In the Flynn route we get a tiny tidbit on Echo’s indigenous history, and how little Sydney thought they had treasures. Here we explore this.
Sydney looked at Jenna, across their lunchtable. He felt nervous; nominally friends, she had rejected any attempts in the past to be besties, and while she had less venom to say when he hooked up with TJ she still was only courteous in a passive-aggressive way. No “shoot the shit with the boys” with her. Overall, she was rather private person, as while she hang out she also made it clear she wanted a lot of time to herself.
Most of Sydney’s ttempt at conversing with her ended up in cold dismissal. Sometimes a bomb was set off, and they’d scream and yell at each other, but he always had TJ and Flynn and sometimes the other three to comfort him.
Still, his curiosity was getting the best of him.
“Hey Jenna, can I talk to you about something?”
The others looked to each other warily.
“Sure” she said, granite-like, “Needs to be in private or out in the open?”
“Can be either” Sydney shrugged, “So, when me and Flynn were kids we had of had treasure seeking adventures across Echo.”
“Very productive I imagine” Jenna said with as light a hint of sarcasm as a laurel leaf in some meat recipe.
“No gold but lots of quartz, I even gave the prettiest to TJ” Sydney said, allowing the lynx to kiss his cheek.
“But that’s beside the point. So, Flynn told me that the shitheads that had the brilliant idea of making a town in this hell hole were told by the Ahacte tribe that the Meseta held riches here. Now, before you say anything I know your people didn’t have an El Dorado or anything, that it was just propaganda to take your lands.”
“So are you saying my people were incapable of material wealth?” Jenna said flatly.
“Oh, fuck off, you know that’s not what I meant. Anyways, I was just kind of hoping to learn more about the Ahacte, and no its not because all Natives know each other or some other accusation you are dying to say.”
“I am that petty yes, but that’s a reasonable question since the Meseta were in a state of conflict against them, so we preserved a thing or two in the surviving oral traditions. Plus, with genocide old grudges turned to solidarity, and now I meet plenty of Ahacte at powwows.”
“That’s awesome Jenna” Chase chimed in, “Never knew you went to those!”
“Eh, a few are held within the Reservation” Jenna shrugged, “I’m not super attached to my roots but being Native is still part of who I am, you know? Still, Sydney, why do you need me when you can just search on the internet?”
“You mean the shitloads of anglefier sites that only have like two or three paragraphs?”
“I meant academia, though I suppose a lot is paywalled. And perhaps too dense for you.”
“No going to argue, though that huwts my poow widdle heawt.”
“Ugh. So, alright, the Ahacte were kind of like the Meseta, mostly nomadic with occasional three sisters agriculture. You know, corn, pumpkins and beans. Apparently they traded with as far away as Mesoamerica since some Aztec artifacts have been found in their sites.”
“The conquistadors talked to them first, so I assume they also lived southwards?” Chase chimed in.
“Yes, though again no borders, just vaguely territorial lines. Agriculture can only do so much in the desert, though honestly it beats just planting cotton like the so advanced colonists did. And they did have large permanent settlements so there’s that.”
“Do they have Ahoa parties?” TJ asked.
“Kind of, same bonfire shtick but goes by a different name. Ya’ateh, I believe. Beyond that, most of their practises are private so I couldn’t tell a lot even if I knew.”
“So nothing on their gods or whatever?” Sydney said, somewhat disappointed.
“You do realize most Natives were forceably converted to Christianity, right? Sure, some people might practise their ancient beliefs, but its mostly just a cultural thing for us now.”
“S-sorry about that” TJ said, guiltily.
“Oh TJ, its not your fault, though I’m glad you take responsibility. More so than most Christians around here.”
“Yeah, my father was pretty mad about me hanging out with you” Sydney said, “And the Mormons go on and on about our ‘kinship’ to the Natives.”
“So anyways, have you satisfied your curiosity? That’s pretty much all I know.”
“Yeah, thanks Jenna” Sydney said, lowering his cap hat theatrically.
“You know, this was kinda fun” Carl said, “Normally we learn mostly about Leo’s culture.”
“And what’s wrong with that?” Leo said, mock-unpleased.
“Nothing, its just a nce change of pace.”
“So Native history is just entertainment for you” Jenna said stoicly.
“God-fucking-dammit, that’s not what I meant!”
“Language! TJ teased.
And their usual antics resumed.
Jenna mildly tuned them out, pondering. It was so funny, how her motivation made it seem like she hated her culture, her people’s achievements. Many would certainly be appaled by her rejecting her traditional homelands.
But, there was nothing for her here. A shitty concentration camp and her grandmother’s stories was all the legacy that remained of the once proud Meseta, and she didn’t even have the stories anymore. They were of value, to be certain, but they’re be a mild curiosity, that would help her in her aspirations to understand psychology.
She wondered if Echo had corrupted her in some way, to be so callous about her people’s stories. But she quickly cast that aside, for it was illogical.