Day 055: Politics From The Barrel Of A Gun
Summary: Cameron demurs from handing over the rifle he took out of the Mountain.
Date: 25 July 2016
Related: None directly.
Ark Kane Cameron 

Eastern Riverbank, The Wilderness
Room description
55 Days After Landing

When the rescue parties make it back across the Potomac, and up-over the hill on the other side, they are met with what should be a welcome sight for the weary and foot-worn crew — wagons and carts gathered in a series of small clearings. There are Trikru embracing returned friends and loved ones, far more than expected, and Guard and med-techs on hand to greet the returned Delinquents — of whom there are fewer than expected. A Sergeant approaches Cameron, offering out their equivalent of trail rations: a block of soy and protein (maple-like flavored in this case), and holds out a hand for the young man's rifle. All throughout the party, similar transactions are happening, with only the Guard and a few others — the ones who brought firearms in — retaining their guns.

Cameron reaches out to take the bar, but when the man reaches for the rifle slung over his back, he's waved off, though Cameron does have a smile that's friendly enough. "This isn't one of the Guard's guns." he explains, lifting a hand up to rub at his face a little bit, and yawning. He seems… content. Happy even. Not a care in the world. But he also seems to not even vaguely be considering handing over the rifle and its half a clip of bullets he got from the Mountain Men.

The Sergeant nods his head, "We'll take care of it. Exodus Charter and all that." Evidently, he expects that everyone else is as up on the changes to the Ark laws as he is. He digs at his belt, offering up a canteen as well, "Want some water too?"

"Exodus whatnow?" Cameron blinks a moment, and the expression on his face says: I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. With a slightly sour note of: goon, with his narrowed eyes. "Look, do you know who I am?" He's famous! "I'm Cameron Scott. Of the One Hundred. Former botanist, convicted, banished to earth to die, left to fend for myself and who learned to do what needed to be done, and who fought a losing war against a horde of savage grounders — do you have any idea how many times I shot that bitch Sonia?! She would not die! — and then recently kidnapped by a bunch of floating vampires, who stole my gun and so I'm taking this one of theirs as a fair trade. Now I appreciate the rescue assist but if you think I'm EVER going to be unarmed again you're out of your floating mind. Welcome to Earth, buddy. It's dangerous here."

"Exodus Charter. You know, the updated laws for when we get down to… well…" the Sergeant scuffs the ground, "here." His eyebrows lift when the ex-Delinquent identifies him, "Huh. Lydia Scott's kid." He offers out his hand, "Thanks. I volunteered to be one of the sacrifices. So yeah. Your mom saved my life, thanks a lot." There's a pause, and then he adds, "I still need the rifle though, Mister Scott."

Cameron blinks a moment; mentioning of his mom and the thanks for her saving him, well. That puts this entire conversation on another foot. It makes Cameron frown, look down a bit, shuffle from one foot to the other: is this the bridge he means to stand on, to die on, if need be? He takes the hand and shakes it with a very sober nod, "She… did what she had to. To do what was right. I'm, uh, glad you made it down safe. That some of the 320 did. But." He takes a deep breath. "No." Apparently it is just that bridge. "It's my property. The Guard has no claim to it. I don't remember voting for any charter, I don't see how it has any authority over me. This is earth, the Ark has no claim to the law here until someone votes it in place. Until then, you want to make some reasonable request of me, like, that I carry the magazine separate when in the camp— whatever you're calling it— okay, I can live with that. But this is my rifle."

Despite his thanks, the Sergeant seems firm, explaining, "The Exodus Charter, it's been on the books for… uh… decades. For when we came down to Earth." The slow-down in the handover has drawn attention from further into the gathering, and Marcus Kane approaches slowly, "Mister Scott. Is there a problem here? We would love to get back to Camp where the wounded can better treatment."

"Yeah, what part of that Exodus Charter— thing— whatever it says, said you were throwing a hundred kids to the wild, then spacing three twenty more volunteers?" Cameron shakes his head firmly, "What part of it said a bunch of young men and women had to face an army alone with no support from the Ark? I don't see how whatever this charter is means anything at all to me. Things changed. Welcome to Earth." He frowns at Kane, but at least, he has no specific animosity, "The Sergeant here thinks he's getting my gun. Its my gun. My property. Its not the Guard's property and the Guard isn't gonna steal it from me. I salvaged it myself." Well not exactly. He salvaged the first one he found and he's just claiming this is a replacement for it.

"No part of the Exodus Charter says that, Mister Scott." Kane's voice is calm, although not Jaha-calm. "That was life on the Ark. The Exodus Charter is meant to be a promise that life would be different on the Ground, that the horrors that were necessary to survival on the Ark would not be necessary on the Ground." He listens to Cameron's arguments, and then notes, "The Exodus Charter states that only the Guard — and by extension, the militia — may carry firearms. Do you know the reason for this, Mister Scott?"

Cameron grunts, "Because whoever planned the entire Exodus Project were really bad at their job?" He gestures around them, "They envisioned an empty world, Mister Kane. A world free for our taking. A world where the only dangers are ourselves. And so, of course, they wrote it in so that the powerful will have the force of arms and no one else will. Well." He shakes his head, "How many people have you killed, personally, Kane? Since you came to the ground? I'm pretty sure i'm up to four now. You want to know why I killed those men— and women, I don't know. Because the ground is dangerous. I killed them to rescue our people who were captured. And now I killed them in defense of my fellow people after they came to rescue me. Thanks for that. But I won't rely on anyone else for my self-defense again, Mister Kane. The 100 have had to grow up a lot since we're down here, since we've learned we can rely only on ourselves. If you want me to trust you to protect me and mine, then prove it. Morgan said you did good in the rescue. Great start— to get him to say that about you is pretty amazing. But I'm not going to be unarmed again. The Exodus Project's little idea of a peaceful earth was wrong. Its time to adapt."

Kane's features harden at the mention of killing, "I do not take pride in the people I've had to kill, Mister Scott. And if you think that power comes only from the barrel of a gun, I feel very sorry for you." Taking in a breath and then letting it out, he goes on, "I agree with you, however, that Earth is dangerous. And that is exactly why we must rely on one another, and why the Exodus Charter is necessary. There are exactly two groups of people with firearms right now — the Guard and the Mountain Men. Once we finish off the Mountain Men, there will be exactly one. So, what happens when a Trikru gets shot with a firearm? Do you think they will assume that it is some rogue person with a firearm? Or do you think they will show up at the gates of Camp Jaha looking for justice? Controlling the firearms is a way to protect all of our people. If you would like access to firearms while defending our people, you may certainly join the militia, although that will require being willing to follow the orders of the Guard while you're on duty."

"Did I say I was proud of anything, or anything there about power? A gun is a tool. Its simply a better tool then a sword, which is a better tool then a knife. What I've learned has nothing to do with power, what I've learned is I am not going to be without the tools to survive." Cameron waves a hand vaguely at Kane's face, not liking this talk of pride or power, as he doesn't rather like that talk at all. "Don't forget, Mister Kane, I spent time in Coesbur. I met not only their warriors, but their makers, too. I'd like to think I made friends with a couple. I know how they'd react to someone getting shot, I know them. Blood must have blood. But that's easy." He shrugs, offering a dimpled smile with no humor at all in it, "I'm not going to shoot any Trikru. Promise. For one thing, I might be shooting my friend Kai. Or one of the ones who helped rescue us: I worked as hard as anyone but Fiona to make peace, I'm not going to start a war with them now. They know how to make paint. But if I see a Mountain Man anywhere I'm going to blow their floating heads off for my cousin Cookie, for Hanne, for Ruth, for Adam, float me, even for Rawlins though I think he was a jerk. There, problem solved."

"You say that you won't shoot Trikru, Mister Scott." Kane waves off the Sergeant, who is watching nervously, "I'm glad for that. Can you promise the same for everyone else in Camp Jaha? Even the bereaved parents of those of the One Hundred who were killed at the Dropship? We've already had one Trikru assaulted within Camp Jaha. If that man had had a firearm, the Trikru who led the strike on the missiles would likely be dead." He spreads his hands, "And if you do not intend to shoot Trikru with the rifle, may I ask who your prospective target is? Just the Mountain? The Heda of the Coalition and I are working very hard to ensure that they will not be a threat to us. As you say, Blood must have blood."

"I don't see how everyone else is a problem, Mister Kane." Cameron's tone turns reasonable, "You see, this is my gun. I am not arguing that the Guard should hand out its guns, or everyone have them. This gun is not Guard-issued. The Guard, frankly, has no claim to it." Then he points off somewhere, nowhere that matters, "What else? A panther, maybe. Big black cat thing, it almost killed us once. Sneaky, fast bastards might be stalking us right now, waiting for someone to be left behind. I intend on hunting from time to time. Well, I don't know what i'm going to do with my life now, but being a botanist is over with. Among other things, I'll be hunting, and there's a lot of dangerous animals out there. That's the thing: I have no idea what I'll run into that might be a danger, so I'm going to be prepared. But believe me, you see a big wild cat with a lot of teeth and claws coming at you, you don't want to be like I was my first time, and have only a sword. The fact that we killed it was only because there were six of us and one big cat. The world is dangerous here, Mister Kane. I find it unreasonable for the same people who chucked me out the window with barely more then scrap metal and parachute silk to live off of, to live for my own now expect me to give up what I salvaged by myself to defend myself."

"Everyone else is a problem, Mister Scott, because you are claiming an exemption from the laws of your people, as laid down decades ago." Kane crosses his arms over his chest now, "Are you the only one who should have that exemption? Or should it be all of The One Hundred who are now exempt from our laws? All of Camp Jaha? Where do the exemptions stop? Offering individual exemptions are not a sustainable way to change laws." His eyebrows lift slightly, "And your gun, Mister Scott? Did you kill the man carrying it and take it through right of combat like a Trikru?"

"Yeah." Cameron frowns more intently, "About that. I'm pretty sure I'm interpreting being floated and just happening to survive by dumb luck invalidates any claim to authority you have over me at all. Government derives its authority from the governed, and you damn well did a good job of excluding me from your governance. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm willing to forgive you for that, and allow you to make amends, but until I get a vote in my government, I don't see how Jaha has any authority over me at all. Or the rest of the 100." He frowns, "Those that survived. But, there's consequences to chucking us off at the earth to see if we bounce." And he looks away, agitated at that, "Wait…. Camp Jaha? Oh for the love of Eden, he did not seriously name the place after himself?! Is anyone even daring to run against that him?" No one has told Cameron anything about the current political situation. Or what happened on the Ark, for that matter. He makes a vague gesture at the gun, "I salvaged a gun on the ground. By myself— not one of those joint missions to raid stockpiles that you gave us information on where to find. So you have no claim on it, none at all. It was mine. The Mountain stole it when they kidnapped me, so I took this one in compensation." Which isn't all of the story, but its some of it, and he's sticking to it.

Kane shakes his head, "You knew our laws, Mister Scott. You made your choices. And, thanks to your sacrifices, we are here on the ground and you have been pardoned. And if you're looking for a vote, the election for Chancellor is the day after tomorrow." The mention of Thelonius actually causes Kane to wince a little, "Chancellor Jaha did not make it to the Ground. There was a problem with our launch, and he sacrificed himself, remaining on Go-Sci to send the rest of us to the ground. The name was given to the camp while I was out with the Guard, arriving at the dropship just too late." He draws in a long, slow breath and lets it out in a sign, getting back to the argument at hand, "If you wish to stay at Camp Jaha, you will have to live under the Exodus Charter. If you wish to change that Charter, I would suggest providing a great rationale than 'because I don't want to give up a rifle that I took from Mount Weather.'"

Cameron pauses, and he frowns, staring at Kane for a long moment. That whole Jaha thing threw him for a loop. He wasn't expecting the floating guy to go… well, float himself. "If I give you my rifle and decide later that me and Jaha are parting ways permanently and I want to leave, do I get it back? On your word? Floating terrible time to hold an election, man, you kinda screwed over us rescuees out of campaigning."

Kane allows that moment of re-adjustment before going on, "Doctor Li actually suggested that I postpone the election. She had convinced me, in fact, until Miss Kattegat, or rather, Councilor Kattegat, convinced me in turn that delaying the election would send the wrong message, that some — perhaps like your fellow One Hundred members — might see it as an attempt to grab power and keep it." Shaking his head, he changes topics back, "Let me ask you a question in return, Mister Scott. Do you believe that we should allow anyone who wants to leave Camp Jaha with a firearm to do so? Or even anyone who claims a firearm from a battlefield? Would you suggest… Miss Bonheur be allowed a firearm? Perhaps Mr. Finley?" That would be the father of Chuck Finley, who died at the dropship.

Cameron frowns a little bit, narrowing his eyes at Kane, "I suppose I can see Fi's point, even if it screws me and my politics out badly. I had an entire campaign plan. This election isn't enough. I want the Council to be elected, all five of them. Only then does … Camp Jaha's … government have legitimacy. That said I accept Jaha's appoint-all-five compromise as a starting point. Float me I just wanted more time to try to talk people into what a free society should be like." Then when Kane turns his question back on him, "Let me ask you a question in return: Do you dispute my right to property I salvage? Kick a rock over and you find something interesting on this planet. The question is, under what circumstances does the State have the right to seize my personal property? If you're drawing the line at firearms, my issue is that this makes your government little better then a military dictatorship. I don't like how you keep turning the question to 'anyone', or 'everyone': that's a reach. I'm the only person who personally salvaged a weapon on my own, not as part of a sanctioned expedition. Well, that I know of. The cadets managed to get all the guns under their tight control in the camp right away, which let me tell you, pissed a lot of us off right fierce. We have a right to defend ourselves and determine for ourselves what jobs we're doing in a fight. And, yes, I have no issue taking orders during a fight. But I plan on going out alone or in very small groups sometimes, hunting, foraging, salvaging." He then groans, "Cassandra has proven herself… unreliable." He's not even giving her credit for the rescue? Cold, Cameron, Cold. "I haven't. I might argue like hell but I am there whenever anyone needs me." He looks away, frowning. Glaring, even. "Except for Cookie and Hanne." No he totally evaded that question. Kinda.

Kane responds, "An interesting idea, Mister Scott. However, could it not lead to silencing voices of dissent? After all, if the votes run heavily in favor of one idea, won't all six seats on the Council and the Chancellor support that idea? On the other hand, most Chancellors are intelligent enough to select Councilors representing a wide spectrum of ideas, so that their ideas are rigorously challenged, and approved or disproved on their merits… but this is a discussion for another time. The matter at hand is on your shoulder." The rifle, of course. "And yes, I do dispute your right to illegal property, no matter how you obtain it. Under the Exodus Charter, it is illegal for anyone but the Guard — and in this case, designated security forces — to carry firearms. In fact, it is punishable by five lashes of a shock baton. And you still seem to think that all power comes from the barrel of a gun, as would be the case in a military dictatorship. If the people of Camp Jaha do not want me to be Chancellor, they will vote me out of office. As for your personal situation, I cannot and will not make exceptions for individuals. That undermines the law itself, which is for the protection of the Camp and our people. If you want access to a rifle, you can join the militia — you will be provided with a weapon when it is necessary for your duty."

Cameron frowns a lot more, "And who wrote the Exodus Charter? People who thought the world would be safe. Why does it have any authority? How does it get changed? Who changes it?" He waves away specifics of politics saying only: "The Council would be elected in a staggered fashion and possibly after dividing the population in some fashion into six groups each of which selects their own Councilor. Specifics depend and are subject to debate." It's said absently, but it sounds like he's actually given that a whole lot of thought in the past. "Who voted to ratify the Charter and give its laws legitimacy? They're imposed upon us. So they are, by definition, an act of oppression." He wrinkles his nose, "I don't want to walk around guarding the camp, for Eden's sake, I'm a scout. I've become a scout down here. My place is outside the camp. But I'm tired of this and want to see my Dad and go find somewhere clean to fuck Morgan. Here. But I'll remember this. You had no right to do this, no matter how you justify it." He tugs the rifle off his shoulder and hands it out to Kane. "I will find the biggest floating sword I can find and cut anyone's hand off who so much as touches it to try to take it away from me, though."

"If you would like to change the laws, Mister Scott, I encourage you to gather support for such changes. The mere fact that the Exodus Charter exists is proof that our laws can and should be changed based on changing circumstances. Just because you don't like a law, does not make it oppression. Those who crafted the Exodus Charter were the legitimate government of the Ark, the predecessors of my own government… for as long as that government lasts." Kane takes the rifle, slinging it over his own shoulder, "Thank you, Mister Scott. We do try to use everyone to the best of their abilities. The Guard and militia who have passable Earth Skills knowledge have been serving as scouts, along with Gideon kom Skaikru. I'm sure your father will be most pleased to see you. I've spoken with him several times since Arkfall."

"You remember who I am right?" Cameron stares at Kane oddly a moment, "The Ark government was not legitimate. In any way, shape or form. That's why I got boxed. The Ark was a tyranny. Your claim to authority is completely invalid on its face. I'm only willing to indulge you because Jaha, float him, talked me into giving this election a chance. Otherwise I'd pick a direction with Morgan and half the 100— well I'm not clear if the half who were for voluntary exile are even alive still so my numbers might be off— and we'd start walking and never look back, and don't you think for a second no one else would want to come. Call it probationary citizenship and as far as I'm concerned you're the one who has something to prove to us— to the 100 especially— not us to you. I will never, ever, ever be put in a box again." This is said with a certain wildness in his eyes, and a shivering tremble. The mix of fear and fury are there on his features. His experience in the Mountain… riled up old issues. Hard. "Hell, apparently Trikru adopt people. We have options, Mister Kane. More options then submission. But. I'll go talk to Gideon. … kom Skaikru. Huh. So we adopt too. The floating hell happened while I was in the Mountain?"

"It sounds as if you are rather against the people who just risked — or gave — their lives to get you out of the Mountain, Mister Scott. Since all of them are representatives of that government in one way or another. That elected government, I might add." Kane's voice is calm, collected, "As for the One Hundred, except for Miss Adams…" he pauses and corrects himself, "Kai kom Trikru, and Miss Kennedy, your return will make forty-nine living in Camp Jaha. But if you wish to leave the Camp, you are more than welcome to do so… although I doubt many people would be interested in voting for someone who isn't interested in putting in the effort to build the community into something better." And then he turns, starting back toward the wagons, "But come, Mister Scott, there may still be some room on the wagons, and I would very much like to get people back to Camp Jaha or Tondc before we lose any more lives. I'm sure you can get caught up on the way."

"Individual, personal gratitude over saving me doesn't extend to willingness to live in tyranny. Two months ago I was free for the first time in my life. You can not possibly understand what it that means to someone like me." Cameron hesitates, and says what he never said until recently, though lately he's telling everyone and finding it cathartic. If foolish: don't tell your enemies what you're afraid of, Cameron. He says: "I'm claustrophobic. The Ark was nearly intolerable. The skybox … You can not even fathom what freedom means to me." Then he goes silent, his expression dark, "Fourty nine. Half. Float me, half of us. Besides, what? I'm not trying to run for office. No one would vote FOR me. I just want the people to have a say in who governs them: I want to live in a society which is free. Of the people, by the people, for the people." But he grunts, and moves along to follow. But he does add: "If there's still danger of losing lives you shouldn't have confiscated the guns." Because he can't not.

Kane nods thoughtfully at the explanation of the young man's problem, "Then I presume you and Mister Blackwood will want to work on a house for yourselves on The Row. Outside Alpha Station," he explains. "And you do live in a free society, Mister Scott. Certainly you do now, even if you don't believe you did on the Ark. Free societies still have laws, or else they are anarchy." The dig about the rifles causes him to shake his head, "Some of the Trikru are very weak indeed, Mister Scott. From being drained of their blood. And some of our people and the Trikru's people were badly injured. Hence the wagons, to get them back to treatment as quickly as possible."

"Election hasn't happened yet. And we're running under laws written by people no one ever elected— or who, at best, the people elected one voice in seven. We're going to have to agree to disagree, Mister Kane." counters Cameron, though he sounds tired. But he's still a teenager and can't just let the stupid adult get the last word. "Oh right. Yeah. We broke into their security and saw that. Well look at the bright side, even the Ark wasn't that floating messed up."

"Chancellor Jaha was elected. As were…" Kane thinks a moment, "nine of the last eleven Chancellors before him. Including those who wrote the Exodus Charter. The other two being like myself, fill-ins." At least he has a reasonable view of his own position, "Oh, and you might look up the parliamentary system on the Intranet when we reach to Camp Jaha, Mister Scott. A cabinet who speaks for the government is not entirely unheard of. I might suggest some research when you have gotten settled in, if you hope to change the system."

Cameron frowns and looks over at Kane, "Kane, my issue isn't with the Chancellorship. Its the Council I take issue with. The Council is not elected. Decisions are done by the Council, majority vote. That means for every decision, including the writing of the Exodus Charter, six people who are voting are not chosen by the people. At best they are indirectly chosen, but this select a whole new council thing was something Jaha said he'd do due to special circumstances, its not usual practice. So there'd be a mix of Councilors from various administrations. The Council is therefore not accountable to the people. Six of Seven votes for every action are not accountable to the people. And…." He waves a hand dismissively, "Its not right to compare the Council to a cabinet— I mean, I did a lot of political science research even before I was boxed— as a cabinet is a series of positions that are not co-equal voting members responsible for all issues. Each has a portfolio they are responsible for executing, according to government policy set both by the Prime Minister and the Parliament, and that government was subject to dissolution if the Parliament composition changed or the ruling coalition fell apart. If we want to convert the Council into a cabinet like affair, okay, that's a reasonable idea. But then everyone should be able to vote for the Councilor for Security, the Councilor for Medical, the Councilor for Agro… and each one will run on a platform describing how they would run their department, and they'd have authority over that department."

Kane spreads his hands, "So bring it up to the people. I think there may be some merit to your suggestions, but I also see a great many pitfalls. Welcome back, Mister Scott."

"This is just one of several possible ideas. I don't expect I'll have the right one. I want a constitutional convention, is what I want, a select committee to get together and hash out a real, proper constitution— not this floating charter handed down from on high two hundred years early on a planet far more hostile then it was designed for— and have that lay out the actual groundwork for how we govern ourselves." Cameron is shaking his head, walking along, "I don't think I'm the only one with a good idea, but just following Ark precedent I know for damn sure is not only a bad idea, but we'll get stuck in it because every time someone invokes the Ark's authority, it normalizes it, and soon enough this time— RIGHT NOW— will pass, and RIGHT NOW is the best and realistically only chance we have for real change." But he's walking, looking around, "Float me where's Morgan." Really, the last half of that was said to the air. He's distracted.

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