PHD #438: Brenner's Blood
Brenner's Blood
Summary: Bannik speaks to Karthasi about Lance Corporal Brenner and what Tyr learned on Gemenon.
Date: 10 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: Clankers: Blood for Blood
Bannik Karthasi 
Naval Offices — Deck 10 — Battlestar Cerberus
This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.
Post-Holocaust Day: #438

It's the elusive head of Ecclesiastical Services, there, isn't it? The haggard creature's sprouting a new crop of grey hairs, blending in with her wheat-blonde hair, and she generally looks like a being that's been living in a cave for several eons. Her uniform is neatly pressed, but she's only in the trousers, the jacket hanging over a chair as she crouches with her knees on her elbows, gnawing on the back of a thick marker with a lit cigarette in her other hand, as if she had forgotten which of the two hands held something that was meant for her mouth as she stares at some scrawling of archaic text on the department whiteboard.

Tyr Bannik, the errant Manifesto writer, has been on the look-out for the ship's chaplain. He has a certain excitableness about him, the look of someone with Big News that he just has to share lest he burst. "Sister?" he calls, coming into the Ecclesiastical Services office. "It's Tyr Bannik. Uh. I don't know if you know me or remember me. But — I was wondering if you had a few moments?" Despite all of his religious talk, he still seems a bit intimidated by an actual priestess.

Karthasi tenses from head to toe as she hears a voice, turning her head and squinting her eyes in Tyr's direction, dark-circled and restless-looking as they are. "Hm?" she grunts permissively as she rises from her studious squatting.

Bannik hesitates, noting the tense, tired cleric he seems to have come upon. "Is this a bad time?" he asks. "I can come back. It's just — when I was on Gemenon, I went to religious ceremonies that they had there. And they had this one benediction that stuck in my head, and I couldn't place where I heard it before and it just came to me and I wanted to talk to you about it and …" His voice comes out as a rush now, a hurried breath of syllables. Yes, whatever it is he realized is clearly killing him.

Karthasi moves, brisk but languid, over to one of the computer cubbies in the Ecclesiastical corner of the offices, taking up a notepad and flipping a few pages over to a blank page, "Go on," she goads him, taking a hold of the seat there and pulling it out for him, moving to the next carrol and settling down there to take notes.

Bannik goes to take the seat, looking over at Karthasi and the pad. "Feel like I'm going to the shrink," he laughs, perhaps a bit nervously, at their arrangement. But he starts with a question: "Do you remember Lance Corporal Brenner, Sister? He died, when, uh, when the Cylons attacked from inside the ship. I heard you where there when he died; that you were doing some sort of prayer group when the attack happened."

Karthasi starts scrawling things down almost the moment Tyr starts talking, perhaps not detracting from the illusion of shrinkery. "Brenner. Yes. Invoked xeniac exchange in the sight of Zeus." She's still writing even while she's talking, not looking up.

"The — uh? The xeniac exchange in the sight of Zeus?" Clearly, Bannik is not familiar with this Big Priestess Words that she's using. "He — he said something in the ancient languages. Something about the God of Justice, then something about his blood for theirs. And the Centurions reacted to that; they took his life, but then shut down. That's what happened. Right?"

"That is correct," Greje affirms, scratching pen across paper three times to emphasize the fact.

"When I was at Gemenon, the Cylons there, they often called their God, their monotheistic God, the God of Justice, the God of Mercy, an all-loving God." Bannik now reveals the reason for his visit. "And they had a benediction — the humanoid Cylons — when they prayed alongside their Centurions. It was …" His voice trails off. But here's the punch-line: "It was 'My blood for theirs.'"

"Well, yes," Greje's brow contracts slightly. "When Eleven was in our brig I discussed with her at length the similarities between Cylon cult and our own practices. It's not hard to think that a group of Cylons and Humans living in community would easily be able to adapt to one anothers' points of view."

"But. I mean. Doesn't it mean something that Brenner knew what to say? What would make the Centurions stand down?" Bannik is all sorts of confused now. "I mean. How would he know that?" His brow screws up. "Don't you think that means something? All of that information?"

"You think that Brenner is one of them," Greje can only surmise. "The evidence would seem to be in your favor. Although it is of course possible that it was mere coincidence, Brenner did seem very confident in his proposition, and I don't think any of us believed that it would actually work before… it did."

"I don't know," admits Bannik. "I don't know. We've learned the hazards of accusing people of being Cylons before we have more proof. I just —" His voice trails off. "It just finally hit me where I had heard of that benediction before, and I thought you would be able to help me understand it. And you have. It — fits with what I saw down there, what you told me. And I appreciate that. I do, Sister. Do you have any questions for me? About what I saw? Many people do."

"Very well," Greje begins after a momentary pause as she's prompted for questions. "You said that Aphrodite was worshipped there, along with Adonis. You said that they also called Adonis Adonai?" she notes, voicing it as a question even though it's not. "Tell me about the cult practices you noted. Any titles given to Aphrodite. Any rites being performed." Questions, in turn, voiced as commands.

"Well, worship for the humans was run by the human clergy in the community with the Cylons watching it. They — I mean, the rituals weren't anything different than what I had seen before, except for the focus on Aphrodite and with Adonis as a small aside to her. The humanoid Cylons held their own services, but they didn't do rituals the way we do; the Cylon God is more about action than ritual." Bannik does his best to put his words on what he saw; he doesn't have the Big Priestess words that Greje does.

"Alright, did they have any cult titles for Aphrodite that sounded unusual from the standard? Chrysea? Philommeides?" Greje puts a special emphasis on that last one, putting it out there as if to see if it will elicit anything in Tyr, following a hunch.

Bannik considers this for a moment, and then shakes his head. "No. I didn't hear anything like that. I tried to follow the rituals the best I could." He then transitions: "Sister, I've been trying my best to get the word to command about the need to go to Gemenon. I think the gods are calling us there; do you? If you do, I think you should say something. You're our chaplain."

Does she? The question elicits something of a blank stare in the priestess, a hint of something nearly forlone deep in the opaque look she sends him. She looks back toward the whiteboard, scrpture scrawled over it with passages written out in something like an arcane algebra, looking more like science than faith. She takes a deep breath, and looks down to her notes, then up to Tyr. "I study scripture and rite, Mister Bannik. I dissect the Lords in units of semantic indicators and linguistic transmutations. The Lords have never called me anywhere, and I doubt they shall take it up anytime soon. For my own sake, I should very much be interested to see how Cylon monotheistic theology has influenced Adonaic cult. If you think that Command will indulge me in this desire, I will ask it of them."

Bannik rises to his feet when Karthasi says that. "Well, I suppose it's something, Sister." He then says something more forcefully: "I think the gods are calling to all of us. I think the gods are everywhere and in everything we do; they're not just in scriptures and rites. You just need to listen to them. Open yourself up to it; if you do, I think the sound will be deafening." He smiles at that, the serene smile of the True Believer. "Thank you for all of your help with that Benning thing. It helped me understand it all better. If you ever want to talk. You know you can always call on me."

"An animistic outlook," Greje murmurs. Yes, she knows the theory that the Lords live everywhere and in all things. Hell, she learned about all of that as an undergrad. Having Tyr go on at her about how Animism is the Answer just makes her eyes look tired, and when he suggests that she has not, in all these years, endeavored to 'listen,' she narrows her eyes and blatantly peers at him, mouth open, then closing, eyes closing in time and just giving a short, helpless shake of her head. "You're welcome. Good evening, Mister Bannik."

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