The announcements for Second Chances V1 take place daily at 9 A.M.
Prologue written by MurderWeasel.
It was Monday afternoon, at the end of another tough year for the Juniors of Colehurst Secondary School. Finals were coming up, and projects and papers were due in many classes, but today none of that mattered. Today was a day for relaxation for the students. Nobody could quite remember the origins, but Colehurst had held an annual field trip for decades. Each class had a specific day on which it took a trip to a fun destination. Today, the Juniors were going to a theme park, to have fun with roller coasters, water slides, and junk food.
The third bus, bringing up the back of the line, was not a particularly happy place. The sweltering heat was compounded by the fact that the windows were jammed and the air conditioning was broken. The odor of sweat was building, and they'd only been driving for twenty minutes. In the back of the bus, Kiel Zigelstien was lounging, eyes half closed, hat on sideways. It was keeping sweat from dribbling down off his forehead, but he sure wasn't comfortable. He was so over junior year. With any luck, he'd be out of it soon, though a lot of that depended on his midterms next week. His grades were on edge in a few courses, and doing the whole year again because of one bad math test would be torturous. He fidgeted a little, adjusting his drawers, trying not to think about math or the heat.
It took Kiel maybe two minutes to realize that the bus had slipped out of line, taking a left turn while the others continued ahead. He waited, but the driver didn't act like anything was wrong. After waiting a few more seconds, Kiel called out, "Hey, bus driver, I think we went the wrong way."
He could feel the kids sitting next to him turning to look at him. The bus driver just glanced at the mirror, though, and then said, "We've gotta get more gas and see if we can get the AC fixed. We'll only be twenty minutes late."
Kiel considered, then sighed. Perfect. Not only was the bus an oven, they were also gonna be late. They were losing some of their precious free time, spending it stuck in the bus. Still, it was interesting to hear that they were going to refuel. Kiel realized that he had never actually seen a bus stop for gas. It was obvious that they had to do so at some point, but he'd never really given it much thought before now.
The bus looped out a ways, moving towards the outskirts of Highland Beach. Kiel wasn't timing it, but the whole process felt like it took fifteen minutes on its own, meaning that the bus driver was a dick who underestimated. Finally, the bus pulled into a small building that looked like some kind of warehouse or hanger. Kiel looked around, trying to see if there were any other buses around, but it was fairly dark.
The bus stopped, and the driver switched the engine off. The front doors opened, but the man didn't get up. Instead, four figures made their way into the bus. The door closed behind them. Kiel could see that the man in front was somewhat portly, though he moved with control and confidence. The other three, two men and a woman, were harder to discern, as they wore gas masks and combat gear. They also carried assault rifles.
"What's going on?"
The one who spoke up was the teacher who'd been assigned as their chaperon. He stood, a look of concern evident on his face.
"Just a routine inspection," the unmasked man said. "McLocke, would you take the nice man outside and address his concerns?"
One of the men in the gas masks nodded, and gestured to the teacher. The doors to the bus whooshed open once more. The teacher hesitated, then followed the man identified as McLocke outside. The doors shut, twenty seconds passed, then they reopened and McLocke stepped back inside, slipping something back into his belt.
"Any complaints?" asked the unmasked man.
"None," McLocke said. "He was a very agreeable man."
Kiel frowned. Something was clearly very, very wrong here. It was evident that the others were confused as well, but before they could say anything or make any move, the unmasked man snapped his fingers three times and began to speak.
"Pay attention, children," he said. "My name is Victor Danya, and I'm the new custodian of your little field trip. It is my terrible duty to inform you that there has been a slight change of plans. Rather than going to Water World or whatever you were supposed to be doing, you're instead being kidnapped by a terrorist organization and sent to an abandoned island. There, you will be outfitted with weapons. You will wear collars around your necks, and you will kill each other. The final survivor will be allowed to return home. Are you excited?"
The bus was silent. Danya sighed.
"Tough crowd," he said.
Kiel sat in complete silence. This man had to be kidding. This was some sort of absurd prank. Surely someone would lose their job for this. Still, everything looked real. The guns and gas masks certainly were convincing.
"What the fuck?"
Kiel wasn't quite aware that he had spoken until he registered the movement of classmates turning to look at him. Danya's eyes narrowed a little, focusing on him. All of a sudden, the bus felt more stuffy than ever.
"What was that?" Danya asked. His voice was calm and level, almost disinterested.
For just a second, Kiel considered shutting up and pretending he hadn't said anything. The class was watching him, though, and he figured maybe he could get a little respect by deflating this joke right away.
"I said, what the fuck?" he said. "This isn't funny. I bet the kids on the other buses are at the park now, and you're wasting our day with this shitty prank?"
Danya smiled, a wide, friendly smile that radiated genuine warmth.
"Come here, son," he said. Kiel again paused for a second, then stood and slowly made his way to the front of the bus.
"What's your name?" Danya asked.
"Kiel," Kiel said. "Kiel Zigelstien, sir."
All of a sudden he wasn't feeling so confident.
"Well, kids, today Kiel's teaching everyone a valuable lesson. Do you know what that lesson is?"
Nobody spoke. Danya reached forward and patted Kiel on the shoulder.
"Kiel's teaching you that sometimes the best choice is to just not say anything," Danya said, and his grip tightened on Kiel's shoulder. He jerked the boy closer to him, at the same time producing a pistol from somewhere with his left hand. Kiel only had time to start a shocked gasp before Danya tucked the muzzle under his chin and pulled the trigger, blowing out the top of Kiel's skull and producing a brief spray on blood. Danya flicked a speck of blood from his cheek, then said, "Also, don't make poor fashion choices. Wearing a hat sideways? Seriously?"
Nobody spoke. Nobody moved. The silence in the bus had become a lot heavier.
"Right then," Danya said. "Where was I?
"Oh, yes. You're going to be put on an island, wearing collars around your necks. These collars will be filled with explosives. If you try to remove them, they'll detonate. Kiel here is also teaching you approximately what that will look like. If you go somewhere I tell you not to, your collars will detonate. If you try to rebel against me, your collars will detonate.
"You will each be given supplies and a weapon. You will have to kill your classmates. Before you dramatically declare that you'd never do that, weeping tears of inspired passion, consider: only one person will survive. Why not you? Your friends, well, they'll be thinking the exact same things. If you don't think you can kill, good for you. Someone else can, and you'll just be a marker on their way home. Also, just so no one tries anything cute, if twenty-four hours pass without a death, I'll detonate all the collars, and nobody gets to go home. There are cameras all around the island, so I'll be watching. Remember, nothing funny, no smashing cameras or trying to cause trouble, or your necks explode.
"Every day, at about nine in the morning, I'll make an announcement telling you who's died and who's killed. I'll also tell you some areas where you can't go, handily enough these are called danger zones, and if you stay in them, there will be lots of lovely candy. Just kidding. You explode.
"At the end, I'll meet up with whoever comes out on top, and they'll get to go home, as long as they've killed at least one person. If they somehow haven't, well, I'll just pitch them back next game and they can try again.
"Don't bother waiting and praying for a rescue. None will come. In fact, if anyone tries to save you, I'll detonate all the collars. This means it's really in your best interest to get this wrapped up as quickly as you can.
"Any questions? No?
"Good luck then. I'll talk to everyone alive a day into this. Toodles. Hit it, Kaige."
Somewhere while Danya had been speaking, the bus driver had stood and donned a gas mask of his own. The masked woman who had entered the bus reached up and twisted something out of the students' sight, as Danya, too, pulled on a mask. A hissing filled the bus, as gas poured through the air conditioning system, which now seemed perfectly operational.
Quickly, the students succumbed to the gas, slumping over and passing out. When next they opened their eyes, they would be in the game.
The First AnnouncementEdit
Day Two (June 19, 2012): 9:00 AMWeather: Sunny, moderately warm, with a brief overcast spell at around 3:00 PM that produces no rain. Tonight is the new moon.
Things were getting rolling a little slowly, but that was okay. Danya was not always a patient man, but he appreciated that it could take some time for the constraints of society to fall away entirely. What followed was to be Danya's next little role in expediting the process. There had been a few kills already. Now, it was time to share that information with the survivors. That, in turn would escalate tensions and make things roll along more smoothly.
Besides, this was a great chance to try out some new jokes.
With a grin, Danya flipped a switch, activating the speakers hidden all over the island. As he spoke, his voice boomed out loud and clear, addressing all the students.
"Good morning, kiddies. You've all survived your first night away from home. Isn't this just the vacation you've always dreamed of? Well, those of you who are still alive, that is. Yes, that's right—not everyone has been so lucky.
"The very first death was Craig Hoyle. Our largest fan of super heroes met his end at the hands of Maria Graham, showing that no matter how many comics you read, you'll never be faster than a speeding bullet.
"Next up, Sidney Rice kicked the bucket after tangling with Anthony Rollins. Ms. Rice made a pest of her belligerent little self to a few people on the island. The funny thing is, the girl she'd almost fought to the death earlier was right next to the boy who spelled her doom, but I'm pretty sure Rice never noticed. What a disappointment. I was looking forward to seeing some frontier cowboy action from y'all, Rice.
"Adding to our chain of shootings, Maria Graham bit the bullet and the dust. I hope she was following the golden rule in her actions towards Mr. Hoyle earlier, because she certainly received the same treatment she dished out. Oh, right, her murderer was Martin Lovett. Almost forgot to share that with you."
Danya took a deep breath, cleared his throat, and then gave a passable attempt at singing.
"Bang bang Adam's lous'ville slugger came down upon his head. Bang bang Adam's lous'ville slugger made sure that he was dead."
Danya's voice suddenly returned to its usual, mildly jovial tone.
"Our last death was Quincy Archer, fatally bludgeoned with a baseball bat by Adam Reeves. That was probably one of the messiest of the day. Kudos for giving us a show, to Mr. Reeves and to the other killers, except the dead one.
"I'll be checking back in twenty-four hours. I hope you've realized that the only way out is through your thirty-one surviving classmates. Oh, and before I forget, keep away from The Inland Lake and The Eastern Shore for the next day. Those are the danger zones I was telling you about. Remember, linger and your necks explode. It'll be messy and painful.
"Later. Try not to die too quickly."
The Second AnnouncementEdit
Day Three (June 20, 2012): 9:00 AM
Weather: Sunny, slightly warmer than the day before until about 4:00 PM. At that point, the weather begins to cool down, with clouds rolling in. No rain, but overcast in the evening and through the night until the next morning. Tonight is the night after the new moon.
This was more like it. The death rate had more than doubled on the second day. It pleased Danya that things were rolling along so smoothly. The paranoia and the need to survive were doing a good job on the batch that had been nabbed. In fact, Danya suspected that the past twenty-four hours would end up the high point of the game in terms of sheer number of deaths. The really weak kids had been weeded out, meaning the ones left over would be likely to play it a little safer. That was alright. It wouldn't be any good at all if things started winding down too quickly.
Now, it was time to share these pieces of information with the survivors on the island. Danya took a drink of water, stretched, yawned widely, then flicked a switch and began his broadcast.
"Good morning, kids. I hope those of you who are still alive had a nice, restful night. You'll need all your energy if you're going to avoid being killed today, and that's not even touching on those of you who'll be out there doing the killing. And, from what I've seen, a lot of you will fall into the latter category.
"Yes, that's right: you guys made yesterday look like a warm up round. Here's the score for the past day:
"Later on, Paige Strand decided to try her hand at murder, blowing a hole in Aileen Borden even as Aileen tried to help her. Well, there can only be one in the end, right, Ms. Strand? Why not a girl with terrible aim, poor impulse control, and no conscience?
"Shortly after that, some people decided that it'd be a great idea to play around in a danger zone. Harold Smythe managed to stick around long enough to explode, but not before he beat Simon Fletcher to death and threw a grenade which took Corrina Landrey out of the equation. It was probably the most, ahem, explosive incident yet.
"Following up on the stupidity bandwagon, Nick Simmons tripped off the helipad and got stabbed through with a beam. I think that's probably the most pathetic thing I've ever seen.
"With that out of the way, it's time to tell you where to stay away from to not explode like Smythe. I feel like you kids have been getting a bit too comfortable in your homes away from home, so I want you to stay out of The Lighthouse, The Mall, The Makeshift Hospital, The Resort Hotel and The Ruined Mansion for the next twenty-four hours. Enjoy the wilderness. Live a little before you die. The beach and the lake are open again, so try spending some time by the water.
"Have a good one, kids. Talk to some of you tomorrow."
Day Four (June 21, 2012): 9:00 AM
Weather: The coolest day yet. While not exactly cold, things are definitely a bit chillier. The sky is overcast, lightly at first, but as the day progresses it gets more so. By 3:00 PM, rain has begun to fall. Sporadic, light-to-moderate showers continue until around 6:30 PM, at which point things clear up a little more. The sky is clear tonight. Tonight is two nights after the new moon.
Another day, another set of deaths. The progress was steady. In fact, things could already be said to be winding down. Nearly two thirds of the students had been eliminated, and it seemed as though the more aggressive members of the competition weren't planning on slowing their pace any. Danya was already starting to consider how things could be handled from here out. He suspected it wouldn't be more than three more days, at the absolute most. It was possible that everything would even end in the next twenty-four hours, but that seemed improbable, given how the violence had slowed in the last day.
It wasn't that important. Everything would end, one way or another. He'd even blow all the collars if he had to. He doubted it would be necessary, but there was always the chance the final handful would decide to drag their heels. Well, there'd be time to worry about that as it got closer. It wasn't like he had some particular emotional investment in seeing one of the kids actually survive.
Danya yawned, stretched, and leaned forward, ready to start the broadcast for the day.
"Good morning, kids," he said. "It's been another busy day for all of you. I hope you realize how privileged you are to still be around. It's like you're a little club, one with only fourteen members. Yes, that's right: only fourteen of you are still alive. Chins up, though. Your chances of surviving are increasing with every kill.
"After that, two of our resident wannabe survivors faced off. It was a close call, but Jennifer Steinman beat out Paige Strand for the title of surviving amoral-freak-girl. Or, well, one of a few, now that I think about it. After all, April Stone also got another mark to her name, shooting dead Augustus "Dougal" MacDougal. I mean, technically the fall probably finished him off, but she gave gravity a good assist.
"Lyn Burbank collapsed and bled to death, courtesy of a parting shot inflicted by Carol Burke, a friend of Ms. Burbank's victim from before. Nice one, Ms. Burke. Dead is dead, regardless of whether you stick around to see your handiwork. I admire the ability to take a long view instead of going for instant gratification.
"Jennifer Steinman showed up once again, managing to stab Anthony Rollins to death with a machete. I just have to say, that's gotta hurt. You kids would be a lot less brutal if you took the time to figure out how your weapons are actually supposed to be used. Never change.
"It's supposed to rain today, so I suggest you find some shelter. Specifically, I recommend you go somewhere besides The Lookout Tower, The Eastern Shore, The Makeshift Hospital, The Helipad, The Ruined Mansion, and The Inland Lake. For those who are a bit slow writing things down, I'll sum up: You're allowed in The Mall, The Jungle, The Resort Hotel, and The Lighthouse.
"Enjoy your time. Do some shopping. Visit the spa. Nobody likes an ugly corpse.
"I'll talk to some of you later. Good luck."
Day Five (June 22, 2012): 9:00 AM
Weather: Today is bright, sunny, and clear, but it is not hot. In fact, the air retains a bit of a chill, and humidity is fairly high. There's a notable breeze throughout the day. Tonight is three nights after the new moon.
It was almost over. Danya had half hoped that the kids would manage to wrap things up enough to bring everything to a close with this announcement, but it hadn't worked out that way. Too bad. Now, there were so few left that he'd have to heard them together. There was also the risk that they'd all kill each other in one big firefight. That wouldn't be good, not at this stage. Everything had been building towards a conclusion with a bit of drama to it, and he wanted to see that potential fulfilled. He already had some ideas as to how to go about that.
Whatever the case, it was time to give the kids an update and let them figure out just how close to home free they were. Some of the bigger contenders had gone out, but that didn't bother Danya. If anything, the ones who had snapped earlier had lacked some of the strategy and drive necessary to actually pull through, getting too bogged down in their own brutality. The ones who were left were the clever and the strong and the lucky, and they would make for quite a show indeed.
He gave a little smirk and then began to address the survivors.
"Good morning, kids," he said. "Did you know, there are less than ten of you left alive? I know, I know, it surprised me too. In fact, you managed to halve your numbers since last we spoke. Well done. I am truly impressed.
"Of course, that won't help six of you. Still, the odds are improving every day, aren't they? I bet you can almost smell home.
"Well, here's some information on who to watch out for, to help you make it there.
"After that, Nichole Campbell managed to get herself trapped in a danger zone and exploded. You kids keep doing that for some reason. You won't blow up any less just because you're the fourth or fifth to prance around where I told you not to.
"Adam Reeves met his fate at the hands of Nick Reid, with an assist going to some unexploded ordnance left in the jungle. This is one of the many reasons war is such a tragedy, you see. All that junk lying around could lead to somebody getting seriously hurt. Well, I mean, same goes for gunfights and such, and there was one of those beforehand. Still. Think of the wildlife.
"Shortly afterwards, Jennifer Steinman gunned down Keira MacDonald and Charlene Norris. She'd only celebrated for a short while before Nick Reid turned up. It seems like he's making a bit of a habit of going after troublemakers, since Jennifer Steinman is no more because of his efforts.
"With that, we're nearly done. All of yesterday's danger zones remain in effect, but I'm also adding The Mall and The Lighthouse to the list. That means if you're not in the jungle or the hotel, you're dead. Nobody wants that. Well, okay, almost everybody wants that, but if you don't, you'd better watch where you step. I'll talk with everyone left pretty soon to tell you how we're gonna bring this party to a close. Until then, don't do anything I wouldn't."
Day Six (June 23, 2012): 9:00 AM
Weather: Today is chillier again, with hints of the previous gloom returning. A few wispy clouds hang over the island in the early parts of the day, though they do not block out the sun. The breeze has largely died down, and humidity remains quite high. There's a notable breeze throughout the day. Tonight is four nights after the new moon.
After five days of fighting, numerous deaths, and quite a few moments that had left even Danya a little bit baffled, the game had finally reached its end stages. Only four students remained alive. It was an interesting mix, and not one Danya would have bet on earlier on in the game. Some of them had fought hard, while others seemed to have made it through primarily by being lucky and passive. None of the most crazed and violent had made it, which was a bit of a disappointment but not too much of a surprise.
It didn't matter. Danya was sure those left would make a very good showing for themselves indeed. Many of them were connected, which he was sure would make for some excellent drama.
Now, it was just down to giving them that final little push. He knew just how to do it. He thumbed the switch, smiling as he prepared to launch into his speech.
"Good morning, kids," he said. "This is the last one that three of you will be seeing. It's down to the final four, and that means we're going to bring this little adventure to a close. Who'll still be standing when the dust clears? Well, me, of course, but also one of you. Each of you now has a one-in-four chance of being that lucky survivor. The rest of you will be dead.
"But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let me tell you who won't be attending the party.
"David Jackson went the wrong way and took a tumble down a treacherous slope. Nobody came by to help him, so the head trauma got the better of him.
"Following the trend of needing to watch where you step, Carol Burke found an active landmine and exploded. I told you to watch out for those mines, didn't I?"
Danya paused for a moment, seemingly lost in thought.
"You know, maybe I didn't. Whoops. There are mines in the forest. Watch out for those.
"Now, it wouldn't be fun if I didn't say who all is left. Take notes, kids. This is who you have to kill to go home.
"Glen Bole, you've stumbled around the island a lot, but what have you actually done? I mean, besides watching your allies die left and right while you twiddled your thumbs. Was that your genius plan? If so, it's paid off. I'm more inclined to say you're just clueless and lucky, though. This is your chance to prove me wrong, because otherwise you'll be worm food in the next day.
"Karl Chalmers, you say you've been hunting dangerous people, but you've kind of been shown up on that front. Well, everyone left now is a threat to you, since you're going to die if they don't. Does that make it self defense? Who cares? I think you might just have what it takes to get through this, but you'll have to try for it. Don't wimp out on me now.
"Nick Reid, you're the only one here with a bigger body count than Mr. Chalmers. You know you can fight, and you've done a lot, but can you hold yourself together for a little bit longer? I'll be watching with a lot of interest. How will you do now that you may have to fight people who aren't coming after you?
"Megan Jacobson, you and Mr. Bole have a lot in common, especially the part where you both bumble around acting like this is a party. I've seen the cracks, though. Is there a vicious killer lurking in there?
"There doesn't have to be. We just need a little killer who gets off her ass long enough to cap one of the others. You can do it.
"With that out of the way, I want you all to get to the final arena as quickly as possible. You all get to fight to death in The Mall. I know it's most of your very favorite place to be. Sorry, Mr. Chalmers, you got outvoted on this one.
"Get there as quickly as you can, because I'm not feeling very patient, and that makes me want to push buttons and blow people up. No reason to risk that when your odds are so good.
"I'll see one of you soon. Remember, you've gotta kill someone if you want to go home. Don't make this all a waste. Ta ta."