Day 045: Strange Friends
Summary: Britt can't sleep, neither can Kai. What ensues is a discussion of crime, punishment, family, life and friendship.
Date: Day Month Year
Related: Judgment
Britt Kai 


Trikru camp — Outside camp Jaha
A campfire at the Trikru camp
Day 45

It's warm and there's the promise of rain in the air even this late at night, with most of the camp filled with an air of tense waiting. And this is one of many reasons why Kai finds herself up, restlessly prowling from Elias' tent closer to Jaha and his precious garden and hothouse towards the bulk of the Trikru with a single long look in the direction of Gideon's lonely camp. There's a couple of nods exchanged with those no doubt on duty as the grey-eyed girl prowls silently amongst the tents and campfires in search of something to occupy her mind at least temporarily.

There's probably a lot of restless nights going around tonight, in the wake of Lexa's arrival and the judgment that had been looming over all of Coesbur since Indra's declaration of war. Several of the campfires still burn, grim conversations happening around them. One of those campfires is Britt's, but there's no conversation here. Arlin's tent is on one side, presumably with him inside. Britt's lean-to is at the back, with Erson snoring inside. His conscience was untroubled by delivering the heda's justice earlier. Britt's, however, less so. She is not from Coesbur, but these are people she has known for years. Some friends. Some children she has watched grow up. And so the troubled archer sits awake by her fire, leaning against a tree and sipping from a cup. Her sleeping clothes are different than the ones she normally wears out and about - a pair of cargo shorts and a tank top. They reveal more of the old battle scars that are normally hidden under her clothes, as well as an inked design running down her right upper arm. Something that looks like it might be a waterskin is resting on her right knee.

Seeing a figure moving through the camp, her eyes are naturally drawn in that direction. When it gets closer and she sees who it is, she calls out a soft greeting, "Kai."

Kai's not clad in her armor or armed for now, it's too much weight right this second, and having just crawled out from her own bed she didn't want to wake Elias by getting geared up. That Britt is awake draws the young Second's attention, it can't help but do so, double-so at the sound of her name, her quiet steps bringing her among the tents with a quiet nod for the archer and the vaguest ghost of a smile,"Can't sleep?" she asks with a vague gesture inquiring permission to sit. The line of stitches, neck and collar bone and the still angry red fresh scar on her right arm obvious without her armor, not that they appear to be bothering her overly right now.

"No. Guess that makes two of us. Sit," she offers readily, motioning toward the fire. "I think there's another cup around over there somewhere if you want a drink." And there is, albeit one used by one of the boys earlier. She holds up a bottle of clear liquid that was nestled beside her in offer. "I'm glad you made it back safe," that much is sincerely stated, but accompanied by a troubled frown. "Though I'm amazed by it. For almost sixty years, none who tried have succeeded. We've all been told… such a thing is impossible. And then it was forbidden." She takes another sip from her cup. She's not overtly drunk, but there is a certain lazy quality to her voice that might suggest she's on her way there.

Kai settles herself down, reaching for one of the cups and sloshing the remains out just to be on the safe side with a nod,"Thanks." she grunts quietly as she reaches for the bottle,"That's what they've relying upon, Britt.. that they've killed enough of the Trikru now that they wont try any longer. Military protocol is easy to maintain in the beginning, but over decades? I have no doubt that it was more difficult when they were attempting to scout it sixty years ago than it was a few days ago. Though I also believe that will change very quickly now." the girl sighs quietly, sniffing the bottle with a squint before she pours herself some.. screw it, not the first stricture of her father's she's broken.

"It wasn't their military, it was the threat of another Inco. Another Lebur. Another Coesbur." A grim head shake there. "And the acid fog. Unless you are very lucky, it is certain death. And it protects them like a shroud, stopping any from getting too close." Which begs the question, as Britt regards Kai with a curious squint. "How did you get through it?"

"Protocol. If those who explore die, and if villages are destroyed, of course people aren't going to push further and risk the loss of more." Kai offers quietly, taking a tentative sip of the alcohol and endeavoring not to screw up her face,"We ran." she has no shame in admitting,"We ran and we hid in this cave until it passed. And when it passed, we moved on. There was no fauna.. no noise at all, very.. strange and disturbing, really. But we found a way in. Through the tunnels underneath. We found the Reapers."

"Then you were lucky," Britt concludes. "Lucky to have found a cave. Lucky they did not send it again to finish the job. Or release it on your way back." She taps a finger on the edge of her cup and adds, "But that does not detract from your courage in doing it, all the same." She nods, her voice turning somber. "I wonder if they are the same tunnels as the ones near Coesbur. Perhaps they connect. No one has ever explored them - they are infested with Reapers."

"In that? Perhaps. And perhaps a few other things. In finding a place to hide? Absolutely." Kai grunts with a small bob of her head,"And we ran, were waiting for them to send it.. never did. I don't know why. And it bothers me.. tactically I'm.. confused by it." there's a tilt of her head,"There's tunnels near Coesbur? The one's we were in were infested, there were… other branches, that we didn't explore either.. mostly because there's was a dozen or so of them endeavoring to try and make a meal of us and we had to get that skaiboy out of there.. but for me, Britt? That wasn't brave. I've wanted to go to the Mountain since the Ark fell. I'm.. angry and frustrated and scared now, but going there? No.. not really. I should have been, though. I know." she takes another sip of the drink and says,"How.. earlier. When they were punished.. I don't.. understand how you can do it? That must have been.. awful. It was bad enough to watch it, knowing that at least in part it was helping my old people that.. caused.. that. But.. they are your friends, and tomorrow or the day after or whenever.. you're going to ride with them again.. I don't quite.. understand.. it. How can you cut them, and there not be animosity there?"

"Sometimes the fear does not hit you until after you realize what a crazy thing you'd done. That doesn't make it any less of a brave thing," Britt contests mildly. "There are many who would say it was a suicide mission." The question about the tunnels causes her frown to turn even more grave, and she takes a drink before replying. "Yes, there are tunnels where the Reapers live, near Coesbur. I've been there. Once. After Nava was taken. But there were too many, and we had to turn back." To say that decision obviously pained her would be an understatement. She forgets for a moment that Kai probably has no idea who Nava is. The question about the punishment detail is actually a relief, in some ways, even though it is also a painful subject. "Most will understand. As you understand why I went to war and killed your friends. It is not easy, to put aside your personal feelings and do as you are called to. But that is our duty to the clan." She watches Kai for a moment, and says with a touch of sympathy in her voice, "It is always hard to watch, but it must have been doubly so for you."

"I guess." Kai offers quietly,"And yes.. that is part of why I wanted to go. I knew they had my friends, I still feel debt unpaid to them.. we saw the Mountain take them and could do nothing, but it.. is important to me to uphold Wren's trust in me. There are too many eyes watching him because of who I am, and by my measure it would dishonor him by going there without permission." there's a tired smile from her as she falls silent to listen. She doesn't know the name Nava, but that clearly they are important to Britt is obvious,"I think I understand better, now, why Trikru do not war with Trikru. I wont say my understanding's perfect, but I imagine that setting aside personal feelings to do that is.. not easy.. for anyone." she then grimaces,"I.. Maker already told me that it would dishonor him and the others to seek to apologize to them for making such a choice.. but.. yes. It was hard, knowing that they were being punished for helping me and mine. I wouldn't say it was harder than for.. Benning, to see Gideon punished.. or Starling to see Wren harmed.. but it.." she taps her chest,"I feel that it is my duty to them and to the clan as a whole to be worth the punishment they received for what I see as having saved my life."

"You brought no dishonor on him," Britt says, perhaps misunderstanding Kai's point. "The heda sent you. Indra was not thrilled about that, but her honor calls us to obey, the same as everyone else." She nods to the rest of Kai's explanation, and then gestures toward the punishment ground. "It is a rare thing, for almost an entire village to be so shamed. I can't recall that it's ever happened before. And the maker is right. Just because they did it for your people does not make it your responsibility. They knew the consequences when they made their choice. They chose conscience over honor. You chose…" Here she actually draws a little bit of a blank. "Well, you chose something over loyalty when you joined us. I chose love and honor over conscience when I went to skaigeda." She shrugs. "These are the choices we live with." And that calls for a refill. Britt reaches forward to snag the bottle and refill her cup. The movement causes the water skin to slide off her knee, revealing the nasty old scar slashing diagonally across the outside of the knee.

"I did not know that the Heda herself had sent us until she announced so." Kai murmurs,"Granted, I also didn't know I'd already met her." she can't help but grimace,"I have always been a splita to my people, Britt. It does not stop me from caring about them.. but I never felt a part of them. Where others found only horror in what Sonia's people did.. in the blood fever.. I found.. admiration. It was.. efficient, and would have saved lives.. could I fault them for that? Yes and no. Yes, because it was my life that was in danger.. and no, because a part of me accepted that in their position? I would be more concerned about how to protect my people than my enemies. Because when we crossed the blockade, I managed to get behind the scout's, and could see that they were marking our path.. and even though to me the action of greatest efficiency was to take them out, I had given Tuan my word that I would follow his leadership, and he did not wish to attack them. At Coesbur, though they, you, and the others.. were angry that we placed them in a difficult position, they chose not to go to war with their own, but found a way that their conscience and their duty could be honored, as they saw it.. though now they have been punished for doing so." which doesn't sit well with her at all,"In Indra's camp I was.. angry.. and scared.. and more angry with myself that I could not help but see these.. veterans.. people who would surely murder every single one of my people, and I hated them for it, while at the same time being in awe of all that the Trikru are. I had my duty to my Bandrona, but I understood that my heart already belonged to the Trikru, even if my duty at that time did not. It is not that I hate the Skaikru, or the Arkkru, but that I feel a peace among the Trikru I never knew among the Skaikru."

Britt resettles the hot water skin on her knee and leans back against the tree, just listening quietly to Kai's words. "I do not claim to know you well, Kai, but it seems to me that you belong more here than there." She takes a sip from her cup. "But, I will correct you on one thing. We would not have killed you all, unless you chose to all fight to the last man. We are not Azgaeda. Victory does not mean slaughter." She snorts a little, then. "Morgan kom Skaikru - he believes that skaigeda was a victory for the Skaikru. He does not think much of us. Many of your… sorry, their.. people see us only as ignorant savages in need of saving. That is not the foundation to build an alliance on."

"I consider that a compliment, Britt." Kai murmurs with a dip of her head,"It.. hurt.. when Pontus told me to find Wren. To see whether or not I would be allowed to stay when the Skaikru were sent away. It.. reminds me that I am not Trikru in the eyes of many, still. But I hope that will change in time." she grunts quietly,"There was eighty-one of us. Thripoda lost seven hundred. Our expectation was that we were all dead. My expectation. On one hand I could not fault the Trikru for such a choice, on the other.. I had no interest in dying." she gives a tired kind of smile and then a dismissive gesture with regards to Morgan,"It was, and was not. They survived, so it is victory, but they survived because of the kruheda's mercy.. and will never quite understand the slaughter that was avoided thanks to her mercy. But believe me.. I know. I do not go in the walls because they call me 'traitor' and suggest that I have done this out of lust. Because they do not understand why someone would choose to give up the things they value.. I.. try.. where I can, to help them understand better, but believe me.. in their eyes? I am deluded."

Britt tilts her head curiously. "When did Pontus say that? But yes, there are some who will see you still as Skaikru. I slip myself, sometimes." She pauses for a moment, thoughtfully, then says, "You should speak to Indra. Pledge your loyalty to her - to Trikru - directly. Should she accept you, then you will be Trikru and the naysayers can go to hell. Of course for all I know you've done this already." She wasn't there, after all, when Kai became Wren's Second. The talk of not wanting to go into Jaha gets a sympathetic nod, "It is a difficult position to be in." She then lets out a mirthless chuckle. "I do not go in there because they tried to kill me. And I can't blame them for that." She tugs at the strap of her tank top, pulling it aside to reveal the two small welts that Kai would probably guess by now are kill marks, situated just under her collarbone. Right next to an old, faded scar from a sword slash. "These two are for your friends. They are not the same as the others. Not the same pride, or satisfaction. I did my duty, that is all." Her eyes drift over towards where the punishments were carried out. "Sometimes duty sucks." A similar chuckle, and she takes another drink before adding, "Don't tell anyone I said that."

"When the Heda ordered the Skaikru to leave the camp before her announcement." Kai murmurs before her head dips,"Which is.. understandable. I don't find offense when it is with regards to some of the stupid stuff Skaikru do and trying to explain it, but when it's.. I am not Trikru enough, it.. bothers me." she admits quietly and then furrows her brows,"Would that be.. appropriate? Wren is my First, would that not be.. offensive? Indra and I have spoken before.. I vowed before I was ever Wren's Second that I would personally see those who committed the crime against Thripoda brought to justice if the Skaikru refused.. and it is a promise that I will keep to her if it is asked of me. But she also acknowledged me as Wren's Second, the night the Ark fell." her eyes shift to the marks as they are exposed, and the flitter of emotions across her face are probably obvious, for all that she counsels her expression to weary with a small nod of her head,"Yes, sometimes it does. But I wont tell, if you don't." there's a quiet laugh,"I would.. I want to.. go to the Mountain and tear it apart.. but I am resolved that unless the Heda says to do so that I will not.. even if in my heart it is a betrayal of the people of skaigeda. In that.. my duty to the Trikru has to take precedence over my duty to those who are no longer my clan."

Britt ahs. "I didn't realize that. I understand why he would say so, but I would not have. You are Trikru in my book. You have pledged your loyalty aloud, even over your own people. That's good enough for me. But speaking to Indra would set it in stone. You should talk to Wren first, though. He is your First." She offers a somber smile to the last bit though. "I have wanted to go and tear the Mountain apart since I was a child. Arlin too." The smile fades then, and she lowers her voice a touch with a glance at Arlin's tent. "Did you know his father was executed for stockpiling guns to use against them?" It's more rhetorical since she assumes not. "But duty and clan come first."

"I.. to me I am Trikru, as I understand, by law I am Trikru. It is not as if the Heda and kruheda and steheda do not know who I am.. which is not a point of arrogance, but that.. the Heda came in disguise to me and Fiona in Tondc.. she was with Oxfor when we arrived.. she mentioned that my people did not seem happy to see me and I told her, not knowing who she was, that they are not my people." that merits a swig from the cup, even if it makes her cough afterwards,"But yes.." she offers hoarsely,"I will speak with Wren. I find hubris in the idea that the kruheda would find the pledge of a mere Second to be of.. relevance, but if it might help, I shall certainly do so." there's a slow blink of her eyes,"I heard.. about his father, yes." she offers softly,"I had not been aware beforehand.. but.. yes. I have no doubt that the rage of all of you makes mine pale by comparison.. and I don't pretend that I am an expert tactician, Britt.. but I do believe that we have a chance. That it is possible for us to tear the Mountain down." she pauses,"And make damned sure that the Skaikru can never replace them." is added with more bitter softness.

That last bit causes an arched eyebrow from Britt. Not surprised by the concept but surprised that Kai would bring it up. "Knowing who you are does not make you Trikru. I am no expert, so I'm not sure if being accepted as a Second is enough. I mean, usually it doesn't come up. You're born into a clan and you stay into it for life. People just don't often - or, well, really ever that I can recall - go from one clan to another." She nods about the Mountain, swirling the liquid in her drink before taking a sip. "The fog is the biggest thing. We cannot rely on blind luck. Morgan has said the Skaikru are going to be able to stop it. But that boy makes a lot of empty promises, so, we'll see. As long as the fog is a threat, an attack in force is suicide. That is what happened the last time - we had guns then, too, but couldn't get close enough to use them. It was before I was born, but I heard the stories from my uncle." There's a little smile there. "I was his Second."

Kai grunts a soft acknowledgment,"Which is why I am willing to do so, Britt, I just.. again, it feels like hubris, to think that such a thing matters to them. I do what I can for the clan and I hope that it reflects well on Wren, but I will talk to him and make a pledge to Indra directly if it will help. To me, it is not in question, it is part of what I agreed to when I became his Second." she gives a faint kind of smile,"But I admit that my.. thoughts.. on such things do not seem to be shared by many." there's a small nod,"There's a deployment system, obviously. I don't.. think.. it's automated? If it was then we likely would have been struck by it on the way out of their area. Really.. we need to get someone inside the Mountain itself. But doing so is.. there would only ever be one attempt. It would be suicide.. but if that death meant they lost the fog forever? Fair trade. In my opinion." there's a small smile,"Does he live? I would.. like to meet him some day. I think. It.. to see how families, how the village is.. among the Trikru brings home just how.. not, the Ark is. My mother is a kind woman, kinder than I think I deserved, but.. what I see with Peake and Wren? Our lives were never like that."

Britt nods to the first but says no more about it. The talk of the fog though gets a perplexed frown. "Automated. You mean, like, controlled by a machine?" The trikru have no such thing obviously. "Getting someone in the mountain would be useful, yes, but they'd be going in blind. It seems like a near-impossible mission." A sad smile answers the latter question. "No, he is gone now. But he had a long life. I would like to meet your mother sometime. I have not really ever met any of the Arker adults." Except the one who tried to kill her, but that doesn't really count as a 'meeting' per se.

"Well, yes. But if so it would have to be.. there'd be a trigger." Kai grunts quietly,"A.." she purses her lips,"My mother is an electronic technician.. she maintained security systems on Gosci. Something like that.. like if someone tried to go through a door they weren't supposed to.. it would make an alarm.. alert people. Trying to do that in open, uneven terrain like the area around the Mountain? And maintain it? Almost impossible. And not something that could tell whether we were coming or leaving so.. if it was a proximity effect would have gone off just as easily from us leaving as arriving, which it didn't. Which suggests either the south side is non-operational or that there's a human element at play." she's not even thinking about whether or not the words are understandable, or that she maybe shouldn't drink any more,"It would be, almost impossible.. except for one thing.. we have Lip." she points in the direction of camp Jaha,"He's seen the inside of it. Enough information and a good enough understanding of their basic operating protocols.. someone with enough stealth.. it would still be suicide, but it might.. might have a chance.. and the payoff would be…" she spreads her hands,"immense. But.. yes.. I will totally introduce you.. when I work out what I'm going to say to her.. it was.. awkward enough to speak to Leo. I'm not sure things will ever be the same between us."

"Like a tripwire that activates a trap," Britt connects to the best analogy she can think of to Grounder tech. "So if we could find the tripwire, the… trigger… then perhaps it could be disabled. Or maybe, as you say, it is simply someone watching. Though how a great telescope could see through the woods, I don't know." She sips her drink some more, her eyes starting to get the dull look of showing that the alcohol is going to her head. She smirks at Kai's optimism. "So you think if you described the inside of your Alpha Station to me, I could sneak in there and turn off your electric fence? Because that is about the same as what you're talking about with the mountain. It does not seem like a sound plan to me. But…" she shrugs. "If we have no other plan, I suppose something is better than nothing. Since the heda no longer seems to care if more of our villages are destroyed in this gamble." She frowns, realizing she probably shouldn't have said that either. "Who's Leo?"

"Yes, exactly. Like a tripwire." Kai agree's, using the cup to gesture at the other archer,"But see, because of terrain and scope.. probably not a physical tripwire. I mean.. I don't know. It could be security cameras but maintaining them in that kind of environment over decades would be.. difficult." she pauses,"Like Morgan's head thing? At Coesbur." she explains that, only to look at least vaguely put out,"If I described the inside of Alpha station to you.. you would have the technical knowledge necessary to get to the controls and turn it off. Predicting patrols and the vagariety's of the situation, not quite so much, but in a technical level of understanding.. absolutely. And I already spoke to several people to tell them that they should plot out the effective range of the missile's and move our people out of the way but people just ignore me so.." she sighs softly,"He.. if I had a brother.. he would have been it. My dad always wanted a boy, and he was.. everything I'm not. He's still a guard, in there. He feels that I am being unreasonable and should just go back to Alpha."

Britt shakes her head. "Cameras. I've heard about them, but… I've never seen one. I don't know how they work. Can they be defeated?" She arches her eyebrows at Kai's insistence on the feasibility of the plan. "Really, so this Lip fellow saw their important acid controls well enough to describe them to someone else? And you really think that a stranger to the station could sneak up to it without anyone noticing and giving the alarm?" Britt is still dubious, to say the least. As for evacuating the villages. "Do you know what it took to evacuate Coesbur? Tondc cannot support that many additional mouths to feed. Already they are having to be split apart and sent to other villages. We lose enough farms and foist those people onto other villages… many will die. Now or over winter." Hearing the story of Leo, she offers a sympathetic frown. "I am sorry to hear that he doesn't understand. Perhaps he will, in time."

"The thing Morgan had on his head at Coesbur was a camera." Kai murmurs,"But yes, if you're standing behind where they're pointing, they can't see you. Still, don't know that's what they're using either." there's a shake of her head,"Do I believe he saw that specifically? No. Do I believe that someone military minded with sufficient training can take an educated guess on their location based upon what he saw? Yes. Can he provide at least an idea of how many people might be in there and their protocols? Yes. I already said it would be a suicide mission, there's no way it wouldn't be. But it's better than just hoping they don't kill us all with the fog." she shrugs, at least in her opinion it is,"If we had time, it would be better to simply take a methodical search or.." she pauses,"speak to Beckinson about potential jamming.. fuck I'm stupid.. I'll have to see about asking him about that.." she trails off only to be lured back with her other words,"Leave them sitting there at risk, or endeavor to move them to a safe place. Long term? Shitty idea. But if we can keep them safe long enough for the army to tear apart the Mountain? Isn't that what counts?" she let's her eyes dip with a sigh,"I asked him to go with Wren, to hunt Reapers. I hope he did, if only so he can understand what we are actually dealing with out here. Maybe then he will understand better."

"Perhaps the kruheda would allow a scouting mission to try and find the trigger. I'm not sure that anyone looked for that, in the past." Britt still doesn't understand the whole camera and jamming thing but she just rolls with it for now. "I did agree that sending one person in on a suicide mission is perhaps better than nothing, but at some point a leader has to decide between that and throwing lives away needlessly." About the villages, she shakes her head. "The thing is, even moving them we cannot guarantee their safety. Who knows how far the Mountain can shoot. We only know how far they have shot, and only three times at that. One was close to Tondc. So you are trading the risk of maybe getting a missile from the mountain versus maybe starving to death. To say nothing of the sheer logistics of moving hundreds or thousands of people. It is not an easy decision. Who have you spoken to about it, though? Have any brought it up to the kruheda?" When she mentions Leo going on the Reaper expedition, Britt squints. "Wait… young man, short brown hair, scruffy face…little taller than you? Lionel, I think they said his name was?"

"Perhaps." Kai murmurs with a dip of her head and grunts quietly,"In all things we have a choice to do something or do nothing. Clearly, the Mountain is not going to stop being a problem, unless we make it stop being a problem. But no, I have not brought it up to the kruheda directly; I am a Second, it is not my place." she points out, then nods,"Yes, Leo. Lionel just sounds stupid. It's like my name.. Kyler. Y'wanna know why it's Kyler? Because Tyler's a boy's name. And my father was Tyler Adams the Fourth. My mother's name is Katherine, so I got to be Kyler. Her first letter, the rest of his name. Ta-da. Stupid. He's Leo."

"Yes, I tend it's probably worth the risk to send someone, given what's at stake. But it isn't my call to make." Britt finds herself saying that a lot, and it elicits a frustrated frown. "Ask Wren then, about the villages. I don't really think it's practical, so I would not choose to go to the kruheda with it myself. But perhaps Wren thinks otherwise." She tilts her head curiously when Kai explains the name. "Kyler sounds like a fine name, though. But if you like Kai better…" She gives an indifferent shrug. "Leo fought all right. Not as well as you. But he was fighting with one of those foolish.. what did you call them…" she fumbles a bit making a stick-like gesture with her hand. "The lightning sticks." She snorts then. "Morgan wanted to bring a Reaper back alive. Insanity." Then she chuckles a little. "I took some pleasure in putting an arrow in the head of the ones he ordered spared."

"Nor mine." Kai utters drily,"Which is part of my frustration.. I have.. tactics is something that interests me, I've studied them for years.. but I am no kruheda. Perhaps eventually I might have a warband of my own in service to the kruheda, but right now? I am simply a Second, and it is my duty to learn, not to command." which she's okay with, even if it frustrates her sometimes. She wrinkles her nose,"I have always hated it. I have used Kai since I was old enough to spell it." there's a soft laugh,"Shock-lash, or shock-baton.. which, personally, I think is a stupid weapon to use in a situation where you need to kill your opponent, not disable them.. you can kill with them.. Grey killed his mother with one.. but well, for them? All things can be solved. They do not always think about whether or not they should be solved. Me? I just.. I cannot imagine trying to come back from having eaten people. People you knew. It would drive me insane, and though it might make the difference for any captives inside the Mountain that haven't.. changed.. yet.. I'm not sure if it will make enough of a difference to warrant the risk?"

"I understand your frustration. I've never had a whole warband of my own, but small teams now and then. It is a great responsibility. Your time will come." Britt blinks, then at a bit of information. "Greh killed his mother?" That boggles her a bit. But she shakes it off - she really barely knows the guy. They've only spoken a handful of times. "But yes, I agree with you. The Reaper's fight ended when they were turned. Even if they were 'cured', they would still have to stand for their crimes. It is more a mercy to kill them. And it is a great risk, to take one alive - both to the warriors that try and to the people in the camp should it break loose. They are not easily contained. At all." She tilts her head to regard Kai curiously. "What was your crime? You needn't tell me if you don't want to. Whatever it was, it is in the past."

"Yeh." probably it's the alcohol, it's not stuff Kai would normally talk about it, and certainly her cheeks are red with the influence of the drink upon her,"I always thought his father was worse, but not like I can throw too many stones, there." it's not something she worries about anymore,"But that was up there. Coming down here made different people of all of us. Right now, he's acting more like an Adams and I'm acting more like a Grey than the opposite." which is it's own amusement to her,"Assault." is the single word original answer, but belatedly after a sip she elaborates,"Eli took some seeds he wasn't supposed to.. and I was.. very concerned about the law, given that my father was.. one of the guard leaders.. and I told my mom because I didn't.. know who to talk to? And she told dad.. and dad put him in the box." she sighs,"Only people blamed me for it. After that.. anything that happened was my fault. I broke up parties I didn't even know about, turned in people for shit I had no way of knowing what they did. They called me.. Captain Buzzkill.. and spent years making my life hell. Well.. I had it. In the end.. I just.. had it. This guy said he was better off getting floated than being known for having dated me and I just.." she balls up her face and mimes like she's smacking someone in the face,"I'd have killed him, 'cept they lashed me and pulled me off. But if I'd have killed him, a friend of mine wouldn't be down here. Would have been a fair trade."

"I was blessed with good parents, I suppose," Britt says with a wistful smile. "They were farmers.. I think I told you that." The alcohol is making her brain a little fuzzy. "The bow always called to me more than the plough, so I didn't see them much for a long time. I miss them." She listens to the story about Kai's experiences on the ark, and shakes her head disapprovingly. "I don't think I would have lasted long on your Sky Ark. I can see why some of you wish to have nothing to do with them now." Which reminds her. "What do you know of Kas-Andra?"

Kai gives a small nod,"You did, yes. Eli's parents are farmers, too." there's a faint smile from her,"He's always been good with that sort of thing.. me though? Nah. This is what I was meant to be." there's a quiet grunt of acknowledgment,"I did my duty. I did it until I felt there was nothing left of me.. and when I gave in to my anger.. I felt like I found myself again. But I still think I should have punched him years ago." there's a brittle kind of laugh from her,"Bonheur?" she enquires,"She was.. ah.. agro.. like Eli. Popular. Especially with the guys. Rumor has it she was fucking one of her teachers, stealing shit. She's smart.. and completely out for herself. Me and her have had a bunch of arguments about it in the past.. she fucking hates me because of my dad, which is fair enough, I liked the Earth Skills teacher she got boxed. As a teacher, not.. y'know. Anyways. The one thing you can rely on with Cass is that she's out for herself. Always. She ran like a coward when Sonia's people attacked the first time, has pointed weapons at Tuan and pretty much everyone else including me and was all for sacrificing people to Sonia, or offering Indra the whole of the damned Ark just to save her own neck. Which is why I don't trust her as far as I could spit her comfortably.. but.." she sighs,"but these days.. I guess I sort of understand it, too? I don't think her and I will ever be friends.. but I'll give her credit that like they used to say about cockroaches.. she'll do whatever it takes to survive."

Britt nods a little, listening to Kai's explanations. The story about Cass gets a little frown. "Yes, I can see that. She seems to be looking for a place among the Trikru. But to do that, you have to be willing to look past yourself. To put clan and coalition ahead of all else. She does not have that. I'm not sure it can be taught, either." She shakes her head. "She fights hard, but without honor. She asked for a lesson in staff on the practice field this morning. I indulged her, and she took a cheap shot."

"That's Cass." Kai salutes with her cup and a wry smirk,"I noticed she got someone to trade with her in Tondc.. which is pretty impressive, most of them still wont trade with me. But, yes. Bonheur has always looked out for herself, and I don't fault her for that? But she's not Trikru. I wouldn't trust her with a weapon and argued vehemently against her being given a rifle at a time where we needed everyone who could shoot because aside from running away I couldn't even trust her not to point it at our own people." she rubs a hand over her face,"Which was.. yeh. I think that one is going to be odd to me for a while.. and I'll have to remember your example if I'm ever called upon in such a fashion.. but it was.. very strange, to have to stand by and see my people be punished, functionally for helping me. And worse, to see others of my people, be the ones to have to do the punishing. It.. like, if that was how things were in Skaikru? They would probably think more about other people.. but there it is.. not. We had to work with one another, but that's not the same as working together."

Britt nods gravely at the information about Cass. "I will have to remember that, if I decide to give her another lesson. It will depend on whether she's learned anything from the last." How exactly she's going to decide that, Britt hasn't quite worked out. "Is that not how it is among the Skaikru? Didn't you say you were trained to do those shock lashes? And I presume someone had to do all those executions. It is not so different." She frowns then. "There was once a warrior in our warband. He was sentenced to the Death of a Thousand Cuts. We weren't close, but… friendly enough." She closes her eyes for a moment, forehead scrunching at the memory, then takes another drink before opening them. "Many times when it was my turn to deliver a cut, I thought of ending it for him. But I didn't."

"Different." Kai insists,"The Ark is a box, and inside the box there are many small boxes, with a mom and dad and their child. You don't have.. cousins.. or siblings, most of our grandparents had volunteered to float once they could no longer contribute to the Ark and were just a drain on resources.. we lived.. side by side in little boxes, not like Peake's house. Not like the warband. We would go to the canteen where you would receive your food.. and it was always soy. No-one hunted for it, no-one could truly say that their effort brought that food to the table, and it tasted the same.. served on little squares like little boxes eaten on tables like big boxes next to people who you didn't know really beyond seeing them in the hallways. We were not warriors who lived to protect the people, we were.. bullies, whose job it was to police our own, with the understanding that our duty meant that we were supposed to turn in anyone.. and everyone.. parents? Child? Friends? Didn't matter. If they broke the law they had to go. And that's.. all of the people that got cut today? Tomorrow, they have the chance to redeem themselves.. to do better. On the Ark? You were sentencing them to die. There were a lot who abused it.. they broke the law even more than the people they prosecuted and there was no way to get rid of all of them because there was just.. too many. If we were on water restrictions and you were allotted three cups of water, but you wanted more? Well, who's to stop a guard from making you give them more water? And if you tell on them the laws are enforced by them, and their friends.. it was.. corrupt. And once I believed like my father that I could fix it but.."

She sighs,"With that kind of corruption it's more than just the guards. Because if they can get away with it, others can too. Among the Trikru it would be.. you don't steal from one another, because if one is starving another will help them, knowing that the starving one will in turn earn that which they have been gifted and repay it to the one who helped them.. or that one's friends. Their family. And if one were to betray that..? The cuts. Cuts administered by the one's they have wronged. People they will have to look in the eye afterwards and deal with the shame of what they have done. Executions were always conducted in private, with only the Chancellor and the family present, if it was desired. And they stuck them in a box and then open a door and foomf.. gone.. forever. Clean, yes, but there was no second chances, there was no.. trust.. between many, because you never knew if you might be betrayed."

Britt listens to all of that with a perplexed squint. And when it's finished, she shakes her head. "I suppose it sounds similar on the surface - the lashes, the executions, but you're right. I cannot imagine living in such a place. But…" And here her grave voice pitches up a little bit more cheerily. "You are Trikru now. You have the clan behind you. One day if you wish, you can have a house and as many children as you want." She slants an amused glance at her lean to, smirking. "Or a tent in a forest with a man who is not your houmon, if that suits you better."

There Kai points at Britt,"I've never had to execute someone.. well, not until.. down here, but up there? No. I can't imagine what it would be like to have to kill someone I know personally slowly.. but well, if it happens I shall.. deal with it then. And I shall remember your example, frankly. But yes.. now I am Trikru.. and I feel.. sorry, for the Skaikru who do not see what they are missing out on. I care for my mom, and Leo, don't get me wrong.. but for all that we have been in some ways enemies, I consider you my friend. Is that weird? I'm pretty sure that's weird. And I think I've said that before, too. But. I like you.. you remind me that there's.. things about duty that are important, even when it hurts one's heart.. and it.. helps."

Britt smiles at that. "It is not so weird to me. What's past is past. We are not enemies now. But - I am honored you count me as a friend. I have always been… pretty slow to make friends. But I like you, Kai. We have a good deal in common, I think, for all we are different. Wren made a good choice for his Second, and I am glad to teach you what I can as well. Without stepping on his toes, of course."

"Yes, it is the past." Kai offers in agreement,"And I have, too. Eli.. and Tink.. you'd like Tink, she'd make an awful Trikru but she's smart, and kind, and she loves to talk.. and Cameron. Who is Morgan's niron, I didn't really know him.. up there, at all. I'd heard of him.. but he's a botanist.. and an artist.. and he was the only Skaikru that could mirror me in practice. In some ways he's like a brother, even if in other ways he's way too intense.." she sighs breathily,"And the Mountain? Has them both. But not you. You have always been honest, even when it would have been easier to lie. You do not.. shy.. from the things that have to be done, even when you don't like it. It's.. I respect that. And I am glad to know you, as I am to know the others, too. But you in specific, Britt." she smiles a little lopsidedly and then looks at the cup,"And.. I'm pretty sure I should stop drinking this.. because it has stopped tasting awful, which means that I've probably had too much. But thank you.. for that. I am happy to learn, from whomever he allows me to. Which is it's own kind of hilarious.. because man I'd have thrown a fit if it was my father.. hell, I did throw a fit.. but I.. don't mind. You are all my family and I want to do the best by it that I can."

"I have not met her, no. Or Cameron. But if Morgan's niron is in the Mountain, that explains why he is so pushy about getting them back. I suppose I would be too. The Skaikru are not all bad, but some of them are very insufferable." She empties her cup and then smiles at the compliment. "Well, I am glad that you think so. I am sometimes too honest for my own good, though." A soft chuckle there turns into a more sad smile. "The clan is important, but… it is not quite the same as family." She sets the empty cup aside, reaching a similar conclusion as Kai. "I think you are right, though. I'm getting too old to drink people under the table any longer, or to bounce back the next morning. I think I should try to get some sleep. You should do the same," she advises.

"I hope that some day, you will. But yes, they are.. houmon? Or they might as well be. He puts his duty first, but this is why he is so driven. And many of them are insufferable.. some of them are good." she sets down her own cup, nodding slightly for Britt's words,"You're right. Tomorrow, we might well march again." not that she sounds unhappy about that, for all the unsteady way she stumbles to her feet,"Sleep well, Britt. And.. thank you."

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