“Hmmm, hmm hmm, hmmmm hmm hm hmmmm…” Humming a senseless tune to himself, the scout fiddled around with the blade and chunk of wood clasped in his hands. With simple, practiced motions, he ran his dagger down the stick time and time again, each cut slicing off another thin shaving.
Manda: (watching Matty from behind)
Manda: (softly) Hey. We need to talk.
“Mmmmm?” Turning about, Matty faced his compatriot, shooting her a pleasent grin. “Ah, Manda! Sure, what do you wanna talk about?”
Manda: (puffs on her corncob pipe) After our last chat, I am under the impression you haven’t had to deal lots with humans, least not as much as the rest of us.
“Eh?” A confused expression briefly flashes across Matty’s face, before being replaced by his customary smile. “Well, if you’re talking about the sheer amount of time spent around people, then I suppose you’re right, heh.”
Manda: (cracks a smile) Yep, you got it. Remember when we had that chat over whether violent people were dealt the same way as animals? Matty, did you think the bridge guards were animals?
“Nah, of course not,” Matty replied happily. "They were people, no doubt about that. To clarify what I said earlier, I didn’t mean that violent people should be treated like they were animals. I meant that all living things, when you get right down to it, are animals, you, me, and the people on the bridge included.
“People are just a different sort of species, if you will.”
Manda: Makes sense enough. Look, I just didn’t like that you pulled your gun on that guard when we was still discussing a peaceful solution.
“I know,” Matty replied simply.
Manda: You gonna be that jumpy next time?
The scout cocked his head to the side. “Jumpy?”
Manda: (puffs. The smoke is sweet.) Other words, an escalation of violence. Say I’m fisticuffsing some bloke. Suddenly he pulls out a gun, or even a knife. To protect myself, I respond with an intent to kill. Make sense to you?
“That, uh… That isn’t exactly my definition of jumpy,” he replied sheepishly. “I always heard jumpy as being easily spooked or startled, like a horse that bucks off its rider because it’s so scared. Ya know, jumpy! Scared! And luckily for me,” Matty continued, chuckling slightly, “being jumpy isn’t exactly a problem I’ve ever had.”
Manda: (slight frown) You were ready to shoot when we was still in talks. A fight could have broken out. Ending in dead people.
“Eh? No, I was ready to shoot when they were lying to us,” the scout clarified. “But, the way things worked out I didn’t have to.”
Manda: Did their lie justify killing them?
“Not their lie, but the fact they were getting in our way.”
Manda: Anything that gets in our way needs to die?
“If that’s the only way to get them out of the way, then yeah, of course!”
Manda: Obviously it wasn’t.
Manda: (Relights the pipe. Gentle puff. Long exhale. Slow and steady.) I don’t want another escalation. From anyone. You’ve naturally got a calm demeanor, but you’ll want to brush up on how people act when they’re cornered. Everybody lies. It’s their intent that matters really.
“Mmmmm… Nah.” Looking back down, Matty returned to his wittling, happily shaving his stick down further and further. “Sorry, but that’s just not something I can really do. All I can do is treat each situation the way I think is best, and that’s what I intend to do.”
Manda: (Steps away from Matty. Looks at him over shoulder) Sure. And I’ll deal with you if you put these people in danger. Just letting you know. (Walks away).
“Alright,” the scout replied, his tone cheerful as ever. “Good to know!”