PHD #011: Lines of Doctrine
Lines of Doctrine
Summary: Cylon bombing patterns seem to mirror doctrinal lines in Colonial religion. Greje seeks advice from someone on the other side of the line.
Date: 03/09/2041
Related Logs: None
Cidra Karthasi 

Karthasi's desk is beginning to look like a library got piss drunk and vomited all over it, books open on top of books, bits of pages with stickynotes attached peeking out from under other pages with other notes attached, maps and notebooks set out with annotations all over them, the Priest hunching over her desk, standing as she bends over it, looking from text to text.

Cidra winds her way out of her little lair in the offices and approaches Karthasi's desk. She makes no real effort to do so quietly but her footfalls aren't heavy, boots or no boots. "Sister Karthasi."

Karthasi looks up briskly from her texts, then stands, less briskly, hand moving to her back like an old woman, rickety and frail, back cracking several times as she unfurls it. "Cidra. Thank you for coming on such short notice. Can you please close the hatch?" she asks, breathless, a moment, at the pain in her back. "May I make you a bit of tea?"

Cidra slips into the chaplain's little area, closing the hatch behind her and sitting. Long legs crossing. A faint wince as she hears the cracking. "You should attend to your chair more often. And perhaps invest in a cushion." The barest hint of a smile comes to her lips, though it doesn't quite reach her eyes. "Tea would be lovely, thank you. And of course. I am at your call, Sister."

"Oh, it's… not the chair," Greje smiles just a little as she prepares two mugs of tea, "Too much time in supplication at the altar. It's… an occupational hazard. You should hear my knees, sometimes. The genuflection will… get you, eventually." She shuffles around the perimeter of her desk, and hands off one mug to the CAG, looking to her with a brow-furrowing seriousness. "As I am… certain you are aware, my home colony and yours have had a long history of disputes as to the fundaments of religious dogma and doctrine."

Cidra lets out a low chuckle. A brief one. She's in no mood for true humor. "I sympathize. And I know the feeling." A pause and she adds, "CAP in a cockpit will do a number on one's back. And one's backside." She waits until her mug of tea is ready, then takes it. A small but rather wry nod at that last. "The clergy of Gemenon is most strict in its interpretation of the scriptures. We see many things different than outsiders. Moreso than anyone, perhaps, save the Sagittarons."

"I like to think of myself as a very open-minded member of the clergy, Cidra," Greje goes on, "I… put in a request with your colleges to be allowed to serve the Lords on Gemenon for a while, to be able to observe and learn about your interpretations of the scriptures and rites." She presses her lips together, "My request was denied." This is no shock— outsiders aren't typically welcome. "Some of the views I'd published up to that point were considered too radical." Which is to say that she was blacklisted as a heretic. Again, not uncommon for a priest from Caprica. "As a result, I am sorry to say that my knowledfge of your rites and institutions are… woefully limited."

"I like to think of myself as a very open-minded member of the clergy, Cidra," Greje goes on, "I… put in a request with your colleges to be allowed to serve the Lords on Gemenon for a while, to be able to observe and learn about your interpretations of the scriptures and rites." She presses her lips together, "My request was denied." This is no shock— outsiders aren't typically welcome. "Some of the views I'd published up to that point were considered too radical." Which is to say that she was blacklisted as a heretic. Again, not uncommon for a priest from Caprica. "As a result, I am sorry to say that my knowledge of your rites and institutions is… woefully limited."

"Most chaplains in the Colonial Fleet who I have met must keep an open mind," Cidra says. Whether she approves of that or not is hard to tell from her tone. "You must minister to all a ship, after all. There are reasons why so few from my world enter the Fleet, even the ecclesiastical services. Not all see the world in such…liberal terms." A small nod of her head. "I have been in the Navy near on fifteen years, Sister. I am accustomed to such things. For what is it worth, I have thus far been not displeased with you." Whether Karthasi needs her approval or not. "You seem kind and well-meaning, and at least knowledgeable in the broader rites. This, I do figure, is all one can expect."

"I… thank you… for your vote of confidence," Greje answers the woman. As backhanded as she may have found the compliment, she keeps that firmly off the radar, for now, "But I find myself in need of the aid of someone knowledgeable in Gemenese traditions. I have had… some… unusual news, from Command, concerning certain patterns discovered in the Cylon assault of the colonies. They may be… sheer coincidence, but there is a chance that the targets may have been chosen partially due to religious significance."

Cidra's blue eyes widen a touch at that. She intakes a breath, straightening her posture. Her composure is maintained, though the prospect of this seems to unnerve her a bit. "Religious significance? How so?" She adds, "I am, of course, at your disposal, Sister. In any way I can be. I hope I shall be of use. I was never properly initiated into Athena's Order. My path…the gods took me in another direction. I am not privy to Her deepest mysteries."

Karthasi draws her lips together, "There are two points of data in particular which, in combination with one another, arouse suspicion in my mind," she gives her bit of preamble. "The first…" she looks a little wary of saying aloud, as if to jinx the thing. "Delphi has not been bombed." She lets that one sit there for a moment. "That… is not to say that it has not been attacked by… ground force, or… localized shelling. But it is, for the most part… still there."

"Hasn't it…? Ahh…" Cidra exhales softly, turning that over in her head, not quite knowing what to make of it. "That must give you much comfort, Sister. That your holy places might still be intact." Yours. Not hers. "But it is strange, I do agree. Tactically, Delphi is a population center on Caprica. I would think it would be a target. Have you noticed such…sparing upon…on the other colonies?" She stops herself from asking what she clearly wants to ask.

Karthasi holds her tea close to her. "It… well," she looks aside. "The sanctity of the Amphictyony is a blessing for all of us," she tries to summon up some enthusiasm to back up that claim, but, for the most part, she simply looks and sounds troubled. When her eyes find Cidra's again, she looks almost hesitant to continue, "But no. On other colonies there seemed to be no such correlation. And on Gemenon…" she takes a brief, centering breath, "It seems as though religious targets were actually preferred to population centers. Which… while it leaves Gemenon as one of the colonies with the greatest potential for survivors…" she tries to bring out that silver lining, first, "I… I really don't know what to say about the significance of the targetting. I don't know why or how the Cylons might have chosen sides in the amphictyonic schism… if that's… even what this is…" she lifts one hand, helpless. "It… doesn't make any sense. To me, at least."

"I…I had not noticed this," Cidra admits, paling a bit. She looks down at her tea. She does not drink, swallowing. "It is…it is most strange, if you have the right of it. Very…very disturbing…oh gods have mercy upon us…" That last is muttered more to herself than Karthasi. Deep breath. "What do you need of me, Sister? I can take a look at the sites on my Gemenon that were…targeted. See if I can find a pattern, perhaps."

"If you would, yes, Cidra," Greje stands, and comes around to the back of her desk, setting her tea aside and moving around the avalanch of books to display a map she'd been working with. "I… wish to tell you that I believe in the equal sanctity of all sacred places… if a machine may carry miasma with it… these creatures are now heavy with the pollution of hubris, to have attacked the homes of the Lords. They will find their own downfall."

"We shall deal them out the vengeance of the gods if it is within my power," Cidra murmurs. Softly, but with a taunt sort of anger about her voice. She straightens a little, so her gaze can follow Karthasi to her map. In a more audible tone she adds, "I shall assist in any way I can, Sister, you've my word upon it."

"Would that the Lords grant you your wishes, Cidra, and make you their vessel for the performance of correct deeds," the Sister answers, head bowed. "I have marked all the sanctuaries and temples that seemed to have been the foci of the atomic assault on Gemenon. The other atomic blast sites I've marked out in pencil… if there are any temples there, I do not know of them. But I do know that the locations of many of your places of worship are not public knowledge to outsiders. I do not wish for you to profane the mysteries of your ancestral cults by giving out their locations to a heretic… but… if the Cylons somehow knew of these locations, please… let me know."

Cidra looks at the map. Just silently looks at it for a long time. Her blue eyes seem to get lost in it and, as she stares, tears creep into the depths of them. She doesn't not try to stop them. She doesn't even notice, really, once they start running down her cheeks. "May I…may I have a pad and pencil, please?" Her voice chokes a little.

Karthasi takes up a notebook and flips it to a new page, a mechanical pencil stuck in the top rings of it as she comes around and hands it over with one hand, her other hand moving to the woman's back. "Do you need a moment?" she wonders. "I'm sorry, I've… been looking at this map for hours, I… ah… should have given you some warning, first."

"Thank you…" Cidra takes the writing implements but, for the moment, she just clutches them, Staring at the map. She blinks rapidly, trying to clear her vision. "I had not been home in three years. All my focus…it was on earning this…becoming CAG of the new Mercury seemed oh-so-very important to me. The time it just…it slips away, you know? You always think there will be more of it but…" She closes her eyes. "I can still see my father's garden in the house where I grew up. In the back of the Temple my mother kept. My youngest sister had her fourth child two years ago…he would be walking now…I never got to meet him…"

Karthasi slides her hand to Cidra's shoulder, clutching there with a supportive squeeze and standing there with her, overlooking the maps. "You had no way of knowing that time would be cut so short, Cidra. And your career… well… it didn't just seem important… it was important. Wasn't it? We all have finite time, and… no matter what we do, we always regret some of its expenditure along the way. I'm sure your family realized how important your job was to you. Understood why you had to be away."

"Perhaps…" Cidra says. She doesn't sound like she quite agrees, but she doesn't argue the point. She reaches up her free hand, the one not holding the writing implements, to clasp Greje's briefly. Deep breath. She then starts making some notes on the paper. "I will want to consult my books. I still have some of my theology texts from university. I remember many of these places but the years…the years make the full meaning fuzzy. I do not read them as often as I should anymore…" Scritch, scritch, scritch.

"Any help that you can give, Cidra," Greje returns the over-shoulder clasp. "Any at all. This is… obviously not your job, and I very much appreciate you spending time on the question. I would also appreciate… well… this data was given over to my department in hopes that we could find some answers. I don't think that the information is classified, precisely, but I think it would be best for crew morale not to let it be widely known, the discrepancies in the bombings. Religion is a touchy subject for many people, and, as people are already under duress… this sort of data may easily agitate people into conflict over regional and religious differences."

Cidra nods shortly to that. "Morale. Yes. I quite agree. I shall keep it close. I do promise you that as well." She has a way of giving such promises half as if taking an oath. She gently tears the paper from the pad once she's done making her notes, setting the paper itself back on Karthasi's desk. The paper she takes is folded and tucked into her uniform pocket. "I shall try and make something of this, Sister, though my mind is all a muddle of it. As you said. It is…all most fearful strange."

"I don't understand any of it, Cidra. I must be plain with you," Greje admits with a soft sigh. "I never knew a machine with any religion. Much less a stance one way or the other on official doctrine." She goes to move back around her desk, hunting for a file folder. "Speaking of morale, Cidra, I— have competed my search for those under your command whose souls were safe in the knowledge of the mysteries of the Lords before their deaths…" if she can just find that— ah. Here it is. She holds up the folder.

Cidra smiles that bare hint of a smile. It's not happy, but it is grateful. "That shall be a comfort. I have prayed for them, and I shall continue to do so. Were these ordinary times I would write letters home to their families. As it is…I shall just keep the names with me. All the names. Until I can hold them in my head without a ledger."

Karthasi offers over the folder. "Save your prayers for the lost souls, Cidra," she gives her advice, "And rejoice in the blessings conferred upon those saved for a joyous afterlife." She doesn't sound to be doing much rejoicing, herself, but the sentiment is there, no less.

"So say we all, Sister. I thank you for your work," Cidra says, taking the folder and inclining her head deeply to Karthasi in an almost bow-like gesture. She looks on point of leaving, but does not just yet. "Sister. If I may ask. I have wondered long, but I had not the courage to…the auspices. The holy sacrifice, when you read the omens before the ship left drydock…" She trails off, grappling for how to phrase her question. "…Sister, have you found any meaning in that?"

Karthasi takes a deep breath at the next question. "I have not found anything comparable in the databases," she admits. "I… sent images of the auspices and a narrative of events to the Amphictyony in hopes that they would be able to consult with the Pythia on my behalf. But no notice was returned before the attacks."

"I have seen the readings of the auspices many times before. I have never seen the like of it," Cidra says. "I do not consider myself a coward, Sister, but the sight of it filled me with fear. For this ship. For what path the gods might have for it, and us. And yet…we are alive. We are alive, while so many billions are dead. I cannot reconcile it in my mind."

"It -may- be that the auspices were neant to indicate that Niree Tuata's word should not be ignored as to the safety of the vessel," Greje offers up the possibility. "I had considered the option. Her word was subsequently heeded and Cerberus underwent certain important repairs before the engagement began. Sometimes omens are sent to warn, and not to doom."

Cidra thinks on that. It is unclear what she makes of it, but it is an angle it does not seem she has considered. "The ways of the gods are mysterious, Sister. And I am not wise enough to understand them. But, I shall try to make what sense I can. I thank you for your time and…thank you." She does not expound on what for, precisely. "I shall speak with you again soon."

"You're very welcome, Cidra. And thank you, as well. For all your help." Greje lowers her head, bending her back a little in a bow of gratitude. "Do come by, anytime."

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