PHD #013: Aftershock
Summary: Stavrian brings the news of Merrell's death to Tisiphone.
Date: Mar 11 2041
Related Logs: Another Soul to the Stars
Stavrian Tisiphone 

[ Chapel ]------[ Deck 9 - Battlestar Cerberus ]—
Post Holocaust Day: #13

The hatchway opens into a dimly lit corridor, stark grey walls now and again painted with some mural appropriate to the religious season, stretching from floor to ceiling and then sloping down away from the ceiling in two triangular forms that bracket off the tiered seating areas to either side. Straight ahead, in the center of an open space, stands a simple rectangular altar, the emblems of the Lords thereupon arrayed to receive sacrifice in the tall room when the altar isn't decked for some more specific use. Hestia, who is not vouchsafed her own emblem on the altar, is etched in relief on one side of the altar itself, shown tending the hearth in her usual fashion.

In the wall behind the open area are three evenly spaced hatchways which can only be opened and closed from the inside. The small cubicles behind each hatchway are each furnished with a small altar against the back wall, upon which sometimes the dark shape of a sacred object can be discerned even from the tiered seating for visiting on the sacral days. The hatches can be closed to block out profane eyes from rites they were not meant to see. The walls between each little cubicle can be retracted to create a larger space for more well-attended mysteries.

-=[ Condition Level: 2 - Danger Close ]=-------—-

The crush of people, smoke, and voices had started to get to Stavrian in the rec room. His temples are already pounding by the time he gets across the hall to the chapel, fine vertical lines between his brows from the tension he was carrying in his forehead and eyes. He steps through the hatch and out of the way of anyone coming or going after him, reaching a hand down to the seat of one of the back benches and supporting some weight on it as he settles. "Sit for a second?"

Tisiphone casts a last glance back into the Rec Room before following Stavrian across the hall into the Chapel. She takes a step off to the side as she first enters, eyes leaving the medic to travel down the rows of seating to the altar centered down below. She clasps her hands together over her llama-stuffed lumpenmug, holding them against her chest, eyes closed, for a moment. She presses on, then, slipping into the row of benches Stavrian occupies, sinking down onto the seat. "What is it?" How many times has he seen that war of 'I'm about to get bad news' vs. 'no, somehow this will be good news' play out across someone's features?

How many times indeed. In the second of silence that passes, Stavrian's still and quiet, holding her eyes. All that calm that's supposed to go with doing something like this. Except for one tiny gesture — he licks his lip. Subtle, but the humanity in that tiny little crack is somehow tremendous. His hands brace on either side of his legs, elbows gently locked. "You know Senior Chief Robin Merrell, don't you?"

This is not boding well. Tisiphone's expression is draining rapidly into bleakness, with an ill-contained panicky light wavering in her eyes. That gaze searches Stavrian's face for hints or clues, then searches again, as she starts to speak. Slow, wary words, the cigarette rasp faded away. It makes her sound much younger — like a child about to have one of their bedtime fairytales dragged into the unfriendly light of day. "Robin? Yeah, I know her. We're- well, I think we're friends. I owe her a drink when the XO settles down." A grin wobbles briefly at the corner of her mouth before falling away again. "Is she- what is it? She wasn't on the injured roster for that- clusterfrak."

"Yeah, she's mentioned you." Stavrian's voice has quieted a little further. His low tenor voice has no trace of cigarette scars, one that's probably quite pleasant when it's not doing something like this. As she gives him that wobbly little grin, his lower lips presses into the upper, and right in that split second his eyes say it before his mouth does, speech lagging behind the weight that settles itself into the space between them. "No, she…" A silent inhale through his nose and then it comes, soft and level. "There was an accident last night, out on EVA. She didn't make it back."

"She's mentioned me?" Stavrian's words are unexpectedly rewarded with a flash of vulnerable social underbelly, there — the shy delight of reciprocated friendship. That moment of brightness over bleakness falls away a second later, though, with Tisiphone's eyes on the medic's. The understanding passes in that look, unblinking and horribly /not/ uncomprehending, colour draining away from her face as the verbal formalities are dragged out. "What?" So tiny. "How do you- But- how? What happened?"

They say to rip the band-aid off to minimize pain. Except that after this one's been ripped off, it doesn't expose a scar — it just lets air onto a gaping wound. Stavrian keeps her eyes on hers rather than looking down, giving her something small at least to hold onto in the blue that matches his scrubs top. "The report said they were salvaging." His voice is soft but not patronizing. "She accidentally tripped a mechanism in an old missile, and it exploded." His mouth closes, then opens again. "For what it's worth, we don't think she felt any pain." For what it's worth. Yeah. "I'm sorry."

Sleety eyes remain dry and desperately locked on Stavrian's until those final words. The next blink, they're suddenly too-bright; the blink after, there's tears. Tisiphone looks down, immediately sniffing sharply — allergy season, don'tcha know? — and making a small, strangled sound through a too-tight throat. "Nineteen years and- this? Oh, gods. A missile- there's nothing left, is there? Nothing at all." She looks up at Stavrian, already knowing the answer.

Stavrian's hands are still on the edge of the 'bench' seat. His shoulders gently hunch as he shifts a little and then they lower, leaving the blue material bunched. His eyes had lowered briefly when hers did, though by the time she looks back at him they're there to meet hers. "No, it was…it was powerful. There's nothing." His eyes flicker from her right to her left and back, and he absently slips his fingers into his front scrubs pocket, searching for tissue that he knows isn't there. All he comes up with is the little piece of paper he'd been drawing on, which he crumples uselessly in his hand and sets back by his leg. "I wish I could tell you there was."

Another sharp, wet sniff and a flurry of blinking. Allergies. They're just allergies. That's what's making her voice choked off and quavery, too. She's viciously refusing to just give in and lose it completely, though. "I- don't know what's done with- their old, um. Possessions. But if- there's something I could-? I, I'll talk to- Engineering about it. I- gotta go." That's gulped back from the brink of a sob. "Thanks for- letting me know. Really." Tisiphone looks up at Stavrian for a second, wet-cheeked, mouth twisted against teeth at her bottom lip, then pushes herself up in a blind stumble for the door.

All Stavrian can really do is nod. There's no way to make bad news hurt less; things don't work that way. He stands up slowly once she has, a certain tiredness plaguing his posture that has nothing to do with his work hours. "Ensign…Tisiphone." So he did learn her name at some point. "Do you want me to walk you somewhere? Berthings?"

Tisiphone shakes her head, rubbing angrily at her eyes with her sleeve. "No- it'sokay. Thanks. I just. Ireallygottago." With that, she's off, pushing past someone at the hatch with a gritted, "'msorry-" to escape to the hallway beyond. The sound of scuffed, booted steps picking up to a run trails away toward the stairwell.

Quiet follows her out. Stavrian sits back down on the very edge of the bench, stretching his legs out. His hands settle on either side of his legs, now almost completely holding up the weight of his back and shoulders. He lowers his chin to his chest, letting his eyes close. Silence is the jury-rig of the spirit, not nearly enough of it allowed to pass by before he gets up again, heading for the hatch. Back to work.

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