Day 041: Radioactive Arkers
Summary: Tink and Reno talk about the recent rumors that the Arkers are radioactive and making Mountain Men sick.
Date: 07/09/2016
Related: None
Tink Reno 

Visitor's Residences - Mount Weather
This is a large, cavernous room that has been converted into living quarters for the "rescued" Sky People. It has tall walls leading into arching buttresses, some of which are covered in warm tapestries from various historical periods. There are even a few pieces of artwork — all originals and not reproductions. Scattered throughout the room are little nooks of comfortable armchairs and tables, each of which have a small lamp that offers a warm glow. Bunkbeds have been assembled in this room, giving everyone their own bed complete with sheets, blankets, and soft pillows.
Day 41

Reno got up early in the morning. Truth told he didn't sleep, but stayed put for Tink's sake and for his own mental reprieve. It was only a couple hours before he returned quiet and with no emotion on his face. His book was tossed onto the tiny footlocker for their things and roughly toed at the heel of his shoes to pull them off. He wasn't used to shoes having never really travelled anyone TO need them, and didn't much care for them now. Someone was maybe a little on edge even if their expression was one that could be found if you told Reno that paper was flat.

Tink was curled up on the bunk that they share, reading a book when he comes back because she hasn't bothered to rise. She sits up and books the book away, giving him a look because she can tell he's not happy, "Reno…why is your equilibrium off its axis?" It's Tink speak for asking what's wrong. She pulls her up her legs so he can join her on the bunk if he wants to, "Is everything okay?"

Reno leaned and peeled one sock off and then the other. There. Free from tyranny once more. He let them drop onto his shoes and crawled into the bunk dropping a referral slip for Dr . K for him from Dr. Montgomery onto her book. He dropped behind her leaving himself in that nice quiet space between Tink and the wall. The pillow got bunched a bit and he laid down and said dispassionately. "Everything's absolutely fine. Dr. Montgomery said so. Nevermind that people, ya know, almost died and nothing's at all optimized." Very tense. Calmly, tiredly he looked up to her and just watched her for a moment. "What're you reading with that big, brilliant brain of yours Tabitha?"

Tink picks up the referral slip that he has dropped on the bed, "A referral to Dr. K? Aren't we already seeing her?" That doesn't make any sense to Tink. She gives a shrug and then leans back so she can rest up against his chest once he's settled behind her, "It's going to take time for them to accept us Reno…" She frowns and then tells him, "There are whispers in the dining hall…some of those people think we made that girl sick…Ashley. The one that died on radiation poisoning." She closes the book so he can see the cover and it's a book on Dose-Effect Modifying Factors in Radiation Protection, "It's a book about radiation…it's a little technical for me…because I've never studied medicine so I might have to go back, look up something more basic and return to this."

Reno glanced over and processed the cover shown to him and he sighed deeply. He pulled an arm around her when she leaned back seeming to take solace in that. He was tired and said with a mumble, "Max might know. He spent more time with mom." Fact, not judgement. There was little bitterness as he seemed more tired and numb. He gave her a hug with the one arm and kissed her arm that was nearest his head. "Tabitha, what if they're right?"

"We're not making people sick Reno," Tink tells him with certainty, "I just can't believe…" She bites her bottom lip because part of the reason why she's researching the matter is because she doesn't know that they can't, "If it's true Reno…they're probably going to ask us to leave." And Tink doesn't want to leave so she's trying to figure stuff out so they don't have to, "How did the talk with the doctor go? Does he know anything more on what killed that girl?" She doesn't say Ashley because she's trying to keep some disassociation with it.

Reno just held her. He needed to hold onto something right now and Tink reminded him of why he did things; that he needed to help out of hope and care and not fear and anger. "He's going to talk to the President to see if he can get me an audience to present our findings. I have no idea how well that'll go over. There are some folks down in tech and he's going to try to get one of them to take me on as an apprentice. Maybe then we'll find a fix for all of this to keep the doors closed." He considered the greater part of that question and quietly said, "I didn't ask him if they had any more information on the Subject, but the patient identified as Georgia is doing well. Madelyn is recovering also." That they might have to leave has not escaped him. He wasn't going back out there. There was a part of him that just refused. He named that part Common Sense.

"I'm waiting to hear back to see if I can get more recordings on the Outsiders and help Truman figure out their language," Tink tells Reno so he knows what she's working on, "It's not my usual stuff but it should keep me busy till they open up more and let me get a better look at their tech." She snuggles in his arms, liking the way it feels to be there, "I'm glad that Georgia and Madelyn are okay after the procedure…that should be a point in our favor, right?" But look who's counting, "I think I'll feel better once we get work on how the searches are going. It's taking them a long time to track down the Ark…" She shakes her head, "Shouldn't be taking this long. I'm worried about the others that got left out there." Kai…she's thinking about Kai as she plays with the locket she has around her neck.

Reno was having a hard time letting himself feel anything right now past frustration at having their potential held back and things working… inefficiently for the comfort of life that everyone could have. Tink settled back against him and he pushed himself to take solace from her. The back of one finger brushed the outside of her arm considering her timeline and how long they were gone and looking vs. how long they've been there. "Tabitha, you saw what happened. The Grounders do not want us to win at life. How much interference do you think they ran when the recon crew went to go look? They tried to kill me and Cam and… and Shi over getting a glass of damn water. I don't think they're likely to stand aside and let us go about our business then and not now."

"They're not all bad Reno…look at Gideon who tried to teach us archery and Wren who did some training with Kai," Tink tells Reno with a soft look and touches his arm, "Look at us…if you read our files on the Ark…some might think we're bad but we're not…Gideon and Wren are not bad too. Sure…the ones that attacked you over water were horrible, but they were probably following orders or something." She sighs because it's hard for her to think bad thoughts of any group, "But after what happened to Georgia, I think the Grounders are making things more difficult for their teams to find our people."

Reno looked to her and said "I don't know them, Tink. Not like you do. I see war, and ruin with the things they touch. When I met the grounders I was unarmed and looking at a bug and they shot me down without thinking twice about it. They didn't say hi. They didn't say go. They were heartless and brutal and animals." His jaw tightened a bit and he said with a matter-of-fact bitterness, "And they shot and burned that poor woman. You don't -cook- another human being."

"I think the radiation poisoning cooked her…not the Grounder," Tink insists, not liking that she's feeling a little defensive and stiffens because she's trying hard not to make this worse, "And you met a warband…it's different. I know you didn't get to meet the 'good' ones but there are Grounders there that seek peace over conflict." She stops herself and then sighs, "Reno…I don't want to fight about this. Just keep an open mind, okay?"

Reno sighed and rolled his head back on the pillow. "We're not fighting. And I welcome the ability for individuals to make sense. It's an entire world of war that seems to have no thought or discretion. I don't get it. I don't think I want to." He just stared up at the underside of the bunk above giving it a faintly indifferent scowl. Tears leaked out of the corners of his eyes and over his temples.

"Hey…hey…Reno it's going to be okay," Tink tells him as she squeezes his arms that are around her, "And we're not in a war zone now…" She reaches up to lightly dab away the tears with her sleeve, "We're safe…you, me, Max…we're safe right now." She lowers her arm and lightly kisses him, "It's going to okay. We'll work stuff out. I just gotta believe that things will work out."

Reno just stared ahead. He was trying very hard to just focus and remain technical because he had feelings on things and those were… a different problem. She kissed him and it was a simple gesture that seemed to ground him entirely. He looked to her, taking solace in the care and affection given. Quietly he whispered, nervous, "I'm tryin Tabitha. I don't want to become the thing I hate."

"You won't Reno…there is no way on this given world that you could be like that," Tink tells him softly, giving him another gentle kiss, "You are so beautiful on the inside. Your mind his just…" She makes an explosion sound, "I feel like you're more…you just have to discover what moves you. It's that discovery I think that makes stuff hard. But we'll get there. Don't worry and I think you're going to like the person on the other side."

Reno watched her green eyes get expressive and full of life. "I… I know what I want. I just don't know yet how to build it, and how to get the tools to." He squint his eyes shut and kissed her. He hung onto that moment to make that count and last to stay with him. Finally he looked again and finally, finally a shadow of a smile warmed. "I want to figure out how we can live unattacked. Unafraid. A place where we can feel safe and forgiven. I don't want to be angry, and I don't… want to lose the ability to see persons in a group. It's hard. I just hope when I come out on the other side of all this it'll still be a person you're proud of." He couldn't explain why, just that it hurt to think otherwise. "I want us to find your family. And your friend. And if this place gets sick… well we'll have to get access I just don't know if I can handle life failing a third time. We didn't hurt that patient." No he didn't say her name.

Tink closes her eyes when he kisses her, just taking a moment to enjoy having him there with her, "We'll figure it out Reno…" Yep, she has a lot of faith in the power of Reno's mind. She's pretty sure there isn't anything that he can't do if he puts his brains to it, "We'll figure out how to build a better life. It's just going to take time. I think this place is going to give it to us. Think about what Dr. K said. We've been in overdrive since we got down here. We just have to take it easy." She bites her bottom lip, "And I do…want to find my family. I want to find Bella." She reaches up to touch his face so he can feel her palm, "We're not going to fail."

Reno pulled his hand from under his pillow, took her hand on his cheek, and kissed her palm. "Maybe we're thinking too hard. Maybe we're impatient. I try to sleep and keep feeling like we're going to be attacked, or those grounders are going to do something and get in here and destroy everything so beautifully preserved and make us be who we aren't again." He squeezed his hand around hers and finally admitted. "You're not the only one they made hurt them, Tab. And I didn't feel anything except… well I didn't like what I felt at the time." He was, however, disappointed in himself for that. "I'm sorry."

Tink gives a smile when he kisses her palm, liking the way her nerve endings tingle when his lips touch her hand, "Yeah…I think we just need to relax." She pauses and then adds, "And Reno…I've been sleeping a lot better since I started on the medication. I don't want to advocate you taking anything but it's helped me…and helped Cameron. It might help you if you can't sleep." She is worried about him. He's been so angry at times, "We all did things we didn't mean to do that day Reno…it hurts but it doesn't mean that everything good inside goes away."

Reno liked her hand against his cheek where it was soft, and warm , and carried the vague sweet sent of old books she'd been digging through. His wrapped around hers and nod thought carefully about what she said instead of dismissing the thought. "One of those things tried to put an axe in Max's chest. So I threw a knife and stabbed him in the throat and yelled at him till he died." So odd considering he pushes pacifism so hard. He sighed and felt, oddly, a little better and shook his head, "You're not wrong. And they made us defend ourselves. I just don't… like having to be that person. And I… I dunno. I don't like having secrets from you. Better or worst I want to at least know I'm honest with you."

"Reno…I helped mass kill like thirty of them with Cole, Lark and Jumar. Before that, I shot two of them…I mean…I didn't kill them because I'm not that great of a shot but I did it," Tink tells him softly, "And there's nothing you could do to make me think less of you Reno. You're my best guy friend in the universe." She flashes him a big smile, "And I'm just so happy that I met you in spite of it all." All the attacks, all the fears and all the nightmares, Tink wouldn't trade it for a bit if it meant that she wouldn't have met Reno, "I have stuff I keep to myself Reno…but if you ask me, I would never lie to you."

Reno nodded and knew that, and it was rational, and he still felt for her having to do it. He tilted his head to look at her slightly askance and said "Kay… well… what's your favorite flavor?" Hey, he didn't know and thought starting simple was a great place to start. Plus it was keeping his mind off of more unpleasant things, like feeling complacent with the horrors. He didn't want to go numb. He wanted to feel and be a part of the solution with her.

"Since we've gotten here…I love apple pie," Tink tells him with a smile, "Everything up there has been so…so bland. And now we're here and there are a lot of different flavors." She gives a nudge, "What about you? What is your favorite flavor?" See, they're doing something normal for a change, like getting to know each other.

Reno considered looping his fingers in hers trying to consider, "I really like those raspberry fruits. They've got the most interesting texture, and there's a sweetness and a sharpness to them that's nice, and the little tiny seeds give it an interesting texture. Limes are interesting but I couldn't just eat those." He grinned and said "Oh! Ohohoh I found something on a recommendation, I found a film where apparently no one gets hurt and it's apparently funny about three people that work together and there's music. No violence."

"Really? They make movies like that?" Tink asks because all the ones that Vega seemed to have left were on different levels of disturbing. From war time movies where stuff gets blown up. To horror movies where people cut each other up. To sci-fi movies where planets and other important things blow up. Up till this point Tink was convinced that Old Earth folks just liked seeing people die.

Reno wasn't convinced otherwise yet but there seems to be an anomaly! "Yeah! I didn't… like what happened so it's been a small project." He let a modest grin form. "I know you liked music so I asked someone why they don't record that. And they said… well it was the result. So I borrowed it." He tried to reach back between the gap…of the… between the bunk and the… no. He waved his hand not in hers and went back to leaving it around Tink instead. "I'll show you in a bit. They dance too apparently. They're very talented. I can see why they'd keep it for posterity."

Tink looks interested as he starts to reach around but then he changes his mind to opt to keep his arms around her. Tink is more than happy to cuddle there, "Hey it's okay…we can check it out here. I like this position." She shifts a little so she can lay on her side and look up at him, "So…what is your favorite part of science." She knows that Reno is good at many things and curious to know where he aligns.

Reno considered that and winced in thought "Oooh tough question… lemme think on that. Just one huh?" He thought about it and mused, running his thumb over her hand warming up considerably in the very human interaction from the very tense meeting in the infirmary. "I think it reminds me of my dad? When I was growing up I couldn't go do things like you guys could like go to school or anything. But he was a really good electrical engineer and a solid programmer. Used to take the time to teach me things. Opened up a whole world within our pod that I could interact with since I couldn't leave. He wanted me to have as much that there was was of a full life to have. We were… a lot alike. He taught me that we use science to improve people's lives and that he worked hard so others didn't have to as much." It was a sad but fond memory still and the life came back into his eyes recalling it. "He'd bring things home to work on and I'd take them and work on them in the day while he was at work so he didn't have to work so hard either. It was the first time I felt like I had something to offer my family… I miss him a lot."

"He sounds like he was a really good dad," Tink offers as she listens to his story, "My dad was also a big influence in my life. He got me started in engineering. I mean…he is such a by the books guy. Always puts himself out there to help folks. Doesn't tolerate any incompetence or wrong doing. And just the sort of guy who does the right thing." She bites her bottom lip, "I think he took it really hard when I screwed up. It's like my failure was his failure. I would have done anything to not disappoint him."

Reno hugged her tightly for just a moment. Enough to know he understood. "I'd like to think men like that are understanding enough to know us and love us besides the things that happen in our lives. I think he knew you better than that and when we find him you can tell him… or make Bella tell him the damn truth, but I can't think that anyone who's met you can honestly believe you did that."

Tink holds him tightly, "He didn't believe it Reno…not until I confirmed it." She pauses and then tells him, "He came to me in the infirmary…I was drugged out of my mind and he asked me if it was true…and at the time, I thought he meant the accident, not the arson. It was all I could do to keep telling him I was sorry. And I think he thought I was apologizing for the arson." She feels a few tears crop up, "He never spoke to me after that. It was like I was dead to him Reno. I never got a chance to explain what I meant."

Reno watched her and furrowed his brow. His hands let go of her and took both sides of her head and he pressed a kiss to her forehead. "Regardless of what happened, you know we came down here. We found a way to survive on this crazy planet we splat on and survived the most ungraceful landing in history. Whatever else they know up there he knows you helped make that happen and give the Ark hope for survival. I know whatever happened outside this mountain he's got to be proud of you. And I'm proud of you too. We would all be dead without your help, Tink and they were so happy when we all succeeded against all odds. I'm certain whatever he thought he's proud of you and when the time comes you can clear up his misunderstanding."

"I hope so…" Tink tells him because she's resolved that her father may never want to talk to her again, even though she helped saved everyone, "And I'm going to try to see him once we find out where the Ark is and rescue him. It's why I really, really want to see them again. I don't want dad's last memory of me to be that I was a failure." She holds him close and tries to focus on the now.

Reno smiled and wondered if staying just like that forever was even possible. Then he thought of the likely onset of a cramp from muscles being locked in one place and needing to eat and - brain, you just ruined it. He sighed and said quietly, "You're not a failure." He just held her for a moment and asked, "What's your favorite color?" She got a squeeze and normal things. Bringing it back to try to find the normal things around here.

"Purple…my favorite color is purple," Tink tells him softly, "Closely followed by blue…but only because purple is a composite color made by combining red and blue." She lightly plays with the material at his shirt, "What about you? What color do you like?" She does try to guess, "Is it green?" She can see him liking green because he loved that bug that he found and it was green.

Reno was about to answer and laughed. "Yeah… actually. Well I dunno. I really like yellow too but I like green. like it's really excited, but laid back about it. I do miss that. How green everything was, and glowed at night like the safety hazard lights."

"I miss the sky…the way the clouds would look like puffy pillows if you took the time to lay down and look at them. I would lay in the crow's nest and just watch the clouds while Kai would take look out," Tinker tells him softly because her time on the ground hasn't been all bad, "Although…I never got to go to the swimming hole. Max said he would take us when things got better…but we didn't get to go."

Reno considered that and oddly asked, "Wonder if they have an underground lake here at all? We never asked. I mean they might. We coooould in theory ask." It was entirely possible. "Maybe someday." He paused and said as if this might get written down to remind himself later, "Let's not accidentally flood the mountain trying to make one though."

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