause, he didn't wake up for my last chat with you, and blew up as a result. Not long afterwards, Makatala So'oialo decided she'd had enough and shot herself. A real shame; they'd both proven capable of causing trouble.
"Next up, another second-stringer bit it. Leona Van Kamp picked a debate with Hansel Williams, and found herself blown away by his rebuttal.
"Mirabella Strong made short work of her two remaining friends, Takeshi Yoshikawa and Juahn Levandi, cutting themand their reunion with hershort. It didn't do her much good, though, since Hansel Williams turned up and bagged himself another point for the day.
"In another reunion gone awry, Ami Flynn shot the first person she met on the island, killing Ruby Forrester. She then went and found another familiar face in Sean Mulcahy, but our favorite pirate got some good old revenge and shot Ms. Flynn for the death of one of his crew. It didn't save him from one final mutiny, however; Gray Emerson put a bullet in Captain Mulcahy's back as he tried to walk away.
"Breaking the streak of long-standing business getting resolved, Matt Vartoogian blew away Tyler Lucas from an upper-floor window. Of course, he lived to regret going down to check his kill too soon, but 'lived' is the operative word.
"Finn Grant wasn't so lucky. KK Konipaski was driven away through the power of friendshipand heavy explosivesbut not before she mortally wounded her target.
"Finally, luck ran out for our poor friend, Michael Mitchellson, when when he accidentally shot himself during a firefight. I have to say, I always expected him to walk into a danger zone. I'd congratulate him for the surprise, but even if he'd survived it, he wouldn't have been able to hear me.
"There's not much else to say, except that you should stay out of the Southern Town. Mr. Emerson, however, can pick up a gun, a chicken pot pie, and a mug of chocolate milk at the overpass.
"I'll talk to you tomorrow, or sooner if we get down to the final four. Good luck."
DAY ELEVEN: SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2012
Weather: The clouds have returned, though it is not rainy. The air is cool and humid, but not muggy. Today's high temperature is approximately 63F, 17C at 4pm. Tonight is one night before the first quarter of the moon is visible. The twelfth announcement will come at whatever time only four students remain. Please note that this may result in a second announcement on the 24th, depending on the staging of the scenes.
Congratulations to dmboogie, for winning this month's BDA. Quote threads will be up shortly. Good luck, and remember: you all brought this upon yourselves. :p
Finally, a note on rolls. In the spirit of V3, we are keeping the rolls quiet for the moment. All handlers who still have characters in the game can view them by clicking this link, which will also conveniently let everyone else view the roll thread once the death deadline passes.
We're trying this on an experimental basis. If it works well, we're likely to use it again in future versions. If it doesn't, we're pretty sure we've got things set up so it won't cause any serious problems; the worst possible occurrence is for everything to get spoiled, which will leave us in the same spot we'd've been in had the rolls been public.
The card and danger zone deadline is in three days. Cards should be played in the appropriate thread, linked above. The deadline for all deaths is the end of October 29. There will be no extensions for any reason. A hard final deadline worked very well in V4. We're calling it slightly before Halloween this time, however, having learned that deadlines on that day are a real nuisance to enforce because almost everyone is out and about.