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Game Theory

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The worst part of being a Reaper on the lines is waiting when you know there's a mission, and the directive from upstairs is "hold action".

The Wall Reapers are doing their usual "sit around and wait", and Koki Kariya and Uzuki Yashiro keep a watch on their phones. 

They're used to weirdness with Minamimoto Weeks.  Minamimoto Weeks are veritable legend, usually.

What’s not common in the experience of the two Harriers is being bored out of their skulls when Minamimoto gets to come out to play. 

And a certain young goth Harrier is more bored than she has ever been in her life.  (Or unlife, as the case may be.)

And after a few hours of Hurry Up And Wait (where Kariya mentions how that ziggurat of junkyard refuse is really Art, how you can’t rush Art, and generally making excuses for Minamimoto being a Lazy Bastard) Uzuki Yashiro counts to ten, and tries to focus on anything other than just wishing things weren't at such a standstill.

She sighs.  Kvetches some more about being made to wait.  Stretches the wings.  Overhears the more established redshirts telling what she damn well knows is an urban legend to a particularly fresh skater-punk of a newbie Reaper.

And on hearing the Reaper Sport One Thing repeated (and knowing she's going to have to send Yet Another Message that "no, kids, Reaper Sport One does not exist, please stop trying to convince the new Reaper recruits that it does") Uzuki sighs again.  Looks at Kariya.

(At least this will get her mind off wanting to strangle the GM, she thinks.)

“So, Kariya...what's this 'Reaper Sport One' stuff?  Why do the kids keep thinking Russian Roulette is somehow a Reaper’s Sport?”

“Well, Uzuki…”  Kariya drawls.  “It was.  Once.”

Once? ” Uzuki gives her partner a very credulous look.

“Oh, there’s a story behind that…it involves how a certain someone figured out how to rig the game odds in a way I never quite anticipated...”  The orange-haired reaper chuckles and gestures with his lolly to the small mountain of road department detritus and abandoned vehicles.

"Okay.  I have to hear this story now..."

(Even if it's complete bullshit, she thinks, at least it'll make the wait less boring.)

And so Koki Kariya begins to tell Uzuki Yashiro the tale (which he swears is absolutely True) of why Reaper Sport One was struck from the books...


It had been a hard day of griefing for the Reapers in the Game, and Koki Kariya had herded the new Harrier fledgelings down to a local lounge for what he claimed was a “training exercise” of sorts.

And Sho--being the newest of the new kids here--was rather surprised when Kariya pulled out what looks to be some old revolver...and placed a bullet in one of the six chambers.

"What the factor, chicken man?  Sending us target shooting?" Sho Minamimoto blurts out, which got some nervous laughter from some of the other new recruits.

And apparently the "chicken man" must have seen the confusion on the faces of those in the room--at least the ones not laughing at the "target shooting" comment.

“You new folks may be wondering...what’s with the gun?  I mean, we don’t shoot the fresh meat, right?  We never shoot the fresh meat.  Us Harriers sic Noise on ‘em, and the redshirts wall ‘em in, but we don’t shoot ‘em...”

“Well, that’s not what this is about.”  Kariya drawled.  “Nah. This is more...fun with reality bending.  Kind of a thing to teach you how we actually make the rules, how we sometimes load the dice…through a little game .  An unofficial Reaper Sport, as it were.”

And so Kariya proceeded to lay out the rules for his most unusual game:

" Everyone gets a shot of liquid courage, and a turn at the gun.  Spin the chamber three times and then fire.   Like ...this... " Kariya noted, as he took the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger to the horror of his new recruits, at least two of which covered their eyes...

...and hit an empty chamber. 

"After you shoot, you pass it to the right."

"We take a shot each time someone shoots himself."  Kariya noted the surprised reaction of the newer kids, and chuckled.  "Oh, come on...it's not like we aren't all dead anyways, right?  Let's continue..."

"If you shoot yourself, you lose the game.  If you pass out, you lose the game."

"Your job, as a Reaper, is to do the voodoo that you do so well...and make sure that fuckin’ bullet doesn’t go in your head.  Think of it as Hide and Seek from bullets.  Like throwing loaded dice.  Like Reaper Creeper with a gun . "

Koki Kariya, for his part, loved playing this game with the new kids.  He didn’t get to haze the fresh meat so much since the Harrier promotion, but damn if he wasn’t gonna troll the hell out of the fledgies.  

(He wasn’t about to tell them they were shooting blanks.  It was funnier that way.)

By the time that the actual revolver made it around to Sho Minamimoto, at least two new Harriers had managed to shoot themselves (or so they thought), at least one other somehow teleported himself out, a fourth somehow jumped onto the ceiling when the second fledgie “shot” himself in the leg and knocked himself out from the recoil…

And Sho was drunker than he had ever been--considering that up to this point in his life and unlife, the most he’d ever had to drink was a bit of sake on his eighteenth, and now Kariya was pouring out bourbon.

Sho blinked, and looked at the gun.  Smirks.  Held it a bit unsteady (around 60-ish kilos + (3? 4?  Sho’s lost count...at any rate, >2) shots of bourbon in 2 hours = BAC definitely higher than 0.3mg/1ml).  Looked at Kariya.  

Kariya looked on, for the first time wondering if the Minamimoto kid had maybe overindulged a bit for his comfort.

“So…”  Sho said.  Looked at the gun in his right hand.  Spun the barrel the first time with his left.  “There’s a single bullet and six chambers, right?  This means…”  Blinked like he was trying to focus.  

One of the other fledgies (already three sheets to the wind) started their own hazing.  "Hey, Pi-face!   You gonna play with that all day or shoot?"

"Null yourself, yoctogram...I'm...I’m doin' the math."   (Which, Sho noted, was more difficult than usual; a mixture of >=50% corn mash with various proportions of wheat and/or rye in the mashbill that is allowed to ferment for 14 days and distilled to a solution of 62% ethyl alcohol and allowed to sit in a charred oak barrel for upwards of four to six years before dilution to around 50%...was not exactly a solution that speeded up the thought processes.)

“Now...before this hectopascal got me off my vector..." Sho stared daggers at the source of the interruption.  "There should be...one in six chances of this hitting a live round with no intervention, around...0.16666...667 percent, right?”  Spun the chamber again like it was a fidget spinner while smirking and flipping off the drunken troll in the corner.

(It occurred to Sho that there was a zetta nice weight to that revolver, and the spinning was really soothing at this point.  Though if that factoring hectopascal interrupted his calculations one more time...)

“Well, yeah, that’d be about right, mind, I fucked off from maths in school so I’ll take your word on it…”  Oh sweet kami, please don’t let him go into the maths rants, Kariya prayed silently to whatever gods looked kindly upon punk Reapers who last walked the mortal realm around the time visual kei was just starting to be a Thing. He's already throwing out terms from chemistry class...just...please.  Not the maths rants.

(He had already experienced one of the Maths Rants.  Sho had seen something in a tile pattern and it sent him off into something about a "Sierpinski gasket" for two hours. )

“So...the game theory here...is to alter the laws of probability so as to not put a new hole in your head…reducing the probability of getting shot from 1:6 to 0:0.”  Sho smiled.   Again spun that chamber.

(Sho wished he could keep spinning it--it was certainly keeping his thoughts in a single vector instead of descending into a chaotic orbit.)

"Uh...yeah, pretty much."  Please, oh Gods and Goddesses, don't let him start going onto some rant on pi or logarithms or some shit...

"Hah."  Sho looked up and was positively beaming in what was the most feral grin--certainly the one with the most sharp and pointy teeth--that Kariya had ever seen on anything that wasn't a Swing Shark.

And then started ranting that this was exactly the variable he needed in the equation (ohgod not more math talk sweet kami did that kid never shut the fuck up about goddamn math?), closed the cylinder, and aimed at his head...

Right before he suddenly shifted aim and shot at the feet of the Harrier that'd been snarking on him, and then fell down laughing, stone drunk, dropping the revolver on the floor as if he'd just pulled the most hilarious prank ever .

The Snarker proceeded to scream like a cheerleader and promptly fainted.

And Koki Kariya found himself the second ceiling-dweller of the evening.


Later that night (after sobering up and sending Megumi Kitaniji a bill for “one set of new pants”), Kariya noted to himself:

That is literally the first time I've seen a recruit game the system like that. Oh yeah, that Minamimoto kid's gonna be trouble. Fun trouble, but trouble.

That said, though...he definitely does show some real potential as a way to make things more interesting in the Game...


“And that, Uzuki, is why we don’t do Reaper Sport One anymore.”  Kariya chuckles while nursing on his red-bean-paste lollipop.

Uzuki Yashiro is gobsmacked.  “You’re saying...fucking Minamimoto is why Russian Roulette... Russian Roulette, I’ll remind you...is not a Reaper Sport now?”

“Absolutely.  And supposedly that incident was what got Kitaniji paying attention to the Grim Heaper and putting him on the fast-track to promotion, too!”

“Koki Kariya, you are so full of shit!”  Uzuki is laughing despite herself as she smacks Kariya with a purse.

“It’s absolutely true, I swear!”  Kariya’s laughing, too, while ducking Uzuki’s playful blows.

Maybe slow days aren’t so bad after all.