About two hours previous, Catherine Knight had arrived on the island they had claimed was like paradise. Though the light had already begun dimming by then, from what she could tell they had not been lying. The ivory sand on the shore was warm and soft and shifted under the weight of the new arrivals. Torches were already set up in anticipation of night, and lined the way between the crystal waves and the emerald palms at the edge of the what appeared to be a forest, maybe a jungle. She stood there for few moments, unable to stop staring at the evening sun reflecting off of the shimmering water. Her fingers itched to grab paints she didn't have and sweep the scene across canvas. With that angle, it would be aqua with bits of yellow, white, and a dash of orange on that side of the peaks. The shadow would be right about there, fading out over there and a sharp end on that side.
The sound of the boat that had brought her and a few others here taking off pulled her back to reality. The boat was surely heading back to the pick up for more contestants. On the way to the island, the boat had taken so many twists and turns Cat had noted there was no way she would have been able to give directions to or from the island. She grabbed her duffel and headed down the path designated by the torches. At the end she could see a building slightly resembling a very large hut. At the end of the path Catherine started up the steps onto the wraparound porch of the building, then entering through the doors into a large lobby-like area. Immediately in front of her was a high end table with an official-looking letter lying open on it. She stepped forward and skimmed it- it was from the head of the game show, addressing the contestants. The letter congratulated them and then apologized for not being able to make the welcoming dinner that night. There were brief instructions near the bottom to find their rooms and the dining room. Following the directions and making her way to the end table near a doorway on the right, she scanned a paper lying on the table to find her name and the room letter beside it.
Warily she headed around the corner into the doorway. The lights of the hall in front of her flicked on once she took as step in, and after glancing around she continued forward. On either side were sliding wooden doors; each slightly ajar. Finding room H she pushed the door open and walked in. Any furniture was sparse- a mirror, closet with drawers in the bottom, coffee table, and a low-to-the-ground bed that looked more like a cot were spread out in the room. Most everything looked wooden, cloth, or bamboo. The walls seemed thin, like the door. Setting her bag down on the bed, Cat dug through it for a change of clothes. There wouldn't be much else to do but mill around before dinner, and while that probably wasn't a white-tie affair or even of the cocktail caliber, she felt required to put on something nicer than the tee-shirt and shorts she had worn on the plane and boat-rides for comfort. The temperature inside seemed to reflect outside's temperature- warm, and probably cooling down a little- so she pulled on a pair of dark jeans and a blue tank top with a black lace tank over.
After a while of unpacking into the closet and aimless ambling about the building and the darkening shore, the clock on the wall read the same time that night's dinner was scheduled for-nine o'clock. It was later than Cat usually ate, not to mention she hadn't eaten since breakfast before she had left home that morning, so it goes without saying she was starving. Heading to the door opposite the hall of bedrooms, she opened it, entered, and whistled lowly. From the low-rate bed and small room she had been given, she had never expected this. A good portion of the walls were wide windows that displayed the ocean surrounding the island. Glare reflected off of them from the bright lights shining down from the ceiling. The china on the table was fine, with intricate detailing. The cups, containers, and utensils were sparkling glass and metal. In the center of the table there were various vegetables, fruits, meats, and pastas. Making her way to a seat around the circular table, Cat sat down and begun studying her plate, beside herself at the designs and detail work in the stars and symbols around the edges.
Ann stretched a bit and looked around the island she was on. It was sandy, wet, and had a beautiful sunset on the horizon. She had a book in one hand. She had been reading it all throughout the trip to the island. She had brought three books with her. Day of the Triffids, Catcher in the Rye and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the last of which was the one she was currently on. Hopefully they would keep her entertained enough during the running of the show. She didn't bring any of her consoles with her (she feared them getting stolen) and the only thing she had to keep her entertain was a deck of cards. She started thinking that she should have brought her sudoku book with her but then she realized she should get going.
She followed the torches to the building. Once getting there she knocked on the doors. After a few minutes with no responce she cautiously opened the doors. After looking around for somebody she noticed the paper on the table and slowly went to check it out. She read the paper and frowned,
Seems legit. she sarcastically thought.
When she had heard about the game show it had seemed harmless enough. However, when she had been dropped off alone she had been slightly suspicious but just brushed it off as paranoia. The letter had made her a little more then suspicious. This was sounding more like a trap then anything. Suddenly she smirked inwardly as she came to a realization. This was sounding like something out of a cheesy horror movie. Clearly the people running this contest were trying to unnerve them. She had seen things like this done on a prank show. They'd bring someone into a house or something and then make this eerie atmosphere. Then they get a kick out of them screaming in terror or running out of the house. They must be doing something similar for this show, though to what end she couldn't imagine.
In any case, she would act naive of it and act scared if need be. Besides, she had no clear idea if this really was part of the plan. Maybe he really was just busy, perhaps there was something more to this show, she didn't know and at the moment she didn't care to question it further. Whatever was the case she'd find out about it eventually and there was nothing she could do about it if there was something a foot. The boat was gone and she was stuck there. There was no point to think about it other to fulfill her motto of "expect everything, assume nothing" which she did so there was nothing else to do but read until dinner.
Ann had gotten room C, threw her bag on the floor, lied down on the bed and continued reading her book. She casually glanced at her watch every now and again while reading until it was time to go. When she got to the dinning room there was already another contestant there, a girl about her age. She expressionlessly looked at her before sitting down two seats over from her right. Ann sat there in silence waiting for everyone else.
Lance Neroni was rocking back and forth on the waves, sat on a fishing-like boat, in the middle of God knows where, with the stench of rotted fish seeping up from the floorboards and a captain with a thick Scottish accent to top it all off. None of which helped to ease Lance's rather strong sense of motion sickness. His face an obvious shade of pale white. The only thing keeping him from puking up a lung was the fact that he would shortly be a part of the brand new game show. Unlike the ones he remembered watching on television in his living room, this one was the only one that Lance thought he could actually pull off winning if he got in. Of course, he would never enter in such a ridiculous contest, hoping you had the lucky to get chosen to participate to win a glorious prize. It seemed almost unreasonable to even try. But desperate times called for... well, desperate amounts of money. See, Lance's lifelong dream was to go to medical school. But coming from the modest family he had, that seemed like an equally unreasonable goal. But the more he thought about it, the more he figure that if he could get his hands on the monetary prize, it would be his golden ticket for his education.
His focus must have been rather obvious, for when the captain of the vessel turned to glance at him, he laughed a hearty laugh which Lance couldn't help but connect to what he imagined a pirate would laugh. "Strug'ln t' get your sea legs laddy? You look sicker than my dad at the sight of mums pot roast."
Lance groaned at the thought of a soupy meaty dish sloshing around in a bowl and preemptively hunched himself over the side of the boat half expecting his stomach to expunge his breakfast. Again the captain chuckled to himself. Over the edge of the boat, Lance saw a trail of flickering lights on a beachy shore. Land. Land was good. Boat bad, land good. He couldn't get off the dock fast enough. Stumbling over his feet as he rushed onto the sandy beach. Waving a half hearted farewell to the captain as his motor sputtered and chugged off back into the water. Once Lance's world stopped spinning, he found himself standing in the middle of a sort of pathway marked by torches. An airstrip along the beach. Lance half expected to get run over by an airliner for the distance the light flickered from the tiki torches.
Following the path provided, the tiki torches meandered up a small slope to a grass topped hill where a sort of Do-jo paradise cabin looked out over the ocean. The whole island had this sort of pseudo-natural look to it. Like the builders of the place had wanted to keep the natural integrity of the place but still keep it neat and manmade organised. A look that Lance quite respected. Walking inside, his attention was immediately drawn to the note on the table. Following the instructions to the letter, Lance walked down the hallway until he came upon his door: E. Stepping inside, Lance was rather pleased with the accommodations. Sure it was simple, but Lance liked simple. He let his bags down on the bed with a soft 'fwoop' and began to unpack. The walls must have been paper thin cause he could hear that one if not more of the other contestants was already there keeping themselves busy till dinner.
The rumbling in Lances stomach didn't need any help in letting him know that it was time to eat. The sickly feel of motion sickness long forgotten and replaced with a hunger for nourishment. A simple collar shirt and slacks seemed appropriate for the occasion and followed the torches to a separate building not too far away. Stepping inside was like getting warped into a whole different world. Unlike the feral, naturalistic look of the island just outside, the dining hall was elegant, refined, even royal. Tall stone pillars held up intricate wood carved arches. A finished table long enough to hold each and every contestant + 1 which on the normal occasion was reserved for the head game host. A couple of contestants were already in there seats and Lance chose to take a seat on the opposite side. Shortly there after, a few others had made their way into the room. Each eyeing the others up, each simply here to win the game, or eat. But whether the cameras were on or not, Lance knew that the games had already begun. This time was crucial. Know thy enemy as the saying always goes. Find weaknesses. Beware of strengths. Figure personalities. And figure out who you could trust.
By the looks of it, nobody wanted to touch the food first, as if it was supposed to be poisoned. But more importantly, it seemed that nobody wanted the break the silence that graced the dining hall. Shrugging, Lance grabbed a bread roll and started to tear it into little bite sized pieces he could butter. "Well, I guess somebody's got to go first." He stated, daring to break the air. "Names' Lance." He introduced himself waving a bit to the others. "So, I hear this game show is going to be the first of its kind." Lanced started attempting to make light conversation as he took a bite of his warm buttered biscuit bites.
Temero was remarkably unimpressed with the grandeur around him. Sure he'd looked around with some interest when he first stepped off the boat onto the island, but after that he'd ignored it. Adjusting to changing circumstances was important in his line of 'work' and so it came second nature to him. Instead of wasting time looking around the island and the resort or whatever the heck it was, Temero simply shoved his hands into his pockets and headed down the path, ignoring the chatter behind him as well. Upon reaching the cabin he paused for a moment to scan the area, making sure no nasty traps were lurking in wait though he didn't think they'd be trying to take out anyone when they first arrived. However who knew what was going to happen; he needed to be prepared.
Walking into room A and finding someone already there, Temero made a quiet tisking sound as he debated whether or not to press the issue. The man was giving him a rather wary look and had apparently just gotten there himself since his bag was sitting unopened on the bed. Reaching over, Temero picked up the bag and threw it into the hall, a silent challenge in his eyes. Anger flashed in the man's gaze in return but it cooled quickly and he got up, leaving the room without a word and slamming the door shut behind him, as well as a sliding door could be slammed. Temero scoffed as he threw his bag down on the bed in the same place the stranger's had been, glancing around the room to see if there was anything that could possibly be used as a weapon. Probably, if he was determined enough, but he didn't really need one considering he was a weapon himself in essence.
Unpacking didn't take very long for he hadn't brought that much and simply threw it all into the dresser drawers rather haphazardly. Neatness wasn't his style; as long as he could find things when he needed them there wasn't a problem. Finally, not seeing any purpose in lingering there and finding himself rather hungry (living on the streets didn't really provide a lot of food. He hadn't eaten since the night before honestly) Temero strode out of the room and went down to the dining hall, standing in the shadows cast by one of the pillars while he again assessed the situation. It took barely a moment to take everything in, searching for cameras and danger. He couldn't see any of either, but that didn't mean it wasn't there and he knew it. There would be no resting, no relaxing until the game was over or he was dead. Ironically, those were the same thing he realized suddenly. Whatever was coming wouldn't be easy, so Temero knew he couldn't relax at all. Letting his guard down for even a moment would no doubt get him killed.
Moving forward suddenly and taking a seat at the table just as the man who called himself Lance spoke, Temero picked up his butter knife and began toying with it, feeling a little better now that he had a weapon in his hand, even if that wasn't what it was meant for at all. "Temero," he replied gruffly. "I've heard that too, means we're guinea pigs. Means anything could go wrong." He wanted to psych them out a little, or at least see if they could be. He was willing to bet they wouldn't be so easily intimidated, but perhaps. Odd surroundings and imminent danger could do that to a person. It could either break them down or make them even stronger, one of the two. He almost felt bad about the attempt, but getting under people's skin was a specialty of his. Under their skin and in their faces, that was how he survived. Amazing the skills a person picked up while fighting for his or her life.
Cat glanced up from the entrancing designs once the guy began speaking- she had hardly even noticed the slow stream of people into the room. Scanning the seats she saw most of them were filled by people of varying ages, a good few seeming close to her own. Two seats to her right sat a girl who looked like she might have been even younger that Cat--she was pretty thin and shorter than Cat, who was around average height. Cat studied her for another moment, taking in the girl's baby blues and long ebony hair, deciding the girl was probably just like Skyla. Cat's eyes flicked away from her, moving on to scan the rest of the faces.
The boy who had started the conversation called himself Lance, and Cat vaguely wondered if he knew anyone named Jennifer. The side of her mouth quirked up at the thought. She listened to his attempt to begin conversation, but her eyes had made their way down to the piece of bread in his hands, and how he had ripped it apart to butter it rather than eat it whole or plain. He also hadn't prepared a drink or taken a sip of the water first, curious. Her eyes drew back up to his hair, blond and a mess. Was Lancelot blond? She couldn't remember, but the analogy was already made, and she knew she'd remember Lance and his buttered pieces and lack of a drink.
From the shadows another guy appeared, looking a slight bit younger than Lance, but only just. He came and joined them at the table. She noticed him take hold of the knife, and waited for him to grab at a piece of food. But he never did, he just began talking. Her mouth dropping the smirk from before, she let her eyes glance back and forth from his face to his hand. His hair was pushed back, a light brownish color. His face was one that looked like it was always thinking about something. Something bigger than anything he'd admit. Her eyes went back down to the butter knife in his hand, just sitting there idly. Cat quickly decided that he was the guy who'd start a bar fight from his words, and that she didn't like him. No, not even that. She didn't like the knife in his hand. And he wasn't one to be trusted.
Now, she could have stayed quiet. She debated doing so in her mind as she took a sip of the water that had been placed in front of her. It would be easier and simpler to just let the boys and whoever wanted to join in talk and her just listen. But whether it was her new found dislike of this man causing her to dislike his ideas as well or her actually disagreeing with them, she found herself speaking up. "Please," she said, her face turning skeptical and her eyes finding the guy's face again. "It'll just be another remake of Survivor or The Challenge, we're not guinea pigs of anything. The most that might go wrong are technical difficulties or something being stolen." Realizing she had started to lean on the table towards the conversation, she sat back against the carved-wood backing of her seat.
Ann had been playing with her fork for the last several minutes. Her mind had wandered as the various contestants entered. She noted each one as they came in and made a mental note in her mind of what they looked like and she tried to guess what kind of person they were in her mind. It was hard to tell though since most of them were nervous and nobody was talking.
Ann finally put down her fork when a guy, Lance, began talking. He seemed friendly enough. It could be a fašade but being the first to talk it seemed unlikely. Then the man Temero talked about being guinea pigs. That brought Ann fully out of her day dreaming. So, she had been correct in assuming this was a trap, unless Temero was lying. The women who had been first in the room had stated her opinion and the room had turned to murmurs.
Some contestant started whispering about their concerns about the show, others mocked Temero's claims and a few said nothing. Ann figured she should probably take charge of the situation, maybe take advantage but then again, she really didn't care. People would think whatever they thought and she didn't see the point in manipulated them. Unless, that was a part of the show? Deceit, underhandedness, was this a part of the contest? She hadn't the foggiest. The show had only stated that it was a "test of mental and physical prowess" least, that was all she had been told. She didn't want to be tricking people but, she also wanted to win. Perhaps she shouldn't do anything and let them figure things out on their own. It's not like she knew anything any ways and if she did she'd only reveal it if she felt it was vital to know. So, with that thinking, she should really say nothing.
However, she was getting annoyed from their chatter and if she didn't say anything someone else might and escalated the noise. She wasn't sure how to get their attention though. She then remembered something she saw on tv a bunch of time. She grabbed her fork and started banging it on her glass. Rather unnecessarily force full but the glass didn't break so no harm no foul. When everyone had quieted down and were looking at her she wasn't sure what to say. She cleared her throat and said,
"So... Does anybody know who our host is?" She paused and thought to add, "I've ah, never been on a game show before. I'm not sure how this is suppose to work." She lightly bit on her finger as she talked. She then reached over and grabbed some spaghetti with the tongs and put it on her plate.
Lance's efforts seemed to have paid off as the others slowly began to take part in the conversation. While it still held that reservation of a masquerade, Lance could at least take comfort in knowing that not everyone would be a fortune hunting asshole. Still, why did Lance feel like he was a bug under a magnifying glass? That's when he caught the girl Cat's eyes sizing him up. The firm features on her face analyzing him as if he was a strange new species that she'd never seen before. It was a little unnerving to say the least. But Lance shrugged it off. After all, had he not done the same thing as the contestants walked in? Still, Lance didn't like being on the other end.
The man, Temero, took a rather gloomy approach to the situation. From the looks of it, he really didn't look like he even wanted to be here. Like some family member had tried to give him a gift of getting entered into the contest but didn't want any part of it, truly living up to the expression that was given in his voice. Lance simply gazed from side to side, chuckling to himself both at the murmurs that spread across the table and the resulting response from Cat. The game show could easily be a knock off but Lance had high hopes for it.
That's when a second girl stood up. The way she tapped the crystal glass made it look like she was about to give some grandeur speech wishing everyone good luck and that whether we won or lose, we would all be winners in life. The thought of that happening alone was enough to make Lance smile a small grin, his own imagination being the only thing that could probably entertain him in this crowd. "Well, whoever this joker is, he probably doesn't care all to much about the grand opening of his own game show." Lance held no reservation in his disrespect for the host. What kind of person goes through the corporate trouble of airing a live show, gathering contestants, and hopes to hand out a million dollars and then shows no interest in being any part of it. Excused or not, you just don't not show up. "But..." Lance's voice made a turn to a praising one. "You can't beat the food.." He'd been eyeing a chicken leg rather hungrily, reaching over to grab it up and got all medieval on it taking a large chunk out of it. If nobody else wanted to eat out of coy respect, that was on them. Lance for one wasn't going to end up famished.
Drew sat back and listened to them all speak, a genuine smile upon his face and his eyes alight with healthy curiosity.
A pretty girl beside him began to flirt and he replied with a soft chuckle, his All American charm taking over even as his mind wandered away. There definitely seemed to be more then a few Alpha Dog types, even some suspiciously not so yet he doubted the network wouldn't have done just that. Every person here was probably some type of gun, some maths genius types, some super political ones or just like him, athletic and stuff. They were chosen so they would clash with each other and hate each other, form alliances and vote each other off or whatever.
Drew wasn't really into hating on other people, he'd always found it easier to be friendly. A joke or two here and there to set things off on the right foot. Unoffensive jokes, of course, ones that weren't upsetting to anyone. He'd been class President, President of his fraternity and now he was already moving up the ladder of corporate success at a rate that defied the odds. He worked hard though, that's why, he was just that kinda guy - always had been really.
He could almost hear the gnashing teeth of the little chubby guy beside him, a kinda George Kastanza type and he shrugged it off. There was little that could really rile Drew Anderson when it came down to it and he was ready and willing to take on any adventure thrown at him. Including the larger man in the flirtation of the blonde, Drew gave him a grin and a wink.
"Sure are some pretty ladies here, aren't there?" The man couldn't help but smile and Drew grinned inwardly with self-satisfaction as the blonde include George in her conversation. Sitting back he waited for things to begin.
After her comment the room broke up into murmured comments, the subject of conversation ending there. Cat reached out and took a roll from the basket near her, pausing for a moment before slicing it almost in half and buttering the inside. She finished it within a few bites, her hunger had not been forgotten. She was leaning forward for some ziti when not too far away from her, the Skyla girl began smashing her utensils against her glass. Out of habit, Cat started to open her mouth to let the girl know she needed to calm down and find another way to receive attention besides disrupting everyone's meals and that if she broke the glass she would get to pay for it when she realized where she was, and reminded herself that she had no responsibility with what happened at this dinner. She was surrounded by strangers, in a strangely beautiful room, on an island somewhere in the middle of the sea. There was no leaders or authority figures present right now, the head of the show having been unable to make it. And as the girl started to talk, it dawned on Cat that the knife-man had not been completely off. She still doubted anything serious would go wrong, but she was just starting to realize that honestly, anything could happen. Maybe not in the games specifically, but with the people here. They were all strangers. All here for different reasons, but all with the same goal of winning. And if Cat had learned anything from dealing with people, it was to expect anything.
The girl didn't have anything of importance to say, she was just trying to make conversation. She had started out rather obnoxiously, but she did raise a good point. There had been no name at the bottom of the letter in the lobby, and she hadn't seen anything in the application or lottery about the host. Doling some of the sauce-covered ziti onto her plate beside the buttered roll, she watched as Lancelot picked up the conversation. She understood his point, but once again she didn't agree. The letter had said the host had been "unavoidably detained" very ambiguously. Sketchy, but who would want to tell a bunch of strangers the reason if it was something personal? Once again, she threw in a comment, her eyes watching the guy tear into his food as if he really was a medieval knight. "You never know what might have happened that stopped him from coming. It could have been a family matter- someone getting sick, someone dying. I'm sure he wanted to be here, he is the host," Cat offered up. Somewhere over on her left she picked up bits of another conversation, just trivial titterings between two of the guys and another girl.
Temero was more amused than anything else by the miniature conversations and whispering that broke out shortly after his statement. His aim had been to unnerve and he had hit his mark, or so it would seem. True there were those who just scoffed and wrote him off, but he figured they would see. Then again his suspicion could be wrong. This game might be a completely innocent television show like it had been described and how everyone seemed to view it. But he wouldn't believe that until he walked away from it safely, that was for sure. Offering a slight glare to the woman who so tried to capture their attention with a fork and her glass (surely someone somewhere was frowning upon that one) Temero listened to her while watching flashes of light glint off the knife that was still in his hand. It was tempting to stab it into the table, but he wasn't sure if it would stay because it didn't have a point and he didn't feel like trying it only to have the thing fall over. Looking stupid was not the goal.
"Unless there's a bigger point to him not being here," he commented, hearing a complaint about the host's absence. "I doubt the network would let him just skip this, whatever the case may be. They would've been able to find someone else to stand in for him. Besides, it'll just be some actor that'll tell us the rules and simple things like that. Not really a big loss." Not to him anyway. Perhaps other people felt differently, but he didn't really care. Nor did he feel like taking part in the banal conversations around him. Instead, figuring his lack of civility in his comments would put people off anyway, he picked up a few rolls and began to eat. There wasn't any point in letting good food go to waste. From what he could pick up from the snippets of conversation there was already some flirting going around. Temero glanced at the woman who was being referred to and shrugged mentally, not caring one way or the other. He wasn't in this to find a wife, and so he didn't see much point in oogling the other sex. It would only be distracting, and that was the one thing he could not afford to be. Spying and gathering intel was much more fun.