Day 029: Breakfast at Dante's
Summary: Some of the delinquents don't know how to react to the loss of their friends and loved ones, but they certainly know now that the food here is bomb. That's all that matters, really.
Date: 27 June 2016
Related: N/A
Salvador Madelyn Lip Ruth Cameron 

Dining Hall

This is main dining halls on Level 5. It has an arched ceiling, the curve sweeping up almost immediately from the floor, giving it a low, half-cylindrical look. The room is constructed of three of these half-cylinders, jointed together by short hallways beneath arched buttresses. The walls are made of heavy concrete, but possess inset lights to illuminate the otherwise dim hall. Each portion of the dining room is laid out in the same manner:

Along the center line of the room is a pair of bright, tulip-shaped chandeliers. The back of the room is decorated in three stained-glass arches that look like they may have come from an old church. The glass is colored in blue and green shades with what appears to be a forest scene. Hanging from the ceiling at regular intervals are eight flags of United States' origins, including the old Thirteen Colonies flag. The room possesses several tables, most running parellel along the length of the room with one table running perpendicular before the stained glass windows.

The tables are done in high-class finery with ivory table runners, gold-rimmed china, and elegant centerpieces every three feet along the long tables.

27 June 2016

"Ladies, Ladies, Ladies! Why have breakfast when you can have LIP WYLDE instead?"

Lip makes his entrance into the dining hall pretty much in the same way he always enters the dining hall. He's all about being the center of attention and the smile on his face as he stops just inside and raises his hands up is about as happy as he can get. "Hey chef! Bring on the eats! And if you have whatever the fuck a muffin is? Hold it. I'm allergic." Lip doesn't even know if the kitchen is close enough for his voice to be heard but whatever. He's moving off to find a place to sit down.

Following a few paces behind is Madelyn, visibly cringing at Lip's antics, shoulders hunched. She looks around the room, silently observing the surroundings.

The extravagant Dining Hall of Mount Weather is a civilised place, even busy as it is right now. A young teenage girl sits at a piano with the encouragement of her parents, attempting Mozart with moderate success. Lip's wild entrance gets a few stares, equal parts amused and charmed; they aren't used to rowdy delinquents, but until the novelty wears off, they're enjoying the show.

The newest and loudest arrivals do not escape one Salvador Montgomery, who is seated beside a boy of eight. He lays a hand on the child's shoulder, smiling as he excuses himself, then pushes back his chair and rises to his feet, crossing his way towards the Space Kids with wide, swift strides.

"Mr. Wylde! Ms. Petrie! How do you do?" he asks, evidently recognising them and being delighted to see them. The resident doctor is presently dressed more casually than usual, with a suit but no tie, and of course no lab-coat. He was, after all, just sitting down to enjoy his breakfast.

"Uh. To tell you the truth? I could be doing better. See, when I was unceremoniously restrained by one of your Uniformed Jerks yesterday for not caring for his mother's cooking, my wrists have been sore. Totally uncool, man. You really shouldn't let those guys do that to your treasured guests. Just a thought." Lip says this with a smile and a shrug before he moves to step around The Doc and head for the table with the hottest chicks. "Congratulations, Ladies! You get me first thing in the morning. I know, I know. Lucky you." Oh god. Welp, Lip's gonna' be busy for a while.

Madelyn blinks, shocked that the good doctor remembered her. She smooths the skirt of her cotton sundress. "Good morning," she replies, happily letting Lip flutter off. She looks up at Salvador uncertainly. "I'm doing all right, thank you. How are you?" she adds, remembering her manners.

"I'm so sorry to hear that," Salvador answers Lip with the deepest sincerity, and a voice born in another lifetime to be working customer service. "Would you like to have someone look at that later?" He indicates the gracefully tall teenager's wrists, but as he moves off towards the chicks, the doctor just chuckles and shakes his head.

"Busy, busy!" he answers Madelyn once his attention has returned to her. "Kind of you to ask. I rarely get the time off, but I was just sitting down to some breakfast; I expect you are hungry as well. Would you mind if I joined you? I am fascinated to learn how it is you have survived so long and recovered as well as you have!"

"No prob, Bob! I'm tough. I can handle it. Just don't let it happen again!" Lip tosses that over his shoulder before he slides down into the seat at the table with mucho amigas. "My apologies, ladies. But sometimes you just gotta' take a stand. Like this one time…" Lip grins and leans further into the table crowd and even lowers his voice a bit for dramatic purposes. "… with a bear." Oh god. It's about to be storytime. Lip has, of course, forgotten all about the fact that he should probably be eating but whatever. He thrives on attention more than actual nourishment.

The slight young woman breathes a sigh of relief as Lip's attention is turned elsewhere. "Join me?" she asks the doctor. "I… I guess, if you really want to…" She glances at the immaculately-set tables. "Are there, um, assigned seats? Or…" She tries standing up taller, pulling herself up to her full five-foot-one height, trying to play off her awkward uncertainty coolly. She fails entirely.

"Sit wherever you like," says Dr. Montgomery, waving a hand towards the tables. At six feet, he himself is rather tall, but he effusively strives not to make other people feel small. He addresses Madelyn as an equal, in his smile and gleaming eyes and open manner. "You may want to get some food first. I know the chocolate cake is tempting." He sighs emphatically. As always, there is chocolate cake. Mountain Men really love their chocolate cake. And danish pastries, and muffins, and far too much temptation all around. "But you should really try the fruit. It's fresh! Full of antioxidants and phytochemicals for a fighting young individual like you. We grow it in our greenhouses, genetically engineered for maximum taste and nutrition."

"… and then he tried to claw my face off. I know, /this/ face. Why he would want to claw this prettiness I have no idea. But he did. Luckily, I'm fast as lightning and twice as shocking." Lip winks at a random girl that is clearly in the middle of /humoring the fuck/ out of him. But whatever. Lip doesn't even notice. It's rare that he actually has someone he can talk to that doesn't immediately crush his spirit.

Ruth lingers at the entrance of the dining hall, her hazel eyes flitting to the Mozart-playing girl with a hawkish frown that seems as jealous as it is impressed. She takes care to school her expression to an amicable smile before sauntering in at a modest pace, her hands folded behind her back. With her navy and off-white ensemble and pinned hair, she doesn't look all that different from the other well-bred girls of Mount Weather.

She doesn't immediately approach her fellow delinquents. Instead, she widens her smile just for a few seated adults nearest the door and bids them a cheery and polite, "Good morning! That's a very pretty headband," she says to an admittedly frumpy woman in a snazzy pantsuit. The accessory in question is muted and floral, doing much to complement the older woman's otherwise dull brown curls. "I'm Ruth Mercer. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Right. Food. I'll… I'll be back," Madelyn says to the doctor, taking one of the gold-rimmed plates from the table and slipping off towards the food. As the passes the table where Lip is weaving his tale, she leans in to add, "The bear actually fixed his face. You should have seen it before." She eventually returns, somewhat embarrassed to learn that she should have left the plate on the table, but with a little of everything: cake, quiche, sausage, berries, breads, oatmeal, and some kind of smoked fish. The tiny girl sets her bounty down on the table. "I, um, couldn't decide," she admits.

Dr. Montgomery sweeps a swift but critical blue eye over Madelyn's myriad food choices before he starts to laugh. "Well," he says. "You need the calories. Try not to overwhelm yourself too much though! I'd start with the berries. Take it easy, yes? You don't want to give yourself a belly ache." Even out of a uniform, he is, evidently, one of those people who can't leave his work behind him at the workplace. He reaches out to give the girl a friendly shoulder squeeze, then turns to look over at the curious, wide-eyed eight year-old boy who's watching him expectantly.

"My son," Salvador explains, pulling his hand away to wave at the boy and smile.

"Here's a thing I don't recommend. Punching a bear. It hurts like a bitch. This hand was unmovable for about six months." Lip raises his right hand to show the people that are still at his table. They have started to disperse and take themselves to places that don't involve Lip. Which is likely much more preferable than actually listening to this buillshit. "Not to mention it doesn't do your skn any favors. Bear fur is harder than it looks." Even more people get up and leave the table.

When Ruth finally extricates herself from the women's chatter, her charmed smile has been replaced by a thoughtful purse of her mouth. She weaves stiffly about chairs with murmured 'excuse me's to reach Madelyn and the doctor, her eyes crinkling with a yawn that she covers with her palm. "Morning, Petrie. Doctor." They both get a cheeky grin. "Your dress is great. I'm sure you could add pretty embroidery to it, too." She gives Madelyn's dress a quick once-over. "Like those little arrows you were doing before."

"I'm sure someone else will want it if I can't finish it," Madelyn replies sheepishly to the comments about the contents of her plate, casting her eyes down and taking a seat. "Maybe, um, bear punchers. Probably bear punchers." The introduction of the boy provides some distraction from her embarrassment, at least. "Hey there," she greets him. "Whats your name?" At Ruth's approach, she looks up, giving a small smile and nudging the chair next to her expectantly. "I think this dress is really pretty as it is and I don't think anything I can do could improve it," she admits, maybe a little too modestly. "I like the little flowers."

The boy Madelyn addresses is silent for a while, but after he looks to his father to make sure it's okay, he in turn pipes up and lifts up his head to appear more confident. "I'm Regan," he replies, before stuffing a bread roll into his mouth. His eyes are brown, unlike Salvador's and so along with sensible dietary advice, not all things appear to travel in the family. The doctor smiles thinly, then looks back to Ruth and Madelyn. "Ms. Mercer! Good to see you on your feet again," he offers her, then looks between the two. "You are all recovering remarkably well. Everyone is making you feel welcome, I trust? Apart from…" He waves a hand in Lip's direction.

"Me, too," Ruth says in earnest, smoothing her skirt behind her knees carefully claiming her place in the proffered seat beside Madelyn. "I feel like I'll like it very much here." She beams happily, fingers entwined in her lap. She surveys the china in front of her with a small tilt of her head before she looks towards Dr. Montgomery with a broad, toothy smile. "Of course I'm recovering! I'm glad I got the proper care. The tools you have at your disposal here are amazing. If…" She lets her voice trail off, giving the impression of a bout of self-consciousness. She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, glancing briefly off to the side. "I'd like to fit in here." She places her hand on Madelyn's wrist and gives a small squeeze, probing, "Wouldn't you?"

"Hi, Regan. I'm Madelyn," the girl introduces herself softly. She looks up at Ruth, then Salvador, when Ruth touches her. "I'm sure I will. It's just… it's a lot. It's all a lot. I'm just figuring everything out. You know?" She gives a small, shy smile.

Salvador Montgomery is generally known to be nice to everybody, but when Ruth responds to his concern with such enthusiasm and good will, it makes him smile all the brighter, like a torch-light reflected on a mirror. All the same, he has a job to do, and he flicks his wrist to glance at his watch momentarily before returning his attention to the girls. "If there is absolutely anything that myself or another member of staff can do to make you feel more welcome, do let us know. For now, I need to be off to check on my other patients. If you'll excuse me."

He moves over to plant a kiss on the boy's forehead, who grimaces, but then he leaves him there. This is the kind of community where leaving your children unattended is a very safe and normal thing to do, and so he lets his neighbours worry about Regan instead. With that, he turns and heads out, making casual conversation with a lady at the door en route.

"You're right, they're nice, but you could make them really pop." Ruth leans back a bit, her index finger tapping absently at her lower lip. "Definitely possible." When the doctor makes to leave, she gives a nod in his direction and bids him, "Good morning, then." She's rather chipper this morning… really, it's almost uncharacteristic of the previously dour girl. Despite the stiff way she holds herself, likely due to her wrapped midsection, she practically glows with contentment. "I don't think there's anything to figure out," Ruth confesses, chewing on the inside of her lip as she blinks meaningfully in the direction of the food. "Except what I'm going to eat!"

Madelyn's gaze follows the doctor as he leaves, her face going a little soft and gooey. She catches herself, looks back at Ruth and asks, "Sorry? I missed what you said just then.

"Did you, now?" Ruth's face contorts with an ear-to-ear grin, much like that of the Grinch, as her elbows rest on the table with her chin laid on the back of her entwined fingers. She looks the very picture of a happy gossip. "I think he's pretty great, too," she tells her, nose wrinkled a bit with this light tease. "When were you released from quarantine?"

"What?" Madelyn sputters, blushing crimson. "I don't know what you're talking about." She fumbles her spoon, clinking against the side of her bowl, eyes set intently on something on the floor to the left. "Oh. Uh. Last night. Pretty late. Most people were asleep, so I got changed and went to bed."

"Mine was late enough that I just stayed in the quarantine room," Ruth confesses, her smile somewhat wry. She leans back in her seat and folds her hands in her lap, rolling her shoulders back with a deep breath. "I think I'll actually eat a bit later. My stomach hurts a bit too much right now." She swipes just beneath her left eye with a quieted exhale. "It's… I can't believe everyone else is… you know, gone." She doesn't sound disbelieving, though. Her tone sounds much more like a fan's reaction to a celebrity death. Kind of devastated, but not directly influenced. "We shouldn't have fired the Grounders."

They're gone. All gone. Suddenly, Madelyn isn't so hungry anymore. Thanks for the reminder, /Ruth/. "I just want to go home," she says softly.

"Home?" Ruth has a bewildered smile on her face. Her fingers glance at the side of her cheek as if there's an itch there she can't quite scratch. A few Mountain citizens glance in their direction when they hear Madelyn's words. "We're home, now." She then smoothes the front of her skirt, leaning towards Madelyn so their conversation won't be so easily overheard. "This was the goal. We weren't supposed to keep living like barbarians. Thank goodness I never actually killed anyone." She huffs her relief. "I could never bear that on my conscience. Can you believe I'd wanted to learn how to use a /bow/?"

"I mean back to the Ark. Back the way everything was before I made a stupid mistake and ruined my life." Madelyn lowers her voice. "I don't fit in with you guys, and I'm not sure I fit in here. I just…" She sighs, frustrated with her inability to articulate her complicated feelings, crossing her arms and leaning on the table.

"The Ark isn't home. The Ark threw you to the ground without any regard for your well-being. They gave us ration bars. That's it." Ruth's expression only briefly curdles into its usual disdain, but this is so quickly replaced by the visual equivalent of a shrug that it's hard to tell whether or not it was simply a trick of the light. "We're in Mount Weather now. If they survived, they'll make it here too. They said they'd be looking. If they did survive… they'll come here, and this'll be our new home."

Ruth's declaration is met with sad, awkward silence. Madelyn suddenly looks very young and pathetic in her slightly-oversized sundress, mousy hair falling around her bare shoulders. "Right," she says at last, softly and distantly.

Ruth is sure to offer a bright smile to the man at the next table when he and his two children look their way. "Look," she murmurs, indicating the children with an understated gesture of her hand. Her smile turns to Madelyn next, as though to coax her to comply. "They look alike. They must be brothers. Siblings." Her fascination is genuine. "They're /exactly/ alike. Wow."

Madelyn blinks. She looks over in wonder at the twins, before realizing she's staring. She gives a small wave of apology to the man she presumes to be the boys' father. "You seem to fit in like magic. How do you do it?" she asks Ruth, all earnest curiosity.

"I haven't had a proper meal since I got hurt on the water trip, and because Doctor Montgomery is helping me, I'll be able to soon." Ruth rests her chin in her hands, elbows on the table - it's not the most mannerful thing, but she's smiling too much for anyone to likely even dream of raising objection. "Everyone here has been so kind to us. They gave us clothes, a place to sleep, and… well, we have a future here." She indicates a few teenagers their age lounging at another table on the other side of the room. They don't look over, so Ruth keeps her eyes on them for quite a few more moments than might otherwise be polite. "This is a fresh start."

"I don't mean to be ungrateful. I'm just…" Madelyn gestures vaguely with her hands in bigger and bigger circles. 'Overwhelmed', Madelyn. The word you're looking for is 'overwhelmed'. She doesn't seem to be able to find it, though, and gives a big, frustrated sigh. "There's just… a lot. And…"

"Hey." Ruth takes Madelyn's hands and turns to face her head-on, her smile only slightly dimmed with consideration of the girl's plight. "Listen. Let's stick together, okay? We know the Ark, right? We can get to know Mount Weather, too." Her eyes are a bit bright. She may or may not have even slept last night. At this proximity, it's a bit easier to tell. "It'll be fun."

"I mean, look at you," Madelyn says softly, clasping Ruth's hands in return. "You even look like you belong here. You're so…" her voice softens further, almost to a whisper. "So pretty." She shakes her head. "I just think I need to sleep for about ever and then… then I don't know."

Ruth takes a deep breath when Madelyn offers her this compliment, her arms then reaching about the girl to give her a tight but short-lived hug. "We should have spoken more in the skybox, Madelyn. We're going to be great friends here." She leans back, keeping Madelyn at arm's length with her hands on the girl's shoulders so she can give her a good long look. "I'm here, okay? I'm right here with you. Go take a nap," she urges, teeth chewing on her lower lip. "You have that luxury now."

Cameron comes wandering into the dining hall, looking restless and weary, as if he hadn't gotten any sleep. But clean and in clean clothes. He nods to the nice people who nod at him, but makes his way over to where the Delinquents are to say, "Morning…", pausing, then heading over to collect a relatively small assortment of breakfast things first.

"I don't think I could nap, even if I tried," Madelyn admits, shrugging uncomfortably. She leans back, just out of Ruth's arms' reach, and turns back to her overladen plate. "I wonder what these are?" she says as a bit of a nonsequitur, picking up and examining some of the berries she took. She waves to Cameron as he comes in, gesturing for him to come join them.

Ruth lowers her hands back to her lap and watches Cameron as he enters, smiling at him rather briefly before she picks at the lower hem of her skirt. Her own awkwardness is a lot more subtle than Madelyn's. It only exists in the twitch of her fingers and the slight wrinkle of her nose. "They look like berries," she intones with faux-solemnity. "I'm sure they're not poisonous. Can I…?" She's hungry enough to brave at least one. Probably not any more than that.

Coming back with his quite modest plate, Cameron settles down near to the ladies and sorta picks up a berry disinterestedly. And after a sigh, pops it into his mouth. "How are you settling in, Mad? Ruth?" he asks, looking between the two of them. He totally has bags under his eyes. In the desperation of the camp, Cam was all energy, easy-going and confident. Now he's none of those things. Hearing mentioning of napping, though, has him remarking, "Pillows are nice. I do like their pillows."

"I have a /nightgown/," Madelyn confesses, voice low, as if she were afraid that everyone would want one if they overheard. "I'm just trying to get used to this. I had just gotten used to living in a tent and sleeping on the ground, you know?" She tries the berry and grins. "Okay, maybe I could get used to this a little quicker than I thought."

Compared to Cameron, Ruth is settling in wonderfully. If 'fitting in' were a test, she'd be passing with flying colors. Whenever someone meets her eye in the room, curious about the small group of delinquent teenagers, she beams and flutters her fingers at them. It likely subverts their expectations some. "I'm going to be sleeping in the main room with you guys tonight," she tells them, tucking her fingers underneath her once more to straighten her skirt. She's really not used to wearing it, yet, but it suits her well enough. "I love it here. This was the best case scenario in coming down here. We actually /got/ it. I'm thrilled, honestly." And judging by her expression, she means it. She snorts happily at Madelyn's observation, her own interest piqued. She pops the berry into her mouth, chews, and… "Green Eden. What kind of berry is that?"

"I miss it. I can't sleep here. It feels like the walls are closing in on me." Cameron shudders softly, "And…" He shakes his head, repeating the mantra in his head he's been saying every moment he can: Morgan'snotdeadMorgan'snotdeadMorgan'snotdead. If he never stops saying it he never has to deal with the fact that he's lying to himself. "I don't know how they manage to have all this food… I'd assume living in a mountain bunker would be a lot like living in a space station, but clearly they have some sophisticated farming stations down here. I'm betting hydroponics. Higher yield, less resource allocation."

Madelyn stifles a yawn. "Maybe a nap is a good idea. I…" She wrinkles her nose a bit. "I think I'll try to see if I can make one work. You know. For science." She takes a handful of berries, leaving the rest of her heaping plate on the table, assuming it would be finished by someone else. "Take care," she says softly, heading out. Her shoes are a little too big and click awkwardly on the floor.

"The Ark wasn't much different," Ruth tries to reason with Cameron, her shoulders shrugging almost to her ears. "Closed off, mostly because space wouldn't help us breathe all that well… but here, there's more. People care about each other. There are brothers and sisters. There's hope and culture and…" She gives her hand and absent wave about the room. "Look at this." To the piano, "Look at that. It's sad what happened, but… we have a chance here, like what I said to Madelyn." She's trying so hard to convince Cameron, but she seems to realize something after a moment. "Sorry. You're probably upset about Blackwood. I didn't mean to be insensitive."

"And I didn't do well on the Ark." reminds Cameron, shaking his head, "That's the whole reason I got into trouble to begin with. I felt … confined. Trapped. Like I was suffocating. Then the Skybox…" He shivers and shakes his head slowly, and when Morgan's mentioned his expression turns to one of quiet desperation, "'Sad'? 'Upset'? Morgan's out there. My dad's out there. They could be dying right now. And we're eating breakfast and talking about pillows and clean clothes." With utter disinterest, he lifts up another berry and forces himself to eat it.

Ruth allows Cameron a moment of silence before she responds, "But we're here now. I don't… I don't know about you, but I want to be happy for a change." She indicates herself with a prod of her index finger at her chest. "I know I can find that here. But…" Despite everything, she still has an awful bedside manner. This applies to most sensitive subjects, really. She goes on to step on Cameron's feelings. "Morgan is gone, Scott. He's not out there. If your dad is, they'll bring him back here. That's what they said."

"I was happy." is Cameron's first answer, "I was more happy then I could ever imagine being. Life wasn't easy, but I don't care about easy. I was happy." Then he frowns, giving Ruth a cold, angry look, "You don't know that. You don't know that anymore then they do. They didn't see them die. They just assumed. That doesn't mean they're dead. Grey. Stone. Morgan. Shi. Those are our people. You can just… wave a hand, say oh how sad, lets be happy here? Really?"

Ruth backpedals so fast that if she were actually on a bike, she'd likely topple over the back wheel. "That's not… Eden, that's not what I meant. I'm just not the kind of person to…" She gives her fingers a slight wave about her face. She's trying to think of the word. "Dwell," bursts forth when it comes to her. "I'm not good at being sad. So what? It's not like I lost anyone that cared about me. Maybe it's different for you. But everyone here seems to be so genuine. No one here murdered anybody. They care, and they don't even know us. That's /way/ more than the community on the Ark offered."

She rises from her seat, smoothing the front of her skirt with the flat of her hands. They are attracting some stares, and she has the grace to flush a bit. "Just because you're upset doesn't mean I have to be," she hisses in his direction before she executes a stiff turn on her heel and starts off in the general direction of 'away'.

"Those are our people. Including people who risked their lives to rescue *you* when the Grounders captured you." hisses Cameron right back, his eyes turning into a glare as Ruth retreats. "Morgan's not dead." Oh the desperation is real, just under the surface.

Ruth pauses a few paces away from Cameron. To any observing the pair's hissed argument, she simply looks like she's pausing to pat at her hair. There is no more anger in her posture. She turns a bit around and responds, her voice level and placating, "The sooner you realize you're wrong, the easier it'll be for you to move on." Really, if it were anyone else, this might sound reasonable. But coming from the habitually nasty Ruth, a relatively well-off girl known for stealing the valuables of others, even those worse off, on the Ark? Nothing can sound truly kind coming from her. Not really. "Let me know if you need anything, okay? I'm here for Madelyn. I can be here for you, too."

Cameron's expression darkens more, losing the coolness he usually has to show some real, livid anger, "You don't know that. You just want it to be true so you can have your happy little dream here under the mountain. If you can just handwave them all away then you can be an underground princess and not have to feel a bit of guilt or worry. Congratulations, I love him and those are my friends, I don't have that luxury." He's trembling slightly.

"Don't be mad at me." Ruth puts up her hands and flashes him her palms in a form of surrender. "It's not me. None of this is my fault. I'm trying to make the best of things." She indicates the room, then Cameron. "What can you do from here? What can any of us do? They're doing the best they can. That's what they said." She folds her arms tightly across her chest, her brow furrowing so deeply that a little folded crease appears on the bridge of her nose. "If you loved him, you could love again. You can be happy again. I'm not some kind of—" She bites off the next word, her tongeu swiping over her teeth. It's taking a lot of effort for her to school her expression into something befitting the low-key audience they've gathered. It's a bit more quiet in the dining hall. "I want to be happy. Let me be happy."

"I'm not stopping you from being happy, Ruth. I couldn't if I wanted to. I just think it might make you a pretty awful person." Cameron shakes his head slowly, teeth clenching, looking away, "Morgan saved me int he Skybox. He's the only reason why I didn't lose my mind up there. You have no idea what you're talking about. Love again? It's not even two days since I told him how I felt and I should just brush that away, ignore it, pretend I'm not dying inside and every second isn't agony for me? Because we have cake? And pillows and clean clothes? This place…" He gestures around, "…isn't salvation. Not for me. It's a comfortable hell."

"You can feel however you want." Ruth steps closer to Cameron, if only to just make their conversation a touch less public. "Look, I'm sorry. I'm not invalidating your… experiences. Grief." She hand-waves towards the other delinquent. She's really, really bad at this. "But don't get in up in arms at them. They're being good to us. Amazing, actually. Don't blame them for something we brought on ourselves." She takes a step back again. "I'm going to take a walk. Continue to look your gift food in the mouth while you eat it."

"I'm not causing trouble." says Cameron, sounding suddenly exhausted, "I just want to know what they want from us, though I'm pretty sure I already figured that out." He shrugs, looks at his food, and takes another berry. That's two. That counts as breakfast, right?

Cameron shrugs slightly, "They can't survive the background radiation on ground— that Guard of theirs said so. We can, we thrive there. Why? My guess is, its because we're descended from astronauts who were given genetic engineering treatments. So they are being nice to us and trying to integrate us because they want our genetic legacy. If we become part of them, they can get out of this prison. Might take a few generations, but they've been holed up here for a hundred years, what's another sixty?"

Ruth listens carefully as Cameron delivers this slice of information, her smile widening just slightly. "That's an interesting theory," she replies in a quieted voice. "Thanks for sharing it." She takes another step back. "I'll talk to you later." A pinky is held up, the universal flag for truce. "No hard feelings?"

Cameron sighs, lifting a hand to make a vague yeah-sure wave. It might not be the most heartfelt kind of acceptance, but he's pretty emotionally drained, so. He eyes his food and tries to get up the nerve to eat more.

Ruth departs from the dining room after that, her conscience no doubt placated.

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