Day 055: Conversations At Camp
Summary: After the Mountain assault, Britt chats about the skaikids' rescue with Kai, loss and grief with Sev, and whether to slaughter Mountain Men families with Morgan.
Date: July 25 2016
Related: Follows Warband's Return
Kai Britt Sev Morgan 


River Camp
Somewhere by the river.
Middle of the night and then early morning of day 54 going into day 55.

Table of Contents

These chats happened almost back-to-back ICly and were pretty short, so it seemed easier to chuck them into the same log.

Kai

One of the downsides of stubbornly refusing drugs to help you sleep is being awakened by pain in the middle of the night. And so even though she should be zonked out, Britt is not. Sev was here while she slept, but now he's presumably been called off to check on someone else. And so Britt is alone. She desperately wants a bath, but that'll have to wait till morning. In the mean time, she imposed on someone to get her a bucket of water, and is wiping off the blood and sweat from her face and arms. Both her hands are bandaged, and her camisole bears a few new tatters and bloodstains on her torso, but she doesn't look too seriously hurt. Certainly better off than poor Erson, who's still unconscious and lying very close by to her. He's covered in bandages, including those on a bloody stump where his right arm used to be.

Kai was not on the immediate triage list, compared to many, her wounds were minor, tolerable. Her Skaifriends had gone off to the portion of the temporary camp that their kind had congregated in and the Second had come to prowl among the Trikru. She didn't intrude simply because there was too many weary, unconscious or in too much pain, and she herself had wound up passing out against a tree without the energy to clean herself up beforehand. So it was that eventually, one of the healers got around to her, uncertain what was her blood and what wasn't, with the holes in her armor and dead weight unconsciousness she'd been woken and prized from her leather shell and stitched closed. Good things. Necessary things. But it also meant that she was awake again, and though she left her armor and most of her gear by Wren, she's got the wetted ruin of her shirt draped about her neck and the remains of a strip of Maunon sheet bound like a tube top about herself for modesty and that blade of hers slung across her body as she comes prowling back towards Sev's wagon in search of the redheaded archer, only half sponged clean herself and half of that with her shirt. She's silent, so as not to disturb the sleeping, coming simply to squat next to Britt with a knowing look in the direction of Erson before her eyes even go to the older woman herself.

Why she keeps the armor on is obvious; the contrast between skin darkened by the sun and the stark whiteness of that which has barely seen light only making the variety of stitches on the teen's body all the more obvious. The still angry slice along her forearm from the first run to Coesbur, the black stitches through her collarbone and upper chest from the second attempt now with a new bullet wound nearby. The line along her ribs also from Coesbur. Two in her neck, older and newer, the mangled left hand that should still be bandaged and isn't. And that point of pride, the burn in the back of her right shoulder, ash ground in to help insure it stays like it's supposed to. Right now she's too tired to bother trying to hide them, and at least has the 'advantage' that most of hers are comparatively old. Still, there's a reason why she willow bark with her, mutely offering it in Britt's direction in lieu of a verbal greeting.

Britt almost doesn't notice the approaching figure, lost to her grim thoughts, but something tugs at awareness and she does look that way. And when she does, her expression changes. A very obvious relief washes over her, as well as a muted joy upon seeing that the young Second is alive and walking. All that emotion, on top of her worry about Erson, come out in a single throaty word, "Kai." She would've come and checked on Kai sooner, but she was a little occupied with Erson and then passing out after her own wounds were tended. Keen eyes take in the younger woman's new assortment of wounds as she gratefully accepts the willow. "Thank you," she murmurs softly. "Sit?"

Kai settles on her haunches,"I came by, but you were sleeping." she offers in her own quiet murmur,"I'm glad you made it." added as her head nods in the direction of the sleeping Trikru ex-captives,"There's so many of them. So many cages in there. We felt the explosion, too. The whole mountain shook, with what you and the others achieved." she breathes,"I was.. concerned.. when I saw Pontus. Khesu." Erson. Though she doesn't speak his name out loud.

"You too," Britt says, heartfelt if subdued. She follows her glance to the captives, nodding. "It was… beyond words. Finding them caged like animals. One strung up like a calf for the slaughter, being drained of blood." Britt actually shudders visibly, a haunted whisper. "I knew some of them. Erson's sister, she was there." Saying his name causes her brow to crease in a pained expression, looking at his broken form. "His team didn't get far enough from the bomb in time," she whispers. "But they destroyed the fog. Sev thinks they'll live," is offered, of Pontus and Khesu. And Erson. She forces herself to take a bite of the willow, and then shifts her gaze back to Kai. "Are your skaifriends all right?"

Kai chews contemplatively on the bark in her mouth, nodding her agreement with a grimace,"And Khesu's wife?" she can't help but ask in a hushed tone, her eyes going to Erson as Britt's do,"His will be a long path, but what they did opens the way for the rest of the kongeda to finish what we have started." she reaches for Britt to give a gentle squeeze,"They harvested five of them, between when we scouted the mountain the first time and now. The Lieutenant they sent to lead us was killed before we even left the entry, and others were wounded reaching the infirmary. They haven't begun to ask questions yet, but they will."

Britt pats Kai's arm as well, in response to that squeeze. "I am sorry for your friends, but at least you saved most of them." She shakes her head about Khesu's wife. "I did not see her, but there were so many, and we had to deal with other Maunon while they were being freed." That causes her jaw to clench. "One of their doctors, he was… digging into the side of one of your people with a machine. Monsters," she spits. "We should have finished them. We had the numbers, with the reserves and the Trikru who were there." But that is an unpleasant reminder of the planning arguments, and she stops herself. Then she remembers. "Oh, Leo is all right. He fought well."

Kai grunts quietly,"A small drop in a large ocean, it feels as, to me." there's a nod of acknowledgment, only for there to be a flinch at the description, her jaw setting tightly as she rubs her left hand absently,"Monsters." she agrees in a low tone, then nods in acknowledgment,"I have not walked where the Skaikru are camped.. so, thank you." she gives a tight smile,"All of our people made it. And Cassandra surprisingly fought well. One of them tried to surrender." tried. From the way it is said he wasn't successful,"When we reached the infirmary we thought we were the first there.. there was one of the Maunon sitting there at the computer, and when asked about the missing he had.. no qualms.. no.. emotion.. in telling us that they were dead. That.. for all the fighting, all that blood, that is the one that will stay with me, none of us were human in his eyes. The way he spoke the dead were nothing more than animals. His death was.. bloody."

There's a tiny nod about Cassandra, but no real reaction from the weary archer on that point. "The doctor begged for his life as well. Coward." Britt grits her teeth a bit, then reins in her emotion with some effort. "We spared the innocent. There were children, and a woman with them. She said they couldn't survive the radiation. If that's true, I don't know what will become of them when we take the Mountain." She looks at Erson. "It shames me that there's a part of me that doesn't give a shit." But only a part.

"He.. did not even beg for his life." Kai says of the one they encountered, though her eyes flit Britt's way at the mention of children,"If they cannot survive the radiation, they are dead anyways." is what she has to say with a grimace,"A part of me wishes to remain when the rest of the gonakru arrive. To see the might of the twelve clans in their glory tear it limb from limb.. and part of me is tired and sore and I just want to go home." she chins in Erson's direction,"He is an archer, too, isn't he?" she uses 'is', even though she's smart enough to know that a one-armed archer's fight is over.

"He was," Britt corrects, in a soft whisper as broken as Erson's body. "So many battles, he's fought right by my side." There's a moment where Britt looks like she might cry, but she takes a shuddering breath and holds herself together with a tenuous thread. Then her voice dips lower in pitch. "I want to be there. I want to be there when they kill every last one of those fucking monsters."

Kai doesn't endeavor to reach for Britt, instead offering a somber dip of her head in acknowledgment,"He lives. Though his time on the battlefield may be done, there is still much he will be able to do." there's another dip of her head in acknowledgment,"There will be blood. And though there are things there that the Skaikru feel to be of salvage value, it needs to burn. In honor of the dead, it needs to burn."

Britt bobs her head a little to Kai's words, not trusting herself to say much more on that subject. She lets out another shaky sigh. "Yes, it will burn." She seems to remember the wash rag in her hand, and goes back to wiping some more of the blood from her hands, gingerly skirting around the wounds there. Her shoulders are hunched, her entire bearing subdued. Her eyes flick to Kai. "There is an extra shirt in my pack there, if you want it." Since Kai's seems to have seen better days.

Kai chuckles quietly,"Come the morning I'll wear my armor again.. this shirt.." she takes it from about her neck to shake it out, something made by Starling, though it's shadowed now with the ghost of blood stains and the two holes from the bullets in it,"is still in better condition than the one I had at skaigeda. Right now.. the air feels.. nice.. and the bark is helping keep things.. controlled." she flexes her left hand with a grimace,"Most of the blood this time wasn't mine and there are many among the captured who have far less to wear. This will suffice for now, but thank you." there's a quiet noise from her,"I should.. endeavor to get some more sleep.. it is guaranteed to be an early morning, and I am certain that there will be questions from my friends once it begins to sink in to them that I am no longer Skaikru. Already, one of them has threatened Wren, before we even left the Mountain.. so it promises to be.. difficult."

Britt offers another tiny nod. "I do not envy you that," she says, of the Skaikru friends. "Get some rest. And you tell me if you need anything." It is more of a command than an offer. "I will be here." Keeping vigil.

Kai shrugs her shoulders,"If they ask questions, it is still better than those at Alpha.. who didn't bother, to them I am simply a traitor." she reaches out again briefly before shifting slowly to her feet and draping her shirt about her neck again,"Likewise. I packed heavy, in terms of food.. I figure it will all be needed." there's a wry smile from her as her eyes flit to Erson's sleeping form again before she skulks off back the way she came as silently as she can.


Sev

Britt had woken up a little while ago. And while it might have been more prudent to just go back to sleep, she didn't. She did, however, talk someone into getting her a bucket of water and a cloth so she could clean up a bit. She was doing that when Sev got called away to deal with a crisis with one of the more seriously injured Trikru. Kai stopped by to chat briefly in his absence, but now Britt is alone again. With the cloth, she scrubs some of the dried blood off her face while she sits vigil over the still-unconscious Erson.

Sev got called away, yes. Must've been a heck of a crisis, because he's covered in blood when he returns. It's dripping off his face. And while he usually looks so stoic and calm, there's a suggestion that he looks almost annoyed. Though in the background, one of the younger healers looks like he just got his ass kicked by the nomad's voice. He spits off to the side, apparently getting blood in his mouth. He's moving back towards Erson, taking note that Britt seems to be awake and cleaning herself up.

Also, he looks exhausted. He said he'd stay up all night to watch over Erson, and he did. Not dead on his feet, but close. The man is a machine.

Britt watches Sev return, a faintly worried crease to her brow. And while she's still got various streaks of blood on her, she offers him the rag. "Looks like you need this more than me," she says in soft concern.

Sev takes the rag after a snort, wiping his face down. Then his neck. "Arrogant fool." he utters, taking a seat next to her. "You do not pull out a bullet unless you know it's safe to do so. Did not reach in time. But I did get there just in time to get a facefull of blood for my troubles." The rag is now red. "Fool boy. He could've killed that woman. If I hadn't been there, he would've. I'll have words with his First. Letting a Second handle something like that. Sloppy. Unprofessional." Then he strips off his shirt, leaving him without a top layer. For a healer, he's got scars. Most of them animal related, but some from battle. Five kill marks go across his collarbone.

"Least you were there to mend their mistake," Britt offers, sounding as though she realizes it's a paltry consolation. He gets a sidelong glance when he takes his shirt off, the scars and kill marks noted with some curiousity. "I didn't realize you'd been in the war," she notes somberly.

"She will heal. Stopped the bleeding at least." Sev says, letting his shoulders slump a little bit. Sitting down and the adreneline leaving him is making him look tired. Dog tired, sheer willpwer and stubborness driving him on. As if perhaps almost forgetting about them, his hand touches his collar. "I was. Few for my age, but I didn't go as a warrior. I was apart of a group because they needed a healer. Stayed in the back and did what I could with my bow." There's a rather nasty looking bite scar that goes over the curve of his shoulder. Wolf, probably. Or a small bear. Other stuff from falls, traps, or just general scrapes. Wherever he has gone, it has not been an easy life. But he looks her over a moment, and scoots a little close, checking her wounds over, taking her hand and looking over that nasty wound to it. "How are you feeling?"

Britt says, "Five is respectable." She's been using her less-injured hand to do the washing, so the nastier one has been obediently rested. A light shrug answers his question. "I've been better. I'd say you should get some rest, but I doubt you'd listen." Pot kettle black much?

"I'm still needed." Sev replies, looking over the hand, he seems to approve of how it's looking before setting it back down to wear it was. "Worry not for me, this old trail for me. Well worn." No point to bring up other matters that are unpleasant to talk about. So instead he'll do that, if only to keep one of his many patients on something else. His old jacket is picked up where it had been used for a pillow, draping it around Britt's shoulders. "Early morning chill is bad for wounds." he states. And yes, he had already put one of his furs over Erson while she slept. "Respectable, perhaps. The Warriors felt it purdent to mark me. Didn't matter to me. You have many more than me. You are the master, am I but a novice."

"They could wake you if they need you," Britt points out, but it's a token protest. Just concerned for him, not anxious for him to leave. She hitches a shoulder when he talks about the marks. "You're a healer. If they gave marks for lives saved I'm sure your collection would outdo mine for the ones I've taken." She nods a quiet thanks when he gives her the jacket.

"You battle life, that is your role. I battle death, that is mine. And I have waged my battle these past hours." Sev nods slowly, going back to sit next to her. "It's not a matter of marks. Only being good at what you do. And we're good at what we do. We're also both too stubborn to die, so perhaps we stick around to show the young how things are done properly." The mention of that makes him frown. The word 'young' seems to stick with him for a moment. And were he more awake, it might've never gotten brought up. But it's been a taxing evening, and he's not as young as he used to be. "I had a son, once." he suddenly blurts out.

"You fight well." The quiet compliment is leveled with a glance at Erson. When he mentions his son, Britt's eyes snap back to him, brow creasing in soft sympathy. Then the gentle question, "What happened?"

"I was young still. Barely out of being Second. There was a village far to the north. Edge of Trikru lands. I came to a village that had no healer. Small village. Barely more than a hundred people. I decided to stay until they found one of their own, ply my trade and craft there. I met a woman. Sela. Hair as black as night, eyes of jade. Warrior. Proud. Beautiful. I don't know why she choose a man like me to be her houmon, but I considered myself lucky. For the first time, I truly considered no longer living on the road. I thought I had found my place with her. She was such a woman. And then, after a year, we found that she was carrying our child." There's a very bitter chuckle from him. "I didn't know the first thing about being a father, but she seemed to have complete faith in me, even if she was ten years my senior. I…never got that chance." He finds himself staring at the ground. "I was a young man, barely out of being a Second." he repeats the line again, as if a mantra. "Our son was stillborn. And she…I could not stop her bleeding. I thought. I could not save them. I was a healer. I could not save them. Had she never met me." he sighs. "I took the road that next week. That home. It had gone cold. Whatever warmth I felt was gone. I took to the road. A young healer cannot make those kinds of mistakes. Too much rides on it. Too many people rely on you. Their hopes. Their desperate need for you to save their loved ones. And then to be able to look them in the face and tell them you could not. But when it happens to you, and your hands were not steady enough, not fast enough." He lets it hang in the air, going quiet.

Britt listens to his tale, those knitted brows showing a quiet compassion. She reaches for his hand, intent on giving it a squeeze. A light one, given the state of her hand, but nonetheless well meant. "It is a terrible thing, when the fates rip away those we hold dear." Spoken as one who has experienced her share of loss, though perhaps none so great as a wife and child. "But many times, you stop it," she reminds gently. "You saved him. Don't think I don't know that another healer might have passed him over as being too far gone. But you didn't." The gratitude is evident in her eyes.

"I loved her…as the grass love the rain." It's so strange for her Sev to say something so personal and yet so distantly. Like he doesn't want to relive the pain all over agian. He takes the hand offered, holding it, returning the barest fo squeezes, not wanting to hurt it. "Everyone deserves a chance to survive. No matter who it might be. I only wish to do what I can." He casts a look at the sleeping Erson. "I did not do it for him, beyond the fact that I feel I can save any if I try hard enough." he says, looking back at Britt, catching her eyes. "I did it for you."

Indeed, the sentiment surprises Britt, because she didn't figure him for a poetic type. But nevertheless, she says, "Of course you did, she was your houman." The latter admission, on the other hand, does not surprise her at all. "I know," she says softly. It would be more accurate to say she suspected, but still… "And I know you say I don't have to thank you, but I do." She doesn't verbalize her thanks beyond that, but she also doesn't release his hand unless he moves it away first.

"No you don't. You will never have to thank me. No one does." Sev shakes his head. No he doesn't let the hand go. If anything, he laces his fingers with her's. "I am just a man. A man with talents that have been trained. I do what is required because life is worth preserving. I live for them and my life is forfeit. Give all that I am so they may see another day. See their loved ones. Kiss their children, make love to their houmon. It is how things are. It is how they have always been. The fact that I have saved someone close to you? The fact that he lives is thanks enough." Is it? He grows quiet and when it looks like he may say smething more, his lips twist, deciding instead to just say, "You're a good woman." Because that is his fallback. Because he will not say anything more.

"Would you stop that," Britt chides, sparing him an eyeroll that usually Arlin has the corner on. Though her overall bearing is still subdued and exhausted, there is a flash of animation there. "If I save someone in battle, of course they don't have to thank me. But they do, and I say 'you're welcome' and we move on. You're a good man too, Sev, and if you tell me again you're not I'm going to thwap you in the head."

"I'm just not used to it." Sev admits. "I've never been used to it. And no, but I'm not going to say it again." he promises. "So fine, you're welcome. You win that one." Even that sounds awkward, like he really doesn't say it all that often. Not out of rudeness just..strange. So he goes to fiddle with his satchel that's nearby, because he doesn't seem intent on letting go of her hand. Some tinkling. There it is, one of his many phials that he pops off with his thumb. This one is not yellow. It's clear with green tint to it. "Drink that." he says, offering before pausing. "And no, it's not to make you sleep. You need to keep your fluids up."

Britt gives a satisfied nod at his concession. "Good. My hand would not like thwapping you right now." She watches him take the medicine out, a little dubious. But she trusts him, drinking it and then handing back the empty vial. "I've been drinking the water too. The world's stopped spinning, at least." Her eyes drift back to the unconscious archer, mouth settling into a more somber frown.

"And then I would have to look over that hand. Again." Sev remarks. "Please do not give more work than is needed. Or I will give you the unpleasant medication. Whatever she drink was sweet. "Helps resist infection to the blood." he clarifies. The phial is put away in his satchel to be clean later. "Good. Means you're not longer suffering from lack of fluids." When she looks back at Erson, he seems to read her expression. "He will live, Britt. I'm sorry I could not do more." Like save his arm. He's good, but not that good. And yes, he discretly disposed of that limb while she slept. No reason she had to watch that.

"No, you have more than enough work already," Britt agrees. She gives an absent nod to his explanation about the medicine. At his apology, she shakes her head. "I know you wouldn't have done it if there was another way." A soft sigh escapes her lips, though, and her voice takes on a distant sound to it. "That was almost me, you know. When the Azgaeda nearly took my leg. I was lucky. He and I … we're warriors. It's all we've ever known. Without that…" She lets that thought trail off, obviously dreading how he'll take it, and says, "But he's alive. That's enough. When he opens his eyes and talks to me, perhaps my heart will leave my throat." Because that's not at all a comfortable feeling. Her shoulders slump a bit, hunched over in a vain pursuit of a more comfortable position for her injured side. Sighing once more, she changes the subject. "Tell me about another one of your travels?"

"The loss of an arm or leg does not make one any less of a warrior. It is their heart where it matters the most." Sev replies gently, taking on that more human tone that's reserved for someone like her. "But he will live. That is what's important." he agrees. But everything else, he has no words for. That will have to be something she must cope with. But no reason to cope with until it happens. When he sees her try to get comfortable, he watches her for a long moment. "Come here." And without another word, he reaches over to pull her to him, not quite pulling her into his lap, but close enough, letting her good side rest against him, if she doesn't resist. "Another of my travels…" he starts. "Have I ever told you about the old man I met who told me about a game played in the old world?"

"Maybe, but you can't shoot a bow with one arm." This is the glum, if obvious, observation. When he urges her closer, there's a brief hesitation. But the tug of comfort outweighs the tug of guilt, and she scoots closer. Right beside him, leaning a little into his shoulder. "A game? No, tell me that one." She falls quiet, listening to his tales and occasionally dozing for a few minutes at a stretch. Never long, though, but it's better than nothing.

Sev wasn't going to point that one out. He was trying to stay positive a little bit. Though he's no physical therapist. "I met a man, in a solitary cottage twenty or so years ago. Old by then, ancient. Perhaps eighty or eve ninety. Somehow he was still pretty healthy. He said he had lived in the old world as a boy, his family had survived the fall. Deep in Trikru land, where few went. Said he remembers a time before the clans, that he didn't wish to 'interfere' in the new age of man. That he was a relic of an age best forgotten. He had survived all those years by himself on his own. That I was his first visitor in some thirty years. That all he wished was to be left in peace. I found him to be respectable. He would not speak much on the old world, that it was best left forgotten. But he did teach me about a game called baseball." he says, getting just a little animated in tale, such as storytellers get. He won't rouse her if she falls asleep, but he'll explain the game as best he can, talking about his two days he spent with the old man before moving on. It is a good story, a happy story, just the kind that Britt may need to hear. And she may fall asleep before him, eventually the time spent awake all night catches up to him, and even can't resist. So, for a moment, rest, them leaning against each other.


Morgan

The next morning before everyone sets off for wherever they're going, Morgan sets out to find someone he'd rather not find, especially with a head wound. But he was assured she was the person he needed to talk to so off he goes, asking around till he's directed to… Britt. "Hey."

Britt is by one of the Trikru wagons, watching as some of the wounded are loaded up for transport. The fact that both her hands are wrapped in bandages is probably a solid reason why she's doing more supervising than actually helping. There are dark circles under her eyes and a haggard look that suggests she hasn't slept much - if at all - since the assault on the Mountain. Hearing the familiar voice of the Skaikru healer, she turns to him, brow creasing. Her eyes light on the bandage on his head, then to his eyes. "Yes?" She does her best to force a neutral tone.

"How'd your team make out?" Morgan asks. "Hope you didn't lose anyone." See? He's trying to be nice. Though he does sound sincere about that too. "I hear there were even more of your people captive than we thought."

The niceness actually causes Britt to squint at him a little, trying to gauge if he's sincere. "Some injured, none dead. The other team didn't fare as well." This causes her to glance at the wagon, chewing her lip for a moment, before looking back at Morgan. "There were several dozen, yes. Kept in cages like animals and strung up like calves for the slaughter." Her jaw clenches tightly at that, hostility not aimed at the Skaikru for a change. She shakes it off with effort and tries to be nice in kind. "I heard that five of your 100 were lost. I'm sorry. But they will be avenged."

"Yeah." But not the one that really counted, fortunately. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about." Morgan says, reaching up to gently scratch under the edge of the bandage. "There are kids in there. Young kids. And adults who honestly had no idea what was happening. We can't just rush in there, kill everyone alive, and destroy everything in sight. As tempting as it is." And it is.

Britt nods. She shifts her weight a little, eliciting a mild wince. "I know. We saw some of their children while we were in there. There was a woman with them. She said if we got near, the radiation would make them sick." She shakes her head a little, confused. "Why are you telling me this?"

"Oh, did you? I hadn't heard about them." Things have been chaotic and exhausting and Morgan has been concentrated on Cameron since the rescue. "Because I don't know the timetable on how soon the main attack was going to be and don't know if there was time to get back to talk to Kane and then have him send word to Lexa. Kai mentioned you're the best person to get a message to her. But we also didn't know you knew abou the kids and the innocent ones."

Britt ahs softly when he explains. "We will be in Tondc tomorrow. I don't know the timetable, but I'm sure the heda will not launch the attack before she's heard the reports from the vanguard. But… I'm sure she knows this already. Did you Skaikru not think that there would be families and children in there?" This seems to genuinely perplex the archer. "Leo was also surprised. But they've been living in there since the dark war. Generations. The children I'm sure no one will question are innocent. The rest, though… what makes you so sure there are innocents among them?"

"I just didn't think of it, honestly." Morgan admits with a shrug. "I just wanted to get our people back and if that meant killing everything in there, so be it. Reality changes things. As for why, you should talk to the captives. Mine, I mean. Not yours. At least one of the people in there helped once she found out what was happening. Cam says she was honestly shocked and horrified."

Britt frowns, considering that. "They want us to believe that there are those among them - apart from the children, obviously - that had no idea of the war against our people? Of them taking hundreds, perhaps thousands of our people for decades?" To say she's skeptical of this would be an understatement.

"She helped them." Morgan tells Britt. "She directly helped them transmit a message to us a few days ago. And if you think about, it's not all that unlikely. You saw how big that place was. And you ran into the security card readers, I'm sure. If someone had no reason to go to a specific level or a specific room, they can't get in. Probably lots of them - the teachers, the cooks, artists, farmers - never had a reason to be told. Look, I'm no happier about it either." he says with a grimace. "It would be easier to just shoot them all and be done with it. But even if we do kill all the adults, are you planning on living in the mountain and raising the children?"

"Perhaps." It's a reluctant admission that has Britt grimacing as well. OMG they agree on something. It must be a chilly day in hell. "Helping your people does not negate a lifetime of war against ours. But if it's true that they knew nothing about it, then they are not responsible. The trouble is there is no way to know. It is fucking Thripoda all over again." And rather than make her angry, this just elicits a weary sigh. Shaking her head, eyes closed, she rubs the bridge of her nose briefly.

"Some are obviously guilty." Morgan points out. "Everyone in security. Everyone in medical. Everyone in command of the damn place. After that…" He shrugs. "We might need to take the word of some of them. Cam and the others can tell us who they are pretty sure knew nothing. And then we can ask them who else. It'll require actually trusting them." Pause. "Well, maybe. I wonder if we can synthesize something that'll make then tell the truth. Or if they have it in the mountain already once we take it."

"Trust the Maunon," Britt echoes, with the same skepticism she might have used if he suggested pigs could fly. Talk of synthesizing something gets a perplexed peer, but then she shrugs. "I will mention what you said in my report to the heda. She will decide how we judge the Maunon. My opinion doesn't matter. And if they cannot leave the Mountain safely, I doubt it will matter anyway. I cannot see the heda allowing them to stay there."

"Then she's slaughtering every child there, from the oldest to the babies." Morgan points out. "They'll die as soon as they leave the mountain. Look, I need to talk to Kane and I need to talk to Li. But I think that once we take the place and kill all the obvious ones who need killing, we've got time to slow down and consider options. We might be able to use drugs to make them tell the truth. I'm not sure but it's possible. Point is though, that once we win, we don't need to act immediately."

"That's her choice to make, not mine," Britt says flatly. "It is easy now for your people to call for options when most of yours are safe. You said you were willing to kill everyone in there before you knew that your Cam was all right. What would you say if he wasn't? What would you say if he and countless others you knew had been murdered like animals, or maimed?" Her face twists, voice faltering for a moment, before she stops herself with effort and takes a breath. "I will tell the heda what you've told me. Beyond that, it is for her to decide."

"I'd still have a problem with murdering babies." Morgan answers. Probably. "It was different before I knew some of them had no idea what was happening. I never considered such a thing either. But now…" He shrugs. "Only the guilty should pay the price. Killing innocent people is murder not justice. But yeah, you do that. I'll be talking to Kane and Li about possible options. We'll figure something out."

Britt leans back - more like sags - against the wagon, some of the energy seeming to leave her when she admits, "I couldn't either. Not even after all that. But I don't know that I could just leave them in there, living their lives and raising another generation to hate us either. I don't know." She nods absently to his plan to talk to his leaders. "I am glad I am not the one who has to decide these things."

"No." Morgan admits, "That's not something that should happen. I think some of my people would be willing to live there. They have tech we don't. We need to go through their computers to see what they know that we don't. They probably have the locations of other military bases in the area. We could raid them for supplies. I know, even though you have a Coalition, it's not always friendly. Assuming we gain an alliance, I after this I don't see how that's not going to happen, we can split what we find."

Britt tilts her head curiously at the thought of the Skaikru being willing to live there. She frowns and squints a little, but then nods. "If we can make peace with the Azgaeda, I suppose anything is possible," she mumbles. "I will tell the heda, as I said."

Morgan nods. "And I'll tell the… Skaiheda." Giving her a nod, he turns and heads back but then pauses and looks over his shoulder. "If any of your people who were in there have things wrong with them that your healers aren't sure how to treat, being them to the station. We'll be glad to help."

"Skai-kruheda," Britt corrects mildly, not deliberately trying to insult but to clarify the word use. The mention of their healers starts to elicit an automatic, defensive reply, but she bites it back. There's a glance at the wagon she's leaning against, chewing her lip in consideration of his words. "Someone told me once that your people have machines that can fix a broken skull. Is this true?"

Morgan shakes his head. "No, bone heals slowly no matter what. We have machine that can say whether a skull is broken or not and how badly. And what type of break it is. Some can be… well, not fixed but made better surgically."

Britt nods slowly. Was that a hint of disappointment in her eyes? Maybe. "Well, I will tell your offer to our healers." She draws herself up a little straighter, not leaning against the wagon so much, and waits to see if he has anything else to say.

Morgan nods and continues back to the group heading to the station. "Safe journey."

"You too," Britt offers, subdued. She watches him go, then returns to what she was doing.

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