Day 010: A Meeting Of Artists
Summary: In which Jason and Cameron meet, discover a shared interest in art, a divergence in political ideologies, and an admiration for eggs.
Date: 20 5 2016
Related: None
Cameron Jason 

Dropship Camp
Day 10

Day 10. Eleven days ago, they were in the Ark, spending time either in solitary, or in the common areas of the Skybox. Eleven days ago they ate from Ark rations, drank from Ark rations, and wore Ark rationed and rehabilitated clothes. Eleven days ago, they could be visited by their friends and family from time to time. What's happened in eleven days? Some died in the Landing, some died when the Grounders attacked the expedition to Mount Weather, some were held captive and some were saved and captives taken in return. They live day to day, meal to meal, sometimes hungrier then others, but so far they are not starving. Barely.

Most recently, contact with the Ark has been restored, as Cameron's mother came to earth with a radio— and died in the trying. The day that happened, and the day after, Cameron was out of sorts, but he's made a remarkable recovery. At the moment, the young man is walking back into the camp, carrying with hima hide-sack that looks quite dubious but, with care, he's managed to use to hold a thing. Barely. He's in the grounder armor he took from the grounder he killed, and has his grounder sword hung from a sling at his side, and a shard of metal with cloth wrapped around its hilt serving as a makeshift knife that's tucked into his belt.

The camp is quiet, with people coming and going, and its mid-morning: events will get hectic later on in the day, but for now…

Jason has not been social. For many people, landing here where they could freely socialize however and whenever they wanted was a great relief, and chatter has been constant, both with ordinary teenage nonsense and with gossip about the constant stream of shocking events that has barreled on ever since they left the Ark. But there were those who hung back, too, and Jason has been one of them. And a lot of people don't remember him clearly from the skybox, either. He disappeared into solitary in pretty short order once he was boxed. But here he is, walking through camp alone, when he spots Cameron, and quite uncharacteristically makes a beeline for him. "Hey, hold on, you're Cameron, right?"

"Mmmmmm?" Cameron's initial response isn't entirely coherent, as his head turns and his eyes blankly stare at Jason a moment, as if unsure what he's seeing. Soon enough though, the image resolves in his mind and he's blinking, a quick and easy smile on his lips, "Hey, yeah, that's me— you're—" He scrunches up his forehead, "Sorry, sorry, sorry. I was never that great with names before they boxed me and a lot of that time … I mean, my memories? From the box? Aren't all there. Not clear, at least." He wasn't in solitary, well, not a lot, but up top he had a reputation for instability for the two years he was in. Down here, almost the exact opposite reputation has held. Still, one hand on the sack carefully, the other is offered to Jason amicably, "Cameron Scott. Political artist and lately scrounger of things."

Jason smiles. "My name's Jason." Which could ring bells regarding a murder charge. He sticks out his hand to shake Cameron's. "And I've heard of you. I didn't know— Or I forgot about… Well, anyway, when I realized you were down here…" He gives a toothy smile. "You're inspiring." There's a certain intensity in his manner that people alternately find charming or worrisome.

This takes Cameron off guard; not in a bad way, there doesn't appear to be any warning bells ringing in his head. But at first he doesn't seem to have any idea what Jason's talking about. He does shake Jason's hand, Cam's grip is firm and confidant without being in any way aggressive. Then an idea dawns on him, and when he smiles again, this time it's packing dimples, "I hope this isn't about my prowess at finding berries, I mean, I know I'm like the number two berry finder around…" His voice is light, but then he adds with a curious tilt of his head, "Are you talking about my Exhibition?" Which is what he always called his year long spree of political art that the administration dubbed vandalism.

Jason laughs easily enough at Cameron's modest deflection on the subject of berries. "No," he says. "That's /exactly/ what I'm talking about. The Exhibition." He seems perfectly willing to call it by Cameron's terms. "To produce art in that place…it was heroic." And his tone is all earnestness.

Cocking his head over in the direction of the Cook Tent, Cameron turns but with his smile invites Jason along, "To be perfectly honest." And he sounds quite sincere, "It was an act of self-preservation. From when I was a little kid, I felt like I couldn't *breathe* on the Ark. There's nowhere to run, its nothing but tight walls and confined rooms, and … it almost seemed like it shrank smaller and smaller sometimes. The Exhibition was a way to challenge that. Make it *bigger*. Even if only for a couple hours as I snuck in, painted and snuck out. For that time I felt *free* for the first time in my life." A heartbeat, "Until landing here." After another beat or three, he inquires curiously, "Are you an artist? Or just an adventurer?"

Jason falls in beside Cameron quite naturally. "Exactly," he agrees. "I call it a conspiracy of right angles." He nods once. And the question of identity is one he can answer readily: "An artist. I used to make things, too. Not…Not public like yours but…I wanted them to be. I could only make small things because, you know. Not that much material. Right? And people would notice it missing, if you took something significant. "But I want to make things like…like that," he says, pointing up at a tree with an obvious sense of awe for its size.

Cameron laughs warmly the moment the conspiracy is mentioned, his dimples flashing again, "I like that. Conspiracy of right angles." At the cook tent, he opens his sack and pulls out a few handfuls of berries and some mushrooms, handing it off to one of Cookie's assistants. Inside the sac are a pile of small animal bones, visible briefly, "Most of my first things were small, too. Mom." There's a momentary flash of pain, but it quickly subsumes beneath the surface, "She'd bring things that needed repair, and teach me how to repair it, and take it apart and I'd use it as a medium. She always had to put it back together, but you'd be surprised how many doodads on the Ark have half a painting or carving on their inside where it can barely not be seen." That said, he follows the pointing and has a wisful sigh, "I'm working on black right now, but the moment I can figure out brown and green, I'm going to start painting some trees in the dropship. So, I can relate. They're… beautiful. I like walking at dawn through the trees. Feeling branches brush by me. Picking up a leaf and looking at it, *really* looking at it, and its intricate pattern."

Jason does look curiously into that sack, but his eyes come up to Cameron's again when he speaks. He listens and nods. "My parents were…by the book, so. I worked alone," he says. Maybe there's a hint of betrayal still lingering there, or some sort of hurt or disappointment. "Nothing had any color, in our place. So I learned to work with shape instead." He smiles at the idea of trees. "And the bark," he puts in excitedly. "They look uniform in a book, but the bark of every tree is a slightly different pattern."

"Good observation." compliments Cameron with a quick nod, letting the other things go for a moment, because like, art talk. "You're totally right. Everything here is so much more *textured* and *detailed* then you could see on the books or vids. Its no wonder the Council are such cold bastards, growing up in the city of steel, plastic and glass it had to have sucked their soul dry." That said, he lifts a finger up in a one-moment gesture, and heads into the tent, and is soon returning with a metal 'container' by some loose definition of the word— it looks to be filled with a milky white liquid— and continues when he's back, "I'm lucky." he admits freely, "My parents were always there for me." That said, he does nod, "I don't only paint. Shape and structure is fun, too, though I'm not as good at it. Though my shape art is more… abstract. Cerebral. That or I'm a little fucking nuts and it looks cool to me."

"They just don't know," Jason says quietly, but no less intensely, after impatiently waiting for Cameron to return from the tent. "They have no way of knowing. The Ark, it's…it's /made/ to drive you crazy…" He bobs his head. "Well, I mean…We didn't have much to go on up there. Just…people and walls. Abstract is…it was the only way to breathe, like you said."

Nodding along easily, Cameron leads Jason across the yeard. He might be happy to talk but he seems to be a man on a /mission/. There's this exhuberance of /energy/ about him as if he doesn't quite fit entirely in his own skin. "You're totally right." he agrees, with enthusiasm, even if its tinged with a nearly dark glower, "Abstract lets you create a place in your mind that doesn't /fit/ into the Ark's… conspiracy of right angles. I really do love that." He nods his head quickly, a dimpled smile rising, "I only wonder if they'll change at all, when they come down. Or if they're too far-gone to even realize that they don't quite qualify as *human* anymore." Is Cameron angry with the leadership of the Ark? Ooooh yes, yes he is.

Jason has no problem following at Cameron's side, flashing a smile at having his term so accepted. "They'll change," he says quickly. "They'll have to change. He sounds optimistic, but there's a certain bunching of his shoulders, and one hand curls into a fist. "Nobody can be the same after coming down here. And…I mean, it's not their fault if people got…twisted. When they never really had a chance at art. But we can change them, Cameron." And that is said with the greatest intensity of all.

"The younger people, people like my Dad, sure… but the *Council*? They're so enshrined in their positions of power, used to killing anyone who thinks differnet then them, … I don't know. I hope you're right, Jase. I do." He comes to a rough tent, big enough to sleep two, and reaches in and tugs out a warped metal… thing. It can, maybe, roughly be considered a 'bowl'. Kinda. Maybe. With imagination. He admits, his voice soft, "But I may not be thinking clearly about that right now." A quick shake of his head and he says, "I plan to see our … civilization, such as it is, /changed/. I don't know if its possible to redeem everyone, but the people can be saved, and can find a new way. It just might not include the Council and the goonsquads as they were." And then he's moving over to the camp's fire.

"They're still people," Jason points out. "There's no way of knowing. You can't know in advance. And…I think it takes time, maybe for people, but I have to believe that…it can make a difference. It's Art, it's the most powerful thing I know." Though he doesn't look terribly shocked by Cameron's implications. "Everyone should have an equal shot. They never let me be anything but a mechanic. Maybe other people have been stopped up, too."

Softly, Cameron says, "My mother died because Jaha as much as killed her himself." Which, if Jason is aware of what happened, doesn't really jive with the facts. He does crouch down by the fire, and pulls open his sack and pulls out the bones, and starts placing them intot he coals carefully. "Don't you think some people are beyond saving? Aren't some things unforgivable? She saved three hundred and twenty lives to bring me the radio, to reunite us with the Ark, because Jaha was going to float them all to maintain his power and the status-quo of his governance. She died because of him, Jase. I don't think I am a big enough man to forgive that."

Jason tilts his head a little at Cameron. And he squats down beside him. "Isn't that what some people say about us?" he asks softly, gaze traveling from the bone up Cameron's arm to his face. He blinks at him, but his expression is strangely unguarded. "I killed someone; do you think that I am unforgivable?" he asks, tone more curious than hostile.

"Why did you do it?" Cameron asks without any hostility or challenge, and for the moment, he pulls his makeshift knife out and reaches out to adjust one bone, then the next. "Morgan killed someone, too." He may have heard that Cameron and Morgan were not even slightly subtle about being involved on some level that's at least sex. "You were both children. I killed someone too. I'm wearing his armor, his sword. It was the first time I've ever so much raised my hand in anger— it was the first time I've ever done anything violent except in practice. I would say, I killed him to rescue Morgan and Devin." A pause, and a bit absently, "And Quinn and Ruth." Those who were taken captive by the Grounders. "Morgan would say he killed someone responsible for his parents deaths. Are either justified? I don't know. I'll tell you this: I regret the necessity of killing the Grounder, but not the act of doing so. Am I unforgivable?" This last, turning Jason's question back on him— even though Jason previously expressed thoughts that everyone was—is said with a glance over to Jason, and a slightly sad smile.

"Because I thought it was right," Jason says evenly. "Because all he did was…" he trails off without completely explaining himself. "Well, look, you're asking my justification, but there are people you might kill without asking /their/ justification, right? Even if they weren't an immediate threat? So…how come I get the benefit of the doubt? How come you wouldn't give those people the chance to immerse themselves in art for the first time ever?" He shrugs. "I don't really care about guilt or innocence," he says, maintaining eye contact where he can. "Unforgivable is your word. I don't think it exists in art." That's the murderer's claim, anyway.

"I'm not impartial." Cameron says, turning his face to share a long, sad silence before he continues, "I did not hold the hand of the person you killed, I didn't hear them say, 'I love you too, baby', before I saw the light leave her eyes. I don't see your victim dying everytime I blink. If I could, I'd kill Jaha myself, personally, and I'd think about it and plan it ahead of time, and I'd do it without even caring if its right or wrong. I don't know if it'd make me feel any better. I don't know if it would banish the dreams. But I hope it would. That's why you shouldn't have, in a more perfect society, victims deciding the fate of the accused. I recognize I'm not rational in this. I know I'm not. But I still want him dead." That says, he sighs, and the sadness recedes again as he shakes his head, "Art has no absolutes. Nothing exists in it and it exists in nothing. Its a construct of our minds applied to a medium of our choosing and it is the adventurers— those brave enough to open their hearts to it and make themselves vulnerable to the power of the statement of the art— who find meaning. Not always what the artist intended. Not always what the artist imagined. Instead, between the two is an imperfect sharing made all the more beautiful /because/ of its imperfection. Not everyone can see it. Not everyone is /willing/ to see it. I wish for a world where everyone could, and did. Maybe in a world where Jaha saw something of mine and was moved to tears I could forgive him. I can't imagine such a world, though. You shouldn't be inspired by me, Jase. I'm as weak as anyone else, I just have an ability most people don't."

"He probably said it to someone," Jason says frankly. Which might sound a little cold, given the lack of guilt in his expression. "Jaha probably says it to someone. You should probably give it some thought if you think there's some moral order to killing people." He shrugs and smiles. "Some people are deeper than you think because they don't cry when they're moved. Some people are slower to figure stuff out than others. I killed somebody up there," he says, looking skyward, "But I don't know. I think down here on the ground…maybe anyone could live." He looks back to Cameron's face. "I realize that's not how you feel, especially right now. But, I mean…by you're system I'm probably dead as soon as they come down, anyway. If every murderer gets killed out of revenge. But all that revenge is gonna eat up a lot of potential art. You know?"

Cameron blinks, shaking his head and waving a dismissive gesture, "No, no, you misunderstand. You are one of the 100. You were guilty and pardoned; we, the 100, are as brothers now. My 'system' isn't that every killer should die. Nothing like it. They sent you here, and here you will live or die— and I'll do everything in my power to see you live— and becuase of their betrayal of us, we are free. This is your penance. This is your justice. Don't mistake the fact that I want revenge means that I think my revenge is the *right* way our society should operate." Cameron sighs softly, and uses his knife to move the bones around. They are slowly charring. "I want a just society, Jase. I want a government for the Ark that is, for once, answerable to the people. I want an abolishment of tyranny in the name of survival. Life needs to be *more* then mere survival. Just living isn't… /actually/ living. That's what the Ark and especially the Council forgot."

Jason laughs quietly. "You can say I'm pardoned if you want. But he's got a family. What are you going to say to them, huh? If they come down and want me dead? That it's not in your system?" He shrugs. "Is there a kind of justice that doesn't leave somebody out in the cold? The person who couldn't prove their case or the person whose idea of justice isn't the same as yours?" He shows his empty hands. "This is why art is better. Because it doesn't pretend to insist on some kind of absolute that's one way or the other. Justice is the word people use for having the world the way they want it. It's the same word that put you and me in the box. But art doesn't put people in boxes."

"We stand together." On this, Cameron is firm. "Morgan thinks the pardons for those like him— and you— are fake, a lie. I don't know. I do know I won't /allow/ it. I won't allow Jaha to kill him, and I won't allow him to kill you, either." All emotion besides conviction fades in this exchange, and that conviction is cool, "You're wrong, though. It wasn't justice that put me in the box, it was tyranny. It was power unchecked, a world where he people had no voice, where dissent is disruption or treason, where so-called justice rested with one man's whim. I /will not/ see the tyranny of the Ark come to the ground." He frowns, "I made a choice two days ago, a choice in defiance of the will of the group, or at least, /not in consultation/ with the group. I chose to call the Ark and tell them we lived, and that they didn't have to kill the 320. For that choice, some hate me now. If the 100 form a /representative/ leadership, I will /happily/ submit to that leadership and accept its judgement for my choice. I acknowledge some think it wrong. I don't. I will argue my case against any free council and accept what sanction they would impose. It is the fact that such a council is backed by the will of the people, and not guns and entreanched power, that makes it just. Perhaps not always /right/, but just. I'll see we have democracy or they'll have to kill me to stop me." He's… /fervent/ in these words.

Jason smiles at the idea of fake pardons. "I don't think there's gonna /be/ any kind of government by the time people get down here," he says. "I think society's going to crack wide open. If you want to make a new society, a new government, it's all right, perhaps. But then one day somebody's gonna call /you/ the tyrant. You'll think they're wrong, but…" He shrugs. "Well, that's how Jaha'd probably feel about what you're saying." He leans a little closer. "I'm not trying to make you mad. But…I think as an artist, you could open your mind a little wider about how things could look. Instead of ending up repeating somebody else's pattern in different colors. Just think about it," he says, his own tone maybe even upbeat, though not precisely /casual/. "There's time to think, still."

"No." On this, Cameron disagrees firmly, "They won't call me a tyrant because I won't force my ideas on anyone. If I can't convince them, they stand unconvinced. I would not, and will not, impose on those without a voice that they follow my vision." And yet, he relents, relaxing, and goes to move the still charring bones, "I can't base my… planning… on how I imagine the world might look. I have to look on how it looks. When Arkfall happens, you can guarantee the Council will come, and the Chancellor will come." Though there's a little hesitation at this, "And with them will come the Guard, with their armor and automatic weapons. You think society will crack open?" He shakes his head, "I think weapons and a disciplined military and a willingness to use it to enforce its own will means that the government that falls will remain. Perhaps I'm wrong. I'll happy change my response if I am. If I can be but a voice calling for democracy, I'd be happy to be it. To spend my time painting of freedom and choice. TO show people how it /feels/ to be free. But I don't think that's likely. If I wait and see, then I am caught off guard. I can't just think. We have to prepare. Even if its just— just in case."

"Well, you're gonna have to force /something/ on Jaha if you're gona kill him," Jason points out. He smiles his confidence. "Everything's going to change," he promises. "You can model yourself on them and their government and their justice if you want. But I think there are much more important things to be made than governments." He looks up at the sky. "There are things that I want to prepare for," he says. "But not government meetings. Or any more murders than I can help." He slaps his palms against his thighs. "Anyway, this is probably no way to have our first conversation. I admire you. I want to support you, not argue with you." He seems cheerful about that.

"That's between me and Jaha." counters Cameron, "That's personal. Not political, and it says nothing about what I'd do after: turn myself into an elected representation of the people and accept their judgement." That said, he lets it pass, and gestures for the bones, "I'm making black." he explains, his entire demeanor shifting into a lighter, more energetic one. "I have some iron shavings that I saved from grinding some ship-metal, and I'm going to mix it with charred and grinded bone— which will suck to do, but I don't have any proper /tools/ for it— then I'm going to mix it with rendered animal fat." A gesture at the tiny metal bowl-ish he got from the cook tent, "I haven't worked out a thickening agent yet, and animal fat isn't as good as a refined oil, but its a start. I won't be satisfied with black, but its a start. We need to think bigger then /survival/ here. I mean, don't get me wrong: we should put every effort we can into surviving, but we need /more/, to make us not lose hope, to make us *want* to survive. Black is how I'm starting. Blue. Red. Green. Brown. Yellow. Those come down the road."

"By majority, right?" Jason asks. It's not clear if he's being sarcastic or not. "The judgement of the majority." But he doesn't say more on that, looking down at the bones in the fire. "Black…" he repeats slowly, rolling the idea around in his head. He pulls a burnt stick from the fire, blowing out the last flame clinging to its end, and draws a spiral shape on a rock on the ground with the help of that charcoal. "You like paint the best, right? Oh!" He sets the stick down and reaches into his pocket, drawing out shards of a deep blue-green eggshell, with brown speckles. "I wanted to show you this. This color."

Cameron shrugs a little bit, "It remains to be seen how the governance is shaped. I'm still working on convincing people." That said, he watches Jason pull the stick, "In theory, any charcoal — which is really just burned organic material leaving carbon deposits — can provide black, but burned and grinded bone has a richer black then say, burned wood. In /theory/. So its a more pure black. I don't mind black: there's something to be said for creating *texture* and *feeling* in the monochrome." That said, he grins suddenly, "I don't know if I like anything the best, honestly. If we had *paper* I'd be content drawing. We don't. Finger-painting is next in place. Then sculpture. If I had a better knife I'd try carving wood." And as the shell is produced, he momentarily forgets the discussion of black, "Oh, that's beautiful." he breathes, "Do you know where you found it? I wonder if we could find more— I mean, I wouldn't want to endanger the species and attack nests though another side of me would like a scrambled egg— but the shells. Was it high in a tree? I wonder if we could grind it down into a pigment."

"We have unlimited rocks," Jason says cheerfully, but he's still looking at the shell. It doesn't look like it's from a very large egg. "I found three," he says. "In a nest that had fallen. Two might have birds in them. Or yolks. I gave them to medical but they promised me the shells. I don't know about pigment," he says. "The inside is white, so…it might come out pretty light." He shows the white underside. "But. I was thinking a mosaic."

"And dirt. Unlimited rocks and infinite dirt." He snickers briefly, but then, thoughtfully, Cameron considers the egg, "That's a good idea. We'd have to figure out some kind of glue substitute…" He nods his head, encouraged by just thinking about it, "I can't think of anything off the top of my head, but I'll give it some thought. Maybe talk to Frankie? She's got a stronger chemistry background then I have, I think. Wait, maybe sap." He nods quickly, "Stab a tree or two and get some sap and see if it suits as a glue substitute.

Jason lifts his eyebrows. "Sap," he says. "Yeah, good idea. They're thin and light," he says of the eggshells. "It shouldn't take much. And…maybe there are ones of other colors, too. Eggs."

Cameron nods quickly, with some enthusiasm, "I haven't really considered looking /up/, but will make a point of it. I'm out foraging for fruit and such evey day, I'll make an effort to look for some nests, too." He reaches out to clasp Jason by the shoulder, and give an amicable squeeze, "Hey, man." he offers his knife-ish over, "Can you do me a favor? Watch my bones for maybe twenty minutes? Move them as the char spreads? I have a thing to do. I'll come take over and owe you a favor, right?" An easy, bright smile full of dimples is shared as encouragement.

Jason looks pleased. "Okay," he agrees about the bones. "Be careful out there, though!" Wherever that 'thing' might be, there's probably potential danger on the way.

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