MD #178: To Bee or not To Bee
MD #178: To Bee or not To Bee
Summary: Lleu and Sam go for a long walk through a meadow toward the river, looking for bees, and Lleu does not fall into the river on accident. In fact, Lleu's plunge into the river was a clever ploy to disguise himself with mud to give the appearance of being a little black raincloud.
Date: Tue 03/Oct/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs:
Lleufer Samtara 
LZ - P-269-7
The area they touch down in has miles and miles of fields in most directions in rolling plains, trees purposely planted in straight lines for windbreaks. At the LZ the grass is knee-high and lush, green. The air smells of thistle and there's a hint of something else. A fragrant note and likely floral. The gentle breeze carries it in and out, flirting with the senses. There's a small river not too far away and on the ride in someone pointed out a small town about fifteen to twenty miles away - abandoned. There are still vehicles on the roads and they all look like they just rolled to a rest where they currently reside, but out here where they landed, the roads are mostly dirt and very few. Fertile land for crops is expensive and nobody wants to waste it on a lot of pavement or purpose-packed dirt. Similar, wild herds of animals were seen running from the approaching sounds of the landing vehicles. Four amphibs and a bunch of Raptors and Rhinos make one helluva racket for the planet that's been quiet and at peace for Gods-knows how long before this.
Fri 20/Apr/2049 (IC Date)

On a clear day, you can see forever. On a clear day on a planet whose entire population has ghosted sometime in the last couple fo decades leaving behind this quasi garden world with empty cities, empty towns, empty houses and roads leading from point A to point B, this truism is rather entirely apt. They can see forever, because there's no smog clogging the air. Some dust, that might not actually be dust, drifts along the breeze and Sam has asked Lleu to help her track bees of all things. She's dressed in the most protective gear that they have on hand and wears a hat with protective netting that zips to the collar of her jacket. There's tape sealed around the cuffs of her jacket and the cuffs of her trousers, ensuring that no bees find the easy way through. "I don't recall how to track bees so much as what to do with the hives once we've stolen them," she admits as she rests both hands on her hips and stares out over the meadow nearest the landing zone.

Lleufer is standing a little apart as he waits for Samtara to come out from the tent city to join him. The sun is warm and wonderful against his body and he stands with his eyes closed. As if he were quietly trying to open all other senses to seek the ghosts who have departed this place, to catch their whispers. Ynyr is dressed in his combat ground kit rather than in a bee keeper's smock or MOPP gear. But he has brought a ruckpack and may have something in there. At the sound of her approach and her voice he turns his head. His cover (hat) brim and his sunglasses both shade his eyes as he opens them to look in her direction. "If you have brought a smoker, I found some punky old wood to put into it. Should give you all the smoke you'll need all day." He studies her gear, then adds, "I assume you have some kind of hives set up to move what we collect into, or you out for honey and research first?"

"Primarily, we need to steal the hives this time and strip, filter and pasturize the honey so that the civilians can make use of it on a daily basis," Sam explains as she looks out over the meadow again. "Once I teach people how to do that process, which is time consuming and tedious, I can teach them how to actually keep the bee gums alive and healthy. One step at a time. I found this among the supplies in the ships storage," and holds aloft the modified coffee pot that's been rigged with a sort of bellows attachment. "It's crude but it should work. Maybe only for the day but it's a starting point." She frowns then looks sidelong at Lleu, "You aren't allergic to bee or wasp stings, right?"

"Ah, then you don't mean you want to take the hive at all. You want the combs, yeah?" Or is he misunderstanding her? Lleu reaches down and snags a piece of what /looks/ like grass. He checks the stem, then sticks it in his mouth to chew on the tender broken tip as he looks around, "Well, I can track you some bees. Plenty of things buzzing over these meadows." Ynyr gives his attention over to seeing the smoker Sam brought. He slips off his ruck and pulls out a plastic bag he's filled with some chunks of punky wood. While she opens it up, he breaks the pieces and puts them in. With the hot coals already in there, this should start smoldering real well. Nice thinking, Doc." He glances back up at her question, "Never been yet. But these aren't Aerilon or Piraeus stingy things." When she's ready, he's ready to start tracking some of the honey collectors.

"Considering the nature of stinging insects, I'd wager someone is going to get stung sooner than later, so it's a good idea to have a solid look at these winged ones before I have to extract the stinger from some crying two year old," Sam admits even as she makes a thoughtful sound to accompany the look on her face. "Just the combs yes. Sorry. It's been almost.. well it's been at least fifteen years since I did any of this, hands on wise. I'm feeling both a bit cobwebbed brain and rusty." She checks the weight of the can once the chunks of wood are added in and gives it a nod, "Not to unwieldy. If, however, we run into any bears, be aware that I will smack the bear with the can first and then we both get to run like mad. Deal?"

Lleufer huffs a breath softly, "You and I are liable to get stung today, before your venture is over. Then I guess you'll know, won't you, Doc?" Ynyr doesn't look /too/ concerned about it though, "Seems our livestock isn't falling over dead left and right from stings so we are probably going to be all right." A nod, then a chuckle, "If we run into anything like a bear here that we can't scare off, that's what this is for." Lleufer pats the rifle he's carrying. Nope. Not going anywhere on this planet without being armed. Too much unknown for him yet, thanks. "Need to get you plenty of local animal samples to disect and study anyway. Let's go." Obvsering their livestock is precisely why Lleu knows the grass stalk in his mouth is safe to chew on as he starts moving off through the tall meadow grasses and flowers. His sharp Arpay eyes have also been watchful for a while now, when he was waiting for Samtara. To see what was feeding on the flowers and the patterns of their movements. So he starts off heading for the trees towards the river as if Ynyr knew where he were going.

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Tracking: Good Success.

Samtara drops her left hand to the well worn holster at her side with her sidearm, Arpay issue, and moves forward as soon as Ynyr indicates which way to begin heading. "I'm not sure that a pistol would do much more than piss of a bear, or anything larger than why my brain insists on conjuring up that would be the size of a bear. But it's nice to know that you have a plan that includes a rifle. My plan involved hitting it with a hot can then running. Your plan is better," she adds with a grin as she falls into a steady, ground devouring, pace in Lleu's wake. "The livestock toppling over, dead, would have been a clear and certain sign that we weren't going to survive either. Colonial colonist survivors don't use canaries, we use cattle."

<FS3> Lleufer rolls Climbing: Failure.

The Aerilon keeps a sharp eye on some of the buzzing bee like fliers he had chosen as being likely candidates based on their meadow behavors. He tracks one of them patiently and when he looses it, he stands very still and listens, watchful. After a few moments another one comes by in the same general direction and he starts walking again, patient as any experienced hunter. The game may be very small and ariel but it's still something to track. Arpay senses certainly make it even easier.

As they move out of the open meadow and into the shade of the trees, Lleufer smiles and shifts the short grass stem to the other corner of his mouth, "There were humans here before. So we obviously don't have /too/ much to worry about, but there will be surprises. Might be we'll find all kinds of animals and crops gone feral here that'll we'll find mighty useful." It takes a while. This hunting down of a possible hive. The first location turns out to be way, way up high in a towering tree that they can't hope to get up high enough to reach. The Gunny isn't daunted. They go back to the meadow to another area further east and try again. And about two and a half hours later, they finally locate a likely candidate.

Staying back, Lleufer indicates the leaning old tree, hollow and dead that has fallen against the bank of the river. "Bingo. I think we can reach this one. Lemme have a look." He gets off to a good start and gets up on the hollow trunk and eases up real slow, careful, eases a little further and can almost peer in the opening when suddenly, Lleu's boot slips on the damp wood and down he goes! POP! He's out of Sam's sight and she can suddenly hear him hit the water below!

"Feral crops? Crops can go feral?" Sam wonders with a look on her face, beneath the netting, that is both perplexed and fascinated at the same time. She's a few paces behind Ynyr, placing her feet where he does, more or less, but honestly just following along in his wake. "I thought they could go fallow or maybe that's fields. Fallow, feral.." she says the words in a thoughtful tone right before Leu drops suddenly out of sight and a few moments later there's a distinctive splash of sound. "Um… Lleu?" she calls, cautiously, then eases forward one - careful - cautious - step at a time until she can part the tall grass with her hands and stare out into the water. She has one hand braced against the edge of the hollow tree trunk but, deliberately, doesn't try to climb anything. "You did that on purpose, right?" she wonders, lips twitching, as she takes a half step back and shrugs the pack off of her shoulders. "I have a bit of rope.. would you like me to secure the end up here?"

Below the bank the old dead tree angles up from there is a wet and muddy Lleufer. The water where he's standing only comes up to his knees but clearly he must have fallen backwards ass first and is soaked. "Naturalized. That's what I meant. For plants." A sigh and shifting his rifle out of his way, he starts back up, "There are lots of roots and things for hand holds. I don't need a rope." His dignity hopes. It isn't pretty, and Ynyr gets a whole lot more muddy getting up, but eventually he makes it. Once back on top of the bank, he removes his hat and wipes his brow, unknowingly smearing mud over his brow before he resettles his hat. "OK, that wasn't my most graceful moment. Let's see if we can shift a log or something so you can reach the hollow opening. I hope I didn't rile'm up too much for you, Doc." Lleu gets to looking for things he can shift to make it easier to access the nest. Then it's your turn, Sammy!

Samtara stands back and out of the way, though she has to visibly quell the instinct to try to help at least once. Recognizing the need to do it under his own power, she waits until he's back on the bank and on relatively dry land before she gives him a careful once-over glance to ensure that only his dignity is wounded. "Short of pulling a chain saw out of your pack and going to carver town on the tree?" she ventures this remark with a faint grin as she turns toward the tree and helps pull some dead wood over to make it easier for her to take a turn at climbing, not quite smothering the laugh that escapes. "Ok. Smoke THEN climb up or climb up, make sure what I want is here and then smoke?"

"I'm sure a chain saw would be a very bad idea with stinging insects we really don't want to rile up, right?" The hollow top of the old broken tree is pulled around and with some grunting, Lleufer manages to drag it into position with or without Samtara's help. She can stand on that and she can just peer into the broken off hollow where the honey gatherers are coming in and out of. "I'd suggest get up there first, then smoke. Unless they start pestering you before then. And if you don't mind I'm going to stand way back over here and watch, unless you need me." Maybe he's not as dumb as he looks!

<FS3> Samtara rolls Climbing: Good Success.

"Chain saw, stinging bees, confined spaces, mud, and a river to fall into? What could possibly go wrong," Sam replies with a laugh as she surveys the tree then grins at Lleu indicates how intention to clear back a ways.. just in case. "Lets see how this goes," she says as she settles her gear in place with a few careful adjustments of straps then shifts the placement of the holster at her left hip to slightly more back than over her hip and only then does she start climbing upward. In all fairness, the old surgeon climbs a tree rather well, for a decided urbanite whose last 'climb a tree' excursion is longer ago than she wants to really confess to. The growing sound of buzzing has her unhooking the rigged coffee pot and bellows from the carabiner clip at her side and working the makeshift bellows until the smoke begins to drift up into the hollow trunk of the tree, enough smoke escaping to make a proper chimney of the trunk. She waits it out, only moving further into the hollow once the bees begin to fall out of the tree trunk, not dead - mind - just stunned. She takes the necessary time to steal the bee combs and climbs down out of the tree trunk as swiftly, and as safely, as possible, gathering up some large leaves as she does so to wrap around the combs once she's on her feet again, the pot hooked to her side again. "Successful raid, so far," she says in a rather triumphant tone of voice - quiet, that is, but triumphant.

Lleufer is not unprepared. He watches and as Samtara climbs up, he slips off his ruckpack and opens it up. When she is successful ad extracting the first dripping, gooy comb she won't have to wrap it in leaves. Ynyr steps right up with a sterile large zipseal bag he opens up to receive the honey comb. The CMO can hand down and pack as many into the bag as will fit and once full, he seals it up and produces another bag as many times as needed until she's pulled all she's going to. The buzzing insects, confused by the smoke, are mostly black with red patches. They look much like old earth's red velvet ants, but with wings! Ynyr does get a couple of painful stings and swears, but he doesn't drop the combs and gets them packed into his ruck. "Let's get out of here before they decide they love me too much. Those frakkers hurt!" He rubs his neck and grimaces, then shoulders his pack and checks his rifle. "We've done enough for today, don't you think? A good sample for you to analyze and if you decide it's good to use, people can be hunting up and marking the locations of more hives. And set up skeps to move queens into to start up domestic 'bee' keeping. If they even /have/ queens. Anyway, somebody can study'm." OUCH! Son of a bitch!" Ynyr moves off, slapping at another one of the little shits that stung him. This time on his arse! Man, Sam's going to owe him some coffee for this.

Climbing down out of the hollow once she's extracted as many of the combs as she could safely remove, Sam seems to have avoided getting stung thus far. "They appear to like you a great deal more than they like me. Accessory after the fact, perhaps," she says as she backs several long - long - steps away from the tree until the immediate proximity is vacated. "If they don't have queens, then that would suggested some sort of less of a hive mind and more autonomy, which could be good OR bad, conversely. But the blasted things look more like ants than bees," and she gives a shudder. A serious, head to toe, shudder as she carefully brushes her hands over her gear to make sure there are no bee-ants-winged-insects on her gear just waiting to do something pointed about the theft.

Now he's moved off a little ways they aren't bothering him. "I'm wearing dark clothes and not that MOPP suit. My own fault. And you have the smoker." Lleufer will have some nasty welts but, far as he knows that's all. "Bees, ants, same thing. Close relatives in the Colonies." Lleufer shrugs. "Look at a wasp without wings and you'll swear it's just a large ant, and queen ants get wings and fly around when they swarm." Muddy and still wet, Ynyr has his rucksack settled. Once Samtara has had a chance to wash off the sticky goo from her gloves, they are good to go. The Gunny leads the way back to the Landing Zone. Mission accomplished!

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