PHD #475: EVENT - Missives
Summary: The Cylons send 'ambassadors' of sorts from Gemenon to the battlegroup.
Date: 16 Jun 2042 AE
Related Logs: Gemenon and Cylon stuff in general.
Cora Vandenberg Karthasi Kincaid North NPC Hydra 

It's been four days since the Corsair was dispatched to outer Colonial space near the planet of Gemenon. For a five day mission, but the frigate returned a day early. Bearing passengers. A Model 11 and Model 2 Cylon it had encountered during its voyage in that area, to be precise, along with a human from the Lampridis Falls settlement who apparently tagged along for the ride. Supposedly the creatures wish to talk of a 'truce' with Cerberus and the Fleet. But, as with so much in regard to Gemenon, can their motives be trusted?

Well, Command wants to find out. And see what it can glean of their motives, and what they might be truly doing on that planet Gemenon. Captain Nikephoros, and the good priest and S-3, have been dispatched to one of Cerberus' interrogation rooms to vet these strange new guests. They await them there now. A communication comes over the wireless with which Corporal Kincaid (one of the MPs on-hand for security). The Marines from the Corsair have arrived and are bringing them 'guests' in now. To say what they say, whatever that might be.

At least Vandenberg had some notice about this meeting. She's decidedly in her grey digital cammies minus the combat vest, though she is wearing her sidearm and a set of cuffs. The uniform is pressed, too, and she looks to have even starched. Very professional though the anxiety is just underneath. What little hair has grown back is tucked in with the rest that didn't burn away, nestled in a ponytail. There's a glance up to the camera in the interrogation room to make sure its running. Along with the three backups no-doubt behind the plexiglass. "Make sure they are seated so they are facing the cameras," she directs to the two-way mirror, hopefully the message relayed.

Karthasi has had a little bit of notice, herself, but barely seems to have bothered to make use of it. On the whole it looks as though the priest has just crawled out of a cave, features drawn but keen, hair left to its unruly wave, bearing comfortable but casual, with a decided hunch as she twists from the base of her back to press out the lit end of a cigarette, just the very tip, folding the rest of it up in a napkin and into a pocket before she lets loose the breath of smoke from the corner of her mouth.

Kincaid, too, is dressed in his combat blacks, a rifle slung half-heartedly against his chest. It is as if he almost figures that he's not too much needed for this meeting; after all, two Cylons and a random human don't stand much of a chance against the security forces of Battlestar Cerberus. He moves to takes up a 'guard' position near the door, waiting for the 'guests' arrival.

North sweeps a gloved hand across her forehead to flick long bangs out of her eyes. That's a brief shift from her set expression, but she's back in professional mode just a tick later. She returns her hand to the upper portion of the rifle carried across her chest, eyes to the front as she steps into her position by the door. She sticks adjacent Kincaid like she's glued there.

Cora arrives last of the non-prisoner contingent, having spent some extra time meeting with Pewter before heading down to the Sec Hub. She is without her sidearm and her hands are empty of their usual burdens of files, notes, documents, etc. She occupies them with lighting a cigarette before she heads into the room, nodding in spare greeting to those already assembled.

A static-y announcement on Kincaid's wireless precedes their entrance. And then the doors to the interrogation room open, and three figures are escorted inside by a team of Marines from the Corsair.

"Colonel Ionis intercepted their Heavy Raider when we were doing a pass near Gemenon," the sergeant, a blocky woman in her forties, informs them. Speaking mainly to Cora and Vandenberg. "Claimed they weren't hostile, said they wanted to talk. The Colonel figured he'd let the Commander decide what the frak to do with them. They're all yours, sirs." And so their prisoners are given over to Kincaid and North first and foremost, though it's unlikely the Corsair Marines haven't already done a thorough job of searching them.

Two of them are, of course, instantly recognizeable as the Cylon skinjob Models known as Two and Eleven. The Eleven, like all of her kind, is a young woman seemingly in her twenties, with long dark hair and large dark eyes. She's wearing a long skirt and high-necked blouse that are probably popular on conservative Gemenon. And a headscarf that, perhaps oddly, would look more properly in place on a Sagittaron. The Two, by contrast, cuts an almost polished figure in a faded gray suit, and he looks like he's recently groomed his meticulous goatee. Like Vandenberg, he dressed up for the occasion. They're accompanied by a dark-skinned woman, tall and in her late thirties, who watches the assembled officers and Marines with a quiet wariness. Though there is some relief about her.

"The sparrow still flies…" murmurs the Eleven. More to herself than anyone else, really, though she smiles as she says it.

The Two snorts. "Poetic wots, aren't they? That's her fancy way of saying hello. Thanks for the warm welcome." His accent is Caprican, and he smirks easily as he flits a look around the interrogation room.

Vandenberg straightens as the door opens, her scarred face going something akin to marble as the Cylons enter. She looks them both over quickly as if looking for weapons. Not likely. She stands there in silence until the Eleven speaks. Then the Two. She looks to the male first and then to the Eleven. "Indeed it does." There's a glance then to the Marines from the Corsair. "Thank you, Sergeant. You can wait outside in the Security Office for now."

"Private? You pat down the women?" Despite the Cylons being — well, robots — Kincaid seems to respect the idea that male Cylons be patted down by men and female Cylons be patted down by women.

Kincaid then turns to the Model Two. "Sir. I'll just need you to stand feet apart. Arms up. I'll just need to reach in and make sure you don't have any weapons." His voice is very clinical, explaining the pat-down as he would for any — well, any human prisoner.

North is nothing if not thorough, or maybe that's handsy. In this case, they're the same thing. "On it, Corp." She glances up at the female skinjob, words clipped. "Assume the position, and I'll be gentle." She doesn't bother with the explanations. Surely Kincaid covered the pleasantries. She stays out of reach while Kincaid conducts his search, ready to step in and search the female when the Corporal has completed his check.

Karthasi keeps her peace while the marines do their thing, arms folded in front of her and, while she's waiting, giving the guests a looking-over that's clinical to the point of cool disinterest. She picks up a small notebook from beside the ashtray, and unclips a pen from the front cover.

Formulaic indicators
- highly allusive
- strouthon
- -eu-
- Aphrodisiac union

Cora watches as the Cylons and their human companion are brought into the room, not shifting from her post along the wall, just watching as they are searched by the Cerberus marines. When that is finished with, she turns first to the human, or at least the one who they have not seen a copy of before. "What is your name?" she asks simply, to begin, "And where are you from?"

"Be gentle, mate. We've only just met," the Two quips to Kincaid with an almost roguish twist to his smirk as he assumes the position. He has lots of pockets in what was probably quite the expensive suit in its day, though a year without regular dry cleaning access has made it less presentable. No weapons, or anything else of interest, on him, however.

The Eleven, and the human woman they've brought with them, are likewise packing nothing objectionable once the search of them is completed. The Eleven remains quiet, almost dreamy, looking about the room. Her dark eyes land on Karthasi at her notes. No more bird-related from her just yet.

The human woman does not seem exactly uncomfortable with them both, though there's still some sign of nervousness about her. Though when Cora speaks to her she answers readily enough. "I thank y'all for seeing us, Ma'am. Wasn't sure you would. But there's too much going on for it to wait any longer, if what Brother Solon says is even half-true. He figured y'all might be more apt to talk if it wasn't just them that came." A nod to her Cylon companions. Her accent, if one knows about such things, is deep Scorpia. "I'm called Lenore Ellsly. I was one of them that one…" She nods to the Two. "…well, the one that looks like him. They got us off of Mwanga on Scorpia about three months back. The ones…" Her voice catches roughly. "…the ones that were left."

Kincaid conducts the search like any faceless TSA bureau — like a professional Marine, but seems pleased with his results. He turns towards the officers in the room and nods, confirming that the Cylons are in fact, clean. And then he settles back along the wall, letting the officers speak.

"Thank you, Corporal." Vandenberg then looks to Cora, really more of a short glance, and then flicks her eyes back to the Cylons. Unless one knows her its probably hard to pick out exactly what she is thinking. Her eyes settle on the Two. "Its for your own protection as much as our own." She shorts a smile. "Mostly for our piece of mind. Do either of you have names you wish to use? Anything you wish to tell us before we get into it?" She then look towards Lenore. "You might be surprised what we're apt to do. You know us wiley humans and our crazy notions of what needs to be done."

North nods to Kincaid, after conducting her portion of the search. She steps back to the bulkhead with her fellow MP. Stoic guard duty face, engage.

Karthasi taps the end of the pen twice against the page before she traps it in the notebook and holds it closed in front of her in case something should be said of further interest. Her eyes meet the Eleven's, but hardly register anything in the way of emotion or reaction, simply locking there in a frank, non-threatening stare.

Cora listens, her gaze fixed on Lenore as the Scorpian speaks. "I see," she replies, chin dropping and lifting again in a small nod. She says nothing as Vandenberg speaks, waiting until the Marine appears to be finished, and then directing her question once again to the only potential human in the trio. "Why don't we begin," she says, "With you delivering the message that you came here to give us."

"We weren't born with names. Just a line. Eleven," the Cylon of that designation answers. "But my sisters and I have chosen our own. You may call me Yazdah." Introduction out of the way, she watches Karthasi more intently. Not looking so dreamy. "Tell me, Sister Greje Karthasi?" The name is said as if it's a guess, but one she's reasonably sure of. "Have you dreamed the dreams that came to Niree Tuata?" She pauses. "Have you seen the answer to the riddle of the tenth sparrow? It is all around you."

The Two clears his throat, somewhat awkwardly. "I wasn't born with a name either, but I won't be so flowery about it as all that. On Caprica I went by Cormac Eames, and that serves me just fine." He doesn't ask their names, though he doesn't guess at them like the other Cylon either. "Call me whatever you like. I ain't picky."

"Welcome back, Yazdah," mutters Kincaid under his breath. Although he may not have confronted this particular model face-to-face, the name is well-known throughout the Fleet. But he otherwise remains at his parade-rest, eyes fixed on the three visitors.

Lenore settles in, letting her Cylon companions name themselves. For her part, she gets down to business. "The Cylons - the ones we've been living with on Gemenon - say there's a war coming." Aren't they already at war? "They can speak on that. I'm here to talk about home. A new home. Brother Solon thinks he knows the way. Or at least, how to find it. And he says you all have the key aboard this ship."

Holy shit. "Yazdeh. I hear quite a good number of our fleet owe their lives to you. That service is appreciated." She apparently has no problem being the first to say something nice, though her voice remains cut and professional. There's a glance to Karthasi and a wry smirk when the Eleven finishes. The S3 knows something. Van then looks to the Two. "Yazdeh, Mister Eames. I'm Captain Vandenberg, Marine Operations Officer." But the mention of war wipes any growing warmth away from her face and she turrets her eyes to Lenore, then back to the Cylons. "Would this key be a bolt from the blue?" If they are thinking the same thing, they'll know the hint. If they don't, it shouldn't give anything away.

"I haven't dreamed anything, no," Greje replies, her voice bearing about as much emotiveness as her eyes. "But Niree told us the riddle of the tenth sparrow." Yes, she's heard that one before, puzzled it out, and the fact that the answer is all around them… well, it fits well enough in with her solution to the riddle that it doesn't make her miss a blink over it. "Do you have any other riddles you'd like to tell us?"

The Two gives Vandenberg a 'What the frak?' sort of look. "I get poetry from Yazzy there, sweets," he says. "I'm a frakking diplomat. This is serious business here." And, despite the glib manner, there is an underlying seriousness to him. "And…bolt? I don't know if I'd put it like that. The good brother - and my brother Twos - says it's a ship. Exodus boat. We've searched for others like it, but haven't found any. He figures it's got something in it that could open the temple we've been cracking at for months now. As the lovely Miss Lenore says, Solon thinks that might be your road home. Or road back. Unlike some of my brothers I don't really go into for the philosophical tosh, but that's what they believe."

For Yazdah's part, Vandenberg's words receive a shrug. "You owe me nothing. It was the humans I met on Leonis that saved themselves. I saw in them the capacity that humanity might not simply be out to destroy us if given the chance. That there might be a chance for peace. And it is peace we seek. We no longer want to fight. And we have far larger problems coming to a head than anything your battlestar can bring us." To Karthasi she replies, "No, Sister. No more riddles. As you know, you are the sparrows. This ship, and the fact that it survived and flew from the serpent that day more than a year ago, are the only hope of humanity. And perhaps for us as well."

Cora does not appear surprised by anything said, eyes roving between Cylons and human as they speak. She nods faintly as before at the answers received, and then focuses in, this time, on Yazdah. "What sort of problems?" she asks, reminding unnecessarily, "You mentioned a war."

"So … we're the new ark ship?" Kincaid voices his question tentatively, as if trying to put it all together in his head. He's no theologian, but he can certainly put two and two together. "We're just a larger version of what's sitting in the Starboard Hangar Bay?"

'Sweets'? Vandenberg's expression seems to indicate she's less than impressed with the term. "Right." There's no humor or warmth there. "An exodus boat." Well McQueen would have known they have it. Its not exactly a secret. "What part of the boat does Solon think he needs?" She then looks to Yazdeh, her face a little friendlier. "But you wish us to save you from the serpent, no? You're asking us to face the serpent once more, which I would imagine is the faction of the humanoid Cylons that attacked humanity? Or something directly attributed to them." Its said more or less after Cora asks, her voice uncertain as she glances to the TACCO. Vandenberg aims her next question at the possible human woman, Lenore: "What is their stake in this? Why are they helping humanity?"

Karthasi moves not only her head but the whole upper part of her body in a degree or so worth of a wavering nod at the explication of the riddle. "The tenth sparrow survives the serpent's attack and restores order from chaos. But I have to wonder at your looking for peace in the tenth sparrow, since the tenth sparrow by the force of anagke will always grow into the serpent reborn." Is she arguing… against the peace? It's quite possible that this is all a matter of theological rhetoric for her, at this point.

"You are the tenth sparrow, Daniel Kincaid," Yazdah replies to the MP with a smile. "While the serpent swallowed the other nine, your Cerberus flew. I did not understand at first, even on Leonis. The dreams came to me on Tauron. My sister Five dreams, too, though she reached different conclusions about what God was telling her." She sounds almost sad when she says it. "There was no single faction that attacked humanity, Lieutenant. We all agreed that war was necessary. Humanity was building a weapon to destroy us, so we were convinced that unless we struck first we would be wiped out ourselves. It is our belief - that of our lines - that we made a mistake. Though not all have come to this conclusion."

But it's the Two who answers Cora's question most directly, his glibness falling further away. "You might've noticed, as my 'sister' just pointed out, that there's some…divergence in the way we look at things among our lines. For instance, the Fives being prone to being bat-shit, zealous bitches." Well, there *was* a little smirk there. "Not that they're the real problem, though I suspect they've already chosen their side. It's been brewing for awhile, but the cracks really started to show after the One you had on board this ship helped blow up that genocide wagon you called the Areion. I've been back and forth to the inner colonies - Caprica and Scorpia mostly - more than some of my brothers. The Ones and Threes are still trying to keep a lid on it, but they're marshaling. Lines are being drawn. The Twelve models have always managed to coexist. Consensus. Democracy. All that grand bosh. The Threes are beginning to think the Ones shouldn't have so much sway in how we conduct ourselves, however. And that's like going to be as bad for you as it is for us, if the Threes do win the minds of a majority of our brothers and sisters."

"Who's the serpent? What is the serpent?" Kincaid finally comes out and just asks the question. "Is it you? Or? What?" Might as well.

"And you think that it will come to violence," Cora more states than asks, watching the Two. "Where do the other models fall, on this question? Fours, Sixes through Tens. Do the cracks run strictly along model lines?"

North's attention flicks to Kincaid as he speaks up. She nods slightly, and her gaze returns to the cylons. The private was probably wondering that too. She blinks slightly at the phrase 'bat-shit zealous bitches' coming out of a cylon mouth in front of so many officers. She squints a little, undoubtedly cataloguing all the numbers being bandied about.

Karthasi turns and looks to Kincaid as he gets all twisted up on questions that aren't, at least in her mind, really questions. "The serpent is a force of destruction, or, more specifically, of vital suppression, through which an order is imposed upon the world. It suppresses a proverbial nine sparrows in its attempt to keep control of the kosmos, and then the tenth sparrow escapes and causes its downfall, only to establish its own order in the universe and attempt to suppress any divergence from that order, becoming, in its turn, the 'serpent' figure."

Lenore has been listening to talk of Cylon politics with increasingly round eyes. To Vandenberg she replies, "Same as you and your people on this ship, I expect. Living. The ones who look like him…" She gestures to the Two. "…they took me and my family off Scorpia, when the other toasters were rounding us up for their…experiments." She shudders. "I don't know if I believe everything Brother Solon is preaching. I don't even know if I believe in the gods anymore. But I know we can't stay on the colonies any longer, and if y'all have got some map to where we need to be on this ship…well, I'll believe in that."

Vandenberg waits until after the Two finishes before nodding to Yazdeh. "What Mister Eames is saying is more what I was getting at. The side of the lines that are less than hospitable towards us." Understatement of the century, right there. She then looks towards Cora. "I've been saying this for awhile. I've got some good evidence that will back up what Eames is saying about the division. Nothing concrete, but its there." Vandenberg settles her eyes on the Cylons with Cora's questions. Good ones, to be sure. She then looks to Lenore: "Same as us? Really?" She doesn't sound quite convinced. "But you are correct, the colonies are gone. Its imperitive we get you all off Gemenon as soon as possible. Especially the children. Think there would be protest to us potentially extracting you all? Keep in mind this is hypothetical for now."

"Inevitability." Yazdah nods to Karthasi's words. "My sister Five believes the serpent was Ananke. The poison, the destruction made by humanity to wipe out us all. I hope the last of it was destroyed when your Areion fled from the Fleet. You might believe we are the serpent, as we visited destruction on your colonies." There's an apology in her voice, though she doesn't actually say it. The force of destruction. What has happened before shall happen again. Unless it doesn't. I believe there is a chance to still avoid that."

The Two snorts. "There might be. If the Ones win out, it might not come to open fighting among the models." He sounds skeptical. "Many of my brothers still believe, like her, we can stop it. Your McQueen doesn't. You can make on that what you want. I just know we've been searching for answers for months, and we're close, but Brother Solon believes we need what's in that Exodus ship you found to find them once and for all."

As for extraction, it's Lenore who speaks to that again. "If you're taking us somewhere. We know we can't stay on Gemenon. At least I do. The town we're in now wasn't hit hardly at all, but the planet was nuked. We need to find a new home for ourselves, and Solon thinks you can help us find the way there, to a habitable planet." She pauses. "He thinks you can find the way back to Kobol."

"Kobol," Vandenberg repeats. Its not incredulous, though. It almost sounds like she was sort of expecting something like that - though maybe not that place in particular. "The place humanity fled due to a global catalysm. Maybe." Assuming the Scrolls are to be taken literally. She then looks back to the Cylons. "Well this would explain your anti-aircraft batteries. You know one way to make us suspicious is to claim pascifism with a plea for help and hold large caliber anti-air in your back pocket." Her arms cross, eyes narrowing a bit. "You can't possibly just want our Ark ship. Cards on the table.. what is it you all want from this battlegroup?"

Cora looks as if she was about to speak, but is pre-empted by Vandenberg. She waits as the marine muses, and offers suggestions, and asks her question, at which juncture she apparently decides to remain silent for the time being, just watching.

North's right eye squints a lot more than her left as the priestess goes about 'explaining' the serpent. She straightens up a little bit, and her face smoothes after a moment. Could be her brain's stalled out. Maybe she's just concentrating really hard.

Karthasi doesn't say one way or another what her own views on Anagke are. Maybe she doesn't have any. In eitehr case, she notes down the Eleven's comments about the dissenting views on the inevitability of the inevitable with only a queer quirk of a brow at the profound oxymoronic nature of the sentiment. "I would like to hear more about Brother Solon's views. His cult, and any rites he may lead or participate in," she notes briefly as Brother Solon's brought up again.

"Cataclysm. So they say," Lenore replies to Vandenberg. "Thousands of years ago. Who knows? It's a planet people lived on, which is as good a bet as we've got right now. Solon thinks there's a…map, I guess?" She sounds unsure of the terminology. "Under the Temple of Aphrodite. Supposedly our ancestors imbedded something there that can point the way back to Kobol, when they built the damn thing. I think he believes - and they believe -" A gesture to the Two. "…there're other answers under there as well. About the gods, and the thing they call God…I don't know. I'm not one for religion myself, Ma'am." This to Karthasi. "Solon's a priest of Aphrodite. Love and harmony and that…stuff. Well. I don't know. But he also talks about free will a lot. And that I can appreciate. And how we're not bound by the Fates. Which I guess got him into some trouble on Gemenon before everything blew up. He's kept us all together for all these months, alive and at least trying to find something better. That's something."

And that… stuff. The words draw something of a skeptical look from the priest, though she takes a moment to remember something of her long-rusty internal editor. Still, it really looks like she's about to prefix whatever she's about to say with, 'he sounds like a total twit.' She moves past that, though, instead going on to explain -why- he sounds so. "The question of free will and fate was decisively proven a non-issue over fifty years ago," she points out. "I'll print him out a copy of the seminal article on the breakthrough." His keeping them alive might be something, but the Karthasi is not impressed by this man's scholarship.

Karthasi's words draw a snorted laugh from the Two. "Scripture-fight. I'll sell tickets. But I'm not here to debate philosophy, though some of my brothers'd enjoy that more than me. Me? I just figured it was time we were all on the same page. We don't expect you to trust us. But there are forces moving that you need to be aware of, before you and us get crushed by them. That's what we wanted to tell your battlegroup. If your commander has more questions about our brothers and sisters, we'll answer them as much as we can. Our lines are no longer interested in fighting humanity, but we can't speak for the others. Or how much time we might have to find whatever answers we might be able to on Gemenon."

"Aquaria was hit with a cataclysm and people once lived on it and humanity hasn't hit the next stage of evolution before anything living can survive there again." Vandenberg deadpans it. "But I understand what you are getting at. The possibility of a new home for what is left of us. And we need to kick down the doors on a Temple's bunker to help find the map and the Gods." She glances to the Cylons. "And God." Great. All or nothing deals. She then looks to Cora with the Two's reply. A long breath is drawn before she settles on the Two again. "If this goes to war, and you suspect it will? If it does, what happenes toy ou all if these bodies you have are killed? Can you still.. download?" Is there a polite term for it?

"I do not think it has to come to fighting among us," Yazdah says. Rather more firmly than she's spoken before. Perhaps as a counterpoint to the Two. "I hope it doesn't. And we can still download so long as we are within range of a resurrection ship. On Gemenon we would still download. Though just so. Our brothers and sisters are pulled our strength back to the inner colonies. There Three builds and grows stronger. One works for consensus which is ever growing more tenuous." She sounds half-frightened of this, though she says no more for the moment.

As for the Two, he's said his piece on whatever war might come. He just shrugs. "Yeah. We'll see."

Cora nods. "I think we are done for the present," she says, addressing the three, "I am sure you understand that we will be keeping all of you in custody for the time being for security reasons. It is quite likely that we will wish to speak with you again on later occasions, as well, once Command has had time to review and consult. Private?" she looks to North, "Please inform the sergeant that we are finished here."

Karthasi's shoulders move, Two's words threatening to draw an expression of dark mirth to her features before it fades back into a generally sharp and unyielding stare while they talk pragmatics, listening with attention if with an air of subtle disinterest that indicates that this is not what she spends her days locked away researching. She looks back to the purported human of the three, more gentle-voiced, now, as she endeavors not to interrupt the other questioning. "If you happen to remember any of the epithets under which Brother Solon conucts his veneration of Aphrodite, it might be useful."

"Ah, just one last thing, Captain?" she offers hopefully towards Cora. Vandenberg then takes a step towards the Cylons and uncrosses her arms. "What are the three's building and do you know where they are building these things? Any more biological weapons?" This obviously has the S-3's fullest attention. Its one of those make it or break it questions for her, likely.

"What aren't those ones building?" the Two snorts. "You lot saw their foundries. They like to build killing machines. Raiders. Centurions. Basestars. The biological project is done, this one's sister put an end to that." A side grin at Yazdah. He looks almost proud. "So far as we know, at least. Some of our brothers and sisters play their own games." Suddenly, he laughs. "We're playing our own now, aren't we, my dears? Collusions with the enemy and treason, we're up to. It's all very dodgy, ain't it?"

Yazdah not laugh. She just looks rather sad. A nod to Cora, and North. "Thank you, Captain. Private Bridge North. We shall speak again."

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