The Most Dangerous Game
The containment alarm blared in the background, as Dr. Magnus sat in front of an elaborately colored board, across from a confident-looking man.
He narrowed his eyes, and tightened his mouth, attempting to stare down his opponent. He hesitated for a moment, before reaching forward, slowly, trying not to show his intention as his hand slipped up towards the board.
His opponent and he had done this dance many times today already. He could feel the ghost of a five o'clock shadow coming in, having sat at this table for far too long. His opponent was smugly confident. The last few conflicts had ended in defeat, and this time the stakes were too high to keep losing.
"You're not going to win," Magnus stated, his voice tight with pressure. His fingers blurred, and a clack of the pieces the only sound other than the warnings about the dangerous creature roaming the halls.
A smirk played across his opponents face and he tried not to grimace, as they reached forward and moved a piece with an ominous clack. Their eyes darted to the door, where they heard running footsteps, and saw the shadows of a dozen pairs of boots running by the door. "They look like they're in a hurry."
Magnus' eyes stayed locked with the figure across from him, for a few more moments, before darting up to the flashing alarm, then down to the board, examining his moves. He couldn't afford to lose this game, far too much was on the line. He hesitated.
"We've done this too many times," He ventured, attempting to brook peace. "We should end this."
"We have, but it always ends the same," the sinister voice of his opponent intoned. They made an impatient gesture, "I believe it's your move, Michael. You should probably hurry, if you'd like this to end." The sound of distant yelling could be heard.
Magnus swallowed hard, knowing he was being backed in to a corner. His fingers lifted, and slid the piece home, blinking involuntarily.
"Michael. I swear, we've done this four times already today, and yet you never learn." His opponent lifted the piece, and slammed it on to the board with violent finality. "As I said. You haven't learned."
Dr. Magnus' mind raced. How could he not see it. It was so obvious, the hole in his defense, and now he had lost again. He didn't know if he could pay the price , and he dreaded the words from his opponents mouth.
His opponent leaned forward, smiled, and tilted his head. "I'm sorry Michael, but it's over."
Dr. Magnus hung his head, and sighed, "Just say it. You know how this ends."
His opponent smiled wider, and his teeth started to show. Those stupid perfect teeth of his opponent, so mocking in their regularity.
"Of course. I wouldn't want to drag this out any more than it has to. How many defeats is this, to my hand?"
Under the table, Magnus' hand clenched in frustration, and he ground his teeth. "Five, today."
His opponent leaned back and smirked his smug little smile again, closing his lips over his annoyingly straight teeth. "Five. That must be embarrassing, losing to me, five times. How can you afford to keep losing?"
Magnus tried to smile, his own thoughts turning dark. The truth was, he couldn't. He'd already lost too much, gone too far. At this rate, he would lose everything, his eyes darting over to his terminal, where incoming emails were coming in fast enough to scroll his window. "Just say it. I'm tired of this shit, just fucking say it."
His opponent smiled, and folded his hands. "Fine. Since you're such a spoil sport."
He reached forward, and touched the small, colored pieces, pointing out the flaw in his defense with obvious glee. "Connect four. That's five games, you owe me a slice of pie." Outside, someone shouted for a medic.
Magnus cursed, and reached in to his drawer, pulling out the last of the bills he kept in there for coffee. "You're a dick, Kens."
Researcher Kens smiled, and took the three dollars and two quarters off of the desk, shaking out the pieces from the connect four set. "And yet, you keep losing. That's like, six slices of pie so far."
In the far distant background, something shook the foundations of the Site. Dr. Magnus looked up at Kens and raised an eyebrow, "Should we…be there?" Magnus' eyes slid over to the door, where heavily armed MTF members were streaming by.
Kens shrugged, standing up, "Why? So you can catch another terminal case of knife-in-the-sternum?"
Magnus flipped him off, and stood with him. "Oh fuck off. Let's go, I've got enough for like…half an espresso. Assuming the cafeteria hasn't been eaten by anomalies or something."
Kens stood, and started towards the door, "So, same time tomorrow?"
Magnus smirked this time, his secret weapon ready to be unveiled. He twirled around, facing Kens. "No Kens. No more connect four. It's child's play. Tomorrow, we start a new game." He steepled his hands.
Kens took a step back, looking hesitant, "What game, Magnus?"
Magnus laughed quietly, the space between them building to a thunderhead. The tension was palpable, Kens' mind racing, imagining the horrors that Magnus could have in store for him.
Magnus threw his hands up in a victorious gesture, exclaiming "Twister! You'll never defeat my flexible joints!"
The door rocked a bit, as someone was slammed bodily in to it, both of the Researcher's heads whipped around, before slowly turning back to face each other.
Kens blinked a few times, and his mouth formed a tight line, incredulous. "Don't you have some ancient sumerian st—"
Magnus raised his hands above his head as he stomped out of their shared office, "Oh fuck off with that, I swear I'll never live it down! Christ! Let's go already." Magnus opened the door, and stepped over the unconscious MTF member outside his office.
Kens grinned as they walked towards the cafeteria, Site security rushing past them to some unnamed horror not in the direction of delicious pie.