PHD #317: Bull By The Horns
Bull By The Horns
Summary: Vandenberg talks to Greje about some evidence and a startling discovery is made.
Date: 09 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Almost Ablaze, Intel Dump
Karthasi Vandenberg 
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.
Post-Holocaust Day: #317

There are approximately three people here to observe the end of the Ianuarion; back in one of the three small chambers at the back of the chapel the candles are casting a light that occasionally shifts with a gust of reprocessed air from the vents, and in sacred silence the three observers are watching the Priestling close the cabinet into which the image of the God has been securely fastened. "The gates of war," she says, eyes steady on the lock as she maneuvers it into her hand. "Are shut, are shut," the others reply, in turn. "The chains of war," she goes on, turning the key in the lock, to a chorus of, "Are locked, are locked." "And the God of past and future holds the Fury captive in his four arms. Go in peace, and never again hear her wings behind you." The worshippers of Janus (a small but devoted group) step over the threshold into the altar room, each blowing out his candle as he does so. Some minutes later, the priest herself steps out, looking a little worn from the rites, but otherwise well.

There's no telling how long she's been here. The Marine sitting up front in the chapel, taking up a bent posture near the alter. The scent of burnt paper might be caught right at the edge of Greje's senses, but its faded with time. Natalie, clad in her brown MP gear - nightstick and sidearm included - sits with her knees apart and elbows resting on them. Her eyes aren't closed but she just stares at the floor. There's a pair of figurines in one hand and prayer beads in another. Perhaps odd for someone who has never even been down here before. With the Priestlings exit into the room, Natalie doesn't even seem to hear it for nearly ten seconds before she glances over and slowly begins to straighten off her lean.

Karthasi sees the nightstick and the sidearm, and her attention glosses right over the figurines, assuming that the MP is here on some manner of Official Business. She tips her chin upward, straightening her back into that unbearably proper angle of Caprican formality. "May I help you, Lieutenant?" she asks.

Natalie notes the more formal tone and actually looks disappointed. She looks back to whats in her hands with a frown and reaches for a cloth in her pocket. "Ah, yes Sister," comes the quiet reply. The figurines are folded with practiced, loving care into the velvet and tucked into her pocket with the beads. The woman rises to face Greje and takes a long breath, not looking like she knows where to start. Well, introductions are probably good. "I'm Lieutenant Vandenberg, Sister. I-" There's direct hesitation inside her. But then it leaves in an abrupt and sudden change of demeanor. "Sister, I need some information about a few things we've recovered during missions and would like your help with if you have time?"

Karthasi lowers her chin once more in a slow nod of acknowledgment. "Lieutenant Vandenberg," she repeats the woman's name as it was presented to her. "Sister Karthasi. Of course. Why don't we repair to the mess hall? We can have a cup of tea, and we can talk," she invites the woman, still utterly professional and polite, but not exactly cold.

Natalie looks very uncomfortable at that suggestion. The Galley. There's people there. This is personal rather than professional concern - something Greje is probably well acquainted with the difference of. "Look, ah," The Marine looks to her hips but makes no move to touch either tool. "I'm sorry. These are why I don't come down here for prayer, Sister. Among other reasons. Is there someplace less public that we can go? Where I can keep these on?" She puts on a mask of business. "What we need to discuss is something more quiet." Its not a very good mask.

Needing some information about items recovered on a mission sure sounded like a business matter to Greje, and so her cool Caprican calm is tinted with a droplet or two of befuddlement when Vandenberg balks. "Ah. Of… of course, I apologize. I misapprehended the matter. My office is still unfortunately closed off, let's…" she looks back toward the small room in which Janus is still wrestling with the Fury. "Ah, here. Take up a candle, we can sit in the inner sanctum," she suggests.

Natalie glances back towards the entrance to make sure people aren't watching. Its a subtle glance but when her gaze returns to Greje, she mouths a simple 'thank you' to the Sister. "As long as I don't upset the rites, Sister." That's genuine concern. Natalie takes up a candle and lights it, heading for the dark room. Once inside, she'll stand until instructed otherwise, candle held up under her chin in reverence.

Karthasi takes up a candle, herself, not for any ritual purposes, but because of the fact that the inner sancta are not equipped with any artificial forms of light. She closes the door, which only opens, closes, and locks from the inside, and the pair are alone in this small metal cube with the cabinet of Janus sitting along the back wall on a pedestal. "The rites are closed until next year," she assures the Lieutenant. "We will put away the cabinet later today. We won't be disturbing anyone. You may speak freely," she adds, which is to say that since there are no rites activated in this space, the use of accidental or incidental profanity will not be looked upon as an act of hubris. There isn't anyplace to sit, but, suddenly, the candle-lit features of the priest begin to sink through the air. She must be sitting on the floor. "Come and sit with me. What was it that you wanted to speak about?"

The woman seems relieved at the information about the rites. Her eyes close and she dips her head in acknowledgment. Though when she see's the Sister's face sink and hears the invitation, she follows in a fluid motion without collapsing down. "I had some personal concerns but they aren't important I think." Natalie moves along and reaches into a shirt pocket, removing a small piece of paper. Even in the flickering candlelight, its obviously very old. Natalie uses one hand to very carefully unfold it on the ground between them, the contents facing Greje. "We found this in a temple of Poseidon on Tauron. A place called Tywyn's Caverns, Sister." When she opens it, its a picture of the Cretan Bull. There's some extraneous writing around the edges that seems to just be there incidentally. However, there is fresh charcoal writing across the bottom that reads: 'Not here. Zeus the Bull'. "A Cylon model Five considered this very important. Any ideas or thoughts, Sister?"

Karthasi leans down and closer to peer at the photograph, then, timidly, lithe little fingers edge into the light surrounding the image, and, if she's allowed, the priest will take it to look at it more closely. "Ah, I see. Well, it's a common enough error. There are two great bulls in Knossian cult, and, as often happens, the two get mistaken for one another with ample frequency. Which is apt, since the two bulls were as likely as not one bull, in the distant past, about whom two stories arose and the bulls became separated from one another before the canonization of scripture." She looks up from the photo in order to see if she's bored the Lieutenant to sleep, yet.

Natalie isn't going to stop the Sister. She listens closely to what is being said and meets the other woman's eyes when she finishes. "Wait, so the Cylon mis-identified this Bull? Or I did? Which one is the one you think they are looking for?" Bored? Negative. Vandenberg is trying very hard to follow what's being said. She wants to learn.

"Someone was looking for a particular bull-cult," Greje postulates with an easy intonation. "They checked here to see if the cult they were looking for was the cult of the Bull of Poseidon, who mounted Minos' wife Pasiphae and sired the Minotaur. But evidently whatever they were looking for wasn't here, and they were advising whoever it was for whom they left this note that the ought to instead look for the cult of Zeus the Bull, who mounted Europa and sired Minos himself," she phrases the two stories in such a way that the parallel between them is obvious. "And given what we found when we looked into the cult of Zeus the Bull, I'd suppose that that's what they were looking for, yes."

Natalie just stares as she absorbs all this information. "Wait, what? You've looked into bull cults in the past? Who? What did you find out?" She keeps her voice low but apparently this is something she thinks is very important. Whether or not it really is important, well, that's another story. This could easily be her own morbid curiosity. "They didn't leave the note for anyone. We ambushed the Five who wrote this down. Sent her to download city along with some bulletheads. This was the only intact scroll."

Karthasi clears her throat, "H'm!" It's a curious noise. "Well, she evidently meant to leave the note for somebody, before she was ambushed, wouldn't you think? Unless it was simply a note-to-self," of which she sounds doubtful. "I spent quite a bit of time on Tauron investigating some of the local cults. They were, however, rather secretive, and finding there whereabouts was… not altogether a simple task."

"I think it was more of a note to self. She was still reading when we opened fire. She was just ripping everything up. We brought it all back, though. What we could save, anyway. Got photos of the temple, too." Natalie smiles impishly. That was probably not an order given that was motivated simply by evidence. "But we found this temple while investigating Tywyn's Caverns on the seaside. Has anyone on board talked to you about bulls before? Or.." She makes a face. "Gods, sparrows? Maybe trampled paths?" She's grasping at straws. Its plain the Marine is trying to figure something out. She might even be on the cusp of it. Its just frustrating.

"The bull is an important figure not only in the worship of Zeus and Poseidon, but also of Dionysus and Apollo, of Hermes and Heracles and Theseus and Mithras," Greje points out. "And sparrows are widely used in Aphrodisiac cult. You can't presume that just because two people bring up a bull that the two are related in any way," she goes on. "But here, if the five was looking for something from the cult of Zeus the Bull, I'd say she's already gotten it."

Natalie hangs her head. It was worth a shot. Where-as most Marines might curse, she just shakes her head, looking at the candle flame flickering in front of her. "I know. I'm just trying to find something. I wanted to ask our prisoner Five about it but she's gone. Just hitting a dead end, now." The Marine looks away from the flame. "The sparrows.. something about them nesting here? But..not. Maybe not anymore? And the bull trampling the path to migration. I- I don't know anymore." Natalie finally looks back to Greje and shakes her head. "My apologies from coming here as I have, Sister. I'll refrain." The Lieutenant carefully rises from the floor. "But I will need the paper returned for evidence."

"What, exactly, are you trying to find, Lieutenant Vandenberg?" Greje asks, calmly, collected, not rising from the floor. "The path to migration is a definite reference to Zeus the Bull, as he carried Europa from the far east to Knossos, trampling a path in the ocean for him to walk upon. She was looking for the cult of Zeus the Bull— a cult which turns out to have been a monotheistic Mithraic cult. She must have been looking for it, or else she wouldn't have asked for the knife to have been returned."

Natalie is turning to go when Greje starts speaking. All of that just has her stop in her tracks. "Wait. One. Second." The Marine lifts her free hand slightly and looks back toward Greje in the darkness. "You're telling me that the Five is Europa looking to find Zeus and ride him to find the path of migration. What was that knife we just handed over, Sister?" Vandenberg is nearly breathless.

"Uh. No?" Greje pipes up. "I'm telling you that the scriptural figure Europa was taken across the waves by the Bull Zeus. What this Five's intentions are in investigating the cult, I couldn't tell you. I can tell you that the cult did turn out to be monotheistic," she offers, trying to be helpful. "A very intriguing find, with heavily Mithraic imagery. I have written up a paper on the topic already, proposing that in this cult Zeus, in the form of a bull, is sacrificed and reborn in the manner of a standard monotheistic year-deity. The knife seemed to be the ritual object by

"Oh my Gods," Vandenberg exhales. "I completely missed it." She looks weak, even putting out a hand to steady herself against the wall. "If this is literal. If the Cylons are actually looking to put something together humanity has missed, we might be in huge trouble." The Marine S-Three's face is aghast when it finds Greje's. "'He has left his mark on the ancient ground of the bull. When he has taken the knife to the throat of the bull and cut. In its death he points the way.'" She nearly lets the candle go. "Sister, the Cylons are monotheistic. Mithras was born from a rock which the Cylons, I think, have referred to Tauron as before. Do you have this paper here? On the ship? Right now?"

Karthasi doesn't look too put off, more confused by the Lieutenant's sudden panic. If this is literal. Which, she doesn't generally think of any of this in terms of its being literal. "The paper I just wrote? It's on my computer. Why, would you have me print off a copy of it for you?"

"For me, Marine S-Two, Command, and the TACCO." Natalie settles down onto her knees beside Karthasi quickly. The Marine looks like she might explode. "Sister, the Cylons might have found Mithras in the figurative sense. We've got leads that they are trying to find a home and that a migration is being attempted - and may have started with the attack on the colonies. If they are still looking for something then the migration isn't over. My- Oh Gods I should have just shot that Cylon anyway!" Vandenberg rolls her neck back and looks desperately to the ceiling overhead as if in panicked prayer.

Karthasi's eyebrows jump together in a quiet gesture. "If they were just going to leave, I don't see any particular reason they'd have needed to wipe out the colonies, first," she points out. "Where would they be going, in any case?"

Vandenberg looks nearly frustrated with it all. "I have no idea. So much of this doesn't make sense anyway while certain pieces just fall oddly into place. I don't have all the answers, Sister, but this could be really important." To her last question, Natalie lifts her hands. "Someplace important to monotheistic cults? could be anything at this point. If they are taking this seriously enough to take hostages then there could be some literal truth to everything we figured to be simply analogous. Could be anything. I don't know. For all we know, 'migration' might just be some symbolic word for a change of their collective minds - which is just as important." Natalie rises from her knees. "Sister, please. I need to read what you have. As soon as you can print it off."

"I will print it out straightaway," Greje is obliging enough, if confused. She's not quite on board with this theory of the Lieutenant's, but… it's not like anyone else is begging to read her work. "You think that the Cylons may have identified their god with one of our monotheistic cult figures? Interesting. When I spoke to the Eleven in our brig it seemed to me that the two religions were not entirely dissimilar. Perhaps she reported that fact when she returned."

Vandenberg is already moving to the door. "I would say that what you just hypothesized is about as accurate an idea as I've got, Sister. Look, its like this:" Vandenberg holds her hand on the knob but doesn't open it just yet. "The Cylons are attached to the idea of migration. Somehow. Something. Whatever it is. If the Fives are latched on and dug in like a Cancerian tick, then its strategically important. Bigtime. Especially if they are willing to go to the lengths they have. Those quotes I was reciting? Came from the Five that we had captured in our brig. The same Five they demanded returned. If they think they've found Mithras here on Tauron or somewhere else and need the blade to help them point the way, that's important. Everything is out the window, Sister. If they are thinking this way then we can't afford not to. If there are any mentions of migration in the scrolls then we need to start looking at them. Even if there is a change of heart or a shift in thinking that could be alluded to migration." She finally cracks the doorknob and opens it. "Please. I need to report this in as soon as posible. When can you have that report to me?"

"If you don't need me to print it out I can forward it to a data access folder and you can read it at your leisure within the next five minutes," Greje replies simply. "Hm," she then adds. "If they needed the knife to show them the way, then we already have all the data we need in order to divine whither they will proceed," she points out stoically.

Van slowly backs away through the door and snaps her fingers, pointing at Greje. "Perfect. It'll take me a few minutes to get to the security hub. Send me everything you've got on that blade, too. Everything." She finally reaches an aisle that leads to the exit hatch. Whatever was concerning her at the beginning is apparently just gone to time. "I gotta go. Thank you, Sister." She then turns and makes for the hatch at a jog, hands holding on to her sidearm and nightstick so they don't swing.. After she's out, her boots are heard thunking hard on deck plating while she shouts 'Make a hole!' down the corridors in front of her.

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