Day 048: Show Me What You Can Do
Summary: Following an incident involving a guard and a shock-baton, a surviving pair of the 100's Ark Rebels discuss justice, authority, fairness, equality and their options moving forward, both in learning to fight physically and diplomatically.
Date: 17 July 2016
Related: Occurs directly after Inevitable Assault. References Laus Deo and Lexa's Judgement. Leads to Morgan's Incident Report and Kai's Incident Report
Asher Cassandra 


Ruined Bodega
The dim light of this cavernous cellar dapples the walls in warm and darkened hues, with fraying, dusty bricks and Earth-breached tiles. The ceiling arches with diagonal support beams, held sturdy against the fallout by canny architecture. High and wide-stacked shelves of graduating sizes weaves across the room, some filled with large oaken barrels bigger than most people, others with ageing bottles of radiation-contaminated wine. The scuttling of beetles can be heard from every corner, and cobwebs drift from the door. In tiny cracks, animals have found a home here, some of them having bitten their way into the old, sweet nectar of highly toxic alcohol containers. A wide wooden staircase leads the way back up to the surface, where once this cellar was part of a larger, commercial infrastructure. Now all that can be found beyond are green hills, reclaimed by nature.
48 Days After Landing

It's been a few hours since Asher left Cassandra in the underground bodega. He'd gone to deal with business, or so he told her before leaving. His return is as uneventful as his departure really. Nothing unusual about him. Asher arrives with the same gear he left with, and moves into the darkened undergound room with the sure steps of someone who doesn't need to look at the stairs to know where they are. "Cass? You feeling better?" He calls this out before he sees her.

Cassandra is exactly where Asher left her, curled up in the blankets she bartered from TonDC. It's not quite as regal as the bed of severed dropship cushions they had at their last camp, but alas, those were burned to a crisp, adding plastic fumes to the aroma of melted flesh; it still sends a shock through the Skaigirl's nostrils to recall. She's evidently been resting all this time, no doubt enjoying fitful dreams, but she stirs and opens her eyes when she hears the trapdoor swing open. Though she starts for a second, by the time Asher's footsteps can be heard, she's no longer concerned — his heavy gait is instantly recognisable. She sits up to greet him, making her answer plain, but doesn't yet speak. For now she just wants to take the state of him in, to be certain he didn't get himself too roughed up taking care of business.

Asher is not at all roughed up. Suspiciously not roughed up. He looks less roughed up than he's looked in a while in fact. Also he looks like he showered. Once Asher is at the bottom of the stairs, he slows and his gaze settles onto Cassandra. He pulls a napkin out of his inner jacket pocket and moves over towards Cassandra, "Got you some food." He comes to kneel down by her and holds the food wrapped in a napkin out. It's cold, but it's a protein ration bar and some berries and nuts. Looks like one serving portion from the mess hall.

Cassandra glances down at the ration bar with the faintest wrinkle of distaste, but isn't one to begrudge food. "I'll go hunting for us later," she says, reaching out to pick up the napkin. She starts with the berries and nuts, looking up to him in thanks, even though she doesn't verbalise it. "Glad you're okay." She sounds relieved. Knowing Asher, she was expecting him to come back covered in blood, either his own or someone else's. Possibly even brain matter, were he to come back at all.

A nod is Asher's first response. He watches her as she eats, gaze unwavering. "Yeah…good…Real food sounds better than that Jaha-shit." He pauses and runs a hand through his hair. "I think they are going for the Mountain soon," he muses out loud. He doesn't say he's going to help, but she knows him well enough to know that he's probably going to go with them. He falls silent, and rubs at his stubble covered jaw.

"Yeah. Blackwood's trying to blackmail me into killing myself with the rest of them. No way he's gonna find me here, though." Cassandra meets Asher's gaze initially, reading that uncertainty openly, but she's the first to break eye-contact. Even for her, he can be a little intense. When she's finished with the nuts and berries, she sets the ration bar aside, reaching up a hand to pull him down next to her on the blankets.

Asher doesn't resist being pulled down into the blankets with her, and he pulls himself next to her. A hand and forearm are draped over her stomach. "Me too," he offers quietly. "Just so you know…I didn't go kick that Guard's ass for what he did." Because he'd have been arrested. Apparently Asher is trying something new?

"Yeah, I figured," Cass replies, watching Asher's eyes warily. If he had, he'd have come back covered in blood, but the notion that the thug might be trying something new doesn't register with her, seeing as she continues with, "Ash, don't go after him, OK? Morgan's right. I'm fine. I don't want you locked up or worse. You're no use to me dead."

She wraps her arms and knees affectionately around him in turn, and having stated her piece in trying to convince him using reason, now tries to placate him using seduction. "Was real manly though, how you swooped in and saved me at the last minute…" she murmurs, and although that's definitely not how it happened, it sure sounds romantic, her disdain for being helpless aside. She leans in to press her lips to his neck, where his injuries are less tender.

While Asher isn't in the infirmary requiring regular care, he isn't totally healed. He's able to move around, but his left arm is still pretty messed up and his next wound, while sewed up and covered, isn't healed either. So laying next to her requires being on her left side so his right arm is towards her. "I'm not going after him. Not that way. I'm testing the Guard." Why? That's a whole different issue. A beat pause and he considers her with a quirked brow. "So you wouldn't be sad if I died, but you would be put out?" He smirks just a bit, but falls silent at the kiss to his neck. "Manly is what I do." Even if it didn't go down like that, pretend is fun.

"Might be real annoyed," Cassandra deadpans. "It would make things inconvenient." And that's about as far as she goes, regarding the potential tragedy of Asher's untimely demise. Never mind that she was willing to shank Billy Stone over it not three weeks ago, when the ramp of the now-defunct dropship was about to rise. "What are you testing the Guard with, Ash?" She sounds genuinely curious, if a bit incredulous. This should be good, her tone says.

"Yeah…you'd have to go find a new big meat head to use as a shield…" Asher deadpans back. There's humor in his eyes though. He isn't as good at deadpanning as she is. He pauses and considers her question and the tone she gives him. "Either they are actually gonna treat us fair and decent, or they aren't. So I reported that guard to an officer. Either they're gonna do something to his ass for what he did, and I'll know they actually are treating us fair, or they are gonna sweep it under the rug…" He pauses and then kisses her cheek. "Since I can't just live on the wilds or off the Grounders like you."

For a long moment Cassandra stares at him, and all traces of humour, deadpan or otherwise, vanish from her expression. The gravity of her feelings on the matter are made clearer when she rolls away from that cheek-kiss, sitting back up on the blankets. "You did what?" she asks, wide-eyed and aghast. "Ash… The Hell? Why would you do that?" Seeing as he just explained his reasoning, and probably doesn't need to do so again, she continues, "We already know they aren't gonna treat us fair! Of course they're not gonna treat us fair! What did you expect?"

That reaction was a known possibility. Asher doesn't trust them either, but he had to see. It's a difference in how they think. "Had to try something, Cass. What's the worst that will happen? They kill me for it?" Asher shrugs. "They need to find me first. I didn't stick around afterwards." He sits up as well, frowning just a bit. "We've got limited options here. You've got this thing with the grounders. You already know that isn't gonna do anything for me. They aren't just gonna make me one of 'em. So what am I supposed to do? If they fuck me over, then it's not any different than it is now."

"Ash… Fuck." Cassandra doesn't just look annoyed by this news; she looks genuinely upset. The heel of her hand rises to press to her forehead, and she props her elbow up on her knee. "The world doesn't work like… fairy-tales of fairness. What do you think is gonna happen? It's our word against his! Us! Me! Boner and that dude who bashed a guard's brains in!" She regrets bringing up Asher's crimes instantly, but for now, she looks at him in frustration, fuming. She isn't blind at least to how other people see her, with the notable exception of maybe how Asher sees her. "They're gonna need my testimony. They can't just take you at your word."

So…Asher hadn't really thought about testimony. He hadn't planned it out that far ahead. "Look, this isn't about what actually happens to him. Not to me. This is about seeing what they do. If they want testimony, or whatever…Morgan saw it go down. He can tell them. I don't care. If they actually look into it at all, it'll be better than how they were on the Ark." He sighs and gets up, moving across the room. "Look, I'm not lookin' for you to do anything here. I'm just seeing what happens if I play by their rules."

"I don't break the rules 'cause it's fun, Ash," says Cassandra. "I do it 'cause I know the rules don't work." She sounds like she's speaking from experience. Though she looks dismayed when Asher gets up, she doesn't follow him, keeping her legs wrapped in the blankets and just watching him move across the room. "Well, maybe a little bit because it's fun. Listen, if Kane asks me what happened, I'm gonna deny the whole thing. And I'm not gonna press charges on the off-chance Breen does confess, and Kane does give a shit. I had it coming. Them's the breaks." She apparently doesn't sound optimistic that either of these variables will work out in their favour in the first place. "Why do you care?"

Posting up against the wall opposite Cassandra, Asher falls silent, keeping his gaze settled on her. He frowns even more when she says she'll deny it and that she had it coming. "Cass, you didn't have it coming. Kai wasn't injured, and she can more than handle herself. This was a fuckin' gung ho guard tryin' to prove how bad ass he was. I put up with that shit my whole life on the Ark. I got harassed by the guards for years…" Deservedly. "I got thrown beatings, and shocked because they wanted to. It's supposed to be different now. So either it's going to be different, or it isn't. I gotta know if it can be different, because I only do one thing, and I can't do it at all right now."

"It's not different. Sheesh. When did you become such a fucking idealist?" As much as Cassandra's admonishing him, and emphasising that last word like it's the worst insult in the world, her voice does turn gentle to do it. She pushes up from the fur and wool blanket bed, moving now to follow him to the wall. There, she tries to take his hands in both of hers and draw him back towards her. "You're tough." This is said not as a compliment, but as a statement of fact. "You don't need it to be different. You pulled through on the Ark. You'll pull through here. 'Cause you're a badass, Ash."

Asher wasn't trying to escape her, just wanted to move around. So he doesn't withdraw when she takes his hands. He is drawn in towards her then. "I'm just lookin' at the cards I've been dealt here, Cass. What are my options? Go guard? Join their militia? Go be a grounder? You really think any of those are gonna work? Or I stay and lift heavy boxes so I can eat. And get shit on by the guards every day because I can't stand up for myself without getting arrested?" He shakes his head. "I had to see what they'd do…that's all. I'm not lookin' for you to get stuck…" He falls silent then and leans his forehead against hers.

Deciding to get stuck on Asher, at least for the moment, Cassandra raises a hand to cup his jaw and pulls him in for a kiss. Beside them is a cracked wine-barrel covered in cobwebs, but since her eyes are closed, it doesn't bother her much. What Asher ends up deciding on isn't, to her mind, up to her, and so she voices no further opinions on the subject.

Apparently this conversation is over. Asher seems ok with that. In the end, they have their place together, even if they decide to ally themselves differently for now. Asher leans into the kiss, his arms wrapping around her waist.

With that out of the way, Cassandra rests her hands on Asher's forearms, eyes half-lidded. She lets the moment rest for a spell, and as they stand there in the middle of the ruined bodega, she beseeches, "Ash… Teach me how to fight."

When the kiss ends, Asher hmmms quietly and pulls his head back to look at Cassandra. A faint grin crosses his features and he nods to her once. "Probably a good idea…You hit like a girl." He fully expects to get hit for that. He rolls his neck a bit, resulting in a pop and then glances around the room. "You want to start now?"

Cassandra doesn't need to hit Asher for that comment. That would be rude. Instead, she looks up at his face again, and unleashes the full force of her flat, cautionary stare, eyebrows quirked. "That depends," she says. "Can you teach me without rupturing your spleen?"

Asher considers that and the looks she gives him. It is met with a smirk initially and Asher shrugs, taking a few steps back from her. "Probably." He rolls his left shoulder and hides a wince. "How about you show me what you can do, and we'll see if this is more than I can handle right now without opening up my stitches?"

"I've been going to the Grounders for lessons," says Cass, taking a step back herself. "You know they have this system called Seconds? I got an offer. Two, actually." She speaks and stands with confidence, far more than is warranted for someone of her capabilities, especially given the intention to impress someone of Asher's. One foot positions in front of the other as she curls her fists at her sides, meeting his eyes. She hasn't learned a defensive stance, but one thing she has picked up from the Grounders is that if you want to learn something, always look at your opponent's eyes.

"I figure though, do I want to be anyone's second?" She cants her head, asking herself, but also asking him. As she does so, she charges him at a run, much as she did Kai, minus the intention to actually hurt him. Her fist swings at his jaw, but even if she's lucky enough to find her mark, is going to halt her hand before actually connecting with his skin. This fight is symbolic.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cassandra=melee Vs Asher=dodge
< Cassandra: Failure (1 2 5) Asher: Good Success (5 7 1 7 8 1 3 2 2)
< Net Result: Asher wins - Solid Victory

A brow is raised at that. Asher didn't know things with the Grounders had progressed that far. "Seconds are accepted as one of 'em, aren't they?" He's pretty sure that is the deal Kai has. He pauses then, considering. "What does that mean if there's another outbreak of fighting? You gotta fight the guard?" Means Asher has to join the Grounders. He'd have no choice, since his alternative is to have to fight Cass for real.

And then she rushes him and Asher, by dint of experience and natural ability, he pulls away from the blow easily, and takes two steps around Cass, forcing her to adjust footing as he's now positioned to her off side. "Try again."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cassandra=melee Vs Asher=dodge
< Cassandra: Failure (5 5 4) Asher: Good Success (1 3 2 2 7 3 7 8 1)
< Net Result: Asher wins - Solid Victory

"I dunno man. Wren's a bit weird. Kai's 'First', I mean. He's fucking Silver too. Think he's got a fetish." This time, stitches be damned, Cassandra draws back her elbow, upturns her fist, and hunches her shoulders as she aims her fist at his stomach. Perhaps he'll be worried enough to drop his guard, is her hope. "Their Heda didn't seem too hot on the idea of calling Kai kom Trikru. I met her, by the way. Lexa. Plus she stabbed Wren for treason. So I don't think it's that clear-cut."

There's a huff from the informative Cass as she catches her breath. "I don't like the Guard anyway. But who's to say I can't change my mind?"

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Asher=Melee Vs Cassandra=Melee
< Asher: Success (6 2 6 6 3 7 5 1 5 6 4) Cassandra: Failure (1 4 1)
< Net Result: Asher wins - Marginal Victory

The punch to the gut is once again dodged, Asher sidestepping her fist. This time though he moves to her rear quickly and moves and arm around the one she used to punch with and another around her chest from behind. It isn't a tough hold to escape from, but does keep her right arm locked down for the moment. "You've got legs. Use them."

Her information on the Trikru is absorbed, but isn't responded to. He has no ties to the Trikru, and no one there is going to try and bring him on as their second.

Because this isn't a real fight, and Asher is injured, Cassandra isn't giving it her all as is – which can't be much help. She looks over her shoulder and grins when he grabs her arm, testing the hold, but aside from when actual moves are made, the whole thing flows as if in slow-motion. They've both tasted war, and know what it's like to be embroiled in combat. In reality, it's exhausting, and there is no time to think. This is play.

"Thing is, I don't really like the idea of being anyone's second," she continues. "You see me as an equal, right?" Upon asking this, she wraps her free arm around his right, kind enough not to target his more mangled side, then curls her foot around his calf behind her and tugs him forward, trying to throw him off-balance.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cassandra=melee Vs Asher=melee
< Cassandra: Failure (5 1 5) Asher: Good Success (2 5 4 7 2 1 8 7 2 4 1)
< Net Result: Asher wins - Solid Victory

Play indeed. If this were an actual fight, it'd be over already. Even wounded, Asher has all the advantage here. When she asks her question he's almost caught off guard, but her right foot around his calf catches his attention, so as she starts to pull at him, he moves his left leg back and pulls her weight up and away from the ground.

"Not bad, but I would have kicked for the balls." Please don't actually do that. Please, please, please. A beat pause, and then Asher releases her, and takes a step back and around, "Yes, I see you as an equal…except in a fight." He grins at her.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cassandra=melee Vs Asher=dodge
< Cassandra: Failure (2 2 3) Asher: Amazing Success (2 7 8 8 8 6 7 7 7)
< Net Result: Asher wins - Crushing Victory

Being pulled up from the ground startles Cassandra, who flails and more sincerely tries to get away. The 'fight' has gone from embarrassing to humiliating. "I'm prettier than you, so we're even," she retorts. When he releases her, she turns back around to face him, bringing her hands up to his shoulders to try and shove him back. She doesn't kick him in the balls, because that would be wasteful, but she does try to circle around to his back for that now famous 'Reaper Rider' move… which goes about as well as can be expected.

Unfortunately, her attempt to jump Asher and get on his back does not go well at all. It's a bit sad how easily he slips that move and he sighs at her lightly. "You gotta drop that move. You got lucky before. It's unreliable." He holds up a hand and moves towards her. "I've seen enough to know where to start…" A beat pause. "I want you to take a stance and punch my palm. Same hand each time, and the same spot each time."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Resolve: Good Success. (5 6 7 5 7 4 1 4)
<FS3> Cassandra rolls Melee: Success. (7 6 5)

Biting her lower lip, Cassandra nods her head. She knows she's outmatched significantly, and it's not great for her ego, but she soldiers on. She wants to learn. So, bending her knees in what she assumes is a sensible fighting stance, she draws back her fist and aims it at his palm, as instructed. At least when he's not a moving target, she seems not to have too much trouble hitting, though her arm starts to look tired after a while. Her thumb rests correctly on the outside of her knuckles, so surely that's better than can be expected.

"Better…" Asher states quietly as her fist lands against his palm over and over again. Eventually he pulls his hand away and moves around Cass. "Hold up a sec…" and the moves around her. "Keep your feet shoulder width apart…pivot your rear foot when you punch and rotate your hips into the punch. That's where the power comes from." He then moves back to his previous position. "Same thing, but I want you to add a cross, so punch with your back hand like this…" He takes up a quick stance and then does a jab and then cross. "Got it?" He holds up his hand again.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Cassandra=melee Vs Asher=dodge
< Cassandra: Failure (2 5 2) Asher: Good Success (4 4 3 8 1 8 5 6 3)
< Net Result: Asher wins - Solid Victory

Smiling at the guidance when he moves around her, Cassandra then gives a sharp nod at his new instruction. "Yeah. Sure," she says, correcting her stance. She resumes again, this time rotating her hips and lunging forward to add that cross. The realisation that she will likely never successfully hit Asher, even if she wanted to – and aggressive as she can be with most people, she doesn't — means that she holds back much less now, taking no care to guard against the potential accident that she might actually connect. Punch after punch is thrown, but it's visibly starting to exhaust her. They lessen and slow with every throw, as now that she's no longer testing and considering each move, she's finding it a lot harder to keep up. She isn't just in need of fighting lessons; basic fitness is something she lacks.

Asher continues to evaluate her form and accuracy with all the compassion of a Catholic nun. He draws back here and there to avoid a haphazardly thrown punch. "Don't snap your elbow. Keep your wrist straight, or you're gonna break it." And then when she visibly tires he once again puts his hand down. "Alright, that's enough…" He considers her a moment and then nods. "You're gonna start working out with me too, if you want to learn to fight." Even Asher gets winded in a real fight and he's in excellent fighting condition. "You need to build up stamina so you don't get winded. You get winded, you die."

"You work out?" Cassandra asks, lowering her hands to her sides. Her eyes fall on his abdomen, and soon she realises, "Of course you work out." In fairness, Cass is usually too busy listening to the pretty birdsong while he's conducting his routine down here on Earth. On the Ark, where oxygen was a limited resource, exercise was a privilege, not a right, and it's a privilege she was not afforded. She steps back, swinging her arms to release the tension as she starts back towards the blankets.

"For the record," she claims over her shoulder, throwing him a smirk, "I was only letting you win that fight so you wouldn't rupture your spleen."

A brow quirks and Asher looks down at himself, then at her. Admittedly, a lot of Asher's physique is genetic. His father may have been a drunk asshole, but he was a big, strong drunk asshole. Still, on the Ark he was able to bulk up, though cardio wasn't much of an option. Down here? Asher has to use all that air. "Twice a day," Asher replies. "You just leave me to go see the Trikru so often, you don't notice." Asher grins when he says that.

"Oh right, my spleen…" Asher states quietly. He nods slowly as well, moving off towards the blankets and furs.

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