PHD #224: Ibbhabibble
PHB #224: Ibbhabibble
Summary: Rose goes to see Astra about some writing supplies, and the two talk about survival, and giving back.
Date: 08 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Astra Rose 
Hangar Deck - Starboard - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end. Whatever could be made into cots has been set up like a huge barracks. Some areas have been made more presentable with a few items that belong to the person holding onto their small area in this world. Marines guard this area 24/7 and food is brought in cafeteria style, feeding people out of vats and buckets as they line up with their plates. One area has been tarped off to the side, that holds canvas showers and sinks. As a small improvement in the standard of living, the Head, showers, and sinks have been hooked up to running water and sewage, meaning that they no longer stink or need to be cleaned daily.
Post-Holocaust Day: #224

In an area set apart from the civilian berthings, two makeshift rooms have been set up. From them, for the past few hours, has come a soft hum of voices, punctuated by stretches of silence and a brief time of childish amusement. Now from this area come pouring slightly more than a couple-dozen children, seven of them keeping together in a pack. Many of the children carry with them makeshift notebooks or schoolbooks, and they return to their "home" areas much like normal children coming home from school. Following the pack of seven is Astra, leaning on a pair of crutches. Her twins are settled in the baby-sling; her children carry her books with theirs. She heads with them back to their cots, trailing behind them, humming happily to herself.

Making her way over to the makeshift school and children area is Rose Ibbhanas, tapping with her whitestick. It didn't take her long to learn the perimeter of the area, and she's learned to follow the sound of the most amount of children in one area. "Astra? Astra, are you about?" She calls out, not too far off from the woman and her gaggle of kids.

Astra stops, looking up, and she smiles. "I'm over here," she calls, leaning herself on a crate. One of the girls, Missy, goes over to the blind woman. "She's over this way, ma'am, if you want to follow me. Really close." In the meanwhile, Astra is sending off her other children to their cots, speaking in a low whisper first to one, then the other, kissing a cheek here and ruffling a head of hair there. "How are you, Rose?" she asks.

Smiling at the helpful girl, Rose allows herself to be led over. "Thank you," she says to the girl. "You're very kind." Looking up to Astra's general vicinity, she inclines her head, resting her whitestick against her shoulder. "I'm well, Astra, thank you. How is your ankle doing? And…" She nods over towards the veritable fortress beside them. "How's all this going? I'm so glad you had a space set up."

"The ankle feels like the Marines were using it for target practice…" Astra's voice trails off, and she hands Missy back her books and the little girl dashes off. "Seeya, Mama! Seeya Miss Ib… Ibbha… Ibbhabibble…" The girl frowns a moment, then dashes off, figuring that's close enough. Astra shakes her head. "Target practice. Still better than yesterday, when it felt like it was being used by the Viper pilots for target practice. But all this is going well. Still sorting out where some of the kids are at, but should be ready in just a few days to integrate other teachers into the mix." Her voice is happy, somewhat excited. "How are you?"

Rose laughs brightly at the girl mispronouncing her name. She folds her hands together, bouncing a little on the balls of her feet. "Oh, I'm doing as well as I can. Mrs. Hammond and I are starting to transcribe some work I did on my project at Colchis University. It's very slow, and there's a lot I don't remember, but we're trying to get as much math on paper that I can recall in preparation of that freighter they're fixing being made spaceworthy. Think of it - our own home! And fresh vegetables, eventually, too!"

"Oh…." Astra's stomach rumbles, and she chuckles. "Yes. Fresh vegetables. Carrots and onions and beets and squash… oh, to have some fresh-cut squash baked with butter and beans…" The woman shakes herself. "Not that even canned and pickled and rations are bad. Gods, after Aerilon, any food easy to get and… in plenty… seems almost decadent. She stops herself, blinking. "Harvest. It's harvest time, a lot of places. You know… we should have a celebration. I mean, honor the dead, yes…. but…. a feast… a… no, celebration isn't exactly the right word. Something more solemn. To give thanks for what we do have." She shakes herself. "If there's anything you need, Rose… let me know."

Rose tilts her head to the side a little, and a smile spreads across her face. "Yes, that would be a wonderful idea. I think, with the recent supplies scavenged and delivered to the civilians, a little celebration might do us good. Even if it's solemn, like you say. Hmm. Harvest festival…" She taps her chin in thought. "Oh! I remember why I came over here! Do you have any spare pens or pencils I could steal? One or two would be fine. And some paper? I know supplies are tight, but with the work I'm doing, we quickly run out of things to write on and with."

"Oh yes, certainly!" Astra claps her hands together. "Here, if you come with me, I have a few boxes of school supplies. I can give you three notebooks, for starters, and a half-dozen pencils, if that would work? And, of course, can give you more if more is needed. Will that work?" She smiles. "Myself I sketch on any little scrap of anything. You know, if there's room and power enough, we could grow plants suitable to make paper out of. That would be useful, maybe, too?"

"Well, there are a number of alternatives; chamalla hemp is actually remarkably good for paper," Rose says as she taps after Astra. "Hmm, I think I remember one hectare generates twenty five tonnes of dry material for processing. That's a lot of paper. Hmm. I'll have to mention that in my report to Major Cavanaugh."

"And can be used to make rope and cloth, too," answers Astra. "Rope will be good if we end up with animals like those sheep. And cloth, well… that would be nice. If anyone knows how to weave. But I do know how to make paper. And paints and inks and dyes, too, for that matter. Not as good as a farmer, I suppose, but… it's something, at least." She leads Rose into one of the school-rooms, then lowers herself down awkwardly to rummage through one of the boxes.

Rose glances askance, cloudy eyes focusing on something in thought while Astra digs. "You know, Astra, I've been thinking… you've managed to get up and running like I knew you could. And you did it without the military getting involved. I'm… proud of you." She looks back to the woman, smiling. "Can I help? I'd need an assistant, of course, but I could teach general sciences and mathematics and whatnot. You know, the 1-2-3's. If you'd like?"

"But they did help," protests Astra. "I didn't go to anyone directly, ask anyone. Just… one day some of the engineers came and asked me about room sizes. They re-arranged the storage crates to make the rooms. People volunteered, civilian and military, to make desks out of empty crates. The borrowed the JAG office to make facsimiles of the books they brought back. I painted blackboards." She sighs. "But it didn't seem something 'commanded", if you know what I mean. It was more organic than that. Asking how they can help…" She wipes at her eyes. "I would love to have your help, Rose." She pushes aside a few booklets, then crows softly. "Ah, here we are. Three notebooks. And the pencils."

"But you did it without demanding," Rose says, reaching out and touching the woman on the shoulder. "They helped on their own accord. I know some might say I'm a pacifist or a passivist or a military suck-up, or what have-you," she says, making a face as if she just bit into a lemon. "Patience, prayer, and working together will see us through. I know it." Her sour-face turns back into a reassuring smile for Astra. "Is there anything else I can do to help?"

"Some people wouldn't include Miss Sawyer, would it?" Astra asks softly. She stuffs the supplies into a webbed shopping-bag liberated from the Aerilon mall. "Here we go." She rubs at the back of her neck. "I don't want to demand anything. Not if there's any other way. Right now, civilians and military, we're not used to being all stuck together like this. Do I want a civilian government? No. I want a government, where civilians and military are equal. Where neither side has to *demand*. Where there… aren't sides. Where it isn't us and them." She gives a little half-embarrassed laugh. "If you're a pacifist and a passivist and everything else, then I'm a fool idealist. Dreamer. Fine."

Rose laughs softly, and offers to give the woman a hug. "Maybe we're both fools," she says. "But I think that we're surviving. Maybe a little more than just surviving."

Astra accepts the embrace. Returns it. She shakes her head slowly. "We were surviving. We're doing what we can to go beyond that. To live again. Because…" She takes a deep breath. "Because survival is just a start. Because if that is all we manage, then we lose so much of what it is to be human. And then… that's when the Cylons have really won. So we live. And we do it in the face of all odds. And then, even if there's only a handful… we've still written a legacy as bright as the stars. And that's a lousy metaphor, but it's the best I have right now."

Rose peers into the face of the other woman, doing her best to try to just see her. "Astra, remember Miss Lunair's wedding? That was the gods giving back to us. Finally, Poseidon stopped just taking. He gave back. The ritual of give and take has reset itself. We're on the verge of something great, I can feel it. I promise." Smiling, she takes up the bag of supplies. "You let me know what I can do to help around here, hmm? I used to be a Masters student; I've taught undergrads. If I can teach whiny, over-privileged undergrads, I can probably teach children."

"I remember it." The other woman smiles, remaining still for the sake of Rose's damaged eyes. "Give and take. A new cycle. A new turning of the wheel. That is another reason to have that festival. To give our thanksgiving offerings to the gods. So that they mayy know that we have accepted their tests. So they know that we have not abandoned them, so that they will know that we know they haven't abandoned us." She reaches for her crutches again. "I would love to have you as a teacher. I think you will do a wonderful job. Sciences, especially, maths, yes. Also… Leyla suggested actually teaching hydroponics. I think it's an idea with merit."

"If their food is going to be partially coming from hydroponics, they should at least know how it's made!" Rose declares with a grin. "I can start whenever you want me to. Tomorrow, even," she says. Hoisting up the bag, she takes a step back and orients her cane towards the way she came. "Thanks again, Astra. Have a good night."

"Tomorrow morning. Eleven, maybe? They'll be getting hungry around then, and I think it will help them make the connection. Or we can do earlier if that works. Tell you what, I'll free-form the lessons tomorrow morning, so you can stop by whenever is best for you." Astra rises awkwardly, balancing herself on one foot and her crutches. "Thank you very much, Rose. Ibbhabibble. Poor Missy." She laughs. "Have a good night as well."

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