Day 019: The Long Walk Home
Summary: Kai collects her rifle, Cole and Jael with news of war and injured campers, only to accidentally Typhoid Mary them on the way home.
Date: 05 06 2016
Related: Search and Rescue
Cole Jael Kai 

Asphalt and Cedar Grove
As the forests spread east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the thick hardwood forests become more temperate and filled with evergreens. This particular region of the forest is primarily cedars and firs. Once, this may have been the area of a major interchange between highways, but it is now filled with tall, thick cedars. Heavy chunks of asphalt lay sporadically throughout the grove, including several cement barriers and naked rebar. The corpse of an old rusted sedan is completely impaled by a juvenile cedar tree with the trunk growing out of the center console.
Day 19

It's dark at the RV, but that's to be expected. There's no campfire, not since Layla told Cole about what happened with the crashing dropship earlier in the day. So he's relegated that to the single solitary candle that he found in one of the drawers of the dropship, more like a couple of tea lights more like, that he's managed to light. There's a low yellowish glow coming from the inside of the vehicle which can only be seen if you get close enough to it. As for Cole himself, he's sitting on the floor in the doorway of the RV, legs dangling off the back, stargazing. It's something to do. Jael is probably somewhere nearby. Probably sleeping or something.

Kai would have said she was more fit. But well, it's not like she decides to go on a midnight run in the goddamn woods covered in mud and everything else. Still, that the person approaching the RV has their hands out in a 'no seriously not reaching for my sword don't shoot me gais' in the moonlight in that last stretch before the RV says it's probably someone they know. It's still not until she stumbles and has to stop and bend over gasping for breath that she elects to croak out,"Cole." in a tired voice, not electing to stop but heading for the RV and well, more particularly the spot under it like a woman on a mission.

The sound of running towards the RV gets Cole's attention, bringing his eyes to bear at the dim movement in the moonlight. The tire iron is drawn as a precaution, and it's only until he sees Kai's face, hears her voice is about the moment where he stops his wariness. "Kai? What the hell?" he looks her over, not expecting her to look like…that. "What happened to you." he asks, but then he's watching her crawl under the truck. So he has an idea about what she's going of, that being the rifle. "Shit. Just spill it already."

"Trikru." Kai huffs,"Found.. Cass.. Asher.. war." there's grunting and shifting about before the clank as she works on pulling it out,"I've got.. people out there.. Devin, Silas.. Eli.." she's tired to the point of dizzy already but the ex-C's still staggering back onto her feet,"Help me with the wounded. Get to camp or hope to hell that.. this is hidden enough. No matter what, we're all fucked." is her bleak opinion about it.

Cole listens as best as he can. "Fuck. Slow down, Kai." he utters while she digs out the rifle, he himself going for his spare bottle of water, ready to offer it to her once she rolls out from under it. "I didn't even know Cassandra and Asher were missing. And we're, what? At fuckin war now? Because of the dropship?" He's starting to put it all together just from the bits and pieces. "Damnit, there's more out there? Kai…this place is off the beaten path, but I wouldn't exactly call it 'hidden'. We're still kind of out in the open here."

Kai shakes her head emphatically,"They're in the open." she huffs when she does stagger up, but gratefully takes the water bottle offered for a quick, thankful gulp,"Cass and Asher were ambushed. I didn't look at them close but they were in bad shape and they had a message. That it's war." she manages in more complete sentences as she offers back the water bottle, unwrapping the blanket to make sure there's a round chambered and throwing the blanket over her shoulder, it's not really hiding it, she's not really exposing it either, but not the sort of 'concealed carry' so much as expecting it is going to have to be used,"She fell unconscious before she could.. give us the details.. and where they left them was too good for ambush. So we left. I found a place, if they can hold it, they're safe for now, but we're heading back for camp. If you want to come, if you want to /help/ I wont say no.. but I'm not going to make you. They don't know where I am, just that I went to get a rifle." she kept her promise not to tell, and damn if the girl isn't too stubborn or just plain freaked to stop moving for the moment,"I wanted.. had to.. warn you.. but I need to get back.. if they attack, Eli's dead."

"Goddamnit." Cole steps away, arms crossed over his chest, thinking. "I suppose I should tell Jael to get the fuck back to camp then. This area is probably going to be crawling with Grounders soon enough, no matter how in 'the middle of nowhere' this place is. Layla was talking about this, what was found at the crash site. Or the lack of anything found. That's what hydrazine does." Turning back to her, he shakes his head, as if deciding something. "I'd tell you to bring them here, but if someone of them are fucked up, we can't do anything for them. Need Layla or Alison, or Silver. Someone not me or you, because can't do shit for them. And if we're at war, I'm going to have to start doing shit that I wasn't really looking to do. ALright." Moving away, he cralws up into the RV. Some words are spoken between him and what sounds like Jael before he's back out, grabbing his toolbag. "I'll come with you. Fuckin do what I can. Jael's coming with us, gonna grab anything else that we might need back at camp and then we'll go."

Kai nods,"Both of them are. And right now.. I just want everyone safe. Camps the safest place right now." and from her expression, Kai doesn't consider /that/ safe at all. She doesn't want to wait, but clearly, she will, if only because it gives her the chance to breath and recover at least a little before marching off into the dark again,"Okay. Be quick. The sooner we get back to them, the better I'll feel."

"Alright, alright. Let's go." Cole replies, looking back at the RV when Jael blows out the tea lights. "Damn, it was nice staying out here but…just too fuckin dangerous now." There's almost a whimsical sigh, like it's the end of an era. "Alright, just show me where to go."

"Yeh." Kai utters,"Sorry." like the ex-C actually genuinely feels bad about it before she heads off back the way she came from. It's going to be a fair hike out there, especially going slow to make sure they're both safe, in the hopes of catching up with the rest of them. Not that the lean girl looks like she's getting any better, really, even if she's too stubborn to give up right now.

"Don't be. Not like you started an apparent war single-handedly." Cole remarks, glancing over to Jael, who seems to rather stay quiet through the entire thing. "But we're at where we're at. Can't do much else about it, and I doubt we're gonna have any luck trying to tell them, 'no man, it wasn't us we didn't do it'. Then again, they may know that and it probably doesn't fuckin matter." Then he's thinking again. "Trip-lines. Spike traps. Trenches. Grenades." Suddenly, the mechanic is now going to have to turn into weapons development.

"Doesn't make it suck less." Kai grunts. She's following her own path through the woods on the way back,"Blinds. Wall reinforcements. At least one of them already knows the layout of the camp. And we've got no idea how long before they attack. Should have started training people to use guns when they first found the fucking things." is her opinion on that front,"Cameron went ahead to warn the camp. With you and Jael we'll be able to move faster and further, but it's still going to be slow and it's still going to be preferable to avoid a fight if we can."

"This is what we get when we decide that whether or not the Ark comes down is going to dictate everything about what we decide." Cole remarks with a grunt. "Sure puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Seems like small fuckin potatoes when you're confronted with the aspect of being wiped out. Though I'm sure if we survive, we'll go right back to bitching the Ark again. Because that's all we good at. Is bitching at each other, only coming together when there's something bigger than us."

"I stopped caring about the Ark the day my father told me I was dead to him." the ex-C grunts flatly, which might just explain some elements of Kai's attitude towards daddy dearest,"But yes.. we have gone from maybe-probably fucked to holy floating ballsacks we are one hundred percent screwed short of a miracle. Like if we knew where their territory ended, we might be able to run that far and hope that they wont chase us.. but then what? I'm betting we didn't somehow magically land next to the only tribe out there."

"Sometimes, I think we would've been better off landing…shit anywhere else than here. Cananda. That might've been nicer." Cole remarks. "But the point is, we were stupid to try and decide what we were going to do about the Ark. I kept saying…I kept telling people, it wasn't an issue to worry about until it happened. That we had better things to fuckin concern ourselves with. We're so goddamn stupid. Because instead of focusing on shit that needed to be worked, it was just easier to yell at each trying to show how 'right' we were. And look where it's gotten us. Peh." It's a minor rants in terms of ones that Cole is capable of. "No point in bitching about it now. Now I have to keep a bunch of people I don't like alive, because now it's in my best interests to do so." Pause. "Present company excepted."

Kai can't help but laugh hoarsely at his rant,"IT's always been in your best interests to do so. And mine and hers and everyone elses.. but who'd have thought.. a bunch of young criminals make a bunch of really stupid decisions." she sighs and presses a hand to her head briefly before she gets moving again,"Things were going so well, too. For a while there. It was like.. shit.. they can actually get along.. they've found some food, organized.. all that.. and now everything's gone to shit.. and yeh, it don't matter if we like them or not.. that just means whether you you want them ahead or behind you." so behind her, maybe a good sign, at least?

"Probably for the best that you not get my answer to that. Because I'd line up every single asshole Ark Rebel and put them at the front of the firing line." Cole states plainly. "Anyone who'd try and break the camp apart because they're shitting their pants about the Ark, front of the fuckin line. Funny how, since the whole Mags thing, I've become more pro-Ark and anti-camp than anything else. And the irony is that I don't even care about the Council or whatever. I just miss working on shit I'm familiar with." And that's the rub for him, it seems like. The Ark is what he knows, the machines he works on, the equipment he has memorized. It's not political with him, but why would it ever be? "Yeah, things weren't that bad. And then Evie was killed. And things went to shit. And now we're being accused of a mass murder we had nothing to do with." he pauses, looking back at her. "Hey. Kai. You alright?"

"I'm not a fan of the Ark. That make me a Rebel?" Kai asks, apparently more interested in moving forward than looking back at him, completely unconcerned,"You've been staying out here by yourselves.. does that make you guys rebels?" is her follow up,"We're never going back up there.. as much as I don't like them, don't trust them, and oh yeh they want to kill us.. the reality is we're going to need to learn to survive like Grounders. And well, I'm happy not to be another cadet up there." there's a sigh from her and a nod of agreement regarding Evie, shrugging off the question,"Buried a girl, slept worth shit, hiked out here and trailed around for hours looking for hunters that we didn't find, only to find Cass and Asher instead. Carried a stretcher a good hour, and then ran probably about the same to come find you guys.. oh, and I'm the only one that has ever fired a rifle.. so I'm just peachy." which clearly, is why she stops, and the fine tremor in her hand as she sucks in a breath, squares her shoulders and psychs herself up to keep moving.

"Were you trying to actively break the camp apart?" Cole coutners. "No, you don't strike me as someone who would. Have I been trying to start my own camp? No, I haven't, but I left because I didn't, and still don't trust our own version of law. That doesn't make me a rebel either." He shakes his head. "No, they'll bring the entire damn thing down, no one seems to realize that one yet. That's their only option left at this point. They'll probably have to figure how to slow their descent, maybe sacrafice one of the stations, herd everyone into fortified stations, drop and hope for the best. That's their only option now. The problem is if they can land somewhere nearby. No one may suvive, the Ark wasn't meant or designed for re-entry. A couple stations are going to burn up in the atmo. If they come down, a lot of people are gonna die. But they're all gonna die if they don't. And keep in mind, the people, I have no issuw with them. I don't want to see them dead. And if they do survive? Set something up? Somebody will have to go back, figure out if that whole being absoluved of your crime is legit or not. And if I don't come back? You'll sure as fuck know how it turns out." But he's looking at a bit more focused, perhaps even a vague look of worry, but he says nothing about it.

Kai grunts in agreement, a sour expression on her face,"Yeh." she doesn't disagree with his assessment of what's likely to happen regarding the camp,"I don't want them to die. Just that they're not.. my problem. Too much shit here to deal with than to worry about what might happen with them." there's a faint smile for him,"Or maybe not. Hopefully it wont come to that. But.. let's deal with the Grounders, first.. we know they're here and what they want from us now. The Ark and it's people are just.. not a now problem."

"They're going to. I know how the Ark is built, what holds the shit together. There, what? About a thousand people up there? I'd say they'd be lucky if they got down with around four hundred. That's…yeah, being generous on that one. That'll just be a reality we'll have to deal with if and when it happens. But to me? It's not a matter of if anymore. If we've learned one thing being down here, it's desperation is a fuckin stinky perfume. And we all reek of it." Disseminating a problem, he's good at it. "As for the Grounders. Talking isn't going to help anymore. We've talked long enough, and really, this has been a long time coming, the dropship crashing? That was just the catalyst. They have their reason to wipe us out now. The only thing we do now is if we can survive it. Or, at least we get the place where we choose to die on our own terms. At least, with that. It's something. Not everyone gets to pick how they die."

"I don't know. I'm not a mechanic." Kai notes dully as she creeps along, pausing and frowning at the ground where she crouches with another shake of her head,"Cole. Come here." cos she doesn't fancy getting back up right now, the rifle offered out in his direction,"Long term, we need to move out of their land. But learn how to live like them. Short term.. we just need to not die.. right now.. I need you to carry this. Show me what you remember from the other day."

"I don't know if we're in any position to run. But maybe that's our only option right now." Cole frowns. "Survivng an assult by an army of Grounders? Where we'll be outnumbered probably 5 to 1? We're going to lose people, we can't deny that we won't. And we're not…we're not combatants. Not even Ex-Cees." He looks at the weapon offered to him, and there's only a moment of puase before takes it up. "Lighter than the nail gun I used to shoot." And as if that needs explanation. "We had free time at work. It's like a rifle." But he remembers enough from what she taught him, holding it at least properly.

Kai stays where she is, pull this, flip this off here, running through the basics again because she recognizes now that something.. something aint right, and there's a dribble of blood that seeps from her nose unnoticed by the girl as she concentrates on running through the basic point-aim-shoot routine for him,"Already said we're fucked." the ex-C notes as she leaves the rifle in his hands and endeavors to lurch to her feet again with an unsteady wobble.

"Kai. Fuck." Cole blanches at the blood coming out of her nose. He's not even listening to the instructions, he already remembers what she told him the first time. Remember. Mechanic. His brain is a sponge. "If we're fucked, we're fucked. At least show me your tits once before we die, eh?" he utters in a lame attempt for a joke before, putting his arm around her and helping her up. "Put your fucking weight on me before I just carry your ass."

Kai can't help it, her brain isn't wanting to work the way she wants it to and so she's basically trying to make sure that someone else has control of the weapon,"Woo hoo!" the ex-C utters, with a pull of her top.. which might be more salacious if not for the bandages that she has wrapped around her chest.. and the darkness.. and the grime. At least there's a ghost of a laugh before she grunts,"Go on ahead. Go to camp. I just need to rest a while." or, well, not, maybe. She at least makes an effort to keep walking.

"Doesn't count." Cole remarks, using the strap of the rifle to shoulder it. "You don't fuckin get it yet, do you?" he mutters. "I'm not leaving you behind. Not to be panter bait or Grounder bait, or whatever bait. I leave you, and I will not be able to think about the fact that I left someone behind. And that shit…that shit just ain't me." With two free arms, he scoops up the Ex-C in them, carrying her, regardless of her protests. She's ran enough. "Bitch, hate, whatever. I'll take it from here." At least the mechanic is stronger than he looks.

"Your loss." Kai remarks, totally not at all bothered that it doesn't count. But scooping her up, that's shove-worthy, the lean ex-C too stubborn to simply give over and snarling by time he manages to pick her up,"Need to.. need to.. get to them.. watch them." of course that's when the coughing is going to start as adrenaline and everything else starts to wear off and the fever starts to get a stranglehold.

"Eh, there'll be other chances." Cole muses lightly, taking the shove but not stopping from carrying her. Looking at her deteiorate so quicly as him worried and he walks faster, even realizes that he has a long walk ahead of him, carrying the woman in his arms. "Keep talking to me Kai. You haven't said how fuckin annoying I can be and how this unspoken sexual tension will likely get the better of us at the worst possible time. Just be aware, I don't kiss on the lips." Keeping her concious is probably the best idea right now, even if that means talking about completely inane shit.

"Nah." Kai utters, though she doesn't clarify it,"Upright.. ah.." no she doesn't want to be carried and is bound and determined to make enough of a pain to get herself set down at least,"You are.. annoying Cole.. but you're dreaming. It's up.. up there a ways.. they're on a hill.. with logs. Lots of logs.. good line of sight.. somewhere to keep Cass and Asher safe.. yeh? Got to get there, before the Grounders find them." she insists.

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