MD #179: The Snip

A pair of metal snips sets Yari free…and probably a little lost.

MD #179 : The Snip
Summary: Inez and Yari are helping to set table, when tightly-wound pleasantries unravel into an awkwardly explosive, verbal mess. But mother knows best, and Inez finds a solution to /one/ of her problems. Palermo warily lends a hand.
Date: 04/10/17
Related Logs: None]
Yari Inez Palermo 
Temporary refugee encampment on no-name planet.
MD #179 year 2049

There's one small aspect of motherhood that Yari Sawyer won't likely miss when she becomes ripped from her young children in a few days. Diapers. Argus is more or less trained and capable of using the appropriate 'facilities' (or bush) but his little sister is obviously not. Yari took advantage of the boys' mingling with other children - ones she once perhaps played with when she was that age - to haul up a bucket of water and do things the old fashioned way. Scrub, scrub. The formerly foul things are hung to dry now on some lines staked between tents for such laundering and while they dry, she's assisting some folks unpack MORE mid rats onto the tables of plenty…

With a little drip drip from her hair still, Inez approaches the table where Yari is setting out the food. "May I help?" she asks quietly, her eyes leaving the line of drying nappies, and going to her daughter. "Maxxen used to say that I conveniently had to go to flight sims whenever the nappies needed to be washed." The fond smile lingers with the memory as she turns for the answer to her offer.

"That does sound convenient." A subdued twinkle in Yari's eye lifts her way before looking back to the bowls of chopped vegetables she's plunking down onto the table into nice, even rows. "I don't think anyone will object to a little help." Her left foot kicks out and raps a full box beside her invitingly.

The twinkle in Yari's eyes is answered by a similar one in Inez's own. "Who's to say sometimes it wasn't?" she winks, and leans down to tug open the box indicated and starts to pull out the indivually wrapped cakes and set them in rows. "Cakes and vegetables. Perfectly healthy combination."

"I suppose there's a balance in everything," Yari reaches aside to pluck a little cake from Inez's arrangement and takes a sec to unwrap it, help herself to a bite, then puts it down to resume veggie duty. Mmm. She's perfectly content to let the sugar reside in her gut, unchecked by any balancing act for now. "Did you have a good swim?"

Inez reaches out to give the back of Yari's hand a light smack, "no dessert before you've had your vegetables," she tells her sternly, but she can't help the chuckle that follows. Reaching up, she tugs her hair back, then twists it around and pulls it over her left shoulder. "Yeah, and a good bath while I was at it. The water was always… " she pauses and looks up, then gets back to work laying out more cakes. "It was my place, being underwater and watching the light play on the surface from underneath. It was so… peaceful. Calming."

Yari nods and sets out the last bowl from her box. It gets slid under the table, then she bends to open the next. "It is. It is also the only place where another truly cannot see your tears. A most private offering to Poseidon." This box contains….more cakes! Yesssss. She takes a second bite from her original theft and starts to stacks these in a row. "I was quick to discover this, when I was introduced to the pool." A gift from the gods, that pool.

The last of her cakes is set out, and Inez takes a breath, and bends over to stow her own empty box underneath the table. It's as good a way as any to hide the pain that twists her face at the mention of the discovery of pools to hide tears. She braces her hands on the next box, willing her shoulders to unclench before she lifts it and opens it. "I wonder if was the gods’ way of apologizing for letting such an evil enter our lives that they provided such a small comfort for you," she murmurs, half to herself. Her hands are steady enough, though, as she lifts out the little bowls of dried noodles and begins to lay them out, grouping them by flavor.

"They've nothing to apologize for," Yari mutters under her own breath, flicking a nervous glance up to anyone else that /may/ have been within earshot of that. "T'was the weakness of men that let the Skath agenda succeed as it did." Cake, cake, cakes. A third, gargantuan bite finishes off the 'sample' and Yari reclaims the wrapper to add to a refuse bag. No doubt it'll be later fuel for the fire. "Just the way things were." It's the sort of automated response one may expect to BE well rehearsed. A quick pacifying sort of reply to shut the topic down while hastily building up the wall..

"We all do. The gods, goddesses, Lines, men, women…" Inez trails off. "We all have to apologize. It's not 'just a way things are'. It shouldn't be the way things 'just are'. Ever." She sets the packets in order a little more forcefully. "The Skath…" she slams a packet down, then takes a breath and continues more calmly.

"Well being sorry about it doesn't much change the way things were, does it?!" Somehow, the SMASH of a flaccid slice of cake lacks the satisfying CRUNCH of noodles that Inez's got. If there were a dog roving about, the piece pancaked under Yari's hand would certainly not go to waste. "WHAT’S THE POINT? IT HAPPENED!" A switch has been flipped, and the quiet, meek little Yari has suddenly grown a /very/ grownup voice, amplified by latent, teenage years she didn't get to really experience, perhaps. The echo of her own shout hangs in the air, burns in her ears, and it's pretty much all she can do to keep from crawling under the table in complete and utter mortification of self.

"It happened. You asked me how old I was, I know, I heard you. I just didn't figure it mattered anymore, that the pain of the knowing wouldn't be doing YOU any favors in an already confusing time, but FINE! WHY NOT?" Two final cakes get set overly gently atop the table in contrast to the spontaneous outburst/meltdown that seems to have been triggered.

"SEVENTEEN! Seventeen when they molded this ring to my finger and seventeen when he broke the knuckle on purpose and left it to swell and heal terribly. Seventeen when my monthlies stopped and I was positively /HORRIFIED/ by the notion of what was growing inside. Seventeen when I took fever and lost that baby, but the apathetic gods didn't see fit to take me, too. Poison, Titos said. Blamed the farmers. Next day, there was a whole family hanging in the square. All of'em. Little boy, even the damn dog…" the last few words barely come out audible and she's stopped fidgeting with the cakes. Her hands just hover there, vibrating.

Inez reaches out and takes hold of Yari's hands and gently turns the woman towards her as if she were still the five year old the Eleven left behind. Her expression holds relief more than anything else, underscored with sympathy and a touch of impotent ire. "Sometimes imagination is worse than the reality," is the first thing she addresses gently. "And in that case, my imagination was worse, and tortured me. Not than I'm any less tortured for what happened to you, but you could have been much younger, knowing what I know of their ways." She looks to her child now a woman, and takes a deep breath. "Nothing changes the fast, but what we learn of the past changes the present and the future. "He made you watch, didn't he?" she continues gently. "Like some sort of sick warning to never get sick again."

Yari's lips are pressed so tightly together they might fuse into one. She doesn't resist having her hands claimed as they are, but doesn't exactly embrace the eye contact seeking her way, instead looking down her chest at the dogtags hanging there. And then at nothing, as they close and she pretends that people's heads aren't turning in their direction. "He never said it was my fault. Almost acted like he cared…" she sucks in a shaky breath and shakes her head rapidly. "B-but I was there. He w-wanted the people to see me. Wasn't sympathy they felt, I don't think. Not the way they looked at me. Like it was me, wanted those people hung. Not many friendly souls after that, in the market. Was better to just stay home. An' he's all I had, then. Till…till Vasilis was born."

"hhhhuuuuuu" Inez sighs out as the picture is made a little clearer. "Of course. The isolation game. Make sure you can't go back to those you knew, convince you that you had to depend on him, and that he was going to take care of you because no one else was going to like you, etc." Her brows draw together, and she flicks her head to get the hair out of her eyes. She turns Yari's hand over in hers, and looks at the knuckle, and her eyes narrow. She looks up, around at the cleared space around the table they were setting up the midrats, then gives an upnod beckon to one of the civilian refugees carrying a tool box by them. "You got wire snips in there?" she asks as he reluctantly comes closer.

The man shakes his head, "no, ma'am. Carpenter. Don't do wiring," he replies a little too fast. It may, or may not, be true. For some reason, a bit of a raised voice earlier has encouraged most people to start going to the other tables that were set up for the evening meal, rather than the one that Inez and Yari are standing behind.

One of the many facets of marine life is the rational awareness that there is a never ending list of tasks and assignments to fill every waking moment of every day and the equally rational realization that there are never enough hours in any standard day to get to it all. Once the Tent City had been built on landing day, and the perimeter had been established to allow for logical allocation of personnel to begin patrolling it in manageable segments, each marine assigned to the task force or the orion had taken a turn walking patrol. Which is where Palermo comes in, or rather - comes from. The marine looks dusty, a bit sweaty from walking patrol for the last watch, and hungry. This said, it's no surprise that she heads for the shortest of chow lines; she's a marine, there's never a shortage of raised words or tension to cut through, and food is a good motivator. She's snagged a tray from the end of the table and is starting to work her way along the food line when she hears the words 'Wire snips'. The marine blinks and looks up, emerging from the inner dialog of 'what to eat and ew not that' long enough to wonder: "You need a multi-tool, ma'am?" in a sort of wary and perplexed tone before she eyes the food again. What.. in the name of the gods.. is masquerading as food that requires the use of wire snips?

Yari doesn't quite follow where Inez is going with her request of the civilian, but she does stare with a flush of shame at the ring glaring so brightly up at them as her mother turns her hand over and fingers that lumpy, too-big knuckle. Or perhaps the ring has just grown too small? The young woman jerks her hand back and folds it within the protective shroud of its mate. Then starts rearranging the little bowls of chopped vegetables and cakes, in no particular order. "Titos," she murmurs aside to Inez. "Was my fault, not being attentive enough. He thought I was thinking of someone else. Made it so it'd ne'er come off. 'specially after three babies." Which makes her suddenly feel like the swollen brood mare she ought to have been for the fourth time now, which brings another flush to her ears. It's fiery hot.

"NO!" Inez says a little more sharply than she intends, turning to take hold of Yari's wrist again.

She takes a breath, closes her eyes, and then exhales and opens them again. "No," she reiterates in a calmer tone. "Nothing. Absolutely /nothing/ that man did to you was your fault." Each word is clearly enunciated and firmly laid down on Yaris ears. "Nothing. If a man here broke a woman's finger because he thought she was thinking of another man, he'd cool his heels in the brig for assault… that's if he made it to the brig before he was pummeled." She holds onto her daughter's wrist, but she doesn't force her to uncover the hand. Her eyes go to Renee, and she nods once. "A multi-tool could work, I think. Thank you, Sergeant." She lifts her other hand to try and nudge Yari's chin to look up at her. "Let's take it off. The ring. It may be years before you can truly be free of him in your mind with all that he's conditioned you to believe over the past seven or eight years. But we can at least free you from the physical manacle he put on you."

Palermo's eyes move left.. right.. left again, studying mother-daughter dynamics with the same wary danger-sense she'd aim at unexploded ordinance or unstable munitions. That is, dangerous at close range and liable to explode without warning. "She's right," the marine remarks as she sets the tray down and begins the extensive 'pat down her pockets' routine. "Any man who did crap like that would spend time in the brig, presuming he made it that far. Real men and women share their strength, ma'am, they don't use that strength to hurt or bully others." She extracts a slender tool kit from the pouch along her left leg and extends it forward, "Wire cutters, metal snips, small screwdriver with replaceable bits and a flashlight," she says with a shrug of one shoulder. "You might find what you need in there."

A startled squeal shrieks from the Corpsman-in-training before she can quell it, as Inez barks and snatches her wrist back. Yari's other hand comes up to seal itself over her mouth and she freezes there in utter mortification. Dark lashes seal those momentarily frightened eyes shut again, away from everyone, everything, for fear they'll spot her kids among the faces of onlookers that've been alerted to her recent outburst. "I…" her voice is now but a whisper. "I've tried. I thought maybe Vasilis should have it. The boys, they grow so fast, and soon they will need new shoes, and we've nothing else to trade. Maybe this.." Gold. "I don't want it. I don't want it, but they need it."

"Nobody said you can't keep it," Inez tells Yari gently. "You can give it to them, of course. But, let's get it off of you." She holds her hand out to take the kit offered over, and then pushes aside some of the cakes noodle packages that she had laid out earlier so that she can put it on the table and open it. She selects the metal snips, and then looks back to her daughter. "Hold your hand out palm up, I'll probably have a better chance of getting a hold of the ring and not your hand from that angle."

Lifting the tray again that she'd set on the edge of the table, Palermo keeps a careful eye on Inez and Yari while adding a few more odds and ends to the tray. It's food. Edible food. And it's not MRE, it's not ration bars, it's not goo congealed into goop that passes as oatmeal. She snags a water bottle from the stack at the end of the table and tucks it into the webbed pouch belted to her side then wanders back, still observing mother and daughter carefully. "Probably get a better grip on the metal band if you cut through it along the side of her finger instead of the flat. More give, flesh wise, from that angle, compresses better I mean," she suggests as she lifts her tray again to balance it against her left hip, not pretending to be doing anything other than observing . . from the safe side of the table.

Yari eyes the metal snips with no small degree of doubt and fear. There's not any slack between her flesh and the band, really, least not above it. That's been the dilemma. So hold still? Her lower lip sucks between teeth and knuckles turn white as she grips the edge of the table. A little tremor eeks through, all the same, while head nods dumbly.

Nodding to the marine, Inez shifts her grip on Yari's hand and fingers. For once, she opts for silence, rather than eating her foot more as she notes the tense fear of the younger woman. Since she meant to use the metal snips, it takes her a moment to realize that she's picked up the wire cutters instead, and they aren't able to cut through, despite her stronger grip. The ring shakes a little against Yari's finger, but doesn't come off. Inez lifts the tool, looks critically at it, then shakes her head at herself, and trades for the metal snips she wanted originally. This time, she deftly manages to get the blades of the snips properly placed, and with a quick 'snap', there's a dark space in the circlet of gold. The snips are set down, and the Eleven brings her superior strength to bear on the relatively soft metal, bending it away from Yari's finger so that she can pull her hand away from it.

Keeping a careful eye on mother-and-daughter while the metal work is being done, Palermo sets the tray down again long enough to untwist the cap from the water bottle, glugs a bit of it, then twists the cap back on and snugs the water bottle back into the webbed pouch at her side. The sound of metal against metal has the marine wincing, sympathy etched on her face, as she waves a fly away from her food (it's small, it has wings, it buzzes around in annoying circles and doesn't appear to be a bee, ergo . . fly of some sort) and lets out a muted breath of a sigh once she hears the distinctive snap of sound and the pilot/officer (Inez) sets the snips down. Palermo leans forward and gathers up the tools and the kit, and returns all to the pouch and smooths the velcro flap in place once more.

There's no helping the little, preemptive whimper that escapes when the first cutting attempt goes awry and Yari's finger gets tugged. Titos was a good doctor, when he wanted to be. He knew what he was doing when he broke it, he knew precisely how much negligence could be afforded and what permanent damage would be done. The pregnancy-laden years to follow were just a bonus, dumping additional fat on her frame so that by the end of it all, her lean hands are still a far cry from the skinny, spindly things they once were, as a teen. Especially the knobby knuckle. But now it is free. Yari peeps open one eye, then the other, breath releasing before she realizes it's been held. When at last the golden noose is wrenched apart far enough from her finger to retreat, she does so hesitantly.

It's strange, now. The weightlessness.

Inez doesn't say anything as Yari pulls her finger free, but gives Palermo a nod of thanks as the marine collects her kit. With a great amount of willpower, she resists the urge to throw the ring as far as she can into the tall grasses, or to twist it beyond recognition. She bends it back so that the ends touch again, and sets it on the cleared space on the table, letting Yari decide what to do, next.

Idly snapping a rice cake in half once the ring is set on the table again, the marine casts a measured look from daughter-to-mother then back around again. "Right. So. There's no.. ah.. monetary system set up, yet, and I suppose it's mostly going to be barter and stuff until we figure out how to route a real supply convoy here and the rest of this stuff is figured out," that's Marine for 'We'll be raiding supply depots and shipping what we can back to this planet ASAP'. "Precious metals being what they are, food and seed and goods and stuff are going to have a higher value than pretty bits of metal. And, ma'am, you don't need to buy shoes for you kids or anything else. We'll be shipping back clothing and stuff over the coming weeks and months. Just talk to the supply people and let them know what sizes you need."

Yari just stares at her finger, for now. It's pale, there. A band of white, scantily filling in with every pulse that cuts through. She feels naked. Totally, beyond the hand. Her entire adult life - and more - has been ensnared by this band. Now it is gone. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Palermo's words fall on mostly deaf ears, but she's nodding anyway - maybe hasn't stopped since Inez informed her of the imminent snip. "Months…" she echos back, so heard that at least. Then she blinks, eyes become less glazed, more focused. Her other hand moves to pick up the ring.

"…months for us? Or months for them?" It's a legitimate question, considering her/Inez's experience.

With a piece of rice cake in her mouth when Yari asks the question, Palermo has to quickly chew through the saw-dust-textured food and chases it with a quick drink from the bottle of water at her side, clears her throat and then ventures a reply: "No time dance required, to my knowledge at least. Unless we're going to take a raid to the Rally Point, which would be longer for us instead of the other way around," the marine admits, hedging her answer there at the end. "I have to eat quick and head back out on patrol," she adds before she taps two fingers against her right temple in a salute and carries her tray with food away from the table.

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