Day 008: Bees Sting
Summary: Fiona comes calling on the Grounders to see what it would take to find a peaceful resolution.
Date: 10 May 2016
Related: We Are Grounders
Fiona Archer BigDude 

Secondary Passenger Hold
The top level of the dropship was once the secondary passenger cabin, hosting rows of seats, may against the dark gray walls. Emptied now of its seats, and stripped to bare metal, this level is much smaller and closer than the ones below. It has been refitted into The Box — the delinquent camp's makeshift lockup. The lighting here is dim, casting deep shadows in the far corners of the room. Some of the harness straps have been roughly knotted together to create shackles so that prisoners can be bound and fettered to the walls.
8 Days After Landing

It has been over 48 hours since the Grounder prisoners were dragged up to the hold and bound to the dropship inner bulkheads. They have gone through various phases of prisoner resistance, from refusing to eat or drink, to making sudden and aggressive moves against their captors if given an opportunity. Sometime during the second day, they started to agree to water, and then food, but only the bare minimum to sustain themselves. The Archer looks as though someone had dumped water on her at some point, her skin mostly clean around her face and hair more golden than ashy and oily. Their arms are still spread out like wings, but being able to sit has reduced some of the pressure on their shoulder joints and chests. When Fiona knocks and announces herself, the guards let her up and resume their watchful positions.

Fiona has brought fresh water rations with her. She nods to the guards, but otherwise pays them no mind as she approaches the pair, keeping back enough so they can both see them on either side of the parachute wall. She holds up the water-skin to them both to make her intentions clear, studying both to see their reactions.

The Big Man sits on the other side of the parachute-cloth curtain from the Archer, his head down to cast a fall of dirty blond hair across his face. From behind that curtain, he studies the guards intently, watching their every move as they respond to Fiona's knock on the closed and barred hatch at the top of the ladder. One pulls back the bar and opens the hatch, then steps aside, nodding politely. The other greets her, "Fi." One has a spear, the other a piece of metal piping to serve as a club, and both are that odd combination of bored and on-edge. The guard who greeted the political prisoner nods to them, "They both had… showers, I guess. The Big Man made a bit of trouble when we retied him down lower." There's a flash of a grin on the young woman's face, "The Archer tried to rip Grey's throat out when they retied her. Scary, but hilarious after the fact." They're positioned so that from their place by the hatch, they can watch both captives and anyone speaking to either one.

The Archer looks up at the offer of water, and she tilts her head slightly. Her mouth is dry again, and she can almost taste the last bit of water she received — which was all from licking what fell on her lips when Grey dumped his water parachute on her. She offers a faint nod of acceptance, rolling her shoulders slightly. A shoot of pain — deep ache — flashes across her features as she shifts her arms, but then she breathes out a slow exhale.

"Thanks." Fiona says to the two guards. She gives them both a faint smile, before turning toward the Archer, smile dying as she takes in how the woman's strung up. "I'm Fiona." she says, tapping her chest with her free hand, speaking to the Archer directly. "Fiona." she says again, and then holds her hand out in a silent, you? gesture toward the Archer. What she believes to be true is that these people don't speak English, and Fiona has thought a lot about how to communicate.

The Big Man watches the newcomer moving from the hatch behind the curtain. He cannot see what happens there, but he can hear, and he shakes his head slowly, perhaps in amusement, perhaps in resignation. The guards settle back to their posts as Fiona picks a side, one leaning to the other and murmuring, "They always pick her. I think he scares them." In a voice meant to go unheard by either Grounder, the other one responds, "She's the scary one. He's just… broody."

The Archer flexes her hands in her bindings, tilting her head slightly. By the gesturing of the woman, she begins to suspect that neither the one they call Grey or the skaiboi Devin shared their revelations about her English abilities. She finds herself toying with teasing the girl, but she also finds herself eager to engage a woman of the skaikru. So, she leans her head back a bit, head cocked to one side. "Names are not needed for you to ask me questions, skaigurl." Her English is sharp, precise, and lightly accented, almost as if it isn't her primary language.

Now it's Fiona's turn to cock her head. From her vantage point, she checks out the Big Man, as if weighing the likelihood that he speaks English as well. She's visibly startled by the woman's English, and it takes her a second to collect herself. "I do want to ask you questions. But I don't know if they'll be the questions you were expecting." she says. And now she's speaking to them both. "Did you attack us because we violated your borders?"

The Big Man leans to one side as best as he can, accepting strain on one arm to lessen it a little on the other, and then repeats the process in the other direction. The strapping creaks worryingly, causing the guards to shoot glances his way, but he just settles back down into his kneeling seat again, ducking his head forward to ensure the curtain of hair that disguises exactly where he's looking. He snorts at the question, but does not respond with any sort of words. Maybe he doesn't understand English after all.

The Grounder woman snaps off something in their strange language toward the parachute divider. It is quick and sharp, and then her attention returns to Fiona. She sets her jaw a bit, and then breathes out a slow exhale. "Ask your Grey about the Mountain," she insists plainly. "You crossed the River to head to the Mountain. We could not allow it." Then she rests her head back again, watching the girl with a tilt of her head.

Fiona is careful to watch the interplay between the two, but does her best not to make a thing of it. "I'd rather hear it from you." Fiona says. "All of this has happened because our people - yours and mine, made choices that brought us to this moment, and things could have been different. What is it about the Mountain that you would kill us - not warn us, but kill us - to keep us from going there?"

The Big Man, when he speaks, has a voice that rumbles through the relatively tight space, even when he's speaking quietly. Some of the syllables are perhaps recognizable, but they do not fit together in anything approaching English. It's a short statement, then something a moment longer. Well, at least now they know he can talk, even if it's not in English.
Orion pages: First bit: "I say go ahead." Second bit: "The more they babble, the more they tell us about them. Even when we don't tell them anything."

The Archer sets her jaw a bit, considering the young woman with a slight tilt of her head. She does not immediately respond, as if mulling over her response slowly and carefully. When she speaks, it is hard to tell if she's trying to make sure she uses the right words or is trying to make sure she doesn't say too much. "We do not let anyone near the Mountain…" Then her lips tug a bit with a threat of a smile. "We did warn you… in the best way. You will not be daring to cross the River again?"

"I get it." Fiona shifts her stance, now more fully focusing on the Archer. She's not entirely sure if the woman is taking her cues from the Big Man, but while Fiona's focusing on the Archer, she's still keeping track of the Big Man's reactions…at least for the moment. "You're only telling me what you think I should know. You think you're protecting your people, the same way you being tied up like you are is what we're doing to protect ourselves." Fiona nods to this. "But ignorance is what got my people killed. And the result of that ignorance forced our actions, which got your people killed."

This time, when the Big Man speaks up, it's in English. The same careful, precise manner of speaking as the Archer, "And what do you think the next step is?" There isn't exactly menace to the question, just a simple, straight-forward inquiry. Even if he lifts his head a little to more readily study the young woman.

"Protect yours then… stay in your camp, do not wander far from it," the Archer warns with a small tilt of her head. "Do not think that these woods belong to you because you came from The Sky." She looks up slightly when her companion speaks, and then she tilts her head back to Fiona. "End this now… release us, and do not stray again from your camp."

"It starts with us talking to each other." Fiona says to the Big Man, and looks back at the Archer. "And we all know that's not going to happen. We dropped from the sky, but we're not the only ones up there." And eventually they won't be the only ones down here. "There's a lot we could offer each other. Technology. A better understanding of how this world works. Both of our peoples could benefit." She doesn't mention guns, or the possibility that Council might not want to deal with the Grounders because they have guns. "Both of our peoples have shed blood. Neither has to anymore, if we're all brave enough to want it to stop."

The Big Dude rumbles another brief sentence in that other language to the Archer, shaking his head slightly as he does. It almost sounds like dry amusement behind the words, and his faint smirk suggests that might indeed be the emotion driving his statement.

The Archer narrows her eyes slightly. "We have no need for your technology." This statement might actually surprise the Big Man, but she does not back down from it. She tilts her head. "You cannot expect any such… talks… to begin until we are released." Something the Big Man says has her almost smirking all the same, but she shakes her head slightly. "The longer you keep us, the farther your intentions get."

Fiona lets out a slow breath, not wanting to betray her frustration. She's young. She's young, but she's trying. "And without any reason to trust you, the harder it will be to convince the others to let you go. Tell me why you don't want us to go to Mount Weather, and I will do my best to get you released."

"No. You're like babies going after honeycomb. You get stung, but you don't understand 'stay away.'" The Big Man shakes his head, then sits up a little on his knees so that he can toss his head back out of his face. "You want peace, don't hold prisoners."

The Archer shakes her head, and again her hands flex as she tests the tenacity of her bindings. "You don't understand, skaigurl… you have set a dangerous trend… you forcefully rescued your people… what do you think ours will do to rescue us?" She tilts her head slightly, watching Fiona with a predatory intensity. "Change the tides… release us before my people decide to come for us."

"Then either one or both of you are more important than you want to indicate, or your people value each other as much as my people do." Fiona counters. The Archer's gaze is met. There's a little tremble to her stance, but she meets the gaze head on. Courage is not the absence of fear, just the decision to do what you need to do regardless of it. "Either way, it means we would want to avoid bloodshed. This will get a whole lot bloodier on both sides if we don't decide it stops somewhere." She looks between the two of them. "My name is Fiona." she repeats her earlier opening greeting. "If you decide you want to speak to me, tell the guards." She'll make sure the pair get the water she's brought, but unless either of them has anything else to say to her, she'll head to the ladder.

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