Day 042: Definitions
Summary: Heda's healer, Arlin kom Trikru, and Skaikru Councilwoman, Dr. Anna Li, meet and disagree when it comes to the meaning of several things.
Date: 2016 Jul 09
Related: None directly
Arlin Li 


Lake Arkadia Audo — The Wilderness
Surrounded by breathtaking mountains and rolling foothills, the Lake Arkadia — or known as Lake Audo to the Trikru — is a sprawling, crystalline body of water that joins the Potomac watershed. It is encompassed in low grasses and young alder trees. The forests start to thicken to the west, where the rocky peaks of this small mountain range poke up out of the groves of hemlock and cedar. Following along a newly flattened path is the road to Camp Jaha. The Skaikru city is what remains of the crashed Alpha station. The enormous ring stands vertical some many hundred feet in the air, and it has already begun to be salvaged for materials.
Day 42

Councilor Anna Li is a cautious sort, but also one who believes deeply in her calling as a doctor and healer. Clearing her intentions past Kane, the woman had loaded up a bag of some medical supplies, and headed to the Trikru camp to offer her services, or to at least offer supplies. She walks steadily down the short hill toward the camp, careful of the loose dirt and low grasses. Her hair is twisted back into a no-nonsense knot, and she wears a pair of dark green scrubs. Her sneakers are old and worn, but comfortable, and barely make a sound on the ground as she approaches.

For those paying attention — and surely the Skaikru are paying attention — the Trikru camp is less bustling and crowded than usual. Why is that? Perhaps Councilor Li knows. Does the Trikru medic who is shamelessly bathing in the lake know why so many of his clanspeople are absent? It's possible. It might account for his pissed off expression — or that just might be his Resting Jerk Face.

Li pauses as she catches first the sound and then the sight of the man bathing in the lake. Her gaze immediately averts, and she clears her throat in a very deliberate way that hopefully catches the man's attention. If that doesn't work, this certainly will, "Ah… hello."

Does it catch the man's attention? It doesn't seem so. Or maybe he's a jerk in addition to having Resting Jerk Face, and he's letting Li stew while he busies himself with roughly scrubbing his scalp into a foamy lather. Arlin's eyes are closed, expression intense with the vigor of his hand's motions, some of the suds slowly sliding down his left temple. With the proper lighting, camera angle, slo-mo, and soundtrack, the scene might border on obscene. Lacking those things? It still might seem so depending on what kind of movies the Ark has and whether or not the good doctor has watched any.

Eventually, though, he firmly swipes back the suds — some which have the audacity to collect along his right shoulder, part of his upper back, and his neck — before he plunges into the lake. When he finally emerges, water splashes and hurtles as gravity and momentum will dictate, and he is dripping from his soaked hair and everywhere else, rivulets of water brazenly flowing along the contours of his musculature. Which, for the sake of reference, still is submerged just at waist level. Blinking a few times to clear droplets from his eyelashes, only then does Arlin appear to notice Li, whom he unabashedly regards with a vague kind of amusement born out of ego (he knows he looks good) and schadenfreude (why so shy, doc?). "Hello," is the reply in that voice of his, humored at her expense.

Li waits, though she continues to examine how nicely the grass shoots brush across the white tops of her sneakers. She waits patiently, or perhaps just because she has nowhere else to go and wishes to be polite. Her gaze does not lift until she hears the splash, and looks up only to get another sharp view of a half-naked Trikru. She shakes her head slightly, deciding to focus her eyes on his without daring to let her gaze linger. "Hello," she repeats, and then she casts a glance at the camp, only to look back at the man in the lake. "I was… on my way to offer some of my services to the Trikru." Her pronunciation is precise and well practiced. "I'm a doctor… and as you are our guests…"

"Your guests?" Now he's really being impudent, from the the tilt of his head, the set of his eyes of seeming gold-rimmed green, the quirk of his brows, and the curve of that mouth used to both punches and kisses (often as a result for the kind of look he is currently leveling at Li). "Well, doctor," the Trikru healer begins, a hint of something in his Gonsaleng accent that suggests, once upon a time, his family hailed from the southern United States, "seeing how this is Trikru land, you are the guests until the kruheda says otherwise. It is, however, only polite to offer something to your hosts. So by all means…" Cue the shit-eating grin and flourishing hand gesture to prompt her to continue.

Li does not look at all perturbed, her expression remaining soft and neutral. Helps that she has not looked anywhere but his face. "What is interesting about hosting guests is that the host is required to look after the safety and needs of those they are hosting." She smiles easily in the face of his jerkish grin. "So, would you like to come see to our care, or should I continue to see how I can help yours?"

Touché, doctor. Touché. For a brief moment, the smug look turns into a tight, bitchy smile. This is where he would make some witty rejoinder of how he sees cultural imperialism managed to survive a nuclear holocaust. Alas, for Arlin, he lacks the words in Gonsaleng, not to mention that the term 'cultural imperialism' may have died with a good chunk of humanity. Instead, sarcastic humor takes the form of a too pretty smile. "And your people do such a good job looking after the safety of my people by still parading around with guns. How courteous of you."

And now it's his turn to look unperturbed (probably because he's busy being a pain in the ass) as he asks, "Is it customary in your culture to not offer a name and simply get straight to being presumptuous? Daresay arrogant?" Beat. "Doctor." Clearly, the medic finds himself funny. "But it would not do for me to be rude." Somehow, Arlin manages to keep a straight face as he says that. "So if you wish to continue…" Again, he gestures with his right hand as he leisurely starts to cut a path through the water to the shore.

"You're right, that was very rude of me… but… I don't often come across naked men in lakes." Beat pause. "This is actually the first lake I have seen." Then she nods her head slightly. "I'm Doctor Anna Li… but you may call me Li if you prefer." She then starts to turn, giving him both a bit of privacy if he wishes to get out of the water and also consider the Trikru camp. She takes a step toward it, pausing only to speak over her shoulder to him. "Do you think us enemies of Trikru, Mister—?" And she leaves that open, indicating that he has not offered his name either.

"It was," Arlin blithely agrees about rudeness before that confession prompts a snicker and a question. "Are your people prone to bathing while still clothed?" Welcome to the ground, doctor. No shortage of naked bodies in bodies of water. And it would seem the Trikru have no sense of shame or modesty if one were to judge how the medic eases out of the water like it ain't no thang.

"What do you prefer, Doctor Anna Li?" Insofar as how to address her, not shying from eye contact as he drip dries where he stands on the grass. As for what he's called: "Arlin." Does he ever sound southern as he offers his first name, but it absolutely suits him the way he says it, down to the soft rumble of the letter 'r'. "Kom Trikru."

As for her other question, he matter-of-factly states, "If we thought you enemies, you would already be dead. It would be a mistake to consider your continued breathing to mean we are allied or that your people are not a menace that has yet to be proven otherwise." His words may be harsh but his tone lacks any semblance of rancor.

"Arlin," she repeats, smiling. "You may call me Anna." Then she sets her hand on her structured square bag, tapping her fingers on it gently. "Hmm," Anna muses. "I see… so we are menaces, unworthy… you think quite little of us, and do not seem to have any problem in saying so…" Then she looks at him with an angled look, not really shy now that she is taking him in like a curiosity instead of a threat. "The Trikru… they favor weapons such as bows, swords… spears… which weapon do you favor over others, Arlin?"

Raking fingers through his damp hair, Arlin cants his head and muses, perhaps for show the way his lips purse into something two ticks shy of what was once known as Duck Face. "Unworthy." He lets the word roll around in the air for a good moment before he decides, "Perhaps." That one is left to also twist in the wind. "It has yet to be determined. Arrogant, though, yeah." He smiles. "Presumptuous, definitely." It's far too needling to be a nice smile. "Your people had been warned about the Mountain, but decided to not heed the warnings, and Coesbur is destroyed. I define that as a menace. Your incompetence in the sky caused the destruction of Thripoda. I also call that a menace." Li must not be considered an immediate threat because the medic retrieves what passes for a towel and starts to wipe down.

"But are you unworthy?" He shrugs then, not seeming concerned. "Perhaps you have medicines and machines that may be of some use, but you seem to forget that the Trikru fair just fine without such things whereas your people? Not so much. Are you trustworthy? So far, no." Again, he smiles, with sharp humor. "And I have no problem saying so. Forthrightness is valued among the Trikru." Unlike those lying liar Sky People.

In response to her final question, there is that broad, all-too-pleased grin. "I favor whatever gets the job done best."

Li shakes her head slowly. "Incompetence?" Her brows arch high, expression open. "The theft of the dropship that crashed into Thripoda was done by traitors of our people, people who killed children in anger, and tried to kill our Chancellor. We are sorry… deeply… for what those traitors caused down here… and how their actions caused the death of your people. It is a heavy weight… particularly on my heart." She sighs heavily.

"Our guns are the one weapon we have that we favor most, and know how to use, and feel can protect us… particularly from people who may, in one moment, attack us for being who we are, for doing whatever we could to survive…" She turns slightly again, prepared to go to the Trikru camp. "You are asking us to not use a weapon that would protect us… from your people…" She looks seriously at him. "You are presumptuous to assume we would lay aside arms for people who are not even able to see us as friends, or allies. That is asking for trust… but trust that you are not willing to put in us. We will respect your wishes to not use guns in joint operations, but… we will not put aside our guns when there is not true peace between our people." She lifts her chin slightly. "And I think if you think about that, Arlin… you will see that, that decision is a wise one." She offers him a smile — gentle and polite.

"Yes. Incompetence." Although he does pause a moment, eyes flicking up and to the side the way eyes do when one is scouring one's memory. Ultimately, he decides he has the proper word. "You did not prevent the theft. You created conditions that prompted people to take such actions. If that is not the definition of incompetence, please tell me the proper word." As for the weight on Li's poor heart, Arlin is clearly unmoved. "It was a particularly heavy weight on the village of Thripoda. Flattened into nothing, then that nothing seared into further nothing." No sympathy there, doc.

Arlin continues to be further unapologetic. "If you believe Trikru are saying you had no right to defend yourselves, you are idiots. Had you been honest — smart — about the guns, it could have been avoided. Is it so difficult to say: 'We understand what you tell us, but know we will not hesitate to use these guns should Trikru strike'? Then the Trikru would be solely responsible for not heeding Skaikru warning. Are your young so poorly trained to not display the deterrent and show proper respect to those who agreed to concord? If so, again, incompetence on your part for not teaching them well." That's definitely acerbic. "Deception was chosen. A lack of trust in Oxfor displayed. A lack of concern shown for an ally who may yet pay for the kruheda's displeasure and who could have advocated on your behalf before it came to war." And here he presses the palm of his right hand over his heart and sweetly mocks, "But you are sorry and that makes it all okay." NOT. "Oxfor placed trust in you and now his village lies in ruin. But that is not your fault. It never is your fault. You did what you had to do — which clearly includes taking zero responsibility for creating the conditions of necessity in the first place."

In closing, he simply notes, "No amount of thinking will ever result in your actions being wise. Learn from your mistakes." Arlin offers a smile that is as caustic and blunt as much as Li's is not. "That does require admitting them first, though."

Anna arches her brows at Arlin, but then shakes her head, knowing a lost cause when she sees one. She knows better than to engage in an argument that will not gain any ground. So, she just politely nods and heads to the camp to see how she can help.

Arlin, for his part, looks entirely unsurprised. And if he is at all disappointed, he is disinclined to show it.

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