Champion’s Cup

Episode One

Day One

(Aerial fly-by of a pair of islands- one large, one small. The large one is made up of two large sections on the north and south, with a narrow isthmus connecting the two. The northern part is a large, wide crescent shape with various trees, mountains and paths along it. In the center of a lagoon is the small island- uninhabited with mostly trees. The southern half is long and narrow, with some developed structures on the west side. A river flows from the rocky isthmus south and west to the town. Zoom in to a spot where the isthmus joins the north part of the island, a clearing in a forest. Host A. R. Pulver, or Arp, stands in the clearing, where several paths converge.)

Arp: For years, anime characters have been competing in their own versions of reality competitions. They have been thrown on islands, trapped in houses, flown to the moon, flung into the Digital World, subjected to cosmic intervention, subjected to cosplay, forced to investigate murders, forced to be murdered and yes- even forced to play Yu-Gi-Oh.

(Arp holds a finger up.)

Arp: For the record, I’m only responsible for about half of those. In any event, after all these years, I figured one more wouldn’t hurt. This time however, we’re doing something a little different.

(Another pan across the island, to a modest two-story house nestled in the hills. A large yellow banner hangs from the front.)

Arp: (VO) This is Grail Island, the site of the Champion’s Cup, a thirty-day competition where eighteen reality veterans will vie for one last shot at glory. These eighteen will start out as three teams of six, with each team staying in one of the houses on the island.

(Back to Arp.)

Arp: They’ll be living together, and may become friends or enemies and all that other good stuff. Before we get too far into the details, let’s introduce our players:

(Arp stands near three mats- blue, yellow, and red. Paths shoot out to the north, west, and east.)

Arp: Of the 75 anime characters who have played in the 7 Animation Alliance and my Anime-zing Race series, these 18 were among the most successful and most memorable. Playing for the Blue House...

(The Blue team enters from the north path, in the order Arp calls them, and takes their place on the blue mat. Each players wears a wrist band denoting their house.)

Arp: (VO) Tai Kamiya, from Digimon Adventure- winner of Animation Survivor and third place in Mole: Anime Edition.
Syaoran Li- from Cardcaptor Sakura, one half of the winning team in The Anime-zing Race and fifth voted off in Animation Survivor 2.
Brock, from Pokémon- the Mole in Mole 2: Anime Edition, fourth place in The Anime-zing Race, and part of the fifth place team in Pokéball Run.
Yukino Miyazawa, from His & Her Circumstances- third place in Anime-zing Race.
Sana Kurata, from Kodocha- fourth place in Animation Survivor 2 and fourth executed in Mole 1.
Misato Katsuragi, from Evangelion- seventh place in Anime-zing Race.

(The entire Blue team stands on their mat.)

Arp: Ready to meet your competition, guys?

Misato: Bring it on.

Arp: For the Yellow House...

(The Yellow team comes in from the west in the same manner.)

Arp: (VO) Tenchi Masaki, from Tenchi Muyo- winner of Mole 1 and third place in Anime-zing Race 2.
Shinji Ikari, from Evangelion- winning driver in Pokéball Run.
Ruri Hoshino, from Nadesico- Mole 1 runner-up and sixth place driver in Pokéball Run.
Yukito Tsukishiro, from Cardcaptor Sakura- runner-up in Anime-zing Race 2.
Rika Nonaka, from Digimon Tamers- fourth place in Pokéball Run and eighth place in Mole 2.
Yukari Tanizaki, from Azumanga Daioh- fourth place in Anime-zing Race 2.

(With the whole of Yellow House on their mat, they begin exchanging quiet pleasantries with Blue. Misato is happy to see Shinji, and gives him a little punch in the arm. Tai and Sana shake hands with Tenchi.)

Arp: Now for Red House:

(The Red players enter from the east.)

Arp: Mitsune Konno, from Love Hina- winner of Mole 2: Anime Edition.
Jessie Gurtland, from Battle Athletes- winner of Anime-zing Race 2 and runner-up in Pokéball Run.
Henry Wong, from Digimon Tamers- runner-up in both Mole 2 and The Anime-zing Race.
Kari Kamiya, from Digimon Adventure- runner-up in Animation Survivor 2 and third place in Pokéball Run.
Tracey, from Pokémon- third place in Animation Survivor, fifth place in Mole 2.
Akito Hayama, from Kodocha- fourth place in Mole 1, seventh in Animation Survivor 2.

(With all eighteen in place, Arp stands before them.)

Arp: And here you are. The eighteen champions.

(Most of the eighteen cheer briefly. Arp then paces around, explaining the basics.)

Arp: Since I guess you need some frame of reference, this series will follow the Survivor format... for the most part. You start out on a team, and will have to live as one.

(Arp hands each team a small covered box, each appropriately colored.)

Arp: This box holds a map of the island, which will lead you to your team’s house. Inside each house are your clothes and personal items, and a meager supply of food and basic necessities. That won’t last you very long, so you’ll need to restock at the market on the southwest corner of the island. The box also holds 15 credits, which is enough to adequately feed a team of six for... well about two days.

(Arp smiles.)

Arp: Needless to say, you’ll have to solve that dilemma on your own. One solution- comfort challenges. This is how we allocate the money that each team can spend however they choose. Food, household necessities and a variety of luxury items are available. Comfort challenges will also have other random benefits, which we’ll get into later. And I don’t need to explain immunity challenges: Winning teams are guaranteed to stay intact for another round, while the losing team will be required to eliminate somebody.

(Everybody understands, although some of the racers like Jessie and Henry are a little unnerved by it.)
Arp: The challenges will be nostalgic reincarnations of previous games used in all of the previous series, along with a few new games thrown in. And then there’s the surprises. As you will soon find, this game is rife with uncertainty. Its only constant is that every round will have something that can change the way you play the game. Since you all have had success in the past, you'll know that a gameplan is only as good as the adjustments you are able to make. Trust me, you will have to make several along the way.

(Arp stands back and points down various paths.)

Arp: It’s time for you to head to your homes for the next few days. Blue Team can head north, Yellow Team can head west, Red Team go east. Use your maps to show you the rest of the way.

(The three teams eagerly step off their mats and start down their respective paths.)

Arp: I will warn you- the first surprise will come sooner than you think.

(Aerial shot of the three teams starting down their respective roads.)


Blue House
(Blue is making their way to the house, scaling a hill. For the most part, this is a chatty group.)

Misato: Okay, okay, so how are we going to run this?

Tai: What do you mean?

Misato: Well, who’s going to be in charge here?

Brock: You are, Misato.

Misato: Like hell I am! I’m here to relax, have some fun, and win this thing.

Tai: Yeah, being the leader pretty much disqualifies you from all three.

Misato: Exactly. So I’m nominating you, Tai.

Tai: Me?! Why?

Brock: Why not?

Sana: Yay! Tai’s the leader!

Tai: No I’m not!

(Sana begins running circles around Tai. Tai grabs her.)

Tai: Look, somebody’s going to end up taking the reins, but we can’t just pick somebody!

Yukino: Yeah, taking a leadership role happens naturally to the person who wants to assume the most responsibility. And besides, we can’t take stock of what we have until we get to the house. From there, I’m sure we’ll figure out where everybody fits in.

(Silence, then...)

Misato: We have a winner.

Brock: Thanks for volunteering, Yukino.

Tai: Yep.

Sana: Captain Yukino!


(As has now become the industry standard, camera confessionals are italicized. Yukino seems very pleased with herself.)
Yukino: Five minutes in and I’m already in charge. Heh... that worked even faster than I thought it would!

Tai: I’m very glad Yukino stepped up. I want to play with a certain integrity, but at the same time I would like to do well. Not only do I not have to worry about being responsible for the team, I can also try not to draw attention to myself early.


Red House
(Red is coming out of the woods and catches the first glimpse of their house in an open field. A red banner clearly indicates which team it’s for. The team takes a moment to admire it.)

Tracey: This is so much better than nothing.

Kari: It’s pretty.

Henry: Not exactly what I’d expect from a house of devious strategies, but it’ll do.

Akito: Are we going in, or are we just going to look at it?

Mitsune: Yeah, let’s go!

(They race for the front door, and all six stop in front of it.)

Henry: I just want to say something. We're getting along great right now, and I'm sure everybody knows that it’s not going to last for very long. So before we all turn crazy on each other, I just want us to keep things in perspective and try not to get too nasty while we're here

(Henry continues to give his speech. The others listen with appreciation.)

Jessie: (VO) Henry gave us a nice pep talk as soon as we got to the house. This group has a few of the sneakier players like Tracey, Kitsune and Akito. But right now we have to remember that our opponents are the other two teams. Good for him to recognize that.

(After Henry finishes, they all gather at the entrance to the door.)

Tracey: Here’s to the beginning!

(Several of the others cheer as Tracey turns the knob and everybody moves forward... into the unmoving door. Tracey is crushed by the other five, and begins to collapse.)

Jessie: Hold on! Stop!

(The other five stop and back up. Tracey falls to the ground, woozy. Akito turns the knob. The door is locked.)

Kari: Is it locked?

Akito: It’s not unlocked.

Jessie: Do we have a key?

(Mitsune looks through their box for a key, but there’s nothing of the sort in there.)

Mitsune: Nope.

Kari: But all of our clothes and personal items are in there. We can’t be locked out!

Akito: Who said?

(Henry opens his mouth and points at Akito, who picks up a stick and pokes Tracey. Mitsune steps forward and knocks on the door a couple times. Nobody answers.)

Jessie: Are you kidding me?


***CHAMPION’S CUP***
Blue House-

Brock, Pokémon, The Mole- Mole 2: AE
Misato, Evangelion, 7th Place- Anime-zing Race
Sana, Kodocha, 4th Place- Animation Survivor 2
Syaoran, Cardcaptor Sakura, Winner- Anime-zing Race
Tai, Digimon Adventure, Winner- Animation Survivor
Yukino, His & Her Circumstances, 3rd Place- Anime-zing Race

Yellow House-
Rika, Digimon Tamers, 4th Place- Pokéball Run
Ruri, Nadesico, Runner-up- Mole: AE
Shinji, Evangelion, Winner- Pokéball Run
Tenchi, Tenchi Muyo, Winner- Mole: AE
Yukari, Azumanga Daioh, 4th Place- Anime-zing Race 2
Yukito, Cardcaptor Sakura, Runner-up- Anime-zing Race 2

Red House-
Akito, Kodocha, 4th Place- Mole: AE
Henry, Digimon Tamers, Runner-up- Mole 2: AE
Jessie, Battle Athletes, Winner- Anime-zing Race 2
Kari, Digimon Adventure, Runner-up- Animation Survivor 2
Mitsune, Love Hina, Winner- Mole 2: AE
Tracey, Pokémon, 3rd Place- Animation Survivor
***CHAMPION’S CUP***

Mitsune: “The first surprise will come sooner than you think...” I’m gonna kill that snot.

(Red House is still stuck outside. Tracey is getting some air on a bench by the door. Kari, Jessie, Mitsune, and Akito are brainstorming nearby. Henry approaches them.)

Henry: The back door’s locked too.

Mitsune: This is ridiculous. What are we supposed to do, sleep outside??

Henry: That seems to be the idea.

Mitsune: Forget it, there has to be a way in!

(Akito silently walks up to a window. Without warning, he begins kicking it repeatedly.)

Jessie: What are you doing?

Kari: We’re not getting in like that!

(Kari and Henry run up, grab Akito, and remove him from the window.)

Henry: However we get in, it can’t involve property damage.

Mitsune: Yeah...

(Mitsune starts thinking.)

Kari: I just don’t understand how they can lock us out right away.

Jessie: Well, obviously it’s an early surprise.

Kari: But all of our stuff is in there! What if there's something we need?

Mitsune: Kari, are you diabetic?

(The whole group freezes, and half the group sweatdrops at Mitsune’s comment.)

Kari: N.. no... why do you ask?

Mitsune: You on any kind of medication? It doesn’t have to be anything serious.

Kari: Not at the moment.

Jessie: What does this have to do with getting in the house?

(Mitsune ignores Jessie, still focusing on Kari.)

Mitsune: Wanna pretend?

Kari: Pretend what?

(Mitsune takes Kari by the arm.)

Mitsune: You know, that you’ve got some medication, or an inhaler, or maybe you just need to smoke a pack a day or you’ll die. Tell them that, and they’d have to let you in! And once they let you in, we all sneak in behind you, and from there they can’t kick us out of our own house!

Kari: (insulted) I’m not pretending I have a smoking problem!

Mitsune: Not even the medication thing?

Kari: No! That’s awful!

Henry: Kitsune, if you’re so desperate to get in the house, then why don’t you do it?

Mitsune: Duh... no one would believe me.

Kari: Kitsune suggested that I try to convince one of the producers that I need to get inside to get medication or something. That’s something pretty underhanded, and I really didn’t like the way she put me in that position right away.

(Jessie is looking through the map and the team’s allotted 15 credits. The other five gather around her.)

Jessie: Look, this is obviously something that’s here to challenge us. Rather than find a way around it, I think we should start getting past it.

Kari: Thank you, Jessie. Any suggestions?

Jessie: Well, we have spending money, and a map to a market. Some of us need to go pick up food and some essentials, while the rest of us set up some sort of camp.

Henry: Good idea. Who should go where?

Mitsune: Okay! Survivor people set up camp, while Jessie, Henry and I go shopping.

Kari: But...

Tracey: Works for me. We don’t need too much food. Whatever’s easy to make.

Henry: Yeah, we don’t know how long this will last, so we need to budget.

(Mitsune, Henry, and Jessie start walking, leaving Kari. She looks at both Akito and Tracey. Tracey is smiling at her. Akito is quietly glaring at her.)

Kari: Why me??

Tracey: We’re not the most normal, but I kind of like the group we have. I’m already friends with half of them, and I’m not too concerned about the other half. We’ll hold our own in challenges, and when we don’t- I shouldn’t have to work too hard to get things going my way.


Blue House
(While Red House was in a field, Blue House is practically beachfront property. The story hasn’t changed however- they still can’t get into the house. Misato and Sana try desperately to knock on the door or jam it open somehow, but no such luck.)

Misato: Lovely surprise we had- we couldn’t get into the damn house. So right away, we’re caught off guard. And some of the members in my group didn’t exactly have the best reaction to it.

(Misato pounds on the door in frustration.)

Misato: Come on! Open, damn you!

Brock: Stand back Misato! We’re going to try something!

(Brock leads Misato away from the door. Sana also steps away.)

Tai: Syaoran?

Syaoran: I need a weapon.

Sana: Here!

(Sana pulls out her Kodocha mallet and hands it over, smiling. Syaoran analyzes it.)

Syaoran: It’ll do.

(Syaoran pulls a ward out of his pocket and strikes it with the mallet.)

Syaoran: (chanting) Gods of Thunder, answer my call!!

(Amazingly, it works. Several bolts of lightening shoot forth towards the door, as Misato gets even farther away. Yukino also remains at a distance. The lightning obliterates a few of the hedges, but the door remains intact. Syaoran, Tai, and Sana stare at the door. Misato, Yukino, and Brock stare at Syaoran. Tai snaps his fingers.)

Tai: Dang... it worked on Roomies.

Syaoran: Should I try again?

(Yukino gently takes the mallet away and gives it back to Sana.)

Yukino: No, no, that’s okay. I’d like our house to remain standing.

Brock: Did anybody bother to check any of the other doors?

(They do so.)

Misato: (VO) Dear God, nobody told me the others would be using magic powers. I don’t know if I should be afraid of Syaoran, or if I should just be happy Brock and Tai don’t have their monsters with them.

(They are now at the backdoor, which has a great view of the beach, the ocean, and the smaller island in the lagoon.)

Sana: It’s so pretty out...

Yukino: Yeah. Maybe this isn’t so bad after all.

Misato: No. I’m hungry.

Yukino: Point taken. Let’s go shopping!

Tai: Who? All of us?

Sana: Yay! We can all go together! It’s like a happy field trip!

Tai: I mean, do we all want to go together? Seems a little gratuitous.

(Brock takes Misato’s hand.)

Brock: Yes, but we need to travel as a group.

Misato: No, Tai has a point. Maybe some of us should stay behind and set up camp.

(Misato looks at Syaoran. Yukino catches her drift and also starts staring at him.)

Yukino: It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have someone hold the fort down.

(Syaoran feels their eyes, and steps forward.)

Syaoran: No. That money is the most precious resource we have, and we all need to decide how it’s spent.

(Sana quickly puts an arm around his shoulder.)

Sana: Yeah! Besides, if we encounter any wolves or leopards on the way, he’ll protect us with his mallet lightning!

(They all head down together.)

Syaoran: (VO) Misato and Yukino seemed to want to leave me behind. And judging by the way they reacted after I tried to break down the door, I’d say they consider me a threat. If that’s the case, the last thing I want is to let the other five get together and conspire against me.

(On the path, Brock and Tai are lagging somewhat behind, talking to themselves.)

Brock: (VO) It’s remarkable how fast Tai and I started talking. I’m not too worried about my position, because I’ve got two sweet angels in Misato and Yukino to ally with. But Tai is very concerned about being ganged up on. So he’s been really active in getting me on his side.

(Sana is happily marching along with the group. Misato and Yukino both smile at her.)

Sana: (VO) This is a fun group! I like everybody, and there’s no boss monkeys to ruin it. I already knew Tai and Syaoran, but I really like Misato and Yukino too. We girls have to stick together!


Yellow House
(This house is nestled in a more mountainous terrain, but the rustic look works for the house. Of course, the six on the team don’t really care since they can’t get in. Yukari pounds constantly on the door. By now, the others have given up.)

Tenchi: They locked us out at first. So not only did we have to deal with that, we had to deal with Yukari trying to get in. If you haven’t seen it, it’s not pretty.

(Yukari is still pounding on the door. yelling to anyone inside. Tenchi, Ruri and Rika watch in futility.)

Yukari: This is our house! We own this house! We should be able to get in!!

Ruri: I don’t think anybody is inside.

Yukari: Of course not, because it’s our house!

Rika: Just let it go, Yukari.

(Tenchi tries to lead her away. She seems ready to cry. Tenchi leaves her alone.)

Yukari: I didn’t come here to be stuck outside with these people. I came here to be lavished like the champion I am!

Rika: I think it’s sad that the oldest person on the team is the least mature. I didn’t complain, Ruri didn’t complain, Shinji’s too much of a wuss to complain... Yukari’s having a hissy fit!

(Yukito and Shinji are on a different side of the house. They can hear Yukari in the background.)

Shinji: I hope she stops soon.

Yukito: There’s a patio up there.

(Shinji looks up. The patio overlooks the ocean. There is a sliding door leading to the second floor of the house.)

Yukito: Want me to give you a boost?

Shinji: Um... sure...

(Yukito does, hoisting Shinji until he stands on Yukito’s shoulders. Shinji can’t quite get over the second floor railing.)

Shinji: I can’t reach!

(Yukito sets Shinji down.)

Yukito: We’ll just need some more help then.

(Yukito walks to the front.)

Yukito: Ruri? Could you help us for a second?

Ruri: Sure.

(Ruri follows Yukito. Tenchi and Rika follow with interest. Shinji again climbs on Yukito’s shoulders.)

Tenchi: Isn’t this a bit dangerous?

Rika: Let them try it.

(Rika gets into a position to catch Shinji if he falls backwards.)

Yukito: Your turn, Ruri.

Ruri: Yes.

(A little distrusting, but still fearless, Ruri steps forward.)

Tenchi: Here.

(Tenchi helps Ruri get up to Shinji’s level. Shinji manages to hoist her up. He looks up for a brief second, but faces forward the second he notices that she’s wearing a skirt.)

Shinji: (blushing) I’m not looking up.

Ruri: So?

(Shinji relaxes.)

Shinji: I like it here already.

Ruri: A little higher.

Tenchi: Be careful Ruri!

(Shinji manages to get Ruri high enough for her to topple over the railing and onto the patio. Shinji loses his balance and falls backwards. Rika moves to catch him, but merely breaks his fall as he lands on top of her.)

Shinji: Thanks, Rika.

Rika: (angry) Get off me.

(After verifying their safety, Tenchi and Yukito look up to Ruri.)

Tenchi: So what happens if that door’s locked?

Yukito: She’ll have the patio all to herself for a couple days!

(Ruri approaches the door... and miraculously it opens. The four below her cheer.)

Shinji: (VO) I couldn’t believe that we were able to get Ruri into the house. Yukito and I seem to work very well together.

(Yukari is still banging on the door.)

Yukari: I’m not stopping until somebody answers! Do you hear me?! Let me in!!

(At long last, the door opens. It’s Ruri.)

Ruri: Idiot.

(Yukari pats Ruri on the head.)

Yukari: My, aren’t you a cute little brat?

(Yukari enters. The other four are right behind her. They all begin taking a look around. They quickly find each of their bags in the living room.)

Ruri: (VO) By some twist of fate, some of my teammates engineered a way to get into the house. I’m not sure how it happened, but Yukito and Shinji came up with a very good idea.

(Yukito and Shinji explore the kitchen. The cupboard isn’t quite bare, but mostly contains instant noodles and other assorted cheap foods.)

Shinji: Well, I’m used to eating like this.

Yukito: Don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll taste great with the right preparation.

(Shinji opens another cupboard. Besides a couple salt and pepper shakers and some curry powder, there’s not much in terms of seasoning.)

Shinji: Yeah, Misato’s right at home here.


(Upstairs, Yukari, Tenchi, and Rika enter one of the bedrooms. There are two single beds, and Yukari promptly rests on one of them, setting her bag on it.)

Yukari: Now this is more like it. Wake me up when we have a challenge.

Tenchi: I guess we’ll make this the girl’s room.

Rika: There’s only two beds.

Tenchi: Oh. Did you see how many bedrooms there were?

(Ruri enters.)

Ruri: There are three bedrooms, each with two beds. That makes it pretty easy for those who can multiply.

Tenchi: Not really, if there’s three men and three women, then that means...

(Rika quickly hops on the bed next to Yukari and lays down.)

Rika: I’ll room with Yukari.

(Tenchi turns to Ruri, who is staring back up at him.)

Tenchi: Oh no... no no no!

(Rika sits up.)

Rika: She can room with Shinji. He’s used to it.

Tenchi: Ruri?

(Ruri watches Rika carefully, but answers.)

Ruri: Fine.

Tenchi: I’d better inform the other two...

(Tenchi leaves. Ruri continues to watch Rika, who returns the stare. After a few moments, Rika cracks a smile. Rather than question this, Ruri walks out, a little concerned.)


----


Market
(On the southwest part of the island is a small port town, and its main attraction is the outdoor marketplace lining a road. Several kiosks are set up, offering food, clothing, toiletries, outdoor supplies and even frivolous entertainment like books and portable video games. Henry, Jessie and Mitsune are admiring the various goods, and Mitsune looks at some of the manga for an awfully long time before the other two drag her along.)

Henry: Come on, we can’t waste our money yet. First the essentials.

Mitsune: I know, I know...

(They immediately buy some sleeping bags, and see some matches at the same kiosk.)

Jessie: We’ll want to start a fire.

Henry: Yeah. Anything else we need for that?

Mitsune: Nah, I’m sure the others can rummage enough stuff to get something going.

Jessie: Yeah, let’s hope.

(They get to the food cart and quickly secure rice, pots to cook the rice, and other cheap goods.)

Henry: You know, we’re assuming an awful lot here. Maybe we should have a back-up plan in case we can’t get a fire going.

Mitsune: Why wouldn’t we?

Henry: Well, we’re out in the open- no protection from the wind, and there’s not much firewood unless those three feel like taking a walk.

Mitsune: So what? You want us to get something we can eat straight out of the box?

Henry: Or can, or bag, or whatever doesn’t need heating.

Mitsune: Three cheers for laziness!

(Jessie shakes her head in silent disapproval as Mitsune gets a bag of potato chips. Henry gets a can of fruit and other healthier selections.)

Jessie: (VO) Instead of counting on Tracey and Kari to prepare a fire pit, they buy some junk food just in case. It may not be a big deal now, but cutting corners like that adds up over time.

(As they scrutinize the other goods, Mitsune and Henry hear a familiar voice calling.)

Brock: (OS) Hey Kitsune! Henry!

(The three see Brock and the rest of the Blue House heading their way. Mitsune and Henry quickly drop everything and greet them, quickly followed by Jessie.)

Mitsune: (in jest) Hey! If it isn’t our fierce rivals in Blue House!

Misato: Right back at you, you Red devils!

(Handshakes and hugs are exchanged all around.)

Jessie: I’m going to keep looking around.

Yukino: Great! I’ll join you!

(Jessie nods and the two continue to walk the streets while the remaining seven continue to chat.)

Brock: So did you guys get locked out too?

Mitsune: Yeah. Don’t know why we didn’t see it coming.

Tai: I know. I’m thinking “It’s too early for this!”

Misato: Alcohol usually fixes that problem. Hope Yukino finds some.

Sana: So where’s Hayama and the rest?

Brock: Is it just you three?

Tai: Yeah, what have you done with Kari?

Henry: We left the Survivor trio back at the house to set up camp.

Mitsune: Yeah. Us Mole people don’t know that kind of stuff.

(Tai seems a little unsettled. Syaoran notices this.)

Syaoran: Yes, Tai: Kari was in a Survivor. I should know- she voted me off.

Sana: Hey, she voted me off too!! And Hayama! We’re all victims of the Kari!

(Tai laughs a bit.)

Tai: Cute.

Syaoran: You’d better keep an eye on her, Henry.

(Tai starts laughing, but Syaoran looks at Henry, completely serious. Henry picks up on that.)

Henry: Interesting exchange in the market. I haven’t really had time to form any opinions of Kari, but I have nothing but respect for Syaoran and if he tells me to watch my back around her- I’d better watch my back.

Tai: Okay, so I’m a little concerned about Kari. I don’t think it’s just me being an over-protective big brother though. She’s got Tracey and Hayama over there and she really has to be careful if she wants to stick around.


Red House
(Speaking of Kari, Tracey and Hayama, they’re all lugging a large log back from the forest. They have a few hundred yards to go. Kari stops, obviously exhausted.)

Kari: Time out.

(They all stop and set the log down. Akito quickly sits on it. Tracey does as well, and notices Kari, who falls to her knees.)

Tracey: You alright?

Kari: Yeah... it’s just really heavy.

Tracey: I noticed that too.

(Kari sits on the log.)

Kari: I’m really thirsty. I hope they’re smart enough to buy water.

Tracey: If all else fails, we saw that pond.

Kari: But then we’d need a fire to boil the water.

Tracey: We’ll probably need a fire anyway.

Akito: No.

(Both Kari and Tracey look at Akito, who had been perfectly motionless the whole time.)

Kari: What do you mean?

Akito: They’ll let us in eventually. No point in going all-out if we’re only outside for two days.

Tracey: Well, let’s get this log over there so we have something to sit on. Then we’ll worry about getting wood for a lean-to or a fire.

(They resume their logging.)

Tracey: How are you holding up Kari?

Kari: Fine. How are you?

Tracey: (cheery) I can barely breathe.

Kari: Do you want to stop?

Tracey: I’ll manage.

(Kari smiles as they keep going.)

Kari: Being on the same team as Tracey is interesting. I mean, this is... Tracey! The Tracey! He basically invented the concept of playing dirty. And yet, even in the first day, I’m already seeing him as a person, and a very nice one at that. Even if his devious side comes out over time, I’m still glad to have him on the team.


Yellow House
(Rika, Ruri, Shinji, and Tenchi are relaxing in the living room.)

Tenchi: So what else needs to be done?

Rika: Win immunity.

Ruri: At this point, we still need to clean the house, and take advantage of any resources we have.

Rika: Which isn’t much.

Tenchi: If we’re the only ones that got in, we have more than the other teams. And we need to use that.

Ruri: Not necessarily. The other teams may have been to the market.

Tenchi: Well, it’s too late to go today. Maybe a couple of us can go tomorrow.

Rika: Just make sure not to spend too much.

Ruri: Actually, the important thing is not to spend it frivolously. As long as it remains useful, you can spend as much as you want.

(Rika glares at Ruri for a bit.)

Tenchi: Good point.

(Yukito enters from the kitchen.)

Yukito: Dinner’s ready.

(The four stand up and enter the kitchen.)

Tenchi: Yukito, want to go to the market tomorrow to restock?

Yukito: Good idea.

(Yukito turns to the stairs and calls up.)

Yukito: Yukari! Dinner!

(Yukari is already descending.)

Yukari: I heard you the first time.

(Shinji notes a pot on the stove.)

Shinji: Did you find something besides instant noodles?

Yukito: No. I just took half of the packages and threw them into the pot.

Tenchi: What about the other half?

Ruri: Breakfast.

(The food is served and the six sit at the kitchen table to eat.)

Rika: (VO) It’s really easy to get lazy here. Yukari seems to have no trouble with it. I think that’s part of the challenge. We have to stay motivated, and keep trying to improve our condition. Otherwise it’ll be a long thirty days.


Blue House
(The group watches Brock work his magic, stirring rice over a healthy fire.)

Sana: (VO) Inside, outside, any side! We don’t worry about food- we have Brock!

(Brock scoops up some rice, puts it into a bowl, and hands it to Sana, who devours it.)

Sana: It’s great! Just like Mom’s maid used to make!

(The rest of the group gets their ration. They all sit at the back door, where they see the sun setting below the other end of the lagoon.)

Tai: This is really good, Brock. But I suppose you’re used to outdoor cooking.

Brock: It’s a gift.

Yukino: If we’re going to be locked out, at least it’s a great night for it.

(General agreement. They finish up the food and admire the view.)

Misato: Well, since we’re here, and we can’t get in, might as well go for a swim.

(Misato stands up and heads towards the beach.)

Tai: Uh, Misato, all of our clothes are inside. That includes our swimsuits.

Misato: Eh, formalities. It’s dark.

(It takes a little while for the other five to understand. Then Brock stands up.)

Brock: I’m with you, Misato!

(Sana and Yukino stand up and grab him.)

Yukino: No you aren’t!

(Misato notices the commotion and turns around.)

Misato: What’s going on?

Sana: Pervert prevention, don’t mind us.

Misato: Oh I don’t mind. You can all jump in; it’s not my beach.

(Sana and Yukino stare at Misato, a little shocked. Brock shakes himself off and follows Misato.)

Brock: Besides, I’m a water trainer now. It’s only natural for me.

(Brock heads off as Sana and Yukino just stand there, shocked. Then Tai walks by.)

Tai: (casual) Well, she made the offer.

(Yukino grumbles a bit.)

Yukino: Look, this game is all about strategy. This thing is designed so that very little gets in the way of our scheming. But Misato and her beach escapades with Brock on the very first night? Obviously Misato has strategy in mind. And I’m sure Brock is important to her plans. But it’s way too early for this kind of thing.

(Under cover of darkness, Misato, Brock, and Tai are all having some good, clean fun in the lagoon.)

Misato: (VO) That swim on the first night was great. We’re in a lot of trouble if we don’t let loose, and getting out and having fun with Brock and Tai was a nice way to set the tone for the rest of the team.


Red House
(They are not nearly as jovial, because Tracey is struggling to get a fire together. It’s getting late.)

Mitsune: C’mon Trace, you’re supposed to be good at this.

Henry: Are you sure that’s the best kind of firewood?

Tracey: No, it’s not. We didn’t realize we were in charge of fire.

Henry: So what the heck were you doing while we were gone?

Kari: Akito said we shouldn’t worry about a fire, because we’ll only be outside for a day or two.

(Akito quietly sits on a distant log, not participating in the conversation.)

Henry: But we need something to keep warm.

Tracey: Why don’t you try it, Henry?

(Tracey hands Henry the book of matches. Henry gets down, but doesn’t have much more luck.)

Jessie: Careful with those matches; we can’t afford to go back and get more.

Henry: (frustrated) I’m doing the best I can.

Mitsune: Jeez, let’s just forget it.

Jessie: Give me a try.

(Henry hands Jessie the matches.)

Kari: Do you know anything about making fires?

Jessie: I can’t do any worse than those two.

(Henry goes to a nearby bag and retrieves a bottle of water. He takes a long drink.)

Kari: Hey! Henry! Don’t drink so much!

(Henry looks over. Kari and Tracey are angrily watching him.)

Tracey: Yeah, if we don’t get this, that’s all we have until we get inside.

(A little bitter, Henry caps the bottle and sets it aside.)

Henry: Right, right...

(Meanwhile, Jessie is down to the last match.)

Jessie: This is it. Any other volunteers?

Mitsune: I don’t think it’s going to matter.

(Jessie is able to get a little smoke, but it quickly subsides.)

Tracey: This wood just doesn’t work.

Jessie: And who’s fault is that?

(As they continue arguing. Akito quietly goes over to a set sleeping area, where a few logs are arranged as a windbreak. There are enough sleeping bags for everybody, but only a few blankets. Akito climbs into a bag and goes to sleep. Meanwhile, the other five have calmed down somewhat.)

Kari: Look, we can’t worry about this too much. We’ll just have to work harder tomorrow. Do we have any food that doesn’t need cooking?

Henry: Yeah. Kitsune, we might as well break something open now.

(Mitsune heads to the bag, but ends up tripping over it.)

Mitsune: Damn!

Tracey: What happened?

Mitsune: I can’t see anything. I tripped over the stupid bag.

Jessie: Light. Another useful product of fire.

(Eventually they end up joining Akito, sleeping in the darkness.)

Tracey: I don’t think there was much we could do about the fire situation. We’re just in a really bad spot for building a fire. But in the end, we were all a little angry with each other. I just hope we can find some way to rebound tomorrow.


----


Day Two
Yellow House
(Another beautiful day. In her and Shinji’s room, Ruri draws open the curtains. The light almost blinds her. She squints heavily from it, but soon smiles a little as she admires the view. The light immediately bathes Shinji, waking him.)

Shinji: (groggy) Good morning.

Ruri: Good morning, Shinji.

(Shinji heads to the window and also admires the scene.)

Shinji: It’s really nice out. We never get days like this back home.

Ruri: I spend most of my days in space, so this is a rare pleasure.

(They quietly watch for a few moments, until Ruri sits down.)

Ruri: Shinji?

Shinji: Yes?

Ruri: I think we should form an alliance.

Shinji: Isn’t this early?

Ruri: Perhaps. But I am under the impression that we could be targeted early if we are forced to vote somebody out.

Shinji: I haven’t really thought about it. Wouldn’t we be more likely to get rid of Yukari?

Ruri: Right now Yukari isn’t the problem. This group needs a loudmouth idiot.

(Shinji turns around and begins to walk out.)

Shinji: You’ll have to explain that to me later. Right now, I’m getting breakfast.

(Ruri continues to stare out the window.)

Shinji: I’m not seeing anything redeeming from Yukari, and she’s a pretty obvious choice to vote off if it came to that. But Ruri is suggesting an alliance because she thinks Yukari should stay, and that we’re in trouble. I just don’t see her outlook on our team.


Blue House
(Misato is sleeping on the porch of the house. Yukino is waiting on a chair. After looking around, she finally taps Misato on the shoulder.)

Misato: Pen Pen, turn a fan on.

Yukino: Misato, wake up.

(Misato wakes up, sits up, and quickly scratches her shoulder.)

Yukino: Good morning.

Misato: What did you do that for?

Yukino: Because we need to talk.

Misato: About?

Yukino: The game. Brock and Syaoran are making breakfast and I sent Tai and Sana out to look around for anything remotely useful around camp.

Misato: It’s too early to discuss strategy.

Yukino: That didn’t stop you last night.

Misato: But that’s the night. This is morning. Too early.

Yukino: It’s almost noon.

Misato: Oh. What did you mean last night?

Yukino: For starters, inviting Brock to go swimming. That was clearly some sort of strategic play to get him on your side.

(Misato gets out of her sleeping bag and stands up. She scratches her head.)

Misato: What? No it wasn’t. It’s always about strategy to you, isn’t it?

Yukino: You were just skinny-dipping for fun?

Misato: Sure. We have to keep morale up. We were just having a good time. If you think I’m doing it to win Brock’s favor, forget it. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve had him roped in since we got here.

Yukino: I was about to say. I figure you, me, and Brock already have an alliance. We don’t have to go to extreme lengths to keep Brock on our side.

Misato: Exactly.

Yukino: Besides, we all know who the real key is on this team. The one we really need on our side.

Misato: Uh... who would that be?

Yukino: Isn’t it obvious? Sana.


(Meanwhile, Sana and Tai are heading back to the house. Tai is carrying a little firewood. Sana has a letter.)

Sana: Mail! Mail! We got mail! Mail-order tale! Hope we don’t fail!

Tai: Sana, how are you playing this?

(Sana stops, a little disarmed by Tai’s sudden frank question in the middle of her rambling.)

Tai: I mean, do you feel like you need to do well here to justify your success last time? Because I kinda feel like that.

Sana: Why’s that? You won!

Tai: Yeah, but... well, it’s been a long time since then. I feel like I need to prove that I’m just as strong as any of the others. I imagine you’d be in the same position. You made it to the final four in your Survivor, right?

Sana: Yep! Of course, everybody on the team but Misato made the final four too!

Tai: Yeah, so I want to...

Sana: So we all want to do it again because the finals are so fun! But you know, we can’t all make it. There’s only four in the final four and there’s eighteen of us, so that’s...

(Sana begins counting on her fingers.)

Sana: Six, ten... sixteen that won’t make the final four! It’s like the car only fits four people and there’s eighteen clowns that want to cram in!

Tai: (giving up) What’s the letter say?

Sana: Oh, we’ve got an immunity challenge in an hour.


Immunity Challenge
(On the beach along the middle of the lagoon, it’s a very familiar set-up. Sets of unlit torches in three rows, along with a few floating barricades, make up the three lanes. At the end of fifty yards is each team’s torch, floating on a raft. Along the beach are lanes of more unlit torches, leading to three mats. Arp and Red House are already waiting as Blue arrives. Arp is trying his best to avoid the constant glares from most of Red.)

Arp: Welcome, Blue. How are things with you?

Tai: Not bad, considering.

Arp: Considering what?

(Yellow arrives. Where Red and Blue are wearing their clothes from yesterday, Yellow is dressed appropriately for an aquatic challenge. They take their place, earning suspicious looks from Red and Blue. Arp smiles.)

Arp: So, how do you like your houses?

Syaoran: Just get to the stupid challenge.

Rika: It’s a little boring, but we like our place just fine.

Arp: You guys got in, didn’t you?

(Tenchi, Yukito, Rika and Yukari preen.)

Misato: You suck.

Henry: How the heck did you...

Yukito: We have our ways.

Tracey: (to Arp) So when do you plan on letting the rest of us in?

Arp: Hey, they got in on their own. But since we’re on the subject...

(Arp retrieves three house keys, each with an appropriately colored tags.)

Arp: Let’s raise the stakes on this challenge. This is the classic Quest for Fire straight out of Survivor- each team will swim out to their torch. When everybody on the team gets there, they can return to shore with it, lighting all the torches along the way. Of course, each person on the team must stick close to the torch. And just for kicks, there’s a few barriers in your path which you must swim under, and lift the torch over. When you get back, keep lighting torches until you cross the finish line. Simple?

(Pretty much everybody nods.)

Arp: It’s the first one. We’re not going to be too hard on you. But winning is just as crucial as in any other challenge. For the top two teams, not only do they remain safe for another three days, they will also get the coveted keys to their house. That’s just as important for Yellow- since the doors are automatically locked when you leave.

(Rika and Tenchi are a bit surprised, and look a little angry.)

Arp: Furthermore, to add a little extra to the pot, the winning team will receive 50 credits for the market, which will certainly help solve that boredom problem Rika was talking about.

(Arp smiles once more.)

Arp: As for the losers... well, you know. Still stuck outside and will have to vote somebody out tomorrow night. Are we ready?

(Most ready themselves normally, but Mitsune takes off her shirt. It’s so sudden that it takes a moment for the others to react. Arp looks a bit shocked himself.)

Jessie: What the heck are you doing?

Tracey: Not that we mind...

Mitsune: That’s all the clothes we have right now. I’m not getting that thing soaked.

Brock: Have I mentioned I’m having a great time?

(Arp nods, and quickly disguises his nosebleed.)

Arp: You know Kitsune, as long as you don’t lose this challenge, you’ll be able to get a clean set of clothes in your house. So in a way, this is almost a sign of defeat.

Mitsune: (glaring) Stop that.

Arp: Sorry, just practicing for tomorrow’s elimination. Okay, ready?

(They line up for real. Nobody else sheds any clothing.)

Arp: Go!

(The mad dash begins, and quickly tiers off. Misato, Yukito and Jessie quickly establish a lead, while a massive clump follows them. Sana, Ruri and Akito are slightly behind. After a lengthy swim, Misato and Yukito reach their torches first, soon followed by Jessie. Everybody begins to follow, including everybody on Blue except Sana. When Mitsune and Tracey arrive on Red, they begin establishing the positions toward the rear of the raft, while Henry and Kari flank the front as soon as they arrive. Yukari and Shinji arrive for Yellow, and quickly shout back to encourage Ruri. Meanwhile, Sana arrives and Blue is the first to take off. Akito makes it, and quickly jumps on the raft to pass out torches as they shuttle off. Ruri arrives, and Yukari lifts her onto the raft. The other five move out, with Ruri still on it, lighting torches as they go buy.)

Arp: Everybody’s coming back. Blue has a slight lead!

(Blue does, but as they approach the first torch, everybody tries to light it.)

Yukino: Tai and Syaoran! You’re in charge of the torches!

(That seems to do the trick, as Misato and Sana get down while Tai and Syaoran do the lighting. Meanwhile, Red has already designated Henry and Kari to light, which they do easily. With Jessie now pushing the rear, and Mitsune and Tracey pulling, they are rapidly catching up to Blue. They take the lead as they hit the first barrier. Akito, Henry, and Kari dive under it immediately, and ease the ramp over as the other three push it from the other side. Blue doesn’t see the barrier initially, and Sana backs into it. She goes underwater, but the raft continues and crashes. Sana emerges on the other end.)

Sana: We have to get it over!

(Sana attempts to lift it, but is unable too. Finally, Tai swims around to the other side to help her, and they slowly make it over. But by this time, Red has taken the lead.)

Arp: Red pulls ahead at the barrier! Yellow’s behind, but they still have a chance to catch up!

(Ruri has been going back and forth on the raft, lighting torches from both directions. She sees the barrier and turns to Yukito and Tenchi.)

Ruri: There’s the barrier.

(Ruri drops into the water between the men as they dive down and swim under both the raft and the barrier. Rika and Shinji are barely able to lift the raft, but Yukito and Tenchi come up on the other end to pull it over. Yukari joins Rika and Shinji, and a final nudge from Ruri gets it across. Ruri, Rika, Shinji and Yukari take the reins themselves as Yukito and Tenchi take their place in back again. Ruri hops back on and resumes lighting the torches. They are now officially catching up to Blue. Red, meanwhile, is flying along. They get past the second barrier in the same fashion, and have a sizable lead.)

Arp: Red is increasing their lead, and Yellow’s pulling even with Blue!

(Blue doesn’t see the second barrier coming, while Yellow uses the same technique to pull ahead. However, when Tenchi gets back to the back, he stops Ruri before she jumps on.)

Tenchi: No, no, do the torches from the water. I’m too tired.

(Ruri nods, grabs a torch, and jumps into the left side, lighting a torch. Shinji notices this, grabs his own torch, and lights the other side.)

Arp: Red has hit land!

(Red gets on the beach and continues with the same formation. With Jessie in back, and Henry and Kari lighting the torches, their lead becomes insurmountable. But before they finish, Yellow hits land as well. Ruri and Shinji continue to light torches, with Yukito and Tenchi really exerting themselves. Yukari joins them in back.)

Yukito: Tenchi, get in front to help Rika.

(Tenchi does so as Blue reaches the beach. Yukino is quite drained as well.)

Misato: Pick it up, Yukino, we’re almost there!

(They are still on Yellow’s heels. But as they start lighting torches on land, Red crosses the finish line and sets their raft on their mat.)

Arp: Red House wins the challenge!

(As Akito takes a few steps forward and kneels, Henry and Kari hug enthusiastically. Jessie bends over. Tracey puts an arm around her shoulder. She looks at him and smiles. Mitsune cheers as she works her way to the front. She joins Kari in hugging Henry.)

Arp: The race for second is still on. Blue, you’re still in this!

(They are, but Yukari proves to be the necessary additional force to help Yellow. Yukino runs out of gas, and Brock and Misato aren’t able to pick up the slack. Yellow ends up increasing their lead on land and cross the finish line in second.)

Arp: Yellow’s also safe!

Yukari: Yeah!

(Yukari is quite happy, and moves to high-five Yukito. He accepts it with a very bright smile on his face. Shinji is smiling as well, and tries to congratulate Rika and Tenchi. She’s too stubborn and he’s too tired, so he instead moves on to Ruri, and bows and receives a handshake. Meanwhile, Blue pulls in, disappointed. Yukino keels over immediately, completely drained of all energy. Brock and Misato try to help her, but are only able to make sure she’ll live. Syaoran and Sana watch the three, neither happy. Sana attempts to smile, but one look from Syaoran ends that. Tai stands near Syaoran, and quickly turns to the other teams. He sees Kari happily celebrating with everybody else on her team as Arp hands them their house key. Tai shakes his head.)


----


Red House
(The team is naturally very excited as they approach the front door.)

Jessie: And this time it's for real!

(Jessie opens the door and they all push in. They quickly find the place to their liking.)

Mitsune: Now this is what I'm talking out!

Henry: I could live here. This works.

(Kari walks up to her bag, lined up with the other five in the living room.)

Kari: It's lovely, but I'm just happy to have a change of clothes.

Jessie: No kidding.

Mitsune: You two should have followed my lead.

Tracey: Yeah!

(Mitsune playfully whaps Tracey upside the head.)

Mitsune: You're soaked too. Get that shirt off or you'll catch a cold.

Henry: You know this does beg the question... how many bedrooms are there?

(They all look around at each other nervously. Akito cuts to the chase, grabbing his bag and dashing upstairs. Kari quickly follows.)

Kari: Wait, wait! Can't we rock-paper-scissors for it?!

(She gets upstairs and finds doors to three bedrooms and to the bathroom, the latter closed. She sighs in relief and enters a bedroom. The others quickly follow suit, with Jessie and Tracey beating out Mitsune and Henry for the final two rooms. Mitsune snaps her fingers.)

Mitsune: Looks like we're stuck downstairs.

Henry: There was a bathroom downstairs.

(They look at each other, then fight to get down the stairs. Mitsune wins.)

Akito: We have problems. We have a lot of problems. But physical strength is not one of them. And that will win immunity. That never changes. Jessie can outperform anybody else in anything else. She's our golden cow, and our problems don't mean much when she's producing milk.


(Everybody except Henry is downstairs in the living room. Kari and Jessie are sharing a couch, Akito and Tracey are in chairs and Mitsune's standing because that's all there is in the room. All are wearing a change of clothes, including Henry when he arrives. He notices there's nowhere to sit and folds his arms and leans against the wall.)

Henry: Lovely.

Mitsune: Okay, first things first. Three bedrooms and six people. Any suggestions?

Kari: Either Henry or Tracey rooms with Akito.

(Tracey starts laughing.)

Henry: I'll room with Akito.

Tracey: Okay... then which lovely lady gets to...

Kari: No!

Jessie: No.

Mitsune: Hell no!

Tracey: One room has to be intergender. I don't mind rooming with Akito but that means someone's rooming with Henry.

Kari: I can handle Henry.

Mitsune: Is that an innuendo?

Kari: No!

Henry: If Kari's okay with it, I'm okay with it.

Mitsune: Okay.

Tracey: Hmm... that leaves Kitsune and Jessie. I don't know if I trust you two.

Jessie: What do you mean?

Tracey: Nothing! I'm just... based on what I've heard about you and from what I know about Kitsune...

Mitsune: Yes??

Tracey: Never mind.

(Despite Tracey's best effort to drop the subject, Jessie smiles and leans forward.)

Jessie: No... go on. What have you heard about me?

(Tracey's getting nervous.)

Tracey: Well... from what I've seen from you and Ayla. And the general theme of that whole series with Touya and Yukito... and ending on Utena...

Jessie: Keep going...

Tracey: (squeaky) I'd rather not.

Akito: He thinks you two are les...

(Mitsune prevents Akito from finishing.)

Mitsune: Less likely to form a winners' alliance if we're not rooming together. He's threatened by us former winners, Jess.

(Jessie eyes Tracey suspiciously.)

Jessie: I see.

Tracey: Yeah. You two working together is a scary thought. So... who wants to cook dinner?

Kari: I'll do it.

Jessie: I'll help.

Henry: I'll get some of the stuff from outside.

(Kari and Jessie head to the kitchen. Henry heads outside. Akito follows Kari and Jessie for no discernible reason. Tracey bends over and catches his breath. Mitsune smirks.)

Mitsune: Boy, did I save your ass.

Tracey: Thank you. That could have turned ugly.

Mitsune: Gotta be a little more careful, Trace. You're playing with the big kids now.

(She pats him on the shoulder and walks away. He's still a bit shaken.)

Tracey: I'm out of shape. I came really close to screwing everything up and if it weren't for Kitsune, I could easily have clinched the first ticket out of this house. Guess I have to be more careful, especially when Jessie's involved. With her strength, she'll be around for a while and if she has any kind of strategy she could do a lot of damage.


Yellow House
(Yukari, Rika and Shinji are lounging in the living room, the children a little vexed.)

Rika: (VO) We scored a huge advantage by getting into our house early. And we almost screwed it up and got stuck outside. The other teams could have handled it. They've been out here a night and have their money with them. We would have been totally screwed if we had lost that.

(Still in the living room, Yukari notices the troubled looks on their faces.)

Yukari: What's wrong with you two?

Shinji: That was too close. We almost lost that challenge.

Rika: And did you see that Red team? They wiped the floor with us, and they were the ones sleeping on the ground last night.

Yukari: Eh, Jessie's unstoppable. I already knew that. Except during that library challenge. I beat her at that. Heh heh.

Rika: You're an English teacher. She's a jock. That's to be expected.

Yukari: Doesn't matter. They'll vote Jessie off first. The former winners are always the first to go. Too bad our team only has one. Bye bye, Tenchi.

(Rika looks at Shinji, who was tempted to say something, but changes his mind and looks at Rika.)

Shinji: I think I'll just be quiet.

Rika: Anyway, it's not just Jessie. We are not organized, we are not coordinated, and some of us just aren't cut out for physical competition.

Yukari: (relaxed) For a couple kids who are taking a break from saving the world, you worry too much. We are fine. We are solid. We are synchronized!

Rika / Shinji: (angry) We are not synchronized!!

(Yukari takes a good long look at the two. She stares at the camera.)

Yukari: Am I the only one who's freaked out by that?


Blue House
(The entire team's pretty sad about losing. Brock and Sana seem to take it the hardest.)

Brock: (VO) I really thought this was starting to work. But we're still outside, we're out of money and now we have to give somebody the axe. It hasn't been very encouraging so far.

(On the beach Yukino takes no less than fifty peeks back at the house, where Brock and Tai are preparing dinner. Sana and Syaoran are fixing up their makeshift shelter. Sated, Yukino starts hanging her clothes on the branches of a low-lying tree. Misato has already done the same. While they wait to let their clothes catch a bit of the breeze, they talk.)

Yukino: I just want to make this perfectly clear: it's you and me all the way.

Misato: Jumping into things a bit fast?

Yukino: Nope. We're in the same boat. We're a couple of strong women that has their choice of a couple allies. The rest of them we can jettison.

Misato: Brock's easy enough to get on our side.

Yukino: Yeah. If we can get Brock and one other person, the other two we can dump and we'll be sitting pretty, assuming we don't lose every freaking challenge.

Misato: Who are you thinking?

Yukino: Let's let Brock choose. Make him think he has some power. He can even pick who's going tonight.

Misato: Ah... give him some power now, then when it's important...

Yukino: The Anno alliance prevails.

(Misato smiles. They shake hands.)

Yukino: This is all one-hundred percent about me winning. And I don't want to have to rely on somebody else more than myself. But I have no doubts about forming an alliance with Misato, even this early. I respect her a lot. And she's just the kind of person that can make the first half of the game a lot easier.


(Brock is cooking over the fire and quickly notices that Tai is just staring at him. After a few minutes Brock is beginning to get nervous. Tai continues to stare. Finally, Brock sighs and turns to Tai.)

Brock: Syaoran.

Tai: Thank you!

Brock: Nervous, Tai?

Tai: Extremely. There isn't an obvious choice in this group and there's a big target on my back. Not that I'm complaining, but why Syaoran?

Brock: Because he's going to try to draw Sana into an alliance to vote off either me or you. You... you know why it could be you. Me... based on previous history.

Tai: What do you mean?

Brock: Ash bugged him and his cousin a lot during the race. They never really grew fond of us. Second of all, as Yukino and Misato are taking leadership roles and are fairly untouchable, he might see me as a future threat if I start collaborating with the girls. And the biggie... he convinced Sana to vote off Tomoyo simply because she was a former Mole. I'm not saying he'd try the same strategy, but if he can influence people like that, he could be a major threat later.

(Tai is in absolute shock.)

Tai: How did you figure all that out?

Brock: You see things a lot differently when you have the eyes of a fox.

Tai: Jeez. So I guess you have a pretty good strategy?

Brock: Yep.

Tai: Well, I just hope you don't step on as many toes as a certain other third wheel.

(Brock frowns.)

Brock: Tai, when it comes down it, I'm no better than Tracey. I'm just nice about it, you know?

(Tai is unsure what to make of that. But as Brock holds out a ladel of rice, Tai quickly smiles and receives it as the others gather for dinner.)


Day Three
Blue House

(Again using the proclaimed “mallet lightning,” Syaoran manages to fell a few trees. Syaoran walks up to one of the small ones. Sana watches him, a little bewildered.)

Syaoran: Grab the other end.

Sana: What?! You expect me to carry that?! Why didn't you drag Tai out here instead?

Syaoran: I needed your mallet.

Sana: Why you...!

(Sana pounds Syaoran with her... oh wait, Syaoran has it. Of course, Sana doesn't realize that until after she has attempted to hit him in the head a few times. She finally notices and points to it.)

Sana: Can I have that back now?

(Syaoran backpedals for a moment.)

Syaoran: Uh... no. I may need to chop down a couple more for a good shelter. Now give me a hand.

(Sana begrudgingly does so. They barely manage to begin dragging the tree back.)

Sana: So what's the real reason you dragged me out here?

Syaoran: Who should we vote off tonight?

(Sana drops the tree and jumps out in front of Syaoran.)

Sana: Oh no! I am not voting off Brock! This Mole can cook!

(Syaoran did not hear that. He is being crushed under the weight of the log.)

Syaoran: Fine... fine... just pick this thing up.

(Sana does so. Syaoran catches his breath.)

Syaoran: The only reason I would suggest Brock is that he has connections with Misato and Yukino. And those two obviously have an alliance.

Sana: No way!!

Syaoran: Knowing those two, they'd either be killing each other by now or plotting together. And I don't see them killing each other. They're definitely going to bring Brock into their alliance, so they'll either take out you, me or Tai first.

Sana: But... I like them.

Syaoran: Doesn't matter. Listen Sana, we need to work together. You can talk Tai into joining us. I don't think those two would be ready for three of us, especially if we vote off Brock.

Sana: You're trying to trick me, aren't you?

Syaoran: What makes you... look, I just don't trust Brock enough to stay neutral for long.

Sana: And I don't trust you to tell me to vote off our food. I don't care how Moley he is!

(Sana dashes off, leaving Syaoran alone with the mallet. He holds it up.)

Syaoran: You forgot this.

(Syaoran looks at the tree. Then he hits it with the mallet. Nothing happens.)

Syaoran: I don't understand Sana. If we don't act now, Misato and Yukino are going to pick us off one by one. I figured she wouldn't want to vote one of the girls off, but getting rid of Brock is just as good. I guess if it's not going to be him, I just need to make sure it's not me.


Elimination
(Just about everybody in Blue House is sitting around outside. The only one missing is Brock. He comes down the hill and shakes his head.)

Brock: Nothing in the mail.

Misato: So what the heck are we supposed to do?

(That has them all pretty much stumped.)

Tai: It never ends around here. We're already tearing our hair out over having to vote someone off, but it comes time to do it and we have no idea what we're supposed to do! Is there a place for a Tribal Council? Is there a computer in the middle of the island? Or do we just throw somebody into the lagoon? A little direction would be nice.


(Finally, they get their answer. The front door to the house opens. That gets their attention.)

Sana: The door!!

Yukino: The gates of heaven are opening to us!

Misato: Please, Yukino, I get enough religious metaphor at home.

(Arp pokes his head out.)

Arp: You all wanna come in?

(They all rush the door. Arp has to get out of the way as the six spill into the house. For the first time, they get to see the interior of the house.)

Sana: It's real! It's not just a movie set!!

Brock: I've never been so happy to be indoors.

Arp: Brock, you may take that back.

(They all turn around. Arp is standing at the entrance.)

Arp: You can explore later. Right now, if you'll have a seat in the living room, we can get started with tonight's elimination.

(They all quickly come down from their high and sit down. Yukino and Misato share the small couch, while Syaoran and Sana quickly claim the chairs. This leaves Tai and Brock with no place to sit.)

Tai: Uh...

Brock: Give us a sec.

(Arp waits patiently as Brock fetches two chairs from the kitchen. They sit down between the other. Tai glares at Arp.)

Tai: You must be loving this.

Arp: I'm having a blast. But look on the bright side: there are six beds upstairs. And five of you will be sleeping in them tonight. There's just one more thing for you to overcome.

(Pan across the group.)

Arp: (OS) It's time to eliminate somebody from the game. There's no tricks or twists with this. But I will warn you that nobody is completely gone, only ineligible to win. Every vote- every elimination from the first to the sixteenth will have ramifications. Now, it's been three days and you've already been through quite a bit. Is this what you expected the game to be like?

Tai: I knew it was going to work differently this time. But I thought that was because of the other players. But with all the surprises and letdowns we've had, I think I'm more comfortable with everybody else. Because we all are new at this, and the only way we're going to get past this is to do it together.

Syaoran: This is exactly what I expected it to be. Tough. I wanted to be ready for anything, and it was a good thing I was.

Arp: How about from the non-Survivor folks? Yukino, I know you had complained a couple times about sleeping on benches in airports or train stations. Faring any better?

Yukino: I'm not a Survivor alum like Tai or Syaoran or Sana, but I was ready for the experience. I was planning on surviving both the game and the other players. It's a little early to say whether that's working, but I'm keeping the complaints to myself for now.

(Arp steps back a bit. He opens the door to what seemed to be a coat closet. Instead, it is an entirely separate room, combining the purposes of a confessional room and a voting booth.)

Arp: Okay. Time to vote. Inside this room is a terminal. One at a time, you will go in and select the person you would like to see eliminated from the game. When everybody is done voting, whoever receives the most votes will have to leave the house.

(Shot of everybody's bags lined up near the couch.)

Arp: (OS) Your as-of-yet unopened bags are lined up there. One of them will remain unopened. Time for you to decide who that is. Tai, we all know this is your favorite part. Show them how it's done.

(Tai manages a sad smile, nods, and goes into the room. The voting terminal has two monitors. One is a touch screen for the voter to make his or her selection. The other is on the reverse side, where the traditional voter's camera watches Tai make his selection. The screen shows “SYAORAN.”)
Tai: I have nothing against you, but I'm doing things differently this time. I'm trying to stay under the radar right now and I know that this vote won't get me into trouble. And you've given me no reason to feel guilty about this.

(He leaves. Aerial shot of Brock voting, which means we can't see his vote. Next up is Syaoran, voting “SANA.”)
Syaoran: At this point, any reason is a good one. You should have known that. That's my reason.

(He leaves. Aerial shot of Misato voting. Voter shot of Sana, returning the favor with a vote for “SYAORAN.”)
Sana: Love ya lots! This was an easy one thanks to you!

(She leaves. After an aerial shot of Yukino's vote, she returns to her seat.)

Arp: I'll tally the votes. Or, rather, the Probst-matic 5000 will. I'll go get it.

(Arp wheels in the voting machine. The touch screen is facing him.)

Arp: (to the machine) Good evening, Jeff.

Probst-matic 5000: (computerized voice): Good... evening... Tom.

(Arp looks at the group nervously.)

Arp: Sorry, it was the only voting machine that wasn't pre-programmed to give George W. Bush the most votes. Anyway...

(Arp touches the screen.)

Arp: First vote is for... Syaoran.

(The screen shows a placard reading “SYAORAN” with a vote tally underneath. Syaoran nods, expecting it.)

Arp: Next vote... Syaoran. Third vote...

(The screen shows “SANA,” with the vote tally 2-1.)

Arp: Sana.

(Sana takes a deep breath.)

Arp: Fourth vote... Syaoran. Fifth vote... and the first person eliminated from the game...

(Arp silently pushes the button. “SYAORAN” appears. The final tally is automatically completed to show Syaoran with 5 votes and Sana with 1.)

Arp: Syaoran.

(Syaoran silently stands up and walks up to Adam.)

Yukino: (encouraging) Still an awesome racer.

(No response. Arp grabs Syaoran's bag, but addresses the group first.)

Arp: After three days, you have finally made it into the house. Hopefully a warm bed might help you turn things around. Then again, who knows what we've got planned for you next.

(Arp turns to Syaoran.)

Arp: Syaoran? You're out of the running.

(Arp and Syaoran walk out of the house.)

Syaoran: (VO) It's just not my game. There's something about me that comes across as distant or foreign. Maybe it's my own fault for not being more sociable, but that's not who I am. I don't think this really proves or disproves anything. It was fun giving it another shot, but the result did not really surprise me.


End of Episode One


Voting:
Syaoran (5): Tai, Brock, Misato, Sana, Yukino
Sana (1): Syaoran

Author's Notes
Maybe it's me, but there's something very surreal with the way this turned out. Something beyond the concept, which will naturally be interesting with characters from across different canons and spanning my fanfic career. There's something more familiar that everybody has seen before, but isolated and moving in a different direction. The very direct talk about leadership roles, alliances and heavy plotting, and the standard “setting up camp” discussions seem to support this.

Having the different canon is probably the weirdest thing about this. While all the AA fics were in the same canon, the AR stories are considered a separate universe (there were a few Mole 2 references in AR1, but that's about it). This is a huge factor, since some characters, especially Brock, Syaoran and Jessie, were written differently in each canon. When the characters and their relationships are combined, it gets a little weird (Brock seems to be in Mole 2 mode here, but his associatons with Yukino, Misato and Syaoran from AR1 play a big part). The canons are colliding here, so Henry remembers two runner-up performances, Tenchi knows both Ruri and Yukari, and Mitsune has both won a Mole and lost a drinking contest to Misato. And as it does follow two canons, you probably would have to read up on all of the stories to completely understand what's going on here.

The cast. Obviously you may feel differently about which 18 you think deserve to be in this. But I did set a few ground rules such as equal number of men and women, no more than two representatives from a show (I consider Digimon three different series, although you can see how well Frontier did), and no race teammates (from AR or Pokéball Run). I also wanted to represent each of the series about as equally as would be fair (the series next to their names at the top is the one they officially represent, and that works out to be about 2-3 reps per series), and I'd need a really good reason not to include a winner or runner-up. Looking back on the cast (I planned this out a year ago), I'm still very happy with it, but I could see how people could question the CCS representatives over other candidates like Tomoyo, Meiling or Touya. And I probably should have given more consideration to the AR popularity polls and the most popular teams in each series- Kiyone/Mihoshi and Lina/Gourry. I should point out that I totally did not expect Lina and Gourry to be the most popular team in AR2.

Just like with the real Survivor, the losing team gets the most attention. The Red House players got plenty of time, but Yellow was fairly limited. Yellow House got off to a great start, but will obviously get more attention later when they start running into problems.

Next Time on Champion's Cup:
* Red House faces the Market conundrum- to splurge or not to splurge?
* The mindgames with Ruri begin early, with teammates scrambling to keep up.
* Somebody steps up to compete with Jessie in a challenge. Just not who you'd expect.