Total Drama Outrage
Chapter 20: The Grand Fiasco
Outside the new location of the Brig
All the former contestants not competing had been relegated safely to the Killer Food Poisoning Restaurant and Chris had finished playing shenanigans with the viewing audience so he could finally get back to introducing the upcoming challenge. "Just had to make a cliffhanger," he explained to the confused contestants who had just watched him speak to thin air. "It makes for absolutely killer ratings if you know what I mean, apart from the people who smash their televisions in rage, obviously they can't watch. Anyway, for the purpose of this challenge the Brig has been converted into an absolute death trap, well more of a death trap than it was before anyway. Despite Heidi and Matthew's rather pessimistic musings on our chances of recapturing the muskrats, a large number of them have in fact been rounded up by Chef and have been let loose inside the Brig." The fact that Chef himself hadn't made an appearance probably said something about just how hard it had been to capture even one muskrat.
"Am I supposed to fear these beasts?" asked Donovan with a sneer, "I had hoped to prove myself more than a match for those furry demons that so easily beat the final three. It is good to know I shall get the chance but I had hoped for a greater challenge."
"Ha! As if that's all that we've put in there," Chris assured him, "you'll be faced with booby traps and pitch darkness while you're in there and that's not all. Many of our former contestants have assisted, AKA we've stolen their stuff, in setting up our defences. You can bet on finding Larry's robots, out of his control of course, Maria's android, Everett's insane security systems, Sandra's chemical nightmares, Stacey's demented police equipment, I swear the girl packed a spike strip with her belongings, beats me how she figured there'd be a need to stop traffic out here and Cynthia's weaponised cane is being wielded by something in there."
"It's Sasquatchanakwa right? Or the grizzly bear? Or both of them shackled together?" guessed Billy in rapid succession. Chris wasn't giving anything away though because he just shook his head and laughed in response.
"You'll find out my friends, you'll find out soon enough. But speaking of grizzly bears, I should also mention that some of our local wildlife has been moved into the Brig as well. Let's hope they enjoy their new home. Oh and there might be some interns armed with paintball guns in there, depends on whether all the other stuff kills them off well before you even reach them."
"Question, how the hell have you moved all of that stuff into the Brig with all of us standing right here watching?" asked Heidi, "do you have like a massive invisibility cloak or something. Because it's sort of hard to transport a small zoo into a shipwreck without someone noticing, I mean unless we all have really bad eyesight or something."
"Hello, there's the whole other side of the hull you can't see? Full of holes and everything just like this side, I just let a few interns wander in on the side you guys can see or else the full surprise would be ruined. Though an invisibility cloak would be nice, I'll see what I can do to get it into next season's budget. Enough theorising and hypothesising for today though, I've told you what's going to be in there trying to stop you, now I better explain what you'll be doing in there in the first place. Apart from all the horrific obstacles we've put in there, you'll find these flags," he paused to hold up the orange and gold flag decorated with green dollar signs he was talking about, "as well. There are dozens of the things scattered around in there and your objective is to collect as many as possible. The contestant who leaves the Brig and presents me with the greatest number of flags will win the challenge. You can leave at any time you want with the flags you've found but you can't go back in after you've left so make sure you find as many flags as possible before living to give yourself the best chance of winning."
"So it's like capture the flag, only with heaps of flags?" asked Matthew, "oh and the flags are all the same colour and all the attackers aren't on the same team but the defenders are and_"
"It's starting sound a bit like it isn't like capture the flag at all," pointed out Lauren, "maybe you should rethink that idea a little. The defenders might not be working together either, how do we know that the muskrats aren't going to start mauling Larry's robots instead?"
"Don't mention it," groaned Larry, "my creations are going to be pointlessly destroyed all over again. I don't know why I bother building the things if all Chris does is break them as parts of his demented challenges. Now I'm being forced to fight my own robots."
"Relax, with my tactical and stealth expertise we probably won't even run into so much as a flea with me in charge," bragged Isaac, who had apparently once again forgotten who the actual competitors were in this challenge and was pointing enthusiastically at the Brig giving instructions. "We'll let the other team go in first and make a huge racket drawing all the fire and then_"
"Why don't you just write your plan down and hand it to us?" asked Heidi sweetly, "it'll save us all the hassle of listening while you loudly discuss it. Wolf probably has a dozen better plans already, right Wolfy?" The girl barked in agreement and pointed at the Brig before making a long series of unintelligible noises.
"Is she… imitating me!?" demanded Isaac suddenly, deciding that her actions looked a lot like what he'd been doing. "That's so rude; who does she think she is? I don't imitate her whenever she says something. I mean she doesn't say anything but you know what I mean."
"If the meaning is that you are an imbecile, than yes, I know what you mean," agreed Donovan coldly. "Such foolishness, you should know that Wolf does not have the capacity to imitate your nonsensical drivel of a plan. Though with all things being considered I will say that being incapable of understanding such rubbish does her no great disservice in my eyes, it's more of an advantage." No sooner had Donovan finished speaking did Wolf move to stand next to him, stretch up to her full height, point at Isaac and start growling threateningly in his direction in a clear imitation of Donovan. Everyone other than Donovan himself found that terribly amusing, even Chris couldn't help cracking a smile.
"Would you look at that Donovan, you just got outsmarted by a girl who thinks she's dog, how's that for a highlight of your time on the island?" he asked with a grin. "Enough of that though, we've got a grand finale_"
"More like a grand fiasco," interrupted Matthew with a quiet snigger.
"_ to run here so I'd like to get on with it if that's at all possible. Or we could just open up the floor for comedy hour and Wolf could impersonate everyone while we laugh our heads off. Geez, I wish you people would take this seriously."
"Listening to Wolf impersonate everyone wasn't a serious option?" asked Lauren, sounding thoroughly disappointed, "Oh, I liked that idea much better than going into that spooky enemy infested Brig."
"Why do I even bother?" wondered Chris, not for the first time that day he was getting rather tired of the way the contestants were behaving. Then again, after what they had to put up with during this season mildly annoying Chris was nothing. "Around on the other side of the ship the interns have marked out the two convenient entrances you will be using. Matthew, you're using Entrance A and Heidi is using Entrance B, AKA the one for soulless people. The preparations in there are just about done so in a minute I'll let you head over there and wait outside your team's entrance. Do not enter the Brig until Air Horn of Endings has been sounded. You will know what it sounds like because it'll be the only air horn you hear ok? If you're still inside the Brig when the second air horn sounds, that's your cue to immediately depart the ship for the final count of flags if you haven't already left. If you are incapable of leaving Chef will be sent in to retrieve you while I watch and laugh at your debilitating injuries. Have I mentioned how much I love this job?"
"Yes, several times," said Billy, "we're all getting kind of sick of hearing about it to be honest. Tell some interesting stories why don't you? The whole Doctor Evil routine is getting tiresome."
"My stories are getting tiresome, this coming from the biggest compulsive liar of a windbag on the face of the planet," complained Chris. "If you people are going to insist on being so insulting I'll send you off now. Head around to the other side of the ship and wait outside your assigned entrances, go on, scram!" Chris waited until the eight campers who would be facing the Brig had walked out of sight before he turned back to address the cameras. This time he was talking to the watching former contestants instead of the audience though. "And as for you losers watching this from the Killer Food Poisoning, get ready because this is going to be one heck of a show!"
Everett: Show, something that must be physically seen with your eyes or some sort of demonstration of something. Not looking forward to watching this, it sounds like all my paranoid nightmares rolled into one horrifying bundle of insanity. Only difference is that this is taking place on a fishing trawler rather than alien spacecraft, the other stuff is mostly there, ugh robots! Oh and those muskrats are clearly were-beasts, that's the only explanation for their human intelligence. I know these things; people should listen to me more often.
Sandra: Is it too much to hope that some huge battle takes place in there and just destroys the whole Brig so Chris can't trap anyone in there ever again? I can't believe how close we came to sinking back there, if Chris had waited just a few more hours there wouldn't have been a Brig left airlift. We'd have been desperately paddling around in life rafts in the best case scenario. You know what happens in the worst case scenario; Donovan gives us a huge lecture on weakness. What did you think I was going to say?
Chance: Certainly not disappointed to miss out on taking part in this challenge, two clashes with Larry's robots were more than enough for me thank you very much. It's much better to sit back in the restaurant and just manage the betting pool. Shame Chris didn't provide any food though, we'll have to see what we can loot out of the kitchens before the entertainment starts up.
Stacey: I'll be watching those screens like a hawk and recording every single legal infraction I witness to add to the massive list. Once I get off this crackpot island and I can present my evidence to the nearest authorities so they can lock that lunatic Chris Mclean in prison and then_ the camera cuts off to save the audience from another long legal rant about the meaning of truth and justice and following the law.
Marshall: Was Stacey in here again threatening to get Chris Mclean arrested? Because she doesn't seem to have noticed that judging by the fact everything loony that he does on this island is broadcasted on international television so the idea of collecting secret evidence is ridiculous. All of this is covered by those darn contracts we have sign before we set foot on the island, don't ask me how but a couple of signatures make everything that takes place entirely legal. You'd think Stacey would have at least tried to read the contract being a supposed expert on legal matters.
Alice: I wonder why Chris didn't mention any of my mystical supplies of crystals and incense as part of the obstacles? I accidentally stood on some of my crystals once and it really hurt my foot, I had no idea they were so sharp. Then again they were a lot cheaper than the polished smooth ones so they were still a bargain. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah the final challenge! I've already seen the outcome with my psychic powers but I can't tell you about it. If I reveal the future large atrocities unfold randomly engulfing Newfoundland within iterations from now, very soon in fact. Don't tell anyone though, because it's kind of scary when you think about it.
Maria: Great, I should have known Chris would have nicked the awesome android I made to use in another one of his challenges. This time I don't even get to control it though, what a rip off! Lucky I don't mass produce machines like Larry does or else I'd have given Chris a whole army of Mariandroids. Yep, I'm using Everett's term; it's kind of cool when I think about it. Speaking of Everett, its lucky Heidi didn't bring him aboard the Brig for this challenge because he already has enough problems without running into my robot again, the first time was ridiculous enough. Who fights robots with a handful of Fruit Loops?
Cynthia: Who does Chris think he is making us all sit in some subpar restaurant staring at a bunch of flat screens like a bunch of commoners going to the movie theatre? I should have received my own private screening somewhere far more civilised, and why would I want to watch someone else win the money that should have been mine anyway? You play the game properly only for two imbeciles to make it the finale instead, what is this world coming to?
Everett: THE END IS NIGH! Sorry, just overheard Cynthia asking what the world was coming to so I thought I'd pop back in and answer after she was finished. Oh, I need a definition or else I'll lose purpose and slip into nothingness. Nothingness, a place which there is nothing or else very little to observe, can be in relation to darkness obscuring vision, e.g. he vanished into nothingness. Sorry about that, someone at the hospital told me to only say things that have real meanings so I have to define stuff when I speak. I think that's what they meant anyway, they couldn't have been telling me to stop talking about aliens and monsters could they?
At the other side of The Brig Waiting for Entry
Despite the fact that Chris had assured them that preparations were all nearly over, the two teams had been waiting outside their respective entrances for ages without hearing so much as whisper. That was all well and good for Donovan who could just stand still and stare at nothing for hours on end but the rest of them were rather annoyed by the delay. Wolf in particular was excitedly hopping around and had to be repeatedly stopped from running straight into the Brig. Behaviour that elicited glares from Isaac who was sure the other team was trying to cheat their way into a head start.
"That Wolf is trouble alright," he warned him teammates grimly, "that's five times she's tried to sneak into the Brig already. The place is a death trap; she must be insanely brave to want to rush in there alone if you ask me. Brave or not, she had better not cheat because I've got my eyes on her after that whole imitation fiasco. The rudeness of it!"
"Oh relax why don't you?" asked Matthew, waving his hands dismissively in Wolf's direction. "She's mostly harmless and I wouldn't count it as cheating anyway since she probably doesn't understand the rules in the first place, we can't blame her for breaking them."
"The last person who said she didn't know something ended up looking like a fool you know," pointed out Larry absently while he tinkered away with some electronic parts. At least the long wait was of use to someone. "I'd be careful discussing what Wolf can and can't understand, she's a lot smarter than you'd think."
"Hold on there, don't make presumptions about my thoughts," interrupted Billy, "because I think of a lot of different things. I've probably hypothesised every possible outcome of us entering that ship in my head. I'm just eliminated the least likely ones as we speak."
"Knowing you that'll be all of them," cracked Matthew, "so you can save the time and just forget all of them. The King of Atlantis is not going to be on that ship, or anywhere else for that matter because Atlantis was just a story!"
"Nonsense, I'm planning a diving expedition just next week to find it," bragged Billy, "then we'll see how much of a story it is." We likely wouldn't since Billy strapping on some scuba gear and swimming around a reef would hardly warrant a mention on the news unless it was to point out how ridiculous he was being. Then again at least that conversation was sort of new, back at the other entrance Donovan was up to his old spiel about weakness.
"Chris is forcing us to wait in an effort to mentally break us with the sheer apprehension of what is about to come. If he sees us fidgeting and nervously chatting like the other team he will believe has one and think all of us weak. You must all fall silent and join me in contemplation of the universe so we can prove we are stronger than his mind games," Donovan lectured his thoroughly uninterested teammates.
"Geez Donovan not everything is a test you know, sometimes the scheduling just fails to account for how long it actually takes to set up the stuff out of Mclean's twisted dreams," insisted Heidi, "the challenge hasn't started yet because it's not ready to start."
"Maybe Donovan just went to a really hard school where they sprung surprise tests on him all the time? Well not all the time because then it wouldn't be a surprise," reasoned Lauren, "just enough of the time to make him paranoid enough to start thinking everything is a test or a mind game."
"No, I did not go to one of your schools for fools," scoffed Donovan, "I was taught everything I needed to know by my family and other members of the community. Sending me to some infernal prison all week would have no benefit for me."
"Yeah, but I kind of think it had a lot of benefit to all the kids who didn't have to go to school with you and get constantly harassed about becoming stronger," pointed out Heidi, "and I'd feel sorry for the teachers trying to give you instructions since you'd just sit there and question everything they said. 'Why should I do maths, it doesn't make me stronger!'"
"You are right that I see little point in knowing how to crunch arcane series of unintelligible symbols and numbers into a supposedly correct answer," Donovan told her, "learning such arts only proves as a distraction, sharpening your mind in one direction but blunting it in many others."
"And there you go proving my point, I think it must have been a good thing that you didn't go to school, no one should have to put with listening to stuff like that every day of the week, even if they do get paid for it."
An earth shatteringly loud blast of an air horn interrupted any further conversation between the contestants as most of them felt it necessary to clap their hands over their ears in abject agony. Wolf on the other hand was off like a shot, using the distraction of her teammates to bolt straight into the Brig before anyone thought to stop her. Bizarrely, Donovan just nodded in approval, apparently being a fan of getting a head start and ran in after the wild girl, leaving a shocked Lauren and Heidi still outside staring after them. Even if the whole team hadn't entered that was more than enough to convince Isaac that they were still trying to cheat by getting a head start, despite the fact the challenge had legitimately started, so he broke into a run as well, leaving his teammates behind to dash into the dark opening in the hull of the Brig alone.
"What the hell kind of survivalist runs into a dark ship wreck alone?" demanded Matthew furiously, "and how dare he steal the thunder of my barbarian charge! Come on you two, it's time to mount a rescue attempt already!" Matthew ran off after Isaac but Billy was the only one who followed his haste, Larry just hung back and strolled casually towards the entrance, rolling his eyes as he continued to tinker with electronics.
"People these days," he muttered, "always in a rush to get to places they don't even need to be. Why the hurry, it's just one more nightmare we have to deal with anyway." He looked up and offered a wave to Heidi and Lauren who were still standing frozen outside their entrance before he too vanished into the dark depths of the Brig.
"I think we might be just a touch behind schedule now that I think about it," offered Lauren, finally breaking the silence that fallen between her and Heidi. "Do you think Chris suspected that everyone would just split up and run around willy nilly? " Heidi just groaned, choosing to ignore her question in favour of talking about something else.
"I should have been keeping a better eye on Wolf! I totally forgot that loud noises alarmed her like that. This is all my fault and now she's running around in there alone with only Donovan to look after her, Donovan! He's pretty much evil incarnate, he can't protect anyone; it goes against his whacko philosophy. We've got to get in there and find her right now ok?"
"In my experience standing around talking about things we need to be doing now is rather counter-productive_ hey!" Heidi had already dashed off, perhaps wisely before Lauren had finished speaking. The artistic girl just gave a 'what the heck' shrug and entered the Brig after her. "What's the worst that could happen in here?"
Inside The Ship of Horrors AKA The Brig
Despite only plunging into the Brig a matter of seconds after Wolf, Donovan had still completely lost her in the dark maze of water slicked hallways. That didn't bother him much since he preferred to work alone anyway but he was slightly annoyed that Wolf might disturb any obstacles before he got a chance to test himself against them. Though even if he was currently working alone, he certainly wasn't being left alone by the new inhabitants of the Brig. Chattering and scratching noises echoed ominously out of the darkness, scurried footsteps seemed to run right behind him before vanishing without their source showing itself. If this fazed Donovan he didn't show it, he merely kept walking until he found a small storage room and calmly entered it. Once inside he pressed his back against the wall and glared out at the doorway issuing a challenge to anyone who dared follow him in. Within seconds, luminous eyes were peering at him from the entrance and Donovan surged forward to confront them.
"This is your end fools!" he cried, reaching the doorway and aiming a mighty kick in the direction of the glowing eyes his foot connecting with massive force and… they promptly cannoned down the hallway, bouncing of walls since they'd only been luminescent tennis balls the whole time. With a ferocious hiss, the actual gang of muskrats dropped from the ceiling overhead to land all over Donovan. The hulking boy immediately lost his composure in the face of this sudden assault and started flailing his arms around madly, trying to get the furry demons away from him. He eventually settled on throwing himself forcibly to the ground and rolling several metres down the hallway in an attempt to lose them. It seemed to work because they all bounded off him and scurried off further down the hallway to vanish into the darkness. As if to make for his earlier panic, Donovan was immediately back on his feet and running after them, only to blunder straight throw a tripwire and get doused with ice cold water. He stopped running and froze in the hallway, shivering both with cold and pure anger that was coursing through him.
Meanwhile, back at Entrance B, Lauren and Heidi found Wolf patiently waiting for them just inside, the girl hadn't even gone round a single corner, much to the relief of the Heidi who blamed herself for letting the girl run off. "I'm so glad we found Wolf safe, where the hell is Donovan though? Didn't he run in right past you Wolfy?" The girl shrugged and pointed in some random direction, indicating that she had no idea where Donovan was now. Not that it remained a secret for very long, since the boy's enraged voice was soon rumbling throughout the hallways.
"I told you those things were pure evil," insisted Heidi, "look they've even beaten Donovan this time around, how insane is that? You'd think a giant like him could take down a few furry rodents but no they'll be running rings around him and_" Wolf suddenly dropped down into a crouch and started snarling threateningly into the darkness ahead. "Oh no, Wolf can sense them, they're coming this way too!"
"Are sure she just hasn't heard that horrible clanking noise of some sort of robot approaching us?" asked Lauren, sounding completely calm despite the subject matter of her words. "Because even I can hear that and I'm not sure my senses aren't nearly as well-honed as Wolf's." Heidi paused to listen as well and finally now that she'd stop speaking herself, she could the repeated thudding sound of something heavy heading towards them, getting closer and closer.
"You're right! There is a dirty great robot prowling right towards us! Wolf, use your enhanced senses to lead us away from danger!" Wolf barked happily and was glad to comply, haring off around the corner with Heidi hot on her tail. Unfortunately Lauren wasn't because the girl had chosen that exact moment to fall away into a daydream and hadn't even noticed their departure. In fact the only thing that startled her out of her daydream with a metallic figure stomped right up in front of her in a very threatening manner. Not all concerned by this, she just looked up at the robot and said; "hello there Everett. Or Robo Everett, I didn't know Larry had made robotic copies of certain campers. That's rather interesting; did you know I was just thinking about what it'd be like to be a robot? They can process things much faster than humans don't you know?" The robot stared at her with what could only be called confusion before it finally replied in a grating electronic voice.
"I am Everett. Trust No One!"
"Oh the X-Files, that's a good show isn't it, are you programmed with lines from that?" The robot seemed to process this for a long time before the words;
"The Truth is Out There," blared out of its speakers, confirming that it did in fact know X- Files lines.
"I want to believe," replied Lauren randomly and to her astonishment to robot took a step backwards and slumped inwards on itself.
"Test passed, powering down," the lights in the robot's eyes flickered out and a cavity in its chest opened, allowing one of the collectable flags to fall out.
"That's rather peculiar," commented Lauren, bending over to pick up the flag, "look Heidi, I found a flag for us, Heidi? Oh she's gone, and so has Wolf, I really should have been paying attention shouldn't I?" Clutching her newly found flag close Lauren strode off in the direction she hoped Heidi had gone, leaving the silent Everett robot behind to rest.
Everett: Power, the capacity to do work. Did I give Larry permission to make a robotic copy of me!? I don't think so, at least he mustn't have my DNA or else he'd have cloned me instead. One rust bucket robotic copy is hardly a threat to me; I mean you can easily tell I'm the real one. Nice touch with the X-Files lines though, it is a pretty good show.
Chance: That encounter ended without any fighting? Trust Lauren to find the only robot programmed to shut down if you spout out X-Files lines in its general direction. Chris must have assumed no one would figure that out, I certainly didn't see it coming; I thought all the robots were just going to be 'smash, smash and destroy.
Another Part of the Brig
Chance might have been right in saying that there'd only be one robot that you could possible find a peaceful solution around because when Isaac ran into the robotic version of himself deep in the ship there was a lot more violence going on. The Isaac bot kept repeatedly insisting that that real Isaac was infected with the zombie virus and had to be killed for the good of the group, much to the survivalist's consternation.
"I'm not infected you stupid bag of bolts!" snapped Isaac, ducking under a punch that tore a hole through the wall it hit, "what do you think I am, some kind of amateur! If I was bitten I'd immediately amputate that limb to stop the spread of the virus! Do I look like an amputee to you!?" his only response was a powerful kick that he barely managed to leap out of the way of. "No! So that means I'm not infected," he continued stubbornly trying to get through to his robotic counterpart. The machine took another swipe at him and as Isaac backed up he hit a wall realising he'd become trapped in a dead end. "Oh hell, this can't be happening!" he could only watch in horror as the robot drew its arm back and_ started to repeatedly punch itself in the head.
"That's why don't run off along into a death trap," explained Larry, shoving past the self-harming robot to show Isaac what he'd been building with his electronics kit. "Remote control, did Chris really think I couldn't take back control over my own robots? The signal's rubbish in here so I can only use it at short range unfortantely. Matthew, Billy, I found Isaac!" he called back over his shoulder. Matthew, hair on end and twitching quite violently after a run in with a Taser, stumbled around the corner just in time to see the robot rip its own head of and throw a flag to the floor.
"Our first flag! Shame I ended up getting electrocuted on the way here! Typical Chris trapping this place with stolen police equipment just to spite Stacey."
"Stolen from the police? Are you sure he didn't just steal it off Stacey?" asked Billy, "She's kind of weird; it wouldn't surprise me if she randomly had a Taser with her belongings."
"Nah, I'm pretty sure she didn't have one," said Matthew, "the police baton was probably good enough plus she could bring Marshall whenever she thought there was going to be a fight. That guy managed to put Donovan down remember?"
"Speaking of getting put down I nearly got my head smashed by a robotic version of myself!" protested Isaac, "what the hell took you guys so long to arrive? You should have been right behind me."
"Oh I don't know, maybe we were still trying to recover from the fact Chris tried to explode our eardrums with the loudest air horn ever known to mankind?" guessed Larry, still fiddling with his remote control until data readouts appeared on a small screen. "You want the good news or the bad news?"
"The good news of course," said Matthew, "we need to hear something useful in a place like this."
"Well the good news is that my scan for any of my robots in our proximity came back negative. The bad news is that I can still hear something coming towards us." Everyone else paused at that and strained their ears. Sure enough there was a clanking robotic sound approaching but if it wasn't one of Larry's…
"It's a Mariandroid!" all four of them cried simultaneously, head snapping around to look in the direction of the sound.
"Holy smokes, even Everett with all his mad tricks couldn't beat one of those!" worried Billy, apparently ignorant to the fact that Everett had only been equipped with milk and a box Fruit Loops at the time. In their panic no one else sought to contradict him so Billy darted for the nearest door and nearly wrenched it off its hinges. Which was unfortunate because doing so triggered another tripwire, one of Everett's design bizarrely enough, that led to a grand piano being hurled out in the hallway, barely missing Billy who just dived out of the way. "I meant to do that," Billy insisted quickly, "to block the hallway, we can climb over it but a robot is probably way too stupid!"
"That is a good plan, barricades are vitally important to any good zombie survivalists, let's get out of here!" he vaulted over the piano to join Billy and Matthew and Larry followed with a greater deal of reluctance.
"One, where are we even going and two do you really believed that a ferocious avenging android is going to be stopped by a fallen piano?" demanded Matthew incredulously, "I'm supposed to be in charge here but I'll be doing is running around after you clowns and hiding from robots! We're supposed to be looking for flags! How can we do that if we're constantly on the run?"
"We've got one, let's just hope Heidi has none!" suggested Billy, "no time to talk strategy now, we've got to get out of here before that Mariandroid shows up!" All four of them bolted around the corner and were well out of sight by the time their feared assailant finally reached the piano. Contrary to their belief it wasn't actually a Mariandroid, it was just a herd of muskrats dragging a heavy piece of metal across the ground. Though to be honest that was probably far worse, fleeing was definitely the right idea.
Maria: My android is not that bad, I don't understand why'd they flee in such a panic, do they really think I'd build something overly dangerous? I'm not Larry, geez. I'm starting to take this a little personally now, after all the android does look like me and I spent so much time making it, it feels bad to watch everyone bolting at the slightest idea that they might run into it. Thankfully it hasn't actually turned up yet, just some freaky muskrats creeping round up to weird stuff as usual. Those things are completely out of the control, Chris is going to have to use new meatball bazooka if he's ever going to get rid of them. Frankly I don't care if the whole Brig burns to the ground. Only if no one is in there of course, I repeat, I'm not an evil android.
Sandra: Well done to Larry for seizing back control of his robots, even if it is only short range. I support anything that ruins Chris Mclean's plans, now they'll be fine against any robots they come across, barring Maria's. The muskrats are troublesome though, I didn't imagine they could troll Donovan like that.
Back Somewhere in the Brig
After his first confrontation with them, Donovan had been unable to find the muskrats again despite exhaustive efforts searching for them in order to wreak vengeance upon them for getting him doused in cold water. His search had found him a great many traps though, of particular note was a nasty chemical miasma he'd been forced to flee from, cursing Sandra and her science. Needless to say he was now completely lost in the darkness of ship and was just wandering around looking for muskrats when he noticed two glowing red eyes looming at the end of the hallway. Having already been fooled by that trick once Donovan just immediately assumed they were more luminous tennis balls and just scowled as he stomped towards them. "You are fools to approach me once again, and twice as foolish to use the same trick as last time," he warned, not at all uncomfortable with the thought of speaking to wild animals who couldn't possibly reply. "The fact your glowing sports supplies are in the air instead of on the ground doesn't fool me." The lights flickered away and reappeared in rapid succession, as though a large creature was blinking but Donovan was still sure it was a trick. He walked right up to the source of the lights and tried to swat them away only hit something solid and incredibly hairy instead.
There was an unbelievably loud primal roar as Sasquatchanakwa surged into action and bowled Donovan over, snarling ferociously as it pointed Cynthia's cane right at him and activated something on the handle. Instead of any horrifically lethal weapon though, a simple camera flash emanated from the end of the cane, demonstrating that apparently the thing could work as a camera as well. A confused Sasquatchanakwa shook the cane around in annoyance and held it up to his face to inspect the device. As you can probably guess, he managed to trigger the thing again right in front of his eyes and staggered back, momentarily blinded. Donovan was back on his feet in an instant and he tackled Sasquatchanakwa, smashing him back against the wall and wrenching the cane out of his grasp. Donovan twisted the handle randomly before firing it again with much more satisfying result this time around. A bright plume of flame erupted from the end and set the Sasquatch ablaze. Shrieking in pain it fled off into the dark maze of the ship, finally leaving Donovan in peace.
"Having a weapon is all well and good, but if you are incapable of using it properly it can be more a downfall than being unarmed ever would have been," announced Donovan, still giving advice even when there was no one to talk to. "I should have earned a flag for that, where is my reward Mclean!?" His only answer was a skittering sound from the ceiling followed by a luminous tennis ball hitting him squarely in the forehead. The muskrats had been watching the whole time. "Curse you foul creatures!" Donovan randomly released another plume of flame in the direction of the ceiling hoping to burn the creatures but he didn't manage to do anything other than fill the corridor with foul smoke. Too much fire in an enclosed space was never a good idea and a coughing Donovan was forced to flee the area, bested by the Muskrats once more. "I WILL HAVE MY VENGEANCE UPON YOU MUSKRATS!" he raged, his voice shaking the whole ship once more.
Yet another Random Place on the Brig
Hearing Donovan's voice from wherever she was in the ship, Heidi was finally drawn back out of her mad must escape the robots panic enough to take in her surroundings. Notably that Lauren was missing and they'd been running for far too long because she was completely exhausted. Wolf on the other hand didn't even look remotely tired and probably would have just kept running if Heidi hadn't suddenly stopped. "Hold on Wolf, we've lost Lauren! We must have been separated when we did that whole complex left, right left, left and right thing at the four way intersection." Actually Lauren had never even run with them in the first place, but Heidi didn't know that. "At least we avoided the hell out of those robots, good job Wolf! You nearly did yourself an injury with that spike strip though." Wolf nodded glumly in agreement, remembering how she'd just barely managed to leap over of the thing at the last minute. "Lauren! Are you near here! Follow the sound of my voice if you can hear me! Or you can call back and I'll follow the sound of your voice. Have you found any flags by the way? I swear Chris was lying when he said there were dozens of the things? I haven't spotted a single one of the daft things."
There was a faint rumbling sound in response that most definitely did not sound like Lauren, unless the girl had suddenly caught the flu and was clearing a very hoarse throat. Wolf's ears perked up and the wild girl was instantly on her guard, growling down the hallway. "What it is Wolf? More robots? Do we need to run away again?" Wolf whipped around at the sound of Heidi's voice but she wasn't looking at her friend, rather the large shape that was looming behind her. Heidi was puzzled for a moment until she heard the sound of heavy breathing behind her and turned around to find herself face to face with a grizzly bear. With a shrill scream Heidi jumped about six feet into the air before furiously backpedalling away from the hulking bear. Wolf held her ground though and locked eyes with the bear, snarling challengingly.
For the next couple of minutes one of the most surreal battles in the history of the show occurred. Wolf and the bear circled around one another, barking, growling and snarling at each other in a bizarre attempt to unnerve the other. They gradually increased the volume until the bear let out a tremendous roar that forced Heidi to clap her hands over her ears in horror. Refusing to be cowed though, Wolf replied with a bone-chilling howl of her own, a menacing and haunting sound that made the hairs on your neck stand up upon hearing it, and the bear suddenly backed away, terror flickering in its dark eyes. Capitalising on this victory, Wolf lunged forwards and actually snapped her teeth at the startled bear who clearly decided at this point that she was no ordinary human and outright fled, throwing a flag back over its shoulder as it did so.
"Wow! Well done Wolf, you scared the hell out of that mean old bear and got us a victory flag!" gushed Heidi, rushing forwards to seize the flag and waved it around triumphantly. "You are just too scary Wolf! That was awesome; you and I are like twins or something, twins in awesomeness." Wolf barked happily and looked rather proud of her achievement, following the waving flag with her eyes. "Now we just need to find Lauren, I wonder where she is…"
Marshall: And to think I felt bad for spraining Sasquatchanakwa's ankle the one time when I was helping Stacey arrest Larry. Donovan lit him on fire for pity's sake! How the hell does he do this stuff, I swear the guy has the luck of the devil. Out of all the functions that cane has, he gets the flamethrower. I reckon if anyone had tried that the cane would have just shot out a handkerchief instead.
Maria: Is it just me or was Wolf ridiculously scary for a minute there? And here I thought Donovan was the master of intimidation. Congratulations to Wolf for successfully scary off a grizzly bear. Although the one on this island is pretty tame when you think about it.
A Place That Might Be Lauren's Location
Despite the fact it was Heidi and Wolf who were the ones searching for Lauren, it looked like the Ace Zombie Slayer Society was going to find her first. After fleeing from a non-existent Mariandroid the gang had only narrowly avoided a chattering back of muskrats and were currently hiding in another cramped storage room when a shadowy figure began to slowly walk past the doorway. Matthew made a furious gesture for everyone to remain completely silent and motionless until whoever it was had passed but he was completely ignored by Larry who turned on a flashlight he'd only just made and shone it right at the figure. It was Lauren and the girl whirled around and blinked owlishly in the face of the light.
"Oh, hello there, have you seen Heidi and Wolf?" she asked casually, "I lost them quite some time ago and I've been looking for them ever since. I was daydreaming when I lost them so they could be anywhere. On a side note, have any of you ever thought about what it'd be like to be a robot?"
"Don't trust it!" snapped Isaac, "Larry, is that one of your robots?"
"Nope," said Larry, "don't even need to check, I know I didn't make a robotic version of Lauren because even I couldn't figure out how to make that even remotely threatening. I mean can you even imagine a robotic Lauren attacking someone? It just doesn't make sense so I never built one."
"So it's the real Lauren, I already knew that," insisted Billy, "I kind of have the sixth sense about things like that, I can tell humans and robots apart really easily."
"That's very impressive," Lauren told him sincerely, "that must be really useful in everyday life to know when someone is a robot or not. I could go my whole life without knowing either way, isn't that a peculiar thought?"
"No, what's peculiar is the fact you're on the other team and you probably shouldn't be here," Matthew told her firmly, "this is a top secret society and we can't have you snooping around stealing our flags and secrets."
"You've find some flags then? That's nice, I found one too after I defeated an Everett robot with X-Files quotes."
"Huh, I thought Billy was the liar here," muttered Isaac, finding the story utterly ridiculous and not believing that Lauren had a flag at all. "We've found all the flags; you may as well leave the ship now."
"As if there'd only be one flag on the whole ship," scoffed Matthew, completely missing the point of Isaac's lie, "Chris said there dozens of the things and even he's lying there's still got to be more than one."
"Yep, definitely at least two," said Lauren, casually showing off her own flag to the startled boys who hadn't believed she had one. "Anyway, thanks for your help, tell me if you see Heidi or Wolf ok?" Before any of them could even think about stopping her, the girl had strolled off back the way she'd come, leaving them all sitting there is silence before Larry finally acted.
"Screw it, I'm getting that flag!" he insisted, jumping out of the storage room and_ copping a paintball directly to the face. Crying out in pain he stumbled backwards, tripping over his teammates who'd be trying to go after him, blinded by paint.
"Lauren shot him!?" demanded Billy, "No way, I've got to see what the hell is going on out there," Billy cautiously poked his head around the corner and spotted three interns armed with paintball guns at the end of the hallway, the group arriving right after Lauren had left in the other direction. He narrowly whipped his head back inside as another paintball whizzed past. "We've got three hostiles out there, armed with paintball guns!"
"Larry's down, he's taken severe injuries to his face and eyes," barked out Isaac, pretending to be a combat medic, "Matthew, do you know how to use that remote control of his? Find out if there are any robots nearby!" Matthew reached over and took Larry's fallen remote control but was baffled by the multitude of buttons and technical readouts. He hit a few random buttons to no effect before shaking his head in defeat. "No luck there," continued Isaac, "they're approaching our location, standby for ambush!"
"Standby!? Ambush!? I'm a BARBARIAN! The only acceptable course of action is to CHARGE!" roared Matthew, leaping to his feet and diving into the hallway with a roll. Paintballs soared just over his head, barely missing him as he twisted around and hurled the remote control at the interns, hoping it had a self-destruct feature. It didn't, but it still managed to hit one of them so that was something, it bought Matthew some time to get back on his feet and run straight at them. One, two, three paintballs slammed into Matthew's chest without stopping him, he stumbled but kept running towards the interns until they scattered in a panic and fled back around the corner. Though from the sound of a wailing alarm and the crash of loud furniture being moved around they didn't get far before hitting another of Everett's traps. Only once their defeat was confirmed did Matthew allow himself to stop, dropping to his knees and clutching his chest, his eyes watering with the pain. "Damn, that's definitely going to bruise," he complained loudly.
"So is the freaking Lion, Witch and Wardrobe that just got thrown at those interns!" exclaimed Billy, leaving the safety of the storage room to join Matthew. "That was unbelievable dude! You just charged right at them until they scattered! How'd you know they were going to run away?"
"If they're still alive at this stage of the show," Matthew managed between short breaths, "then they either have very good survival instincts telling them to flee or they're new and easily scared."
"You're still a maniac," insisted Isaac, leaving Larry to his own blinded devices, "going after them with nothing but a remote control, you're lucky that worked, they could have just held their ground and blasted you at point blank range even you tackled one of them."
"But they didn't so we get a flag and I get to feel awesome," said Matthew, that's two flags to us now, and we know Lauren only has one so_"
"Did somebody mention my name?" asked Lauren, coming back around the corner, "sorry, I was on my way elsewhere when I heard a rather loud commotion and came back to check whether everyone was alright? How are things going?"
"I've been blinded!" cried Larry, stumbling blindly out from the storage room, feeling his way along the walls. "These bastards all ran off to have a victory party without even checking to see whether I'd recovered. Which I haven't by the way! My face still feels like it's on fire! I can't see anything, my eyes burning!"
"Oh that's terrible! You got shot in face with red paint? Your head looks kind of like a tomato now, either that or you've suffered a really serious injury; it's kind of hard to tell. I think you need some medical attention; do you want me to help you outside? It feels like we've been in here for hours and it might still be ages before the challenge ends."
"That sounds like a great idea, if I felt like letting you throw one of our teammates off ship and leave us man down!" snapped Isaac, "that is the most transparent plan I have ever seen, there is no way we're going to let an enemy team member just walk off with a member of our society!"
"I can't help you anyway, I've been blinded!" protested Larry angrily, "I'd be happy to get out of here, this place is a hellhole, if you guys want to stick around until the muskrats find you and gnaw the flesh from your bones that you're prerogative but I'm getting out of here whether you clowns help me or not."
"See, I can help him and you can continue with the search," said Lauren, "I've already got a flag for my team so I'm fine with leaving the ship at the same time as Larry so I can't return either if that makes you feel better. He really needs to get his eyes washed out before some permanent damage is done."
"You probably don't know this but he only ended up with that injury because he ran out of the storage room planning to steal your flag off you," pointed out Billy, who really wasn't helping anyone with that little piece of information. "Isn't it kind of weird helping someone who wanted to rob you if you ask me, I'd have called it justice and left it at that?"
"It isn't weird," said Lauren, looking confused, "I'd help anyone who needed it, that's the right thing to do and this game is secondary to that. Only two of us eligible to win and I'm not one of them, why would I let someone suffer over something like that? It's pointless."
"Well… after you've made all of us look terrible, yeah I suppose you can go ahead and help Larry," agreed Matthew after a long silence passed. Neither Isaac nor Billy contradicted him and so Lauren carefully took Larry's arm and began to guide him back to where she hoped the exit was. "Uh, Thank you!" he called after Lauren before turning back to face his remaining teammates. "Ok I think we can all agree that Chris was lying when he said these things are easy to find, this place is dangerous and we can only get flags by facing that danger. Without Larry's help we're in trouble if we run into any of his robots but we can use strategy to overcome them. Let's just see if we can grab a couple more flags to establish a lead and then get the hell out of here.
"No complaints from me," said Isaac, "though your crazy charge tactics probably don't work against robots."
"Nah, a crazy charge works against anything short of a spear wall," said Matthew dismissively, "and it still works then if you believe hard enough, I've got this in the bag."
Everett: Good, an alignment that defines ones character, the opposite of evil, typically used to describe actions of compassion, bravery and self-sacrifice. Lauren helped Evil Larry even though he's an evil robotic overlord and I can't figure out what secret motive she had for doing it. There are three options here, I'm not nearly paranoid enough, she really is a good person or I'm getting better… I thought everyone was secretly plotting something or other. Maybe I was wrong?
Stacey: I'm impressed, putting someone's health before the outcome of the game is very noble and just thing to do. I can almost forget the fact that she's a habitual vandal and graffiti artist. Almost.
Cynthia: Coming from someone who had the displeasure of fighting Larry's robots, helping him off the ship to get medical attention is outrageous! He's a murderous demon and should have been left to it. I do not understand what goes on in that girl's head, I really don't, forgiveness is nice and all but surely you can't forgive everyone.
Random Dark Hallway Number 1197, the Brig
Isaac's concerns about Larry's robots were largely unnecessary seeing as earlier predictions of the different inhabitants of Brig fighting each other turned out to be true. Remember how the muskrats were dragging heavy metal around earlier? Yeah, the demonic things were seriously tearing freaking robots apart just because they could. There were some robots clever enough to avoid this fate though, as some people were about to find out.
"Stupid non-existent flags," grumbled Heidi as she felt along the walls, desperate to find some sort of hidden cavity containing a flag. "Chris said there were dozens of the things, and I've only found one! Plus I haven't seen Lauren since the challenge started and who knows what the hell Donovan is up to? He's supposed to be helping me but all he's been doing is running around the ship shouting about how much he hates muskrats, it's not fair Wolf." Wolf whined sympathetically as she scampered ahead of her friend, keeping an eye out for danger. Well more of an ear out for danger actually since it was extremely dark in these hallways and you were more likely to hear danger coming before you saw it. Either the heavy thud of a robot walk or the skittering claws of muskrats scurrying across the floor on one of their nefarious missions. Unfortunately for Wolf, this time a danger no one was expecting suddenly loomed out the shadows.
"Stop you fools!" hissed Donovan, emerged silently from a side passage to block their path, holding a finger up to his lips to convey the need for quiet. "One of the metal ones has formed an alliance with the demonic muskrats and I have tracked their location to this point."
"Well obviously you've stuffed up because there is no one here other than us," snapped Heidi, "and where have you been anyway? I don't suppose you've done anything useful like find some flags for us so we can get off this ship already?"
"Flags? Why on earth would I occupy myself with such nonsense when I've been busy searching for vengeance against those damned muskrats and if my tracking skills have served me well I should have been able to cut them off here. They should be coming round the corner any second now, a whole horde of them and then finally we shall have a fair fight. Do not interfere in this battle or_" but Donovan's threat was left unsaid as a single muskrat rounded the corner, practically smirked at Donovan and deliberately chewed through a tripwire. A large chunk of magnesium metal dropped from the ceiling dangling from a string and was followed by a rain of sparks from above striking against it. In that small moment where everyone other than Donovan remembered their science lessons and closed their eyes the magnesium flared into life with blinding white light that washed out the whole world around them. In the resulting chaos, the aforementioned horde of muskrats, led by Maria's android rounded the corner like Donovan had predicted. Unfortunately he was rendered incapable of seeing them due to magnesium blinding and thus was unable to defend himself as the muskrats fell upon him.
By the time Heidi and Wolf deemed it safe to open their eyes, Donovan was long gone, dragged away by an army of muskrats and the only threat remaining was the Mariandroid. They remaining completely frozen as the android stalked towards them, reached out with a hand and… ruffled Wolf's hair. "You know how Larry could sort of still control his robots? My remote control has been working the whole time," Maria's cheerful voice came out of the speakers. "Don't know how the muskrats understood I was leading them to Donovan but it worked somehow. Oh feel free to take my flag by the way!"
Heidi nearly fumbled the catch in her shock as the robot she thought was going to attack them just tossed her a brightly coloured victory flag. "Thanks Maria! That's really nice of you. Um, Donovan isn't going to be ripped apart and eaten or anything like that is he?"
"Nah, just dragged some particularly unpleasant traps, should teach him a lesson about being so evil in the future. Then again he'll probably just say it made him stronger and be fine with it anyway so I wouldn't worry about him too much. Focus on finding some more flags I don't think Chris is going to put up with the rules of his challenge being so blatantly broken." The Mariandroid threw them a quick salute before marching back off into the darkness, presumably to shut down in some quiet corner, its work done for now.
Chris: Ugh! I should have known not to use those stupid robots! I should have known those brats would always have some way of controlling them! I'm guess I'm just used to seeing all those movies where people create things and then completely lose control of them by the next scene. Of course my contestants couldn't do things properly and just create uncontrollable killing machines could they, and the how the hell did Maria managed to get a signal when Larry claimed he couldn't? Was Larry deliberately lying to his team to make the challenge more difficult? If so, I greatly approve of his evil, shame he got shot in the face with a paintball gun. He's not half as evil after being crippled. And those damn muskrats are tearing all the other obstacles apart, I shouldn't have let them loose in the Brig, they're uncontrollable! There won't be much of a challenge left soon enough.
Outside the Brig
Though Chris Mclean's idea of soon enough seemed to be vastly different from anyone else's because he let the challenge drag on for several more hours which mostly consisted of the remaining contestants wandering through dark hallways without finding anything. Probably the most interesting thing that happened in that time was when a roiling horde of muskrats pretty much threw a thoroughly bedraggled Donovan out of the Brig before leaving themselves to wander the island. With them finally out of the ship Chris didn't see much point in continuing the challenge and finally sounded the Air Horn of Endings before making an announcement over the speakers. "Alright losers, the show is over so you can all leave the Killer Food Poisoning Restaurant and report back outside the Brig to await the return of the contestants and the counting of the flags after which the winner will be determined. Nurse Hatchet, you can remove Larry from the medical tent and dump him outside the Brig too; if he complains he's just being a cry-baby.
As everyone figured it would take the contestants an obscenely long time to make their way off the Brig no one was in a particular hurry to leave the restaurants and all the snacks they had prepared in there. When they finally did arrive they were hardly standing eagerly at attention, they mostly just milled around chatting about what they'd seen on the big screens.
"What does he mean and then the winner will be determined?" asked Chance, "we were watching the whole thing as it happened, we know how many flags each contestant got and therefore we all know who won. It hardly needs to be determined."
"If it's so certain why haven't you paid out all the winning bets yet?" asked Alice curiously, "surely you don't need to wait until Chris makes the announcement if you know who won for sure."
"Because he knows I'll bust him for illegal bookkeeping if he hands out so much as a nickel in front of me," insisted Stacey, who hadn't changed her hard line stance on illegal gambling yet. "Then I'll get my deputy Marshall to take you down to the station if you resist arrest."
"That sounds an awful lot like fighting and I don't fight remember," Marshall told her, "why don't you tell Everett to do it, you're always whinging about how dangerous he is, maybe he should be your deputy."
"Deputy, an assistant who also holds a measure of authority, albeit less than the one who deputised them. A deputy will typically handle matters that a higher ranking official is either absent for or just can't be bothered dealing with. And the answer is no, I don't think I'd make a very good police deputy."
"Don't sell yourself short Everett," said Maria, "you'd make a great detective, sure you'd claim that shape shifters and aliens did everything but at least you'd never have any unsolved cases. It doesn't matter if no one else believes the conclusions you've come to as long as you've done a thorough investigation."
"I wouldn't let Everett investigate so much as a turnip," scoffed Cynthia, "he looks like the sort who would bungle all the important cases, accusing aristocrats and wealthy businessmen of doing crimes even when everyone knows that makes the police force look bad. He really should know that you shouldn't tread on the bear."
"Doing their job makes the police force looks bad?" drawled Sandra, "well I learn something new every day, apparently rich people can't be arrested now, what do you know?"
"A lot of useless rubbish as far as I'm concerned," called out Chris as she strolled over to stand outside the exits of the Brig followed by a troop of interns armed with various musical instruments. "My observation of the camera monitors tells me that our finalists should be leaving very soon so I brought along some interns to play a musical accompaniment, commence!" The interns immediately struck up a rather clumsy rendition of Handel's Overture also known as that stuff that plays during fireworks displays and it took quite a lot of effort not cover your ears upon hearing it. Thankfully Chris' prediction about the impending arrival of the finalists turned out to be correct as a soot-stained Matthew and his crew burst out of the ship and ran over to hand his flags to Chris.
"Look at that! Exactly eight flags, one for each finalist! We figured out that the flags were all held by obstacles so instead of running away from danger we deliberately looked for it and stole all the flags after we beat it!" explained Matthew. "We must have absolutely thrashed Heidi with our flag count, her team only had one when we last saw them!"
"Oh that was just me," said Lauren, "I'm not sure how many Heidi, Wolf and Donovan got. Well actually I know Donovan had none because he wasn't carrying any flags when he was thrown of the Brig." Donovan himself was saying anything on the matter, he was standing silently apart from the rest of the group, shivering in rage and covered in scrapes and bruises.
"No, I dare say you definitely had more flags than Heidi," observed Chris flatly, his tone far too casual for someone who had practically just announced Matthew as the winner. Heidi was useless in there; we all saw her group only got three flags because they kept running away from anything scary."
"So I've won then?" asked Matthew, wondering why Chris wasn't getting more excited by the prospect of the season finally being over.
"We'll see," was all he said before nodding back over at the ship so everyone looked over there in time to see a miserable looking Heidi and Wolf exit the ship. Their misery didn't have anything to do with them spotting just how many more flags their opponents had though. They were more concerned by the fact they hadn't been able to find Lauren on board the ship.
"You need to send Chef in there after Lauren!" insisted Heidi, "who knows what happened to her inside that floating madhouse! She could be anywhere_ oh," she stopped dead when she actually saw Lauren standing unharmed among the crowd. "You're ok! What happened to you in there!?"
"Oh I just left to help Larry out, he got injured by a paintball to the face while he was in there so I helped him off the ship so he could go to the medical tent and get his eyes washed out or something. I don't know, I'm not a medical expert even if I do a lot of work with paint." Chris looked like he was going to continue speaking now that everyone was off the ship but he was interrupted by Cynthia suddenly remembering something.
"Hey! Donovan had my cane while he was on the ship! What in the blazes has he done with my prized family heirloom?" she demanded furiously.
"The muskrats have it now," muttered Donovan, finally breaking his silence, "they are undefeatable, you may as well accept that your cane is long gone by now and just buy a new one or something. Caring about such things is a weakness anyway."
"Thank you Donovan! I would have hoped we could have ended this season without any more of your philosophy but there you go," grumbled Chris. "The contestants have left the Brig, Matthew has eight flags to Heidi's three so theoretically he should have won. Unfortunately for him, this season was name Outrage for many reasons and a random revelation right at the end of the season is one of them. That whole challenge, and in fact much of this show has been completely pointless in turns of helping you win the million dollars. The prize is actually based on something else entirely."
"Is this the part where you say only people who have a soul can win and then give the prize to Matthew anyway?" asked Heidi, "because that is really rude an unnecessary."
"Hey! I'll ask the questions here," said Chris, "firstly, I'd like you two to pretend that you've been eliminated and every other contestant remains in the game, who would you like to win?"
"Stacey of course!" Matthew answered immediately, "That's the only answer that supports truth and justice or something."
"Lauren, because she's my friend and the nicest person on this island and maybe even the whole world," replied Heidi after he was done. "That's the only answer that supports truth and justice."
"Good, good, and how about you Larry?" Chris asked the boy who had only just arrived from the medical tent. "You were never given a proper vote on the aftermath show so who would you choose?"
"Lauren obviously, because she helped me off the ship," scoffed Larry, back to usual self now that he could see again. He still had a nasty red welt on his face though from the impact. "These other clowns are all hopeless."
"And that ladies and gentleman has actually been the most important question in the entirety of this show!" announced Chris, "so important that I ensured that every single contestant was asked it during their final interviews and the results were tallied. Making it further in the game meant you were available to receive votes for longer than those eliminated before you but other than that, you could have been eliminated first and still won if things had gone weirdly enough. For a truly outrageous ending, it doesn't matter who won the final challenge, the winner is the person with the most votes hoping they'll win. And after our last few votes were cast just then, Lauren is in the lead with four votes! Congratulations, you've won the million dollars!" For a long moment there was only a dull silence after that announcement but then an immense wave of emotion swept over the crowd. Cheering burst out from all sides and Lauren was practically hurled over to stand in front of Chris. "Congratulations, again, what do you have to say for yourself?"
"Um, well firstly I can't quite believe that I've actually won. Surely heaps of other people made it further and deserved it far more than I do. Are you sure this isn't a mistake?" she asked, looking rather flustered for the first time in the whole season.
"Of course it isn't a mistake! As if the most outrageous decision in the history of Total Drama could be a mistake! My words just rendered the struggled of our finalists completely void! They'll be raging for months over this, the audience will have all fainted dead in shock! I wouldn't give away one dollar by mistake, let alone ONE MILLION! The money is all yours alright!"
"Well if you're sure… thanks to everyone who voted for me! I don't know what I'll do with the million just yet but I'm sure I can figure something useful out. Maybe I can create the greatest art project in existence with all of you in it as a tribute? That'd be nice wouldn't it? I can't believe I won!"
"Well you have, don't remind me that such a goody two shoes got the money," said Chris, letting annoyance creep into his voice as he handed her the briefcase containing a million dollars. "Don't open it anywhere where there's high wind though, a lot of money has been lost that way. I'll just have to console myself with the fact I pulled off a completely unexpected ending to spread the joy of outrage all over the world. Well… now that this is all over, I think a ship should be coming to collect all of you_"
"I don't think so Mclean!" shouted Marshall, pointing accusingly at the sadistic host, "you're not getting off that easily!" With a mighty roar the crowd surged to life and ran for Chris Mclean. The desperate host swore and fled for his life as the angry campers pursued him right to the end of the Dock of Shame, leaving a stunned Lauren behind holding her briefcase of money.
"Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE this job!?" asked Chris loudly as he reached the end of the dock and was forced to jump off the end into the ocean. The cameras turned to focus on the cheering contestants on the dock before gradually zooming out to show a whole wide aerial shot of the island. Then, for the last time this season, the camera's faded to black, signalling the end and maybe some peace for Camp Wawanakwa at long last. The island and its heroic campers most certainly deserved it, just like Lauren deserved her million dollars. It turned out that sometimes nice people didn't finish last, sometimes they could pull off an epic win just like anyone else.