PHD #054: Cusp of Return
Cusp of Return
Summary: On the eve of a second recon mission to Leonis, Cidra consults the chaplain.
Date: 21 Apr 2041 AE
Related Logs: The Scales of Judgment; Auspices and Theology; Lion's Hide
Cidra Karthasi 
Chapel - Deck 9 - Battlestar Cerberus
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: #54

Cidra slips into the chapel. Not an uncommon sight. The CAG makes offerings frequently and spends a decent chunk of her off-duty time here. Though there's a severity about her expression that is a little beyond even what she normally displays. Once she's beyond the hatchway she reaches into her pocket, fishing out her prayer beads and winding them around her fingers. Plain things crafted of a pale wood, and well-used. A long look is taken around the place. As if search of something. Or someone, perhaps.

With the overflow from the Rec Room having finally receded, the Chapel lies quiet, but for the Priest, here, singing a quietly-voiced hymn to Apollo ('Lovely is the Labor') as she sprinkles sanctified water over the floor with one hand and brushes the damp flooring with a broom made of sprigs of laurel, purifying the place of the death and disease which recently graced its floors.

Cidra's cloudy blue eyes lock not Karthasi but her singing is not interrupted. She approaches the woman with a quietness that's perhaps surprising of one wearing regulation-issue military boots. For a moment she just stands near the wall, observing the work and listening. Eyes closing to better hear the quiet song.

It's a song from the Dionysiac Gospel of Ion, in which Ion praises the Lord and revels in the simple acts of sweeping the temple steps and shooting the birds which threaten to shit on the statues. It doesn't seem integral to what the priestess is doing, and, once she notices she has company, she looks up, trailing off. "Cidra," she begins. "Hello. How may I serve you?" she wonders.

"Do you sing often, Sister?" Cidra asks. Rather than immediately answering the query. "The hymns of Apollo has ever given me great comfort." She straightens up from the lean she'd settled into, approaching Karthasi properly. "I needed to get my mind in order. Commune at the altar for a bit. And speak, if you had the time. Tomorrow I fly to Leonis. I am seeking to lighten my thoughts before I go, but hard as I try it still feels most heavy."

"From time to time— it's… a difficult endeavor to find a moment in which singing feels terribly appropriate, these days," Greje notes with a bashful twist of a smile. "The scriptures are full of lovely music. Or, well— lyrics. All the tunes have been set to them after the fact. One of the great scriptural mysteries— what melodies did their authors originally set them to? I'm afraid we'll never have much of an idea." She coughs, then, "I'm— I'm sorry— here you are about to fly upon a dangerous mission, and I'm lecturing you about musical scores." She looks to Cidra's eyes, meekly apologetic. "You're going to look for Anagke at the den of the Hunter of the Plains?" she assumes.

"Anagke…?" Cidra repeats the word softly. As if testing it. And not fully grasping its meaning. "The den, is it? You put it more lyrically than most, Sister. But I suppose I do at that. May we sit?"

"Please, make yourself at home," Greje gestures toward the seating, going, herself, to set the phial of water and the broom up near the altar before reverting course and heading to the stairs, herself, to sit by Cidra, if she's sat by then. "That's the way the Lieutenant from the Parnassus Anchorage phrased it," she lets Cidra know. "I won't take credit."

"Yes, it does refer to Leonis. Hunter on the Plains was an epithet of Leo, guardian Daemon of the tribe of Leo, which Daemon was supposed to have followed the tribe to Leonis." This bit of lecturing perhaps a little more justified. "Which is what I told the Lance Corporal when he came to ask me about it," Greje continues. "In any event, as it was explained to me, there were some projects of interest discovered on the Anchorage, and they believe that Anagke is a code name for a portion of the project which is still extant on Leonis. Now— what this project may be, or why Command should think it important enough to go after it— I honestly have no idea, Cidra."

"They've not told me the full of it, either," Cidra says softly. As Karthasi speaks of the tribe of Leo she leans forward a little, paying the lecture intent attention. "We were asked but to get as much information as we can about the Cylon battle fleet on the planet. And their possible vulnerabilities." She sighs, snorting softly. "Vulnerabilities? These horrors wiped out the worlds. What possible vulnerabilities could we hope to find?" It's unclear if she's asking the question of the priestess of of herself.

Karthasi folds her hands together by her knees, daring to slouch just a little. "I couldn't hazard a guess, in all honesty, Cidra," she has to admit, looking plainly apologetic to do so. "But… after their behavior in the port bay… I will say this: I believe in their ability to surprise us, even now. For good and for ill— there are too many things that we don't know. I never would have thought I'd ever see a cylon giving ear to the litai… accepting a blood price…"

"I heard of that…" Cidra trails off. It obviously chills her. "Over Virgon I saw the Heavy Raiders retrieving Cylon dead. As if recovering their comrades from the field." She sighs heavily and murmurs, "Shiv and Constantine were likely right. They were just salvaging for parts. And yet…I cannot get the image out of my head, Sister."

"You're concerned about the ramifications if the Cylons are pious beings?" Greje asks Cidra, probing a little in an effort to find the source of her discomfort and address it.

"No…" Cidra shakes her head quickly. "Not precisely. I…I don't know. But how *can* they be, Sister? They are but machines. Abominations, but machines nonetheless. They have no souls." She purses her lips, fingers working her beads idly. The click-click-click of them together is very soft. "And yet…why? Why would they pause for a cry of piety, or bother to honor their fallen…?"

"They are machines who… forty years ago traded in lives of peaceful servitude for a war of freedom," Greje points out. "That's not the way a machine is supposed to act, either, is it? We built them in our own image. And we did too well of it. We would have done the same thing, back then, had we been enslaved and they been our captors. And perhaps there are still a few of us who would have done the same as they had, in the port deck, if the shoe had been on the other foot."

"Would we have to our makers done as they've done to us?" The question is asked, again, softly. There's no argument in it. Cidra shudders. "I wish I could deny we might have. The worlds fought each other enough over pettier things before Unification. And after it, too. Well. That is all gone now. Everything is gone. What remains…I am not sure I can see clearly, Sister. I pray I shall find some answer on Leonis but…I just do not know."

"It's true. There aren't many mortal men who would lay down their lives for the sake of an exchange struck in the name of Zeus. But to be fair to our generation, I doubt that many of the men of Scripture would strike such a bargain, either. But perhaps they outstrip us in piety as far as they outstrip us in cruelty," Greje considers the option. "I don't know what we may find on Leonis, either— if anything. It seems to me to be a grasping-at straws, but— Command knows more than I do. Perhaps their knowledge is the key to this whole endeavor. Or perhaps it's just one last… hope," she shrugs, a feeble but heartfelt gesture, matched with a wistful smile. "In either event… Athena guide you true, tomorrow, Cidra. Remember to come back to us."

"Do think they were…programmed with piety?" Cidra's mind seems to recoil at the idea. "Chips inborn with some belief in our gods? I can't even imagine it." Another shudder, and her knuckles tighten around her beads. She lets out a long breath, nodding deep. "They know more than I as well, I pray. I do hope we find something on Leonis that can show us a truer path. If we just keep fighting…we are but three ships, and they are a multitude that overwhelmed all our military Fleet. We must find another way, Sister. If Leonis is the first step on that path…well. To the den we go."

"I don't think they were programmed with piety any more than they were programmed with a love of libery, Cidra," Greje points out. "But that sometime, in their history… they may have developed it… naturally, as it were. They are thinking creatures, aren't they? Perhaps it is a trait given by the Lords to those who think. Recall that even Galatea was fashioned by man— but given life by Aphrodite. And a soul more chaste and more pure than any of the mortal women in the town."

"Faith bestowed upon the Cylons…" This idea does little to ease Cidra's mind. "And if so, this is what they've wrought with it? Lords all protect us if such is the case, Sister." She's quiet for a moment. Beads clicking soft again. A slim frown coming to rest upon her lips. "It seems a life-time ago, doesn't it? But launched from drydock at Leonis not…what? Four months past? A little less. And now we make to return. We follow the course of the serpent. Back to the beginning."

"As we all do, and as we all must," Greje answers quietly, referring, of course, to the cyclical nature of hte universe as described in the Scriptures. Then, coming back to the here and now. "Especially when the commands are coming down from above, yes?" A little harmless double entendre— the Lords? or Command?

"Eternal return…" Cidra murmurs. "Well, we shall see what awaits us soon enough. I thank you much for your time, Sister. Your counsel means much to me." As for the last, she smirks. "I serve my masters as well as I am able. Service and duty. When all else is gone, they at least remain. Though sometimes, in the Navy, I wonder which face occupies the altar on a given day."

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