Day 021: Defenses And Defenders
Summary: A trio of ex-Cs catch up in the wake of various Grounder attacks.
Date: 10 June 2016
Related: Follows Trust in Treachery and leads to Rifle Lessons.
Kai Grey Stone 

Forests Around the Camp, 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.

21 Days After Landing

It's not hard to find Kai. The wall's got eyes on her at least half the time, and indeed the female ex-C is currently taking a break from her digging up against her tree. Expertly watching the field.. with her eyes closed. Okay, so more like she's been running on fumes for two days and the food break she was clearly taking became somewhat of a nap break, propped up against a tree with her rifle across her knee's.

Grey shouldn't be up and walking around in the slightest. Since he left on the morning of the 18th, he's taken exactly three breaks, to sleep a few hours and then get up and start walking or jogging again. Still, despite the lure of his bed (and perhaps with the knowledge that he may well be giving up another tent in the near future), he's changed into his armored Grounder jacket — left open to appease the med-techs — and now carries a rifle openly, barrel-down across his chest in a ready sling. He asks a few workers here and there, and finds himself limping up to Kai in a minute or two. "Adams." He speaks once, then moves carefully away from the barrel end of her rifle and gives her nearest foot a nudge with his toe, repeating himself a little louder, "Adams."

Kai's eyes flutter open with a groan,"I'm up." the first words uttered as she endeavors to open her eyes wider than strictly necessary and wipe her hands over her face, adding a,"Fuck." onto that when it sinks in where she is. There's a glance up at him before she slides her rifle about her and dredges herself up from her spot with a sigh,"Grey." she acknowledges, then after another moment elects to add,"It is good to see you and the others back. For the record. I hope like hell you're well enough to aim though."

"Bullshit." The assessment to her claim to be up is given with a snorting sort of laugh. "Stay down though." Grey painfully unslings his own rifle before lowering himself carefully down to his knees, and then rolling into a sitting position alongside her, his rifle braced across his own knees so that the barrel points in the opposite direction. "Ow, shit. Ow." He grunts, letting his head rest back against the rough bark of the tree, "Yeah. We pushed hard to come back after that Trikru rage-bitch," apparently he's not so soft on all Grounders, "said the camp was already under attack. But Lip and I were slowin' things down." He rubs the heels of his hands against his temples for a moment, despite the pain lifting his right arm causes, and for a moment, Kai gets to see something that Gray simply didn't show up on the Ark, weakness. "It's all gone. Seven hundred people, plus however many hundreds of our own were on the ship. Just… gone."

He's coming down, so she stops, sinking back into her spot again with a wry smirk at his 'ows' that fades away before giving a nod,"I heard." she confirms quietly,"They tortured Cass and Asher.. infected them with this blood fever shit, and left them in the woods for us to find. To pass on the message we're all fucked." she drags a knee up to rest an elbow on,"We got lucky. Some of the guys from that village managed to call them off, but that was the small party. Tomorrow, day after at the latest.. hundreds of them are coming here."

Grey looks around the hilly area that the dropship came down into, grimacing sharply, "Don't know if it's better to try to clear the bushes, or use 'em to hide all the nasty booms Cole's going on about." He sighs heavily, patting the receiver of the rifle across his knees, "I'd been hoping to use these as a bargaining chip. Like, 'back the hell off or we open fire so much that the Mountain'll definitely notice, and then you're screwed too.' Guess I shoulda shared that plan." His fingers caress the sharp lines of machine-stamped steel on the rifle, "Way I hear it, unless the order to stop comes from the Heda, their sort of Chancellor, the kruheda, their Councilor, she's got free rein to do whatever she wants. So we either gotta convince the kruheda or the Heda to back off, or we've gotta stack so much Trikru cordwood around the walls that they pull back. And I don't think we've got the ammo for that, especially not with untrained shooters."

"So we'll do what we do and survive. Always so negative, Kai." Words so rough and gravelly they sound like stones rolling down a mountain across each other, once rich an resonant and pleasant. A voice belonging to the monstrously big ex-C who caught an arrow in the throat yesterday on the front line of the fight and who is now slipping quietly out from some trees in that damnably sneaky way he has for someone so big. Billy Boy Scout Stone shouldn't be up and walking any more than Grey, with his throat newly stitched up and Morgan likely to have an apoplexy if he tears it, but here is the big guy, bare torso doing a Mummy impression with all the bandages, a cargo vest slung loosely over it, a rifle carried openly, sling over less damaged shoulder. As he's slowly striding in, an upnod given to Grey with easy grin, he's answering the man's last comment. "We don't have the ammo. Me an' others been crankin' through it and we're comin' up with more duds than I like and gonna be done sooner than I like too. We've still got a pretty decent stack, but not enough for any more full auto. Was wasted effort anyways. I only went that route for the first shot in the battle, hopin' it'd scare them off. Didn't even pause 'em."

"'scuse me while I find my happy face." Kai snarks for Stone without even pausing to add,"Holes." Kai and Grey are against the tree, and the worn out looking female ex-C gestures out into the tree-line,"Inner ring of spikes.. gopher holes.. outer ring of caltrops. Any mine's they get finished can go in the holes I've already made as an extra little fuck you." she opines,"And we tried that.. rather, Stone did that. We didn't open fire until it was fucking obvious they weren't going to listen. I remember the warning about not using them.. but bluntly, we're all already dead. These might keep us alive a little longer, I'm not going to die to the Grounders for what the Mountain /might/ do." she grunts a nod,"Yeh.. they were.. sort of trying to take me through that shit when Wren and his friends showed up. And man what I wouldn't do for a lot more trained shooters right now. But I figure you and Stone, and a few others if they can fit.. up in the sniper nest.." formerly known as the top of the dropship,"The rest of the untrained and whatever others of us are still mobile will be on the ground. Hopefully the techs can get us a few bombs and this shit.." she gestures out at her field,"might stop them from pulling down the wall again. At least short term. Any non-com's we need in the dropship and we just.. try to make it as costly as possible in the hopes they back the fuck off. Single-shots for the newbs. Controlled groups from you lot. The longer we can hold them on this side of the wall, the better our chances are.. but bluntly I figure anyone on the ground is dead."

Grey nods upward to Stone in greeting, "Yeah. I promised Greery," That would be Faolan, who has been doing a lot of the rifle-and-ammo-guarding lately, "that I'd come up and help sort rounds too." He shrugs slightly at the reports of the battle, "But how many people were firin'? If it'd been…" and then he shakes his head, "Nevermind. Too late for that now anyway." Letting out a little breath, he listens to Kai's report, "I'd assume that the Trikru're watchin' just about everything we do. So anything we want to be a surprise, it's gonna have to be behind the wall, or somethin' like that." He grunts thoughtfully, "What about… uh… shit…" he's looking for the right word now, "Bunkers? Foxholes, whatever. Outside the wall? Some way to keep 'em away from the wall without leaning over like a big target. Oh, and screw you, Adams. I'm still mobile." Ish. "I'm gonna be right on the front lines, where I belong."

"Happy face, Kai. Happy face." Stone quips in that horror-voice with a shit-eating grin for the girl, moving to lean his bulk against a tree across from the pair stiffly, a hand reaching up to scratch at a bandaged shoulder already healing well. Grey's talk of the number firing, brings a small shrug from the big guy, but he doesn't interrupt to justify their wasting that particular element of surprise just yet. The talk of bunkers earns a thoughtful arch of thick brow, but he's shakin' his head a bit. The last bit about being on the front lines earns the man a grin and a raspy snort and Stone's finally replying in that terrible voice. "I haven't decided if I'm gonna be up there again or if I'd just manage better sniping for now. Not much use to anyone when a single stitch pop and I bleed to death shortly after. An' trust me, it hurts my male pride like a mother fluffer havin' to admit that." Another snort and he's adding. "The bunkers I think might be nasty. I saw them puttin' arrows through half-foot firing slits in our wall at 30 yards. Bein' trapped in a little box with about the same hole, no one's gonna be able to dodge. As to the numbers of guns…eh, we still can make a grand show of noise-makin'. For now all they know is we got two functional and a couple guns that they never saw fire a bullet. But I get what you were gettin' at."

"Me and him." Kai chins in Stone's direction,"Bonheur had a rifle, next time she doesn't get one. She can't follow orders for shit. Morgan and Elias focused more on keeping people like Fi alive. We'd have won if there had been more of us." at least, that's her opinion on it. She makes a handwave gesture,"Thought about it, but that's definitely a death warrant. Outside of our lines in the middle of an army that has been doing this shit since they were old enough to hold a spear." she rolls her eyes in Grey's direction,"You and that lunk there are some of the best shooters we have. You're already fucking injured, and right now you're more useful putting bullets in people from a spot they're going to have trouble reaching. You want to think with your dick, you go right on ahead cowboy, doesn't change that you and him." she nods in Stone's direction,"Are more useful raining death from on high than you're going to be on the ground. You run out of bullets and decide that you want to play pincushion by all means, be my guest.. this aint about keeping your ass safe. That spot worked. It needs to be manned by people who know what the fuck they're doing." the grey-eyed girl growls for both of them with a shake of her head, shoving herself forward so she can grab her shovel and move to start digging more holes as they talk simply because 'awake' right now for her amounts to 'get back to work'.

"You did win." Grey gestures back to the camp, "Everyone in there's still alive, and we got the time to fix the wall. That's a win, even if the Trikru from C-Bur helped." He shakes his head a little at Kai's mention of thinking with his dick, although he waits until she's done before responding, "I promised people that I'd be there if they were in trouble. I'm not gonna hide my ass away while they're standin' on the walls takin' arrows." The idea of bunkers is apparently shrugged off, although he does note to both of the other ex-Cs, "If they can get up to the base of the wall without trouble, we're kinda screwed."

Stone, for his part, takes Kai's rant with an easy grin and relaxed acceptance he's known for, even the language that he's long since given up on trying to lecture her about. At the end of it though, he can't help but quip aside to Grey in that gravelly voice from hell. "Reminds me of her dad when she gets all feisty and foul-mouthed like that." Unlike most of the ex-C's though, Stone says that with surprising admiration rather than as mockery of her father and her in turn, even if he couldn't resist the teasing. "I think that long-haired guy, Jumar, was gonna come lookin' for you after finishing up helpin' with the bullets, by the way. He had some ideas about some trickier traps out here for Operation Pigsticker usin' the powah of physics or somethin'." The powah of physics is given with a little 'jazz hands' gesture and a lopsided smirk. "Told him to ping you about it. Had a couple people already ping about Operation Madness too, so hopefully we'll have some bodies there with some degree of sense." He shuts up after that, taking in Grey's talk, nodding minimally (and even that causing an ugly wincing) in agreement with him, respect even as well, though he probably won't be following suit this once. To the end part though, he's frowning, offering up in rough perplexity. "They didn't even really try the wall it seemed like. Weirdest thing. The melee mostly jus' ran from tree cover to tree cover while the archers picked us apart. Probably tryin' to draw fire an' didn't expect to take hits until my first stream caught one in the face and another's hand. Those archer's though were freakin' vicious good shots." A hand unconsciously reaches up to very, very tenderly touch the blood-soaked bandages at his throat, memory clear.

"And you will be there. By protecting them from above." Kai argues, ignoring the 'won' entirely,"And that's sort of why I'm busting my ass planting these things. They used horses to pull it down. Found the tracks out there. So holes to break ankles. Caltrops so that if they bring the horses in again it'll fuck them up. We're already stripping as many branches from the trees as possible for this project for better sight-lines. If we have the time and people I'm going to sabotage other ones to give them less places to freaking hide and more ways of hurting themselves." hissed lowly with her back to the woods as if that might help keep any listeners from hearing, the grey-eyed girl squatting down again,"We're screwed no matter what. Most of what I'm trying to create out here makes it a risk to our people, not just theirs, but what it does is provide ways for them to hurt themselves before they even get close to the damned camp." Stone's words about daddy dearest strike a nerve, clearly given the sudden scowl that crosses her face, a muscle in her jaw twitching as she squints at her feet and counts to ten in her head,"Whatever they can build fast. The more that we can take out without the risk of lives, the better."

Grey nods at Stone's commentary, "Except without quite so much ramrod up the ass." Beat pause, and he looks to Kai, "That's a compliment. But you can give me all the orders you want, Adams, I'm gonna be on the wall with everyone else." He grunts at the mention of Operation Madness, "A whole lotta people want rifles. I think half of them are scared of bein' without when we have 'em, and don't give a shit about the Grounders. Wouldn't be surprised if some of them are plannin' on shootin' other Arkers if they make it down." He frowns in thought at the description of the battle though, nodding his agreement, "Makin' us burn ammo, although they probably just expected arrows and spears." Kai's fatalism causes him to shake his head, "Screw that. I'm not ready to die just yet." Arrow through the ribs not-withstanding, apparently, "I'm not plannin' ways to make more of them die. I'm tryin' to plan ways that we live. That's why I want to try to take a shot at Sonia if someone can point her out. Maybe put Cassandra up in the nest as a spotter? Indra too if it comes to that. Kill the most-pissed-off, maybe we can talk to the rest."

Stone looks a little guilty at that tension in Kai about the dad, but doesn't make things worse by apologizing. He just looks down at the ground more like his old shy self and holds his tongue to take in the words of her preparations. Grey's lack of nihilism brings dark eyes back up and a big grin to follow it. "That's the spirit. I'm all for it. Heh, I even had the stupid idea that if it comes down to it, I wonder how they'd take me backtrackin' their camp, sneakin' in and tryin' to pop the witch in the nose and challenge her to a duel. They want their 'blood will have blood', they could have mine…but only if she beat me." Yeah, cause he totally looks like he's in a state to do _that_ right now. Still, it's a pretty little fantasy to go try, even if he knows it's a stupid one.

Kai gives Grey a flat-eyed look,"Aint an order, Grey. It's trying to make use of what resources we have in the best way I can. And yes, a whole lot do. And yes, most of them cannot be trusted with the damned things, and yes, we are likely to have to pry them from their hands afterwards at gunpoint. But as long as they can do what needs doing in the short-term, that's a risk I'm willing to take. Specifically because I'm not about to lay down and die for them either." there's a slow, sardonic smile from her,"Wanna know who is going to be the best couple of people to /make/ that shot if she spots them?" and out her hands go in gesture towards them both,"Like seriously guys. We have a couple dozen murderers.. doesn't mean they know how to fight a war. If we cannot work together, we have no hope of making them work together."

"Don't know if they go in for single combat." Grey frowns thoughtfully, "Could ask Gideon. But if they do, I bet you wouldn't have to get to their camp, just call her out." His fingers tap against the body of the rifle across his knees, "Gotta be careful with that though. They have been learning to fight their whole lives, and not with firearms." There's a pause, and he shrugs a little uncomfortably, "Besides, I already told Oxfor that I'd pay the price for folks if the crash was intentional." The question of who the best shot is causes Grey to point a finger across to Stone, shrugging slightly, "Me, I was always more comfortable with a shock baton." That's verging on awkward reminders to those around him of his own crime, "None of us know how to fight a war, Adams. But the Trikru does. We're gonna have to hope to tech, to tricks, or to talkin' if we want to get outta this alive."

"Speakin' of the new resident Trikru hotty…" Stone gravel-rasps onward, maybe trying to change the subject since this argument's one he doesn't think Kai's going to win. "I was thinkin' of inviting her to the gun trainin' to watch if she wanted. Worst case, she see's how terribad most of our shooters are and tells the enemy. Best case, she sees how many guns we have and how many are ready to use them and tells the enemy and they rethink things." Or maybe it's just cause she's hot. One can never trust teenage males when it comes to females after all.

"Ask her." Kai suggests to Grey,"But if so.. me and the other uninjured will draw lots or something to work out who gets to play pincushion." she wipes her hands through her hair,"Know? No. But tactics was one of the few things my father and I actually agree on. It's why I'm perfectly okay with that girl.. Gideon? Being here. It's why I've been trying to get Wren to give me more information. The better we understand the way they fight, the better we can prepare for it. I'd freaking love to pick Kane's brain right now, but instead I'm working off of what I remember and making a bunch of shit up in the hopes that it'll keep us alive a little longer."

<FS3> Grey rolls Deception: Success.
<FS3> Stone rolls Alertness: Good Success.
<FS3> Kai rolls Alertness: Good Success.

Grey shifts in his seat at Stone calls Gideon a hotty, "Better not to." He looks down at where his fingers trace patterns on the side of the rifle, "She's jumpy around rifles, like most'a the Trikru." Drawing in a breath, he lets it out in a slow hiss, "But she's not gonna tell the enemy anything. She's givin' up everything she ever knew to be here." No, you can't trust teenage males with hot females, provided their inclinations are in that direction. Clearing his throat, he half-turns with a grimace of pain, pushing his way up the treetrunk to stand again, "But she's gonna be back soon. I got a set of fatigues waitin' for her."

Well _that_ got another arched brow from the gigantic ex-C, and even a little raising of hands in a 'I give' sort of gesture of a man backing off that idea on more than one level. "K then. Anyways, I was actually wanderin' out here for a reason before you two distracted me. Was gonna check to make sure both of you had the cycled in good mags. I'm huntin' down the last of our unchecked sets to go through before the training." Stone seems content with leaving that whole matter be and moving on it seems, so hormones don't trump loyalty.

"She's already back. She came in when Wren and I were talking. I gave her my granddad's Devil's tee." Kai notes as she gets to her feet, apparently she don't swing that way given the girl doesn't have any reaction with regards to the idea of Gideon being hot,"But Grey's right. She's as dead as the rest of us if she gets caught here. That makes her okay in my book." she dusts her hands off on her pants,"But speaking of training, maybe we should see who we can gather and give rifle 101, yeh?" there's a nod from her to Stone,"Oh I made sure I was on the first rotation of that, yeh. Sure as shit not interested in having another dud round."

Grey's shoulders tighten at Stone's gesture, as if to protest, but he just shakes his head, patting his mag, "Yeah. Got good ones. The few we got. Figured we wouldn't do any live-fire training. no ammo for it." He looks back to the camp at Kai's note, frowning in thought, then nods, "Yeah. Tell you what. Gimme a couple-ten minutes to get her settled in, then we can start drawing people around for some training."

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