Day 003: Bubble Bubble Boils and Trouble
Summary: The fate of the missing hunters is revealed.
Date: 1 May 2016
Related: None directly
Grey Asher Quinn Max Delinquents 


Eastern Forest, The Wilderness

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.

Day 3 After Landing

Afternoon settles on toward evening, and most of the Delinquents are starting to hurry back toward the comfort of camp, where fires are being started and what little food has been gathered is being eaten. Grey, on the other hand, has headed out into the forest as the light begins to wane. He's not far enough away to hunt, not yet, but he's got his spears with him, newly updated with metal-shard heads. They're not very well attached yet, but it's still better than just a wooden point. The young man sits on a nurse log, his back to a small tree growing out of it. He is nibbling on one fingernail as he sits in thought, looking up as people filter in and out of the camp. The firelight plays on his dark features, dancing and glimmering, picking him out easily to anyone coming from the camp who isn't totally night-blind from the blaze.

Asher doesn't have much in the way of Earth Skills. Tough though he may be, he isn't a survivalist, nor is he a skilled hunter. That doesn't stop him from trying. He has a long spear, the blade on top almost more of an axe head, and he has a short stick about a foot long that he's attacks several small metal shards to, making a sort of spiked club. It should be said that he's spent most of his time sharpening metal shards. He comes from the direction of the camp, moving out away from the light of the fire. This will take him into Grey's path.

"Hunting Crapsackulars?" Grey's baritone is smooth, slipping through the night quietly. "Not many people more armed than me in camp." The first words are spoken around his fingernail, but he drops his hand from his mouth quickly enough. "If you're goin' hunting, you'll want stuff to throw though. The club's a good idea though, in case there are predators. Or some jackhole gets uppity."

A beat pause and Asher slows his steps, glancing over to the direction the voice is coming from, "Yo." He offers quietly, running a hand through his hair and then planting the butt end of his spear on the ground as he eyes Grey. He eyes the polearm that he's using as a spear and shrugs, "I dunno, I just figured I'd stab something with it. Or…you know…like hack em." As to the club, he nods, "Works for both." As if he's already used it. "You got somethin' better for hunting?"

Grey rises from his seat on the nurse log, hefting up one of the two spears off his right shoulder. "For throwing, man. Animals, they spook real easy. I haven't been able to get anywhere near close enough to touch them." He keeps his voice quiet, even as the evening's revelries (including very scarce supper) begin in the camp. After a moment, he offers out the butt end of one of the spears toward Asher, keeping the head carefully pointed away from him. They're just peeled and de-limbed saplings with the tips split, sharpened metal shards stuck in, and wires wrapped around the joins. And there's a little 'LG' carved into the wood about midway down. "You figure on having to club some sense into people? Or worried about people trying to do the same to you?"

There is a soft rustle in the underbrush to the west. It doesn't sound quite like an animal moving about as it has a strange consistency, like a constant dragging noise over moss and low groundcover. There is a grunt, and then someone is calling out. "Hey! Hey! We need some help!" A more consistent rustling, sounding more like someone loping through the forest, is heard and then a girl of about fifteen bursts forth. She is tired, and sweaty, and panicked. "We need help! They're heavy." Her voice chokes. "Really heavy!"

The offered butt end of the spear is taken, and Asher hefts it for a moment, then gives it a twirl and then holds it back out. "I can put something like that together I think." He pauses and then shrugs, "Probably both? I'm not a joiner, so I'm gonna piss someone off. Figure it's for whatever comes up." And the two shives, plus the knife? Just a bit more defense. Asher isn't fucking around. The rustling in the bushes grabs his attention and he immediately hefts up his polearm looking weapon and points it like a spear at the sound. When he see's it's a girl he just blinks at first and then starts to move towards her, "What's heavy? What the hell are you goin' on about?"

Grey straightens out of his fairly relaxed posture at the rustling. He's no Earth Studies wiz himself, and so he quickly grabs the spear back from Asher, holding one low in his left hand and the other high in his right, ready to throw as he turns toward the sound, "Shhh…" And then the girl comes bursting out of the bushes. For a heartbeat, Grey's arm goes back, and his eyes widen, but stops himself before he throws. He lets Asher ask the questions, lowering the spear in his right hand and hurrying toward the younger Delinquent, stepping aside to go around her and just see what's so heavy.

"Their bodies," the girl says, swallowing down the bit of bile that rises up in her throat. In almost perfect timing, two more delinquents are seen coming into view of the darkening camp — two boys, specifically. They are dragging heavy tree branches behind them, and piled up on makeshift litters are three bodies. They had once been known as Tide, Grecco, and Kellie — the three missing kids who had been out hunting. Their bodies, however, only vaguely look familiar. They are covered — covered — in pus-filled boils, some of which have popped violently. Of the three, only the girl's — Kellie — eyes are open, but only because the eyeballs are literally swollen with blisters.

Asher moves past the girl a moment, later, one arm protectively moving her behind him…Or aggressively moving her out of the way. Hard to say which it is. Being protective doesn't seem to jive with his reputation, but somehow seems fitting to his personality. He moves towards the sounds and sees the boys dragging the litters and then the bodies. It takes a moment for what he's seeing to actually sink in. The boils, the puss…and the death. "What the fuck happened to them?" he half growls out, turning on the girl and pointing back at the bodies. He then looks to one of the guys dragging, "Hold up! Don't take em any closer to the camp. Just hold up."

Grey takes three more steps toward the makeshift litters, steps around a heavy fern, and then stops in his tracks. Even in the waning light that's… that's nasty. His stomach revolts, and he makes a little gagging noise, quickly shifting both spears to his left hand so that he can press the back of his right to his mouth. "Daaaamn. That's nasty as shit… Wait… that's Grecco." It takes him a bit longer to recognize the others, "And Tide and Kellie. Where the hell did you find them?" He's not getting any closer though… the smell is no doubt at least as bad as the look.

"Don't know, man," says one of the boys to Asher, dropping his branch so he can wipe his hand across his face and scrub his longish hair out of his eyes. "We came upon them in the deep woods, about, ah… fuck, I don't know, three hours ago? We were headed west, hunting, and we found them all piled on top of each other near some beat-up old automumble—"

"Automobile," the other, shorter boy corrects him.

"Yeah, yeah… auto-mo-bile." He grimaces, still trying to wipe away the sweat.

Asher's glances to Grey, and takes in a deep breath through his nose. Big mistake. Now that they are closer, the smell is worse. He coughs and nearly retches, turning away from them for a moment, "Fuck…" he looks to the girl, then back to the boys, "Alright, we need to keep this shit quiet for now. Find someone who knows enough to tell us what happened here. And we need to go out to where you found em tomorrow. See if we can find more." He's used to just dishing out orders, he bossed his crohnies around on the Ark all the time. "We don't know if this is contageous or what happened."

"Is it radiation? That'd be bad, right?" Grey's not exactly a scientist either, but he heard something about burns." Gesturing to the other youth to come away from the litter, he nods to Asher, "Gotta get a baby-doc out here. Uh… Morgan, or uh… Evie. Even Keats." There's a pause, then he adds, "See if you spot Quinn too. Don't get into camp if you can help it. I'm sure you're fine, but just in case, don't get too close." Probably not the best thing to say, given the circumstances.

The three delinquents look at each other uncertainly when Asher says that this has to be kept quiet. The girl swallows, rubbing at bit at her neck. "Y-you think it might be contagious? We've been with them for hours!" A small quaver of panic starts setting in, and she looks at the other two. The boy with long hair looks equally worried, and the other boy's gone a bit green at the edges.

"You want us to stay out here?" Says the boy with the long hair, kid named Rees. "You got to be fucking kidding me… look, we've been with them for hours, and no spots… check us out. And night is fucking coming, we're going to be easy prey out here."

Indeed, the darkness continues to settle in as the sunsets.

There was noise, noise that sounded sort of like help. That noise is enough to draw in Quinn and Max, although Quinn is not moving at a fast pace. Her hands are tucked into her pockets, and she seems pretty relaxed for having just heard someone possibly screaming for help.

Max follows along with Quinn and looks over at those gathered, first at Grey and Asher, and then the three, and finally the two bodies on the ground. "They alive?" he asks, curious as to whether they're still breathing or not before approaching. If they're dead, not much sense in getting too close for the time being.

Asher's gaze narrows just a bit and he rounds on Rees, "Stow it. Your gonna fuckin' wait here until your cleared. Get me?" He doesn't make a threat yet, he just glares. At the question from Max, Asher shakes his head, "No, but keep back unless you know enough to figure out what the fuck happened."

Asher turns to the girl and frowns, "Look, just keep away from the camp for now. We can bring out some torches to keep you from gettin' attacked." He looks over to the Grey and then back to the bodies, "We need to start diggin' some deep graves for them once wehave a couple answers."

Grey looks between the trio who brought the bodies back, and seems to come to a decision, he steps up close to them, keeping his spears carefully out of the way, and claps one after the other on the shoulder, looking them each in the eye, "I'm stayin' out here with you. As soon as one of the baby-docs clears you, we'll all go in. But until then, the four of us, we're stayin' out here." He nods to Asher, "Why don't you go back into camp and see if you can find someone with med-training, man?" The arrival of Quinn and Max causes Grey to chuckle very dryly, "Guess we don't have to find Quinn. No, they're dead. Real dead." And Grey is trying very hard not to look at them.

"What were you looking for me for?" Quinn questions, looking over at the corpses, taking in their burned and blistered appearance with a complete lack of response. Despite her lack of response and really creepy lack of upset, she doesn't approach them any closer, just coming to a stop a reasonable distance from the group, a hand moving to stop Max right along with her.

The three delinquents seem agreeable, if not disgruntled, with being kept out of the camp and having to be looked over by someone. The girl looks the most upset about this, folding her arms and slumping her shoulders. She nods a bit at Asher's words, though she doesn't look entirely comforted. Dragging bodies for three hours might do that to you.

Asher could have had more tact, but then, tact hasn't generally been his strong suite. A glance is spared for the three who dragged the bodies, and Asher nods, "Alright. I'll send out a couple torches with the baby-doc." He hefts up the polearm like spear that he made and moves back towards the camp, "I'll send someone out quick as I can." Whoever that's going to be. Asher hasn't really kept up on who is who just yet. Someone with medical training will come out a little bit later, but Asher doesn't come with them. He's probably off making sure he gets a good tent.

"If they aren't breathing, nothing I can do," Max says with a slight shake of his head, stopping when Quinn reaches out to stop him, though it didn't look like he was going much further under his own steam anyway. "No poultice or bandage going to fix that." He doesn't seem to have a problem looking over the corpses with their boils and blisters, studying them a bit.

Grey shrugs at Quinn's question, "'Cause you haven't been running around with your head cut off." He's still not going to look at the dead Delinquents, but he's still standing in among the ones who carried them back. "Wanted to make sure this didn't cause a total panic." The ex-Cadet smirks and uses a term from training, "Control the scene." He gestures back out in the direction the trio came a-dragging, "They said they found 'em three hours out thatta way. By a car." He's seen enough TV ads in the midst of football games to know what an automobile is. Looking back to the trio, he adds, "I'm sure you're gonna be fine. Good job draggin' them back." And then he can't resist, "How many times didja puke?"

Control the scene. Quinn glances back towards the camp, "Did you tell him to keep it quiet why you needed the baby-doc? If not…Faolan might be a good choice to try and keep people calm, or control the flow of information to those that just need to know." Then she glances in the direction that is indicated, "Max and I'll head out to the spot, see if we can't spot a cause if you want…Another one of the smart kids might not be a bad addition, though."

Grey's question seems to disarm Rees a bit, and he chuckles as he scrubs back his hair again. "Ah, well… Lanna here puked like four times." The girl gasps and glares. "It was once, Rees. Once." Then she scowls and slumps off a few paces as she needs a bit of distance from the bodies, and from her annoying partners. Rees then grunts at Quinn's words. "You're gonna want to wait until morning. We were worried we weren't gonna make it back before nightfall, and it is shit-ass scary out there."

Max nods to Quinn, willing enough to go out that way and take a look around, at any rate. He waits to see what the outcome is, hands in his pockets. "Let me know," he says to her, glancing between the three that brought the bodies back and her. He'll go whenever she's ready. He then turns and begins to head back toward camp for the time being.

Grey shakes his head at Quinn's questions, "He'll keep it quiet." He chuckles at Rees' response, shrugging helplessly — and still not looking at the bodies — I think if I had to pick one up, I might puke too." He nods his agreement at the suggestion to Quinn, "Yeah. Hunting at night's one thing. But going to look at a place where three of our own died? Doesn't seem smart to me." He eyes Max as the youth begins to depart, looking over to Quinn, "I assume he's gonna keep quiet."

"Max wont talk." Quinn replies, glancing towards Rees for a split second, smirking before she turns back towards Grey, "Fine, in the morning." She drops herself down onto the ground, folding her legs, forearms resting on her knees.

Grey nods, "And assuming that the baby-docs clear," he starts to gesture to the trio, then shrugs and changes to, "us. If it's something nasty and contagious, we might just want to stay clear of the area." He jerks his head toward the three, "But as they said, if it was that bad, they'd have it by now too. So I'm sure it's fine." He does lower his voice a little, "I was planning on prepping for the trip tomorrow. You going to need backup, or you gonna just take Max?"

Quinn's eyes slide towards the other three, then down towards the bodies before she glances back at Grey, her voice drops just a bit as well, "Backup. No telling what might be out there, and while I trust Max, he doesn't have the same training we do. I'd rather have you at my back that Faolan…" She pauses, then shakes her head, "Ran into Morgan, you met him yet?"

Grey grimaces a little, "Maybe we let it wait 'till after Mount Weather then, Q? I don't want to put off that trip, but I want to gather as much food as we can before we go." He gestures side-long toward the bodies, "I mean, it ain't like some animal did this to them. Shouldn't be any threat to the camp if they were three hours out, yeah?" The mention of Faolan and Morgan causes him to chuckle dryly, "They're sorta like the two extremes we go, yeah? Morgan talking kill 'em all, run away and don't care about the future, Faolan still playin' the Guard Cadet to the hilt?"

"Yeah…" Quinn nods, leaning back on her hands, "Basically that's it in a nut shell, and Faolan's going to get us killed by being too trusting of the wrong people. We're it…we do have to start thinking of us." She then glances back out towards where the other kids said it came from, "We could send Faolan and one of the others out to check, and we can make for Mount Weather like planned."

Grey smirks hard at that suggestion, "Trust him not to fuck it up, but also not to steal anything he finds? Be smart to send a baby-doc and an Ee-Ess nerd with him." He considers a moment, "You think we can 'send' him anywhere, Q?" He takes a few steps away from the trio of delinquents, lowering his voice, "There's gonna be someone in charge of the camp. Sooner or later. Or a couple of someones. Who do you think it should be?"

"Right now, from who I've seen and met?" Quinn gives him this incredulous look before she rolls her eyes, "As much as people dislike us, we're going to end up on top by default. Sole leader? Probably not…but most of the Ee-Ess nerds and tech geeks aren't going to come out on top, they're grunts. We're used to them being workers. We're indoctrinated into looking to the political savvy sorts and guards….Think about who that is so far."

Nodding his head slowly and thoughtfully, "So you're saying it's an ex-Cadet then? Because I'm pretty sure the Princesses poisoned a couple'a good wells real early on. Or a couple of ex-Cadets. Might be good to get an Ee-Ess nerd involved if there's a…" he casts about for a word that isn't 'Council,' and settles unhappily on "group at the top. They know what we need to survive, and how to get it. And like you say, they're likely to leave the big stuff to someone tougher." Not quite what she said. He leans slightly on his spears, thinking hard. One can almost see the smoke coming from his ears. "Question is, will it be the folks who want the Ark down here now, or the ones who want to run as far and as fast as they can who come out on top. And if it's all one or the other in the group, does the camp split? I don't think we can survive that."

"If you want to force it, you want a mix. And an odd number, so someone always gets a deciding vote in the case of split decisions." Quinn smirks just a fraction, "As for the Princesses…we're fucked there. They've done the deed and we can hope to recover, but plan to not. Also, do you want to be one of the ones calling the shots? You're already doing it, and most seem to be listening even if they don't like you."

Grey arches his eyebrows, "You think the Princesses'll force themselves into any group like that? Both the political and the Councilor's daughter?" His mouth works as if he were going to spit, and then instead he lifts his right hand, starting to chew on his thumbnail, "I don't have to be one of the ones calling the shots, but I'm damned sure not going to just be some nobody. That's why I'm gonna be the first one in the door of Mount Weather and into their armory. I'm not gonna be left outside the firearms club."

"I think they'll try to bypass anyone else making decisions…no matter what the Councilor's daughter was saying, she's used to being obeyed. But she's one of us now, and she needs to figure out that she's at the bottom of the pile." Quinn shifts forward, moving up onto the balls of her feet, her forearms resting on her knees as she leans towards him, "We are going to be the first in…and I'm not letting Faolan or anyone else dictate my ability to have a firearm."

Grey snorts softly, "She goes around a real leader, she'll get her skinny little ass kicked up into her orange hair." And then he shrugs a little languidly, "I'm not sayin' I'll be the one to do it. Just sayin', she's not dealing with her foster daddy's little friends anymore. Faolan was right, we all got histories." The slight lean toward him causes a slight lean back from the young man, as if the invisible bubble around him that was just a little bigger than that around most people. "But I got no problem with you havin' a gun. It's the people who screwed over people they didn't mean to you gotta watch out for. People lookin' to protect themselves, that's not our problem."

"Who do you think is going to be a problem? We know Faolan and the Princesses are going to be different kinds of problems, but ones to watch out for. Faolan the least of the two, even if he is a goody two-shoes." Quinn might not notice the move back, or might not care. Either way she remains leaning slightly forward, one corner of her mouth twisting upwards.

Grey balances himself again after a moment, even if it means leaning back in a little more. "Morgan. If it turns out that we do need the Ark for some damn reason, he's not gonna listen to reason. Cole's too attached to the Councilor's daughter, and he likes giving orders too much." He wracks his brain for a moment, "That girl who searched the cargo bay… Ruth. She said there was no food, but when I got in there, there was that little box of ration bars, but it was only like two-thirds full. Jamison. That asshole always hated me, and he's a bully of the worst sort." Says the man who knows about bullies, since his parents were both bullies, and arguably he is too. "Trin. Dad was always trying to catch the weaselly little fuck's mom, and never could. Like mother like daughter."

"Zoe. She might cause problems, apparently she doesn't want to play well with others, not even willing to give a little before asking for a little back." Not that Quinn is against bartering, but sometimes a gesture of good faith is in order. She thinks, trying to pull up names to go with the faces he hasn't already listed off. "How many are going to Mount Weather, and who are we blocking from going?"

Grey nods agreement on the additional name, "There's a couple of other brawlers and wild kids who might cause trouble, but I think they'll fall in line." Letting out a bit of a sigh, he grimaces, "I don't know if we can cut anyone out of the trip. We aren't in charge yet. I think if we set a fast enough pace, we can wear some people the hell out, so they have to stop." He grimaces a little at that, "Might cut out some useful people too though. We might just have to plan to get to the guns as fast as we can, use them to make sure people know what's up. You got any ideas on how we could keep 'em out? Word of when we leave's gonna spread through camp like shit through Mac," referring to the kid who ate something he really shouldn't have on Day 0, "So it's not like we can leave early with all the people we want to come."

"We're going to have to figure out a way to cap the number of people that go, otherwise we're going to make so much noise we wont catch shit, and the entire camp'll be going." Quinn lifts a hand, her fingers rubbing at her forehead, "We mention diving the fighters and the brains…Some stay, some go. We make the ones staying feel part of shit, like they've got to settle things for us here, for the Ark. It'll hopefully weed out some of the Ark supporters that way, not all will go with it…But it's a start."

Grey nods slowly, "Yeah. So it's somethin' about how we need a camp to come back to, yeah? In case there's nothing worthwhile there. We gotta split the reliable folks between here and there." As he thinks, he starts to nibble on a pinky-nail, "Might works. Think it's a good idea either way. I'm not too worried 'bout hunting on the way anyhow. And on the way back, we're gonna be hauling shit if all goes well. I'm just bringin' the spears in case we find something to add to our food." He glances back toward the firelight over a little rise, "Man. Takes forever to find someone in there, doesn't it?"

"Yeah..not like we know where everyone's bunking down. I've seen a few bounce between one bed and another." Quinn replies, laughing slightly as she glances back towards the camp, then back to him, "You bring it up, I'll support it…but we need someone outside us to third it…someone we can trust, but isn't tainted by us being ex-Cadets."

Grey nods his head slowly, "Max is too close to you. Keats might work. Unless people think she and I were knockin' boots when I was teaching her to defend herself. Maybe Devin. Little guy, first one we let onto the ground. Seems to have his shit together as well as the rest of us." He nods his head upward a little, "Or did you have someone else in mind?" There's a moment's pause, and then before she really has a chance to answer, he asks, "How come you and me never bounced beds? You stuck on Max?" It's not a complaint, not even really a request, oddly enough. Just a curiosity.

"Keats works fine. She seems level headed, people are already turning to her with questions about shit, so they're trusting her. Devin is also a good back up if they think she's too connected to you." Quinn doesn't even have to think about the answer, as soon as the names are there, she's got the response. As for the last question she raises a brow slightly, "You never asked me."

Grey laughs at that, shaking his head, "Daaaamn." It gets looks from the trio of Delinquents huddled a few paces away, but Grey just nods his acceptance. "We get through this Mount Weather trip, we should talk more about that." He's still chuckling, but he's let it simmer down from the outright laughter of earlier. "We'll talk to Keats or Devin then. So long as this shit," he gestures toward the dead bodies, "It's going to go crawling over from those three to me and eat my face off before then."

"I'm open for talking about whatever." Quinn replies with a shrug, glancing towards the trio for a moment, then towards the dead bodies, "If it does, then we'll all be pretty well fucked because it'll eventually come to the rest of us." She folds her arms a moment, fingers wrapping around her elbows, "You think we should talk to Keats or Devin first?"

Grey nods a little at the doom and gloom, "Yeah, this close to camp, someone'd find us even if we didn't bring it back." He doesn't sound too worried though, either he's already dead, or he isn't. He's Schroedinger's murderer (if he only knew who Schroedinger was). "Whichever one we find first in that crazy-ass camp. I'm lookin' forward to gettin' some order in there… too much loud noise at night. Damned impossible to sleep." Nodding upwards, he changes the topic back, "Why don't you go on back in and see if you can find a baby-doc. I'll make sure nothin' eats these guys."

Quinn pushes to her feet, "I'll see if I can't shake one loose." She replies, glancing towards the three before she shoves her hands into her pockets, "We'll be back in the morning." She then turns on her heel, heading back into the camp.

Grey nods his head, rising up from his own crouch with the aid of his spears, then glances around the little clearing. Stuck in the dark with three nasty-ass dead bodies and three possibly-infected, definitely-freaked-out teenage criminals. Oh well. Grey moves over to join the trio of living Delinquents, settling in to talk while they wait for a baby-doc to be found.

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