PHD #096: Delaying the Inevitable
Delaying the Inevitable
Summary: Immediately after a Very Unexpected Mutiny, a newly de-pinned McQueen and Sister Greje Karthasi are left behind in the chapel to reflect on it.
Date: 02 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: All the mutiny-related stuff.
Karthasi McQueen 
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: #96

Once the little conference by the altar has reached some sort of satisfactory conclusion, and now that the corridors have been deemed safe, Greje turns to find the place largely more empty than it had been on her first arrival on scene. But the gentleman just-turned-civilian, whose transformation she -did- notice even if she didn't remark upon it, is still here, and her attention is let to rest on him for a moment before, stepping backward once and once to the side, she disengages from the sacred space by the altar by means of said maneuver and heads to the stairs, ascending to the pew in question. "It's brave of you to go it your own in a ship so closely formed around the military establishment," she remarks mildly from where she comes to stand.

There's a long series of shallow breaths drawn on McQueen's part as he sits down in his chair, staring briefly over the edge of the pew as he eyes the idols with some curious detachment, eventually sitting up and crossing his arms. Some scant moments later, after the words are spoken, his face screws up with narrowed eyes as he studies Sister Karthasi with narrowed, pale blue eyes. "I wouldn't call it brave. It's not like I bloody well did anything?" His accent is harsh and speaks of an urban, working-class life, in a class and city that no longer exist. Part of Leonis, to be exact. "More like professional pride, to the point of self-detriment, you see. I can't abide a 'tactical officer' without the first bloody clue about tactics. And he'd expect /me/ to follow him? Besides, his pet pilot and I aren't exactly friends, as you may or may not've seen."

"Pet pilot…" Karthasi tilts her head aside and down a few degrees, eyes narrowed in concentration as she attempts to divine whom he means. "Captain Quinn?" she finally hazards a guess. "May I sit?" she asks him, further. "Pride can be a motivator for bravery. Stepping out to do the hard thing because your sense of self demands no less. Of course, if you're just afraid he'll order you to fly into a star or something… that's another matter altogether."

"Pfft. Major Tillman /means/ well. Like a lot of people meant well. I'm sure the people running whatever tests at Parnassus meant well, too. I'm not sure if that's a vindication or indictment. And yes, I mean Captain Quinn. Woman's got no business running a barn, let alone a Squadron, as good a pilot as she is." McQueen says, candidly. Now that the pins are off, the abandon seems reckless.

"Nah. I don't think he's a bad commander. It's just — that's not how you win peoples' respect. They went about it the wrong way, entirely, and it seemed only the CAG, out of that circle, really understood what just happened. Not Major Tillman. /Certainly/ not Rime." His nostrils flare, horselike, snorting. He pauses to gesture towards the pew and just nods his head. "I'm not going to tell you what to do in your house, Sister, but of course you're welcome."

"I'm certain that he might have gone to the Admiral with the information in hand and spoken of his concerns, but that would have caused difficulties if the facts of the matter turn out to be as the Major alleges," Greje points out, "And I'm not altogether certain the JAG could have done anything more substantive at this point, either. As far as I'm brought to understand, time is of the essence due to our imminent return to Leonis. But that the Admiral will be tried and, if found innocent, Major Tillman is prepared to assent to the death penalty. Beyond which recompense I doubt we could ask much from him."

Karthasi turns about and settles on the edge of the pew, fingers seeming to try to tie knots with her other set of fingers, hands clasped there atop her knees.

"You have some points there, I can't well deny, yeh? But. /But./ Killing more people isn't going to solve anything. That — /that/ is what he doesn't get. And that's an easy out." McQueen says, shaking his head. "Even killing himself. It's harder to bloody live with this than to just pack it in. Why do you think these poor souls were toppin' themselves?" The currently ex-pilot smiles a flickering, weak smile.

"No, the biggest problem I had was this — so they say that there's a leak somewhere in the command staff, right? Do you let the /others/ in the command staff blindly take over? I'm a buffoon, on the totem pole, when you get right down to it. And even /I/ get that one of the others, responsible for the leak, could very easily pin it on the most high-profile guy. The Old Man, rip him out of command at the head of some sort of lynch mob, while the real traitor's still out there. It's too dodgy. Plus, you don't do it in public. That's the dumbest part of it all." He stretches his hands upwards, languidly, fingers splayed out.

"I do wish that he had at least paid respect to this space in his choice of venues," Greje admits. "But I doubt that it was meant to be as public as it turned out to be. Nor as violent. Still, intentions mean very little next to actions." She seems to be deep in debate with herself, at this point, a common exercise among the Caprican Academic branch of the priesthood— one for which the more traditional observers of religious code find them particularly dubious— their ability to hold two opposing opinions at the same time. "In any case, he did not set out to kill anyone. And will surrender himself to whatever justice might come, be that death or inprisonment, even as he hopes justice will come for the Admiral, whether it vindicate or condemn him."

"That is the thing. Justice. I don't know how to present this other by sayin' it in the simplest of terms." McQueen suddenly states, his head flipping about sharply to study the Sister. "Even if it all goes a way he doesn't want, which it will,' He seems sure of this. /Very/ sure. "Submitting himself to death would be an atrocity piled upon the other atrocities. There are under some three thousand people on this little, fragile group of ships. And every human's death is an insult. It's time for this way of thinking to end." He seems to give a certain metaphysical weight to this speech, if it is delivered only in material terms.

"It was time for that way of thinking to end ages ago," Greje answers him. "And it never did," she concludes, back slouching forward in a manner most unmilitary, elbows finding her knees, clasped hands held out before her as if in prayer. "Now that people are… angrier than they've ever been, more distraught than they've ever been, more stressed and more overworked, more driven straight past the limit of tolerance than they've ever been… these… these are not the times at which the human race is known to look towards its nobler side. These are the times when we fall back, when claws come out and hackles rise and Ares advances where Athena calls retreat. We may complain. We may cry out that it is wrong. But Ares is a god, too, and will have his sway where he will have his sway, though it put th last of us out for the dogs and birds." Talk about inspirational preachification.

"You talk of Gods as more concepts — forces, than people." McQueen's mouth parts slightly, askew. "Unusual. It feels spot-on, honestly." He leans to one side as he studies Greje, momentarily before returning to his sort of detached, academic view of the row of idols at the end of the Chapel. "It's true what you say. The cards are shite, and the hand that's been dealt is no bloody good. That's when you throw down all your chips and try to be better than the hand you have. That's humanity's only salvation, now. Be something more. Like my sister was always fond of sayin'."

Further rumination results in a few more words. "It's not fair, I know. But — and don't take this as sacrilege. People, good people like Major Hahn pray to Gods and expect some kind of outside influence. Isn't more important to take a God's divine lesson to heart?"

"The Lords are immortal and immutable," Greje lays out the fundamental precept. "That which cannot change, cannot come into being and cannot cease to be is by necessity a fundamental element of the universe. A force, if you will. The sciptures speak of the Lords in the forms of human beings, animals and plants in order that their essences may be allegorically encoded for all time, in words that make sense even to the most primitive of civilizations," Greje explains the Academic view of divinity. "But it is precisely -because- they have been tus encoded that prayer becomes efficacious. When we pray to a divinity to come to our assistance, we speak the words as they are transmitted to us in the gospels, in the course of which we meditate upon the aspects of the deity which have given us reason to call upon their aid. In meditating upon these aspects we seduce their essence into our beings… as a young child studying math will eventually become better at math… and we become closer to that fundamental element we seek to lean upon. We DO become more. We become more than the flesh and bone that contains us."

"Maybe they are, but their mortal charges — they can aspire to be — something more than they are. Something more than base. Perfected. Pure aspects of what their guardians are. That's what I see. And /that/ is what the Cylons tried to snuff out." McQueen muses, in a tone that suggests these words are somewhat throwaway, tossed out there haphazardly. He sits back and mulls over what the Priestess has said, attentively. "Like what you just said. That makes…sense." His mouth opens, and closes, and for now the man is merely dumbstruck.

"So if a man prays to Athena for wisdom and still acts a fool. A man prays to Hermes and can't find his own arse with both hands in the dark. A woman prays to Artemis, and can't seem to hit the broad side of a bloody barn, what then? Were they doin' it right?"

"Yes. Mutability is the one area in which we outstrip the Gods themselves. We can change all the way from existing to not existing, and with our free will we can CHANGE the world, not just… exist in it. This is our great gift," Greje enunciates with a sigh that sounds nearly wistful, then, mouth twitching in a quiet little smile, "The Lords are well-known for refusing to heed the prayers of mortals, in the old texts. Sometimes… that's just the way it is. those people would be better off searching for their own talents rather than trying to force themselves into ones they have simply no aptitude for."

"It's called sophrosune," Greje appends, quietly. "One of the Scriptural Virtues. Finding your own right course and staying on it. Gnothi seauton," she recites the famous words of Apollo.

For once, it's silence on McQueen's part. Silence as he holds a quiet, unfocused gaze that drifts from the idols, to Greje's face. "Maybe we aren't so different." He says quizzically, at the end of it all. "Unlike some, I am not one to separate the material from the divine in concrete ways. But —" He again falls silent now, merely repeating those words. "Gnothi seauton." He repeats, his words thick and accented as he speaks the scriptural language.

"I'm delaying the inevitable. Time to go see what awaits me. Listen, uh — can you do me a small favor? I'm not good at this, yeh? Say a small prayer for Lieutenant Rime? I think she understands the least. Of any of them." His mouth is drawn tight in a smile that is more full of sorrow than mirth, and slowly rises. "I'm going to see where the night takes me. May your voice — may it be heard." With that, he tucks his hands behind his back and edges away from the pew.

"Find your path," Greje encourages the fellow. "And should you find your path bringing you back here… you will always be welcome. If you're looking for work, and have an interest in Ecclesiastical Services… well, I'm sure I could find you something to keep you busy here." Since her own small staff is already down several memebers. "I will keep your friend in my prayers. I'm… Sister Karthasi, by the way." And she has very little idea who this guy is, besides 'Lieutenant' and 'Queenie.'

The introduction makes the man stop and ponder, as if he's lingering over his own words. "Trevor. Trevor Cairn McQueen." The middle name is odd, and emphasized, but he provides it. "I don't think this is my path. Remember what you said about, eh, forcin' it, yeh? Still.." Bowing his head ever-so-slightly, he notes, "I wouldn't call Rime my /friend./ Too bad, she really needs one." This said, he curiously turns on his heel and proceeds on out of the Chapel, briskly.

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