Day 006: Selfish Bitch
Summary: Two of the less popular female Delinquents discuss what it means to be selfish, and what it takes for oneself and one's group to survive.
Date: 8 May 2016
Related: Follows Weather to Take the High Road or the Low
Zoe Cassandra 

Forests Around the Camp

This forest is a mingling of hardwoods and temperate evergreens, with towering oaks and cedars mixed with slender alders. The ground is covered in grassy mosses and thick ferns — some with sharp, sword-like leaves and others with tight spiraled stems that unfurl toward the crowded canopy. Beyond the trees and ferns, the forest also hosts arching, moss-draped vine maples and flowering blackberry bushes as just some of its flora occupants.

Toward the west, the forest begins to break as the mountains climb, revealing meadow balds and the broad web of the divided Potomac.

6 Days After Landing

So… Zoe's not been around camp too much. She shows up with food though, lots of food. Then she gives a bit to those who have no bracelets, exchanges words, does some trading… and vanishes back into the trees again. That's the life of Zoe lately. She hasn't even been in the camp at night when everyone sleeps. On days like today though she's not too far away. She is standing a good distance away from a tree that has a few arrows in it, lining up a shot. It's apparent she's engaging in archery practice.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cassandra=stealth Vs Zoe=alertness
< Cassandra: Failure Zoe: Good Success
< Net Result: Zoe wins - Solid Victory

Though she's yet to obtain Zoe's level of unpopularity — or controversial popularity, depending on one's perspective — Cassandra is a lone-wolf type herself, often exploring the forest on her own rather than risk social interaction. Occasionally she returns with medicinal herbs and plants, proving her worth, although perhaps less obviously, she makes off with at least as much as she gives. Today she's climbing her way through thorny bushes en route back to camp, returning from God knows where and as always, mindless of the dangers. Something's different here today, and gives her pause to stop: someone is in the way, someone with long hair, her back to her, and a bow and arrow in hand. She narrows her eyes at the sight of what may very likely be a Grounder and creeps up, ready to risk life and limb on the off-chance she is caught. Which is unfortunate, because she is caught.

Zoe's not the most alert girl in the world, either, but she gets that feeling and whirls, bow still nocked as she points it right at Cassandra. She sees that it's someone from the camp. Someone she recognizes. Someone she knows isn't a Grounder. The bow, though, stays nocked. It stays pointed at Cassandra. "You're either here to kill me or you're here to rob me. One of those will send you back to camp as a naked, looted corpse. The other… we can talk about." Zoe states with an impish smile. At least she doesn't look upset.

When Zoe whirls around, Cassandra's eyebrows shoot upwards. This is apparently not whom she was expecting, and she freezes in place, lest an itchy trigger finger render her a… corpse. The naked and looted part aren't things she's currently afraid of. "Thought you were a native," she explains, raising her hands. "I'm unarmed. Didn't come here to rob or kill you. Besides, I don't have any loot for you to steal." A pause as she regards that impish smile and then she can't help but wonder, "Wait, which of those options was going to get me killed?"

"Sorry. I've had some death threats lately. I have to have bodyguards when I go to the camp now, just to keep from getting attacked. There's been some… witch-hunting going on." Zoe lowers the bow and lets her grip on the string go slack… though the arrow stays where it is. Just in case someone does try something! "The situation there is pretty toxic. I blame the bracelet-wearing Ark lovers of course." Zoe hasn't even looked to see if Cassandra is one of those, though.

Cassandra jangles the bracelet that's still firmly clasped to her right hand at Zoe, which may not be the best idea, considering an arrow is still pointed her way. She lives life on the edge. "You have bodyguards?" she asks, amused. "I've heard people call you a selfish bitch, but I didn't know they were prepping to shank you for it. Who did you screw to get that unpopular? Jack Carter?"

Zoe lowers the bow so that the arrow is pointed downward, still gripped in case of trouble. But not threatening anyone at least. "I'm the selfish bitch who has been giving out free food, medicine, and hunting and archery lessons. Yep. Totally a selfish bitch." Zoe just rolls her eyes with a little snorted laugh. "They call me selfish because I don't support their regime is all. They want us all the fall in line and take their orders and they use me as a scapegoat for every screwup they make."

"Not me," replies a blithe Cass. With the arrow out of the way, she now confidently and casually strolls up to and then past Zoe, moving to inspect that arrow-ridden tree. "I'm pretty sure they call you a selfish bitch because you are a selfish bitch, though. May as well own it. I'm not going to burn you at the stake for how bad of a show you put on."

"Bad of a show? You think I'm just playing pretend here?" Zoe resists the urge to plant an arrow in Cassandra's backside at that, instead just looking back the way Cassandra came for a moment in case there's more lurkers back there. "All they've done is get people killed over and over. Nobody who's listened to me has died yet. And they're eating better and taking care of themselves." Zoe leaves off the part where she gets portions of their hunting and free services from them, of course.

"Yeah, no shit. I think everyone out there is playing pretend. Being a selfish bitch doesn't make you special. Owning up to it might," the cynic casually retorts. Wow. Who pissed in her coffee? Maybe it's the lack of coffee that does it, but this is one teenager that never got over her angsty phase. "You know I ran from the natives when they started shooting arrows at us? That just seemed… fucking sensible. Most people ran, actually, and those who didn't got captured, but apparently because I ran a split second sooner without putting on a show of bravery in the face of certain death, I'm the only one who fled who's obviously selfish. Witch-hunting. People love having someone to blame." She reaches out to try and pluck one of those arrows out of the tree, which turns out to be a lot harder than it looks. She flashes her bracelet as she does so, and keeps her back to Zoe. "So… how do you take these things off?"

Zoe reaches into her jumpsuit and whips out… no. Not that. She whips out a chunk of metal shaped like a prybar and twirls it between her fingers dextrously. "With this. I've taken off a couple dozen so far, minimal pain. Skin is red for a day or two too, but you can keep it clean with water and bandaging just in case and there's no risk." Zoe just acts like -everyone- has access to clean-ish water and bandages, of course. "They got pissy at me for suggesting we leave behind Morgan and Devin and just rescue Quinn and Ruth. Screw those guys. They went suicide charge, right? Whatever. Now they're trying to tell me they don't need me on the rescue mission. Me! The one person who can use a bow. The best hunter and tracker in the camp! Stubborn asshats is what they are. They just want to be the cool heroes even if it means more lives at risk."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Brawn: Embarrassing Failure.

Cassandra looks over her shoulder, catches sight of the prybar, and makes her decision: "Pass." With one final, casual yank, she aims to pry that arrow from the tree with a flourish, putting all her strength behind it… only to fall and land on her back with a thud. She winces. Does she have brains? Debatable. She definitely does not have brawn, though. One hand comes to her face to rub away her shame, while the other rises to throw a wave in the air. "I know this is not the best demonstration, but I bet I'm a better tracker than you are."

"Maybe you can track better. Maybe. But I can also shadow the target without them seeing me. And I can take it down." Zoe remarks wryly, not remarking on Cassandra's little accident. Nope. "They had the nerve to tell me I shouldn't come if I was aiming to just wound the Grounders. That if I aimed for the legs I'm the bad guy. We're the ones invading the Grounder lands, ya know? From what I hear you guys screwed with their burial ground or something. I've half a mind to not even go on the rescue mission. Just stay here and get more bracelets instead. But nah."

"Maybe you're not a selfish bitch after all," Cassandra allows upon hearing Zoe's reasoning, and once she's collected her pride, she also helps herself to her feet. That's life, after all: one must always help oneself to one's own feet. "I'd like to prove my worth, not to mention find Morgan…" she raises her eyes to the archer's at this, bracing herself ahead for any disagreement. "I don't give a damn about Ruth. So I take it you're not planning to stay behind? Is that some kind of point you're making?"

"The truth of it? If I go on the rescue mission and they keep badmouthing me it just makes them look bad. Plus if I go I plan to take more than my fair share of whatever is left behind. I've already got a pretty good pile of clothes going, and I could really use a Grounder outfit for uh… a project I'm working on." Nobody who ever says 'I'm telling the truth!' without being a lying liar, so who knows what Zoe's real motivations are. "If you want to give me that bracelet of yours in trade by the way… I've got goods to offer."

The admission of wanting a Grounder outfit makes Cassandra raise her eyebrow, but she doesn't comment on that one. There's a more worthwhile offer on the table, anyway. "Like?" she asks.

"Meat. The standard trade is usually a haunch of deer meat, or a whole rabbit. Not a bad trade if you consider it's just a worthless bracelet. I'm practically just giving away free meat here." Zoe says with a mischievous smile, aiming her arrow at another tree, one that Cassandra isn't remotely near in case of, you know. Horrible accidents. Fwip! Arrow away.

<FS3> Zoe rolls Archery: Good Success.

Cassandra watches the arrow whiz past, but the offer of meat doesn't tempt her. "Feed a woman a rabbit, she'll eat for a day. Teach a woman to be clever bitch, she'll eat for the rest of her life." She walks back to Zoe at last so that they can converse without disturbing the local wildlife or alerting the entire population of Grounders to their presence, straightening out her dirty shirt as she goes. It's starting to smell pretty ripe, too, which would become more evident in closer proximity if either of them happens not to be more than used to the Eau de Delinquent from their fellows by now. "You can do better than that, Zoe."

"I can, really. But… I don't care enough to offer a lot. I have 24 bracelets so far. That's a lot if you really think about it. That makes the value of number 25 not nearly so high." Zoe doesn't smell quite as bad as most of the other delinquents. There's a planty-smell to her. Someone really good at plant-knowledge might recognize the smell of witch hazel. It also might explain why Zoe's skin is so clear, too! "Meat's what I offer for the bracelets. It's a standard first trade, because once the bracelet comes off the rest of my services become available. Consider it like… a club membership."

Cassandra gives Zoe a look. A disbelieving but nonetheless entertained look that is neither persuaded nor tempted. "I'll try my luck elsewhere," she says. "I've heard about you, Zoe. Mostly because people think I was involved in your trade on the Ark somehow, though you know damn well I wasn't. I don't care to deal with the likes of you. The things you can offer are never worth the cost, and I'm not just talking the upfront part." She pointedly raises her wrist to examine that secured bracelet. "So who's threatening to kill you? Might as well watch my neck around them."

"If people want to believe stupid things let them. I never had a bad reputation on the Ark. I got people things they needed. Sure I charged… but what was the alternative? Just not have it? I'm not the Council. I didn't restrict resources. I risked my ass all the time to get those supplies." Zoe looks a little offended. Mildly, at least. "As for who's threatening me… does it matter? They're just bullies. And if you aren't gonna do business with me, well. It won't matter to you. Food, medicine, clothes, shelter, training… if you don't need it then you just don't." She shrugs idly. "Not everyone needs my services."

Seeing Zoe look offended actually manages to put a dent in Cassandra's disregard. Is that a flicker of doubt in her features? Maybe sympathy? It doesn't last long. "I don't," she says. "I need other things. Might be you can offer them. We'll see." She hitches her shoulders in a shrug. "I guess I'll see you when we go to find the captives? Try not to shoot me. I'm not interested in getting killed playing bait. Shoot Grey, it'll do you more good."

"Grey is a blunt object to be pointed at problems. Also to create more problems I guess." Zoe shrugs lightly at that. "The rescue will go fine by the way. All the Grounders will die or run away, and we'll get our friends safely back to camp. Except we'll leave a nice big trail behind and the Grounders will use it to find where we live and come after us. So… there's that, I guess?" Zoe sounds pretty apathetic about the idea of being attacked by pissed off natives. Suspiciously apathetic actually… "But yeah! I won't be shooting any of our own people. We're all in this together after all," she remarks wryly.

Cassandra was just starting to look really calm about this. They're here on Earth and it's a beautiful place with glowing butterflies, and they're going on a heroic rescue mission with at least one competent tracker… and then Zoe had to ruin it all with her confidence. A suspicious level of confidence. Her assurances do a lot more harm than good, and make the other tracker squint. "Why come then?" she asks.

"I have my reasons. I'm sure you have yours. Let the others build a pointless and useless flammable wall to trap us all inside that deathtrap of a camp," Zoe says cheerfully. "I'm going to be doing something more productive with my time! Like rescuing our friends and getting some Grounder clothes and supplies."

"Jumping ship?" Cass asks bluntly. It doesn't even sound like an accusation. She may as well be asking Zoe what she had for dinner, in a place where that isn't a pressing matter of survival.

"What? No way. I plan to be here when the Ark comes down and we make peaceful trade with the Grounders. I just… don't plan to be in the camp when the attack happens is all. If I'm wearing a Grounder outfit and lurking on the perimeter I can probably hide in a tree until all the nonsense is over." Zoe purses her lips thoughtfully. "Though I have some more prep-work to do to ensure that the attack on the camp ends the right way. It won't do to have our people slaughtered. Saving everyone's asses from themselves is hard work, ya know."

The hand that carries Cassandra's bracelet rises again, and she flashes it to Zoe with the other hand coming to touch it. "You know the thing I need is the same thing I think you need," she says, meeting her eye over the metal surface. "I'm not even going to say it because it's pathetic as hell. How's an unspoken understanding? You should take a page out of the Politicals' book. Fiona has Martin and Lip following her around like dogs because she isn't shy about what she's planning and people can sign up at will. You can sit here like a hermit and plan away. Maybe you won't get killed by Earth or your own people. It's a risk, though." She shrugs. Hypocrite. It's not like she doesn't go gallivanting around the potentially radioactive and Grounder-infested forest on a daily basis.

"I mean yeah… I guess I kind of do represent a faction. The 'we aren't part of your group' faction. Everyone should be free to do whatever they want. So if that's what you're after? If you genuinely want it? I'll gladly work with you. I'll work with anyone. Taking off the bracelet is just a symbol of that. It's saying that we're not tied to the Ark and we're not tied to the Cool Kids Club who think they run this camp." Zoe explains quietly, rubbing at her own bracelet-free wrist thoughtfully. "If you want to survive? Like really, really want to survive and not just play pretend like the rest of the kids in the camp? I'll be glad to be your friend. But survival is ugly, and it's cruel, and sometimes people aren't going to like you."

"People already don't like me," says Cassandra. And lest anyone accuse her of being bitter, she flashes a big, self-indulgent smile, teeth included. "I'm a selfish bitch." She owns it. "Your symbol doesn't mean shit if you're still telling people what to do without telling them why. I'll take my bracelet off on my own terms. And you're still being secretive about why you're coming to meet the Grounders." There. She tips her own hand, plain as day.

"I'm not ready to meet them yet. But I want to understand them. I want a good disguise so I can sneak up and observe them and learn their language and society. and then I'm going to trade with them. And then I'm going to get a goddamn horse and ride around on it. And it's gonna be awesome." Zoe tips her hand too, or maybe she's just lying her ass off. "I'll fight to defend myself and I might even wound a Grounder to help rescue the retards who got captured, but the whole… murder-murder-murder thing the so-called good guys are doing? Not my bag."

Cass knows there's a high possibility that Zoe is lying her ass off. She takes that chance anyway. "There are at least ten murderers in this camp that I've counted, so that's like…" She lifts her gaze. "Ten percent." Math genius that she is, apparently. "At least. Grey and Faolan are two of them. They're going to try and kill the natives. Good luck trying to stop them. I'm just going to help with tracking, and if I get shot at again, I'm going to run again and save anyone the trouble of coming to rescue me too." There's a flippancy in her tone there. She doesn't believe anyone would. "You want to try and learn about their society, though?" She waves her bracelet again. "Count me in on that."

"Well if you don't want to murder and I don't want to murder, that makes two of us. And there's about twenty or so more kids in the camp who will listen to me if I tell them not to kill too, probably. So that's like… twenty five percent of the game? Or something. Not counting the dead ones. Our best bet for survival down here is to integrate with the Grounders, not fight them." Zoe purses her lips in thought. "I mean… if you think about it. Even if the Ark lands and we have guns and everything? There could be hundreds of thousands of Grounders all over the place. Living in teepees and riding horses and everything."

"Fuck the Ark," says the bracelet-wearer with a roll of her brown eyes, apparently not an Ark-lover after all. "I don't want them to land. You think it's bad now, with everyone trying to declare themselves Chancellor? Think what will happen when the actual Chancellor lands. With his guns." Ah, there's that bitterness — in her tone, and in the purse of her lips. "I am not going back to the Skybox. Or to Earth Skills classes, or to any of it, ever. We're done. We're here on the ground. It's ours now, and it's mine. This is how it is now."

"Well you're gonna have to face it. They're comin' down here. And Grey and Fiona and all their friends are gonna welcome them with open arms and bracelets. And they're gonna set society back up the way it was and people like you are gonna be stuck on the bottom again." Says Zoe, who is literally STILL WEARING A JANITOR JUMPSUIT. "Why do you think I got myself thrown in the Skybox when I heard about the dropship plan? I have no intention of ever being under anyone's thumb again. So that's my evil plan revealed. Get as many kids as possible to listen to me so that when the shit hits the fan and the Ark comes down, I'll have friends on the inside to trade with. Because I'm not going back."

"You got yourself thrown into the Skybox?" Cassandra asks, because it sure bears repeating to her, with just the right amount of incredulity. "How did you even know we would survive the landing? You're even crazier than I am." Oh well. Ten percent of her new friends are murderers, and she can live with this. "If you're so sure the Ark's going to make it down, why take off your bracelet? You could get floated for it."

"Float-ed? I mean. We're on the ground. There's no floating down here." Zoe snorts. Hell, Zoe giggle-snorts! "I was cleaning up and I overheard plans about sending the bad kids to Earth. So I mixed some chemicals, threw them in the trash compactor and bam! No more trash compactor. Also I got to go down to Earth, so it worked out pretty well am I right?" Zoe grins mischoevously at the thought. "I knew the ground was safe. I just… didn't expect us to be the cowboys. I thought we would be the Indians and the Ark would be the cowboys. You know, kids fighting for freedom? I didn't count on the Grounders… it threw a wrinkle into things."

Floated, said Cass. Because 'killed' just isn't a seemly word. "You're a complete raving lunatic," she newly informs Zoe, with the same amount of incredulity. "But I'll worry about that when the Ark's actually on the ground, if it ever makes it to the ground. So what's the plan right now, wrinkles and all?"

"If I'm a lunatic… why am I doing so well? I mean I've been right about everything so far." Aside from the Grounders, but Zoe just pretends she expected them all along and shrugs casually. "The plan now is try to make sure the entire camp doesn't fall under the control of one of those stupid factions that wants to kill everyone and everything. And to set up a plan to make sure I'm not there when the attack happens, so I don't die. We probably need to get rid of the dropship fuel if we really want to make sure things go right."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Alertness: Success.

"I'd throw behind Fiona. She's trying to make peace with the Grounders." Cassandra catches herself upon using Grey's term, hesitates, but then accepts it and moves on. Because it never pays to be overcautious, she also casts a glance around the area, checking that no more of the Delinquents are listening in. Of course, were a Earth born-and-bred Grounder hiding in the trees, her supposed vigilance wouldn't mean a thing. "Why do you need the Dropship fuel?"

"Peace won't work yet. We drew blood… they're gonna want to draw blood in return. It's kind of how things work, even on the Ark," Zoe explains as she follows Cassandra's gaze to the trees. "Have you ever noticed that the dropship is literally just a giant bomb? What would happen if someone snuck in and… say… exploded the fuel tanks? Or drained them and then lit them on fire? We would all die. Roasted. Or worse, someone ignited the engines. Everyone outside? Burned to a crisp. That fuel is going to get us all killed. I don't want it for anything. I'd just feel a lot safer in camp if camp wasn't a giant death-trap with flammable walls surrounding a big ass bomb."

"Nah, I'm just not gonna be in the camp when the bomb goes off. I'd rather sleep in a tree where I know nobody is going to break my arms or beat me to death like that Sam guy threatened to do. He's their thug apparently, going around trying to force everyone to fall in line," Zoe explains with another of her casual little shrugs. "If I get the chance to get rid of that fuel though? You can bet I will. Or at least disable the ignition systems on the dropship so nobody can rig them to go off."

Zoe clucks her tongue with a smirking shake of her head. "That's not something I plan to share any time soon. Let's just say that if anyone jumps me in the camp, they're gonna get jumped on. And if anyone attacks me out in the forest… I'm gonna shoot them in dick with an arrow." She raises a hand though, waving it at Cassandra. "You know where to find me if you ever want to get rid of that bracelet! I'll be out here. Somewhere."

The comment about potentially getting shot in the dick gives Cassie pause for a moment, before she remembers she doesn't have one and is probably safe. "Try not to die," is the last thing she says to the girl in the jumpsuit before heading back to camp, in an almost amiable acknowledgement.

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