Day 029: A Presidential Visit
Summary: President Wallace visits the "rescued" Sky People.
Date: 27 June 2016
Related: The Mountain Men arc.
Dante Cameron Jael Reno Ruth Tink Cole Mimi Madelyn 

Visitors Residences, Mount Weather

This is a large, cavernous room that has been converted into living quarters for the "rescued" Sky People. It has tall walls leading into arching buttresses, some of which are covered in warm tapestries from various historical periods. There are even a few pieces of artwork — all originals and not reproductions. Scattered throughout the room are little nooks of comfortable armchairs and tables, each of which have a small lamp that offers a warm glow.

Bunkbeds have been assembled in this room, giving everyone their own bed complete with sheets, blankets, and soft pillows.

29 Days After Landing

The residences for the rescued Sky People are comfortable, even lavish to some extent despite the concrete blocks and arching stone buttresses. Tapestries hang from the walls, softening the harsh corners, and plush rugs to make the floors seem less cold and stark. Various bunkbeds have been put together to make sure each of the twenty-three so-called delinquents have their own bed, complete with sheets and blankets and soft pillows.

A bright, cheerful girl wearing the name-tag with the name 'Ashley' neatly engraved on it is assigned to help the Sky People settle in. Her brown hair is woven back into a neat braid, and she wears a pencil skirt and blazer jacket, both in soft grey, and a pristine white blouse. She holds a clipboard, and is chatting with a couple of the Sky People, gesturing up at the ceiling as if she is speaking about something either on the next level, or even higher up on the surface itself. She glances just in time to see the tall, stately gentleman of about six feet in height and a lean, but aged frame. "Oh, oh… President Wallace!" She brightens.

Dante raises a hand, pale skin smeared in dried oil paints. "Ashley," he says, voice a warm and soothing tenor — almost grandfatherly. "I see you are taking good care of our guests." The man smiles, wrinkles deepening around dark grey eyes.

Ruth herself is right near the front of the small group of Sky People listening to Ashley speak, her hands tucked in the pockets of her skirt. She seems rather smarmy about the fact that her skirt has pockets, too, or maybe that's just the expression she wears when she's genuinely listening. She doesn't do that a lot, admittedly.

Wallace captures her attention as soon as Ashley's wanders, her smile widening considerably. "She's been great, President Wallace," she responds, chipper as ever. She's rarely been seen without a smile since they woke up in quarantine.

Cameron at the dropship camp? He was so full of energy, happy and confident. Here he's not. He's got bags under his eyes from a lack of sleep, and has a nervous, almost haggard expression on his face. But these tapestries? They're interesting. So with his hands in the pockets of his new (relatively speaking) clothes, and eyes the nearest one for a long moment. Those are art. Hm. Cameron is trying to get his interest up, and its starting to rise. A little. But a thought dominates his mind: morgansnotdeadmorgansnotdeadmorgansnotdead. Hearing this mention of a President has him turning and blinking, looking to see what this underground Chancellor is going to be like.

Tink is quiet, attentive as the girl chatters on about tapestries. Sadly the culture is rather lost on her because this girl prefers engines and solar cells to finely woven cloth but she doesn't want to be rude. The arrival of the President causes the girl to pause and unconsciously she puts a stray hair around behind her ear, and then holds her hands at her side, willing herself not to tug at her sleeves to hide the scars underneath.

Cole is still here. In a sense. Here as in a physical sense. Mentally is another question, having had to of been led into the room by some help from someone else. He's doesn't say anything, which isn't a surprise, he's just muted sat down in a chair and made to listen. Though, for the most part, he's staring at his lap.

Reno by contrast to Cameron has never looked healthier in his live; bruises withstanding, and the fact that he had a limp, and that he had a bandaged arm and shoulder in a slig… okay maybe he had looked a lot better. Maybe not cleaner? He was an illegal child that grew up in a floor. Never had a bed before, or his own allotment of…well anything. This place was a Hilton to him. Still though what it lacked was evidence his brother was okay, or solace about what little he had that was lost outside. So he was right there with his fellow crewmates. Precisely he was sitting on Tink's right side. He was quiet watching those that knew how to speak in conversations do so.

"Ah," he says, looking appraisingly at the piece framed in gold-painted wood. "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. Painted by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn." Dante chuckles, the noise deep in his chest. "With a name like that, I'm not surprised most just know him as Rembrandt."

His gaze passes over toward Mimi who has been working diligently, and her words earn another smile. "I'm afraid that, due to our susceptibility, we must be very careful about contaminates. That is why you were in quarantine, to make sure that there was no risk of doing harm to the residents of Mount Weather. I apologize that we had to destroy your clothes, but it is almost impossible to ensure our safety when it comes to cloth exposed to the outside." Dante then steps up behind Cole's chair, and his hand comes to rest on the high, winged back. He looks down at Cole, and then at the others gathering. "I am sorry I was unable to welcome you properly, but one of our soldiers did not survive the confrontations with the Outsiders when they were attacking your camp. Her family is still grieving deeply for their loss."

"Wonderful," Dante pauses, searching his memory, and then smiles, "Ruth, is that right?" He clasps his hands behind his back, maintaining that tall and precise posture. "Ashley has been very helpful in helping an old man learn all your names." Then he steps deeper into the residences, smiling and nodding to some of the other Sky People, and then noticing Cameron and his interested — or partially interested — look at one of the paintings.

"Ah," he says, looking appraisingly at the piece framed in gold-painted wood. "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. Painted by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn." Dante chuckles, the noise deep in his chest. "With a name like that, I'm not surprised most just know him as Rembrandt."

Dante then steps up behind Cole's chair, and his hand comes to rest on the high, winged back. He looks down at Cole, and then at the others gathering. "I am sorry I was unable to welcome you properly, but one of our soldiers did not survive the confrontations with the Outsiders when they were attacking your camp. Her family is still grieving deeply for their loss."

Perhaps it's the natural charisma Wallace exudes or his prestige and power, but Ruth seems to glow with muted glee when he mentions her by name. She rocks briefly back on her heels, glancing about her as if expecting the other delinquents to be as enthused by his visit as she. Unfortunately, though, their grief will likely last more than an overnight stay in Mount Weather. This solemns her just a bit. She dons the proper expression of remorse.

"I've never seen a real painting before." Cameron is coming out of his shell a bit now, talking about art? That makes him feel like his soul isn't dead. "Rembrandt is amazing." He gestures, "The lighting and the effect of the white to make the seafoam, the balance of the whole piece… That doesn't come across as well on our vid screens." He pauses, adding to explain, "The only art we really had on the Ark was in our databases from old earth. Not to mention we just didn't have a lot of resources to waste on me painting." Which is why he started painting political cartoons on walls. Ahem. "Is this a reproduction? Thank you for rescuing us, Chancellor. Er, I mean President." But his voice is so bitter briefly then, and he has to look away. Pain. Morgansnotdead.

Better late than never? Jael's been somewhere (probably involving food), and now she's slipping back into the residences. The little blonde goes still for a moment as she registers the presence of not-her-people, particularly when she zeroes in on Cole and Dante's proximity to him. Still, after a moment's hesitation she does move to slip through the room, circling around to nudge her way through people as needed to put herself at least where she's got nobody between herself, Cole's chair, and the man she doesn't know. Once she's found her place to stand, there's an attempt made at catching Cameron's eyes, a half-curve of her lips in an almost-smile for him.

Tink takes Reno's hand and gives it a squeeze, the girl relaxes a little with him by her side. She gives a solemn nod at the mention of their fallen and offers after Cameron, "My condolences for their loss. We appreciate everything your men have done to help us." She bites her bottom lip and then almost as an after thought introduces herself, "Tabatha Imogen Nimue Kinsey." She gives her full name rather than her nickname. She takes a deep breath and tries to give a strained smile, "If there's anything I can do to help out around the station…fix things…let me know."

There may be a flicker of recognition in Cole's eyes when Dante touches the back of his chair, but the blank, vacant look in his eyes remain. Though there's a bit more awareness when Jael comes near, but it seems like whatever progress he may of had yesterday is gone. Or at the very least, can only break free of his mental prison in fits and spurts. Eyes go back to his lap, staring numbly at his hands. As before, the lights are on, but nobodies home. Or at least drunk and passed out on the couch infront of the tv at three am.

Dante looks at Cameron, and his smile goes unchanged. He looks comfortable, and there is an honest warmth about the President of Mount Weather. "You sound like someone who knows art, Cameron." There is the slightest pause before he says Cameron's name, emphasizing that he is still learning and remembering. He gestures a bit to the painting. "No, real." He chuckles then. "It was the ones in the museum that were the reproductions. Mount Weather has stored artwork for many centuries, to preserve that vital piece of culture." Dante speaks with a passion all his own. "There are of course new ones being added… there are others, like myself, who enjoy painting, and art. I am nearly finished on one I have been working on for the past year."

At the looks and words of remorse and sympathy, Dante releases a heavy sigh. "We have lost many to the Outsiders over the years. If the outside does not kill us, certainly they do." His expression is sober. "We are all mourning, I am afraid. Again, I am sorry for your own losses. Certainly, if our ground teams had acted swifter, more of your people could have been saved. I know that it was a bit… harsh… that we utilized knock-out gas, but we did not want to risk more bloodshed. We grabbed as many of you as we could before the Outsiders returned and forced us to retreat." He looks genuinely disheartened to share these things with all these young people.

As he catches their names, even if he has been memorizing most of them, his smile gently returns. He gestures to himself. "I am President Dante Wallace, and I am very pleased to meet you all. I hope that I can bring you all some solace, and that you know you are quite safe here. Outsiders have tried many times to breach the Mountain, but we have caused them to turn back each time."

Ruth takes a few steps towards Cameron and Dante so she can get a closer look at the piece. She doesn't seem quite as moved by it, though she's also not an artist herself. She rubs at the side of her thigh absentmindedly, her eyes settling on each of the sky people in turn. She has a short attention span, it seems, even when the person speaking has something this important to say.

"Will there be something for us to do here?" Ruth pipes up after a few moments, her alto kept neutral. "Something to keep us busy? I think some sort of distraction would help us as a whole." She's not speaking for the whole… not exactly. She's just making hints at it, her smile earnest and full of some understated yearning that certainly outshines any remorse present.

"I'm a trained botanist with a minor proficiency in chemistry, by trade and training; an artist is who I am in my soul. I was trying, between foraging for food, to make pigments… before." Cameron smiles slightly at the President, though his eyes go wide at mention of this being a real Rembrandt. "I can't believe any survived the war." He's now well and fully distracted from the fight against accepting Morgan's death, especially as the President says there's more? "Will we be allowed to… see them? Or… your work?" But the distraction lasts only so long as their own losses are mentioned, and Cameron looks anguished. There's a shuddering tremble that goes through his spine. But, the look from Jael does register finally— art! Major distraction— so he turns a nod to her as he struggles to get his emotions under control. Fortunately, he does manage. "They're afraid of you. The Grounders. Outsiders. Trikru they call themselves. I think you're the only thing they do fear." He doesn't make it an accusation, just noting it. At the moment his feelings towards the Grounders are decidedly negative.

Mimi is sketching..if you can call it that. In one of the mini-notebooks she was given is a 3D isometric view of the quarantine room. "You did not respond to my requests for help nor contact over the radio." She pauses a moment to glance at Dante Wallace, then looks back to her sketchpad. "I request my clothes. They were special to me and I went through very difficult times to gain them. I also request a laptop or a tablet with a keyboard. The paper and pencils are insufficient to handle the calculations I have made."

Reno was historically the bastion for hope and optimism striving for peace. The events of the days leading up to their rescue left him challenged on this heavily and word of his 'nerd rage' drifted where it would. At the talk of anything 'Outside' His good hand would clench, but found Tink's in it giving him a reassurance. He sighed and squeezed her hand back. He could do this. Commencing with the holding on part. He offered, "Not making us go back out there would be a nice start." His eyes went to Cameron and his voice dropped a bit bitter, "Cam, they're uncouth, unsanitary savages with no regard for human life or any heart ot build towards tomorrow. What'd you expect of them?" Little Loden could not hold on. he was trying. Nerd rage… still in there trying to be very civil. Heart to do when they destroy and consume hope.

A small, unassuming lump on a top bunk rustles and stirs. The blanket is pulled back, revealing a pair of big, brown eyes. She apparently managed to get that nap, and she apparently naps like a pro. Her eyebrows shoot up, embarrassed, when she sees the number of people milling about, as well as the unfamiliar older man. She sits up slowly, her blue sundress wrinkled from her nap, her mousy brown hair somewhat tousled. She swings her legs around, bare feet dangling from the edge of her bunk, and leans forward slightly, watching. "President?" she asks, somewhere between mortified and bewildered.

There's a moment given over to studying Cole, but Jael doesn't do any more than that where he's concerned, for now. She's watching the others of her tribe, their reactions; she's watching Dante, how he interacts. Observation. Lots of it. When she catches the anguished look that crosses Cameron's face though, she does slip over in his direction, moving to step in beside him and shoving her hands into her pockets, shifting to bump her shoulder in against his arm. "Demonizing your enemy is a fast track to turning into something just as bad or worse," she comments on the heels of Reno's words, tone mild and voice quiet. Opinion given, she offers up another little smile Cameron's way. Bump.

"Mount Weather was meant to survive," Dante says, his voice a bit proud while also solemn. "And we cherish everything we have here." Then he starts to smile once more for Cameron, and he offers a slight glance to Ashley. "Ashley, could you please see that Cameron is given some art supplies… take some from my own stores, if needed. I would like to see a soul soothed." He looks to Cameron now, gesturing a bit. "Everyone's soul should fine comfort."

He considers Mimi then, not avoiding the discussion of the Outsiders, but merely responding to her first. "I'm afraid that we are unable to return your clothes, or most of your possessions." He looks at the group now, explaining, "We are very susceptible to any outside contaminates, and must decontaminate everything. Some of your belongings were able to be returned, but clothing cannot be. I apologize for that, but certainly you understand that I must look out for my people's well-being."

He considers Reno and Cameron now, and he nods a bit. "You are of course welcomed to stay here. The Outsiders' army is still quite substantial, and have not yet dispersed. I do not feel I can, in good conscious, let you all leave until I know you will be safe." He nods to Ruth then, answering her question now. "I am sure we can find you a place here… everyone here has a purpose, but we are blessed with everything we need."

Dante sighs then. "I know you have been interacting — both for good and for not — with the Outsiders. They have been a threat to our people for many generations. We are almost constantly undersiege by their cannibal clans. We have had to take great measures to show them that we are not to be trifled with. Their numbers greatly overwhelm our own."

Tink nods slowly as the President discusses the outsiders and some of the challenges they've faced with them, "What purpose do you see us having?" She seems to want to understand what's needed and there's also a look of someone that wants to help, "I can't speak for the others but I'd like to help. I have a background in Engineering and Chemistry and back at the Ark I assisted with keeping the station going." She looks at Reno and then Cole, "There's quite a few of us who are skilled in such things."

Cameron blinks at Reno a moment, "I wasn't defending them. They killed…" He shakes his head. No, they didn't. Morgansnotdead. "I was stating a fact. They're afraid of the Mountain. Which is good, really, because those monsters should be afraid of something." Morgansnotdead. But he gives a tight smile to Jael, leaning his shoulder against hers for a moment companionably, but there's mention of art supplies? Actual paint, maybe? His expression softens dramatically, and for a moment he's lost in thought of what: what shall I paint? Morgansnotdead. But he looks more seriously to Dante, "Please don't take this the wrong way, but why are you helping us? What do you want? I have a suspicion already but I expect I'd like to talk to you about that privately. But, if nothing else.." He nods to Tink, "The Ark existed to preserve the knowledge of the old world, perhaps not dissimilarly to how you are preserving its culture. We offered the Trikru our knowledge and they thought it worthless. Do you? We are not a people used to being idle."

Mimi watches Dante. "Do you not think that you may perhaps be understating things? Your people have taken steps to wipe out entire villages of theirs have you not? The Grounders we have met are not cannibals. In fact.." She pauses, cutting herself off. "When I brought up nuclear reactors, ballistic missiles, and nuclear warheads they responded with hatred towards you. The people of the mountain. This kind of response was not able to be faked. This is true fear of the mountain. Your attempts to intimidate them have been successful."

Reno looked to Jael as she addressed them but it would seem his spirit was broken on holding any love left for them. Then again he was still broken from when they attacked him on his first time out of the camp. Over stupid water. Stupid. The offer to stay arrived and he gave Tink's hand a tiny squeeze and he looked up to the President. A finger poked his frames up his nose and he smiled. He let Tink speak. She'd already voiced his thoughts on the matter which brought an affirming nod. "What you've done here is amazing. And beautifully efficient too. We'd like to be able to give back so we're not a burden on its resources."

Madelyn listens, hands on the mattress on either side of her legs. She listens to the people talking about the skills they can offer — the scientists and the engineers — and suddenly feels… small. And useless. Suddenly, all of the emotions from the past few days, from the young man dying in her arms on the water run to this new, confusing place, all start bubbling up inside of her. She realizes she's crying, and becomes even more embarrassed, face going red and splotchy. She pulls her legs back up onto her bunk and wipes her tears on her blanket, quietly hoping no one notices.

"Thank you," Ruth intones mutedly when Dante answers her question. She drifts closer to Ashley, her hands burrowing all the more deep into her skirt pockets. Is she bragging about them? It's hard to tell. "Hey, Ashley? Can I talk to you for a minute after… ?" She indicates Dante with a slight tilt of her head, her weight pushed briefly forward onto the balls of her feet. It's apparent she's not used to wearing such dainty shoes.

When Cameron begins to question Dante Jael's attention returns to the President; she's watching him, so very carefully. The set of his shoulders, the tilt of his chin, his face. Not that she says anything or speaks up to echo Cam's questions, but the hyper-attentiveness makes it clear that she's definitely interested in the man's response. Why. There _is_ a little bit of a twitch of her jaw when the desire to assist the mountain men is expressed on multiple fronts. But! No arguing, at least.

Little from Cole. He might be listening, hie might not. Hard to say. About the only thing he does is reach for Jael's hand, perhaps the suggestion that he's a little ill at ease with all the people around, talking and whatnot. He mumbles something, a single word, likely loud enough only for the blonde next to him to hear.

Dante turns slightly toward Mimi now, but he does not look at all nonplussed by her words. "Yes, we have done that… my father was responsible for an attack on two Outsider villages, many, many decades ago. You see, we had no idea that there were others living on the ground, and when the first of us emerged to explore the forests, we were attacked. The Outsiders killed many of our ground units, and we had to do something to get them to stop… it was a show of aggression, but it was what was needed to show that we were not easy targets." His words take on a bit of a coolness then, but not towards the kids around him, but instead toward the memories he unearths.

Then he looks to Cameron, and his brows arch high. "You are not our enemies, Cameron. We saw what the Outsiders were doing, and felt we could at least bring you here, where it is safe from them, and where you could live peacefully." Then he smiles a bit. "And because we always need more people, if I can be so honest. We are barely three-hundred strong, and as you are also enemies of the Outsiders, we have at least one thing in common." He nods then, speaking to them all now. "We will find uses for you here… there is much that can be done. We have hydroponic gardens, infrastructure to see to, and even simple things as preparing foods, and helping in the infirmary. Certainly we can find you jobs, if that is what you need."

He looks up when he sees and hears Madelyn cry, and he steps forward to place a hand gently on her shin with a grandfatherly comfort. "You are safe here, my dear. I promise." Then he regards the others. "Please, I know that it has been a long time since you have felt that you can breathe, but you can. Do what you need to do to find comfort here."

Tink looks a little more at ease when the president mentions that they can have jobs. She gives Reno's hand a squeeze to let him know that's good. She glances over at Madelyn and stops herself from going to the girl. It's clear the president is trying to calm her. She does gives a glance to Cole, frowning but doesn't say anything in current company. She turns her attention back to the president and what others are commenting on.

Much of Dante's response doesn't seem to get a reaction from Jael, for all that she's paying such close attention. It's when he promises the crying Madelyn that she's safe that she does finally react; the little blonde's eyes touch with dread before she turns, attention caught by Cole. He reaches for her and she takes the step necessary to take his hand, leaning down for him to mumble to her. He gets a kiss for his temple, and then she's looking not at Dante, but instead at Ashley. "He needs paper, pencils," she says softly. "Some sort of sketchpad, if possible. Please? It will help."

Cameron shares a look with Jael, his expression thoughtful. But he nods, at least finding Dante's answer acceptable, "I was trained since I was a kid to work on Farm Station. Obviously you're producing enough food for you— and such variety! on the Ark we lived more or less on soy products with only a little else— but still, I'm well trained in hydroponic farming techniques." He purses his lips, "I understand your need for security, so don't expect the run of the place or anything like that, but just… sitting here, taking up resources? It goes against everything I've been taught for all my life. It feels like a prison. A very comfortable, very friendly, very accommodating prison. But a prison." He hesitates and adds, "And I'm claustrophobic." Which he's never outright said before, but he gives a glance up a wall. This underground installation is feeling like a fancy space station to him. Morgansnotdead. "Art would be wonderful, don't get me wrong, I appreciate that a lot. But I'm in my head here and …" he shrugs. He's nervous and on edge is what he is.

Madelyn startles at Dante's touch, even more embarrassed. "I'm sorry," she murmurs. "I… I don't mean to be ungrateful, but I don't have anything I can really offer you in return. I'm not… I'm not smart like Cameron or Mimi, and… and you already have the nicest clothes and stuff that I've ever seen. Nothing I can make can even come close. I… I'm just afraid of being dead weight," she admits, sniffling.

Reno sat quietly and seemed, unlike possibly Jael, reassured by the invitation to stay, to be a part of something where order and reason seemed to thrive. he offered quietly, "Madelyn, we can always teach you too. I'm sure there's plenty here we can learn from them. Learning is a gift too." The talk off the grounder seemed to cool him considerably. His optimism was starting to surface again. A glance to Tink and Cole- There was a panged sympathy for their tech lead and he agreed. "There's tons we can build to help us sustain air purification and promote controlled growth. All sorts of things."

"Of course… I will see that something is sent up," Dante promises Jael. He looks at Cole, showing his own touch of concern. Then he turns back to Cameron, and he offers a small smile of sympathy. "I might suggest you visit Agriculture and Hydroponics up on Level 1. The ceilings are high, and the fresh air of the plants can help alleviate such fears. I will see that you are given access."

Madelyn's words cause Dante to smile again, and he shakes his head. "Then offer your presence merely for now, my dear. There is time." He nods his agreement with Reno. "Learning is a cherished thing that cannot be lost."

Dante then looks to Ashley. "Ashley, I have an appointment, but you are doing so very well, I imagine I don't need to tell you to make sure that our guests receive everything they need." He smiles then to the others, bobbing his head a bit. "Please, I am available if you have any questions."

"Me, too. If you're letting Cam go somewhere, I'm going with him," Jael is very quick to speak up on that note, and then she's turning to tell Cole, "They're going to see something brought for you." When she speaks to him her voice is gentle, reassuring. She even reaches to squeeze his shoulder before she turns to take the few steps back to Cameron, giving him another Look, coupled with a quirk of an eyebrow.

Madelyn nods, not entirely comforted by the old man's words, but at least somewhat soothed. She shifts a little, trying to regain her composure.

Cameron nods in agreement to Jael, "Jael's an excellent agricultural scientist, not to mention a hydrologist." he quips up quickly, to try to make sure she gets access with him. He gestures her over to the President, nodding his head away. "I don't do very well alone, too."

"Well, thank you," Ruth expresses to Dante with a beamed smile pointed his way. She clasps her hands at her front and adds, "We really appreciate that you were able to come visit us. We won't be a burden to Mount Weather." For all that they were delinquents, everyone on the Ark kept busy somehow. This place is almost the same; enclosed area, close-knit community, shared responsibilities. It would be too easy for an Arker to fall back into old habits here.

But Cam does add: "But thank you, Cha— President."

There's a small noise that Cole makes when Jael moves to leave. Non-verbal, as if he doesn't like the idea, but he won't move when she goes. Nope, just more staring at the hands in his lap.

No thanks, on Jael's part. She does reach up to rest her hand on Cameron's shoulder, giving a brief squeeze. The noise from Cole has her studying him from a few steps away for a moment, and then she's letting go of Cam and slipping back over to perch on the arm of Cole's chair. His hair gets tousled, and then she's sliding an arm around his shoulder and leaning down, resting the top of her head against the side of his. "Hey," she tells him, voice quiet but not inaudibly so. "I'm not going far. They're going to bring you some drawing stuff."

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