PHD #135: Impressions and Monotheism
Impressions and Monotheism
Summary: Tillman visits the Sister to discuss the new Eleven.
Date: 11 July 2041 AE
Related Logs: Civility
Karthasi Tillman 
Naval Offices
This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.
Post-Holocaust Day: #135

Karthasi is in her office, her desk chair turned at an odd angle from her desk as she talks over some matter over the ship's phone lines with someone up on deck eight. "Yes, if you'd come in, oh— thank you—" she interrupts herself as one of her NCOs drops a memorandum on her desk, one that makes her brows knit and her nostrils flare for a moment, though it doesn't invade her voice. "Yes, come in tomorrow," she nods a dismissal to the NCO and then spins in her chair to open her diary, "Oh nine thirty hours alright with you?" she goes on to ask, "Good, we'll meet then. You're very welcome; I'm here to serve you," she reminds the person over the phone, then hangs up, penning in the appointment for the morning — way too early, in her book, but there you have it — and then chews anxiously on the butt of the pen before picking up the phone again and dialing, hoping to get the XO in his quarters.

Pre-empted. Tillman knocks on the door as he opens it. "Sister? Wanted to grab you for a few minutes. Got a few things to go over with you." He looks fairly serious. "And no, its not about our scheduled sparring match." A flicker of a smile.

"Clive?" Greje replies as if into the phone, then, head lifting, she looks to the XO, then the phone, then the XO again, rather sheepishly setting the phone back into the receiver. "Ah— of course, Clive. Please, have a seat."

The XO chuckles shortly and moves to take up the offered chair. "I'll cut right to the chase." He leans forward, the man still in his duty greens. "I just interviewed our Cylon prisoner. Talked to her at length about a few things. I had to cut it off because sh- it is still pretty ill." That's going to be a pain for him. He'll probably stop trying to correct himself eventually. "I'm pretty famous for being ignorant of religion, so I'm going to need your help. What do you know about Kobol being a real place?"

"About Kobol being a real place?" Greje asks the question back to Clive in a tone of voice as if he'd just asked her why a duck. "I mean… in what sense? We must have colonized our homeworlds from somewhere— the old texts call it Kobol, so we may as well call it that, as well. In terms of… where that planet was, or what it was like, or why we left…" she trails off, "We know very little… from a scientific point of view. There have certainly been efforts to read into the texts and 'map' a 'course' from there to some of the colonies… the Exodoi preserved in the heretical Taurian Hereditary Scriptures are a prime source of material… or even get some notion of the planet's topography. But it's all very shaky. These weren't the details they were interested in preserving, for the most part."

"So beyond religious questions, you can't think of a reason to actually try and find it." Tillman takes a long breath. "The prisoner indicated that a particular model of the Cylons are interested in our history and that one was particularly interested in finding Kobol. Its got me curious as to why anyone might look for it." He drums his fingers on his knees. "One more thing? These Cylons? They're monotheists. She-" he does it again, "talked about God quite a few times during our discussion."

"I'm sure that people with an interest in history and archaeology would love to find such a place, as well," Greje answers Clive. "To know how we lived there, what aspects of their culture developed into aspects of our own… it would answer a great many questions, but— people have been looking for it for ages, without any luck. We simply have very little documentation from which to work. Would you care for some tea?" she remembers to offer him. "And there are several different monotheistic heresies and traditions practiced by our various peoples. Did she say anything about what this divinity was like?"

This all strikes Tillman, apparently, as if its inconsequential. He just looks away to the floor, deep in thought. "I just can't picture why anyone would want to go there when their..well, no. I was going to say that their goal was to wipe out humanity. But she said this model wasn't so interested in fighting. That it was more likely to ask questions than actually shoot at us." He lifts his gaze back to her. "Uhm, no. She said nothing about it, really. I didn't want to ask because I have more pressing issues. But it does concern me. She blessed me with God's mercy for being kind or something like that. Said that God had implanted certain functions and prohibitions into their minds."

Karthasi pricks up her metaphorial ears at that last comment, scrabbling through the notepads stacked upon her desk until she finds something— "Ah— yes," she runs her finger along the remarks. "The Centurions seemed constrained by the same sort of morality when they were invading the starboard hangar deck," she points out. "It is the ancient pact of xenia, sacred to Zeus, who, in some heretical doctrines, is the only true Lord, the others all being aspects of the one universal, all-encompassing, hermaphroditic deity. When one offers a gift, or hospitality, or kindness, to a person, that person is obliged to return the favor. This reciprocity is smiled upon by the Lord, and all breaches of it punished."

"The Centurians had morality when they invaded the hangar deck?" Tillman blinks. Its obviously the first he's heard of this. That's gotta be baffling considering they shot up so much of the ship. "Hmm. So you think maybe the Cylon have adopted this sort of religious outlook? What migh happen if I said something like that back to her? Would it be considered heretical? Or welcomed?"

"You already seem to have made a good impression upon her, if her offer of divine protection is any indication," Greje points out. "Reciprocity is a large component of standard scriptural interpretation. If we assume that their Lord is a universal one— well, most monotheistic deities have to be, by their very nature, or else it comes into trouble when you ask 'how can a beneficent deity allow bad things to happen.' If you only have one god, it must, by sheer theological need, be equal parts benificent and malicious. A gracious and an indignant deity, as it were. Theos deinotatos, anthropoisi d' epiotatos…"

"Well the prisoner is quite cooperative. But we've got no way to prove much of what she's telling us. Though the tests we ran to see if she would tell us the truth matched up. And what she said seemed to match with what we know in limited senses. Filled in a few holes, as it were." Tillman still looks more than a little conflicted about this. "I was polite. Treated her very well. It was actually a very relaxed discussion. Promised to ensure her continued positive treatment as long as she refrained from violence. If that was such a good impression, hopefully that will buy us something." He takes a long breath. "So their belief structure allows for bad things to happen to them because their Lord must punish them for something?" Religious warfare whut?

"Most belief structures do, Clive," Greje can't help but smile just a little. "It's one of the fundamental roles religion plays for the human mind. 'Out of laughter and unthinkable dust, with sublime unreason comes all that is,'" she quotes from somewhere, "And given the choice between thinking that something bad is happening to us because we DID something to deserve it and thinking that something bad is happening to us because bad things sometimes happen and we are powerless to stop them— taking the blame for ourselves is by far the less frightening option."

"Yeah, I guess that makes a lot of sense. So, if these devoutly religious.. Gods, I hate to call them people." Another shake of his head. "This race, if they believe that destroying the Colonies was a distinct mistake and a horrible misdeed, then perhaps they might also believe that their God will somehow wreak retribution upon them for their mistake?"

"It stands to reason," Greje supposes, in a highly supposing manner, "But… well. It depends on the values of that particular deity. There are things we do which… most people agree are bad. Murder, for one. Murder is not a religious crime unless performed against certain people or in certain places. A crime, certainly. But not a religious crime. You'd have to be certain that they've performed an act that is -religiously incorrect,- rather than just… bad."

"Do you think that the leap could be made for guilt of the action to at least be convinced that it was a poor choice in the eye of their deity?" Tillman keeps his focus on Greje. "Or would that take a thorough understanding of their religious culture?" Something else occurs to him, then. "Do you think there might be a reason for monotheists to be looking for Kobol? Is there anything in the different scriptures about it?"

"Yes, certainly. Many Colonists have come to priests over the years seeking absolution for things that… quite frankly require no absolution. As I said before, religion plays that role for people. A release valve for the guilt built up by the inability to deal with an unjust universe. And so a man kills a man, and, for his guilt, seeks forgiveness for something that is not, strictly speaking, a sin," Greje gives an example. "It could depend on how strictly these people adhere to whatever scriptures they've come up with. Or, indeed, what these scriptures might say."

Tillman nods. "This would explain why the Cylon went after Gemenon the way they did. Taking out all those religious sites with tactical nuclear weapons. But it doesn't explain why they would leave someplace like Delphi alone." The XO seems to be picking at pieces of the larger puzzle, putting together the frame before the central meat. "Sister, would you be willing to talk to this model about their religion? See what they have come up with in regards to what their own views are? If they incorporated religious views into their initial attacks, then this could be something very serious."

"If she's willing to talk to me, I'm certainly willing to talk to her. I did some of my early thesis work on monotheistic heresies; I'd be very interested to see what she has to say," Greje answers honestly. "And I'll ask her about the targeting of some religious sites over others, as well, if you'd like."

"I actually think she might be delighted to talk to you. This model, or this -one- in particular, is quite talkative. Professes that she has a love for discourse and the exchange of ideas. Causation, too. I'm not looking for you to extract anything in particular from her other than to just explore their religion." The Major shakes his head lightly. "You can mention the attacks on Gemenon but I don't think she will know much about it. She claims that she's not military minded and doesn't have any interest in it. But I trust your experience with this. You will probably be able to chase the angles better than anyone else aboard."

"I will go and see her, then," Greje notes, flipping open her diary and… trying to find a time to go. Busypriestling chews on her pen a moment before remembering it's unladylike to do so in front of other people. "Oh. Speaking of guilt. I'm going to be running the Orestaion aboardship. It's a sort of spiritual…. spring cleaning. I've been recently made aware of some religious pollution on board and— well— it's good to perform from time to time in any case. May I count on your aid in appropriating space and resources for the rite?"

"Please do. I'll watch the video of the interview you do with her, but I'd like to speak with you afterwards and get your thoughts on the matters she brings up. I'll add your name to the access list right away." To the last, the Major lofts a brow. "That will depend heavily on what you need, Sister. I can't give any blanket support for something like that outside moral. What are you going to need?"

"Space, mostly," Greje answers, unable quite to keep a note of weariness from her voice. It's late, even for her, and she's a night owl. A night owl looking down the barrel of an early morning meeting. "There will be a procession from the deck to the chapel. There will subsequently be a procession from the chapel to the deck. I only require that it be made generally known that this will happen on a certain day at a certain time… still… in the process of being determined… that the crew will be aware of what is going on, if they happen to see anything unusual in the corridors on the appointed days."

Tillman nods a few times. "I don't see any problem with that. Just submit it up the pipeline and consider it done. Do you need anything from me personally? Or should I keep my distance from the ceremonies?" Seeing her tired, though, he smiles and rises from the chair. "I'll leave you alone. Get some rest, Sister. Ship needs you up and ready to wage some wars. We aren't gonna make it far without you."

"If you would like to participate in the rite, I would be glad to instruct you in its performance and significance," Greje offers, lowering her head and trying to fight of a yawn. "But not tonight. On Tuesday— we'll have time to discuss it then."

The Major lofts a brow. "We'll see. If it doesn't hurt anything, I might see about getting involved. But I'll see you Tuesday. We can go over it while we bare-knuckle." He winks and moves for the door. "Sleep well when it finds you, Sister," he says with warmth as he closes the door behind him.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License