Location: Quarantine (Conference Room)
As soon as the man indicated that he should have a seat, Ash complied. He would be lying to say that there wasn't a hint of calculation involved with the move. Part of it was a ploy designed to show that he was a military man who did not forget who he was, and that his background marked him as a person who could be trusted by these people, ergo also serveing to show that he was not too proud to understand and accept the authority of those present. He had at least demonstrated, or tried to, that he might become a beta male in the grander pack of Mexico Beach. So long as his group deferred to him and didn't do anything patently stupid, it might work in their favor. Chain of command, and all that. He didn't actually think that there would be an issue that required such deferment. Still, a respectable step in the right direction nonetheless.
If there was any piece of irregularity that could be applied to this situation, it was that Ash, formerly a Captain in the United States Army and once the leader of his own settlement in recent years, would now have to refer to a noncommissioned officer as "Sir". If he were an overly prideful man, he might be inclined to refer to him as a "lowercase s sir", owing to the fact that Gunny was a senior man and commander who deserved respect purely on those points, and the spoken inflection was identical. As it turned out, Ash wasn't a particularly prideful man. Just enough briefly to have the thought, but not enough to act upon it. It was a silly distinction in these times anyway.
Mentally shifting gears, Ash listened intently to this community's version of the Welcome Speech. He remembered Newnan's; it was very similar to Mexico Beach. It was a variation of the same one that he had heard Leann give when they were first getting established. Upon her passing, it (and everything else) fell to Ash to continue. It had changed a bit over the years following, though the intent behind it remained the same: We will help you. Even if we don't want you here, we will still help you. If you fuck with us, we will kill you. Don't make us regret letting you in. The biggest difference, so far as he could tell, was that they were willing to provide more to their newest visitors. The must have decent and renewable resources to allow for it, Ash reasoned.
All of this came through and during the next couple of minutes, during which time Ash was highly content to (now that he was given permission to be seated) quietly but quickly demolish contents of the plate before him. Another interesting holdover from is days in the service of his country, he could throw back food like a frontline soldier when given proper motivation. It was not a skill that he utilized very often anymore, but he was already a step behind everyone else with lunch and there was apparently a time limit involved. He continued to savor the coffee, however. He wasn't a savage.
When Ash's name was called, he stood dutifully and approached the cart full of temporary goods. He grabbed a pack, opened it instinctively to look for just a second, and spoke a soft but clear, "Thank you, ma'am." He was ever so slightly inflecting his Virginian accent, having recognized it in "Auntie" Claire as well. "It's a pleasure to hear a lady from the Old Dominion. Appreciate." He kept it simple. While he did appreciate what the lady was distributing she was not the person that he most eagerly wished to speak with. It was an attempt at camaraderie. Familiarity. Nothing more than manners, which tended to be more important now than they used to, sometimes.
It was possibly a risk, attempting conversation with the guy in charge without permission. Potentially unprofessional, whatever that really meant. Ash had been waiting patiently for word on a particular topic for a little while now. They knew why he was there, specifically, why he led his people toward Mexico Beach and what, aside for safety for his people, he was searching for on a personal level. They had polished and returned her dog tags, for Christ's sake. At this point in time he didn't even expect her to be alive. Too many small indicators were pinging on his internal alarms. Her own group arrived without her. It was confusing as all hell and he wanted some sort of an answer, even if it was to confirm what he suspected in the first place. Ash stepped in the direction of the Master Gunnery Sergeant. He did not approach fully as he did not with to push the boundaries of their trust in strangers. Moreover, he wished to remain respectful. "Sir? Ashton Holloway." He cleared his throat, "Thank you for the hospitality of Mexico Beach. I would like you to know, sir, that I take responsibility for the actions of my group, should issue or miscommunication arise. These are good people. I've trusted them with my life for years now. They're family, sir." Ash hesitated for a second, unsure of how to proceed. At the end of that second, blunt and straight seemed the only way to go. "If you'll pardon me, sir? Better to ask forgiveness than permission." It was a sentiment shared with him over a year ago by this man's daughter, and he hoped that he wasn't screwing himself over just now. "The only reason that we knew to come here is because of Lieutenant Commander Thana Martin. I care... She is important to us. We got separated. Thana made me promise to return her tags to her personally. Do you have any news, sir? Is Thana here?" Emotion threatened to color his voice. He kept it in check.
Location: Quarantine (Conference Room)
Retreat wasn't in Thalia's vocabulary. Withdrawal was. As was the phrase "advance to the rear". Whatever you wanted to call it, she removed herself from the situation with Tatiana and Jack, and their baby boy. Recent years had made her a little awkward socially anyway. Even back in the day, she was a highly independent, somewhat cynical young woman who gave very little thought toward the feelings of others, so long as her job got done and whatever contract her uncle's company had her on was fulfilled. She was considered striking as far as physical looks were concerned, though the drawing effect of that was largely blunted when she began to speak, or act, or parts of her history were made known. Or if anyone saw her work. Or when people understood the extent to which she would go when armed and motivated. Her experience in Eden was a prime example of the ruthless efficiency she could pour into a task without raising a moral qualm. These were not exactly friend-making qualities, however.
In ways, the apocalypse actually mellowed her out and forced her to be more of a team player. Score there, she supposed. Though her life out in the wilderness away from people didn't do a whole lot for her already strained ability to socialize effectively as of late. Especially as the strongest social influences in her life since this all began were Bridgette, Astrid, Lola, Thana, and Beatrice. These were the people who taught her to survive and function in a group. When that realization struck her, Thalia began to question how anyone around her was still alive. Anyone.
While that uncomfortable thought danced in her mind, Manny made a similar but much more tranquil comment about himself. Thalia let out a single breathy laugh, quietly commenting, "You're talking to the wrong girl for advice, Manny. I'm about two steps away from being raised by wolves at this point." Her actions did support the claim, instinctively looking to shield her back as she ate while squatting on the floor, after recoiling from air conditioning and starting to feel tense behind the safety of walls. "Anymorah, every day takes figuring out all over again how to fucking live. Gotta keep moving forward."
At about that time, Thalia became very popular. Maybe it was all that wishful thinking. She smiled at Tatiana when the petite Russian mom walked up to her and agreed to teach her ballet. It was possible that she didn't know that Thalia had a slightly ulterior motive for wanting to learn it, or maybe she suspected something and didn't care. Whatever worked, the young Mestiza was going to get expert instruction in coordination, balance, and a different kind of movement based dexterity than she had been previously exposed. Thalia had certain limitations now. It was time to work around them and get back to kicking wholesale ass. This was a step toward that. "Thank you. Talk tomorrow?"
From the corner of her eye, Thalia saw movement that she came to notice was the army guy, Ash, shoveling back food in such a manner as to make her cease coherent thought and stare for a moment. She didn't know much about the man, just what little she observed of him and any errant details that Thana may have dropped, but that one ability of his was impressive enough to want to start up a conversation. He was almost as good as she was at that. Even had this fork technique that she might be able to emulate for her own uses. Before she could start that conversation, one of the locals requested that she stick her stump in a bucket of some slimy purple substance. This raised an eyebrow on the woman, until the explanation was fully together in her brain what it was for. "Yeah! Yeah... sorry, gaht no idea where my head was. Okay." Thalia quickly switched chairs and delicately pushed what remained of her forearm into the strange stuff, down to a depth indicated by the "Tesla" guy. No sense in half-assing this. Not if this meant getting some of her ability back. "Hey, um, stupid question? Am I going to be able to hold a blade again? Or a shield, katar, something? I was righthanded, and that was... well, how I contributed. Ya know what, nevermind. Thank you." Beggars and choosers, she supposed. Thalia would work with what she had and figure it out. She would survive as best she could.
Then her name was called. Damnit. "Right here! Um, hold on. Heya Bea?" she called, "Can you grab my gift bag theah, girly girl? I've got a half hour stuck in Barney Jizz ovah heah. Pretty please?"
Location: Quarantine (Conference Room)
Oh, Hank was coming to the end of the best damn meal that he had consumed in a long, long time. It was a bittersweet ending, as many relationships can be, wiping the last chunk of roll across a plate to get whatever remaining gravy he could from off the thing. He might even have attempted to eat the plate, so long as that blessed gravy was involved. Oh yes, this was the life. The the promise of actual clothing, laundered daily, and regular meals? Well holy shit, shinola, and whatever else he could pair with either shit and/or shinola. His mood darkened momentarily as he wondered exactly what the catch was. Were they going to fatten the lot of them up and shove them in an oven for a potential food source? A little Hansel and Gretel action? Hank shook that thought away from his forethoughts. It sounded a little too much like something you tipped a prostitute for; Hansel and Gretel action.
Hank kept this to himself, instead responding to Wayne with his nigh trademarkable sarcastic crankiness, "Yeah, ya got me there, Wayne. I wish I looked like you. Good pose though, gotta admit. When Madonna shambles her dead ass up to the gate, we can ask her to put you in the next Vogue video." He noted the first of them to be called, Tatiana, and while he didn't respond verbally to his comment, he did give him a slow nod. A nervous, frail woman with a baby out in the world? Something didn't seem right. That must have been a very lucky girl. Well, he'd do the Getting To Know You bit later on. Right now he had good food, good company, and...
And his name was called. With a sigh, Hank stood. "Yeah, on the way." he stopped to set his plate where it needed to go. "Oh, that's one heck of a Southern there, lady. Thanks." It was commentary on her accent and an expression of gratitude for the pack of clothes and sundries. He turned to express a similar piece of gratitude to Gunny, only to see that the younger Army officer had initiated a conversation with him. Or was trying like hell to. Deciding that this was painfully awkward, or rather would be if he put his two cents in, Hank backed away slowly with his newly gotten stuff. He considered himself lucky that he hadn't accidentally stuck his nose into their business without realizing, and poured himself a big, refreshing glass of NOPE to go cap off his meal and parting gifts.
Returning to his seat, Hank looked to his buddy Wayne and asked him a pointed question. "You told him about the unicorn, didn't you?" There was no trace of sarcasm. "Eh, fuck it. All good." Still none. Things were as they were, and there was no hiding nor being ashamed, no matter who thought otherwise. He had his own demons to fight and wasn't in a position to judge anybody. Hank set his hands behind his head and prepared himself for a truly epic sit. He was a fan of a good sitting.