Day 014: The Weight Of Missiles
Summary: Previous conversations cast a pall over discussions between Que and Grey.
Date: 22 May 2016
Related: No Nukes is Good Nukes
Que Grey 

Forests Around the Camp, The 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.

14 Days After Landing

Day 13 was a rather eventful day, if not entirely a pleasant one— at least for the Grounders who are visiting the skaigeda. Besides the … interesting first encounter involving discussions of missiles and nukes, there was a later scuffle in which the maker and a cadet got into a somewhat heated argument about if he should be walking around the camp or not. Still, that day has passed, and its an hour or so after dawn that Que makes his way from the Grounder camp. He does not carry his sledgehammer this time, only his belt with the numerous tools strapped to it. Including a small pouch which wasn't there before. He carries in one hand a skin, and in the other a long strip of what looks like dried meat. His expression is somewhat pensive, but only slightly.

Grey has just woken up, taken a trip to the latrine, been checked by the docs, and hauled his tired ass out toward the camp's gate, rubbing at his eyes and yawning. At least the morning is dim enough with clouds that he doesn't need the bandage wrapped around his eyes, and the wrap has been removed from his head entirely, showing the scab of a mildly split scalp at the back of his head. The approach of the Grounder draws murmured comments from the Delinquents up on the wall-walk, and Grey eyes them a little blearily, "Come on, open up. I should probably go talk to their maker." Let it be noted that Grey does not like mornings, and that is probably why he sounds so grouchy.

Whether due to Grey's insistence or Que's approach outside, the gate is indeed rolled open.

Que is the child of patience it seems, while the gate is opened, happy to gnaw upon the meat thing he has. Once the gate rises, he says just loud enough for his voice to reach Grey, "Greh kom Skaikru." He tilts his head to the side, and narrows his eyes a moment, "Do be telling me that you are not to be standing at the gate insisting on making immitation of wall with every step I am taking. I will not be attempting to enter the precious sanctum of your falling box so if I am being taking step in vague direction of it there is not having need to be blocking me. I am being simply wanting to walk around the camp of yours and speak words to people and hear the words they would speak back." He pauses, then adds, "Though occurs to me that perhaps words we have to speak to eachother first."

Grey probably doesn't want the Grounder representative's first view of him to be stretching broadly and happily (despite the wince) and then scratching at his side through his new olive-drab t-shirt (still with the crease marks in it!). Too bad. He blinks, then focuses his eyes on the larger man outside, "Que kom Trikru, mornin'. Nope, I was comin' out to talk to you. Didn't know how early you," he gestures in the general direction of the mini-camp outside The Camp, "would be wakin' up." He rubs at his new-shaven jaw, now free of the stubble that was threatening to become a haze of near-beard the day before. "Yeah, we should talk. And then I'll walk 'round with you, make sure you don't get hassled. Or I'll find someone else who'll do it."

"I am being accustomed to waking an hour before dawn, though by season this is not always reliable. The sun is being wakefulness at the latest case of things." Que's mood turns a bit more casual now that Grey doesn't seem to be there to hassel him, and he cocks his head to the side, gestures. He tugs open the sac at his side, and pulls out a hunk of that dry meat looking stuff, and offers it over, "Saporra." is his explanation, if that means anything at all. "Let us be having walk, then, Greh." He pauses, and adds with a bit of a sharp edge, "Outside, so for being less likely that your Mee-mee-ya does not being using her words at me again."

"Yeeeeah. We definitely don't need that." Grey agrees readily, stepping out the gate so that it can be closed behind him. He eyes the offered meat, then gives an almost-internal shrug, takes it, sniffs it, then takes a bite. He's probably had worse in his two weeks on the Ground. Probably. "What's Saporra? Deer? Rabbit? Squirrel?" There's a pause, and then he suggests, "Giant river snake eel thing?" He's chewing though, and he'll do his best not to choke if it's something foul. "Heard you had some problems yesterday. Besides Mimi."

"Pig. Is essential to winter surviving, and also is being used for rations on trips and longer huntings. If are having time to boil it, the taste is being better, as the boiling be taking much of the excess salt away and can being tasting pig again. But, is good. Thirsty making." Que lifts his water skin up with a quick grin, "Is here if being need, have asking." That said, he wrinkles his nose, "Your people are being skittish as a rabbit. They do not understand. If the Trikru is deciding to make war upon you, you will not be seeing me. I will being in stegeda making weapons for our warriors. I will not being set on a stool and being put on honors as a heda, to be giving summons and having people brought to me to be giving me their words. I am being a simple man. I am having instructions from heda to watch and to listen. I am having instructions from steheda to learn if your people may be having value to us. If I am to be set in corner then there is no reason for me to being here, and I will return and tell the steheda I saw nothing of value."

Between the taste and the reassurance, Grey tucks into the Saporra much more readily. "Tastes plenty good without the boiling." Pause, "A little tough though. The boiling probably helps with that." The more serious words cause Grey to rub at his eye with the heel of one hand again, doing his best to complete the wake-up rituals without any actual caffeine. "Right." It's extra-hard to track Que-speak when you're not totally awake, but Grey is making the effort. "If you can't get in and talk to people, you can't do your job. But you gotta know that there are some things we don't want you to see, since we haven't made peace yet. Just like there's some stuff that you won't tell us about."

"I am not trying to be entering your falling box." Que makes a vague gesture of dismissal, "I am not trying to be entering your tents. Your Kai was being making great declarations over and being over again that my entering into peoples private places was of great rudeness, despite that I was not trying these things at all. You have wall. You have box. You have tents. Between these places there is ground. I am wanting to be walking on ground. As a person is there I come upon, I am saying, heya, and asking of their purpose being, and asking of their thoughts." He shakes his head slowly, "I am not being expecting trust and secrets. I am being expecting exactly what we are being giving to your people in our stegeda. Less, even. I am not being asking of shelter, or food, while we provide all this to yours."

Grey nods slowly, his steps still a little shortened by the pain from his back — and boy isn't that just making him grumpier than the morning already had. "Some people in the Camp, especially friends of Rees and Perry and Joe," the three Delinquents who have died to Grounders thus far, "they don't like Trikru very much. Like Wren's pissed at whoever…" you know, killed his little sister. Grey's expression bunches up a little like, 'don't make me say it, man.' "And some people are just assholes." A smile cracks his features at the last, "I'm sure you've got those back in Coesbur too. Might be easier to have someone walkin' with you most of the time you're in the Camp, Que kom Trikru, to make sure no one gives you trouble, and to make people feel better." He chuckles faintly, "You're also a damned giant with a huge hammer, and that scares some of the kids."

"I am having no objection to there being a watcher with me. I am having objection to pestering puppy herding me like a sheep and barking at me at all the times." Que grunts softly, and shakes his head, "Enough of this. It will be different or it will not. Words will not tell. We will be speaking of yesterday." He frowns slightly, "Of the words Mee-mee-ya spoke. Of missiles. Of nuclears in your sky. You were making solumn oaths when this was being said and I would hear assurances to their truth. It was a very near thing that I was to being leaving and riding back to stegeda, there to beg of the steheda to send word to the heda that the Coalition be called down upon you. It was words of my companions which made me think that these words were said unknowing. I am now thinking that the Mee-mee-ya is perhaps mad-touched, but I am uncertain. I am gravely concerned, though."

That wakes Grey up, and he blinks, gnawing briefly at the edge of one fingernail. Eventually, he states, "The way I understand it, the Ark uses solar power, like the dropship. Sun goes in, power comes out." He glances sidelong at the taller man to see if he's gone insultingly simple, or necessarily simple, "But it's also got some nuclear reactors. Power only. Not weapons. But it won't be comin' down. It's not made to. People will be comin' down in dropships, like ours, or a bit bigger. But yes, if someone tries to build a damned nuke, I'll punch them in the face. Repeatedly, if that's what it takes to knock the idea outta their head." He hasn't touched on the missiles yet, and he lets out a breath, "Missiles… they didn't train me how to use 'em. They didn't talk about 'em. If they've got 'em on the Ark, I don't know about them. And there'd be no use for 'em down here anyhow."

Que doesn't seem to exactly understand (how does sun make power? Sun makes sun.) But he doesn't seem insulted, either. He simply gives a slight nod of acceptance of this strangeness of the sky, and finds no particular interest in it: things are weird if you live in the sky. It is known. On the matter of nukes, he listens, and he gives a very slight nod, again. It is on the matter of missiles that he frowns, and he shakes his head, "The Mountain Men will not being tolerable of any challenge to the supremacy of their power, and they are not being ones to summit. You said that you are being understanding that we were serious about them, that we attacked you. You do not understand. We would being willing to destroy you utterly should we think it was yours to raise the ire of them, for were we to not, they might be destroying us as they did you." He frowns, "We are believing, Blood Must Have Blood. The Mountain Men be not believing in this. They are believing that the slightest of challenges must bring forth utter ruin. Man. Woman. Child. If but one warrior challenges them, their village is destroyed." He frowns, "Missiles. Do not so much as to think this word, do not so much being saying this word again. To us. To yourselves. To anyone. Such a sin against the Mountain is a thing I can not be comprehending. They would destroy the clans." He might be overreacting. He might not. But damn was he freaked out by talk of missiles, and he's still not entirely okay about it.

Grey's frown grows as Que speaks, until he's scowling fit to light a fire. If he were one of the smart kids, or one of the politicals, he would have some sharp and snappy answer right away. But he's Grey, and he comes at it in his own manner, thinking for a long minute, two, "I believe you. Maybe I don't understand, but I believe you." His frown deepens further still, "It'd be easier if you told us everything you know about the Mountain Men, so we knew what we were dealin' with, but I get that you're holdin' your cards close to your chest." Once more, his hand rises to his mouth so that he can nibble at a nail, "You know… there are some kids in camp that think you're makin' the Mountain Men out to be worse than they are, 'cause you're afraid we'll join up with them against you." He holds up his hand quickly to stop immediate comment, "I don't think that. I've seen you, and Wren, and Gideon, and Grimm working, talking. I don't think you'd do that. And it's not many kids. But it is a few."

For a time, Que is silent, thoughtful. For a time, perhaps, its questionable if he will speak, but finally in his soft voice he says, "The truth is being, Greh, that we are not knowing much about the Mountain Men, because though we have bitter enemies— we fought a great war against Ice Nation before making peace— we are people who are making of terms, treaty, alliance, coalition. The Mountain Men are not being making of terms. They are being destroyers. That is all we are knowing of them save what we have learned through lessons in blood and fire. If we are crossing a line— a line we are not knowing existed— they are releasing their fury against us. Missiles. That is being the greatest of their power. Missiles that are not being targeted at warriors. Missiles that are destroying of farmers, of children, of old, of craftsmen and healers and those who are having no thought to why their ashes are being added to the earth."

Grey nods slowly at Que's explanation, and this time when he raises his hand, it's to press his palm against his temple. Just because the light doesn't hurt his poor concussed noggin anymore, it doesn't mean that thinking hard doesn't. Finally, he glances down at the saporra in his other hand and nods to himself, taking another bite and starting to chew it. "That's different than war," he agrees. "That's like the old ways, the ones that broke the world." The Delinquent is silent for a long moment, then adds, "I'd like steheda Oxfor to tell our reps at the summit all about them. Every line that's been crossed and they've hit you for. I'm not askin' you to tell me now, because I know that's info you'd like to keep close. But I'd also like to not get blown to hell for somethin' we didn't know not to do."

"The old ways, when the world was broken." agrees the maker solumnly. For a time, Que is thoughtful and serious, but he nods his head slightly, "I will be advising the steheda of this suggestion. You are not being reasonably expected to recognize the dangers there is in the Mountain in vagueness. I can not be speaking for the steheda, but I can be advising of him. Oxfor was not being chosen merely for his might." He shakes his head slowly, "Do you be knowing, what we do to one we find may have drawn the Mountain's anger? It is being said treason most dark. It is being the Death of a Thousand Cuts." That said, he grunts, and shakes his head again, lifting a hand and running it over his bald, geometrically tattooed head, "You are being a reasonable sort, Greh. Tell me. Why should Trikru make peace with you? What is our benefit? There be blood yet spilled on the earth that should be ashes that some argue should be answered for. Do not be thinking that your people alone are having reason for not liking the other."

Grey nods his acceptance of the maker's promise to speak with the steheda, apparently not having expected more than that. His brows rise sharply at the description of the punishment for treason, but he shrugs at his description as reasonable, responding first with a faint smirk of amusement, "Because I don't wanna ever find out what the Death of a Thousand Cuts feels like?" He shakes off the joke quickly enough, "Because we can help you just as much as you can help us." He gestures up to the sky, "The rest of the Arkers, when they come down? They'll bring machines that can make things Earth hasn't seen in years. Engines to make work easier. Hell, I bet they could make cars. Vehicles that can haul a shit-ton a long way without stopping. You think our docs are good? The ones on the Ark, with your help finding the right plants, could put together medicines that just end most sicknesses. The Guard has…" he hushes the grandiose words, perhaps remembering the warning about speaking the word 'missiles,' "…has guns, and training, and gear. I'd bet dollars to donuts, whatever the hell either of those are, that they could take the Mountain Men with your peoples' help."

Everything is going good, everything is going fine. Oh, Que isn't understanding it all. Cars? Vehicles? These words pass by him and he just accepts them as some detail he'll figure out later, and so he and nods, listening. And then he freezes. And then his entire body goes tense like a statue of stone. And then Que's dark eyes stare at Grey with a wariness that can not be mistaken. "Guns." His voice is not merely quiet, becuase he's soft spoken, its a mere whisper. "It is being death to touch a gun. It is being the first law of the Mountain." His voice is like cold stone that hasn't moved in eons yet something hard is pushing against it and its grinding, straining. "The law we are having been learned with terrible cost to our lives. Should a gun but fall and we lift it, forfeit is being our lives, and the lives of those we are knowing, and thte lives of those they are being knowing. The Mountain Men are being accepting of /no/ challenge to their power. We are having been bled in rivers to be learning this lesson."

<FS3> Grey rolls Deception: Success.
<FS3> Que rolls Alertness: Failure.

Grey does his best to avoid looking back toward the dropship at the immediate response to his mention of guns, his eyes shifting slightly to one side before they lock back on Que. He studies the fullness of the Grounder maker's reaction, and something hardens inside the Delinquent's eyes. For the first time, he actually feels superior to one of the natives, feels sorry for one of them who isn't bound and restrained. It's a young man's look, naive in its own way, but he only nods, "Another reason to talk. So we know what the Mountain Men will react to."

Something has changed. Que gestures away, and he turns and walks towards the camp, his demeanor hard and tense. "Leidon, Greh kom Skaikru." Whatever that means. "The decision is being in the hands of the heda." is what he says in a cool, firm voice.

Grey nods in response to the larger man's farewell, "See ya, Que kom Trikru." He watches the other man turn to depart, taking another bite from the dried pork and chewing on it as he considers. And then he draws in a breath, lets it out through his nose. "Too much to do." The words are for himself. "Q first. Then the Jackhole."

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