Day 014: Not Dying
Summary: The Delinquents at Coesbur discuss politics, both their own and the Grounders'.
Date: 23 May 2016
Related: Follows Doctor Knows Best
Cameron Cassandra Ginia Morgan 

Village Center; Coesbur, Trikru
The village of Coesbur is a middling-sized settlement of the Trikru clan. It has two major entry points, both of which funnel into the village center. The first entry point is from the west, and is across the Coesbur Bridge which stretches over one of the branches of the divided Potomac. The other entry point is from the east, and provides a direct route to the road to Polis. The village center is really nothing more than a large dirt courtyard surrounded by a variety of structures. While most of these are Grounder-built, there is one that survived the apocalypse. It is a tall, octagon-shaped stone building made of brown and red brick. It's roof is domed, and made of tarnished, greened copper with inlays of colored glass. Broad, white steps lead up to the two-door-wide entrance to the building.
14 Days After Landing

Kasandra kom Skaikru has been a busy girl at Coesbur. Making introductions, trying to strike up trade agreements, running to and forth from the infirmary to try and impress the villagers with her medicinal plant know-how and all that she has to offer. So far she has had little success; many still regard her warily, and note that like the majority of her people, she is scrawny, weak-looking, and is rumoured to have reacted strangely to the sight of blood during a hunting expedition. At least she tries.

She's here again today at the village centre, bright and early barely two hours after sunrise. She sits atop a disused, tall stone pedestal not far from the bridge, overlooking the courtyard while she enjoys a breakfast of fresh red berries, courtesy of the Staheda's guestright.

At some point within those two hours the village square slowly starts to get busy with locals coming and going, from the various crafting places that are there or in any out of the large brick building. It's business as usual for the Grounders, whether they have guests or not life must go on.

Toward the tail end of that time, Ginia moves into view, holding the hand of a young child looking to be no more than four and heading to her own little crafting booth. Sliding wooden hinged doors of it to the side and around the building out of the way. The woman has grown used to the sight of the Skaikru teens so Cass goes unnoticed for the moment, but the young boy is certainly staring at her, like any child would at something new and potentially dangerous. "<In Trigedasleng> Who are you staring at Luka?" she questions the boy before looking around and then spotting the teen girl on her perch. "Morning," she will greet politely as she would anyone that has guestrights in the village.

Cassandra and Luka kom Trikru have one thing in common: they are both fascinated by one another. It is easy to forget that one's vicious enemy — even one you are striving to forge peace with — has children, not just warriors. And so the teenager stares at the four year-old intently in turn, creasing her brow and pursing her lips. Slowly, she raises her hand and gives the boy a little wave, pocketing the rest of her meal for now and finally, turning to look to Ginia. "Good morning," she curiously replies, checking the sun overhead to see that it is indeed so. "How do you say good morning in your language?"

The boy lifts his hand to tentatively wave back to Cassandra, then glances up at his mother as if to check if that was okay. Ginia nods at the boy, so he waves a bit more enthusiastically "<In Trigedasleng> Good Morning," she says to Cassandra in answer. "That was good morning in our language." If it wasn't obvious.

From atop her tall, disused stone pedestal, Cassandra sits and spectates the village of Coesbur, talking to a mother and four year-old child — Ginia and Luka kom Trikru. As they exchange their morning greetings, even in Trigedasleng, she smiles. "<In Trigedasleng> Good morning," she repeats, this time in their language rather than her own. "Hard to believe it's already been three days. I feel like we might be off to our camp again soon." To the boy, she adds, "Ai laik Kasandra kom Skaikru."

It appears that Ginia has just opened her stall for the morning, but has gotten a bit distracted by Cassandra before she actually started into any work. "You are learning quickly." Ginia nods in acknowledgement of the second greeting, maybe indicating that the pronunciation was passable. "You have learned enough from us than?" she asks in a curious fashion. The young boy introduces himself at the prodding of his mother. "Luka kom Trikru." Though he soon spots more children and tugs Ginia's hands and points to them. "<In Trigedasleng> Go play," she tells him, and he is pretty much darting off before she finishes the first syllable.

Cameron comes wandering out of the Hall, looking freshly cleaned and with slightly damp hair. That week of utterly being gross may have turned him a little obsessive when faced with the Grounder's luxury bathing. He glances around, and as his eyes fall first upon Cassandra and Ginia, he nods to the pair and moves along in their direction. "Hi," he greets, flashing a quick dimpled smile as part of his greeting.

"We don't believe in learning enough, on the Ark," Cassandra says to Ginia with a smile, curious brown eyes surveying the items she's set up on her stall. "How about you? Have you learned enough from us?" She upnods Cameron when he approaches, and as usual in public company of the Grounders, it's without a trace of any animosity towards the fellow.

"Well that speaks well of you. It is wise knowing that you don't know everything," Ginia tells Cassandra as she watches her young son run off to play with the other children of the village. The arrival and greetings have her distracted enough to not answer the question from Cass immediately "Good Morning," she greets Cameron in a near stoic fashion. "Kass-andra has told me your group may be leaving soon. Your whole group or just a few of you?"

Cameron shakes his head slightly, "Honestly, I'm not sure." He offers a quick, rueful grin. "It depends on when the summit is to be held. I'm not in the loop on the decision making. If the summit is going to be held soon, some of us will probably stay to attend, while the others return with news and then our other representatives come to join with Morgan here, since he's one of the three we've chosen to speak for the whole. But if the summit is going to happen sometime later, we're all likely to go back to base until it's time."

While Cameron answers Ginia, the so-called Kass-andra is squinting up at the sky she came from. She hasn't found anything remotely inspiring about that vast blue overhang since her arrival to the ground, which is far more novel, green and alive than her stifling home-town — but suddenly, keen interest is just what finds her. "It's…" She pauses, silently counting. "It's been two weeks. Two weeks since we landed, I think." At this, she turns and looks to the fellow Skaikru youth, specifically. "…Unity Day is coming up."

Ginia listens to Cameron speak, nodding at his words though one phrase does confuse her a moment "In the loop?" She looks thoughtful a moment, as she parses that, "Oh, you mean you are not in the chain of information." There is a look of understanding. "I am not in this loop you speak of either." She tells him. When Cass speaks up she looks between the two. "What is Unity Day?"

Cameron turns a startled look at Cassandra, and looks up to the sky; he's completely lost track of the date, and seems almost bewildered by having done so. Absently he explains, "When the bombs fell on the old world, there were twelve ships in the sky— Unity Day celebrates the day the twelve ships came together to build the Ark, our sky city, out of the bodies of those ships. It's a day of celebration and, theoretically, joyfulness."

"If the summit goes well, I guess we'll be having our own Unity Day." Cassandra's gaze remains fixed on the sky as she tacks this on to Cameron's explanation, dark features pensive, before she lowers her eyes to squint Ginia's way. "Did you go to your people's meeting, Ginia kom Trikru? What did they say?" There's a weight to her question, and like her Skybox inmate, she leaves off the part of the joyful story where the thirteenth station was blown out of the sky.

The explanation is listened to. Ginia looks perplexed about ships and arks but she gets the gist of it. "And you wish to celebrate that here." That makes sense, hanging onto familiar traditions in a strange place would give a sense of home. "If it does go well you would have more reason to." She shakes her head at Cameron's question. "I did not." Her gaze goes to where the children are playing, a bit rougher than the young mother cares for if her expression is any indication. "I have other responsibilities that keeps me away." Like a family. "Excuse me," she says as she hurries off to go deal with the rowdy children and their antics.

"That would be something," agrees Cameron mildly, but then giving a friendly smile to Ginia as she departs for her other responsibilities. "A Sky-Ground Unity day." That said, he sighs softly. "I meant to engage her in some discussion on their economy, or how they handle trade— it's something we need to know. Have you been able to figure it out? If, within the village, they simply work communally, or if they barter or have some other means of exchange; and, between villages, if they barter or have some other exchange."

The Skaikru Earth Skills expert frowns when she watches Ginia hurry away, just as she'd managed to get in that all-important question. Children are demanding things, of course, but Cassandra is a naturally suspicious creature — and that timing was an unfortunate thing. "They barter," she answers Cameron from atop her perch, observing the harried mother herd her family until they're gone from sight. "I went hunting with Roose last night. He suggested I might be able to get a dog if I had something to offer, though he might've just been teasing. Said Que would use the antlers on the deer we killed, but that it wouldn't be enough to get me a dog. I think their economy is a lot like ours, just less desperate — everyone does what they can and gets what they need. They work together." A pause. "Unlike us."

"I don't know if I'd agree with your assessment of us," counters Cameron with a slight shrug, slipping his hands into his pockets and moving over towards the girl's perch, lowering his voice just in case it will carry. "We might bicker like angry chickens…" Where the hell did he get that expression? As if he's ever seen a chicken. "…and disagree on all manner of big things, but everyone gets up in the morning and for the most part goes about doing whatever they're capable of doing to serve us all. Well, everyone but Zoe, but I have no idea where she got off to. We hunt. We forage. We build. We repair. You know anyone who is just sitting around sucking on our resources? Serious question because if you've seen someone not pitching in, I'd want to have a talk with them."

Cassandra resists the urge to kick Cameron right in the face when he walks up to her. Her foot is positioned just so perfectly… and she doesn't even try to hide that she's thinking about it. She leans back on her pedestal, looks him in the eye, looks at her toe, and there's this unspoken 'here is my personal bubble' tone to her guarded body-language. "Never got why you people got on Zoe's case so much," she counters. "She gave as much as anybody. Took as much as anybody. Only mistake she ever made was make it clear she was giving for the taking. Isn't that why you're asking if there's anyone not pulling their weight? So you can be sure you aren't getting screwed out of your pay for pulling your weight?" The cynic surveys the village with interest. "I think they're better than us," she states with confidence.

The look that Cameron gives Cassandra at her expression is a disinterested roll of the eyes as he says, "One hundred half-trained ark-bred delinquents can't survive setting themselves up as an economy, not at first at least. I don't keep track of how much food I gather and make sure I get exactly that much back, I take all my kills and gatherings and give it to Cookie and everyone benefits. In Zoe-world, Zoe benefits more then everyone else. We can't afford that kind of short-sighted selfishness until we establish a baseline level of production. We can't afford that as long as every single day is a struggle to feed everyone, and days go by sometimes when we simply don't have enough food and everyone's hungry. Besides." He shrugs and shakes his head. "The shit she was pulling trying to push people into taking off the bracelets was coercive." He's still wearing his bracelet, even.

Even Cassandra is wearing her bracelet, which certainly begs the question: why? "You just see the world in black and white, Cameron," she tells her fellow inmate. "Zoe was smart. Well, smart as you or Hanne, at least. Mind like hers, we could have used that. Only dumb thing she ever did was split, 'cause like you, she saw the world in two dimensions and couldn't get past her own self-interest. You? Same problem, opposite sides. Can't get past your groupthink." She jumps down from the pedestal — a mistake. Now she doesn't have the height advantage over him any more, and is just a small, scrawny Farm Station girl with flimsy arms and a big mouth.

"Since I can hardly get anyone to agree with me on anything, I have trouble crediting myself with groupthink," replies Cameron wryly, shaking his head as he does so, "Smart or not, she was a liability. I'm not happy she's gone— we can't afford to lose anyone— down here everyone's an asset, even if a difficult one like her. But?" He makes a vaguely dismissive gesture, "I can't say things haven't been smoother since then, either."

Cassandra scoffs. "You say that now," she says dubiously. Her tone is bitter as always — but when one of the Trikru nears the pair, she looks up and smiles at him, waves, then turns back to Cameron with a sunnier disposition, lest they be caught in their private disagreement. "Nature abhors a vacuum." And now, her expression jarringly contradicts her words, her voice pleasant and soft. "I can't help but notice you're pinning all of us against Zoe, meaning you're including me as one of the 'good guys'. Am I a 'good guy', Cameron? Are we friends? Or am I next on your list? The next Zoe? You keep thinking like that, you're going to end up with a list that's a hundred names long. And when it's just you and Morgan, you'll find he can't measure up, either. When it's just you…" She shrugs. "It won't matter."

Cameron snorts softly and shakes his head, and he can't help but give that sunny expression of Cassandra's an incredulous look. "I don't have a list, Cassandra, and Zoe was never on it, even if I did have one. You see, I didn't turn anyone against Zoe, I didn't do a thing against her, and if she were hanging from a cliff by the tips of her fingers about to fall, I'd help save her. I don't like her, I think she's a selfish bitch— and you are one, too; no, we're not friends— but that doesn't mean she's wasn't one of us. It was her choice to leave, not mine, not ours."

Cassandra considers Cameron's words carefully, lips pursed. "You should still sleep with one eye open," she says, in the tone a more normal person might say, 'Thank you'.

"Don't forget, I won't hesitate to kill you if you I need to. I always do what needs to be done," replies Cameron with a dimpled smile, with not a drop of warmth in it: he is not at all good at putting on a show of his emotions.

"I trust you better with a knife to my throat," Cassandra replies, reclining against the pedestal she was previously perched on. And it's a wonder she stayed on it so long — it looks very uncomfortable. "I mean, everyone has one, but at least yours is out there. Like theirs." She lifts a hand, jabbing it indicatively towards a group of Grounders gathered around a market stall. "You notice how that Ginia chick left right as I asked what was said at the meeting? You know our problem is we need them more than they need us. That's some smarts you could borrow from Zoe's book. She knew how to make herself needed while she was here, which is why she got so many bracelets."

"I don't disagree with that being a problem," remarks Cameron. "But the real problem is we simply have almost nothing to make ourselves valuable. Not right now, as we are, not until the rest come down and bring whatever equipment they can save from the Ark. What use is a science without the tools to apply it?" He gives a half shrug. "I'm a trained botanist, but is that any value to the Grounders? No. It doesn't really bring anything that their herb lore doesn't already have— not without at least some basic lab equipment. So what use am I? How about a chemist? Without a burner, some beakers, test tubes, what's the value in knowing about chemical composition and interaction? Very, very little."

"You're a bad liar," says Cassie grimly. Many people would consider that a good thing — apparently she doesn't. "None of what you're saying matters. A good salesperson can sell ice to Hydra Station. You even made the effort to talk to them about this stuff? Because if you make yourself look useless, that affects my chances here too." 'My'. That word and all others like it sounds so important to her.

Cameron rolls his eyes again, shaking his head. "Selling fairy dust doesn't do us a lot of good when it comes time to deliver on the ability to fly. Don't think for a moment that they won't tear up any treaty we have and retaliate if they decide down the road they didn't get value out of it." He then grunts softly, "Of course not, I'm not an idiot. I talk up botany, and just skip past practical applications besides identifying plants— which they already know how to do." Cameron and Cassandra are hanging out near a broken stone pillar-thing, chatting in quiet tones and somehow not stabbing each other as would probably be expected.

Can it be true? Yes, Cameron and Cassandra do indeed appear to be having a friendly conversation of some kind. Perhaps the Grounders' decision to remove weapons from the Skaikru's hands has done the delinquents some good, and forced them to talk out their differences like the rational adults that they are not. "That's if we can even get a treaty in the first place," she says with a content, placid expression, smiling as bright as the early morning sun. "And they don't kill us all in our sleep."

Morgan walks out of the Steheda's hall, squeaky clean and his hair still damp. There's some time to kill before the summit so he looks around to see if anyone or anything catches his eye. Spotting Cam, followed a moment later by Cass, he heads over to them. "Hey."

The greeting Cassandra offers Morgan is considerably less warm than Cameron's, but that's normal for her. A lift of her chin, a second of acknowledgement in the form of eye-contact, and that's all he gets. "Any progress?" she asks the blonde.

"Yeah, I noticed." Morgan agrees and when he gets close enough, gives Cam a quick kiss before nodding a hello to Cass. "Not yet. The meeting should be starting fairly soon so I'm just hanging out till it does. We've already talked about what we'll be saying and what approach to take so there's no point in going over and over it."

For a moment, Cam forgets there's a village, cuz there's Morgan and he's got a kiss out of it. It's not a long one or anything, but Cam's mind turns to one track at times like that. Then he's back, and looking between the two a moment, "I'll be out here, moral support, if there's any breaks involved. Are you going to include talks about where they'd allow the Ark to land its ships, or is this going to be strictly between err Coesbur and DelinquentVille?"

There's a quick glance that Cassandra sends when those two kiss. Is that jealousy in her brown eyes? Wistfulness? It's hard to tell which of the couple she's envious of, if it's a specific one of them; maybe it's both of them, and just how happy they seem. "Allow the Ark to land ships?" she repeats, sticking to business as far as her words are concerned. "Don't bring that up. The Ark couldn't even allow itself to land on…" She lowers her voice, not wanting to open up that can of worms again within earshot of scary Grounders. "…Mount Weather like it was supposed to." Returning her voice to normal, she adds, "What about Quinn?"

Morgan looks around to see if any of the Grounders are close enough to overhear then lowers his voice a bit anyway. "We'll be negotiating between Coesbur and us. Oxfor is the leader of the village, not of the Trikru. So small group to small group. The Skaikru will talk with the Trikru so they're on an equal level. Fi went back to the camp when with the Grounders yesterday to get Quinn and pick up some things we want," he tells Cass. "One of which is a map and we'll be asking for suggestion on where they should come down. It needs to be near water but we don't want them to land on any Grounder villages."

Cameron eyes Cassandra a moment and snorts, but doesn't comment beyond the 'you be cray cray' look he wears that's clearly readable. He does nod to Morgan, keeping his voice low as well. "Makes sense. It's better, really, if we're just the 100 to Coesbur. If we can establish that bond and then prove that we're both useful and trustworthy about it, then when it comes to the larger negotiations, we'll have some good will and trust built in."

"Besides," Cass adds, shifting her weight and folding her arms across her chest. The metal of her steel bracelet shines in the morning sun. "I don't want to be negotiated for on the Ark's behalf. And that's why Quinn will be there." She gives Cameron a sharp look, as if she suspects foul play would be involved in Quinn's absence.

"That's why we're all there. Fi is just as in agreement about it as the rest of us," Morgan notes. "Speaking just for myself, I expect a number of people to run straight for the Ark once it comes down which leaves the rest of to make our own future for ourselves. That's what I want to negotiate for. Maybe we'll make out own village, separate from the Ark. Separate from the Grounders. Understanding both and able to move from one to the other. Or something like that maybe," he says with a shrug then looks to Cam. "Might even be people from the Ark who'd want to join us in that. Your dad maybe."

"I got all three people I voted for, Cassie, honey, sweetheart, dear, lovebunny. I want Quinn here, too," replies Cameron to Cassandra, his tone mild to the point of bored. It's bland even as he continues quietly, "You keep having this cute idea that I'm an Ark Loyalist just because I'm not a sociopath who isn't going to let hundreds of people die because I'm having a tissy fit." He glances over at Morgan, looking thoughtful, and nods. "Cavetown, sounds good. I don't know if Dad will or not, but he might. He's… not as strong as Mom was." A darkness falls over his eyes, but it passes quickly. "But I'm not clear where he stands. Politically, after… you know. We'll see. Even if he doesn't, we can use him as a go-between between Cavetown and agrotech loyalists."

Cassie has been called many names in her eighteen years. Honey, sweetheart, dear and lovebunny are all relatively new additions, especially considering the source. She slowly and deliberately rolls her eyes Cameron's way, and if looks could kill… well, hers would be a bop on the head. "I'm going to leave you two to your optimism," she says, in a tone that implies that 'optimism' is the most demeaning insult she has to offer anyone. "Starting to worry it's contagious." She steps away towards the Seat, giving the two a wide berth.

Morgan can roll his eyes too. See? He just did. "Yes, pessimism is responsible for the creating of some many great things in history. 'Let's not build any space stations, they'll never get off the ground.' Or 'Fire? You're just going to burn yourself. Get over here and eat your raw meat.' Seriously, Cass. It's not even optimism. It's called having a goal to work toward. Even you must have things you want and work toward."

Cameron nods to Morgan, looking like he's completely in agreement with the guy. That's not actually something that happens all the time. Reaching out his hand to snag Morgan's and squeeze it, he adds, "We have to have a destination in mind or we're just wandering aimlessly."

Cassandra confirms that what Morgan says is true. "Not dying," she replies, on the subject of her secret dreams and aspirations. And with that she departs, towards the company of the sick and ailing in the infirmary.

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