December 11th. Since leaving the old abandoned prefab, they've been on the road for about 5 hours. Signs of life have become more plentiful the closer they've gotta to Adrasteia. For a while they regularly encountered deep tire tracks that intersected in places, giving a relatively smooth path to follow. Given the blizzard that covered the region the night before, it's a safe assumption that the tracks are pretty fresh. Probably nothing to be
#TheMonument – April 22, 2019
alarmed about this close to the city. But once they've passed south of Adrasteia, the tire tracks have begun to grow more and more sparse. It's still mostly flatland, populated by trees and the occasional rolling hill. With the thick layer of untamed snow that blankets the landscape it's difficult to make out much more. Certainly a far cry from the booming city of Hong Kong. At times it almost seems like the nothingness can go on forever.
There's a certain claustrophobia to it. As if finding a settlement would be like looking for a needle in a haystack with nothing but nature to guide their way. Well, nature and a holographic map. Thankfully the map provides far more intel than nature does. According to it, there's a handful of small homesteads in the area. The farming communities that thrive off of Adrasteia and Adrasteia, in turn, thrives off of them.
Jessica has grown quiet since departing from the old home and only seems to grow moreso the further they get. Outside of the occasional idle chit-chat, she has mostly seemed content to let the loud music from her omni-tool fill the silence in the truck's cab. That previous discomfort is still prevalent. Once they had gotten situated, a stop was made to afford them time to change out of their dirty clothes. She's now dressed in a pair of
thick, olive green cargo pants and a white thermal shirt, similar to the previous one she wore only without the home-made finger-hole modifications. Her jacket is behind her, adding providing her some additional cushioning. Unfortunately, the dumb floofy hat and sunglasses remain. Whether she's wearing them because the look is ridiculous or because she secretly likes them is unclear.
Yan Sun seems fine with things being quiet for a while and letting the music fill the air as the endless snowscape rolls by. She doesn't share Jessica's discomfort, but she hasn't been prodding either. She's been on her omni-tool for the last few hours, mostly coding by the look of things since there's no extranet. She's changed into the Galaxy of Fantasy t-shirt she picked up at the Freedom Falls market, but her jeans and hoodie remain the
Yan Sun same. With boots discarded on the floor she's sunk down in her seat, feet against the dashboard as she types. She's thoroughly convinced that Jessica likes her newfound accessories.
Something begins to poke up over the horizon in the distance. As the truck rolls closer, it slowly comes into view. A structure atop a hill. Well, less of a hill and more of a plateu. The plateau almost looks man made in the way it suddenly flattens out on top. And set on the plateau, dead center, is a statue. It's probably a good 30 feet tall. That, in conjunction with its position atop the plateau, make it visible from a bit of a distance. It
seems to be in the shape of a person, but it's difficult to make out the details from such a distance.
Jessica draws in a deep breath as the structure comes into view, sinking into her seat slightly. "...Get your things together." she says quietly, her tone sounding almost tired as she pierces her silence. "We are staying here tonight." They've still got a bit more daylight, but given her tone it wasn't a suggestion.
Yan Sun looks up from her omni-tool as she hears Jessica's voice. She follows her gaze and parts her legs to look out the front windshield. As her gaze fall on the plateau and the statue upon it her eyebrows furrow a little. She drops her feet from the dashboard and sits up a little as she looks around the area. "What's that?"
The surrounding area is mostly more of the same. Trees. Open terrain. The occasional hill. This one is set apart from the others only by its shape- even and flat on top with a gentle climb around the sides- and the eyecatching, lonely structure at its center. The truck has little trouble rolling up the sides of the hill, mounds of snow crunched under its massive tires as it lurches towards the plateau atop. As they crest the top of the hill, the
structure is clearly visible. It is a person. At least, the shape of a person. Featureless. Almost like a stone carving that had all of the detail rubbed off by years in the elements. Only it looks rather new, judging by the sharp, square foundation it sits on. The lack of detail seems to have been a conscious choice.
Jessica shoots Yan Sun a glare. For a moment she relents, opening her mouth to speak. But her jaw clenches shut and she turns her gaze back towards the windshield as they climb the hill. "Just-... get your things." she repeats sharply. Yan Sun has probably been around Jessica enough to know what that look and tone mean. To use Kirill's words: 'She's likely to snap shut and take your whole damn arm off.'
Yan Sun seems a little put-off, but shifts to stuff the few things that have left her bag since they started for the day back into it with a quiet "Oookay...". She glances up towards the statue again once she's zipped her bag shut, studying it as they get closer. Curiosity and confusion are both obvious in her face, but she doesn't say anything as she pulls the bag into her lap and waits, presuming whatever is going on will be clear soon
The truck comes to a stop a few yards from the statue, giving a bit of a better look at it. On the large square foundation is an inscription and numerous other engravings and scratchings. The figure has been decorated with a wealth of graffiti. A large brick motif is painted across its arm and numerous other little touches are added here and there. Gang tags. Details filled in with different colors that don't quite line up with one another, as
if different efforts painted over top of one another. Bright purple markings- reminiscent of an asari's face markings- are painted onto the statue's face. A line of dots along the browline that curve towards the temple. But the angular, dark blue decorations of what looks to be turian markings are painted across the lower half of the face. The statue is thick. Chunky segments, squared off to block out the simple shapes of a person as if to
purposely keep it from looking as if it's supposed to represent any specific race. Just a faceless silhouette that has been slowly filled in. Thanks to the occasional gust of wind, the snow up here is thin in places. So thin in some that weeds and untamed nature poke out from beneath.
Jessica sucks in her lips, her gaze fixed to the statue as the hulking vehicle comes to a stop atop the plateau. She leans forward to free her jacket and begins to slip it on and zip it up. "Come on. We are needing to get the tent up soon. And a fire. Is going to be cold tonight." she says distantly, her mind clearly elsewhere as she lists off their priorities for the evening, falling back on the lessons learned from her time with Kirill
Yan Sun is busy curiously studying the statue when Jessica speaks, causing her to blink and glance outside. "Tent. Right..." she says, the energy draining a little from her at the thought of nothing but a glorified sheet of synthetic fiber shielding them from the Aitian winter. Regardless, she slips her jacket on, zipping it up and digging her mittens out of the pockets to put on. She cracks the door open and steps out, immediately letting
Jessica remains behind for a moment to switch from 'driving gloves' she fashioned from Yan Sun's winter gloves to her own, not-destroyed pair. She snatches her omni-tool up off the dashboard and shuts off the loud music before tucking it into the pocket of her jacket, shutting off the truck, and climbing out into the cold air. The cold gust of wind she's met with gets only a wince and a raised hand to guard her face in response as she
Jessica shuts the door behind her and makes her way towards the back of the truck. The cold open air is a sharp contrast from the relative warmth provided by the truck. It's better than the previous day, but it's only going to get worse as the sun goes down.When she reaches the back of the truck she begins getting to work opening up the tailgate. The process of unpacking and packing is always messy. Living on the road like this, things
Jessica never seem to go back together the way they were when you first packed them. It's only been a few days and the bed of the truck is already a disorganized mess.
Yan Sun slams the truck door shut and steps around the other side of the truck to join Jessica at the back. She hugs herself, shoulders hunched up as she looks around the back. "Okay, uh... what can I do?" she asks as she looks over the contents of the truckbed, deferring to Jessica's experience.
Jessica draws in a deep breath at Yan Sun's question, which is exhaled as a puff of steam as she climbs into the bed of the truck. "You are knowing how to put together a tent, yes?" she asks flatly as the tarp begins to flap against the cab of the truck it's still tied to, and she begins the process of moving the things they'll need for the night towards the back of the truckbed for easier unloading. Jug of water. Portable stove.
Jessica Portable heater. Both of which probably need to be recharged after the previous night. A few logs from Kirill's small stack in the corner of the bed. A small, concave firepit. The cooler. Her process mostly seems to be to use her boot to scoot everything across the bed- in some cases knocking other disheveled items out of the way to do so- rather than actually picking anything up.
Yan Sun lets out a snort, shooting Jessica an incredulous look. "Uhm... no?" she says, waiting by the back of the truck. When she realizes Jessica's unloading strategy she starts to sweep things to the side to clear a path for her. "Where are we setting up?" she asks, glancing towards the statue again.
Jessica momentarily stops when Yan Sun admits she has no idea how to put together a tent. She passes a deep frown her way but strategically decides against revealing that Kirill was always the one to build the tent when they were on the road. She's seen him do it. How hard can it be? "I don't-..." she begins, cutting herself off with an exasperated sigh. She gestures at the open space between the truck and the statue. "There..?" she
Jessica suggests, though she doesn't seem very sure, either. It's not a bad spot. Room to work, the wind has swept away a good portion of the snow on the ground there- leaving them with little to clear- and the truck will help to block wind. Though whether any of that actually factored into her decision or if she just gestured at a random spot is debatable. "You can make a fire then, yes?"
Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows a little, looking over towards the spot Jessica indicated. She considers for a moment before nodding a bit uncertainly. "Uh... sure. Yeah." she says, offering a more confident nod. It's just a fire. Humans have had fire figured out for a pretty long time. How hard can it be, right? She reaches over to grab an armful of firewood, scooting it over to the edge of the truckbed and lifting it to her chest with a quiet
grunt. "Wow, this... is actually be pretty heavy..." she thinks aloud as she carries the wood over to the indicated area. She drops it in a pile and looks back over to Jessica. "Lighter?" she requests.
Jessica gives a roll of her eyes at Yan Sun's complaining. "Don't be such a pussy." she says, though the opportunity to get a dig in does seem to relieve a little bit of whatever tension she seems to be holding onto. At least momentarily. She appreciates the little things in life. The follow up question causes her to furrow her brow. "There is one-..." she begins, glancing down and doing a turn in place, as if looking for something. A
mutters, "Gah..." in frustration slips out before she finally spots the small, canvas bag tucked away beside the firewood. She underhands it towards the pile of wood. "There! Should be things in there for starting fires." she explains.
Closer to the statue, Yan Sun is able to get a better look at the statue. The large, squared base has an inscription on it. 'May we always remember those lost in the pursuit of peace, lest we find ourselves repeating the same mistakes.' The engravings that surround it vary greatly. Some look professionally done, as if a proper tool was used. Straight lines, even depth. Rows and columns. They're names. Some human, others identifiably alien.
Others seem to be the result of much more simple means. Letters carved into the material. Names scratched into the surface. The more simple ones are etched into the base of the statue at different angles, shirking the columns and rows entirely.
Yan Sun seems a little amused by Jessica's insults. As the bag lands she gives her a thumbs-up, but the engravings catch her attention, and she spends a moment studying the varied assortment of carved names in curious silence before crouching down to open up the bag and inspect the contents.
There's just a few lighters in the bag, in varying states of wear and tear, and a couple of bottles of lighter fluid to refill them. One of the bottles is nearly entirely used, but the other is almost full. A few boxes of wood matches are also littering the bottom of the bag, some loose, spilled matches also jostle about.
Jessica hops off the back of the truck and grabs the firepit. Judging by her wide stance and frown, it seems heavy. She slowly meanders over, shuffling from one foot to the other, before dropping it in front of Yan Sun. "Just-... spray a bunch of the shit onto the logs and throw a match at it, mmm?" she suggests with a shrug. Probably not how Kirill would do it, but she doesn't fuck with fire. She passes a small glance towards the
statue which seems to drain a bit of energy from her and she quickly turns back to return to the truck and continue unloading.
Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows, looking up from the bag. "Don't we need... I don't know, kindling, or something?" she asks, apparently a little skeptical of Jessica's approach.
Jessica blinks as she looks back towards Yan Sun. "Use enough of that shit?" she suggests, giving a small nod towards the bag, "And anything will burn." She tilts her head to the left slightly, as if to make a -admittedly rather dark- point. But, in a manner that has probably become common by this point, she doesn't really seem to dwell on her own statement too much. It's more for the sake of bothering Yan Sun. With a grunt, she tugs
the large bag containing the tent off the back of the truck and begins to stiffly carry it over to a spot near the firepit. "Or you can be a loser and do it your way. Is plenty of shit around for you to-..." another grunt as she heaves the bag to the ground and dusts off her hands before continuing with a breath, "...to use, mmm?" she suggests. Of course, given the snow, it might take a little while to collect some sticks and
Yan Sun gains an uncomfortable expression as Jessica's efforts succeed, and she looks away to resume her work in silence. She most certainly has no idea what the firepit is for, and instead places a number of logs on the ground a little away from the pile, intending to build a fire there. She stands back up and heads over to the truck. The idea of searching around for dry plant bits for kindling doesn't even cross her mind, instead she grabs
whatever loose paper she can find in the truck cab, supplementing with a fistful of toilet paper as she returns to her soon-to-be campfire.
Jessica is on her way back to the truck when she notices Yan Sun's pile. She cocks an eyebrow, examining it with hands on her hips until Yan Sun returns from the truck. "You are going to make a fire on the ground?" she asks flatly, the look on her face making it clear that 'yes' is probably the wrong answer, but she doesn't exactly offer any guidance. Unfortunately for Yan Sun, Jessica doesn't seem to be nearly as patient of a teacher
Yan Sun 's eyebrows furrow. "Well... yeah?" she asks, looking up from her work of stuffing paper among the wood. She seems confused by the apparent disapproval. "What...? Is that-... is that not-... where else would I make it...?"
Jessica slowly tilts her head to look towards the firepit next to her. "If you build a fire on the ground, then you are maybe going to end up looking like me." Despite the exasperated veneer, there's an underlying sense that she enjoys being the one to know what they're doing. A sense of smugness and pride, despite her knowledge mostly just being things she's picked up from watching Kirill. But it only goes so far in keeping her
distracted in the face of the monument looming over them and, as her gaze shifts to it, the small smirk that was beginning to tug at the edge of her mouth slips away once more. She lifts up one foot, perching it on the edge of the firepit and nudging it towards Yan Sun a bit. "Make it in here. I will put the tent together." she mutters before stomping off to collect a few things from the truck.
Yan Sun 's frown deepens a little as her gaze falls on the firepit. "...oh." she mumbles, looking at it for a moment before starting to move the firewood over into it, and then stuffing the paper back in. Jessica's glance towards the statue doesn't go unnoticed, but she doesn't comment, focusing on getting things set up for the time being. She digs a lighter out of the bag, as well as the nearly-empty lighter fluid bottle, figuring it can't
hurt. She empties out what's left in the bottle onto the loosely packed toilet paper and removes her mittens before carefully reaching out to light it.
Once finished with the fire, Yan Sun is moved to 'Recharge the appliances' duty by Foreman Kaya. It won't be long before they need to swap out the truck's power cell if they continue to rely on the appliances. Jessica isn't even close to done setting up the tent by the time the appliances have been recharged. Every now and then a cold breeze blows through, further hampering Jessica's progress as she attempts to interlock a puzzle of rods.
Jessica strains, trying to force two rods together like an infant shoving a square block into a round slot. "Go-... to-...gether-... Gah!" she groans as her grip falters and the pieces spring apart for the tenth or so time. It causes her to snap around towards the truck, deep scowl on her face as she stomps a few steps away from the tent to keep her impulse to kick it in check. "His stupid fucking tent does not work!" she shouts to Yan
Sun, as if it's her fault. "The pieces! They do not fit! I press them and press them and they do not fit together! I am going to throw it in the fucking fire!"
Yan Sun has gotten their equipment hooked up and charged - she's certainly not going to be the one to protest their usage. She's in the middle of putting another log on the fire when Jessica's outburst causes her to flinch and look over. She lets out a sigh and stands up, heading over towards the tent to take a look. "Let me see..." she suggests, hoping maybe she can help. "Didn't this come with instructions or anything?" she asks, figuring
it's worth checking even though she's pretty sure the answer is going to be that she doesn't know because it's Kirill's tent, only with a lot more cursing.
Jessica glares at Yan Sun. "I don't fucking know!" she exclaims. "Is his stupid fucking tent, not mine!" Yeah, pretty much hit the nail on the head. In truth, it doesn't even look like the tent has all of its factory parts. Pieces cannibalized from other tents- probably old tents that were 'retired'- are amongst the mound of parts Jessica has dumped onto the ground. There's some duplicate pieces amongst them. Spare parts. She scowls,
folding her arms across her chest, head tilted as she watches Yan Sun and waits for her to fail. To Jessica's credit, it seems as if she's got the skeleton mostly put together. The piece she was struggling with is amongst the ones that seems to have come from another tent. Of course, Jessica being Jessica, it seems that impatience was the culprit this time since, if Yan Sun was to take a moment to examine the pieces, she'd find
Yan Sun takes a moment to inspect the half-assembled tent, stifling a snicker with a mitten-clad hand as she notices the problem. She turns the loose piece around and slots it into place without issue. She can't resist shooting Jessica a smug smile afterwards as she calls out "Got it!". She continues to hold onto the piece, seemingly figuring she may as well keep helping with the tent.
Jessica seems to straighten up a bit, blinking a few times as she watches Yan Sun's simple fix. Her gaze darts from Yan Sun to the tent before settling back on the former. The comment that accompanies the success causes her scowl to slowly make a return. "You have ever been kicked in the cunt, kitty cat?" she threatens dryly with a raise of her brow. She continues to glare at Yan Sun for a moment before uncrossing her arms and muttering
under her breath as she moves to collect the last couple of pieces, thrusting one at Yan Sun silently as she begins to work at the other.
Yan Sun lets out a loud snort, grinning and bringing up an arm to shield herself just in case. "Don't hit me!" she says through a laugh, obviously a lot more amused than Jessica. She grabs the offered piece, inspecting it for a moment before lifting the part of the frame she's already holding and pushing the new piece into place to finish it off, glancing over towards Jessica once she's done.
Jessica begins trying to force her piece into place once again, Yan Sun's amusement met with a side eye. Her face scrunches up in concentration, as if this is some sort of competition and she needs to get her piece slotted before Yan Sun does. But hers does not seem to be fitting. Which only causes her to push harder. When Yan Sun finishes and looks her way, she pulls her piece free and cocks it back, feigning as if she's going to smack
Yan Sun with it. She stops short, and there's a hint of a smirk beneath her frustration. "You are shit!" she decides before looking back at the spot her piece is supposed to go. For a moment, it seems as if she's just going to begin trying to jam it into place again before having a sudden realization. She looks at the end of the rod. She looks at the slot she's supposed to be fitting it into. She draws a long breath through
her nose and slowly turns the rod around, purposely avoiding Yan Sun's gaze, before effortlessly slotting it into place now that she has it the right way.
Yan Sun watches Jessica in silence, choking back another laugh in the interest of self-preservation, but the realization causes a mitten to shoot up to her hand again, muffled noises sounding as she tries and fails to keep a straight face.
Jessica merely slowly turns and glares at Yan Sun. "Something is funny, slut?" she asks, left brow cocked, hand on her hip. "Mmm?" She reaches out with her right, giving Yan Sun a gentle shove, looking increasingly like her smirk might slip out. "Mmm?!"
Yan Sun is quick to exclaim "Nope! Nothing!", immediately betrayed by the wide grin visible once her hand has moved away from her mouth... and the hints of laughter that laces her words.
Jessica prods at her back teeth with her tongue as she continues to stare Yan Sun down. She relents with a roll of her eyes, smirk finally creeping out. "Put the fucking-.... thing-... on." she says dismissively, gesturing towards the canvas flap for the tent opening that zips on. She turns her back on Yan Sun, starting back towards the truck with a muttered, "Bitch." ensuring she speaks loud enough to be heard. "And then bring
Yan Sun snickers as she heads over to the tent parts to grab the 'thing' in question, turning around to look at the tent. It takes her a moment before she realizes what it is, heading over to the opening and crouching down to start zipping it into place. Once she's satisfied that she didn't mess anything up she heads over towards the truck to grab her bag and bring it over.
Jessica makes her way towards the back of the truck and climbs back in. She begins going through her stuff for a bit while Yan Sun gathers their things for the tent, keeping herself occupied with tidying up the bed of the truck. Well, her version of tidying.
The tent isn't exactly luxurious. Two people can fit comfortably, but it's no Respite. The canvas material looks as though it has been through some trips. But, for all of its rips and tears, it's well maintained. Lovingly patched and stitched wherever repairs were needed. The entire thing sways lightly each time the wind blows through, held down by nothing more than the stakes pinning it to the ground. But, other than the crackle of the fire,
the occasional gust of wind, and the soft crunch of snow underfoot, it's peaceful out here. It won't be long before the sun begins to go down.
Yan Sun takes a moment to look over the tent, and their surroundings, after dropping off her things, and then draws in a long breath before heading back to grab more things. Namely Jessica's bag and their sleeping gear. "Is-... we're, uhm... safe here, right?" she asks after dropping the things in the tent, once again finding herself looking around, seemingly a little anxious between Jessica's talk of dangerous people and the sound of the
Jessica looks up from her perch, seated on the side of the truck's bed where she's poking through her crate. She furrows her brow as she studies Yan Sun. "What do you think?" she asks with a telling tilt of her head. Reaching into the crate, she lifts her large, serrated, batarian blade, holding it up for Yan Sun to see. "Is fine. You are a killer now, yes? So long as we are attacked by a bunch of pissed off bottles I am thinking that
Yan Sun doesn't exactly seem put at ease by Jessica's words. Being able to see the landscape stretch around them with no blizzard that wraps them up in their own little world makes her feel a lot more exposed, and the thought of nothing but a tent separating them from nature seems to make her a bit nervous. She doesn't say anything, heading back to grab whatever is left in the truck instead.
Jessica lets out a low snicker, sensing Yan Sun's discomfort. She goes to return her attention back to her crate before something occurs to her and her head snaps right back up. "Fooooood!" she calls out. "Is your turn to make the foods! I make them last night!"
Yan Sun drops some miscellaneous things off in the tent before popping back out and looking over toward Jessica. "Sure." she agrees with a nod and a small smirk at the exclamation. "Uh... what am I making?" she asks with a glance towards the cooler.
Jessica gives a shrug of her shoulders. "I don't know! You bitch about my cooking last night! Is my turn to bitch!" she calls back dismissively. "So-... figure it out!" she concludes, before recalling that age old saying 'Bitches come in threes' or-... something like that, and adding a quick: "Bitch!"
Yan Sun draws in a breath as she heads over to the cooler to have a look. She... can figure this out. Right? Yeah.
Jessica's contribution to their food supply during their pre-trip shopping mostly consisted of things to make sandwiches, eggs, those shitty cups of noodles Yan Sun is always eating, and a bunch of snackfood. Of course there's the carashan meat left behind by Kirill as well.
Jessica remains on her perch, blade balancing precariously on her thigh as she splits her attention between her crate and Yan Sun. As usual, her motivations are most likely looking for an opening to further poke at her.
Yan Sun 's gaze wanders around the cooler before settling on the noodle cups. Score! She knows how to do this! She grabs the cooking pot and places it on the ground, pleased that she's found something she's confident she can make without giving Jessica anything to laugh about. She grabs the water next, unscrewing the lid and less-than-elegantly shifting the jug to pour water into the pot.