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It was another trial. Another battle where everyone faced death. He had many reservations about the case. Mercy, the Infinite Plague Doctor, was gone. Without her, who could have known what would have happened to the group in the tribulations they had once faced, and what would happen in the future. If Calvin couldn’t even work, who was to say how his fellow infinites would face the challenges ahead of them?

He scoffed lightly as he tried to remove himself from his thoughts. The trial was the most pressing issue. None of it would matter if they couldn’t figure out who had murdered Mercy. He thought again to the horrific way she had died. Had it been anyone else, she might have been able to do something. Of course, the murderer had likely known that too. While at first he had suspected Felix who had spent the majority of the event with the victim, he was relieved to hear that the poison was likely Mundinol, although it complicated the case greatly. Cyrus managed to narrow down a time-frame:

“This means the poison must’ve been applied sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 PM.”

"Oh shit," Calvin’s face went as blank as a sheet of paper. "I went and saw Mercy around 4:00 PM...” He looked around the room and his eyes landed on Braden. "Braden, you were there in the Pharmacy with her before I got there. Why?” He wasn’t angry. Not yet. But there was a hint of exasperation in his tone. "And before anyone asks…" Calvin pulled off his gauntlet to reveal a bandaged hand of his own. "I burned my hand earlier like some fucking amateur." There was a slight rawness to his tone as he said those final words, but he was quick to compose himself.
Calvin had remained at the table, angrily chewing on the cookie that had been left behind. Had he spoken out of turn? Likely. But that was how Calvin always had been. He turned around at the sound of a glass falling, only to see the Infinite Plague Doctor collapse while vomiting blood. "Fuck!” He ran towards the doctor, but others were surrounding her. For half a moment, he thought of running for help, but he realized dully that only she would have been capable of doing anything.

He turned away for a moment. The lump in his throat felt particularly pronounced as he tried to swallow, to no avail. His back turned to the group, his body shuddered. "Not again.” He whispered. Stiffly, he drew his hands over his face, finding only the slightest bit of comfort in their familiar feeling. "Keep it together, Ibbs.” When the gauntlets left his face, his mouth was a taut line and his eyes seemed cold. He looked back to the group that was crowded around his corpse. He walked over, taking careful breaths.

"Who was sitting with her? Who talked to her?” He looked down at the body for a moment, but realized it was a mistake as he felt his stomach quiver. "How the fuck did we let this happen?” It wasn’t quite clear what he was talking about, but he didn’t bother clarifying. "And where are-”

"They.” His tone went flat for moment. Ice and Alice entered the banquet hall, and Calvin felt dread come over him as he realized what Alice was about to face. He almost stepped in front of her, but with a wince remembered how poorly received his last words had been. He shook his head lightly.

Several of the infinites had already asked the bear for the Monokuma File, and Calvin nodded along. As horrifying as Mercy’s death was, Calvin wanted revenge. If he couldn’t take it on the Carnage Sisters, he might be able to get some sense of it by discovering who would continue to kill after such damage had been wrought on their group.



The fire was low in the crematorium. Still burning -- Calvin made sure of that. But low.

Calvin hadn’t slept. It wasn’t shocking, and had become the norm over the past few days. As was always the case, after an hour spent staring at the ceiling, he had stood up and walked to his forge. Alexandria was steering clear tonight. He was thankful for that.

However, unlike previous instances where sleep had eluded him, Calvin found himself unable to work either. It wasn’t lack of care, or effort. It just seemed as though all his best efforts came out twisted. Blades with deviations in angle. Ill-weighted hammers. Good metal that could have been used to make something of value lay strewn about the room in odd shapes with dents from a few angry blows of a hammer. The last time Calvin had found himself wanting at the forge... had been in dire circumstances similar to these. He had barely come back then. Would he come back now?

Calvin sat next to the burning hole in the wall where bodies were supposed to be deposited and burned to ash. Was he defending it? What good would it do if he tried to stop someone? He shook his head, lightly. He had no idea what they did with the bodies. He wasn’t sure he wanted to either. His arms still ached from his confrontation. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t forge. Bliss’s pick was damaged beyond a normal smith’s repair. He recognized dully that he would need to fix it. But in his current state there was no chance for it. He stood up slowly, rockily. He needed to eat.

While he normally would have gone to the dining room, he had no interest in seeing people or reliving that night. He walked to the break room quietly, pausing at the end of the hall as he saw Felix and Daimyon leave it. They seemed to be in a good mood, and it made Calvin shiver a little bit. Where the fuck had Felix been that night? Or Daimyon? How had Willow been able to rejoin her sister? He wanted to confront them, but knew that nothing good would come of it. Besides, if they were leaving there was a chance that the break room was empty and he could grab some food and sneak back to the crematorium. He let them walk away, ducking into the break room once he was sure they were out of sight. Methodically, he loaded himself up with food. Fuel for a smoldering fire.
That is correct!


Calvin had thought they had a shot. As Alexandria launched her spear, he felt a slight bit of elation. This was their chance. The spear connected with Willow’s sword, sending it scattering off loudly. But Willow continued. And grabbed Zachary. And pulled him up. And…
With one hand held by Alexandria, Aleecia grabbed hold of Calvin's arm, her head a mess from the sounds of fighting everywhere. She was so happy that Alexandria was helping against the other sisters, but she couldn't even begin to worry about the infinites with the sounds pressing into her skull. Every sound bit into her brain and she couldn't seem to understand how large the area actually was. but then she heard the screams. Everything seemed to finally stand still, but not in the way she imagined. Aleecia let out gasp after gasp, shaking and holding tightly onto Calvin, asking over and over what was going on?!

"NO!" The roar came out of him as Willow dropped the body without a care in the world. He saw Jezebel run towards the still figure of the Infinite Archer. His legs buckled a bit, but he held himself up as he caught a glimpse of Zach’s body. The Infinite – his friend was dead. Of that he was sure. Calvin dully realized he still had the pick in his hand. It was a thin blade, lacking in ornament, but strong. Calvin’s work was always that way, and though he felt a bit of revulsion upon looking at the object, he gripped it tightly. His body began to lurch forward, but a small arm continued to grip at him, holding him just above the wrist.

Aleecia felt Calvin start to move and she stopped shaking, there was no way she was going to let Calvin go, not if his screams would soon join the poor Infinite's as well. Allie planted her feet and held on as hard as she could, "No!"

Willow had turned away, looking to re-engage with the A-Team who was currently facing Nariko. But Aleecia was holding on tight. ”Get to Nariko.” He pulled ahead with a bit of force, and his gauntlet slipped off of his hand as Aleecia gripped hard. ”Alexandria! If anything happens to her, I’m going next.” As he broke into a sprint, he looked back for half a moment. He saw Ice, still running to catch up. Good. He could take care of her.


Ice finally reached the scene, ignoring the stabbing pain in his abdomen, he had arrived behind the others and his eyes first searched for Aleecia. He saw her hugging onto a gauntlet that was warm with familiarity, screaming for someone to stop. His head imediately turned to see Calvin sprinting for Willow, who he guessed had been the cause of the screaming he had heard just moments earlier, "Calvin blimey- Stop! You idiot you can't- Stop!" As the words loudly escaped Ice's throat, his voice started to crack with anxiety and fear for his closest friend.

Calvin felt blood course through his veins. Willow still was turned away. Calvin presumed she was trying to retrieve her sword. He wouldn’t let her. Raising the pick in his warm, bare hand above his head, he let out a yell as he lunged forward, hoping to plunge his craft directly into the Carnage Sister's back.
This Night of Carnage was a mistake.


Calvin, Aleecia, Ellie, Bliss and Mercy





The atmosphere in the dining room was tense. Sure, none of them were fighting carnage sisters. But it was almost worse not knowing what was going on outside. None of them were safe in the dining room, especially with the arrival of the champion carnage sisters. All they could do was hope that they weren't needed, or attacked. Everyone waited in silence, hoping Denis wouldn't report a fatality.

Bliss shuddered. ”It hasn't even been five minutes.” Her eyes were glued to the clock. ”Do we have a plan if one of them attacks us?” The support team had been busy collecting supplies that would be needed to treat any of the injured infinites during the day. There were a few makeshift stretchers and medical supplies specifically picked out by the plague doctor. But With Calvin refusing to make weapons, their weapons were fairly rudimentary.

Calvin looked up briefly to Bliss. He was seated at a table, his gauntlets laying across each other in the center. He shook his head briefly. “We can’t block the doors, in case someone needs back in. If anything happens…” His eyes lit up for half a moment, but were quick to flicker out.

Bliss folded her arms and looked away from Calvin. ”Well, I have faith in the others.” She exhaled. ”I just hope we aren’t needed, and if we are, we'll be able to make a difference.”

It wasn't long before the monitors in the Dining room sparked to life. First there was white noise, then the image of an all-to-realistic carnage sister appeared on the monitor.

”Hi guys!” Monika waved. ”And by guys, I'm referring to the one guy and all the girls huddled together in the Dining room! This transmission is just for you, I'm not appearing anywhere but here... I don't exist anywhere... but here.” she giggled. ”Provided any of us exist at all! Wouldn't it be something if this was just some theater act we're all putting on? Or maybe it's more like the Trueman show where everyone but you is an actor?”

Allie had been huddled in a corner, sitting on a chair and stressed beyond belief when she heard it. The monitor first going on for the new sisters which sent chills down her spine, then the white noise. Had something happened in the surveillance room? Why else would- That girl, Aleecia had heard her earlier, she was one of the champions, right? Aleecia started to shake, even more than before, the way the champion spoke creeped down her ears and knocked around her brain, sending memories of forgotten babysitters and children who had picked on her long ago. Aleecia hugged her waist tightly, what did the world look like around her? Why couldn't see say for certain that this was reality? Why couldn't she- Why couldn't she-

Why did it all have to be ripped away from her?

Calvin blinked for a moment, looking up at the image of the new carnage sister. "God. Fucking. Damnit." He said, louder than intended. He looked over to Aleecia, at first concerned with his language but the worry quickly adjusted to her shaking. "Hey hey hey..." He said, standing up from his chair. "It's another class in robot philosophy, nothing to be scared about." His voice was soft, and he slowly closed the distance between himself and the rest of the group.

Ellie didn’t know when, but the caretaker slinked off to a corner of the room to be by herself and curled up with her knees in her face, a surprising feat for someone of her build to do, all of it was slowly eating away at her, despite her hopeful face she put on she couldn’t keep it up. The dred of a monster or a robot coming to kill them put her on edge as much as the others, then it was also that someone could kill anyone of them in this room, or someone could come back wounded and dying or someone could just come back dead.

Ellie was silently panicking on the inside, worrying about what could possibly happen to the others and herself and the “special broadcast” didn’t help. The blue haired woman began sweating and her nails dug into her jeans, she closed her eyes and hid her face in her knees wondering what she could’ve done to deserve this, a killing game, a murder of a young boy, the execution of a girl willing to throw them under the bus. All of this was starting to feel like it was too much for her to handle, she wanted to just be finished with this, just to get away from it all and go back to what she was doing before all of this, she was use to helping people, not killing people.

The caretaker’s fingers began going numb as they went from digging to her jeans to into her skin, she couldn’t catch her breath and couldn’t feel her fingers digging into her ankles, she could feel a mild pain in her chest growing as each second dragged on.

When she heard Calvin calling out to her, Aleecia moved her head up in his direction. She reached out a hand to him, biting her lip to keep back a scared sob. "I'm worried about Iz-Ice..." Even in times like this, the girl didn't want to go embarrassing her closest friend. Aleecia had come up with what she thought was the perfect nickname for him, but Ice had strongly advised her not to use it. But why couldn't she call him Izzy? A tiny smile slipped over her face, before she remembered he was probably out there fighting. "Will he be okay?"

Bliss didn't respond to the monitor, and instead moved to the care taker's side. ”Hey!” She said a little louder than usual. ”I-I mean, Ellie. I think you'd feel better if you stood up and took a breath. Here, I'll help you up.”

Monica laughed. ”Oh, look at all of you worrying about other people! That's a psychological defense mechanism you know? If your thoughts are focused on the well being of another person, you don't worry about yourself as much.” Her eyes closed to half mast. ”But don't worry, now that I'm here, there's no reason to worry about anyone else. There's plenty of danger right here!” The camera zoomed out, revealing the carnage sister to be standing on the mock beach. There was a tiny red buoy floating behind her, and all of the infinites knew that there was only one buoy like that on the beach. But when they looked out the window, they could see the buoy was all by it's lonesome. There was no Monika in sight, unless you looked at the monitor.

Calvin noticed something occuring with Ellie, and was prepared to move but Bliss went first. He felt what could have been relief, though it didn't last long. For a support team, they were quickly falling apart. Calvin supposed it made sense. They were those who weren't ready or willing to go out. "Ice can handle himself. We have to focus on-" He looked back up to the screen, carefully listening as Monika continued "Is this thing serious?" Calvin said. It was bravado, and weak at that. He knew there was something wrong, but it was the shot of the beach that truly put him over the edge. He looked through the window to see that Monika was nowhere to be found. "Stay here." He said lightly to Aleecia, as he walked to the door. His body was tense as he put himself behind it.

"Alright, Ibbs." With a start, he flung the door open, charging a few steps outside of the door before taking in his surroundings. It was the same beach, with no noticeable change. The red buoy sat in the distance, bobbing freely. Calvin ran a hand through his hair while cursing under his breath. No one responded. He walked slowly back inside, his heart pumping. "It's not out there." He said flatly. Despite its large size, the room felt increasingly claustrophobic.

”Of course I'm not out there! Why would I be?” Monica gave everyone an open-mouthed smile. ”I don't exist, so I'm not out there.”

Once Bliss came to the Caretaker’s aid and told her to stand up, she tried to calm herself down before standing up and facing Bliss, what came next was a surprise to Ellie herself. She began feeling lightheaded and dizzy she put a hand on her head before losing all balance and falling on her side, her eyelids grew heavy as darkness consumed her hazy vision.

"Oh Gott, wenn wir es mit einem Geist zu tun haben..." Mercy mumbled under her breath as she turned her atention from the eccentric carnage sister to Ellie. The plague doctor then walked up and sat down besides the caretaker. "Hey, it's okay...breathe, breathe..." she gently told Ellie, trying to calm her down.

With Mercy looking after Ellie, Bliss turned to face the Monika.”So you insist that you don't exist...” It took bliss a moment to think about what this could mean. ”Does that mean you don't have a physical body? Are you just a program?”

Monica closed her eyes and nodded, pleased with the answer. ”Of all my sisters, I'm the only one that's fully digital. That's right, this beautiful girl on screen is completely intangible! Hasn't CGI come really far? I look more real than my other sisters do!” She sighed. ”But I'll still never be a real girl. However...” Her eyes shot open, revealing their crimson glow. ”I'm still the best killer. I have a higher kill count than any of my other sisters. And because I can't die ” She giggled. ”Good thing your supah hakkah is toast, he might have been the one thing that could have stopped me.”

Why should Aleecia be worried about herself when everyone else was in more danger than she was? Something was going on with Ellie, but the girl couldn't tell what and everyone was freaking out about something that wasn't there... Aleecia stood up, no longer shaking. It wasn't the time to be having a pity party, it was a time for action. "Whatever she can do to us, it isn't going to be as easy to fight as the other sisters, but that doesn't mean we're powerless. We don't have to kill her, just avoid whatever tactics she has planned until the hour is up. There can't be much time left, right?" Allie had never needed a watch since she couldn't see, but maybe her estimate wasn't too off?

She was going to stay alive for as long as she could. For Ice who was trying so hard, for Nariko, who would be in shambles and would need to be put back together. For everyone. Aleecia grabbed the chair she had been sitting on and held it up towards the sound of the monitor. "If there's one thing we have, it's hope, so let's do this."

Ellie’s body was limp, she let out shallow breaths with some of her blue hair hanging in front of her face covering her eyes, while she didn’t respond to the doctor she mouthed the word “I’m sorry” over and over again not speaking it once between breaths only mouthing the word.

Calvin threw his arms up in frustration. The carnage sisters inner working eluded him, but at least he felt as if he could understand their bodies, the way they operated. It was when things moved to technology that Calvin became completely inept, and he had no idea how this carnage sister could kill without a physical form. His mind immediately began thinking of ways he and all in the room could die, and for half a moment he wished he was facing Alexandria's carnage chassis with the other. It was the sound of Aleecia's voice that brought him back to reality.

He stood in a bit of awe as he saw the girl raise her chair and point it towards the screen. In a happier time, he might have laughed. For now, there was a glint in his eyes as he walked back to the table where he had left his gauntlets, slipping them on quietly and curling his hands into fists. He hadn't brought a weapon with him, so he merely stood next to Aleecia. "I'm with you too, okay?" His voice was quiet, and he put a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it gently for half a moment. He turned to look at Ellie and Mercy, who was comforting her, but felt he couldn't leave Aleecia's side. He hadn't been keeping track of time, but he was quite certain they would not be saved by the bell.

Bliss looked between the disturbed caregiver, and the monitor. ”Alright.” She turned to Mercy and nodded. ”I don't think there's anything I can do for her. I'll leave her in your hands.” Bliss reached for her umbrella, which still had a metal pick smelted onto it. It was one of the weapons Calvin made for Bliss before the fight with Alexandria. ”You're not going to drive us apart, Monika.”

”A wolf isn't disturbed by how tightly knit a pack of sheep happens to be, what makes you think I care about your bonds?” Monika leaned forwards, and her face filled up the screen. ”Right now you're standing together, but it just takes one of my father's motives to turn you all into hungry killers. The things you'll slaughter each other for is near endless. Your friendship and bravado is just another thing that doesn't exist. They're just stories you tell yourselves when you''re facing a real threat. A threat like me.” Monika giggled. ”Do you know why they call me Monika? We are all named after conquerors, you must know that by now.” She gave everyone a sideways glance. ”Some people try to tie it to latin and greek roots, which are advisory and unique respectively. But that doesn't really have anything to do with conquest. Unless you consider victory unique, but a real conqueror doesn't.” Monika then turned her head and glanced at them from her other side. ”Some think I'm named after Monaca Towa. You probably don't know who she is and, honestly, the less said the better. But one city does not a conqueror make.” Monika looked directly at the infinites. ”It's actually very simple. I'm named after the avatar of despair itself. My father monokuma! See? I'm named after a conqueror who is a mascot. So even the conqueror I'm named after doesn't really exist!” She giggled. ”Monokuma, Monika? It almost has all of the same letters too. Some people call me monokuma Jr, but that's not very cute.” Monika tipped her head. ”I think I can make a tongue twister, hold on... Monokuma and Monika monologed about monochrome. Try saying that five times fast! Try saying it once!” Monika hummed. ”Right, there was a point to this! You know how monokuma can control all kinds of cool death traps? I can do the same thing! Even while playing music! Hit it boys!”



Just like during the scrum debate, the floor broke apart and started to float around, a bit like ice breaking off an ice cap. Metal shutters closed over all the windows and doors, and the room was being filled with strange music.

Bliss looked down at her feet. ”We're floating apart!” Each of the infinites was on their own platform, save Mercy and Ellie who wound up together.

Monika's grin widened. ”Let's start with something easy like... Saw blades.”

On her command, long poles with circular saws on them emerged from between the platforms. They did not move very fast, but they seemed to be closing in on whoever was closest to them.

Calvon couldn't believe his eyes. The saws were slow to raise, but seemed to be picking up speed. "Aleecia!" He called out across the space that divided them. "It's saws, okay? Just-" He punched his leg firmly, trying to figure out a way to guide the girl through the upcoming gauntlet. "You have to trust me, alright?" While he was yelling across the chasm, he looked over to see Mercy and Ellie on their own platform. Ellie was unmoving, and Calvin felt his throat knot up, but the loud humm of the saws brought him back to his current situation. He stepped carefully to the side as one passed by with a speed that was not fast but certainly not comfortable. Others would come quicker.

Once the room seemed to shift and trap everyone inside, fear struck Mercy as saws rose from the ground. While Aleecia, Bliss, and Calvin were stuck on their own platforms, the plague doctor and unconscious Ellie were stuck together. So Mercy stood the caretaker up and threw an arm over her shoulder to keep her from falling. She quickly moved both her and Ellie out of the way as one of the saws passed them both.

Allie swayed as her footing became unbalanced, wh-wah-what was happening? Sounds echoed from the walls and music came from the monitors, a headache was starting to form at the base of Aleecia's neck. Calvin's hand moved away from her shoulder and Aleecia wanted to grab out for it, but the chair in her hand stopped her.

S-Saws?! "I-I trust you!" Aleecia's whole body was trembling in fear as she heard the saws moving towards her. The blind girl threw the chair at the sound and let out a squeak as she heard the saws cut threw it. As it came closer, Aleecia moved as far to the left as she could, almost falling off the platform. Not being able to see the saws was causing her to overstep, which was dangerous in it of itself. There was some kind of different sound coming from the violent contraption, some mechanism was coming into play.

"Drop!"

An anxious yelled slipped out from Calvin's direction and Aleecia fell as a saw blade went whizzing over her head, they could rotate?!

Calvin's attention was split between the saws coming towards him and those approaching Aleecia. Adrenaline coursed through his veins as he saw Allie narrowly avoid a horizontal saw, only for the same to come roaring towards him. He threw himself to the ground, looking across the room to the other Infinites with cold sweat running down his face. "Mercy!" He called over the divide. "Are you-" He was interrupted as another saw, this one faster than the rest, came hurtling towards him. He rolled out of the way as quickly as possible, before standing back up gingerly and refocusing his attention on Aleecia's situation.

Bliss was making tiny hops from one platform to the next, careful not get hung up on any of the blades. ”I'm on my way mercy! Justhold on!” Even though the nanny wasn't moving very fast, the Dining room wasn't especially large. Once Bliss was close enough, she took her pick and reached to pull one of the saws, almost like a Sheppard hook snaring a lamb. Every tooth on the saw broke until the arm was nothing more than a long prodding arm. Bliss pulled the pick close to herself to examine it. ”You do good work, Calvin.”

“What? You guys are actually fighting back?” As surprised as Monica sounded, she looked really happy about the development. ”Well, since I'm on a bit of a schedule, I think we'll just skip to the last hazard. How about... A chaingun?” A hole opened up in the ceiling, and out popped the gun that Monika requested. ”If you're quick, maybe you can destroy it before the barrels get up to speed.”

”Boop!” The unarmored wall beside the reinforced shudder burst open. Standing in the opening was none other than Alexandria, She had used the IV polls to act as a battering ram to break down the sheet rock wall. The carnage sister dropped every IV poll and hurled her spear into the chain gun, piercing the barrel in place. ”Boop!”

“Uh, sis?” Monika fret her brow. “You missed the patients.”

”But I wuv Calvie poo!” Alexandria was using the IV polls to take out each remaining saw, one at a time. The arms sputtered and ”And he's been so nice, staying away from those icky girls. I feel like I need to reward him.”

“But love is just a concept, it can't possibly exist.”

Alexandria's eyes glowed an extra dark shade of red. “Stop being spooky, I know how to turn you off!”

“Fine, I'll go play somewhere else...” The screen went black.

The carnage sister turned to face Calvin and Aleecia. ”So how's everyone doing?”

"I might regret saying this later, but thank god you showed up before we got sliced, nurse." Mercy told Alexandria, gently setting Ellie down.

Aleecia started to get up, her stomach hurting from the impact of dropping. It seemed like the platform was moving again and the music had stopped. Who had that voice again...? Aleecia couldn't exactly place it, all she knew was that it was one of the sisters. "Calvin... Are you okay?" She reached in his direction.

One moment, Calvin was saying prayers as the guns slowly revved up. The next, Alexandria had burst through the wall, impaled the turret, and turned to ask how all we're doing. "I'm... fine. He simply stared at the Carnage sister with a mixture of awe and deep resentment. She had just saved them. But something about that made his blood boil. "Thank you, Alexandria." There was a half-cooked smile on his face, but his voice sounded genuine. It was then he remembered Allie. For half a moment, he had forgotten she was there, but when he saw her reaching for him, he sprinted over. ""I'm fine, I'm fine." His throat hitched as he held her tightly, visions of the saws passing through his mind. "I thought... I just-" His body shook, and when he pulled back his eyes shone with tears as his face broke out into a broad smile. "I can't believe it." Remembering himself, he looked around the room. "Are we all okay?"

Bliss's hands were trembling on her umbrella pick. ”Y-yes, I think we're fine.”

Alexandria looked at the clock on the wall before looking back at the infinites. ”I'm super short on time guys, so I'm going to cut the mustard.”

The nanny raised an eyebrow. ”I don't think you used that phrase right.”

”Aleecia.” The carnage sister yanked her spear out of the turret and approached the blind woman. ”Nariko is on a boopathon, and she won't stop until she's booped every patient there is to boop.” she gestured for Aleecia's hand. ”Only you can talk some sense into her. ”

Aleecia slipped her arms around Calvin's waist and squeezed slightly, her thumbs moving over his back soothingly. The way his body shook was worrying her and it almost seemed like he had been injured, "Shhh... You're sure your not injur-"

The blind girl shut up as she heard the robot speak again and then call out her name. It seemed like she was coming closer and she turned to slip behind Calvin. While Aleecia was happy to spend time with Nariko, the other sisters still scared her, especially right after Monika's attack. But once she heard what Alexandria had to say, "I'm coming!" She slipped her hands up to release Calvin's arms from around her, moving towards the robot as she did, "Stay here, I'll be right back, okay?"

Calvin stood forlornly as he looked towards Aleecia and Alexandria, his eyes clouded. "You shouldn't-" He caught himself as he spoke. There was a look of determination on the girl's face that gave him pause. "I'm coming too." He ran the back of his gauntlet over his eyes before he turned back to Bliss and Mercy, looking concerned. "Someone should stay with Ellie." He was amazed she was still in one piece, and looked at Mercy, impressed at how she had held up.

"I'll stay with Ms. Ellie. You guys go on ahead." Mercy told the others, a weak smile on her face. She was still suprised that she survived something out of a Saw movie. Wait, isn't that a pun on it's own?

”But Calvie poo! The only reason why I'm doing this is to keep you safe!” Alexandria huffed. ”But if you want to keep me safe, I guess you can tag along. But no hitting Nariko! That'll be a bad idea!”

Bliss aproached Calvin ”If you insist on going, Calvin, you should probably take this.” She handed Calvin the pick umbrella that he made for her. ”It will be easier for Mercy and I to move Ellie around if I'm not carrying that.” Calvin accepted the piece of his handiwork with a bit of a grimace, though he nodded with appreciation.

”Alright, let's get going, toot-toot!” Alexandria picked up Aleecia bridal style and started to run for the hospital wing, with Calvin following close behind. Aleecia gave a little yelp before holding on tight, the faster they went, the better.


Calvin looked towards Ice with a degree of intent. His eyes were clouded and his lips parted slightly as he looked Ice over. His eyes scanned over the room, and settled on Aleecia. She The look on her face was resolute, and it terrified him. “I can handle this.” He said, not unkindly. “I’ll try and talk some sense into her. Into all of them.” He looked ahead to Rika who was still waiting for Ice. “Good luck with her. And with Alice.” His cheek still stung.

Relief flooded over the Blood Donor’s face. It was unusual for anything besides anger to show on his face, but his true colors were always drawn out by the people he cared about. The last interaction between the two of them played over in his head again, “I have nothing to offer but my gratitude.”

“You don’t gotta offer anything, man.” There was a bit of clarity in Calvin’s eyes. “I don’t want anything to happen to her either.” He let out a sigh.

Calvin was the only one Ice could trust with Allie in this state. Not only because he trusted him as much as one of his own siblings, but because Calvin cared for the Dice Master just as much. He gave a small smile to the ground before letting out a sigh himself. With another nod, Ice patted Calvin on the shoulder before slipping past him and out of the room.



Calvin turned to look to Aleecia, who had a slight frown as she faced his general direction. Had she heard him? He made his way to go over, feeling a slight sense of urgency but before he could get to her, Monokuma spoke up, introducing a new “game”. As Aleecia took a spot to face Faith, Calvin turned slowly to look upon Noel.

“Listen, I’m not here to fight about this. But we need to stop getting involved in all of the bear’s bullshit.” Calvin gestured with his arm towards the black and white bear watching the debate with glee. “Monokuma’s on our side? That should be an immediate sign we need to stop what we’re doing and think about this. Let him run the game, we shouldn't be doing his dirty work!” He looked at Noel, doing what he could to appraise her. He had spoken with her in passing before, but never a great deal. She carried herself with a degree of confidence that Calvin respected deeply, and he hoped he could get through to her.

Noel followed the debates of the others intently. Naturally she had covered politics before, and the boring debates that ensued there. She was happy to report that these exchanges of words were infinitely more interesting! Well, perhaps it was because it was a more dire subject matter… well it didn’t matter! She was rather enjoying herself, seeing the sides clash against each other with such zeal!

Noel shook her head resolutely as she noticed the blacksmith tried to get her attention.. ”I don’t disagree that having the bear on our side is… troubling. But abandonment of our allies can’t be right.” She stated crystal clear. ”I wasn’t there the first time, and I know you didn’t really have a say in things… but you can probably imagine best what Krista is going through right now. Can you say, knowing the feeling of being saved from such despair, that it is the correct option to leave her to whatever fate Nariko has in store for her?” Noel was calm, but Calvin could feel that behind her neutral gaze, intense judgement was being passed.

Calvin ran a gloved hand through his hair, a look of pain crossing his face. “You think I don’t give a shit she’s in there?” His tone was pained, not pointed, but Noel’s following statement brought a bit of heat to his chest. “Whatever sort of good feeling we were supposed to get from surviving that encounter was torn to shreds when we look at what it cost! Monokuma even admitted it! He didn’t have the authority to kill any of us, until good people a lot like you tried to fix things. It doesn’t fucking work.” His hands clenching themselves into fists and unclenching at a slow yet methodical rate.

Noel chuckled embarrassedly, he did have a point. However, he forgot something very important. “Yes, that time didn’t work out perfectly, did it? But I believe we do remember one time where things worked out rather swimmingly?” She paused, giving the cogs in Calvin’s head a moment to spin. ”Aleecia was in pretty dire straits last time, wasn’t she? She is alive because Alexandria was confronted and beaten that time.” She shrugged. ”In need of immediate medical attention or kidnapped. it doesn’t really matter, does it? So is there any reason why we shouldn’t do it this time? It seems we have even more people helping this time. I imagine our odds to be even better.”

Noel threw a piercing stare. ”So tell me, what is the difference between now and then?”

Even though the laugh was good natured, Calvin’s blood boiled. He was about to unload into the Infinite reporter, but she was quick to begin speaking, and Calvin was already having difficulties keeping up with the reporter’s strong arguments. “The last time was lucky! We can’t keep trusting on these plans to work because we believe in ourselves enough. And if something goes wrong?” Calvin’s face went white. “Nobody should have to deal with that. Having someone’s blood on your hands… It’s-” He took a deep breath. “Krista doesn’t deserve that.”

”Luck? Do you truly believe you can defeat something like a carnage chassis with pure luck? If all you had was luck last time, we would’ve found a squad of dead bodies, and Aleecia would’ve followed suit.” She sneered. ”You’re a bloody infinite. You may not be a fighter, but together we can do some pretty amazing things. Do you think your weapons were not an important reason why they succeeded last time? Their skill? Their plans?” She was visibly angry. Her aura shifted to something different for a bit, it was steadfast, yet furious. An incredibly, silent force.”There is nothing bad about having luck on your side, but such an act is not purely lucky. ” She let out a deep breath of her own. ”And the only way Krista won’t have to live with blood on her hands, is if we do a damn good job once again. Because you can’t stop me. It’s just not… right” She was resolute.

Calvin shuddered a little, looking at Noel in the eyes. There was a fire there that seemed so distant to Calvin. Some piece of him registered it as a part of himself, but that seemed so long ago. Where was his passion? His verve? He tried to muster it up, to find the words that used to come so easily to him whenever he disagreed with someone. It didn’t come.

Was it what he was arguing? Or some deeper part of him that had been snuffed out? What was wrong with him? He realized he had been staring at Noel for far too long, and broke eye contact sheepishly, looking down. “You’re right. I can’t stop you. You can do what you want, Noel But I’m not going through this shit again.” His voice was quiet, his tone low. “If another one of us goes, and my work is in their hands or turned against them, I…” He looked back up, and though his tone was brittle, there was a dull severity in his eyes that was chilling.

“I think I’m going with them.” It didn’t sound as though it was a threat, but rather a simple fact.

Noel nodded with simple acceptance. Calvin’s point was rather weak. If they died without his work, then maybe they could’ve been saved by having them? But Noel couldn’t bring herself to make that point. It was clear the blacksmith was on the edge. Telling him the truth now might only push him. ”Do as you like, I’m not going to judge.” This was a lie. Noel believed that inaction might be one of the worst actions. But at the very least it was better than opposition. She didn’t agree, and judged the others harshly for their choice. But ultimately, they had already lost too much time arguing. It was time for action.


Calvin swore lightly as a small line of scarlet ran down from his index finger to the palm of his left hand. His right hand was wrapped around the pommel of what had once been a sword, and tears ran down his cheeks as he looked at it. It was still sharp, and for half a moment, he felt the familiar pride that came upon looking at any of his creations. He had some brief fancy of driving Alexandria with the twisted and shattered remains of the blade, but the fire was quickly replaced with a deep sense of fear. Calvin, for the first time since he had arrived in Axis Mundi, felt the sort of fear that cowed him from making any decision.

He kept Shona’s blade stashed under his bed, held up by some fragile wiring that made sure it wouldn’t rest on the floor. When she had died, he had been quick to scoop it up and bring it back. For a while, it leaned against his wall, but he was quick to realize that it was better kept out of sight for his own sake. He had thought his craft would be perfect for this situation. And yet—

The blade bouced loudly off the wall.
---

“We have to get her back, right?” Calvin’s voice was quiet as he spoke from the doorway. He had just recently joined the group, quietly watching from the exit, but had heard enough to be caught up. He looked around the room sheepishly, trying to avoid making eye contact with Ice. He found himself nodding along with Zach’s speech, and while he wanted to hear Jezebel’s point, he spoke up first.

“Let’s talk with her. We don’t know if this is a hostage situation or something else entirely. For all we know, this could be Nariko trying to get Krista out of here.” He paused for a moment. The look in his eyes betrayed the words. There was little faith behind his theory. “We shouldn’t – can’t fight those things. If it gets to that point, let’s just pull back and sort things out.” He took a moment to look at Aleecia. “We’re not just gonna make some sort of trade. If you’re going anywhere with that thing, it’s because we have a plan to get you out, alright?” He looked around the room with a cold glare.

“And that plan doesn’t mean setting up another fucking hit squad!” He glanced testily at Zach and the other members of the group who seemed prepared to go into another battle. “There’s other ways of dealing with this than listening to what the god-damn bear is telling us! We’re not putting Krista, or ourselves at risk because we’re itching for a fight.” He took a moment to stare directly at Monokuma before looking back down, fully aware of the implications of what he was saying. “I’m sick of it.”


Calvin woke up with a start. It took him a moment -- like it seemed to every day – to fully accept and understand that what had happened the day before was not some sick dream. He rubbed the back of his head and winced. Mercy had done what she could to ease the pain, and he had been told to rest. Shaking his head (and regretting the dull ache it brought), he stood up.




The forge roared under Calvin’s careful watch. There was a look of calm and careful consideration that so rarely came across his face away from the blazing flame. Even as Monokuma’s announcements blared, Calvin continued to hammer away, a small crease forming across his forehead.

So many new participants were about to become a part of Killgood’s game, and Calvin questioned from whence they all came. He had seen Rika, Thomas and Ellie after they joined last night, but he had not spoken much with any of them. Seeing Rika again had brought a familiar chill down his spine that he had not been sad to see go. Still. He was glad to see she was alright. Merely being alive seemed like something worth celebrating these days.

But there were more coming in. New faces and-

“Aleecia?” A frown crossed his face and the hammering stopped. She had been supposed to get out. Away from this. He was about to go, when a figure slowly entered the room.

”Hi Calvie-poo!” Alexandria was dressed like a nurse, and didn't appear to have her weapon on her. ”Now that superbad-evil-mean-nasty-spiteful-hate filled-Erin Steele is gone, we can talk about the fuuuutuuuuure!” She giggled before charging up to Calvin. ”Well? Are you really going to tell me our time together wasn't special?”

Calvin suppressed a groan at Alexandria’s bold entrance. She was never one for subtlety. While he had had some time to take in all that had happened, he wasn’t quite ready for this. “This is a joke, right?” He said, though he knew it wasn’t true. “I don’t know what you want from me, Alexandria. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of a power dynamic here!” His hand hung in the air for a moment.

”The only power dynamic here is loooooove!” Alexandria shivered in place. ”As soon as you’re cured of hope, we’re going to move out into the suburbs and start a family. I’ll even change my last name to Ibbott!” She continued to walk towards Calvin. ”Come on Calvie-poo, maybe you don’t see any of that happening, but do you really feel I’m all evil? Is there really no ending where we ride into the sunset together on my horse?”

Cured of hope? If that was Alexandria’s goal, she was doing a good job. “I don’t know what you are. You’re killing us, Alexandria.” Almost involuntarily, he took a step back. There was a dull ache in his chest as he looked at the robot’s innocent eyes. There was no malice, but that only made it worse.

The robot stared at Calvin for several seconds in silence. ”Oh.” She took a step backwards. ”I get it now.” Alexandria didn't sound like her usual cute self. ”You're afraid of me. That's why you'll never tell me the truth. But it doesn't matter what I do at this point. You'll never be able to love me.” The robot hung her head. Her bangs covered her face. ”Am I right? Can you not forgive me? Love is over?” She started to make crying noises.

Calvin didn’t break his gaze. He had an opportunity, and as uncomfortable as he was, he knew he needed to make good on it. “I’m not - I.” All he had to do was say she could be forgiven. Alexandria had been an important ally, and one that he might need to survive all of this. But. “You killed her.” His voice choked up a little bit. He tried to say more, but little came. He could forgive her. But forgetting all the she had done, what she had been party to? He looked at Alexandria.

Her crying stopped instantly. ”What?” She lifted her head up. ”I killed her? Is that what you said?” She sounded normal again. ”That's pretty mean Calvie poo, blaming me for Shona's actions. If everyone did what they were suppose to do, no one would have gotten booped!” Her head slowly bobbed left and right. ”But I'd have found a way to boop her anyway. She was getting to close to you.” She giggled. ”I didn't pick you just so that you could run off with any hussie who takes interest in you. But that’s love, isn’t it? It's a flame that needs to be nurtured in order to grow. Part of nurturing that flame is forgiving you. But the other part is booping every girl you take interest in.” Her eyes started to glow red. ”I'm going to pay super extra attention to you from now on. I'll watch your every move, every interaction, and make sure no one can surpass me in your heart.”

Calvin’s face drained of all colour. Almost unconsciously, his hand move towards the hammer hanging off of his apron, but it stopped immediately. He didn’t stand a chance. “Fucking...” There was a hint of desperation in Calvin’s voice as his throat hitched. He glanced to his work, noticing that it still had work to be done. Refusing to say anything more, he made his way for the exit, his mouth a tight line across his face.

”But I’ll never hurt you Calvin, you can trust me on that.” The doll backed up into a wall and disappeared behind a veil of smoke.
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