PHD #447: Logic of Faith
Logic of Faith
Summary: The Priestess of the Cult of Tyr has a chat about religion with a maybe-faithful marine.
Date: 19 May 2042 AE
Related Logs: No Chariots, No Trumpets
Rose Madilyn 
Hydroponics - MV Elpis
Encompassing most of the port cargo pod, this area has been reconfigured to host a massive hydroponics operation. A latticework of catwalks and narrow ladders, pipes and transparent plastic enclosures, and grow-lighting surrounds rows upon rows of vegetables at varying stages of growth. Evenly-distributed pump machinery rumbles and clatters along, pumping nutrition-enriched water throughout the quietly moving system. A small portion of the hydroponics area deals with the cultivation of seedlings, providing a plastic membrane for the young plants until they have larger root systems. Rows of tanks line the outside wall, apparently some sort of algae growing facility - greens, ambers, and reds all cast a colorful tint. And at the fore area of the pod, many bins and tables and several refrigeration and packaging stations have been set up to handle the processing of vegetables harvested from this constant process.

There are workers here at seemingly all hours, monitoring the machines and the flow of life-giving water to the thousands of plants, transplanting new seedlings, or harvesting and packaging vegetables that have grown to maturity. At all hours, the facility is guarded.

A small set of rooms at the fore of the hydroponics bay houses a triage and first aid treatment center. The freighter's sickbay is a minimal affair, containing a few beds and some basic equipment. A front desk is staffed by a corpsman at all times, and there's a small waiting area consisting of plastic chairs and some old magazines. A small office, shared by the doctors and nurses who work here, stands privately off to the side, where patient files are kept under lock and key.

Condition Level: 3 - All Clear
Post-Holocaust Day: #447

It's another day in Hydroponics, much like the previous, and much like the ones to come. Various folk come and go; those who are scientists and technicians, and those who are gatherers. Naturally, the labor force far outnumbers the brains of the operation. More often than not, there are only one or two in the "office" area of the converted cargo bay. Tonight, it's Rose Ibbhanas, occasionally poking at her experiment and monitoring equipment, but every so often walking over to a printer and feeding it a variety of different, already-used paper, sheet by sheet, printing on the blank side. She seems quite busy.

One person would surely stand out among the civilian workers here in the hydroponics bay. She's not a civilian, nor is she the stationed corpsman or black-clad MP. No, rather, she's wearing the tan duty uniform of a Marine, trousers bloused, boots tied as tight as the bun in her hair, and of course, a sidearm strapped (and snapped) into the holster on her thigh. Watching the workers as they go about their routine, and not intending to bother them, Madilyn walks to the offices at the front of the bay, finding the operation under way. "I had an idea I'd find you here," she says to Rose in lieu of a proper greeting.

"There's no where I'd rather be," Rose offers cheerfully as Madilyn makes herself known. "Hello, Major. Or is it Lt. Colonel now? Not that I'd recognize the pins or the bars if my life depended on it." She sets down her clipboard, turning to face the visitor, and clasping her hands together.

"It's Lieutenant Colonel now, in fact. It seems everyone is taking to that new rank faster than I am, sometimes." She stands in the doorway of the offices, and her eyes flick to the printer…especially to the motley collection of papers that are being run through it to print out the message. "I suppose the other rumors are true then. You're printing and distributing this manifesto as well?"

Rose casts a guilty glance back towards the printer. "I suppose you're here to play 'good cop' to Gunnery Sergeant Constin's 'bad cop', yes?" She asks, no hint of sarcasm or exasperation in her voice. "Lt. Colonel Cavanaugh, you were one of the people to reach out to me when I was first rescued. You have a special place in my heart. so if there's something you need to say, please, say it, and I will do my best to listen."

The words cause Madilyn to give a little sigh and lower her head, to rub her temples. "Always good cop and bad cop. I'm just trying my best to play neutral cop. Impartial cop. Fair and just cop. What the Gunny does is…well, it's his business. He answers to me, but he thinks for himself." Rose's last statement to Madilyn causes her to pause a moment, not quite sure of why she's here. "I came to see for myself, I suppose. I read the words for myself, to see the conviction for myself. I've a number of decisions and recommendations to make, and I want to know - to believe - I'm making the correct ones." Another pause. "My godsdamned need to be right in everything."

"Well, you're either religious, or you're not," Rose begins, leaning her hip up against a heavy table, half-perching on it. "If you're not religious, then there's nothing I can say that may convince you. This is about faith and belief. Too many things have happened in the past fifteen or sixteen months that are coincidence. Dreams, visions, experiences… they all lead towards one inexorable conclusion: the gods are speaking to us. They are leading us towards our destiny. Bannik is simply unfettered enough, because of his youth I suspect, but because he's brilliant - and brilliant minds operate on a different wavelength. One of us had to step up. I didn't see it because there were things I didn't know. But now, knowing what I know, I can't help but… feel it."

The talk of visions gets Madilyn to shift a bit - subtle, but not that subtle - and she runs her palm over her lips before pulling her mouth back in a bit of a pained look. "Visions, yes. I've heard rumors of them as well…more than rumors now that people are beginning to talk about what they've seen. Specialist Bannik included." When Madilyn looks back up, it doesn't seem as if she needs to be convinced. "I'm not especially religious, no. It's one less thing I inherited from my mother, but now…I don't know anymore. I think more and more about what's been taken and what's been given. What we have, how we've been aided. There's evidence piling up, there's a deep spirituality of course. I'm not here to tell you what you can and cannot print, of course, I'm here to understand, I suppose. I'm here to rationalize away what I can. Maybe."

Rose nods slowly, allowing herself to smile. "Well, would you like to sit, and talk about it? I've some time right now. Or, rather, I can make time for someone whose searching for answers." Well, doesn't she sound like the would-be priestess. "I promise I'll keep the scripture talk down to an absolute minimum."

"Oh yes, I'm Caprican…but not from Delphi. I'm from Cap City, home of academics and business." Spotting one of those backless stools on wheels, Madilyn hooks it with her boot, and takes a seat. "Do you recall, months ago, when I proposed to have you act as a civilian voice to the fleet? When I volunteered to have an ear to any rumblings and grumblings from people here?"

Rose remains where she is, apparently comfortable enough perched on the desk. She folds her arms across her chest. "Yes, well, that was a wonderful thought, then, wasn't it?" She asks, tone playful. "When Sawyer Averies passed some political responsibilities on to me, I at first thought it would be a great honor, and a great opportunity, to organize the civilians into a cohesive… well, population." She shrugs lightly. "More often than not, lately, I help settle disputes between groups. I'm not much of a political leader, and there are so many disparate groups if you can believe it, no one wants to work together." She sighs. "Folks only seem interested to what they can hoarde for themselves, and what they can take from others. The story of humanity, I suppose."

"Humanity is…well, it is what it is. It's hard to give up all thought of oneself and rely on the strangers around you, rely on them not to steal, or not to take advantage of, or not to hoard for themselves." Or to murder. "There's a fine line we're trying to walk…that I'm trying to get others to walk when it comes to this ship. Nobody would like it more than me if we could just figure out where to draw the line between treating you here like autonomous civilians, and treating you like one more ship in a military fleet. It's a matter of safety, but also of pride. You don't like the military presence here, and that's fine. It's your right, your opinion. But my job is to make sure there's just enough presence here to keep this ship flying right, flying without internal problems, without going overboard. Certain actions have made that increasingly difficult."

Rose rests a hand on her chest. "I don't mind the military here, and it keeps scoundrels like Rene-Marie in check," she protests lightly. "I value the military. I value what they have done, with rescuing and supporting the refugee population. You'll never hear me want to throw off the 'yoke of the military' - " She makes air-quotes around that. " - and to be honest, all of this - " She gestures around with the same hand, meaning, the hydroponics effort, and the Elips in general. "- It's better than living in a hangar meant for Raptors and Vipers. There's nothing that the military has done that I am not ungrateful for."

Madilyn sighs at that. "If only it could be so simple, and that everyone could see it so logically. It's a matter dividing my own marines, in fact. While I've reached a decision that I think is right, I'm sure it will incite others." While she talks, Madilyn has her hands on her knees, squeezing a bit. "Sometimes I envy those who can just do their job. I feel like everyday I'm walking a tight rope, and if I fall, then people are going to die. Maybe not now, but in the future. It used to be so simple, but now I have to second-guess myself and rethink everything." Another pause, then looking right at Rose, Madilyn admits "I wasn't ever a religious person, but there is a certain single-mindedness to it that I'm beginning to appreciate, if you'll allow for the crude description."

Rose frowns slightly, but it's a sympathetic expression. "Well, to be perfectly honest with you, Colonel, I don't see my faith as a straightforward thing. The gods want us to constantly question the lessons they give us. Scripture should never be taken literally; there are lessons to be learned from them, sure, but their truth can be found in nearly any situation. This is why Gemenon is so important… there is a lesson to be learned, either by the Twos and Elevens, or by the humans that live there, or by the other Cylons that continue to hunt us. There is a lesson to be found, and the gods have lain that before us to see, and hopefully understand, before it's too late."

"I didn't mean to imply that religion is single-minded, but faith, Miss Ibbhanas. You either believe - with all of your heart - or you don't. I've tried to tread a line called cautious belief, and found it to be neither fulfilling nor comforting. I grew up with my mother truly believing, taking Hera as her own, and could never understand it." A heavy sigh. "I could never understand her, honestly. But now…now, of all times, with my family dead, the Colonies destroyed, the institutions I've served destroyed, I'm beginning to see how she was the way she was."

"Would it surprise you to know that my faith isn't as unshakable as I'd like it to be?" Rose asks, her voice smaller. Almost tiny. "Especially since the holocaust, I've questioned whether or not the gods were still with us. At one point, I had thought that Poseidon was dead. Aquaria's oceans, dead. Irradiated. Nothing lives. How could the god of the sea still live?" She smiles sadly. "Do you know who it was that helped turn my faith around? Long before the dreams, the visions, and before Gemenon? Tyr Bannik."

"That would've been my guess. The other thing I've discovered about faith is that…religion forced turns me off to the idea of faith. A day shy of forty and I'm thinking that it can be a much more fulfilling thing if you discover it for yourself. I've forgotten nearly everything I might have once known about rituals and scriptures, long since replaced with numbers and formulas, military training, squad positioning, and everything else. I would argue, however, that it's a more appealing proposition now since I can approach it however I like; I can attempt to make the gods more accessible by approaching them how it feels most natural to me."

If Rose were some kind of shyster or a manipulative sort, she might try to work Madilyn's angle as a way to induct her into the fold. "I can loan you the scripture I've managed to collect since being able to see again, but I'm afraid that's probably not going to help you. What may help you is coming, as you are now, to a prayer circle. I run one, here. You'd be welcome; everyone there is sympathetic to the military and won't make you uncomfortable. Tyr, being a sort of unofficial Chaplain aboard Cerberus would probably be available to talk with you as well." A beat. "Maybe you can find your own patron amongst the gods. Forge a special relationship with them, all your own." She offers a trepid and hopeful smile, hoping that she's said the right things.

"Oh I'd like to, but the problem is that I'm so damned academic about it. About everything. Other Marines get the luxury of just doing. It's been a long time since I've done anything, discounting the events aboard Areion. Those were…tragic? Stupid? I regret the actions taken there, and hate the pleasure I felt in exacting some measure of revenge on those crewmen, brothers-in-arms, lead astray." Throughout the conversation, Madilyn's posture has sunk somewhat, leaning forward and not just rubbing her thighs, but propping up on them a bit as she leans forward. "I'm just so tired, and I despise knowing that the rank I wear might not be truly earned compared to the sacrifices I ask my marines to make every time this fleet sees action."

Rose nods slightly. "All right, well, the academic understanding is important, too," she offers in concession. "There wouldn't be… er, have been… scholars of theology and the like. Their faith might be different - they have a driving need to know - but they still believe that there's truth to be found in scripture and in analysis. 'Everything has happened before, and it will happen again' is a phrase that has been spoken from scripture innumerable times, but the truth behind it has never been fully understood. That's the thing about faith. Many truths." A computer begins beeping, and she glances over. "I need to attend to that, it's an experiment I'm running," she says, looking back to the other woman. "Please, come back, and visit again? I've missed you."

Madilyn nods once, and stands up from her seat, creaking a bit and looking worn. "I expect to be making more trips in the future, yes. As always, it's refreshing to just talk for something unrelated to duty. Good luck with your experiment, Miss Ibbhanas," Madilyn replies with a nod. The office is vacated without any pomp, leaving just the beeping computer, the experiment, and the scientist.

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