Summary: After almost two weeks alone in the wilderness, Hephaistion Bray finds Harkins' Lodge
Date: PHD 13
Related Logs: Related Logs None

Anthem sits in a chair in the lodge. A rifle is across his lap, and a pistol on one of the armrests. He's a little sweaty, and his shirt has seen some wear and tear. And, from the looks of it, buckshot, as well. The man is enjoying some ice tea and a bit of relaxation.

Days? Weeks? Phaistion doesn't know. It's been far too easy to lose track of time in his current state. He's quite simply put, a mess, in the physical sense, mudstains, grass stains, matted hair, scratches and bruises littering his skin and clothing. There's a palor to his face, which accentuates the rather dark circles beneath his eyes. A cumbersome looking backback is slung across his shoulders and back, a beat up sleeping bag attached below it. There's a hint of fear sparking in the depths of his haunted looking eyes as he wedges himself through the door in a trepidatious manner.

Anthem turns to look at the door casually. His eyes quickly narrow slightly as its someone he doesn't recognize. He grabs his pistol, but doesn't do anything with it. "You're new," he says, slowly rising. "Have a seat."

"What the frak?" There's a definite hint of alarm in Phaistion's soft spoken voice, and he's half tempted to turn and bolt as the pistol is gripped. "What is this place? What's going on? And why do you have a gun?" The young man is definitely way out of the loop, that much is clear. "Is there a civil war or something? I haven't seen people in…" There the words pause, and from the expression on his features, Phai's brain is all but steaming as he tries to reckon out just how long it has been since he /has/ seen people.

It's sympathy in Anthem's face as he motions to a chair, and patience when he says, "Please. Sit down. It'll be easier that way." He looks down at the gun, then half-smiles at Phaistion. "Why does anyone have a gun? It's for self defense."

Phaistion slips the pack off of his back and sets it on the floor, but not at all far from his reach. He looks something akin to a frightened deer as he sits himself down, fidgetting around as if he's ready to grab the pack and bolt at a moment's notice. "What's easier that way?"

Anthem doesn't pull any punches. "The Cylons attacked. Destroyed every major city and military base we know about. At least five battlestars were lost. We've been safe here, so far," the man states. "Looks like you've been out in the bush for awhile now. I can get you something to eat and drink, if you'd like."

A blink. Another. A third. "What?" The words are just slightly incomprehensible to Phai and he shakes his head wearily, "Wait a second? Are you one of those crazy survivalist guys we always hear about that are convinced the cylons are coming back? Because… really, the cylons? We ended that war…"

Anthem shakes his head. "Gunnery Sergeant Anthem Hollas. Colonial Marine Corps," he replies. "And, no, I'm not a crazy survivalist. We have a member of the Quorum here, Daphne Graystone of Picon, and her shuttle was shot down. If you don't believe me, and have a deathwish, I can tell you how to get to the ruins of Ambrose Airbase. SHould be a two day hike or so."

Phaistion merely shakes his head in response. It's clear he's trying to digest all of the information that just bombarded him. Rather weakly he states, "I think I know who she is, a lot of the delegates used to come into my Dad's restaurant…" For now, Phai seems to be engaged in some form of deep breathing. That or he's gearing up to hyperventilate.

Anthem smiles at Phaistion. "Have a seat, friend. It's a lot to take in."

The eyes that turn themselves on Anthem as Phaistion sits are confused to say the least, with a heap load of scared layered atop it. "But what you're saying… it can't be…" He falls silent for a moment as the blue-grey of his eyes start to glisten with moisture, leaving him to look very small and young all of a sudden. "That would mean… Is everybody dead?"

Anthem nods slowly, sadly. "It's best to just assume yes. We're hoping to get a radio and get in contact with the Colonial Fleet soon."

It takes a lot of effort to blink back the tears of shock that threaten to track their way down Phaistion's face, but somehow he manages. "But how? I mean… How could it happen? All at once? We had the armistice. That all just seems… Too easy?"

"More or less all at once. It seemed like a prepared attack at all our military and civilian infrastructure meant to win the war in one fell swoop," Anthem says. "Beyond that, we don't know a thing. News stayed on long enough to tell us how much damage was done, and then it went as well."

At first Phaistain shakes his head in denial. Understandable most likely. "Was it," He has to swallow past the lump in his throat, "Was it nukes? Is that why I feel kind of shitty?" His brain is dancing around the fact that Caprica City - and by extention his family - are nothing more than rubble and ash in the winds.

Anthem's widen, and math seems to be going on in his eyes. "Maybe. Maybe. Um, shit. Frak." He stutters a moment, then takes a deep breath. "Shitty in what way?"

A frown skates across Phaistion's features as he tries to pinpoint what he's feeling physically. Some of it could easily be attributed to almost two weeks of constant exposure to the elements. "Uh, kind of tired. Shakey. Stomach doesn't feel right, I haven't wanted to eat anything in a few days now," He trails off.

Anthem nods. "Could be. If it is, it ain't a bad case," he says. "If your hair starts falling out, you get the shits or start throwin' up, then we might have more cause for concern. Right now, though, you ought to just rest."

Phaistion nods a little bit, clearly he's still digesting and from the looks of him his brain is set to information overload. "I haven't," The words are halting, "I haven't seen any people in so long." His eyes lift to Anthem's face, "Are you the only one alive?" Hell, at this point it shouldn't be a surprise when he asks, "Are you even real?"

Anthem laughs and shakes his head. "No, there's about a dozen of us here, all out and doin' various things. And, I'm real." He holds out a hand. "Pinch it, if you want."

Phaistion's hand shakes a bit as he reaches up, fingertips barely brushing against Anthem's hand. Feels real enough, and his eyes shutter closed as a deep sigh echoes out of him. "So there's others too?" Phai supposes that's a relief. "Is uh… do you… uhm…" He's hedging about asking the one thing he needs to know, yet desperately doesn't want to. His voice is barely a whisper when he finally chokes out, "Is Caprica gone?"

"We know Caprica City was hit hard. Beyond that, I can't tell you anythin' definitive. But, probably, yeah, it's gone as we knew it," Anthem replies, withdrawing his hand. "We have a paramedic. Tess. Give her a talk about your stomach as soon as you can. We don't have much antirads, so I want to make sure you really need them. Otherwise, you might want to have some iodine if we can find any."

Those were the words that Phaistion had been dreading to hear. An end to his loving, happy world. For a moment he wonders if he wouldn't have been happier being there, at his father's restaurant at the end. A small strangled sound erupts out of his tight throat as his head drops forward to be cradled in his hands. One harsh sob is all that escapes him before he pulls it together to mumble out, "Thanks."

"Lemme know if you need something. This ain't easy to cope with," Anthem says. "So don't feel like you have to pull yourself all together right now. But, once you're ready, we'll need you to pitch in. Any skills we should know about?"

The words filter through Phai in a sort of surreal manner, as if time has folded in on itself. What can he do?" I'm… Uhm, I'm an artist." Not that that's telling Anthem anything. A frown furrows his brows together, "My father is," He has to blink hard to force back the moisture from his eyes again, "My father was Antonius Bray." A fairly well known name really in the world of Colonial cuisine, one of Caprica's finest celebrity chefs. "He uhm, he taught me how to cook my whole life?" Phaistion isn't certain whether that's considered a useful skill or not, but then again, everyone has to eat.

Anthem isn't a culinary expert, but he can put two and two together to a certain point to understand that Antonius Bray is someone who might be a cook of some renown. "Well, I'm sure Angel wouldn't mind a hand in the kitchen," he says simply. "When you're ready to do so. On occasion Achilles gets some fresh vegetable and the like from the countryside."

Despite his frazzled state, Phaistion has enough presence of mind that his brain kicks into gear at Anthem's words. "Has the soil here been tested? If it's… if it's clean enough, we should take the seeds from them, or make cuttings to put in a garden. Especially if more come. We're going to need the food."

"We don't really have the ability to test anything right now. We're going to do what we can to scavenge up necessary supplies before we try anything in the realm of trying to be self-sufficient. But, for now, we have enough to eat as long as our numbers don't swell too much."

It seems as though Phaistion's mind has found something constructive to fixate on. "Either way, we should harvest the seeds of anything living that's foraged up. This doesn't seem like a situation where we should allow anything to go to waste. After all, everything has a shelf life. Scrounging is only going to work for so long, before we start poisoning ourselves with bad supplies."

Anthem nods. "Thats what we've been trying to do so far," he says simply. "If you want to take charge of it, you'll have to talk to Angel and the like."

Phaistion shrugs a bit, shoulders lifting, "I just want to help. I mean, I figure… we're it, right? That we know about, at least."

"Heh. With an attitude like that, you'll do fine aorund here," Anthem says soothingly.

Phaistion nods at Anthem murmuring a soft, "Thanks," though his mind continues to spin through scenarious and possible ideas. "I uhm. I can defend myself a little bit. In theory at least. I studied martial arts when I was younger, but that was always a class type setting. Nothing close to actual combat. I'm probably more helpful with the food supply and stuff like that." A sort of ironic smile emerges on his face, "Or if the walls need painting."

'I don't know that we have paint. And, em, we have enough people with a bit of combat in their resume," Anthem replies. "So, I'd just stick with general support for now. Get yourself settled and comfortable as best you can."

Phaistion nods his agreement. He's not a coward, but he's an artist, and trying to paint himself into a portrait of combat doesn't work to his eye. Finally, he glances down at himself and comprehends the fact that he's streaked with dirt and mud. A wince forms on his features, "Does the water here work?" A soft groan sticks in his throat, "My mother would be so ashamed of me right now. I look like a mudbaby."

"We have some, but it's mostly for drinking. There's a creek you can bathe in. So far it has been safe enough to use, if you're worried about radiation," Anthem replies, sitting back down. "There should be food in the kitchen, if you require that as well."

"I've been trying to eat the protien bars, and some of the chocolate I've got," The chocolate might be a bit of an addiction to Phaistion. "Every time I do though, I feel kinda queasy, so I haven't really been able to." Whether that's radiation, or simply circumstances is still unclear. "Thanks for the information about the creek though." A thought hits him, "Has anyone gone scrounging for a good water filter? If we can find the right heavy duty one, we could probably start using the creek for drinking water as well, as long as it's not badly irradiated."

'The lodge has a natural well that's been working well enough. There's also a group of, um, cultists who have been working on a reservoir," Anthem supplies. "I don't think you're meant to live on chocolate and protein bars. That might be part of the problem."

"Yeah, but I could live on chocolate any day of the week." For the first time the hint of a real smile traces across Phaistion's lips. Anthem's words pique his curiousity, "Cultists?"

"Church of Ares or the like hidden in the caves around here. Honorable but scary folk," Anthem replies. "One of their priestesses frequents here. She helped with a problem we had the other day," the marines notes. "Actually, you're bloody lucky. A handful of armed criminals showed up the other day and we had to fight them off."

Religion is not Phai's forte and he tries to wrack his brain for information. "Ares worshippers? They're pretty fierce by nature, aren't they? God of war and death and all that." Reaching up, he scrubs a hand through the matted mess of his 'hawk, and blinks when a small, visable cloud of dust rises into the air out of it.

Anthem nods. "Yeah. Took on people with guns with a bow." The marine shakes his head. "Somethin' I never though I'd ever see. But, it's an odd group. Luckily, I think we might have enough to pull somethin' out of disaster. Could use a doctor, though."

Phaistion outright gawks at Anthem. "That's… wow," His eyes widen a little bit. "I might have to sketch that," He admits. Strange where artistic inspiration can come from at times. "I hope, for all of our sakes, we can find a doctor," He nods his agreement.

Anthem nods. "Well, we have a few people with varying levels of training in first aid, so we're not at a complete loss. Just, if soething goes well and truly bad, we could be in trouble." He grins. "But, yeah, she's a sight. A strange, strange sight."

Phaistion nods in a manner that suggests he's already somehow planning to pull off a work of art. "I'll definitely have to sketch her when I meet her then." While he plots his lastest piece of work with one half of his mind, the other half spins in an entirely different direction. "How far away from actual civilization are were? Because I'm thinking books could be a valuble thing to scavenge for. Especially anything technical, survival or medical oriented. I have like a basic little first aid handbook, and kit, but that's it." So saying he reaches for his pack and opens it. Pulling out the aforementioned kit, he offers it Anthem.

Anthem frowns. "Closest thing is a hotel which is a few hours walk. There's a military base, destroyed, that's about 80 kilometers or so out. Then there's a couple of towns nearby we hope to check out. With luck, there might still be plenty of people there." He drums his fingers on the armrest of his seat. "But, well, I'm not super hopeful. As for books, they'll be useful, sure, but we'll be limited by waht we can carry and I think meds and food take precedence."

A slight frown etches itself across Phaistion's features, "Medical texts should probably be as high a priority as the medicines at least. If there's a paramedic, like you said, they would likely understand the jargon well enough to be able to teach themselves some stuff from them, barring finding an actual trained practitioner." Phai pauses a moment, realizing that he's probably being something close to mouthy and offers, "Sorry, I don't mean to be so mouthy." A pinkish tint dusts its way across his cheeks, and stains the backs of his ears. On an average day, he's usually a pretty shy creature. Just today? Today isn't such an average day.

"It takes learning and training to be able to do anything well," Anthem replies. "BUt your head, at least, is in the right place. We need to worry about stayin' alive before we worry about staying alive better."

"Isn't it all kind of the same thing?" Phaistion's question may be partially rhetorical, but there's some sense to it. He's an acedemic and artist. "I mean. Is it enough to just exist? Can the mind and spirit continue to exist under those conditions? Or is it more important in the end to have something to exist /for/?"

Anthem blinks at Phaistion. "Yes."

The blush tinting Phaistion's features grows exponentially, and he ducks his head down. He's tired, and strung out, and obviously thinking and speaking way too much. "I'll just… can it now," He mumbles out, clearly embarassed.

Anthem laughs. "Like I said, you ned some time. You do think too frakkin' much, but that's probably a good thing. We have an intellectual or two around here who I'm sure would like the conversation."

"I dunno, my brain is saying it's a lot easier to think about our collective future than to try and examine everything we've lost," Phaistion admits with a shrug. What's done can't be undone, after all.

"RIght now there are too many variables in play for thinkin' about a collective future to do a lot of good. So I'd stick about worryin' what you can fix over what we might find if we get lucky," Anthem retorts. "But, whatever keeps you whole."

"Once I've rested up some," Phaistion glances down at his filthy clothes and arms again, "and cleaned up some, I'll start scouting the area and foraging some."

Anthem nods. "Don't go too far. Like I said, there's thing out there. We're going to start scouting out further, now that we got our hands on some radiation meds."

Phaistion nods his agreement, "I won't, especially if, like you said, there's thugs around." He can't help but shake his head at that, "You'd think people would band together in a time like this, not prey on each other." It's clear that Phai might be something of an idealist.

Anthem shrugs in such a way to show agreement. "It looked like they were escaped prisoners of some sort. One of them, a rather unattractive female, had a man on a leash that I presume she was using as a slave of some sort. From the sounds of it, they were interested in killing all of us, while perhaps raping the women, and then taking what supplies they could gather. We were just lucky we outnumbered them. And had people who were better trained."

Phaistion's eyes go wide at that, and he whistles a bit, "Frak." A moment later he shakes his head, "I mean the leash thing could be kinda fun if it was like… you know… a sex club. But, yeah, that doesn't sound like a good group of people right there." After a moment he asks, "You said you were a marine, which means that you're trained in combat. Uhm, maybe everyone should be taught some basic self defense when there's time, if that kind of shit is going on. Especially the women."

"It's on the agenda, although we're husbanding resources like ammunition for now." Anthem looks away, not terribly pleased. "Wasn't fun, though. But we found we can defend ourselves fairly well against vermin. Actually, one of the girls managed to scare away an ex-marine all on her lonesome."

Phaistion finds himself grinning a bit at the mental image provided. "I don't know shit about guns, but I know how to swing a bat. Whack someone hard enough in the head, you're still gonna stop them dead in their tracks," He shrugs out. After a moment's thought he wonders, "So, are you in charge here, then?"

"Don't think it's fair to say that anyone here is or isn't in charge. I do what I can to help and organize, and most people seem to listen to me," Anthem says. "But I doubt I'd say I'm in charge. The place belongs to Monty Harkins, and when he speaks, people listen. Generally speakin', though, he's a hands-off kinda guy."

Phaistion finds himself wondering how anyone can remain 'hands-off' at a time like this, but all he replies to that is a shrug. "So he's just letting us all use his house, then?" His mind spins over their conversation, "And there's the cult in the caves too? Any other pockets of survivors around here? Or is it just the two groups?"

"Just the two groups that we know of, and the Ares-folks are being intentionally mysterious about their numbers and capabilities," Anthem replies. "I'm under the impression that they want to mostly be left alone, but are dealing with us in case we prove helpful to their cause."

"Makes you wonder what the Lords would think about that kind of separatism in a crisis like this," Phaistion offers out loud. While he's not particularly religious, he has a healthy respect for the existence of the Gods. "At least they helped when the thugs came through, so I guess that's a good thing in the end."

Anthem shrugs, rising. "I can't speak for the Gods, friend. Anyway, I got some business to take care of around the house, but I won't be far. Yell if you need me, but make yourself comfortable for now and get to know the folks."

Phaistion nods and stands back up himself, probably to head towards the creek. He calls after the retreating figure of the marine, "Anthem? Thanks for everything. Especially for taking me in."

"It's our pleasure," Anthem states solemnly. "We have every intention to act like people, and that means takin' care of the folks who need it."

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