Day 032: What It Means To Be A Guard
Summary: Grey and Asher talk on the way from Camp Jaha to Tondc.
Date: 1 July 2016
Related: None directly.
Grey Asher 

The Wilderness
It's woods!
32 Days After Landing

Walking from Camp Jaha to Tondc is not for the faint of heart, but it's not much worse than the Delinquent Camp to Coesbur. Then again, most of the time people were walking between those two, they weren't mere days removed from an assault by the Trikru on the Skaikru. Starting early in the day, the group includes Fiona, Cassandra, Morgan, Asher, and Grey. The last of those is wearing his shiny new Guard-issue armored jacket (not actually new, just new to him), and a collapsed shock baton at his hip instead of a club or sword. He's also got his seat-cushion messenger bag slung over one shoulder, stuffed relatively full. He walks steadily along toward the front of the group, his attention up and out.

Asher was hoping Cassandra would have tracked Grey down at some point before the walk to Tondc, but alas, that was not the case. So Asher waited until they were already moving before he moves off towards the front of the group and over next to Grey. He clears is throat…And then he doesn't say anything. A moment later he adds on, "I need to talk to you." in a low, conspiratorial tone. If anyone over hears, clearly Asher and Grey must be in cahoots over some caper.

Grey tenses a little as Asher approaches, but that's not really anything particularly new. He has… personal space issues… with most people. The clearing of the other teen's throat draws Grey's eyebrows up though, "Yeah?" The words clarify things a little, and he nods, reaching up to touch the relatively-small bandage still stuck to the right side of his head, and then upnodding forward and hurrying his pace a little, just enough to put a little space between them and the group, "What's up? Cass tell you the deal with goin' to Tondc?"

A shrug is Asher's first reply as he hurries to match Grey's pace, "Not really. This ain't about that, though." He waits till they are a good ways ahead of the group he says, "You know what I was in the box, right?" Rumors abound, but most don't know the actual story, or the gory details. He looks over his shoulder a bit nervously.

"Somethin' about punching up a Guard is all I heard." Grey snorts softly, "I'd already been in like… what… a year?" His legs churn as they begin to ascend a hill, "The other Cadets weren't talkin' to me anymore. Guards never really did, 'cept a couple." He keeps his eyes ahead, still watching for any suggestions of an ambush, "Remind me to circle back on the ground rules. But what's up?"

"Well, if by punching you mean smashing his head into a wall until there were brains all over it, then yeah, I punched up a guard." Asher states quietly as they move up the hill. He lets Grey explain without interruption. "Ground rules?" He waves a hand, dismissing that for the moment, "Whatever, so look. It's no secret I ain't a big fan of the Ark." That's an understatement. "But you've got that shiny guard jacket now, so I need to know…" he pauses and asks, "Are they gonna be lookin' for some payback?" It was only a year and a month or so ago after all.

True to his word, Grey powers past the 'ground rules' discussion, leaving it for later. "I'm still gettin' them to talk to me without seein' a murder, or them bein' jackholes about my dad." Or, you know, perfectly reasonable people about an asshole. It's all a matter of perspective. "But I figure, down here, someone's useful, they get cut some slack. Not as much as at the camp, because the people are behind Kane and the Guard. But some slack." He shrugs with just his left shoulder, wincing a little as he does, "I mean, all official-like, we're all pardoned. But who knows, might be a couple of jackholes still lookin' to give you a blanket party. Sorry." A beat pause, "That I don't know more."

A frown is Asher's immediate response, but he nods. He pats Grey on the shoulder once. No knife in his hand or anything! "So far then, they ar holding up their word." He doesn't seem enthusiastic. "It's cool. Figured you might know somethin'. You're one of them now." Again. "So I need to meet with Kane then?" And somehow prove he's of use. "And be useful?"

The stretch of the larger teen's arm toward his shoulder causes Grey to tense again, but he bears down, even nodding companionably in response. "Yeah. They're holdin' to their word. And Kane's still talkin' about elections in a month. Dunno if I buy that, but we'll see." Evidently, despite the reputation he's gained in some circles, Grey isn't fully onboard the Kane Train. Or maybe it's just the authority-that's-not-me train in general. "I was one of 'em before, or I was gonna be." He grunts softly as they crest the hill and start down the other side, "Dunno if you need to talk to Kane. Dude's busy as hell. I sent him a report, what I thought of the situation, all that. Might help. But yeah. Be useful." He pauses a moment, then shrugs, "With the Guard down, I don't figure they've got a need for fighters who aren't Guard. And you don't take orders so well, do you?"

Be useful. This is a problem. Asher does one thing. He does it pretty well, even by Grounder standards, but he doesn't reall do anything else. "That sounds like a problem." Asher states quietly. He smirks. Take orders? "Shit…Orders?" he shakes his head, frowning, "None of use are good at takin' orders, Grey. You know me. I fight. That's it." He falls silent once more. Asher wasn't really looking forward to this conversation because it would expose a self-evident truth: Asher isn't useful if he isn't a Guard.

"Well, you can always lift heavy stuff." Grey chuckles a little at that. "Reach the tall shelves?" He shakes his head a little, only indulging in the Grey family tradition of needling others for a moment. "Yeah. Orders. I mean hell, it ain't just the Guard who do that. The Trikru're pretty good at it too." A faint smile touches his lips, "You know, besides like, the ones who helped us out." He shrugs a little, his smile fading again, "But yeah. Followin' orders. I figure there'll probably be like, a militia or somethin' too, backin' up the Guard. But those people'll still have to follow orders."

Asher is silent as they continue to walk ahead of the group. Orders. "Drop heavy stuff on people, by accident?" he offers helpfully. The thought of joining the Trikru had occurred to Asher, but then, he's killed plenty of them too. And he doesn't know their language. And he has no flair for surviving this rock. So he frowns. "So…I need to be in charge, so I can give orders." This seems like a solid plan.

Grey snorts at that loudly, "Hey, they don't listen to me, what makes you think they're gonna listen to you?" Still, a grin flickers onto his lips. "Or, learn to take orders when you've gotta, and tell 'em to piss of when you don't." He gestures generally back behind them, "You saw the clusterfuck that happened when people didn't listen to orders for shit. If we'd have gone over the wall at the Camp, we'd've slipped away. Sure, we'd have had to fight the Trikru a ways further, but our people wouldn't have gotten damned snatched if we did." Oh, optimism is so cute, right? Especially when it verges on naivete.

"I'm scarier than you are?" Asher replies helpfully. At least his other option sounds better. Cass would never respect him as a guard. But seriously, what are his options? "I dunno…I could try I guess." That's gonna work real well. "Yeah, I get the need for people to do what they are told in a fight. Just the rest of the time, I don't get it." He doesn't touch on the rest of what happened. He'll just knock Cole's teeth out next time he see's him.

"Wishful thinking, Ashhole." Clever nickname, Grey. Not. "I'm pretty sure that Major Wu ain't scare of any of us. And Kane…" Grey shrugs, "Jackhole's got icewater in his veins. Just 'cause I think he's a dick," the feeling is mutual, so far as Kane actually thinks of Paris' son, "doesn't mean I can't see that." He steps around a dense patch of ferns, then digs into one cargo pocket to get out one of the maps Kai left for him, slowing as he does and studying the inked leather, "But there'll be folks who want in on a militia. You. Silas. Morgan. Cam when we get his ass out. People who don't want to be Guard, or who other folks think ain't cut out for it. It'd be stupid to waste what we learned down here. Maybe that'd be a place to start? See if you can hack it?" Was that just a challenge?

Major Wu huh? "So if I kick the shit out of the Major, do I get his job?" You earn what you kill, right? That probably won't work. He falls silent, listening to the description of the various ass hats who run the camp, "You make this shit sound really enticing, Grey." He smirks. He moves around the ferns as well, the opposite direction from Grey. He lets the other teen read the map unmolested. "Never said I wanted in on a militia. I just said I'm only good at fighting. If they don't want me fightin' on my terms, I'm not sure I want to be fightin' on theirs. And if I'm not, then what? They force me into slave labor, lifting heavy boxes and reaching tall shelves?"

Grey snorts again at the taller teen's suggestion. Drifting to a full stop for a moment, Grey puzzles over the map, then nods, rolling it up and tucking it away, "I ain't tryin' to make it sound enticing." Turning his full attention to Asher, he taps the armor covering his torso, "Look, this shit? This means something. At least it does to me. It means I'm willin' to put myself between the Skaikru and anyone who wants to screw with us. That's what it means to be a Guard. So yeah, it's somethin' that some people can't hack. And there ain't any sort of slave labor, man. But if you want to be part of the Skaikru, if you want what's bein' given out… food, shelter, medicine, all that shit? You've gotta give somethin' back, man. I'm pretty sure that no one's gonna stop you if you wanna walk out the front gate and never come back, but I'm also pretty sure that'd be stupid. You ever ask a Trikru how many people survive on their own out there? Or in a small group?"

Asher slows to a stop as well, watching Grey. He glances at the armor, then back at Grey, brow raised. The real issue is evident. Asher isn't really the type to lay down on a grenade for his fellows. Or he doesn't think he is. Actions speak louder than words, and he's put himself in harms way more than once. "I dunno man…" he states quietly, "I'm more likely to cause a brawl than break one up." he pauses and nods, "I know living out there alone with no support isn't the right choice. I don't know shit about living out there."

Grey nods, "And even if it's you and Cass. Or you and Cass and Q and Max once we spring them," ever the optimist, "that's still not enough to keep watch day and night, and hunt and forage and fight and all that shit." He shrugs, his jacket creaking, "Why were you out there on the wall with Silas and Q and Morgan and Cameron and me? Hell, you and me were the last ones out there. Why'd you do that?"

"Cass has her own plans, no idea what they are. I'll go along with em or not I suppose." Asher replies and then he arches an eyebrow, watching Grey. A shrug is his initial response, "What was I gonna do? Lay in my tent because I had some cuts and scrapes?" And huge open neck wounds and arrows still sticking out of his chest. Cuts and scrapes. "Let you guys do the fighting?" A beat pause is offered and Asher looks around them to make sure they still have some distance. "Cass was out there with Stone. I wasn't gonna just assume that meathead would keep her safe. So I went out and made sure she got into the dropship without getting cut down by Grounders on the way."

Grey shakes his head, "Cass was already at the dropship. I remember 'cause she was shouting about holding the door open when we were running. You were out there between all the Skaikru and the people tryin' to kill the shit out of them." He glances behind them as well, and then nods off to the east and starts walking again, "Hell… even just what you're sayin'… Cass is your people. You put yourself between her and danger without thinkin' twice. That's Guard shit, man. Just gotta expand your definition of 'your people.'"

"I dunno Grey…If a Grounder tried to kill Cole, I don't think I'd work real hard to stop em." Asher offers with a faint smirk. Yeah, yeah, he's grown up some from being down here. It's a short time, but a lot has happened. You learn what you can and can't live without. "Plus, I didn't know she was in. I was busy fighting a couple Grounders on the wall." And nearly getting killed in the process. "I don't think I really heard her at first." He shrugs and then starts walking again as well. "Regardless, the problem is…would I have done that if some fuckwad with some stripes on his armor told me to?"

Grey shrugs at Asher's response, "One did. And I caved in the back of his head. And the jackhole" Cole, that is, "drives me up the damned wall. But he's part of my clan, even if we didn't know that word before we got down here, not like they do down here." He walks several steps in silence, then shrugs again, "Well, if you wanna stay in Camp Jaha, and you wanna fight instead of getting stuck in some shit job as someone's strong back, you maybe just gotta think of it as the cost of doin' business. You get to fight, but you don't get to choose where or when. Have to decide if it's worth it. And if bein' able to protect Cass is worth it."

A nod is Asher's first and only reply. He watches Grey as they continue to walk and the silence becomes an awkward one, since they are amidst a conversation. Finally, Asher says, "I'll think about it." And then he claps Grey on the back once more, "Thanks for the chat." And then he's slowing to let himself fall back into the fold with the others.

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