Ever twelve hours, at noon and midnight, announcements are broadcast across the island. They are reproduced here.
"You know, there's this whole like... hype system around what actually happens at the start of SOTF-TV. Nah, nah, I don't mean the opening briefing, that's a ratings spinner, people love watching that. That's always the same shit, but you know, it's interesting to see how the kids take it all. Course if noone does anything too drastic it can get boring, but the numbers always shoot back up when the thing itself starts.
Nah, what I'm talking about is the whole 'phase' before that. Actually getting hold of the kids that are gonna be ...uh, the 'stars of the show'. They never air that, they never show exactly what goes down, and you wind up getting this whole mystique over just what happens. Know why it's not broadcast? It's cause it's boring. Nobody ever came to my door in the deep of night dressed in dark clothes and abducted me. Nobody waylaid a schoolbus like seems to be the most popular yarn, otherwise no kid would ever go on a school trip.
They turn up to your school or your house, and they say you've been picked. You don't get to argue, not unless you feel like posing a counterpoint to an assault rifle. They find their names in advance, and then they grab 'em. Some people say they like to try and grab the kids they think'll make the best viewing, but really, I doubt it. There's a hell of a lot of production that goes into all this, they don't have the money nor the people to stalk out the games that much in advance. They pick a random school and they pick some random names.
Me? I told you, story ain't anything more interesting than that. Some mook in a suit showed up to my classroom and chatted with the professor there, had a couple of guys with like, full SWAT team gear on with him. Then this guy in a suit came to the front and told us all he was an exec for SOTF-TV, that he was taking some people for the next series, that some of us were gonna be famous...
And he read out a list. My name was second to last.
I was too scared to freak out. Not too scared to puke though. I left that room covered in my own vomit, shaking like a leaf.
And about a week later, my name was known worldwide.
Some turnaround, eh?"
Jared Clayton - Documentary 'The Write Off'
The atmosphere of the briefing room was a study in contrasts, as the sixty-six students sat in chairs with straps holding down their arms, while, behind them, a live studio audience a thousand strong cheered and applauded. The students were seated in two clusters, one from each school. Though divided in origin, the uncomfortable shuffling and whispering, the occasional tears and shrieks, were quite bipartisan. At the front of the room was a large purple curtain, theatrical in appearance, and already spotlit.
"Attention: Quiet in the house," boomed a male voice from the speakers throughout the room.
Instantly, the audience went quiet, as did most of the students. A few, though, continued to cry, seemingly unable or unwilling to restrain themselves. The audience ignored them. A drumroll came over the speakers, building until the curtains snapped open, revealing a large television screen. On the screen was a map of an island.
"Good evening, contestants," the speakers said. This was a new voice, quieter and calmer than the one that had demanded silence earlier, with a smooth, precise intonation. It was a voice the audience knew well, belonging, as it did, to Patrick Buckley, current opening announcer for SOTF-TV. A cheer rippled through the crowd. A girl on the Detroit side of the room screamed.
"Welcome to the sixty-fifth season of SOTF-TV. I'm sure you all know our premise, so I'll spare you the endless reiterations and be succinct about it. Kill or be killed. All but one of you die.
"Only, this time around, that isn't true. You have been grouped into thirteen teams, selected at random. Each of you will receive, in your issued daypack, a bandanna showing your allegiance. All surviving members of the winning team will be allowed to return home. That aside, the premise is the same as always: kill those who oppose you, and live to the end."
The image cycled to a shot of thirteen different bandannas, each displaying a different color and symbol.
"You will have to find your teams on the island; we can't be doing all the work for you. You will be required to have a team bandanna visible on your person at all times. Should you be without one for over five minutes, your collar will be detonated. Should someone steal your bandanna, you will not be held accountable.
"After this briefing, you will all be rendered unconscious via gas in the ventilation."—a gasp arose from the crowd—"Oh, I mean the contestants. No need to worry, esteemed audience; you will be completely safe behind a shield.
"Now, there are a couple of other little rules you should know. Each team has a mentor assigned to them. That mentor will be able to broadcast a single piece of advice, encouragement, or information each morning, to any of their team members that they choose to allow to hear it. These mentors are the pick of the crop. They'll definitely increase your chances of survival, except for the poor saps on the Green Team.
"Oh, and also the loner. Loner, you're on your own. You've got the boring cream bandanna. You have to kill everyone to survive."
The picture was of a black silhouette with a cream-colored bandanna on its forehead.
"I will be giving you all an update every twelve hours. According to our calculations, you should all regain consciousness around noon. Pay attention to the announcements; they tell you who's died, who's killed, and which areas are danger zones. As usual, stay in a danger zone and your collar will explode."
One of the contestants was sobbing loudly. Someone in the crowd wolf-whistled.
"Another small thing: should any of you manage to kill ten of the other contestants—and teammates do not count for this, not that you should be killing them anyways—you get a ride out of here.
"Your daypacks contain everything you'll need for this exercise, including many fine products from our sponsors. We've also thrown in some spare clothes for you, since none of you get to keep your school possessions. Sorry about that; it's just too much of a bother to deal with picking out every little thing that could cause trouble."
The picture on the screen was of a blue canvas backpack.
"And, with that, I believe we are set. You all know the drill. Be smart, and you just might make it home. Good luck, and give us a show.
"And let the games... begin!"
With a whir, a glass shield lowered, separating the contestants from the audience, which had begun to cheer uncontrollably. The contestants were active again, some attempting to escape in a frenzy, others staring at their laps in resignation. The gas began filtering out of the floor, though, and soon there was no movement at all. Armed men entered, and began unbinding the contestants for transport.
It was time for the season premiere.
The First AnnouncementEdit
Leonardo Dahnke had tirelessly watched the footage from Survival of the fittest for the past twelve hours straight. Unlike the masses back in the United States and the rest of the world, he didn't get the luxury of TiVo, Youtube, or whatever other service had decided to pick up a copy of this season's action for everyone's viewing pleasure. In fact, he was stuck right on the front lines, a cup of steaming hot tea in his right hand, a small black computer mouse in his left. Leo had been the announcer for Survival of the Fittest for the past 31 seasons to date, a job which was tiring and high stress, but above all, extremely rewarding. His voice and name were known to almost every single man, woman, and even child in the world. He was the voice of the game, the one people hated to love or loved to hate. And frankly, he wouldn't leave for the life of him.
That fame was just far too much.
Glancing over to the soft, green glowing numbers on the desk beside the laptop he was currently using, he let out a sigh, catching the attention of the intern behind him, the only other person in the admittedly small room.
"Something I can help with sir?" The young man's voice cracked with want of sleep, his movements obviously sluggish as he rose from his desk, not used to what he was about to be sent through over the next few days.
The man didn't bother to look back, his eyes fixing back to the glowing screen, staring at a pastel pink name against a deep gray backdrop, the combination of colors the only thing lighting his face. "Yeah. It's Eleven Fourty-Five and I forgot to write up an announcement. You want to keep your internship?"
The nodding behind him went un-noticed, but the assumption was there.
"Go get me a pen. Now."
The clap of rubber on tile could be heard as Leo's only company ran out the door.
The speakers, ever so craftily placed about the island, for the first time crackled to life. It was child's play to re-wire the place's emergency system to a single PA in the announcement center. Somewhere, miles upon miles away, a small red button was pressed, making static follow immediately in its wake, just in case anyone thought they could get away with sleeping through the morning news. That was his pet peeve. And he was having none of it.
"Good morning contestants! Most of you know me, but the few of you who don't... The name's Leo, and I'll be one of two little voices of reason you lucky souls will get to listen to over the next few days! Well, some more than others, but we'll see. So far, you've all been surprising me out there. So much drama and passion, so many opportunities. I'd like to take a second to personally thank those of you playing to the cameras... Well, it's what we live off of. Try and put on a show for the audience! They're paying good money for the DvD when it comes out, after all."
Unable to suppress a smug grin, he pressed on, sliding the paper off to the side, just to make the audible crunch that went along with olden day news casting. After all, this was the only news that mattered to the sixty six... Well, sixty five teenager listening, right? They deserved the full experience, at the very least.
"Now, on to the important bits that I'm sure everyone in the thick of it is just so anxious to hear! We only have one death so far, but not to fret. There's plenty else to go around... Well, except for everybody but Anthony Rollins, who's taken one for the show, if you know what I mean. Our vicious killer? None other than Karen Ruiz folks. Feisty one, that girl. Karen, how does it feel to get an announcement all to yourself on the most popular show on earth?"
The speakers cracked, just as they did right before he began to speak, and all was silent for just a moment. Leo's finger hovered over the button for five... four... three... Oh screw it.
"Oh! And before I forget. If you plan on living up to your full potential, you're going to want to say away from The Resort Hotel and The Inland Lake. If you're anywhere near there, you have a little while to get out. Or, you can give your friends the shock of their lives, that's an option too! This is Leo, signing off. See you tomorrow morning! Or, well, most of you."
The Second AnnouncementEdit
Now that had been an entertaining bit of television. He was always right, slow startups made for quick finishes. These kids were really showing their bloodthirst out there. It was almost a pity how few of them seemed to be heeding their mentor's advice, but that was to be expected. Only a few players out there by his count anyways, but they really were causing quite a stir. It was the ripple effect. One person kills, others freak, lose what little facade of "cool" they were trying to hold. Some would be entertaining. Some would take it tas permission. It would be the realization that others are doing it, so they can do it too. Groupthink, he believed it was called, if he was to believe the psychology class he barely remembered from college.
However, it was nice. They mentors had started piling in around 6 AM, and with the exception of the bitch "helping" the green team (seriously, why had they even brought her?), they were... pleasant, at least on their own. Most seemed to be a little starstruck, a reaction he was quite used to. Clayton and the general had found their way to the corner of the trailer, talking in a somewhat stressed posture, but civilly none the less.
But the mentor's announcements were done, and it was his turn. The moment they'd all been truly waiting for. Their mentors were the opening act, he was the star of the show.
"Good afternoon kids! How's it going out there for those of you who are still standing? Yes, that's right, even amongst some of your vehement denials, your peers are playing the game! I'll be getting to the killing in a moment, but first, a few brief words. And it really would pay for you to listen. You know, I'm here for your sake. The viewers at home can watch what's going on, I'm your only eye in the sky."
If one were to listen closely enough, they could almost have heard the shit-eating grin on his face, inflating himself to such a level of importance. He took a moment, sipping from his mug, letting the rather annoying noise echo through the PA system.
"Okay, so, a few things before I get to the part you're really all waiting for. Can't spoil the show early and let you all go home, can we? Mr. Clayton must be proud, since his team holds the highest killcount! That's right, the Purple Team is sitting at a pretty four kills, and it's only been twenty four hours. And not to spoil anything, but one of them is right on her way to a ten kill ticket off of this island. Ms. Ruiz, only seven more."
"On the opposite end of the spectrum though, the Black Team isn't looking so hot right now, it's been all but destroyed! Only two out of five of its members remain, so if you're standing around with a black bandanna on, watch yourself." He smiled, glancing at the tape in the corner of the room. He couldn't watch every single camera on his admittedly less than modest array of screens back in the other room. So many cameras, so little time. This tape had been hand delivered to him by his intern. BLK KILL FOOTAGE scrawled across the top in sharpie. Looks like this announcement would be a little lacking... but oh well. It would keep up intrigue, give the one remaining member a false sense of security.
"So, now for the deaths. I know you kids are going to enjoy this, just as much as I did. Who knows, maybe a lucky group of you will be able to watch them on the DVD in a few months, see exactly what I was talking about. So, first up to die was Lou Becker, who did his best to keep the show interesting and fun for all the viewers at home, and received a machete to the back of the skull for his efforts. Amber Lyons, how could you? Rishi Kohli took a bullet from this versions's most prolific killer, Karen Ruiz. Watch out for that one kids. You know what they always say about the quiet ones... Moving on, we have a kill from another young, budding player. Vincent Sullivan put a bullet or three into Isaac King, right before Jonas Jeffries woke up from his little steel induced nap and did the same favor for Nick Simmons. Gorgeous display of marksmanship out there Mr. Sullivan. Jonas... You need a little bit of work."
"The next one was one for the remixers out there! I'm sure some of you can find something fun to do with the monumental stupidity displayed here. Crazy frog is my personal recommendation. Bob Lazenby had been running around the island for the entire day, sprinting away from everyone and their brother in complete terror, only to finally attack the exact wrong person at the exact wrong place. Kevin Fielding hurled him into the tar pits, where he promptly drowned. Looks like some tourist is going to get a surprise when this island finally opens back up! Our resident reverend has passed away as well, with his personal bodyguard abandoning him at the drop of a hat. Harold Smythe is with his god now, dead from internal injuries from... Oh, not cool man. From a groin kick delivered from a Zachariah Johnston. And last but not least, Our resident showman, Odile Jones showed just how will she's willing to go for the cameras, placing a knife in the throat of Holly Hadaway."
"Oh, and stay away from The Cruise Ship until I give you the go ahead. Old danger zones are open now kids. Let's keep this up! You might just be able to reach the title of fastest edition yet. Good luck, and watch yourselves out there!"
The Third AnnouncementEdit
Thirty six hours. Thirty six hours, and already twenty were dead. One team was already down to their last member. So much had happened in the last day and a half. It had been such entertaining television. The addition of the mentors had been such a good idea, so many people would tune in just to watch Mr. Clayton once again, even if he wasn't sharing any of the action.
That was actually a good idea to pitch. SotF, the reunion game.
All just mental speculation, brainstorming, a way to kill time until the clock struck midnight, the next time he could grace the remaining contestants with the sound of his voice. A small smile curled across his lips. He'd gone over the list his intern had handed him multiple times, checking for any discrepancy he could possibly find. Keep from a repeat of last time. That hadn't truly been the cause of death and he'd known it, but damn if it wasn't funny to fuck with these kids heads.
"I'd like to congratulate each and every one of you kids. You have all outlasted twenty of your classmates, peers, and for some of you, sworn enemies. I have to say, I was skeptical about schools falling into immediate alliances, but I have to say you've proved me wrong, and I'm all the happier for it!" One could almost hear the sick, demented smile behind his words, just grinning behind a microphone in his cushy little box seats to the death-match.
"Before I get into the deaths, I have some statistics to throw out, if any of you happen to be gambling men. Or interested in that sort of thing, although kids today have the attention span of a flea, so somehow I doubt it. Either way, you may be interested to hear that in one of the few rare instances here on Survival of the Fittest, we can say with certainty that the Purple Team is far and away doing the best this round. One couldn't say winning, since there is no one way to win, but this team is definitely the best off. Sitting with all five members still, they have an amazing combined five kills after only a day and a half."
"On the other hand, of course, far and away the worst off team... Or should I say individual is the Black Team. I won't tell you who this individual is kids, that just wouldn't be fair. We've seen upset comebacks in the past, so don't worry yourself too much. You could still win this. Although honestly hon? It's not looking very good."
There was a brief pause as the sound of shuffling paper echoed across the island.
"Alright, where was I... Oh, yes. We have a small update from last announcement! Your favorite announcer can't watch everything that occurs on the island all at once, and as I was preparing the last announcement I was handed a tape labeled "Black Team Kill Footage". I have to say, this was one doozy, and well worth the suspenseful wait. Panya Bishara was double teamed by one Mae St. Clair and one Alicia White. Even with slo motion replays of that death, we still can't tell who received the final blow. We'll have to figure out how to handle that if one of the two approaches ten kills. Excellent display though you two, that was one for the highlight reels. Don't you feel like celebrities now?"
"Of course, not all deaths can be that incredible to watch. Suzanne Lanford decided to take the easy way out, drowning herself in one of the lakes to not have to see the atrocities or some such crap. Way to blow a shot at the big time. One Mr. John Lemmon was also killed by Odile Jones, just moments after her first victim. Although the kills just straddled the cut off for the last announcement. My apologies for cutting your aptitude short, Ms. Showman."
"In far from a first on Survival of the Fittest, we have a mercy kill between best friends. How sweet. Devonte Washington was choked to death by Marcus Walker, so unfortunately we have to give him credit instead of the catalyst. Next up, our most prolific killer has made a stunning comeback, gunning down our most heavily armed contestant, Mariva Jones. That's some talent. Let's see... Zachariah Johnston made a second appearance with some underhanded tactics, poisoning Marion Clayton. Some revenge motive or something. Internet fans. You do some research, figure out what he was on about."
"Karen Ruiz resurfaced once again, this time gunning down the forming of a very powerful duo and probably saving herself some heartache later on down the road. Tiffany Dexter lost her shot at making it home in quite the entertaining firefight. One still left though Karen, be careful of that one."
"So, those of you down at the Hotspot? You know, when a naked, screaming Todd Hudson streaked past? I would have been just as confused as you. This has to be one of the most entertaining deaths I've had the pleasure to narrate. Straight into the volcano. Oh man. Winner, look that shit up on Youtube when you get home, assuming you didn't see it yourself first hand. Our next death was equally as strange. Shawn Morrison showed that nature really is powerful. Back on day one, he picked up a dead Boa Constrictor and shoved it in his bag. Today, he used it to choke Jaszmine Johnson to death. You kids really are creative, I have to give you that."
"Next up, Kevin Fielding just kind of... exploded. As did the career of one of our technicians. And last, but not least, Peter Campbell died at the hands of Timothy Walker. Three in the chest. I approve of your efficiency Tim."
"And certainly not unimportant your new danger zones are The Inland Lake and The Rain Forest. Yes, the entire thing. Keep up the curve kids. Each and every announcement has more and more death, I wanna see this trend continue! Until midnight, this is Leo, signing off."
The Fourth AnnouncementEdit
Another 12 hours, another 10 deaths. Nowhere near the fastest they had ever seen on Survival of the Fittest, but quite the respectable clip. Despite preliminary mistakes by the crew which resulted in the odd... error in the announcements, things had gone quite smoothly throughout this version, and as it stood only 36 students remained out of the original 66. It was truly staggering the penchant that high school kids had for killing and murder some days. And through it all, he had to say that these were some of the most interesting and creative kills he had seen in quite some time! Thankfully this year the film interns that had been hired to do the legwork of installing the cameras had been somewhat competent, so he was proud to be able to say that he watched each and every death in glorious, perfectly captured 1080P before pretty much anyone else.
A soft beeping went off from somewhere in the room, and a sick, twisted grin spread across Leonardo's face. Once again, it was time to tell the kids of their fate, and that of their classmates.
Hey there kids! Having fun out there? I sure know I'm enjoying myself up here! I have some good news for you all! Now, don't all rush to jump for joy at once, but if you're hearing this, that means you've made it almost halfway. Just don't be one of the next three to die. That's quite an accomplishment you know. And you kids have to be the most fun I've had in my time on Survival of the Fittest. It's going to be quite some time before any group tops you bunch. And the best part is, most of you aren't even doing it to play to the cameras! So, without further ado, let's get to the fun bit, shall we?
The first of your number to die in the past twelve hours was Joshua Doyle, killed in an "accident" involving a ballistic knife and Kathy Clements. Just a note kids, this is why you never take the blade out if you want the victim to live. They might just explode on you. Only a few minutes later was one of the most interesting methods of murder I have ever seen, even including before I became your beloved announcer! Zachariah Johnston made a comeback, and this time he did it by forcibly hanging his fellow classmate Sean Davidson. Well, it at least appeared to be willing at first from Sean's end, but you really never know. He sure struggled a lot for a man wishing his own end! No matter which way you slice it though, Zach was the one that pushed him off the clif, rather literally at that, so the kill is credited to you.
And next... Oh, the underdog strikes again. Somehow obtaining a gun, he put a round directly between the eyes of Eloise Winterburn, ending her chances at seeing home ever again. And yet a third kill in a row, he returned to his little lover, misjudging Alicia White as a threat. She didn't last very long with the business end of a sword skewering her.
Sidney Rice was next up to perish, once again at the hands of Karen Ruiz. T'was her usual M.O, shot to death. Quick, clean, efficient. Our next death ended a lot of untapped potential, and this was one that made our statistical team break into debate. Do you credit someone with a kill when you help drive them to suicide? The final verdict was no, so Jeanette Buendia willingly walked into a danger zone, and you know what happens then. Not an hour later, halfway across the island, Skyler Thsani was beaten to death by Daniel Renard, eventually bleeding out.
Another fun death to watch! There was a massive fight between Terrilynn Boden and Vincent Sullivan, which ended with someone's windpipe being crushed with a boot. I'll give you all a hint, the one with the killcount is the one still alive.
Sometimes here on Survival of the Fittest, we live up to our name. In what could be considered worthy of a Darwin Award, David Myerez decided it would be a good idea to bull rush Karen Ruiz, and received a bullet through the stomach for his troubles. Seriously, we have the announcements for your benefit. You know who the dangers are. Don't run straight at them. And finally, our first killer of this session was also our last death. Karen Ruiz pops up once again, placing three bullets in Kathy Clements from across a bench. Only three more kills Karen. Are you good enough to step up to the challenge?
Last but not least, our Danger Zone of the afternoon! The Resort Beach is now a danger zone. Almost all of us think you kids have been there for far too long. For those of you who last until the next announcement, this is Leonardo Dhanke, signing off.
The Fifth AnnouncementEdit
It had been an interesting twelve hours to say the least. Two of the mentors had essentially gone missing since a pair of rather unexpected events. Jared had insisted that he go down to the island to escort Karen off of it, and he was still yet to return. And Dr. Millard Smith had essentially been a useless lump of flesh ever since his favorite student had eaten a shot to the face. A used detonator sat on his desk as he ran his eyes over the lists of the deaths, every single one still vivid in his mind. Each and every one; well, close to every one had been oh so much fun to watch, completely unedited. The raw footage. Just the way he liked it.
In another world, another time, Leonardo would probably have been locked up a long time ago. A sick freak, a cold blooded killer at some point in his life. Today, he was nothing but a figurehead though. A star, a target for public scorn and outcry. And he loved every moment of it.
No sense in wasting time. It was time for the announcement once again.
"Hello, to everybody that's still around to hear the sound of my voice! It's only been forty-eight hours since the fifteen of you first woke up down there on our beautiful, commandeered resort island. Enjoying the fun and the sun? Oh, what's that, fifteen you ask? Yes, there are only fifteen of you left! And congratulations to those of you who are still standing. You've endured quite a bit in the past few days, haven't you? Well, trust me, it's almost over for you, and for some more than others! Isn't it so exciting? There are so few of you left alive! Here, let me give you a little game I've been told about by one of our more vicious winners in previous seasons. By the time they got to the final five, they wandered around the island, spotting each and every body, and they spent a few minutes imagining exactly how the person died. Then, they took a look at their list of the dead and see if they got it right. Oh, the mystery, the intrigue. Isn't it so exciting kids?
"I hope you're enjoying the waves, the sun, and your newfound fame while you can. It's always the little things.
"But you don't want to hear me blather on and on, do you? No, of course you don't. You want to hear all about the last twenty one of your classmates died! That's almost one kill every half an hour, easily one of the most action packed segments we've ever seen here on Survival of the Fittest! If one of these was your doing, give yourselves a pat on the back! If not, well... We've got a little incentive for you. Don't worry, you'll understand when I'm done.
"We start off this spree of killing with an old favorite, putting another notch in her belt. Karen Ruiz gunned down Brenda Hernandez at point blank range, and then took off running across the island. In stunning contrast, our next death one one of the more touching, even if you could almost taste the tension in the air. Odile Jones put Cesar Perdomo out of his misery with a quick single gunshot.
"So, viewers at home. Do you remember this guy, that we haven't seen since the first scene now? He's back! And he... picked the wrong guy to mess with. John Benson decided he was going to play it smart, hide, stay out of the limelight. And all that effort and good rest led him to what? A crossbow bolt through the eye, courtesy of Daniel Renard. Kid, you're doing the red team good, and trust me, nobody else out there really is. You know one of your teammates let that little bastard get away with a smack to the head on the first day?
"Our first kill of the second half of the game was one born of sheer stupidity. Michael Clark decided he didn't need his head anymore, and sat around in a danger zone for a little too long. So anti-climactic, wouldn't you all agree? Well, the boring deaths didn't last for long, with Karen Ruiz getting her ninth kill of the game! That's right, another few bullets into Leopold Sutherland and that was the end of that.
"You know what I hate about this late part of the game? Gun kills get all samey after a while. Which is why I always appreciate it when someone manages one of the fun kills after the halfway point. Sterling Odair killed Jonas Jeffries with a hatchet directly to the forehead. And Vincent Sullivan continued the pattern, running Ben Grayson through with a sword. And the last of the Pink team perished with a gunshot, Glen Bole dying at the hands of Simon Porter.
"So, I hear some of you might be gamers. If so, you'll recognize this one. D-Double kill! That's right! Chelsea Roberts scored a pair of kills in relatively quick succession, beating Michael Marshall to death, and then stabbing Axel Stadler right in the neck!
"And... Well, huh. Will you look at this. Another anticlimactic moment. Karen Ruiz is being credited for this one, as Zachariah Johnston finally gave in from wounds she inflicted on him in that little altercation a while back. Can you count kids? We'll see. Natalie Chauncy was a first to our scoreboard today as well, accidentally shooting April Stone in the head. Come on kid. We all know you meant to do it. Now the question is, can you admit it to yourself?
"Ferric Tam took a hit to the head that would make an all star linebacker hurt. Of course, that hit was from a bullet, sent his way by Madelyn Connor. He sure was a smart one, so he should have known. You rarely survive strikes to the temple, much less gunshots. Bad situation to sit in. His mentor has been nearly inconsolable ever since. Tsk Tsk, Mr. Tam. Tsk Tsk.
"You know, I always love it when this happens. Axel Stadler got a kill from beyond the grave, and our femme fatale Chelsea Roberts just couldn't hold out. Sweet poetic justice, for those who care. Vincent Sullivan decided to show himself as a force in the game again, successfully gunning down Anna Hitchins over near the lake. Oh, right! Speaking of Poetic justice, we had a nice little kill back only a couple of hours ago! Jacob Langston went in a way I'm not envious of. Bobby Goldman hit him in the neck so hard with a metal rod that it actually bent around him. However, Bobby Goldman went down a few seconds later thanks to Amber Lyons, who stabbed him in the back, sending him down a flight of stairs. We'll have to get a coroner's call on what actually killed him, although my money's on the head trauma.
"So, kids, this next one is a lesson as to why you listen to what you're told by us. Jared Clayton got a kill from the winner's circle. Apparently Jhamel Thompson thought it would be a good idea to attack Karen Ruiz after she'd gotten her tenth kill, and Mr. Clayton is loyal to his team. I've heard collar detonations are not fun ways to go. Oh, and speaking of Karen Ruiz, you don't need to worry about her anymore. Oh no, she isn't dead. She's on a helicopter somewhere over Florida right now, if I had to guess. That's right, she's our ten kill winner, and she's on her way home right now. Mr. and Mrs. Ruiz, you should be proud of your daughter. She was a pleasure to have.
"And rounding out the deaths this section was another give up and die type of death. Marcus Walker fell over dead from wounds given to him by Madelyn Connor. Yes, that's your kill my dear, don't worry.
"So, if you've been keeping count, we're down to our last 15 of you. That means it's time to push you together, to keep the action going. We're only leaving five zones open right now, so listen closely. If you're in any of the following areas, you need to move, and you need to move now. The following areas are now Danger Zones. The Tar Pits, The Open Plains, The Northern Beach, The Western Beach, The Coastal Lake, The Geyser, The Ski Resort, The Forest, The Rain Forest, and The Hot Spot. Again, you must be in the The Resort Hotel, The Cruise Ship, The Docks, The Inland Lake, or The Resort Beach if you want a chance to make it until the morning.
"This is Leonardo Dhanke, as always, signing off."
The Sixth AnnouncementEdit
This game had flown by. As Leonardo prepared for the sixth announcement, he pondered that. It had been seventy-two hours since the start of everything. Three days exactly. Barely enough time for the children to start feeling serious hunger pains, given their provided rations. That was a little disappointing. Games had been longer in the past, sometimes. Then again, this one had had all sorts of motivating factors added in. The ten kill rule had been something of a joke among the producers, a way to get kids into the right mood for fireworks. They added it mostly to see what happened. Of course, there had been a few notable players from past seasons that had surpassed that mark, but such kill counts were few and far between.
Then there had been the teams. It had been a wonderful idea, one Leonardo desperately wished he could take credit for. The teams, the mixed schools, it had all come together to create a perfect stew of anger and blame and paranoia. That the remaining six students were all opposed to each other was just one more piece of delicious perfection. Leonardo didn't like everyone to die. That removed the surprise. The vast majority, though, had to go, just to keep things special for those who made it.
Leonardo hated escape seasons, of course.
No such luck this time. He cleared his throat, smiled, checked his notes (he'd been bitched out by a snotty intern about some little issues last time. Little fuck had no idea how much went into the presentation of a show like this. Leonardo would make all the errors he damn well felt like), and spoke.
"Hello, everyone. It's been seventy-two hours now. How're you feeling?
"What's that you say? My math's wrong? Last time I told you you'd only been here for forty-eight? Well, I was wrong then. How careless of me. I guess we all need a little refresher now and then. Speaking of, here's a problem for you to work through:
"Last time, there were fifteen of you left. Nine have died since then. What's fifteen minus nine?"
A pause. Let them crunch the numbers.
"That's right: five too many.
"Before we go further down that road, though, lend me your ear whilst I regale you with the names of the fallen. Or, in the vernacular for our last little Detroiter, lemme tell you whose asses got capped.
"Timothy Walker made a run on a group with superior firepower, and was shot down in flames by Mason Ross—a member of his own team. Too bad for Mr. Walker; he actually had a bit of potential before that idiotic slip up.
"Madelyn Connor strangled Brennan O'Brian, adding to her activity last time. It's never too late to start playing, kids. You may not be able to get ten—not that I doubt your viciousness, just another little mathematical fact of life now—but you can still take out the competition. The sooner they're dead, the sooner you go home.
"Mae St. Clair showed her own true colors again when she gunned down Sterling Odair. Right around that time, one of our biggest motivators, Vincent Sullivan, succumbed to the various wounds he hadn't bothered to treat. I'd like to take a moment of silence for the potential lost with Mr. Sullivan."
A five second pause ensued.
"You've got medical kits for a reason. Don't let yourselves die in boring ways. Savvy families have made some pretty killer cash on past contestants. You may not get to do what you always wanted, but, hey, how 'bout sending kid sister to college?
"Madelyn Connor continued her rampage by putting a bullet in Mae St. Clair. Such a pity for the viewers. I don't think we've seen so many costume changes in at least ten seasons. At least she left a pretty corpse.
"Finally, Mikaela Warner died when she managed to trip and fatally stab herself with her own weapon. A smooth exit for the Red Team."
Leonardo paused here to take a sip of water. The next bit couldn't be rushed.
"So that's back to the six of you. As I'm sure you've surmised, none of you have any teammates left, at least on the island. You're at the end of the game, and you've got to go it alone. No time left for playing nice now. In the interests of fairness, I'll give you the skinny on who's left.
"From Black Team, Natalie Chauncey is our dark horse finalist. Quiet throughout the game, abused by all she met, she's now wounded and wanted. Can you do it, Nate? Can you come from behind and overcome the odds? Can you possibly turn this around? Or will you fall? Will you crumble under pressure? You've killed twice now, and you're running out of time. Take what opportunities you get, or else you're surely done for.
"Shawn Morrison, the last of Gold Team, has played the hero the whole game. Massively popular with our viewers, he's lost everything that matters. Shawn, can you keep both your morality and your life? If you have to choose, which will you take? You've lost your last, dearest teammate, and you've lost most of your friends. What's left that's worth fighting for? Well, I know there's hundreds of girls back in the States ready and willing to ease your pain and erase your sorrow.
"Our remaining member of the unloved Green Team, Alexis Allwell has flown under the radar. Hunted by killers, allied with those who died by the drove, she's slid through untouched. Coincidence or cunning, Alexis? Do you have the smarts to keep yourself alive a bit longer? Do you have the guts to pull the trigger when the time comes? You can't run and hide forever, but nobody's seen you with your back against the wall yet. Come on and surprise us.
"Madelyn Connor, of the infamous Purple Team, has stepped in to pick up the slack. Tied for top remaining killer, she's been ruthless in her murders. Can you make this a sweep for your team, Madelyn, or are you going to fall short? Is your new-found willingness to kill everyone enough, or are you missing that vital spark it takes to make a clean getaway? Your team has been a favorite to win since before the game even began. Make sure you at least make it a show.
"Mason Ross, from the White Team, has shown he can work with a group. He knows his sports, but it remains to be seen if he can last in the most important game. Well, Mason? You've lost people before, but will this prove too much? Is your future bright enough for you to chase after it? Can you step it up? Which way will it swing now that there's nobody around to lead you by the hand?
"Finally, Odile Jones, our representative of Yellow Team, has been quite the showwoman. She's got kills, appeal, style, and—no, it couldn't be pangs of remorse. What's the next act, Odile? What tricks have you got left up your sleeve? Have you finally run dry? You're different, no denying it, but does that make you tough enough to deal with the rest, especially given what you've done to their friends?
"We'll find out soon. The time for the thrilling conclusion is now. You are all to proceed to the Resort Hotel with all due haste. Effective immediately, The Dock, The Inland Lake, The Resort Beach, and The Cruise Ship are danger zones. Be quick. It'd be a shame to have the finals artificially deflated, especially after such a buildup.
"Remember, for one of you, fame, fortune, and riches await. You just have to step up and claim them.
"See you at the awards ceremony, winner. The rest of you, make this one interesting."