Day 005: If We Don't Live Together, We're Going To Die Alone
Summary: The Delinquents are split on potential strategies to combat the Grounder threat and retrieve their missing number. Is the right path defensive, offensive, or perhaps… persuasive?
Date: 6 May 2016
Related: Weather To Take The High Road Or The Low, Peace or Bloodshed, Misplaced Anger
Cassandra Cole Faolan Fiona 


With the removal of underbrush and a half-dozen small trees, there is now a tiny clearing around the dropship. It has begun to fill with detritus from the ship, including all of the seating, padding, and removable plates or bulkheads. Several tents have been set up within the clearing, set close together within the confines of the surrounding trees. There are no defenses to speak of, save for the usually-open door to the dropship and the ship's metal walls.

The forest immediately surrounding the camp has been cowed into near-silence, but is still vibrant and green to a people used to stark metal bulkheads all around them.

5 Days After Landing

The way back to camp is scoured mostly in silence, at least on Cassandra's end. She always looks vaguely unhappy about something, especially when other people are around, but this afternoon she looks especially unhappy. After bidding adieu to Marcus, their fellow tracker and resident zoologist, she pulls Fiona aside for a quiet chit-chat as they head back to the gathering of parachute-tents by the Dropship. It's a serious conversation, that's for sure.

Cole's favorite words in the english language are 'I told you so'. The ability to use it as often as he has recently has been a godsend to him, personally. But the mechanic does have an ego the size of the Ark when it comes to believing his own genius about his ability to do anything that pertains to the mechanical or electronic. To be fair, his talk usually backed up by his walk, if the water purifier is to be believed. Or the dropship. Or the solar stills, nothing if not competent.

However, he's finally starting work on the one thing that he's wanted to build since he got on the ground, and it's only now that he believes that it's a project that'll actually be wanted, never mind needed. The wall is… well, it's not a wall yet, not be a long shot, but he has been preparing for said wall, setting aside large metal panels from the inside of the dropship, felled branches, cut vine, and a lot of other metal parts that wouldn't seem to go in a wall, even if he has a personal use for it. Cole has made no bones about it, has asked for help, but has not ordered. Besides, he's also made it clear that if you're not going to help him, stay the hell out of his way. And somehow he's found tools. Like, actual tools. Wrenches, screwdrivers, socket wrench, stuff like that. Half a roll of duct tape that is always on his person. And a tire-iron that he's currently using as either a pry bar, hammer, or weapon, depending on his current mood.

Cassandra isn't the only one who returns from the scouting mission with a serious expression. And for all that Fiona barely knew her until recently, the pair sure do seem to be in cahoots now. Whatever the conversation entails finds Fiona and Cassandra in agreement, and then Fiona approaches Cole (invitation extended to Cass to join her.) "Hey," she says. "You got a minute?"

Cass lets Fiona do the talking once their conversation is no longer private. The Tesla ring-leader is known to be good at that, after all, while the disreputable brunette is for now more interested in sizing up Cole's efforts on that wall. There's no hiding that she's impressed by it, and she doesn't need to vocalise it. Her eyes drift from the busybodies carrying branches and bits of metal to the techie's manual work and the tools he appears to have found.

A hand snaps up, a finger held up, the universal symbol for 'hold on'. Cole is at the very edge of the camp, in front of the main path that leads in and out, and he's counting. His feet are walked one directly in front of the other, and he's silently counting the length across the path. "Ten feet, extent toooo…" he mumbles something, then squats down on the dirt, pulling the flathead screwdriver out from between his belt. He's writing in the dirt, some math. Lengths, measurements, dimensions. Might as well be reading Latin unless one actually likes math. "The fuck you want, Fi?" is his eventual reply, looking up at her. That may sound surly, but if anyone actually knows him, that's his usual tone of voice. And well, not like he and Fiona haven't talked enough.

And unsurprisingly, Fiona's unbothered by the greeting. "You and Mika catch wind of Grey's plan to get our people back?" she asks, adding, "If you haven't, here's a quick outline: it's terrible."

Cass doesn't like math. She does vaguely understand it, though; the girl has a thinking head on her shoulders, and that's really all math is — the language of thought, in its purest, most undiluted form. Though it doesn't much interest her, she does pause to take it in with some contempt for the near universally-disliked, puritanical science, digest it, and then raises her head up to watch the exchange.

"Heard enough that he plans on fuckin martyring himself in some goddamn numbnuts plans to attack the Grounders," Cole grunts, standing back up, using the point of the screwdriver to point at the space he was counting, as if ticking something off that only he can see. "If that's the fuckin hill Grey wants to die on, I'm not going to stop him. Kinda fuckin stupid, but hey, if he's looking to get himself killed, he's more than happy to get his own fuckin Darwin Award."

"He won't just be getting himself killed, Cole." There's an askance glance at Cass before she steps closer, keeping her voice lowered so only the pair can hear her. "Anyone who follows him will get killed too, and it's likely they'd decide wiping us out is the best solution for them to prevent further attacks. Cass and I have both tried to convince him to let us try to negotiate, but he refuses. But if enough people refuse to just outright start a fight, maybe he'll agree to give it a chance first."

"You swear a lot," the quiet one in this exchange points out to Cole, in the role of Captain Obvious. "See you got working on that wall, though. Good thinking." High praise from Cassandra, who rarely has a nice thing to say about anyone. Or perhaps she simply wants something. She continues to survey the work progress while Fiona speaks, and states her case after. "It's not about being lovey-dovey. I'm the last person anyone would accuse of being lovey-dovey. It's impractical. There are people on the ground who know the ground better than us. Guns blazing isn't going to accomplish shit."

"So what the fuck are you asking me to do, Fi?" Cole asks, turning away to mark the ground on either side of the main path, a rock used to make said mark. "What exactly are you expecting me to fuckin say, then?" he asks her, rubbing a hand over his face at the fact that his work and his concentration are both being interrupted. "Alright, you want my fuckin opinion, here it the fuck is." He starts ticking off points, pulling a finger for each one. "There's probably more of them then there are us. They are better combatants. They have better weapons." Beat. "They have weapons period. They've been here a lot long than we have. They know these woods a lot better than we do. We're either going to be treated as a fuckin joke, or we're such an insult by the fact that we fuckin exist, they'll kill us all out of sympathy. That's my fuckin take on it. Now," he moves to the side, taking one of the longer branches and dropping it infront of the path, as he looking to see how it'll fit. "If for some reason you think that whatever the fuck I have to say will make any kind of fuckin difference, then fine. Not like anyone has listened to a goddamn word I've said up until this point. Been screaming to the goddamn wind something like was going to happen."

Fiona can't help herself, she smiles a bit at Cole's colorful language, though it still has a grim cast to it. "What I think is, you have the most influence amongst the tech kids. I think that you're the best person to convince them that when Grey tries to push to attack the Grounders, they join up with the rest of us who want to try talking first. If it fails, Grey and whoever is with him will get their fight anyway."

Cassandra nods along in silent agreement as Cole ticks off his list. She lets him do the swearing, work himself up, while she simply stands there cool as a cucumber. This is exactly what she's been saying, to her mind, but it's better coming from Cole. "Or you could just keep people busy building a wall. Everyone wants a wall." She sends another, pointed glance towards the resident bustle of child labour. "We go charging out there now and bring them down on the camp without our defences shored up, their hard work will be wasted and all of us will die. Sow some fear and discord." She shrugs. Apparently suggesting one act as an instigator is a normal thing for her.

"You a giving me a fuckton more credit than you think I got, Fi." Cole grunts. "Personally, getting real fuckin tired of breaking my goddamn back for some of these people. Not when you got fuckstains like Zoe and Ruth, thinking they can roll their fuckin own. Stealing shit, conniving little fuckin bitches, sabotaging efforts to everyone alive." That screwdriver gets used a pointer finger. "The moment you start thinking of your own goddamn well-being, that's just the quicker you're useless to everyone else as a whole. And I don't have any fuckin need or desire for useless fuckin people." So, yeah. There is no gray with Cole. You're either with us or against us. "I can talk to them, Fi, but fuck if I know if it'll do any goddamn good. As for fear an discord, shit." He snorts. "We're doing good on that end all our fuckin own. Most people are fuckin scared. Or pissed off because they're scared. But I'll tell you this, Fi. If we or you or who the fuck ever can't convince Grey to leave, I'm fuckin gone. Me and Meeks got our fuckin contingency plan. Suggest you think of a damn backup too. Because I sure as hell wouldn't be putting all my hopes the idea that you can convince them not to be stupid."

"If we don't live together, we're going to die alone," says Fiona softly. "And people like Zoe and Ruth are self-interested in a way that basically means all we have to do is convince them that not supporting Grey is in their best interest. I'm pretty sure they can be convinced of that." She leaves that alone, though. "Nobody's going to convince Grey to leave camp, but maybe we can put him in the position of not having the numbers he needs unless we try negotiation first." There's a dark look Cassie's way.

The insult to Ruth's person nets a smirk from Cassandra. By now most of the camp has probably heard about how the two nearly kicked the crap out of each other against the Dropship, heroically saved by the unlikely Lip. Cass came out worse for it, and she wears the proof in the form of a shiner on the side of her jaw. And sure, his insults may theoretically apply to her too, but for now that doesn't bother her. "Well, that's sorted then," she concludes. Fiona may not have given up on Cole just yet, but she has, and she takes it in good humour. With the heel of her hand, she reaches out to give a friendly little pat to the beginnings of his wall. "I heard you were looking for an Earth Skills teacher's pet, by the way. That's me. I'd have offered to help sooner, but I've been busy out putting those skills to practice." The dark look sent her way isn't missed, and she returns it with a small smirk and a raise of her eyebrow. Non-verbal communication is her forte. This one says: leave it to me.

"I'll stick around, Fi. So long as people don't start doing shit that'll get everyone killed. Because I got fuckin faith in a person, but when you put a lot them in one group, they get real stupid, believing stupid shit. If I see the wind blowing that way, I'll take my chances on my fuckin own. Because at least if I die out in the wilderness, I'll have no one to blame but my own dumbass." Cole remarks gruffly. No, the man may be idealistic about their goals, but realistic enough to see the forest from the trees. "Fine, Fi, I fuckin get it. You want me to talk to the goddamn techs because for some reason you think it'll help, I'll do it. And just so you know, those people? The ones you just aren't an issue? The ones that only care about them fuckin selves? They're the bigger issue than the Grounders. They will divide this fuckin camp and we'll have bigger issues than some dickwads with bows an arrows. I say, if you want this place to survive, you find the biggest instigators of that shit an fuckin kick'em out." When it seems he's said all that needs to be said, he shrugs at Cassandra. "Solar stills. You want more water out of them, take a look at them. Tell me what's wrong with it and I'll fuckin fix it." Simple as that.

Fiona lets out a little sigh of relief, some of the stress leaving her shoulders. "That's all I can ask." She says, "We need to get our people back. Then we can take a hard look at what's going on inside our walls. But we're gonna need you, Cole. Even when times get hard. Especially when times get hard." She responds to Cassie's expression with a nod, asking, "Shall I leave you to it?"

"Ooh, solar stills," says Cass, puckering her lips in thought. "I'm no physics expert or engineer…" A challenge. She contemplates it with interest for a short pause before she starts to head off, leaving the two to their discussion, but glances over her shoulder to kill two question-birds with one stone. "I'll do what I can."

"Fine," Cole says to both them, apparently done talking. "Now, if you don't fuckin mind, I have a goddamn wall to build to keep rest of these idiots safe. Because for some fuckin insane reason, I actually don't want to people to die." Irritable as always, Cole is. Then the man scoffs at Fiona. "Of course you do, you people would be lost without me." Was that joke? Maybe? Partially? Either way, he's going to keep himself busy with his work and yell at anyone who tries bothering him again. Fiona gets a pass, because he actually likes her. Or at least tolerates her more than others.

Faolan gives the departing Cassandra a look, a thoughtful frowning look that says that she's being uncooperative as to which label she's supposed to wear. He never did like not knowing where to place people. But it's Fiona and Cole that are his target. The tall kid is carrying his spear as he always does now, coming from a circuit of the camp. He's taken upon himself to be the watch, him and whoever else he has kicked into action. Not a bully by nature, he's still big, and trained, and he can bully. Circles under his eyes says he hasn't had a shut-eye since the river. "Hey. When we go to rescue our people," and there's no if or buts in his tone, "we need this wall actually coming up. No more lazying around. Gotta kick these kids into action. No food if they don't work. No sleeping in the drop-ship." The words grated out, hard.

"Yeah, good luck trying to tell Cookie who she can and can't feed," is all Fiona says to that. "I'm pulling my weight." And she is. She may not be an expert in any one area, but she never shirks from pitching in. "Are you in accord with Grey?" she asks of Faolan. "About how to go about rescuing our people?"

"Holy shit, I am not dealing with this right fuckin now." Cole is about two steps from beating someone with his tire iron. "Right because people can fuckin build anything being starved or sleep deprived. Because that makes fuckin sense." His tools are thrown in a back. "I need to pull some more branches down, but I'm not dealing with fuckin Captain Blood over here acting like he's in charge of my project." And indeed, he's going to find more wood to help build the frame of the wall, but it's clear his patience for this camp and it's people is starting wear real thin. Never mind starting to really question why the hell he's bothering to help as much as he is.

"Never doubted you were," Faolan tells Fiona. "You got morals, you got a sense of responsibility. But enabling people to jump off a cliff, and that's what we're doing right now by letting them laze about, that's no better than killing them ourselves." And Cole drags Faolan's glare into full focus. "IT'S NOT YOUR FUCKING PROJECT! ITS EVERYBODY'S!" Calm down, calm down. He is counting aloud to himself, hand against his forehead. Deep breaths. Finally his eyes return to Fiona after a prolonged period of being squished shut. "Yeah. I am."

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