Day 010: Beauty Is A Kind Of Medicine
Summary: Jason brings Cookie something that prompts a philosophical discussion about beauty, art, joy, possibility, and dreams.
Date: 15 May 2016
Related: It Fell From The Sky, Love, A Conspiracy Is Formed, and Here Cometh Four Horsemen are referenced.
Jason Cookie 

Cook Tent — The Camp
The Cook Tent is probably one of the larger tents on the grounds. It butts up against a wall of the dropship, and its ceiling is made of the tri-colored fabric of the drop parachute. Two of the other walls are made from a base of lashed tree trunks and a screen of thick evergreen branches. A prep area has been put together at the back, against the dropship. Someone with some mad skills has created their best approximation of a table, which is really just four almost-straight tree trucks standing upright with the flattest dropship panel they could find stretched across it. Everything is very organized with makeshift utensils and ingredients having their proper places. Attached to the tent is the beginnings of what will become a smokehouse. At the entrance to the tent is a box for donations of food to be used for the camp meals.
10 Days After Landing

The camp's been in a tizzy for the past several days.

First, a pod from the Ark crashed nearby, containing Cameron's mother — Cookie's "Aunt" Lydia — and a radio to contact aforementioned Ark. Alas, Aunt Lydia didn't last long, and Cookie had scarcely any time to grieve before…

Second, the two Grounder prisoners were secretly freed beneath the stealth of night, leaving the camp in even more of an uproar. And uproar that nearly turned disastrous when…

Third, the three Delinquents suspected of freeing the Grounders and undermining the efforts to rule by consensus — Faolan, Fiona, and Grey — returned on horseback some time later, accompanied by Oxfor mom Trikru, a frizzy of a man and the chief of the nearby Grounder village Coesbur. As tempers flared against the hoped-for-ally/still-possible-enemy, Cookie did what she could to defuse the situation with food.

Now that the Chief has returned to his village, along with several of the MedTechs and a few camp bruisers, the Maker of Yum-Yums is in the Cook Tent, taking stock of just how much food remains in light of Oxfor's appetite.

Jason shoulders his way into the tent, not using a hand to keep any flaps out of the way, because he's holding his shirt in front of him as a kind of bag, and he seems to be moving with great caution, so whatever is /in/ that shirt is something that he, at least, seems to deem precious. Jason has a somewhat uncertain reputation. He's been keeping to the fringes of the group, apparently fascinated by nearly everything they've come across in the last ten days, but closed-mouthed about it. The rumor is that he was imprisoned for murder, and created so much trouble on his first few days in the Box over a year ago that he was slammed into solitary in short order. Some people say he's violent, some think he might be crazy. But rumors like that are always hard to evaluate. "Hi, excuse me?" he says as he comes in. "I…found some things and I think… Well, I thought I should at least bring them to you and see what you think."

"53. 54. 55. 56…" Cookie is quietly counting blueberries, lining them up in bunches of ten on what passes for a countertop. She's about to scoot over blueberry #57 when Jason arrives with his precious cargo. For a moment, her expression is curious. She's seen him around camp, but this is the first time they've interacted. "Hi," is amiably smiled. "You're excused." Because why pass up an opportunity to be the tiniest bit cheeky? "And what is it you thought you should bring me for my opinion? Jason, right?"

Jason, perhaps naively, looks a little surprised that Cookie knows his name. But he bobs his head. "Right," he says. "You're the girl who does the cooking, right?" He seems pretty confident of that one. He comes closer to Cookie, still pouching his shirt out carefully in front of him. When he gets nearer, it's possible to see that he's collected a few dandelions and some plants with white root lumps that might be wild carrots (or might be something that Jason merely thought looked similar). But the item of greatest interest is what appears to be a bird's nest, with two smallish, green-blue, brown-speckled eggs resting inside. "I think these are eggs," he says.

"Mmmhmm. I'm called Cookie." Really. She is. Mocha-colored doe eyes take in the bounty, ending on the eggs. "Oh, my." Carefully, she picks one up and examines. As she combs her memory, her brow gently furrows. "Might be wood thrush," the chef finally decides, carefully turning the item in her hands. "Looks intact." Just as carefully, she sets it down and repeats the process with the other egg. "Where did you find these?"

Jason's eyes go a little round when Cookie picks one up, and his body seems tense. "Be careful," he says, even though she's the one with the expertise when it comes to eggs and cooking. "I found the nest under a tree. Maybe it blew down? Or fell? I don't know. But the eggs looked okay. There was a broken one off to the side. Could've rolled out. But…how do you know what kind of bird it is? Does it matter? Can we eat them? Or…should we keep them? There could be baby birds inside. Would they grow?" He…seems to have a lot of questions.

"I am," Cookie warmly replies about being careful, as if her calm will somehow ease Jason's concerns. The second egg seems to be okay, and she gently sets it down next to its sibling. "I don't know if they're fertilized, and these two will barely put a dent in one person's stomach." Something else he says, though, has her pondering. "We should show them to Evie and Hanne. If they are fertilized, then maybe they'll hatch, and we can get a few more eggs, here and there. If they aren't…" Mildly, she shrugs, because it's not as though it's a notable amount of food to waste in the hope of a much better return. "What do you think?"

Jason lifts his eyebrows and shrugs at that advice. "Well, I mean, we should get their opinion. I mean, I don't know if they're still alive even if they're fertilized. Who knows how long they were lying on the ground. But…" He shrugs. "Anyway, it's better than anything else I found. It's something. But…I think we should remember this color, don't you?" he asks, looking up at Cookie's face with an intense expression. "I think we should be very careful to remember it."

"Okay," the chef replies, still chill, doing her best to reassure Jason. "I'll make a note of the color, and where you found them, and Evie and Hanne will do the same." Perhaps picking up on the young man's intensity (anxiety?), she asks him, "What color do they look to you? I'd say kinda turquoise with some brown speckles."

"I think that's a good description," Jason agrees. "They're more green than blue, but only a little. Somewhat pale. I wish…" He trails off and looks from the eggs to Cookie. "Can I have the shells?" he asks. "Whatever you end up doing with the eggs? Whether you break them or they hatch, I want to keep the shells."

"I don't mind if you do, but it's not my call should the shells have medicinal properties. I'm pretty sure they don't, though, so it shouldn't be a problem." Because Cookie's not going to promise him something she can't deliver. "Would you like me to take them to Evie and Hanne, or would you rather do it?"

Jason furrows his brows at this news that the shells could end up getting crushed up and made into medicine. "Well, it's all right either way, but I want to talk to them about the shells," he says. "I think they could be important. I've never seen a shell like that up there, have you? This kind of color, or pattern? Don't you think people should see things like this?"

Kindly, Cookie smiles, maybe feeling a little bad for the poor guy. "Okay." About him talking with Evie and Hanne about the shells. "I haven't," she gently shakes her head about whether she's seen such a shell before, "Only in books. And maybe. I'm sure some people will find the color pretty."

"It's important!" Jason insists, though thankfully not loudly. Or angrily. In fact, he smiles a little, seeming to interpret Cookie as an understanding interlocutor on the subject. "People don't even /know/ what they're missing. Even I…" He looks back down at the eggs. "They could be made into something really beautiful, even if we have to break them. And beauty is a kind of medicine of its own. I'll explain that," he says.

"Some don't," the chef agrees, a tiny bit forlorn about it. "Beauty is good for the soul." At which point her bright, amiable smile fully surfaces, because she totally gets where Jason is coming from. "But the best thing, right now, is to speak with Evie and Hanne about trying to hatch the eggs. We'll go from there, yeah?"

"Okay," Jason agrees readily enough, seeming satisfied by what Cookie says. He flashes her a smile. "You seem so nice," he says. "Maybe…you know what I mean. Cooking is…I mean, it can be for subsistence or it can be an art. Don't you think?"

Being called nice seems to amuse her. "No good reason to not be." Nice, that is. As for cooking? "Absolutely!" So emphatic, spoken like someone who loves food and all it represents. "Good for the body, good for the soul. Brings people together. Expresses love." Grinning now, Cookie points out, "They're not called the culinary arts for nothin'. Speaking of, help yourself to some rabbit jerky and or some fruit leather." With a flourish of her hand, she indicates the snacks — significantly less in number since the Grounder chief's visit.

Jason looks very pleased, face lighting up even more. "I wish everyone could understand that!" he enthuses. Then he looks at the food. "We definitely have enough?" he asks, apparently anxious lest he take more than his fair share.

"It's fine, hon," Cookie warmly tells him the way a nurturing mother would, waving at him to, "Go on." The food. It goes in the mouth. Eat it, Jason. That is why it is there.

Jason accepts at that reassurance, opting for the jerky. Which he does in fact start chewing on right away. "I wonder what else is out there," he says reflectively around some jerky bits. "I mean…I know that's a dumb thing to say right now, but… Well, these Grounders, right? I wonder what kind of things they've done here. In all this time. What do they have? What have they /seen/ that we've never had the chance to see?"

"Dunno, Jason. That's what we're trying to figure out. Hopefully, things go well at the village and we'll learn more." The only thing she has to add to that is a small, amiable smile.

"I just…we can't throw away the opportunity to know those things. Right?" Jason presses. "I mean…what do you think about them? What do you want to happen?"

Cookie takes a moment to reply, her expression turning a touch pensive as she considers what is asked. "The two we had captive were rather stoic. Didn't speak with me, but I didn't find them hostile." Perhaps because, like Jason, they thought she was nice. Also: tasty vittles. "Their chief, Oxfor, was genial and somewhat philosophical. I don't get a bad feeling from him, but I still don't know if he'll honor his end of the agreement should our people be able to heal his. I believe he will. I certainly hope he does."

Jason nods with great apparent interest to Cookie's story about meeting the chief. "I really want to meet them," he says. "I mean, I know…Maybe now's not the time. But I can't wait to find out what they know. What they make. What they dream about. You know?" He smiles eagerly.

"Mmmhmm." Cookie returns the smile. "One day. Anything's possible, right?" And because she's a sociable sort who is genuinely interested in others, she asks, "What do you dream about Jason?" Absent-mindedly, she collects four blueberries and adds them to the last pile she was counting.

Jason thinks about that for a moment, eyebrows pulling down. "Well, everyone dreams about lots of different things, I guess," he says. "I have a lot of boring dreams just about…regular life. The Ark. Classes. Fixing stuff. Hallways. But on really good days? Anything but that. The stuff they have in books and movies and documents. Crazy, beautiful shapes. Vivid colors. Amazing places that are…big and they're not…square and they were made to make people happy," he says, gaze drifting despite the somewhat uninspiring vista of the inside of a tent. But in a moment he remembers himself and looks back to Cookie. "Um, you?"

"Love and laughter. Family and friends. Joy and beautiful experiences. Good times, good food, good drink." A bit dreamy she is, as she relays it, her mocha hued doe eyes shining and her face beaming with a beatific smile. It lingers for a moment, and then she cants her head and looks somewhat knowingly at Jason. "Do you know my cousin Cameron? He's an artist, too." For she has concluded so is the young man in front of her.

Jason watches Cookie's face while she talks, looking perfectly satisfied by her answer, sharing a little in the joy of it. But the question about Cameron makes him look thoughtful. "Cameron," he repeats. "I'm not sure. I'd have to see his face. I've been…out of circulation for a little while. I mean. Not like a /long/ time. Just…you know how it is. You go to class with someone but then it's like…" he arrests the rambling there to conclude: "I should say hi to him, though. You should point him out sometime."

"I will," Cookie promises, with a nod and smile. "He had an illegal art exhibit for quite a while before he was arrested for destruction of property." She smirks a little then. "I think you'll like each other. Maybe you can even collaborate on a project." Why? Because art is good.

"Oh," Jason says, recognition dawning at that. "I think I heard about that!" He gets that eager look again. "I /definitely/ want to meet someone like that," he says. "We should /absolutely/ be collaborating. I'll look for him," he promises. Then he looks to the eggs. "So should I go ahead and take these over?"

The smile? It returns. Bright and sincere. "I'm sure he'll be game." As for the eggs, she gestures in assent with her head. "If you want. They'll know what to do. Maybe Silas knows something about make a birdcage out of branches." In case the eggs do hatch.

Jason makes the front of his shirt into a pouch again. "Okay," he agrees. "I'll take it over. Would you set it in?" he asks, both hands already pinching the hem of his shirt. Then he flashes his teeth. "Hey, I'm really happy that I talked to you first."

Nodding, the chef gingerly collects the eggs and carefully arranges them in Jason's shirt. "There you go." To the maybe baby birds, "Sweet dreams. I'll see you when you wake." Then, to Jason, another smile. "I'm happy, too. Thanks for the food." Although she does take half of the dandelions and adds them to the makeshift fabric nest. "Anything that's both food and medicine, Evie and I split." And that's the healer's cut. "Tell her and Hanne I say hi, please."

Jason bobs his head at Cookie. "You got it," he says. "And I hope those other things are edible. I wasn't sure. But, uh…" He smiles and shrugs. "Guess I better start practicing my spearing." He looks like he'd mime, but there are the eggs to be considered. "See ya round, Cookie!" he says while he turns for the tent flap.

"Thanks, Jason!" cheerily calls out Cookie. "See ya!" And then it's back to counting berries.

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