Day 004: Slaying Deer and Discussion
Summary: A group of Delinquents go hunting, and Faolan kills a conversation.
Date: 3 May 2016
Related: Discussion of the victims in Bubble Bubble Boils and Trouble
Grey Henry Morgan Faolan Delinquents 

Forests Around The Camp, Wilderness

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.

Day 4 After Landing

Day Four After Landing dawns bright and sunny, you know, through the drizzle. Grey is… enduring it. His shoulders are hunched up, his trio of spears gathered on his left shoulder, as he waits near the edge of the camp. "Come on, come on." His voice is roughened by lack of sleep, and he shakes his head, "We don't have all day." And then he pauses, and shrugs, "Okay, so we do, but I don't wanna waste it."

Henry, otherwise known as Hal, arrives with a few recently made spears. The sharp bit of shrapnel he used to make them is stuck firmly in the side of his belt. Water plasters his normally fiery red hair to his skull, making it appear dark and lifeless. Water drips from his nose and chin. "I brought a couple of extras," he says by way of greeting to Grey, his tone curt.

Since they landed, Morgan's been busy doing… stuff. Looking for willows, checking on the injured, inspecting bodies. Seems like there's always something to do and not much of it actual fun. Today's no exception. "Oh, there you are." he says to Grey, nodding absently to Henry. "I wanted to talk to you about the bodies." Pause. "You coming in or heading out?"

Grey looks around the group gathered for the hunting trip, the dozen young men and women carrying spears, clubs, and knives. They're damp, hungry, and eager only because of those things. He nods to Henry, "Good." There's a moment's thought, then he adds, "It's Hal, right?" Morgan's arrival causes him to nod in greeting as well, "Going out. Hunting. You can be a beater, that involves making noise. Like talking." And then he flashes his broad grin around the group, "We're gonna try something Keats was telling me about. Hunting with beaters. We find a likely area, some folks spread out and make a ton of noise, try to drive animals toward the people with spears."

"Yep." Henry gives a concise nod of the head and a single syllable to indicate that he is indeed known as 'Hal'. It seems that is all he is going to say for a moment, but eventually he says, "Good to meetcha." It's more a symbolic gesture, as he knows full well who Grey is. After that, he falls silent, glancing around at the group and listening to the former cadet as water trickles down his face.

Morgan looks around at the group gathered and nods. Not just a bad hunt then. He glances back at the ship and absently fingers the metal rod he's claimed. "I'm good at making noise." he decides with a quick grin. It's not like anyone will die without him. He could use a distraction from everything too. Something different. "Yeah, I'll come. You want to talk about them on the way or after?"

Faolan's one of the dozen young men and women. His spear is basic but serviceable, while the 'knife' he's got stuck in his belt looks pretty awkward, scrap metal filed against the side of the Dropship until sharp, but still unwieldy and with a grip that keeps separating from the blade. He handles himself with the calm confidence of someone who is, at the end of the day, quite comfortable wielding a weapon, or seeing a bit of blood. "Drive them down the middle, huh?" He asks Grey, scratching at his jawline. "Sure thing."

Grey nods a response to Hal, "You too." He shrugs to Morgan, "Lemme know what we got, but until we find a likely spot, we'll want to keep it quiet." He nods a bit to Faolan, "I suggested fire at night. Keats said noise during the day would work just fine." Wiping a hand down his face to clear away gathered moisture, he gestures out and to the east, "So, shall we?"

"Let's do this," Hal says gruffly. He takes on of his spears firmly in hand, then glances at the two extras. After a moment of inner debate, he passes them down the line to anyone who doesn't have one yet.

"Short story: no fucking idea." Morgan tells Grey. "Which makes it even more dangerous. We can do the long story on the way back." he adjusts his hold on the metal strut and walks with the others. Never having thrown a spear, he passes on the offer.

"Hm." Another slow scratch of his jawline while he thinks it through. "I guess a fire might get outta control if it gets big, and if you wanna drive animals, it should be pretty big, right? A bit of wind, and woosh." His lips pull in a slowly spreading smile at the thought, as if he can see the orange of flames rise up before his inner eye, and it delights him. He shakes his head, dismissing it. "Assuming you can start one at all. Anyway. Yeah, yeah. Let's ago." He nods, then sets off the way Grey has indicated, a long loping stride to his tall frame.

"I'm never gonna get used to all this space to move in," he says quietly to nobody in particular, and it has a dreamy and amazed quality to it. Even low energy, not enough food, just being in motion rather than standing still is putting a growing grin on his face.

Grey appears to be keeping all three of his spears, shifting one to his right hand and carrying it in a reversed grip, theoretically ready to throw. The other two are bundled in his left hand as he walks through the woods, doing his best to avoid tromping straight through ferns or stomping on sticks, "No fucking idea. Great. What do you think, Faolan, you wanna check out what happened to the three while we're headin' to Mount Weather?" He shrugs a little at the other ex-Cadet's suggestion, "I meant torches, at night. I'm pretty sure a forest fire would be about the worst idea ever. Aaaanyhow… time to try and remember those stupid Earth Studies classes…" …the stupid ones that are saving peoples' lives now.

<FS3> Grey rolls Survival: Failure.
<FS3> Faolan rolls Survival: Success.
<FS3> Henry rolls Survival: Good Success.
<FS3> Morgan rolls Survival: Success.

Henry almost steps in it. The pile of pellets on what might almost be a little trail through the woods that he is traversing. For some reason it was one of the Earth Skills lessons that stuck. Deer poop. So strange that something the size of a deer would poop out little pebbles of poo. He glances down at the spore, then up and round, his eyes lighting on a large thicket burried in the trees. Quickly he waves his arms in the air, and points at the mass of folliage.

"We need to." Morgan tells them. "We can't afford to have something deadly out there that we have no idea about." Pause. "Out here." Maybe right behind that tree. Who knows? When Henry indicates he found something, he shuts up and stops walking, waiting to see what's next.

"Perhaps," Faolan hushes. "But that's assuming we'd do any better. Still. Ignorance ain't bliss." No. He'd rather know.

Rabbit. There isn't all that much food in a rabbit, is there? So when Henry indicates that there might be something else on the menu, he's more than comfortable leaving his own option behind. He grips his spear tightly in his fist. How does this work again? Yeah, beaters out in a big circle while the kids with spears hold their ground. He starts making some hand gestures to get that in motion, glancing at the others to see if they're on the same page.

The fecal find sharpens Grey's attention, and he gestures for the group to spread out, making wide circling motions with the points of his spears. He whispers, "Circle, then shout and come this way." Just what Faolan said too, silently. The other Delinquents start moving around, keeping as low and as quiet as they can. As they move, a buck steps out of the thicket, its head turned aside to study something in the distance. And then one of the kids steps on a branch, there's a crack, and the deer turns toward the sound, revealing to the watchers a second face this one jutting out from the first at a shallow angle. And the race is on!

<FS3> Grey rolls Athletics: Failure.
<FS3> Henry rolls Athletics: Good Success.
<FS3> Faolan rolls Athletics: Failure.
<FS3> Morgan rolls Athletics: Good Success.

As the beaters start up their racket and charge the thicket, Henry stands his ground. The sight of the dear makes his heart pound, and when that second half-face appears, grotesque and mutated, he almost staggers back in horror. Almost. Gritting his teach, he quickly manuevers himself into the path of the deer, his grip reflexively tightening on the spear in his hand. He's close enough to reach it, his arm cocking back…

When they spot the deer, Morgan's reaction to its head is similar to Henry's. But a mutation to the radiation is hardly unexpected. IN fact, he's been wondering why there's so little obvious signs of what was supposed to have been an apocalypse. At least this shows there actually was something. He moves off to the side then slowly approaches the deer while others box it in. He'll hopefully hit it over the head once he's close enough.

Faolan can't get close enough, and for all that he's a fairly athletic kid, today he just isn't fast enough, cant get that explosiveness into his movements. A tree is in the way in the worst time possible. A branch snags at his arm, a mistimed acceleration makes him skid instead, slippery ground giving way. Quietly (and its a strain not to roar) he's spitting and hissing out his frustration: "Floating bullshit!"

This is where Grey should be rushing close to throw a spear or to stab the buck. Unfortunately, he's staring at the thing's head. What… the… fuck. The ex-Cadet freezes in place, arm half-cocked with the spear nearly at the ready, just… staring at the thing frantically trying to escape the circle of hunters. It bounds this way and that, but there always seems to be a Delinquent in the way. Eventually, even Grey snaps somewhat out of it, and starts to approaching, helping to hem the creature in even if he's a good ways behind the others. The buck tosses its double-head this way and that, trying to fend off those getting close, getting more and more desperate.

<FS3> Henry rolls Melee: Failure.
<FS3> Morgan rolls Melee: Success.

<FS3> Faolan rolls Athletics: Good Success.
<FS3> Grey rolls Athletics: Success.
<FS3> Henry rolls Athletics: Good Success.
<FS3> Faolan rolls Throw: Success.
<FS3> Henry rolls Thrown: Good Success.
<FS3> Grey rolls Thrown: Success.

With a sharp movement, Hal thrusts his spear at the buck, but the animal tosses its head defensively and the point of the spear is knocked harmlessly away, and the red head stumbles. "Mother…" Quickly, he works to regain his footing, grimacing as the deer makes to escape.

While the deer is looking at the others, Morgan leaps forward, swinging the metal rod. It comes down on the back of the animal's neck instead of its head, hurting it but certainly not killing it or knocking it down. The deer's reaction to the pain, springing away in a heartbeat, makes him step back and drop his arm.

After his skid, Faolan's got wet earth and mud and moss licking up his leg and his ass. His hand were he caught himself is similarly slimy and wet. But his face is a mask of angry focus, a game face as he leaps into motion. Fuck if he'll be completely useless on a hunt. He jumps over a fallen log, trying to cut off the deer as it staggers from Morgan's attack. He knows he can't gt close enough to stab it, but perhaps he can get close enough to throw. He will get close enough to throw, arm pulling back, all of his body coiling with the tension of the movement, then unleashing.

Grey shifts and shakes, moving like one of the linebackers from the old games he loved to watch, trying to keep the deer in front of him. And then the animal twists away from Henry, takes the strike from Morgan, lets out a cry, and bounds out of the tightening circle, knocking over one of the Delinquents. The buck turns tail immediately, starting to bound off into the underbrush. Having recovered from his surprise, Grey follows after, although the trio of spears he's carrying certainly isn't helping matters in the fringes of the thicket, and he gets himself out of position. Even as the deer starts to lengthen the distance between it and the hunters, Grey plants his feet, rears back, and hurls the spear in his right hand at it. The metal point scrapes across the animal's flank, a near-miss that still draws blood, and Grey is left grimacing and shifting another spear to his right hand even as he starts forward again.

Oh, Hal has almost been able to taste that deer. Radioactive or not, the idea of eating it has awoken something in him that is at once powerful and urgent. As it starts to escape he lets out a howl of frustration. He pulls back his own spear, no longer near enough to use it as a melee weapon, his only thought is of reaching the animal, of letting our years of frustration. He hurls the weapon with all of his might.

Morgan has no spear or he might have thrown it. He's certainly not fast enough to catch a deer so he just stands there looking after it as it flees bruised and bleeding from clumsy hunters. And then Henry's Hail Mary lands home and it falls, the spear sticking out of it. As the animals lies there struggling to stand and making sounds of pain, Morgan's eyes fill and tears start to run down his cheeks. Dropping the metal rod, he sniffles and rubs his eyes.

Faolan's spear is still attached to the deer, but it doesn't take more than a couple of jumps preceding Henry's final nail in the coffin before the spear falls out. He closes in with swift movements, that knife of his already drawn. Up close as it makes those agonizing sounds of death, his fury evaporates, compassion coming to life in his eyes instead. But that only steels is resolve. As soon as he is close enough; and approaching from from its back rather than from its kicking side, he leans down to cut its throat. One quick single movement to end the pain.

When Grey bursts from behind an alder like he might try to actually run down a deer, he can see it thrashing about, and he clatters the hafts of his two remaining spears together, "Shit hot!" Shifting the second spear back to his left hand, he moves to help up the Delinquent that the deer knocked down. The bedraggled young woman scowls up at Grey for a moment, and then finally accepts the hand up grudgingly. "Nice throw whoever got the bastard."

Henry trots up just as Faolan is slitting the animal's throat, his face flush with the glory of helping to bring the deer down. As the hot blood pours from its throat, he kneels and allows it to cover the fingers of one hand. He drags it across his face, leaving four diagonal slashes of crimson on the skin.

Morgan wipes his eyes on his arm and turns away so he's not looking at the deer. He leans back against a tree and tries to get himself under control.

That blood-on-the-race ritual of Hal earns a dubious look from Faolan. He stands, looking down at his palm which is now covered in blood. The same is the sleeve of his jacket. HE absently tries to wipe it off against the back of his pants, only to find there's still slimy mud, moss and wet earth there. What a great mix. He grimaces. "Okay. Alright. I guess we gotta get all of the guts and stuff out." He isn't volunteering. Instead he looks at MOrgan. That seems like the perfect job him.

Grey watches Faolan finish the deer and Henry paint himself with the beast's blood as he moves to go retreat his spear. He doesn't even try to close with the kill, trusting others to make sure it's finished off and ready to be hauled back, "Could also leave that to an Ee-Ess nerd back at camp." Instead, he comes back toward Morgan, wiggling the metal point within its split-wood seat at the end of his spear, testing to see if it's come loose. "Gettin' into it pretty good, aren't they?"

Morgan just nods and rubs his face with the back of his hand. "It wa…" He stops and clears his throat before sniffling and starting over. "It wasn't radiation." he says, looking off into the woods where he can't see the deer. "That's the good news. They weren't burned by fire either since their clothes weren't." What killed the kids? A nice safe topic he can discuss dispassionately.

Faolan considers it for a moment, and you can see him searching his mind for a plausible reason why he'd foster that unpleasant job onto someone else, rather than doing the chore himself. "I mean.. I guess there might be uses for it, right? The intestines and stuff, that one of them'd know about." See, that makes sense. Having convinced himself its not being lazy, its being dutiful, the big kid's on board. He gets up and moves to pick up his spear where it'd fallen earlier. The tip is broken off, and he mutters an inaudible stream about it. The knife he cleans fastidiously, then puts back in his belt. For transport he settles for tying a couple of spears together (not trusting just one not to break), tying the deer's feet to the spear, and voila, easy to carry back home. If there'd been compassion for a hurt animal in his eyes, well, there's no guilt, or awkwardness in being practical about handling it. He's already moved on.

Grey glances back to the kill for a moment as Morgan goes onto the subject of the kids, then he shrugs, notes to Faolan, "Plus I don't want any of us knuckle-draggers screwin' anything up." There's a bit of a smile behind the words, and then he looks back to Morgan, focusing in there and going with the change, "Not fire, not radiation. Okay. So there's something out there that's not fire and not radiation that burns the shit out of you. Did they like… get boiled? Or I don't know, fall into some toxic sludge?" Of course, they would have had to climb out of anything they fell into, but…

Morgan shakes his head. "I don't know." He looks down and around then steps over to get his metal rod all without looking toward the deer. "The blisters were in their hair and under their clothes. It would have to be something in the air or water. I think it's safe to way they didn't boil. It doesn't look right. Besides, they'd probably have stripped before going in. At least shirts or something. Then they'd have had to get dressed again and only then start to form blisters. Doesn't make sense."

"Might be some sort of plant that they touched, and it released killer vapors!" Faolan suggests while he's working at securing the kill. Absently he strokes its fur, the body underneath it still warm. Its a strange sensation for an Arker. Petting something. Even if its a dead something. It tells in the odd look he gets on his face. "Face melting plant. Shit. How crazy wouldn't that be? And you die and you fertilize the earth that it grows in."

Nodding slowly at the other two as they postulate as well, Grey frowns in thought, shifting his third spear to his left hand and nibbling at the end of his middle fingernail a little. "Air or water. So yeah. Steam, mist, fog, geyser, planet, animal?" Yes, that is pretty much all of the practical and impractical possibilities, Grey. He looks over to Faolan, "I still think we oughta poke around the area they were hunting in. See if we can figure out what it is." His eyes narrow slightly, and the faintest of smiles touches his lips entirely unconsciously as he studies his fellow ex-C, "I think it's probably important, but I definitely think a group of us should still head for Mount Weather tomorrow, whaddya think, Faolan?"

Morgan shrugs at what Faolan says. "Faolan could be right. It makes as much sense as anything. A gas or vapor though, not a pollen. It didn't look like their clothes protected them at all so it would have had to go through the fabric like it wasn't there or they were exposed long enough that it didn't matter. Water would have soaked through so it could be that if they were caught in it. I didn't see any damage to their clothes so it only reacts with flesh. Probably." Despite his best intention, he can't help but look over at the deer as he talks. "Without knowing what happened, we can't avoid it. But yeah, Mount Weather is important. I want to get there as soon as possible." Just a reminder he's not being left out.

"Mount Weather's more important," Faolan says without hesitation, without even thinking. He slowly tries out alternate ideas, saying them aloud to see what sticks: "Could be left over chemical war head one of them poked at, the damn idiots, thinking it was flashy and let's dig it up and try to open it. Big warning signs just makes it more cool." Dry sarcasm in his tone, now, a general derision for the majority of the delinquents. "I mean, they," and he gestures towards.. Earth in general, "blew themselves up with nukes. No reason they'd not also use every other dirty weapon they had, right? Or.." He squints at nothing. "Naw, I think that's it for me. Hey, gimme a hand." While he takes one side of the spears. "Let's go back. We made too much noise for anything else to be sticking around in these parts."

Grey grunts softly, shrugging a little, "I didn't know the other two, but Grecco wasn't a total idiot." There's only a little bit of disappointment as Faolan doesn't bite on the not-so-smooth suggestion that he check the area out. Machiavelli Grey is not. He's not even Mac Iavelli from Jersey Shore. "Could be a bomb of some sort two, yeah… huh." One of the other Delinquents moves to take up the other end of the spears, happy to help out further. "I'll go out again when we get back. Figure to get as much food as I can for the trip, not that it'll keep without the smoker folks are talkin' about." His brows draw down for a moment, "Or, I guess, the salt that, uh… Samson… was talkin' about." Flashing a dry grin, he adds, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a space suit right about now, for figurin' out what screwed 'em up?"

"Could be really contaminated water maybe." Morgan guesses. "But you'd think there would have been some sign of it on their clothes. Or they'd have smelled it and knew not to go in it. Less it rained on them?" Who knows what the planet does. He steals another look at the door before turning away. "We just need to be extra careful. Whatever it is, they probably didn't know it was dangerous. And it got all three of them at the same time."

"Could be some sort of tree where the leaves are coated with some sort of anti-radiation.. uh," Faolan scrunches up his nose as he tries to find a good scientific word. "Goo? And if you stand under it when it rains," picking up on Morgan's idea "the chemical reaction makes acid?" But he doesn't sound very convinced with his own theory. With a grunt he lifts up, spears on his shoulder. He's taken the end where he can walk out in front, rather than following like a tool. Without further procrastination, he starts to walk back towards the camp. "But yeah, they probably didn't know until it was too late."

"Just another reason to be careful while crashin' around the woods to find a place to be alone with someone." Grey's words are accompanied by a smirk and a chuckle, and he shrugs, hefting two spears onto his left shoulder and holding the third in his right hand, again theoretically ready to throw. You know, just in case something isn't scared off by the smell of deer blood. "So we're on the lookout for somethin' involving air or water, that goes right through your clothes, gets you before you know what's happening, and kills you with all sorts of burns and stuff. Should be easy to spot."

"Acid would have damaged their clothes." Morgan points out. "That we can't figure out what did it means we could end up in the same situation before we realize we're totally fucked. Everyone in the camp needs to be warned or we're going to lose more of us. We might anyway." Grey pretty much sums it up except for the easy to spot part.

With a shrug Faolan falls quiet, deciding that if he can't come up with a solution to the problem then he might as well not worry about it at all for now. He just trudges along, his movements easy, keeping a pace that is causing the Delinquent behind him to start half-stumbling and complaining.

Grey nods at Morgan, "Yup. I figure we keep out of the area until we can make a close survey. I dunno about warning people beyond warning them about the area. Panic… yeah, panic would be bad." There's the ex-Cadet coming through again. Amazing how it shines through the 'prison kid from a broken home' now and then.

"We don't know that it's confined only to that area." Morgan says. "We need to give them at least a few facts to watch out for. I know we don't really know anything solid but everyone down here is our responsibility. You know - you know - there will be some people who go there just because someone told them not to. Even more likely if it's you who says so."

"We already know its dangerous out here," Faolan says with a shake of his head. "They can trip and fall down a cliff, they can be bitten by something poisonous or eaten by a bear. They can get lost in the woods and simply starve to death." He looks at Morgan. "Nothing good comes from adding 'mysterious thing we don't know what is, where it might strike, how to protect or avoid it, or even how it kills'. It doesn't tell them anything at all. Until you know more, keep it shut. Grey's right."

Grey shrugs at Morgan's words, although the final note causes him to smirk, "So have him," a thumb jerks at Faolan, "tell the goodie-goodies, and I'll tell the hardasses. Even the ones who don't like me aren't likely to do somethin' stupid just to spite me. And if they are that dumb, they're dead weight eatin'." Not that he's biased or anything. He nods to Faolan, "Exactly. You tell people about somethin' that you don't really know anything about that might kill 'em, they're just going to get more scared. Then we won't have anyone huntin' or lookin' for water, or goin' to Mount Weather, and we starve."

Morgan frowns as he walks, listening to the arguments against telling the others. After a few, he nods though he doesn't look happy about it. "All right. I can see your point. Let's come up with a good reason that warns them as much as possible and I'll start letting people know too."

"When did the 'hard asses' stop hating you?" Faolan asks dryly of Grey. "I remember not days before we got sent down here, they were still trying to kick you down a peg any chance they got. The 'goodies' ain't likely to do stupid spite-your-face stuff anyway. Its the idiots that hate you, and us that'll be trouble. The ones who think going against an ex cadet makes them cool or proves some kinda point." He wrinkles his nose derisively.

Grey nods as Morgan comes around, "Me, I'd think 'They went that-a-way and died horribly' should do for most people." Shrugging at Faolan, "They didn't. At least the ones who hated me before didn't. They just think you're a putz." It's delivered so matter-of-factly, with only the tiniest hint of a grin, that he could almost be delivering a compliment.

"And we don't know how." Morgan adds. "They're going to ask anyway so we might as well be up front about it. Just leave it at that. At least if anyone does go explore, they'll be more careful about everything." He shrugs. "I'll tell whoever you think will take it better from me. I don't think I have too many enemies." He wasn't a bully though he protected a few people from the bullies. Nor was he a Cadet and an agent of The Man.

"I could beat the shit out of them before, and I can beat the shit out of them now," Faolan growls in the back of his throat when he's referred as a putz. He gets himself worked up, even if he generally thinks he's above the opinions of delinquents anyway. "You show me one of 'em got the balls to tell me that to my face. Putz. Whatever. Fine. I should be the one telling them, just so they go off to spite me and die like the idiots they are. Cut down on the mouths to feed." Hmph.

Grey chuckles at Morgan and shrugs, "I'm not actually suggestin' we gather all the 'goodies' in one spot and all the 'hardasses' in another and tell 'em. I say we all tell everyone we talk to." Looking back over his shoulder to Faolan, he shrugs even more broadly, "Well, if 'putz' means havin' a stick up your ass and mopin' around, then that'll work." The remarks are still delivered in a simple, straightforward tone, as if completely unconcerned that his fellow ex-C is getting worked up behind him. There are times when he really is his mother's son.

"Alright, consider it done." Morgan agrees. "Do we have to tell Zoe?" Hard to tell if he's serious or not. He glances over at Faolan's tone then back to Grey but it's not his problem if they want to get in a fight. Again, he looks sadly over to the deer but he's hungry too.

"I don't have a stick up my ass, man. I just have some principles." And what comes next from Faolan is a nasty snarl, his temper rising further. "And fuck you, Grey. You can go float yourself! I don't mope around." He often mopes around. "I reflect on the shit in my life, and I have a conscience, and I don't pretend that.. You know what? Whatever." he splutters into silence, doesn't continue. He stomps along, dark brooding thoughts circling his head.

Grey shouldn't grin. He really, really shouldn't. Luckily, he's still walking ahead of Faolan, so the other ex-C can't see the absolute, total, and utter shit-eating grin on his face. It takes Grey a moment to control the smile enough that it's not completely obvious when he speaks up again, "It is possible to have a conscience and enjoy life. We're free, man. Sure, we have to hunt for food, scrabble for water, and shiver at night. But we're free, at least for a little while." He shakes the thoughts off, "Nevermind though." Casting a look aside at Morgan, he adds, "And yeah, we should probably tell everyone. If she thinks we're hidin' somethin' valuable there and goes to look, then it's her own damned fault."

Well, we can hope. Morgan glances over at Grey's expression but again, not his problem. Shame to damage either of those faces though if they start in on each other. "Yeah, we're free. " he agrees. "And I hear Silver has pretty much worked out how to get the bracelets off with a minimum of damage to them or us. I'll be seeing her when we get back. What about you two?" It's Faolan he's looking back to for an answer since he knows bother their opinions on the bracelets.

"You think I care about any of that?" of the cold and the lack of food and all of it. "Being down here is a miracle. It's a chance to actually make things right. And I am enjoying it." Saying it like Faolan will force himself to enjoy it, dammit, whether he wants to or not. He stomps on something soft and squishy. The whole of his frame is sizzling with tension. He is still frowning when Morgan looks at him. His blue eyes meet the other's, and he says: "I am not taking mine off. Until we can communicate with them somehow directly, this is our link. They're depending on the data we're giving them, and I'm not going to abandon them."

Mischief managed, and now Grey can settle back down into normal conversation, even if Faolan is still steaming, "Haven't made that decision yet." He glances down to his left wrist again, shaking out his cuff over the medical bracelet and the smaller braided cord bracelet alongside it, "I got no interest in the Council or Jackhole Jaha comin' down, and I don't exactly have any hope of a real pardon, no matter what words people say, I'm always gonna be a murderer to them. But we could use some real farmers and techs and such. And life could be a lot better down here with some of the tech from up there."

"You really want to give your life for the Council?" Morgan asks Faolan. "You believe what they say? They lied about the appeals. They didn't set us down near the mountain. This was supposed to be a radioactive hellhole for another two centuries but they didn't send a single, fucking geiger counter down with us. We might be absorbing enough radiation to kill us as we walk. And you think they're telling the truth? They don't need you, a murderer who couldn't control himself. The first thing they're going to do when they get down here is a put a bullet in your head. And mine and his." he says, gesturing to Grey. "They might leave alive the ones who got boxed for building a still or something stupid like that. They're not dangerous. You?" He points at Faolan and mimes shooting him. "I don't mind normal people coming down but the Council and the Guard? We're dead. The /only/ chance we have is to keep them in the dark about what's down here while we learn. We need to get away from here and build a safe place for us all, maybe in Mount Weather. We need to be too valuable for them to kill and too dangerous to fight."

"You're so paranoid you're blind," Faolan tells Morgan, his earlier fury replaced by a sort of resignation instead. He rubs his palm - half covered in mostly dried blood - against his forehead. A small grunt follows the adjustment of the spears. "And you've confused your hate for them with this idea that the Council is evil. That they're a malign force who'll make the most ruthless and cruel choices they can because they want to. They do what they have to, and they have good reasons."

"They didn't want us to panic, to cause riots, and that's why they didn't tell us what they had planned. They didnt want parents to riot either. A lie? Sure. To protect us. When the alternative is floating, this is a kindness. Not that I think that's why they sent us down; I think things must be worse up there than any of us suspected for them to risk a drop-ship. They didn't send us resources, but the ship is a resource. I don't think they have two centuries up there to wait. That's what I think."

He moves the spears and the weight to the other shoulder. "They're not going to shoot us. They didnt even want to float us. Nobody is fucking happy floating kids. They guard don't smile and laugh and elbow each other every time they get to send someone out into space. And you know what? Down here they don't have to. Will they ever really accept us? I don't know. But we don't deserve for what we've each of us done to be just forgotten. We don't. We did the things we're here for, and we earned their distrust. Now we get to do a little good in return. That's enough for me."

Grey shakes his head at the start of Morgan's rant, then listens in silence, "To be fair, I don't think they meant for us to miss the mountain. There was a lot of bouncin' around in atmo. And others have gotten appeals, and the next batch of Boxed kids probably will too. Just wanted enough of us to test." He sighs faintly, raising up his left hand to chew on his thumbnail, "And we are geiger counters, why do we need any real ones down here? Wouldn't matter either way, we're here whether we're fryin' slowly or not." He nods back to Faolan, "Hell, I bet he's right about all of your parents, I bet they still haven't told them where the hell we are." He ducks under a tree-branch, then turns back to add to Faolan, "But you're dead wrong about the Guard. Some of them are all noble and proud and shit, some of them just like to hit people. Like that bastard Isaacs." And Grey's father, really. Looking back to Morgan, he adds, "And you're crazy if you think we can just run away from the Ark folks if they come down. Half the kids will want to meet 'em, and I don't think thirty or fifty people can survive out here on their own. Certainly can't live long, happy lives."

"They didn't kill your parents." he tells Faolan. "You're an apologist for them, spinning a fairy tale so you have something to believe in where we all live happily ever after." Morgan counters then looks at Grey. "It depends on what we find in the mountain. If we can hole up there? We're set. But the big difference between him and me? If we assume they're going to kill us and I'm wrong? We're still alive and can work with the Ark. If we assume Faolan's right that they're telling the truth and he's wrong? We're dead. Want to bet your life on the Council's good will toward us? I don't."

"I'm not saying they're all good," Faolan is grudgingly forced to admit to Grey. "Yeah, there are assholes in the Guard, same as there's assholes in every station. Some people just like to grab power so they can abuse it for their own gain and satisfaction." And does he give Grey a meaningful look when he says that? Sure does. "I'm just saying they're people. They're just people who've got hard choices because any fuck-up, any selfish desire to put one's own good above the greater good, threatened everybody. Go on a lark and waste a month's oxygen, and you say a month ain't so much! Until its the last month, then that lark just killed everybody. Here there's an endless supply of oxygen. There's food, there's water, there's everything we could want. A lark isn't a matter of life-and-death anymore. So no, they're not gonna shoot us. At worst they'll send us away. Then you get your wish anyway, don't you?"

To Morgan he shrugs. "I remember what happened. They didn't kill your parents. They just chose to let one of them die, and the other couldn't handle it. And then you decided that letting one person die for the greater good, shit, that entitled you to kill people for your own petty vengeance. Go float yourself. If you wanna go scramble to the hill, by all means. Nobody coming down would waste resources trying to hunt you down. Truth is you just don't want them to be reasonable, because that'd just confirm how spacewalking crazy you are."

He snorts bitterly. "I don't need to spin a story, because I know I deserved to be floated. Happy endings? Heh. Heheheh. Hah. HAHAHAA!" He throws his head back and laughs, a manic laugh that bubbles and seethes with black self-hating humor. For the rest of the trip he'll not say another word, just occasionally chuckle to himself.

Grey shrugs at Morgan's words, "If you're wrong, and we split the group, and half of us go off to try to live somewhere on our own? There's a good chance we die, man. We need the whole camp, or damned near. But I agree that we can't exactly trust the Guard or the Council either. It's why…" he gestures down to his wrist and the bracelet there, "options." Faolan's meaningful look gets a hurt one in return. It's… mostly sincere. It's an expression that says, 'I'm hurt that you would think that, and you're probably wrong, but… well, maybe not.' It's a complex expression. And it's one wiped away by Faolan's laughter, because, well, you can't reason with that. Shaking his head, he turns front again, apparently content to return to camp in silence.

"Options are fine. Suicide is not." Morgan says to Grey, deciding to ignore Faolan's lunatic chortling. Talk about insane. "We should all relocate there if the place looks good. It'll certainly be safer and warmer than here. But we'll need to see it before we can tell so let's save that talk for after. For all we know, the place has been trashed."

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