PHD #206: Carried Away
Carried Away
Summary: Cidra and Tisiphone encounter eachother in the Chapel after Sitka's death.
Date: 2041.09.20
Related Logs: Ghosts of the Past.
Cidra Tisiphone 

Hours have passed since the near-riot in the refugee-filled Hangar Bay, and for most of the Cerberus, things have again returned to Business As Usual(tm). 'Did you hear the Viper SL got knifed?' 'No kidding?' 'Yeah, his callsign was Shiv.' 'Should've picked a better one.' And life goes on.

Ensign Apostolos, for her part, has found her way to the Chapel at long last. No kneeling before the altar for her; the Lords are not listening today, obviously. Instead she takes a seat one row from the front, where the backrest in front of her provides some sort of shield, or prop to lean against, and stares forward at the graven images of the Lords with red, swollen eyes.

There's business to be taken care of after the very public murder of one of your squadron leaders, of course. Plenty Cidra could've been attending to during the interim. And she did go off to squirrel herself away…somewhere pretty quickly after a helpful MP hauled her off the starboard hangar bay floor some hours ago. Though it…doesn't really look like she's been pursuing anything remotely businesslike in the interim. Wrecked CAG is wrecked. She finds herself in the chapel now, sitting in the back benches. Kind of huddled there, feet folded under her. Shoes off. Her eyes are red-rimmed, face tear-streaked. Some women can cry without making it obvious they've been doing so. She's not one of them. She's not crying at the moment, however. She just sort of sits, head lulled against the wall, staring vaguely off into space. Prayer beads wrapped around the long fingers of her right hand, though at the moment they're hanging rather slack. She's likely not immediately visible, though she does start to hum to herself. Very softly. Tunelessly.

Things to be done, forms to be signed (in triplicate, please; the yellow one's yours). None of it things Tisiphone is allowed to attend to. She's just an Ensign in the dead Captain's wing; it's not her that needs to sign, or witness, or even be allowed to see the body. She's been strongarmed out of Sickbay once before — when Sitka checked himself in for ten days for seemingly no reason — and finds herself again removed, under pain of brigging. The tuneless humming tickles at the edge of her senses, and brings forth a few hoarse, scraped notes of her own, the same sort of atonal prayer-drone that accompanies old Sagittaran scripture.

Cidra's head sort of rolls up to a slight more 'looking in an actual direction' position when her humming is joined. She blinks owlishly, fingers idly caressing the beads now. It's no meditative rubbing. There's no rhythm to it. The volume of her humming increases, lips parting and turning to actual singing. There're still no real words. It's a melodic drone, undulating notes in her strangely lulling alto. Wehn she reaches the end of the strange arrangement of notes the drone loops back around on itself to repeat the pattern. One could probably sing like that for hours, or days. Perhaps one does, where she comes from.

Even unlettered folk can remember a tune — if that rasping sound is what counts for a tune on Sagittaron. Maybe that's the point of it. Maybe the shifting drone simply evolved out of the easiest way to carry the scripture's phrasing along, for hours and hours; the music and sacred practicality of Gemenon brought back to Sagittaron where it lost its tune. Tisiphone manages to carry her scraping end of the refrain for only a short while before it cuts off to a wet, gritted sound of someone reminding themselves they are Done Crying, Really, I Mean It. A louder scraping follows, that of her pushing gracelessly to her feet and leaning forward against the backrest of the row in front of her, fingers white-knuckled on the polished wood.

Cidra does not so much stop her undulating as just trail off it. Notes fading out like she forgets them mid-song. Unending loop of the sameness though they are. She takes a deep breath and draws it out slow. Blinking owlishly at the shape of Tisiphone a few rows in front of her. She still doesn't move. Continuing to huddle. But she doesn't quiet, either. Actual words come next, droned out in that same lazy, faintly heavy sort of voice. Like her tongue is weighted somehow. "In arms rejoicing, who with furies dire and wild the souls of mortals do inspire. Gymnastic virgin of terrific mind, dire Gorgon's bane, unmarried, blessed, kind: mother of arts, impetuous; understood as fury by the bad, but wisdom by the good…" It's among the hymns of Athena, breathed out slow. That's no mourning song, though. Even for a devotee, it's an odd passage to pick. The Wise Lady is a wordly goddess, and has little care for the dead.

There's something murmured toward the altar, soft and slow and utterly devoid of warmth, before Tisiphone picks her way out from the row of seats, into the aisle. Her fatigues whisk stiffly as she moves, the knees and shins still caked with long-since-dried blood. She turns toward Cidra, sitting several rows back in the all-but-silent room, and does nothing but stare at her for a long, long while. "We are witnesses, Sir," she finally says. Her voice is dull and sore. "We are witnesses, we whom the Keres have not yet carried away."

Cidra stares back at Tisiphone, or at least in her general direction. There's an unfocused quality to her gaze. "I love that passage very much…" she murmurs. More to herself than Tisiphone, said soft. "Umm…" She blinks, but that does not actually keep the moisture back from her eyes. They glisten in the dim light. She shakes her head. "The Keres can go frak themselves. They do nothing but take from me."

"There were men fighting in warlike harness," says Tisiphone, forcing the words out in a mockery of flippancy, looking down at the crusted red-brown between her fingers. "Many lay dead, but the greater number still strove and fought, yet behind them the dusky Keres, gnashing their white fangs, grim, bloody, and unapproachable, struggled for those who were falling, for they all were longing to drink dark blood." She glances up only slightly, heavy footfalls carrying her up the sloped aisle, toward Cidra and the exit. "So soon as they caught a man overthrown or falling newly wounded, one of them would clasp her great claws about him, and his soul would go down to Hades. They are meant to take, Sir. It is their purpose. No different than it is our purpose to witness it." The faux-lightness of her words frays steadily as she speaks, until by the end the muscles in her jaw stand out, twitching.

"I am tired of bearing witness," Cidra says, her voice low and still oddly fuzzy. "I am…I am very tired, Tisiphone…" She's not even looking at the other woman any longer. She clutches her beads, thumb running gently over the plain, well-worn olive wood. Pausing when they reach a crudely carved little owl charm. Not the same sort of wood as her beads, and it wasn't there when Tisiphone last got a close-up look at them. She fingers it, then moves it to her lips and kisses it softly. Up close she quite reeks of chamalla, eyes red-rimmed from more than fits of crying over the last several hours. "Mmmm…"

"It doesn't matter how tired you are." Flat and emotionless, thrown down to lie between them like a corpse upon the floor. "It's what we're here for. Until they take us, too." Tisiphone's self-control finally slips away from her, then; her eyes brim and spill over, carving fresh tracks down her cheeks. She starts for the door, wiping angrily at her eyes with the edge of her thumb as she goes.

Cidra does not wipe away her tears. She blinks them out, languidly, and they fall slowly onto her cheeks. She's removed herself enough from those emotions not to sob. She doesn't look at Tisiphone. "They should have come for me long ago…but they do not. They come for better men and better women in my place…I am a vulture, Tisiphone. And I remain, just…" She holds one finger aloft and makes a sort of circling gesture. "Oh, they will come for us eventually, of course. When every piece of my heart is gone, perhaps then they will finally come…"

Tisiphone says nothing until she reaches the exit hatch and has fumbled it open, half-blinded with tears. Only then does she look back and flash her teeth in a forced rictus of a smile. "Fight and fly and die, Sir." She lingers for a second after she says it, staring at the other woman, then turns in a sudden rush and makes her escape, the hatch closing heavily behind her.

Cidra doesn't even look up as Tisiphone goes. She just stays huddled against the wall on her bench, fingers around her beads in a fist now, and fist clasped to her head. Crying again.

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