PHD #239: Looking For The Gods In The Bookstacks
Looking For The Gods In The Bookstacks
Summary: A civil discussion on religion and personal beliefs is had in the library.
Date: 23 Oct 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Radcliffe Vandenberg 
Ship's Library
Racks of books extend deep into this room, nearly darkening the overhead lights towards the back. The shelves are neatly labeled to each category with nearly everything represented here. Fiction, Sci-Fi, Romance, and everything down to comic books has been loaded up onto the shelves. A smaller research area at the back has a large table for maps to be opened-up. Nearer the door is a small library of movies that covers some of the most recent blockbusters and flows through some of the more campy movies from about two decades before. Next to the door, a Petty Officer can usually be found at a desk to help someone checkout their selections.
Post-Holocaust Day: #239

Its a lonely night in the library. Saturday! Most people are out drinking. It might be kind of curious as to why one of the Marine Lieutenants is not apart of that crowd at the moment, but rather holed up in the library. She's parked herself at a table in the rear with a single light over herself while most of the others are off to save Battlestar Energy. There's a book in front of her, something with a tattered jacket, that has her smiling, though.

There's someone arriving at the library, moving stiffly as if their muscles are on fire, each step a slight shuffle instead of an actual lifting of their feet. "Frak…" Radcliffe says while moving the wrong way, causing her to wince and put a hand to her side. She disappears down an aisle for a moment after that, her person and what's been inflicted upon her hidden behind the tall bookshelf she now stands before.

Vandenberg lifts her head to watch the woman from the Mess shuffle by and a smile flickers anew on her face. She turns the page in her book without looking down to her lean, more. "Looks like you got beat up pretty good," she whispers. "I know the feeling."

Radcliffe peeks around a corner upon hearing herself be addressed, the voice somewhat familiar to her but not so much so that she feels comfortable enough to talk to the woman without looking at her directly. "You can say that, sir. Crowe gave me a hell of a beatdown." Her face has a few scuff-like scrapes along the cheeks but the majority of her injuries are where clothing hides it. "How have you been?"

Its barely visible but the other woman's face still has a few bruises on it. Especially her forehead. But she grins a little despite it. "I know the feeling. He gave me a good run last weekend. Still showing effects on this end." She glances up towards the forehead. "Doing alright. How about yourself?"

"Oh, I guess I am alright," is the answer the Lieutenant gets as Brina ducks behind the bookshelf again, not emerging until she finds the book she's looking for, one that's on the subject of religion, of all things. "Works been keeping me busy but was fortunate to have enough downtime to get my ass handed to me." There's a shit eatting grin on her face so she mustn't be too hurt or too put out.

Vandenberg glances to the book before looking back up to her. "I know the feeling. I strolled into the workout area looking to do a run. Crowe ends up trying to take me down. It, ah-" Van can't help a little pride with that smile. "It didn't work out so well for him." She casts a quick wink to Radcliffe. "So lookin' for the Gods on the bookstacks, eh?" Its not a mocking ton but more curious. Still some play in her voice, too.

Radcliffe looks at the book and then looks up at the other woman, her face going slightly red about the cheeks and forehead. "I don't have the time to get to the Chapel like I hope to so thought I'd do a bit of personal research. Maybe the gods will forgive me for my absence in the pews if I do." Looking to the side, she asks quietly, "Would you mind if I join you, sir? I don't want to go back to the berths and my shift doesn't start for a few hours."

Vandenberg doesn't immediately say anything, though she is quick with the gesture to the chair beside her rather than across from her. "Of course. Join." She's in her tanks and green duty pants. The woman doesn't look like she is going anywhere quickly. Especially to duty. The book in front of her remains ignored for now, too. "You believe the Gods will look poorly on you for not making it to chapel?" Again, there is no mocking. It's more of a personal inquiry than anything else. "I haven't been in quite some time, myself. Though, heh, I could easily blame that on a lack of available chapels on Aerilon."

Radcliffe makes herself at home and even goes as far as to gingerly stretch her legs out before her, making herself as comfortable as she can while her muscles are threatening to seize up on her. "I don't know. I believe that the Lords of Kobol are truly happy with however their people decide to worship, sir, but even then there is a part of me that worries. That I will some how fall out of favor if I don't." Pursing her lips, she looks at Vandenberg, trying to gauge her reactions to what has been said so far before daring to go any further.

Vandenberg gives a light shrug at the end. "I'm not an expert. That's not a secret." There's a more intimate smile shared for Radcliffe, one that is more attuned to a given confession. "In my personal belief? The Lords know what is in your heart. If you believe and revere them in your own way? If you make your own efforts as you can? I'd like to think that they would understand. Would they?" A popped brow later, she glances away with a quirked expression. "Well that's a question for them, isn't it?" Her eyes settle back on Radcliffe, her own posture still leaned forward on the table. "Do you think you've fallen out of favor?"

A pack of gum is extracted from a pocket and then offered to the officer, it done as easily as one might tie their shoes or offer to hold a door open, something done without a second thought. "I don't think I have. I'm not the most devout, nor am I absolutely without sin. But I do try to live my life…" Shrugging, she pauses and then whispers, "I think they still aprove of me so hey, doing alright here," her eyes lowering to the book even as the gum is still held out.

Natalie waves the gum off gently. "Thanks. I'm okay." She thinks for a moment, nodding. "I don't think any of us are without sin. I'm sure even the Sisters and Brothers among us have their own demons to excise." The smile comes easy to her, almost as if she's glad to talk about this. "Seeing as much as I have, I have to believe. But I also have actually never been to chapel. Not once. I did all of my own soul searching much the same way that you are right now." She gestures to the book. "Did my own reading. Developed my own understanding." A brief look crosses her face as if she is not quite sure how to word the next part, but plows ahead. "I think that because we have our Sisters and Brothers, they all have their own thoughts on matters. They may not be wrong, but I think its more important to have your own understanding. Commit to what feels right to you. Know what I mean?"

Radcliffe pulls out a piece for herself once the offer is turned down, it unwrapped slowly afterward. "Well…okay. I see what you're getting at. My grandmother used to tell me that all the church anyone needs is right here…" She taps a finger over her chest, indicating her heart. "But something still draws me to…well. I shouldn't bother you with my religious talk. What brought you here?" It's a diversion, a tactic that will hopefully draw the conversation away from here and to Vandenberg instead.

Vandenberg tips her head forward. "Aye. Neither of my parents were religious and I never met my grandparents. Both my mom and dad considered religion to be an opiate for the weak. For the unenlightened." Its a dismissive expression that crosses her. "I think your grandmother was right. To a point." The question to her book goes ignored. "No, please. Continue. I actually love to talk about religion. Even debate it. But I haven't had a chance in nearly a year. I've only had myself to discuss this with. Its nice to hear someone else's thoughts. You might even teach me something new, yeah?"

Radcliffe looks oddly at the gum before she pops the stick into her mouth but she doesn't chew it yet, instead tucking it against a cheek so she can speak without being rude. "I don't really like to debate the subject. It makes me feel stupid when I try. Best I can do is just talk about it like one might discuss the weather or something like that." Brina grins as much as she's able to. "If I teach you something in the process then so much the better."

"Someone shouldn't ever feel stupid about their beliefs," she allows quietly, a smile warming. "People might mock you or debate them, but what your grandmother told you? I think its true. Your own experiences through life are the greatest teacher. If that leads you to the Gods? That's not a bad thing, dear." Natalie, caught in a rare moment of shared heart-warmth. "People take different routes. The Gods have their own ideas and present us with our own challenges. Some people just never find themselves with religion. And that's okay for them. In the same way that its okay for you to believe and feel their presence. Those who would try to make you feel stupid are no better than those on the religious end who scream about damnation and the fury against disbelievers. I relish the journey, personally. I've learned quite a bit from people much younger. Perspective is always important."

There is a grin and a shake of her head, Brina amused by something. "It's not my beliefs that make me feel that way, sir. It's more the trying to put them into words, really. I know what's in my head and on my heart but trying to put all that into words is what is difficult." Shaking her head at herself, she begins to chew the gum now, taking a moment to enjoy that small pleasure before going further. "You're right. It's what we do that's important. And the Lords? As long as we live a good life….by good I mean a life that is as without sin as possible…I think we'll do alright." Reaching over, she touches Vandenberg on the arm, a relaxed gesture that is warm and kindly. "The journey's been fun, for the most part. I can't wait to see where it'll lead us," she adds, beaming widely.

"Heh. A friend of mine on Libran once said that religion isn't knowing how to explain the Gods in words but feeling okay about it at the same time." Vandenberg props her chin up in the palm of her hand, looking to Radcliffe as she chews the gum. "I dunno. Personally? I don't think the minor sins are something to be all concerned about. I mean, I have hubris. I'm a Marine. Its part of our training. Desecrating a temple? Forget it. Not something excusable in my book. I guess that in my view? The Gods know who I am and where my heart stands." She doesn't comment on the journey. Not yet, anyway. She might be waiting for something.

Radcliffe nods. "It's about feeling right with what you believe. To hell with what others might think. Religion is not something that is practiced to impress people but rather as a connection between yourself and the gods. A spiritual bridge." Slipping her hand away from the Lieutenant, she smiles while drawing the thumb over the edges of the pages while a soft whisper comes from the book as she does. "Yeah. There are degrees of sin. Small sins like having sex before marriage most likely won't cause you to fall from grace but something like murder? It's a contextual thing, of course, but normally not a thing the Lords would look kindly upon, I bet." Wrinkling her nose, she looks at the woman and asks quietly, "May I ask where you feel you stand?"

"Exactly. All too often I've found people who are vicious with their attcks or support have a supporting agenda. Its rare to run into a Sister or Brother who are willing to get abusive over it." Natalie keeps her smile the whole time, clearly enjoying this. "Actually? There is nothing in the books about murder being a sin. Or sex. Murder isn't technically encouraged, but betrayal and dishonor are more closely associated with the sins of murder. Sex?" Van's eyes dance with mirth. "Aphrodite would have a tough time justifying that one if it were. Lords know I think we'd all be in a spot of trouble." She winks, still propping her head with her hand. "I stand somewhere comfortable for me. I have my personal relationship with the Gods that isn't anyone else's. I've been through some especially violent times with the Marines. But I've seen some of the most indescribably beautiful things, too. Through it all? I can't deny their hands at work. I believe because 'not believing' isn't something I can fathom for myself."

Shifting, Radcliffe works on getting a bit more comfortable, the creaking in her knees almost loud enough to be heard and is definitely more than enough to get her to groan. It's times like this when she feels forty years older. Nodding to the first part, she reaches up and runs a finger along the bridge of her nose, clearly in thought. It isn't until she gives her answer to the question that Brina speaks however, her gaze slipping towards Vandenberg while she regards that. "I very happy to hear you're in a good place, sir. Wish more people could say that." Frowning, she dips her chin close to her chest, her expression troubled. "Maybe I should have signed up as part of the clergy," she muses to herself.

"I didn't say I was in a good place. I'm just in a place with the Lords that provides me with comfort, solace, and confidence when I need it. I thank them for their strength and pray for its continued influence on my life." Natalie explains these facts with an easy smile. "I'm sure I sound like some kind of broken record, but its just how I feel. And yeah, I sometimes wish I had, too. I think it would be an adventure. Dedicating your life to the Gods? Absolutely." Natalie chuckles. "I'm rambling, though. I'm sorry. What about you? I want to hear what you think."

Radcliffe waves her left hand in a sew-saw side to side motion. "Solace. Comfort. Confidence. Sounds like a pretty frakking good place to be, in my opinion." Grinning, she pokes a finger in Natalie's direction. "Compared to the alternative, I have to say that you're pretty frakking well off, sir." Stumbling verbally when asked what she thinks, Brina comes to a stuttering halt when she realizes she's not sure which point she's being asked that about. "About being a clergyman, sir? I think it'd be a nice way to live, in some regards. To be able to study about the Lords of Kobol and learn different points of view. To help guide people with finding their way. It might get lonely but I think I could handle that. No different from what I feel now, at times."

Natalie shrugs. "Its not as great as it sounds. I'm thankful for what I have and I pray for more, but consider where my work takes me. This comfort and confidence has to carry me through some very bad places, including my own passing. All things considered, I would sometimes rather be less involved in the bad and more involved with the good. Like Clergy. But I'm not smart enough for it. Not trained. I also don't think I'm dedicated enough." She shrugs at the question. "What you think about- anything? But clergy works. I think I agree with you. It kinda sucks being alone out here but like you said, its nothing new. Where do you think the Gods fit in with your life?"

A small bubble is blown only to be swiftly made to disappear, the gum tucked back in her cheek. "Where do they fit? That is a good question that I don't think really has a static answer. Sometimes they are guides, sometimes teachers. Some days they are my strength. It all depends on what I need from them, on what part of my life I need them to be in at a particular time." Chewing her lip, she pauses and thinks about her answer before nodding. "Yes. That's how they fit in, sir. They fit in just how I need them to."

"Mm. I like the way you put that. They fit in how you need them to. I might use that in the future. I can be chatty and wordy so that would help me a lot." Natalie grins like an idiot. "Were you always religious or is this something that's found you in the past few years? Maybe since Warday?" She doesn't sound like she's about to mock Radcliffe if the last is the case.

Radcliffe actually giggles, the sound surprisingly feminine despite her tomboyish build and the way she carries herself. "Feel free to use it. Can even take credit for it if you'd like." Quite generous that offer, no? The next question she's asked is one that is answered a bit quicker, this one not needing much thought at all. "My family's always been religious. Some more than others but I think that's typical. For myself, I kind of got a bit more into it after I fell and broke my hand. It was a time of great uncertainty for me and I needed something to help center my heart and my being. So that is what started Petty Officer Radcliffe down the road of enlightenment and religion five years ago."

Van grins, about to say something when the pager overhead goes off. "Lieutenant Vandenberg to the Security Hub." Its repeated once more and her mood falls. "You know what I wish the Gods would do something about? Getting paged when I'm off duty. That'd be nice if it didn't happen." She slowly rises from the table and reaches out to ruffle Radcliffe's hair. "Good talking to you. Hunt me down if you're ever feeling the urge for it again." She flashes another quick smile before trotting off between the stacks to run down the hall. Duty calls. Even at two am sometimes.

Looking up as the call is made, Radcliffe rolls her eyes. "At least we weren't frakking and just about to hit the big-o, huh sir?" Heaving a sigh that is genuinely disappointed, she gets to her feet and waves before the officer bails and calls out, "I'll see you around, sir." She takes the tome and goes off herself.

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