Day 055: Familial Disagreements
Summary: Kai catches up with Cameron while they walk back from the Mountain and they wind up in an argument about technology and land use.
Date: Day Month Year
Related: Follows Early Morning Reunions
Cameron Kai 

The Wilderness
Early into the trip back from the Mountain
Day 55

The great mass of humanity, Trikru and Skaikru alike, are on the move, and though Kai has promised her First that she'll jockey one of the wagons of wounded with him, first she has to take the opportunity to catch up with her Skaifriends, knowing that while her journey will stop in Tondc, that they will be going on to Alpha. Jaha. Whatever they want to call that place. So. Cameron is the first to be ambushed, the ex-Skaikru Second waiting until she spots him among the tide of people and dropping in next to him to wordlessly offer him another apple from her pack. Her armor's been strapped up again, despite the two obvious bullet holes in it, marching with her various aches and pains isn't fun and the extra support of the stiffened leather at least helps with keeping the sore bits where they belong.

Cameron's looking a little tired, but determined; and now that he's outdoors again, he's alert and … relatively calm and content, all things considered. He's just seen some horrors and some friends have died, but he'll deal with that privately and when the time is right. During a march to… whatever they want to call that place, he's got things to do. Like keep an eye out for Mountain Scouts. As he marches, he keeps one hand on the knife Kai handed over, just in case he has to pull it quickly. Glancing over, he offers a small smile with just a hint of dimples, "Heya, Kai." He did learn at least one Trikru word. Then again 'heya' is really not a hard one to pick up.

"Hei Cam." Kai offers with her own wry smile,"Been a long and strange month, for both of us, I expect, and from what I caught from the others we'll be going to Tondc, though you guys will be going on to Alpha and I wanted to at least just.. talk, before all that happens." she's not got her hand near her sword, the hilt near her hip. Not that thing from the dropship she had when Hail Mary set out, hell, about the only thing left of that is the Cadet boots she still wears,"Wasn't sure, at first, that you made it back, though after they shot Tuan a good dozen or so were pursuing us towards Coesbur, so figured in the least they were probably not chasing you down too."

"Eden, that was… how long ago? It feels like a lifetime." Cameron's laugh is soft and not really full of humor, but its not quite bitterness, either. It might just be a release. "I went to ground and took my time getting back, so made it safe. One person in the shadows is really hard to follow if they know what they're doing. By that time you guys had lots of their attention, anyways. Then the battle… it was chaos. You wouldn't believe how many bullets it took to take Sonia down. I think I shot her two, three times myself! I was certain we were all going to die at the end there."

"Tell me about it." Kai drawls in agreement, then dips her head,"Oh believe me, Sonia's remaining people still hate the Skaikru with a passion. Can't say I'm the slightest bit sympathetic to them, honestly. Which hasn't exactly endeared me to them either, but well.. they attacked skaigeda, they got what they deserved." she shrugs her shoulders slightly,"We got across the log bridge, and Tuan stopped to argue with them, to buy time to get to the treeline. And although he did not offer them aggression they decided to shoot him. We had to run flat out the rest of the way to Coesbur just to stay ahead of them, and once we got there.. aside from being pissed that we had dragged them further into the conflict, they formed up a group.. Wren, Britt, some of the others, and we went on towards Tondc. Only to get picked up by one of Indra's patrols." she grimaces,"The full warband? Was bigger than we knew. A thousand warriors. Fiona, with Eli's help, managed to negotiate with the kruheda.. but it was all kinds of fucked in it's own way, and got more fucked from there as I mentioned." she sighs and shakes her head,"I was pissed, Cam. Not gonna lie. All that time I'd been hoping Kane and his goons would show up because all of that work we were doing.. all the traps, everything, I knew it wasn't enough and had no idea how to fix things. And when he arrived.. too late? I just.. I really just wanted to kill him. Straight up."

"A thousand?" Cameron shakes his head slowly, sighing, "Even if we had held our own, even if our bombs and traps worked best, even with guns— with limited ammo at that!— more then ten to one… There was never any hope at all, not really. How did Fi and Eli talk Indra down? The kruheda wasn't exactly described as forward thinking and full of forgiveness and sweetness and light, by Coesbur's people." But then he nods his head, frowning, "You had every right to be pissed… but you know what's blowing my mind? Morgan said Kane's been… stand up. At least about this alliance against the mountain. About how he's dealing with the Commander. And organizing us for action. For Morgan to say that about Kane… Kai he hated Kane more then you did, I bet— but I wouldn't wager any rations on that bet for sure. Nothing short of my life being on the line would have kept him from not trying to kill Kane on sight."

Kai gives a nod of her head,"Tell me about it. Making peace with her was the only real chance we had." she grunts, eyes flitting over the column with a slight shake of her head,"I went and.. ah.. made friends. With one of her warriors." she reaches to her right eye socket and the bits where the skin didn't fully heal smooth,"At the time I was sort of hoping he was going to kill me, because it beat sitting around waiting for them to wipe out skaigeda and murder us. Which is what I figured was going to happen. I.. don't remember, when Eli and Fi, or her.. for that matter.. showed up.. it's sort of blurry, but she stopped the fight. And we.. Fi apologized to her and we.. them, mostly.. because fucked if I remember all of it.. repeated the Traveler's prayer." there's a pause there as she consider, nodding vaguely for his words, though before she elects to address them she admits to him,"She wanted to know, what we would do, if the Chancellor failed to bring forth those responsible for Thripoda. She asked of me whether I would get involved if that happened, and I said yes." her eyes flit his way and then back to their path,"He's.. been weirdly pro Kane. To me, they all are. I didn't use to hate him.. I don't now, really. Not anymore. I don't trust him, but that comes down to I hear too much about 'dumb savages', and I don't trust any of them to not fuck up the alliance. Which, y'know, is sort of important to me all things considered."

"You make friends so easily, Kai." Cameron says in a very mild tease, a quick flash of dimples before he gets a bit more serious, "Well, what matters is you guys did it. We heard the horns at the end, after Cole set off the fuel from the dropship as a last stand. We thought it would be more war. Then smoke. And next thing I wake up in clean clothes, in a little, bright white room. A *small*, *locked* white room. I… kind of had a panic attack so don't remember the first night in the Mountain very well, except we were in quarantine and decontamination. Then they gave us… cake." The inclusion of 'cake' into the story just sounds so weird he's nearly incredulous just saying it. "I don't really think one thing or the other about Kane except if Morgan's right and he's doing what was needed to rescue us, he can't be all bad. Doesn't mean I'm going to put up with the Guard pushing everyone around and any Ark bullshit, though. This is the Ground. And they owe us. The 100. All of us that are left, who died for them without so much as being asked to do it. That'll always include you as far as I'm concerned." He frowns, "You're probably getting a lot of shit for this kom Trikru business, aren't you?"

"I'm good at making friends." Kai answers with a grin, then grimaces with a slight nod of her head,"I was fucking scared, man. I remembered what they'd said about the Mountain and wasn't sure they weren't just.. killing you guys off. I kept trying not to… think about it. And just try to go with you guys were all alive." there's a tight ghost of a smile,"But it sounds like.. at first at least? They were trying to fake you guys out and be nice? With cake." that can't help but make her give a brittle kind of laugh. There's a slight nod and shrug of her shoulders,"Be prepared, there's.. a lot of them that want to talk about how hard it was after a bomb went off on Unity Day up there and they weren't sure they were going to survive and shit.. and most of them do not take well to having it pointed out that really that's fucking mild compared to what happened down here." she itches at the stitches in her neck absently,"Traitor. Grounder pounder. Plenty of muttering about how I'm a disgrace to my father's legacy. Yeh. Mostly I wont go inside the wall at Alpha at this point. But I also don't want to. They offered me a commission as a Guard, but really.. I'd be a shithouse Guard. It's one of the things I realized in the end.. they don't protect the people. They police them. The Trikru? The Warriors? It's our job to protect the people. And in return the people care for them. They support them. Even me. They're not afraid of them, that's a big difference for me. Sure there's those who still hate me on the Trikru side because to them I'm still only tenuously Trikru.. but I've bled for them, and for a lot that's proof enough." she pauses,"So what was it.. like? You said there was art in there? Shit worth saving?"

"Inside… they told us you all died. Not just everyone that they couldn't quote-unquote 'rescue' from the 'outsiders', but that the Ark had no survivors. I mean just for that I want to find their President and rip his floating head off myself. I… did not do well, and didn't make anyone proud those first few days. I was a wreck thinking Morgan dead. Gotta be honest I didn't give a second thought to anyone else until Scarlett warned me about blood donation and I got suspicious. I was just… floating from place to place in denial." Cameron takes a deep breath, and lets it out long and slow, "The first President, Dante, I think he was planning on integrating us into their gene pool. That would have been smart. Few generations they with superior technology and now our gengineered legacy giving them immunity to the radiation on the ground? They could have taken the ground fro themselves. It was when he… stepped down for quote-unquote 'health reasons'." Since when does Cameron air quote? He's doing it a lot now. Weird. "That things got weird." He then grunts and shakes his head, "Yeah the number of shits and sympathy I get for the people who are on an even half-functioning space station while I'm fighting to not get eaten on a hostile world with a not at all functioning dropship and nothing else? Zero. Negative. They are in shits-given debt, Kai." Then he nods slowly, smiling, "Yeah. I can see you as a better warrior then a goon. The goons think weapons mean they deserve respect. Respect is earned." Then he looks… wistful, "There's so much worth saving, Kai… That's what Mount Weather was. Originally. A refuge in case war broke out to save … everything, a cultural repository. Its.. the entire cultural legacy of the old world. To call it … art … is beyond an understatement. The legacy of the greats that we only saw in database files? Are really there. I don't know if Trikru respect art at all, I know they respect craft, but true art is different… but float me we have to save that archive. Monet. Rembrandt. Van Gogh. Di Vinci. To help out I helped the curator— Scarlett, she was a friend— and I saw… I didn't see even the smallest fraction of their collection."

"Some of the stations didn't make it. We watched bits of it fall off and burn as it was coming down." Kai grunts quietly,"But yeh.. there was no fighting there when they decided to gas you guys." she shakes her head as she falls silent, smirking at his assessment of shits and sympathy,"Yep. And bluntly, most of them aren't interested in even acknowledging it exists. So expect you're probably going to want to smack a few people." she tilts her head as she listens, then grunts,"They respect it, in their own way. Not preserved, but breathed new life. Tondc was Washington.. the big statue of that guy.. Lincoln? Sitting in a chair? That's near the gates of Tondc. I've sat in his lap and watched the sky.. it's.. pretty humbling in its own way. Paintings though..? There has been too much war for them. Too much hand-to-mouth survival. Their art is practical, and durable, because otherwise it doesn't.. survive. Which reminds me. At some point.. I would like you to tattoo the names of the dead on my arm, if you think you can? Tattoo's are.. not uncommon, for the Trikru, and it's something that I want to remember."

"You know this kom Trikru thing is a little bit tempting. There's only so much I'm going to put up with if the Ark decides to be Ark-ish down here and refuses to change the way it needs to." Cameron wrinkles his nose, and does nod thoughtfully at her talk of art, "That's what worries me. That they might just see colorful canvas and not care about it one bit. And then carelessly light a match." He shivers: its practically his second worst nightmare, right after losing Morgan. Then he's nodding his head again, "Me? Why not Ginia kom Trikru? I mean I don't know how to actually do tattoos… or how to make tattoo ink. Its something I was going to trade Coesbur for when, uh there was a Coesbur. I mean it's a skill I'd like to learn: hey, maybe I can introduce tattoos to the Skaikru? I mean, I could write out the names in a scripted pattern for Ginia to copy if you wanted, sooner?"

"If you decide you've had enough come and talk to me, I can introduce you to the one's likely to take a risk on a Skaikru convert. Most of them in my warband. Being a Second isn't easy, I'll tell you up front. Your mentor is known as your First.. and part of how they teach Warriors to appreciate that their actions have consequences beyond themselves is that if you fuck up.. it's not you that eats shit.. it's them. Wren's my First. Him and the rest of Coesbur? They were punished for refusing the kruheda's order. Wren and that Maker, Que, Gideon.. steheda Oxfor himself.. they got the worst of it. The first three for helping us, Oxfor as their leader. It's… not something I've spoken about with the others, but is something you need to be aware of if you ever change your mind. But also something you need to understand when it comes to me and Wren." she murmurs,"Well, you design it. I haven't met Ginia yet, though Morgan mentioned her to me." she rubs at the back of her head,"Regarding the art.. it's probably not going to mean anything to them.. and they're probably going to want to see the Mountain destroyed. Hell, I want to see the Mountain destroyed. But the Heda's orders have been very clear that only the guilty are to die. And she has been working with Kane.. so, it's not likely to be destroyed out of hand." she shrugs her shoulders again briefly,"God Cam.. she's beautiful. The Heda. She's not that much older than we are, but I've watched warriors who scare the fuck out of me bow their heads to her when she passes."

Cameron listens attentively on the talk of being a Second, and he nods his head slowly, "I'll keep that in mind. I didn't think it'd be easy, I've got no illusions that the Trikru are a soft, easy-going people at all." Then he nods in agreement about the tattoo, "Yeah, I can design it. Make it look good and not just be names, a sorta memorial thing." He has to frown then, "I understand wanting to see the Mountain destroyed, but most of them are just people, Kai. They have jobs. Families. They are cooks, or hydroponics farmers, or curators. They think the outsiders are these monstrous savages who murder them indiscriminately if they dare venture into the outside. Now, everyone on Security, Medical and in Administration, I'll kill personally if I can, for Cookie, Hanne, Ruth, Adam, even Rawlins. But the rest…" That said, he squints, "She's not much older then us? And yet she rules the Coalition? How is that? Coesbur couldn't stop falling over themselves calling us children with disdain." He's baffled by this.

"They can be easy going.. some things are a bit oddly casual, for me. You'd love the bathhouse.. they have tubs of hot water, co-ed bathing.. the first time I about died going in there." she laughs and looks at her feet briefly before nodding,"Yes, please. And you're ignoring what I'm saying.. security, medical? Those guilty of the systemic attempt to wipe out the Trikru for literal generations? They're guilty. Britt told me that their team encountered a woman and children, and they did not harm them. Reno was saying something about there might be a non-lethal solution to help them be able to come outside.. for which I will absolutely help. But that place is just.. the Trikru will never be able to trust someone living in that Mountain.. and why should they? They've lost thousands of people to it. I'd see them moved. Let them join you guys in Alpha. Strip that place of it's useful bits, preserve the entire art collective, no argument.. just not.. in there." she laughs,"Oh she's not a child, no. We are, compared to them. Because we are impulsive, short-sighted, and self-centered in a lot of ways. But among them? At our age? We're supposed to be adults. That's why they didn't.. realize, at first, that they were not dealing with an invading warband but a bunch of violent kids who are too stubborn by half." the way she says it suggests that at least some of that she's proud about, at least,"Granted.. from what I hear, if they think that we're annoying.. they have more respect for us than most of the people that came down in Alpha."

Cameron shakes his head, "I'm not ignoring what you're saying, Kai, but when you say that with one breath then 'destroy the Mountain' with another I get wary." Then he shakes his head, "Reno might have ideas, but he's not a doctor— and even if he has an idea, its a long term one and not something that will work fast— and they can't leave the mountain. Force them to move and you're executing them all no different then you do it with a knife. Confiscate all their guns, you've already destroyed their missiles. Then leave them with their paintings and farms and they're completely neutralized. There's nowhere to move them. You think the arkers can just absorb a couple hundred families we don't know, don't trust, and… what?" He shakes his head, "Not going to work. You insist they leave the mountain, you insist they all die. Its the same thing." Then he wrinkles his nose, "Now you're sounding like them. At our age, we're supposed to be adults on the ark, too."

"Yeh, well, I'm wary about the Mountain. And I'm more wary about some of the similarities I see between the Ark and the Mountain, Cam. Can you guarantee that the people in there, or the people at Alpha aren't going to decide that they need more technology and it's totally okay for them to have it and if the Trikru and the rest of the Coalition don't like it.. who cares? They're just dumb savages anyways, right? My reasons for wanting the Mountain destroyed are simple.. I never want what happened there to happen again." Kai says with quiet resolution,"That doesn't mean that I want them out of there in a day, or a week, but that ultimately that place needs to be dismantled. Permanently." she glances towards him,"The Ark seems to believe that it's perfectly okay to just do whatever the hell it feels like, because they know better. You've been in there, but I've gotten to watch it, and hear it, over and over again. Oh, and speak for yourself.. I still have a few months until they'd have floated my ass."

Cameron squints at Kai a moment, "I don't see how its any of Trikru's business what technology we have, keep or use. Of course we're going to further develop our technological base if we can do it. That goes without question. There's a lot of differences between the Ark and the Mountain, Kai: be careful you go to far, you're talking about stuff entirely from one perspective. I for one have no intention of letting us go pre-technological or post-technological depending on how you look at Trikru culture, if I can do anything to stop it, but just because I want technology doesn't mean I'm going to start thinking its okay to capture and murder people and then floating feed them to other people." He shakes his head slowly, "You say the Ark seems to believe its perfectly okay to do whatever the hell it feels like, what I'm hearing is its perfectly okay for Trikru to set terms and determine based on their point of view alone what it is okay for us to do or have."

"And where are you guys going to resource the stuff to keep doing that, Cam? What are you going to do when it's Trikru lands? Or Azgeda lands? Or any of the others? When those people aren't going to be willing to give up their land to allow the Skaikru to keep expanding their technology? What was on the Ark was already dying, what's in the Mountain seems to be as old if not older. Mecha and Factory's facilities aren't here, and even if they were.. Alpha is on Trikru lands. Are they going to ask for permission to take more of Trikru's land for the facilities? What if they say no? You are just as much taking a single view, that everything the Ark had, it is entitled to keep, but do you really understand the cost of doing so? Do you really think that they are not going to take exactly the attitude you just expressed and feel themselves entitled to do whatever the fuck they want, even if it encroaches on other people's land, or destroys their ability to sustain themselves.. not the luxury of fucking dataslates and solar power, but the basic ability to survive?"

Cameron shakes his head slowly, "Sorry, Kai. We're not going to agree on this at all. What you want is for us to subject ourselves entirely to the Trikru and give up our heritage to become them. For people like you who want to, fine, you can do that. But my dad won't ever be able to do that. He's a hydroponics botanist. He's never going to be a farmer. And I wouldn't want him to be: they sneer at our technology, but hydroponics are superior to farming in every measurable way. Its been known for centuries. Not only is it less resource intensive, but it produces bigger yields, faster, and year-round. Granted, we'll want to expand beyond … soy." He wrinkles his nose, "Besides, you're exaggerating. The Trikru don't use even a fraction of their territory, most of this land is wild, and Arktech is NOT a resource hog that will lead to rapid expansion like old world industry. Still, should we just take? No, of course not. We'll negotiate some terms and trade. But expecting us to give up technology? That's never going to fly." He does add, "But yes, Kai. We're entitled to keep everything that is ours. And its our duty to try to do so."

"So to you, if they say no to the Skaikru taking their land to repurpose it for their own ends just means.. Skaikru should ignore them and do what they feel like anyways. Is that what you are saying?" Kai asks of him,"And somehow they are not supposed to be.. offended by that, or see it as an encroachment or an attack? And you, and the rest of the Skaikru.. you are fit to stand in judgment of what they are or are not using and what is acceptable or not acceptable for you guys to decide we need that now so we're just going to take it? Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, Cameron, and the thing about having been a student of military history and tactics is I understand just how many wars were fought in the old world over precisely such reasons, by people who felt that their luxuries were more important than the use the land already served, and those who went to war to stop the destruction of their home." there's a shake of her head,"That even you feel such a thing is justified only makes me all the more certain that eventually, the Ark will become the Mountain, and this shit will all happen again because someone decided they were entitled to live in ways this world can't sustain."

Cameron stares at Kai for a long, long moment, as if he had absolutely no idea who it was he was talking to. "I didn't say anything like that, and you're being willfully belligerent to suggest I did. We're here now. We have to come to an accommodation. We'll negotiate and come to agreeable terms. Or not, and we'll face the consequences, but I doubt that will come to pass. But this idea that we're just going to give up everything and subject ourselves to the Trikru's whim and will? Its as crazy as the shit the Mountain did. Its destroying us as surely as the Mountain destroyed the Trikru."

"I didn't say you had to give up everything, Cam, but it's already dying, you know it, I know it. The only way to sustain it, long term, will be to recreate Mecha and Factory's facilities, and that is when the issues of land use and entitlement are going to come into play. And still boils down to; at what point is the Skaikru's desire for technology going to exceed the ability to sustain it? And if they are already arrogant and dismissive enough to call it Trikru's whim, how is that going to go? You're full of shit to say that living without technology would kill the Skaikru. That's a completely ridiculous statement to make.. but we're not going to agree, and if you can't even acknowledge that there's a point where it will be unsustainable.. then really, I suppose we should just stop wasting our breath." and there's a salute from her before she slips off, shaking her head to herself.

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