MD #180: A Hard Knox Lesson

A whiny refugee kid proves to be no match for a real, military man, and Yari's nerves get a little more frayed.

MD #180: A Hard Knox Lesson
Summary: When Yari's oldest boy melts down in the midst of sleeping settlers, 'Uncle' Knox is there to snuff out his fire and attempts to instill a little sense of new reality into the kid (and his mother). Grandma Inez is there, too, but words seem to have just added fuel.
Date: 05/10/17
Related Logs: None]
Knox Inez Yari 
Pitchfork
The new refugee encampment on no-name planet: bedtime. The tent is large, canvas stretching over many sleeping mats to shelter a dozen or so refugees. What moonlight gets through the clouds outside is enhanced by the soft glow of campfires, but the darkness inside is more than adequate for sleep.
MD#181 - 2049

Yari's retreat from the liberation 'incident' at one of the food stations saw her checking on her kids - briefly - then vanishing to a quiet place somewhere for a decompressing sit. Right in the stream. Probably full of runoff from the livestock pens. When the nastiness and wet was traded in for clean clothes, she'd eventually collected her brood and led them away from the warm fires to the tents.

Vasilis didn't notice right away, too caught up in the little song and bedtime routine, but when all was quiet, when his baby sister was dreamily drooling over his mother's slumped shoulder, her own head bent in serene slumber, and little brother curled drowsily in her lap…ho boy.

His little blonde head tucks up against her arm, sad blue eyes watching over HIS family, and that's when he sees it. Her hand, her finger, and its nakedness. The tiny, gold collar linking her to his father - the diadem cementing the foundation of his world - is gone. It's gone. The thing that marked her as a wife is gone; it's bad enough that her hair is down and free for all to admire, but this is WORSE. The thing that led to her being his mother is gone. Where is it? Is there a THIEF!? He KNEW that canine unit he saw the other day was here for a purpose. Heart rate hikes from mellow to anxious in the blink of an eye and he begins to shake her urgently awake.

Recognizing her daughter's need for alone time, Inez had busied herself with the wing, checking over her Raptor, making it sure it's ready for shuttle detail the next day. She ate. She had a couple drinks, even tried to dance a bit with the 'locals', as the refugees now were for this planet. As the camp began to settle, she made her way to Yari's tent to check on her family. She peeks in as Vasili begins to shake his mother, and she steps forward to try and arrest the movement, to let her sleep. "Vasili, are you all right?" she asks, placing a hand to his shoulder to try and nudge him from disturbing the other woman and turn him to her.

Coop has drawn the straw to train a few new Marines on sentry duty this evening. He has them walking the perimeter and around the tents to make sure peace is kept. With so few nights here, the Marines can't be sure just what is lurking out there so 'privacy' isn't stacked highly against safety at the moment. He's in his full combat kit with NVG's on his helmet, but clipped up and out of his face for the moment. His distinctive JTAC camo sets him apart from most and the beard coming in is hard to ignore. He has certainly set himself far apart from his own line. He see's the shushing by Inez's tent and heads that direction, taking his sweat time. He mostly looks like a ghostly mass in the low light.

Vasili is worked into a sweat already, little chest heaving with panicked breaths when the woman that sorta looks like his mom and is said to be HER mom interrupts his attempts to rouse his mater and alert her to the emergency. So he turns on Inez, instead. "IT'S GONE! SOMEBODY STOLE!" And while he's breathlessly screaming the situation at Inez, his brother and sister are stirring fitfully behind, as is the body buried beneath. Yari's eyes roll around, consciousness slapped awake before her brain has much time to catch up and make sense of the disturbance. An intelligent "nngh" precursors her coming-to and numb-tongue ability to slur out a "Wha…Vas..Vasili!? What?? What!?" And she's up, eyes wide in a panic she knows not the source of yet and one arm hugging her younger two to her with a strangler's grip while the other flails to snatch her oldest away from whatever imagined danger has escaped into reality.

"Sshhhh," Inez tries, altogether too late, holding a hand up in front of his face but not touching it. "Stole what, Vasili?" Her eyes scan the tent and the little ones, and then she's trying to soothe her daughter. "I'm here, Yari, he's not hurt," she reassures. "It's okay, Vasili, take a deep breath. What's stolen?" Her hand returns to his shoulder, the one she wasn't already holding, and she tries to make eye contact with him, seeking to calm him before he rouses the entire camp.

Screaming kids are bad in a camp of more than 1000 people. Coop's quiet night just went south. He's pretty sure other people are waking up or now fully awake while almost asleep. A little more stomp into his step, he marches closer looking every inch of the six feet of Gunnery Sergeant. He stops behind Inez and clears his throat. "Why is that kid screaming and what's going on?" There isn't a lot of room in the question for hedging.

"Momma!" Vasili tries to shrug off Inez's hands but gets a /little/ lower in volume when said momma sits up and he does his damndest to squirm out of Inez's grip in favor of snatching up her left hand. Yari's frightened expression is now furrowed with concern and a new sort of fear - a fear of an angry, sleepy mob. She's joining in on the hushed attempts at pacifications about the time that an armored marine stomps into the tent, and she feels her heart drop into her belly. "Shh!" Arugs is let go in favor of securing one hand over Vasili's mouth. The three year old rolls free, over the blanket, and hiccups a confused little cry of his own. The baby's still caught in the middle, eyes wide open and sharing her mother's expression though no sound emerges quite yet.

"WHERE IS IT!" Vasili gets his face free and blasts the question with a tug on her knobby, nude ring finger. "WH—-" and /then/ he notices Coop and plants himself squarely between the big dude and the woman he's assumed responsibility for. It might be noticed that one of the kid's feet is scuffing along inside a grown man's loafer that's flecked with rust-colored stains. His lower lip sucks up between his teeth and he rises to the perceived challenge with a glare.

Although she could easily hold onto Vasili, she lets him go as Yari takes control over him, trying to shush the shouts, she instead scoops up Argus, and cradles him close to her shoulder, rocking him. "Ah," she notes the pointing of finger and turns to Coop, still rocking the little one back and forth. "We took off her wedding ring this afternoon. He thinks someone stole it." She turns back to Vasili and bites the inside of her lip to keep from chuckling at the show of bravado from her eldest grandson, and then expels a breath slowly. "No one stole it, Vasili. She still has it, she wanted you to have it in case you need it while she's gone."

Cooper watches the kid grab at the finger and start getting demanding,tugging on her finger. His frown doesn't cease. He eyes the loafer, too, while Inez explains. Those eyes then move back to Yari and then Inez. To the latter, "Understood, sir." Eyes moving to Yari, "Always good to see family sticking together. …Is he always that pushy?"

"Is that what this is about?" Yari almost seems relieved and paws at his face, trying to turn it towards her for confirmation, but he's dead set on giving the tough guy in fatigues a discerning once-over.

"I'm the Pater now," Vasili explains, doing his best to put on a commanding demeanor, despite the ball of snot melting out one flustered nostril. "It's my job. Like she's supposed to be my mum. Supposed to wear her ring." And oh yeah, that's what he was /just/ upset about. Wheeling on Inez and Yari as one, he bleats "You're not suppsoed to take it off! You're going to get her in trouble! Where is it!?" And he starts pawing through his mother's pockets, while Yari tries to shift Ionia safely out of the way and wrangle his wrists with one hand.

To say she's feeling vastly outnumbered by his little self would be an understatement. The weariness shows. "It's all /right/, Vasili. It can come off now, no o—"

"NO IT CANT!!!" and we're back to the rage.

At the word 'Pater', a red tinge suffuses Inez's cheeks, and her eyes flash. "You are no-" she snaps her mouth shut on the furious words, and takes a deep breath. By the time she has control over her startled anger, he's already launched his assault on her pockets. "No, she is not going ot get in trouble, Vasili," Inez tells him firmly, and she reaches forward to try and grab his shoulder again to pull him away from Yari and Ionia, while balancing Argus easily in the crook of her other arm.

Coop hears the word 'pater' and his brows loft, a mock entertainment there. And the lovely little once over from him wasn't missed. Its when the kid gets loud again and starts patting and getting ough with his mother that he loops his thumbs into the plate carrier and he barks loudly. "SIT. DOWN. RIGHT. NOW." The radio crackles and he makes a call, "Six-Four, two green. Domestic disturbance. Continue patrols, out." When the kid turns to look, Cooper is pointing to a position out of arms reach of his mother. "Right frakking now or so help me you will regret it." Vasili moving has him turn more to face the boy and he looks down. "Inez Sawyer is my sister. That makes me family to you, like it not. You will respect that and my position. Do I make myself clear or do I need to make you understand?" Anyone who knows Coop is pretty keenly aware he has kids with another Marine rifleman, Lance Corporal Tabitha Knox. He's not about to hurt him, but the kid's imagination can think whatever it wants.

A whole bunch of Sawyers/Baltuses startle at the sound of that pulse-skipping, ear-jerking, ass-puckering BARK. Yari's flinch is perhaps greater than the child it was meant to intimidate, and she keeps her head tucked low, stare fixated on the earten floor under her sock feet while jittery arms start to bounce a whimpering fifteen month old against her bosom. She has an uncle? Did she know this? Did she remember this? Argus is clung fastly to Inez's shirt and watching with WIDE, dark eyes from under a mop of unruly curls. Argus - the Watcher - ever living up to his name. He watches now, as Vasili is struck momentarily dumb by the alpha male and seemingly has no choice but to do as he's told. This time.

The boy sits, a very carefully measured four steps away, which isn't so far beyond reach that he can't scurry right back if his…great-uncle?? decides to make good on the threat. He may resemble his sociopathic shit of a father, but he's still a momma's boy, in secret. It's that side that he wields now, contritely quiet and only able to make eye contact with Coop's chin, at the moment. A little nod composes his response.

"S'not his fault, please," Yari whispers, barely audible. The Corpsman-in-training keeps her chin tucked, shoulders tense. "He doesn't understand what's happened. Not really. We've been apart a whole month now, and he doesn't know why. Just kept with a bunch of strangers."

With the children finally settled and, hopefully, quieted, Inez lifts her other hand to soothe the top of Argus's head. She takes another breath and lets it out. "No, it's not really his fault. But he does need to learn. He needs to realize that things are different here, and things are going to change for all of us. And perhaps more for him than anyone. We don't have paters, here. We don't have men automatically assuming control. Men earn their rank and control. And so do women." She looks at Argus with a smile, and then to Vasili. "You don't need to take everything on by yourself. There are people here to help you, and help your Mom and sister and brother, too."

Cooper has the Pissed Dad Look down pat. The nice trick of it in there is that he's also seen a lot of shit so his eyes are a bit wild when he gets the blood up to yell like that. Two gloved fingers straighten, hand removed from the plate carrier, and he very very slowly shakes it at the boy. "You will not speak or make a sound unless I ask you a question. You will not move from that spot unless your mother tells you that you can. Do you understand me?" Cooper does not look like he is in a mood to be messed with. His gaze then turns to look at Yari with her bowed head. The frown doesn't leave. He's about to say something, but looks to the child in her arms and stops himself. Mental backup. A glance to Vasili, then back to Yari, "We're about to be apart from our families for longer than that. No, I suppose it isn't his fault. A good chunk of it is nobody's fault. But you better start disciplining him out of that shit, and our of yourself, too. If he pulls that and starts trying to boss around other people's daughters, he is going to get into physical fights and he will learn that lesson the hard way. You need it because your Marines are going to be depending on you. Cowing your head at aggression isn't going to inspire confidence in you." He's cooled his head some and tkes a long breath while Inez listens. Those hands move and clasp over the butt of his rifle by his right shoulder. Looking at this kid, Cooper keeps it simple, "Your grandmother gets out of bed every day and straps on cannons and jet fuel and rides off to kill things that want you dead. Your mother is learning to kill the badguys and keep people like me alive at the same time. They aren't special because of their gender. These people are special because they matter to you. One day when you strap on your own boots you'll realize something the rest of us already know: Ain't no difference between men and women in the shit, kid. A bullet doesn't care who fired it or who it hits. All we got is family. We respect family. We don't get another one, its our one chance to make each other proud. There's no truck for those who can't get on board that train."

Yari's fingers burrow just a little more deeply into her daughter's sweater, torso taking on a slow, rocking rhythm without her awareness. She's too hung up on one, hollow question "…how long?" If anything, the lecture's just got her more cowed, or so it'd seem. But there's a tension creeping up her neck from her shoulders, into her jaw.

As for Vasili, well…Knox's words seem to have distracted him plenty from worrying about his mother's apparent divorce from her deceased husband. Because language - the man uses words he'd be likely beat for using, and it's fanscinating. Also, bullets. He knows what those do. "She IS my family, and you want to take her away, TOO. Who's gonna feed Ionia? They weren't doing it right!" Seems he's also forgotten about the not speaking unless instructed to. Those rules used to just apply to girls. Since when is his opinion not valid? Since now. Oh yeah. Nervous eyes look to the rifle the man carries, then back to his mother who is not even looking at him. Or wasn't. She is now, and she's on rise, not waiting (or maybe wanting) to hear the answer to her own posed question before she is making two solid strides to take him by the underarm and hoist him to his feet.

"You should be sleeping," Yari's glazed expression morphs into some placatingly stoic mask. Look, no tears! Everything's fine. We're all fine, here! Even her voice takes on an uplifting shift, one that may not even fool the children she seeks to deceive into a restful mood. "We all should." Her boots get left behind on the blanket and where she's taking the oldest and youngest of Dr Baltus' children, who the hell knows, but it's a distinct march in the opposite direction whence Coop came. Guess Inez is left to do what she will with Argus, for the time being. Not that he's a handful, or any bother beyond the occasional accident in his breeches. A gap-toothed smile gets disarmingly thrown at the noisy man, then buries his face under a shock of Inez' hair.

"We can't say exactly how long we will be gone," Inez replies. She rocks Argus slowly, trying to encourage him back to sleep, her lips resting on the top of his head. "We can guess, and we hope it won't be more than a few months. We all want to come back as soon as we can." At Vasili's words, her head comes up again and she looks square at him. "Ionia is fine. There are different ways to do things, they are not wrong just because they are different." Her head bobs once in agreement with Yari. "You should be sleeping. So should Argus. Come on you charmer," her gaze turning to the middle child that she holds notices his smile for Knox.

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