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|A Horrifying Arrival|
|Name:||A Horrifying Arrival|
|Next chapter:||The Island|
Bob Newbie stood at the railing of the Riverview ship, holding Betty's hand and pondering the small mound of land in the distance. The captain had told them that this would be a sea-only venture, without any stops on land, but here they were, cruising straight for an island. Thinking about the captain turned his mind to the government that was Sovereign Alexander I. It was puzzling. Why would someone who oppressed the cities enough to put fifty-two teenagers on an island to fight for their lives turn around and give away a cruise vacation to so many?
It came to him as he turned in for the night. With a yelp of anguish, he ran in his sleepwear to Betty's room, pounding on the door. She opened it sleepily, then woke up as she saw the look on Bob's face. "What's wrong? Come in," she said worriedly. "Betty! We're going to be the people in the Goth Battles!" he exclaimed. "What makes you think that? Bob, what happened? You're scaring me," Betty whimpered. "It just makes too much sense for it not to be true," he continued rapidly. "Fifty-two people on thirteen cruise ships. Fifty-two people in the Battles from thirteen towns. We are the contestants. This ship is heading for the arena." Betty paled. "We have to tell somebody. Everybody. We can't kill each other, Laurel and Max are our friends! We have to tell them tonight; tomorrow we might be on the island."
Bob had managed to gather a sleepy, pajama-wearing pair that were the other passengers on the main deck. "Whadd'you want?" A sleepy Max McDermott asked. "I have just realized something. We are going to be fighters in the Goth Battles. There are fifty-two special passengers on the line of cruise ships, and fifty-two contestants in the Battles. We are the Riverview contestants." "But everyone knows that the contestants are dropped from a spaceship onto the island," Laurel Grisby objected. "That's just a theory. No one knows for sure how they get there. That island in the distance," Bob continued, pointing to the strip of land, illuminated by the full moon, "is the arena. We all have to promise not to fight." "Why would we do that?" Laurel asked irritably, bitter over her thoughts of never finding love. "It's our only chance to get out. We'll all die in there anyway, so what's the point of having scruples?" "So that we won't lose ourselves in there. Killing each other would make us like Alexander." "So what?" Laurel continued, on a roll now. "Alexander's the one with a palace and people doing whatever he wants and we're the ones who work for him. Which is better off?" "That's not the point!" Betty cried, feeling bad for Bob, and especially Laurel. She knew what was making Laurel talk that way. "Listen," Max said, trying to calm the group. "We're probably not going to be in the arena anyway. This is just a coincedence. Let's all go to bed." Dejected, Bob went back to his room.
The next day, the first ship crashed.
The Riverview ship was curving around the island when it happened, hiding itself from the other cruise ships. Bob and Betty were talking over last night's events, Max was working out, and Laurel was painting the beautiful island. Suddenly, the ship swerved to the side, breaking the front on a rock. The captain ordered everybody out, and Bob and Betty were white with fear. They knew this was coming. From nowhere a rocketship with Alexander's insignia on it appeared, letting down a beam that lifted the broken cruise ship into the air. It vanished again with a flash of light.
For Riverview, the Battle had begun.