BCH #007: Gods and Wine
Gods and Wine
Summary: Karthasi and Manny come to Tillman about lifting the ban on booze.
Date: 19 FEB 2041
Related Logs: None
Karthasi Manny Tillman 

Ward Room
A large oak table in the center that is surrounded by high-backed, black leather chairs, and is one of the few compartments that has carpeted floor dominates the Ward Room. There is a large LCD screen at one end of the room for presentations that faces the CO's position at the head of the table. At the other end of the room is a small counter for refreshments and has stacks of legal pads and writing utensils available for those that use the room. Nearest the hatch is a small screen set into the wall, which provides a readout for a customizable set of data. Along the starboard wall, stand the 12 flags of the colonies.

Tillman got the note and set-up the meeting in the Ward Room. There's some coffee at the back, the aroma filling the room. The Captain is parked at the table looking over some paperwork with a pen. He seems relaxed and not overly serious, probably giving the feeling that he's not terribly rushed or displeased about the meeting.

Karthasi arrives a few minutes to the early side of the meeting, finding it better not to be rushed in circumstances such as these. A cup of tea in the offices to calm her nerves (interactions with Command always manage to unnerve her, slightly), and a few moments at the outside of the door, hand planted on the outer edge of the hatchway's raised frame as she takes a few breaths' worth of a meditative moment to find her calm center, her omphalos, as it were. She lifts her chin again, and pallid green eyes look to her aide, and she even smiles a little bit, letting out the hushed word, "Ready?" on a breath.

Manny enters into the ward room, coming along side Karthasi. He nods with a nervous smile, carrying two leather bound books - oprobably liturgical stuff. "Yess., sir," he responds, reminding himself once again that he's now government issue, not in seminary. "I hope you don't mind but I brought some things from my own personal stash. Just a copy of the Ainoi and the Scrolls just to show what is involved."

Hearing some muffled voices outside the ajar hatch, Tillman glaces up a moment before he rises from the chair. He straightens out his uniform and folds his hands behind his back, eyes turned towards the hatch. The pen rests now on the small stack of papers beside a small cup of coffee.

Karthasi gives her Aide a tender nod of approbation, and, since his arms are full, she straightens her back to a military correctness and opens the hatch the rest of the way, gesturing for him to precede her before she steps in, herself. "Captain Tillman," she begins. "How kind of you to arrange this meeting for us. This is my aide, Ensign Valens," she makes the introduction, every word chilled to polite perfection by her clipped Caprican accent. "He will be assisting me in today's petition, if you have no objection."

Manny walks in, nodding with a silent thanks to the gesture. He shifts the books to his left side and gives Tillman nod. "Good afternoon, sir," and a salute is gexecuted. A bit too crisp and formal and in his nervousness, the Picon accent betrays him.

"Captain Karthasi. Ensign Valens. Good afternoon." The TACCO nods to each in turn with an easy smile. He flips a quick salute to the Ensign, returning it with ease. "No need to thank me. You needed to talk so its not a problem. Nor is the Ensign. Please-" He gestures to the seats across from him. "Take a seat. To what do I owe the honor of your visit?" He lifts his cup of coffee, sipping at it. He'll wait for them to sit before taking his own chair.

Karthasi steps forward and around an offered seat, taking an easy side-step and settling onto the edge of the chair with a graceful motion, lifting one knee to cross over the other and gingerly folding her hands atop the topmost knee. Her cool features warm into a meek smile as she looks across the table. "As you likely know, the season of the Anthesteria is coming upon us at an alarming rate," she tosses a note of reserved jocularity into her voice. "We have put together a departmental petition to request that the shipwide ban on the consumption of alcohol be lifted for the three days of the festival, in commemoration of the Lord's return from death to give comfort, joy, and divine communion to mankind," she begins with a basic statement of premise. "My aide has been good enough to draw up a preliminary schedule of events for the festival. Ensign Valens, would you care to deliver your presentation?"

"Certainly," Manny says crisply. He sets down his service book and turns to the appropriate place, removing the ribbons he uses as bookmarks. He presents the book to Tillman for his inspection. "As you might already know Captain, the Anthesteria is one of the many festivals we have to honor Dionysus and tHermes, as well as the arrival of springtime. However, it is also a time where we honor the dead, particularly on the third night. The first night, Pithoigia, is a drinking fete, where jars or barrels of new wine are opened to celebrate the arrival of spring."

"I was unaware," Tillman offers with a smile, dipping his head to the other Captain. His eyes narrow, though, when she mentions the ban on alcohol. The man's smile doesn't fade, much, as he seems to be giving it some thought. Guarded ideas move behind those eyes as they shift towards the Ensign. Leaning back in the chair, Tillman's hands fold in his lap and he listens attentively. "Understood. What else are you proposing for the following two nights?" As some might discount the idea right away, by the inflection of his voice he seems to be giving it actual consideration.

Karthasi's inner Theology dork — well, who are we kidding, she's very close to one hundred percent Theology dork — is eager to step in with more information, but she maintains her composure, giving her Aide an encouraging smile and allowing him to complete his presentation before she goes about putting in her two cubits.

"The second day, the Day of Pitchers, might be a bit of a trifle if I remember Colonial military regulations. It is a day of…revelry, sir. People normally dress up as the god of wine himself, and in some traditions, drinking games are held. On Picon, though I have to admit, this fnight is rather tame compared to what might take place on Virgon or Caprica, even. Wine is brought out along with food, and a small party was held in the temple. Or at least that is how we do it at seminary." A look is given to Greje and hManny continues. "The third night, the Feast of Pots, is a night to honor the dead. Boiled wheat is normally offered to Hermes. Many believe that this is one night out of the year where the living commune with their dead ancestors. No one eats the wheat of course, as it is for the dead. I would suggest a small prayer service commemorating people's dead relatives."

The TACCO keeps his quiet until the Ensign is finished. "Thank you, Ensign Valens. Compliments on that quick briefing. That was very professional." He then rubs at his chin for a second at the end, eyes turning to the tabletop. A long breath is taken before looking back to Karthasi. "Okay. Captain? Is there anything else you want to add to the Ensign's presentation?" His expression is mostly inscrutable, voice still relaxed and amicable.

Manny looks at Karthasi and the Captain, "I apologize, if there are no further questions for me, I ask to be excused. I have an appointment with another crew member in ten minutes."

Karthasi seems quite well-pleased by her aide's performance, though she lets the other Captain's words suffice for a spoken indication of such, only inclining her head slightly in agreement. "I will only bring up a few theological arguments for the necessity of the inclusion of wine in the festival, Captain," she begins, "Hermes is he who walks the worlds and brings all things from life to death and back again. In this festival he opens the portal between the worlds to allow Dionysus back from the death-womb of his mother in the form of the newly fermented wine; no longer simply the expression of juice from grapes, but… a god, incarnate in the liquid, whose spirit takes hold of he who drinks it. We dress as Dionysus on the day of Pitchers because… we take him inside of ourselves, and we allow ourselves to be one with his divinity. He is the breaker of bonds, he… allows us to be free or our mortality, just as he himself has miraculously escaped death and become a god. On the third day, we return to ourselves, we… resume our mortal lives… we feast to those who have gone before us to where we all must go… and we close the pot, once more, as Hermes closes the door between the worlds." She finishes, and looks to her side. "Of course. Thank you, Ensign, you have acquitted yourself admirably."

Manny takes his rubrics and after saluting departs, giving Greje a look that says 'good luck,' especially on getting a ration of wine. It's not as if crew members haven't been hitting the admiral lately. The door closing behind him with a metallic clank.

Manny has disconnected.

The other Captain listens once more, rotating his chair a bit to face Karthasi more squarely. With Manny's request, the man nods to indicate he is fine with it as well before his attention falls back to Greje. "Well, here's the thing. I can't lift the ban on alcohol because that comes straight from command. However!" He lifts a finger. "What I can do is work with you to come up with a proposition that we can both support and take to Sarkis. See, while I may not share your views on religion, Captain, I do understand the necessity of events like this. I want to make this happen, believe it or not. So let me ask a few questions as I am more or less completely in the dark as to what this entails for this ship. First, will anyone be consuming to excess? Second, who will be dispensing the wine and controlling it? Third, where do you plan to hold these celebrations?"

"First," Greje begins, "The second day of the festival is by its nature of night of excess. Of liminality of being. Going to the edge of cultural limits and jumping past them," she notes. "There is a ritual marriage which can be held that night between eligible women and the God in which, yes, people who choose to participate will become -quite- thoroughly intoxicated. This ritual will happen in private, of course, and I trust the crew only to participate if they can devote the correct amount of time to sobering up before their next duty shift." She takes a breath, "I would prefer that in the spirit of the holiday the ban be lifted shipwide, that people may enjoy their own stores of the God. We have our own stores of wine which we will use for the rites themselves in the chapel, namely the opening toast on the first day, the ritual drinking contest on the second day, the ritual womens' communion on the second night, and at the feast of remembrance on the third day. All the rites themselves will take place within the chapel."

"See, that is a problem. I can appreciate the spirit of the festival, but the problem is this: We can't have drunk sailors running around the ship. The ban was imposed because the Quorum Delegation is aboard and we have to maintain an absolute spirit of professionalism. They very likely intend to prove they should slash our budgets and seeing a lot of people drunk would probably help them prove exactly that. The other problem is the news reporters. We don't need a crewmember mouthing off. I know that the focus is on the devotion to the Gods and it is sincere. However, given the current ban, I think we would probably have more than a fair share of the ship claiming they need the day off for this. The first and third day I think we can work something out on, but I want to hear your suggestions on how we can make the second day work." Tillman keeps his voice even and relaxed as ever. There seems to be a genuine effort from his inflection.

Karthasi considers the counteroffer thoughtfully, not moving from her seat, nor even from her pose on her seat, even her fingers staying still, intertwined in one another. "Lift the ban within the chapel," she suggests, "The thought of coming to chapel will probably be enough to ward off most of the 'suddenly religious.' The spacial limitations will also put a crimp in the number of people intoxicated by the event. We will give the Lord his due rites without letting him reign over the entire vessel. As to the women's communion, I will ask those who wish to participate to meet with me ahead of time to discuss their participation, which will, again, cut down on the number of people who will arrive simply to drink." She pauses a moment, "I don't suppose it would do any good to send the Commander a copy of the Gospel of Pentheus," she asks, eyes flashing just a little bit.

"Interesting proposition." Tillman turns his eyes from her while he thinks it over. He rubs at his chin again, hand cupping over it a few times before looking back to her. "Okay. I think that might be something we can take. However, there is still the problem of our intrepid sailors getting lost on their way back to their berthings or getting mouthy inside the chapel. Let me propose this: Marines must escort everyone leaving the chapel back to their berthings where they will be restricted to for twelve hours following the event. This will cut down on those attending as well and still provide time for the following day. As well, I would like MP's stationed inside the chapel to ensure that if anyone gets rowdy or mouthy, they will be escorted to the brig. There very well may be civilians there and we need to control the situation as best we can. Is that agreeable?" he offers with a lofted brow.

Karthasi looks to the other Captain while he sets out his next offer. "Brigging someone in the midst of a devotion to the God would be most impious," she points out. "Taking someone forcibly from an altar is among the worst of our religious crimes. I will allow escorts from the chapel, but nobody must be taken therefrom against their will, at risk of profaning our very altar."

Karthasi pauses a moment, then offers, in compensation, "I can make the rites available to crew members only, if that would alleviate the pressure. Or if civilians wish to attend, have them sign onto confidentiality clauses that nothing witnessed within the chapel over the course of the rites will be divulged in any public forum."

Tillman lets out a long breath, considering the counter-offer. He wets his lips, looping to the coffee mug before reaching for it. There's another exhale before he continues. "I think the confidentiality clauses are an excellent suggestion, but I'm not entirely sure Sarkis would go for it without Marines there to ensure certain things. Would you be opposed to keeping any civilians separate from the rest of the crew during this? It would alleviate a lot of the problems that could potentially be encountered."

"You mean… perform the rites twice, once for civilians and once for military?" Greje considers the option, "It would be… a strain on the department, certainly, but if there's no other option, we can handle it that way."

Tillman picks up the pen on his pad and leans forward, tapping the end lightly on the paper. He stares at the table between them as if looking for some kind of middle ground. There's even a few muffled grunts from him. "I don't want you to have to perform the rites twice, though in tandem in two locations may be doable? Do you think Ensign Valens would be able to handle it on his own or would you prefer he assist you?" Still trying to get a feel for how this can work.

"He wouldn't be able to run the women's communion, obviously," Greje points out, "Since it is impiety for a man to witness it. It is also a religious stipulation that the events of the hierosgamos remain privy to those who have experienced it, if that helps ease any of the anxiety."

Tillman looks back to her from his lean forward and nods at the end. "So the only way we can make this work is to perform the rites under everyone at once? I don't want to strain your department, Captain. I saw the memo about the offerings. I imagine you all have enough on your plate." He taps the pen a few more times. "Alright. Then here's what we take to Sarkis: We have waivers. Nobody enters that chapel without one turned in to the Master at Arms. It stipulates that anything seen, witnessed, heard or otherwise experienced inside the temple during that time can in no way be used or discussed outside of that temple." What happens in Las Chapel, stays in Las Chapel. "It is a purely religious ceremony. Anyone who leaves, leaves the Chapel and is confined to Berthings for no less than twelve hours. But there are a few things you should be prepared for: Sarkis may not be religious and may flat out refuse to allow it. Also, you may be forced to offer the concession of allowing Marines to stay inside to monitor the festivities. But if not, you will more than likely be held accountable for the behavior and interactions inside. So if someone slugs a Quorum member or a news reporter, that may be something you have to deal with. I'm not threatening you, Sister, so please don't construe it that way." Tillman offers her an easy smile, hoping she doesn't take that the wrong way. "I just want to ensure that these things are considered. Sarkis may ask so we should be prepared with answers. Does this sound amenable?"

"It does. As long as nobody is removed from the chapel perimeter or from the altar without their consent, marines may keep the peace within," Greje gives this concession, as well. "Fistfights are not uncommon occurrences at Anthesteria celebrations, but with the addition of the waivers and the protection of the marines I should think Command's ass has been sufficiently covered, and I will stand for the behavior of my flock should it come down to that. I would ask that all marines who are let inside also sign this waiver."

"The waiver applies to all Marines as well. Nobody gets away without signing one. Including you, Sister. I know you have a code about not divulging personal information about people, but not a single person will be allowed in without it. We can't single out anyone." Tillman seems fairly set on that. The pen is tapped a few more times. "Alright. Now the other two days, what is the alcohol consumption like? If possible I would like to keep it minimized so that not one person drinks to excess. Is that doable?"

"Of course. A drink at the toast," Greje enumerates, "That's on the first day… and a drink at the feast on the last day," she goes on to list. "And recall that it's wine, and not very strong wine, either."

The TACCO nods a few more times. "Alright. As long as we are limiting people to one glass at each, I think we can make it work." A few more taps of his pen while he looks to the table between them again. "Yeah. If those are our best options, I think we can take this to Sarkis. It has my backing one hundred percent, Sister. I will send him a memo asking if he requires the decision or if I should handle this myself. If he wants to make it, I would appreciate your being there. I'm obviously not the expert in the matter." His eyes lift back to her. "Sound like a plan?"

"It does sound to be one, Captain," Greje nods her head, finally, then unfolds her hands and rests them on the armrests of her chair. "And only let me know, I will be there to defend the Lord's rites. Wouldn't want him to show his malicious side," she adds with a small smile, eyes flashing with something like a joke.

"I think I can get behind that, myself. I will let you know the moment a decision has been rendered. I'm sure you have a lot to do." Tillman flashes a grin. "Now is there anything else I can do for you, Sister? Anything at all?" The man's brow lofts, the offering simple and open.

"That's all, for now, Captain," Greje replies, uncrossing her legs and standing. "I thank you again for taking time to hear me out on this. And for allowing my aide to present, as well," she adds with a warmer smile. "He's being of great help to me."

Tillman rises with her, dipping his head. "Not ever a problem. Like I said when we first met - you may not be able to help me but I won't shy away from a discussion on the topic." He flashes her a friendly wink and smile. "And again, pass on my thanks to the Ensign for his brief. That was professional quality. I can only hope he performs that well down in the Chapel for the rest of the crew. Its a pleasure working with you, Captain."

"And with you, Captain. Ah, yes. You expressed interest in a discussion on monotheistic theories," Greje recalls in a light, airy tone. "Why don't I put up a flier for a discussion circle and see if I can garner interest?"

Tillman gives a grin. "Actually Sister, I'm an atheist. But if you're looking for some flavor I think I might be able to add some. All in good discussion of course. And all in our off-duties." The man chuckles with the offer. "But if you'd prefer to keep it with monotheism, I might sit in on it. My dad told me once that the beauty of ideas is the potential to change your own. Never know. I might learn something, eh?"

"The line between monotheism and atheism is a remarkably thin one," Greje reports, a laugh loitering in her voice as she makes some theological pun probably a handful of people on board would actually understand and looking delighted to have done so, as well. "Do come. I love a conversation," she offers him, warmly.

Tillman's smile warms, chuckling a bit. "Many versus one versus zero. Well-played, Sister." He laughs a bit more. "Alright then, yeah. I'll be there for sure. I know people tend to get pretty worked up about this stuff but mostly I consider the topic more academic. Helps to keep some levity to it. But I'm looking forward to it. Let me know when you have it scheduled? I may even stop by the chapel to see how the celebrations are going in the coming days, if that's alright? I won't make any comments about my beliefs there, I assure you."

"Do so," Greje encourages him. "I'll put up a notice on the bulletin board outside the chapel when I schedule the discussion circle. And perhaps you yourself ought to come to the festivities. You may find a little bit of God inside of you, Captain."

"I'll try and stop by but no promises. If Command wants to participate then my post will by in CIC by obligation. I will make an effort, though. If anything, it will just be nice to see the high spirits of the crew." The man seems genuine about it. He's probably got a big family back home someplace. "If I happen to find something?" He shrugs. "Then hey, wouldn't that just be the will of the Gods?" her ventures with a smirk. Two can play at that humor.

"Just because the lords will greatness for you doen't give you leave to sit at home all day. The lords will you to work at it," Greje reminds him with a smile. "Do come if you can. And let me know about that other meeting. Thank you again, Captain. Good day," she bends a little at the waist, lowering her head in more a religious farewell than a militaristic one before she takes her leave.

Tillman's brow rises gently and he nods. "Very well-said. I couldn't agree more. But I will on both counts. Be well, Sister." He dips at the waist a bit too to offer the same respect. He may not carry the beliefs but he'll afford the respect due.

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