Day 008: At Least We Have Berries
Summary: Even the most successful apex predators on Earth catch their prey less than half the time. Skaikru, on the other hand… are not the most successful apex predators on Earth.
Date: 12 May 2016
Related: None Directly.
Cassandra Devin Faolan Morgan 

Forests Around the Camp

This forest is a mingling of hardwoods and temperate evergreens, with towering oaks and cedars mixed with slender alders. The ground is covered in grassy mosses and thick ferns — some with sharp, sword-like leaves and others with tight spiraled stems that unfurl toward the crowded canopy. Beyond the trees and ferns, the forest also hosts arching, moss-draped vine maples and flowering blackberry bushes as just some of its flora occupants.

Toward the west, the forest begins to break as the mountains climb, revealing meadow balds and the broad web of the divided Potomac.

8 Days After Landing

"A black panther, I'm telling you," Cassandra relays to Faolan as they set forth from the bounds of camp. "It was huge! With red eyes! I think it was a mountain lion." On the heels of this morning's failed expedition alongside Devin and a few others, she's agreed once more to set out into the forest and help gather food for the feast, putting her Earth Skills know-how to use; not because she especially enjoys helping others, but because if it isn't clear to those around her by now, she simply loves spending time outdoors after a year in Solitary and a lifetime on the Ark. Perhaps offering her tasks she undertakes in her spare time is the key to getting her to cooperate with others. At her hip is her machete, but she's no muscle. That's what the ex-C is here for.

Devin follows along with the group, listening to Cassandra as she recants the story of their earlier encounter with the large cat. He carries his normal equipment with him, using his trusty spear as a walking stick. He smirks slightly with Cassandra's words, looking a bit confused by her classification of the animal. "Aren't mountain lions and panthers different things?" He asks as he steps over a fallen branch in his path.

Morgan heard about the recent expedition and went to make sure Devin was okay. Since there were plans to go out foraging, he decided to come along. He's got on his Grounder jacket but no shirt as well as the swordbelt and sheath that holds the sword. The pouch is also on the belt. Pants and boots and he'd have a full outfit. "Keep an eye out." he warns the others. "I'm sure we're being watched. Maybe not us specifically but the camp and probably those who leave it."

Faolan has left his jacket behind, leaving his arms bare in his mostly dirty t-shirt. All that blood just don't wanna come clean. On his thick left arm there are fresh cuts, four of them neat parallel lines, and one wobbly one, the latter showing a bit of angry red like it might be infected. He's been withdrawn since returning from getting their prisoners back. Mostly he's been watch for attack, or on guard duty on the prisoners, or teaching someone a bit of fighting. He has a grounder sword in a grounder sheath over his shoulder, a grounder knife in his belt and a spear in his hand. He has a grounder water skin and a grounder food pack, and he moves with loping athleticism, not saying a whole lot while his pale blue eyes constantly roaming around. Its only when Cassandra addresses him he really responds. A sideways look that's pretty skeptical. "If you say so. You sure it wasn't a kitten? My mum had kitten videos on her tab. It was black and rolled around a piece of string. It was like this big." He shows his fist. "I bet it was a kitten."

Cassandra has blood on her shirt which isn't hers. That just seems to be a trend around these parts right now, and being on Earth is no excuse for a teenage girl to miss out on those. She furrows her brow at Faolan's doubt of her claim, and though Morgan's warning has her biting back her explanation of panthers and mountain lions, she does quietly retort now. "No. It was a panther. Bigger than you. Little Brother saw it, didn't you?" She turns expectantly to Devin for back-up. Though her voice remains barely above a whisper, when she looks at him, she's unable to contain herself. "Black panthers are just melanistic big cats like jaguars and leopards, but they're not a separate species." She pauses, eyeing the two recent captives of the Grounders. "Just like I'm human, and so are the Grounders."

Devin's eyebrow raises slightly as Cassandra calls him 'Little Brother', but nods his head slightly. "Yeah. It was a large cat. I stabbed the damn thing twice and it still didn't go down." He offers to back up Cassandra's story about the animal. He nods his head as he looks around the area, looking for any signs of game that they can hunt or for any impending attacks that await the group.

"Little Brother?" Morgan asks, glancing curiously from Cassandra to Devin before following his own advice and keeping an eye on the surrounding woods. His scanning the are has his gaze passing over Faolan then returning to him. Specifically his arm. Stepping closer, he reaches for the arm to get a better look. Even if Fao pulls away though, he can tell "That's infected. What happened?"

"Heh." It's a quiet little snort of amusement coming from Faolan when Cassandra insists it was a black panther and it was big. Like perhaps he hadn't really doubted so much as was pulling her string. Briefly he looks at her again out of the corner of his eye, but then he's back to scanning the woods around them. When Morgan reaches for his arm he pulls it away. "Nothing," he says in warning tone. Instead he switches topics: "So what're we hunting for today?"

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Survival: Good Success.
<FS3> Faolan rolls Survival: Good Success.
<FS3> Devin rolls Survival: Failure.

The confusion surrounding Devin's nickname makes Cassie smirk, and she's so caught up in her own mischief that she fails to notice Faolan's enjoyment of his own. "You don't know?" she asks those who are not Devin. "He's the kid who got sent down here for being born. He's been in the Skybox longer than any of us." She doesn't answer the ex-C's query immediately, but carries on walking until they come upon a bit of disturbed earth, where a set of hoof-marks can be spotted. "Looks like a… like a deer? A boar? …Maybe a wild cow?"

Devin frowns a bit at the reminder of his long stint in the Skybox and why he was there. "Does that make you my sister?" He asks, looking up to Cass. "Because my last sister abandoned me to the box and we don't have a happy relationship there." He says as he pauses in his movements as she spots the tracks, not seeing anything. "A wild cow?" He asks after a few moments, looking around the area to see if he can spot whatever left the tracks.

"Bullshit." Morgan says. "Do you know what infected means? It means it's not healing, it's getting worse. Do you know what infected means without antibiotics? It means if it gets in your blood, you could die if we don't cut your arm off. Ask Asher how much fun it was to have his infected leg treated after he ignored it for almost a week. Cass was there. So I'll take care of it when we get back." Cass' explanation does make sense now. "Oh, so not /your/ little brother. Got it." He looks where she points and nods. Could be.

Faolan frowns at Morgan, his broad shoulders squaring as he stubbornly reiterates: "Its nothing, so leave it alone." He kneels down when Cassandra points out the bit of disturbed earth. Now he was never much of an Earth Studies geek up on the Ark, sleeping through the dull and totally unimportant bullshit that had nothing to do with his life up there. Since coming down, though, he's started to pick up a thing or two. He squints, traces the outline. "Deer," he confirms. "Pretty fresh, too. Good catch."

To save Devin the the trouble of looking up at her, Cassandra crouches down to the ground, closer to inspect those tracks. By now they should be clear, two halves of a Yin-Yang spun around to point in the same direction. She's quiet while Morgan tries to talk some sense into the injured ex-C, clearly listening, but unwilling to get involved. "I like to think you're everyone's little brother. We did save your arse," she points out to the all-grown second child; never mind that his fellow captive is right there, and that should apply to him too. After a further moment's deliberation, she straightens up and takes another two steps to follow the tracks before allowing Faolan, "You're the expert." Though it's unusual for her to admit someone else might know more than her, this is her first hunting trip, while it isn't his. "How far do you reckon?" She glances up and peers through the trees. "I don't see anything."

Devin remains silent for a few moments before he looks down towards the tracks as they're pointed out. He's trying to study the tracks to figure them out. He doesn't say anything else about the topic of himself but just looks towards Cass and Faolan as they start to discuss the tracks and the animal that made the track.

<FS3> Morgan rolls Survival: Good Success.

"Don't be an idiot, Faolan. It's infected. If you want to kill yourself, go jump in the river. It's quicker and we won't need to take care of you." Morgan studies the prints then wanders around a little. "That way I think. Not sure what animal though. Aren't boards dangerous?"

There's a second there where Faolan gives Cassandra a look that asks: 'When did I become the expert?' But then he just shrugs. He doesn't respond to Morgan's infection talk, focusing instead on the hunt. Slowly he straightens back up. "Yeah. That way." A tick, before he asks: "Why would boars be dangerous? They're just pigs, right? Pigs were super common farm animals." So they can't be all that dangerous. It makes sense to him. "But it's a deer. Hm. Let's spread out, just wide enough that you can always see the next person. Go quiet. If its anywhere around and we spook it, we'll be chasing it forever."

In a flat tone, Cassandra counters, "This is Earth. Everything's dangerous." Not as dangerous as the Ark. But she doesn't say that part, especially not in front of the ex-C, even if it occurs to her that the muscular dude is currently outnumbered by Rebels who may owe him a beating two-or-three-to-one. It's a nice thought, one she keeps to herself as she falls in line and turns to find herself somewhere to wait. Rather than draw her machete, out of her Grounder-made bag she pulls out a very, very sharp knife, one which she promised to return to Asher by the bygone morning.

Devin continues to look around the area as Cass and Faolan continue to speak to one another. He moves along with the girl as she find somewhere to wait, finding a spot of his own a short distance away. He kneels down, trying to get lower to the ground as he rests his spear across his raised knee, looking around the area for any signs of the animal.

Morgan shrugs at the question. "Someone said they were dangerous. I'm not sure why." Not being a hunter, he's willing to let others do the planning. He's not really looking forward to killing the animal anyway.

"Naw," Faolan tells Cassandra quietly, even if his attention is mostly focused on the hunt still. "Earth ain't all that dangerous." There's a forward lean to him, relaxed and loose and predatory. Its mostly to himself he gives the parting words: "Its always the people who are the danger." With that he starts to enact the planning he'd spelled out earlier, separating from the others quietly. He takes the middle, so he always has one on each side within sight.

<FS3> Faolan rolls Stealth: Success.
<FS3> Morgan rolls Stealth: Failure.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Stealth: Success.
<FS3> Devin rolls Stealth: Success.

Cassandra slides her eyes over at Faolan when he makes that remark, but she offers no verbal response. She lowers herself into a crouch, waiting for the more seasoned hunters' signals to consider an approach. There's a rustle in the trees; she hears it, and turns just in time to spot a pair of deer away in the distance, their jaws slowly working down some leaves. She's hungry too. She'd like to eat. Which is why even though like Morgan, she isn't looking forward to killing anything, she waits for someone to make a move.

Devin continues to remain low as he watches the area. At the sound of the rustling in the trees, his eyes move immediately towards the source. He doesn't see the animals right away, but he remains as still as he can, trying not to scare the animals away. He takes deep breaths in an effort to calm his rapidly beating heart as he gets ready to pounce at the moment the word is given.

Morgan tries being quiet. Really. But he just winces when even he can hear how bad he is at it. "If you can herd them my way, I'll try to stop them." He's much better at killing than sneaking. And as much as he hates the idea, he's practical enough to know they need to eat.

Quiet, if not as quiet as he'd liked, Faolan moves through the woods. He spots the deer ahead, and his expression becomes a mask of absolute concentration. Every muscle in his body controlled and responding to the purpose of getting close enough to use his spear. Preferably stabbing close, since he isn't any good at throwing.

Then their heads turn and with a loud rustle of noise they're off, bounding into the distance. "Fuck." He says as he straightens out, already calling it a bust. Glumly he mutters: "You suck, Morgan." His stomach makes a noise in agreement.

Cassandra spends 1 luck points on We got a feast to feed, yo.
<FS3> Cassandra rolls Survival+3: Good Success.
<FS3> Devin rolls Survival: Failure.
<FS3> Faolan rolls Survival: Good Success.
<FS3> Morgan rolls Survival: Good Success.

Even the most successful apex predators on Earth catch their prey less than half the time. Earth Skills Nerd Cassandra knows this, which is why when Faolan sneaks through the woods like a great big jungle cat — perhaps a leopard, with a success rate of one-in-seven — only for Morgan's words to have those delicious venison sprinting for their lives, she turns to give him a look, but isn't too furious. "See if you can find some stuff that grows on bushes. Where there's one deer, there's more, and I mean more than one more. If you find droppings or tracks, signal." She slowly turns to follow after the ex-C towards where their quarry ran off, pausing to eye a tree with a scratched up bark. Is that a territory marking?

Morgan shrugs lightly, not terribly disappointed in his heart of hearts to see the deer run off. "There's a reason I don't go hunting." Which, granted, is more because he hates killing animals than because he's bad at it. It would be so much easier if it was okay to eat people. Now foraging, that he's much better at.

<FS3> Devin rolls Alertness: Success.

Devin lets out a soft sigh as the deer get spooked and run off. He stands up straight as their prey are out of sight. He looks back at the others. "We'll find something." He says as he continues to move on in search of the next quarry. After several hours of tracking and searching, another group of deer, or perhaps the same ones as before, come into view off towards one side of the group, grazing on some grass.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Stealth: Good Success.
<FS3> Faolan rolls Stealth: Success.
<FS3> Devin rolls Stealth: Good Success.

Again they're on the trail, again they get close enough to smell them, the feral scent of animal musk in the air, and Faolan is gripping his spear with a purpose. He'd felt a bit bad killing his first deer, slitting its throat to end its pain and petting it while it bled out in his lap. But he's over that. Now its all about getting meat. Meat that..

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" And he throws his spear down on the ground, growling, scowling. But at least its just frustration rather than berserker temper. He pulls his water skin out and drinks, washing some against his skin. A glance up at the sky confirms his suspicions. They've been out for hours. Calmer, but bitter, he mutters: "Well. That's it then."

Cassandra was almost starting to like Faolan… Almost. Which is why when he lets out a howl, she lurches back her shoulders, mouth thin and wide, and waits a moment to make sure that he indeed isn't about to murder Morgan. Or her. Really, she's more concerned about her, though she does exchange a look over her shoulder towards the others. "Well, I did my bit," she says. "Make a note of that, ex-C: Cass did her bit, deserves her fair share of the feast. Even Morgan's share, maybe." But the look she sends towards their lemming is playful when she turns her back to their muscle and starts back in the direction of camp. "One of the other hunting parties is bound to have come bag with something juicy by now. And you're right, we're probably being watched. Let's not give them any more of an embarrassing show…" Her eyes trail the trees for any sight of a hidden Grounder, but she'd have no luck finding one even if they were staring right at her as she speaks.

True to his word, Morgan does gather berries as they walk and puts them in a bag they brought for that purpose. He also found a nice, long, mostly straight branch that he thinks he can turn into a walking stick slash staff. When the deer is spotted, he just stops where he is, knowing that stalking is not one of his strengths. He motions to the others to go on, tucking the branch under an arm as he reaches for his sword in case they come this way. And of course the branch falls onto a bush, snapping some fragile branches and alerting the deer. "Oh fuck. I am never going hunting. Ever. At least we have berries."

Devin bites into his lower lip as he slowly moves forward, trying to keep his steps slow and deliberate, but then these deer get spooked as well. He lets out a soft sigh and shakes his head before he stands up from his place and glances back at the others, frowning a bit. "It'll be fine. Maybe we can find something on the way back to the camp." He offers as he looks up at the sky and the position of the setting sun. "I think it's best we head back before it gets too dark and we miss the feast." He says, starting back the way they came.

"Why would anyone care what I make a note of or not?" Faolan asks when he's regained his composure and picked up his spear again. For all they've been out all this time, there's no sign of him wearying. IF he's the only one who brought that water skin, he passes it around to anyone who wants a drink. Even Morgan. Once the frustration has run its course, he doesn't seem to hold a grudge or a temper. "But yeah, you did your part. Even Morgan, though he sucks at it." And a moment later, he adds: "Everybody sucks at something when they start out. Might me you're better at being a beater for bigger party." Hunting with noise taking more people than they currently had, though.

"Because you have biceps and I don't," comes Cassandra's retort. She still has water left in her bag, but Faolan doesn't know that, and why waste hers when she can waste his? So she graciously accepts the skin he so generously passes around, take a long sip, then passes it on. Considering some of the rumours that were floated around about her in the Skybox, that she has more diseases than all the microbiology labs in Go-Sci, they'll be sharing it at their own risk. "Great. Glad we got our kumba-yayas out. Who's hungry?" With that, she's trudging off towards the scent of roasted hog and venison.

"What I"m better at is medicine." Morgan tells Faolan. "So believe me when I say that I need to treat that infection on your arm so you don't get sick. We'll do that when we get back when it's still a minor problem." He takes the water skin and drinks from it before passing it on. "Keep an eye out for willow trees on the way back. Long, droopy branches and leaves."

Devin has his own water skin and takes a drink from that instead. He remains silent as he marches back towards the camp, looking back towards Faolan and Morgan, chuckles softly as he shakes his head. He nods his head at Cass' question about hunger. "Yeah. I can eat." He offers as he continues towards the camp, keeping an eye out for any animals that may appear on their trek back.

"Big and powerful, too!" Faolan boasts like a teenage boy. Which is, let us not forget, what he is. He lifts his arms up to give each of his guns a proud little kiss. Though there's a fair amount of self irony in that show, too. "Still, can't say made me all that important before. Good to know they do, though. I'll take even greater care of them." He doesn't seem to much care if Cassandra is the host of every disease known to man. He drinks again when it's passed back, then settles it over his shoulder. He ignores Morgan's statement of what will or will not happen to his arm when they come back. Demonstratively so, making a point out of it. "Roast boar. Sounds good to me. Mm. Fat dripping, all succulent. If I only eat meat the rest of my life, I'll be good."

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