It’s a battle of who has the most freakish wits versus the shiniest spy weapons in Round 2 of Lit Madness. When these sleuths and hackers are preventing their own murders, rather than solving other people’s, the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.
Clarice is savvy enough to know that Jason Bourne is going to be a tough person to take out. Her mind isn’t as sharp as usual, because she hasn’t been sleeping well. In her nightmares, she’s back on the sheep farm in Montana where she spent part of her childhood, and the lambs are screaming louder than ever. She’s never been good at stomaching violence, and these Games are proving extraordinarily taxing.
Bourne has taken bullets before, so Clarice’s police-issued weapon doesn’t scare him. He is constantly moving, the phrase Cain is for Charlie, and Delta is for Cain repeating through his head like a mantra, though he has no idea what it means.
WINNER: Clarice’s sleep deprivation is getting pretty serious, with her coordination and mental sharpness declining noticeably. Jason takes her out quickly; she doesn’t suffer too much.
As a skilled marksman, Jack Reacher makes it a top priority to locate some kind of firearm once the Cornucopia’s been deserted. Properly armed, he uses his knowledge of physics to calculate the optimal hideout location, and how he’ll attack Lisbeth no matter which direction she approaches from.
Lisbeth Salander isn’t one to back down from a fight. On a certain level, the calculated strategy of games like these appeals to her: She has a distaste for unnecessary violence, but she can play the Game if she needs to. When Mikael Blomkvist (acting as her sponsor) sends her coffee and a couple of sandwiches, Lisbeth feels sufficiently fortified to focus on the task at hand.
WINNER: Those sandwiches did the trick. Caffeinated and fed, Lisbeth hacks the arena’s computer system, and decides that if she has to play the Game, she might as well have fun doing it. An expertly-orchestrated avalanche overtakes and smothers Jack. Never mind that he’s crouching on a completely flat surface when it happens. He never sees it coming.
Gabriel Allon is a keeper of secrets. Upon request, he could be CIA, FBI, DIA, or even an agency so secret you’ve never heard of it before. He’s been closely monitoring as many tributes as he can, keeping score of victors and making note of their weaknesses. Named for the mightiest of God’s angels, he has total faith in his ability to complete this mission and move onto the next.
Marti had had enough of this bullshit before a muttation burst out of the bushes and takes her down. She manages to get a shot or two off, making the muttation stumble away, but not before it’s clawed her neck and side.
WINNER: Exhausted and dizzy from blood loss, Marti limps through the forest towards the lake. Passing a large boulder, she pauses when she notices something odd—her face is painted on the rock. It appeared as though someone had foraged forest materials into paints and created an exact likeness of her on the boulder. She turns and leans in closer to examine her portrait; but while her guard is down, Gabriel strikes from behind. He knew his art would come in handy one day in the field!
Shit, shit shit. This is scary. Not as chilling as the heavyweight who murdered his girlfriends and tried to kill her, but Steph is still seriously rattled by this arena. In fact, it finally occurs to her that the only way to survive will be emulating everyone who’s tried to kill her. When she sees a silver parachute drifting her way, she thanks her lucky stars that Ranger got to that conclusion before she did.
Jade’s used to solving crimes, not walking away from them. When she sees an attack happening or a body on the ground, her natural instincts to figure out what happen go into overdrive. She heads to the lake and splashes some water on her face. She’s got to get her head in the Game and learn to use her smarts towards defeating her opponent, not catching the bad guy.
WINNER: Steph has to congratulate herself on replacing the ol’ car bomb—her enemies’ choice method for trying to get rid of her—with some well-placed landmines. All she has to do is climb on top of a rock so Jade can see her, then shout insults and throw in a few patented Italian hand gestures. A pissed-off Jade comes running, and boom.