BCH #012: Of Priestlings, Heifers, and Hilarity
Of Priestlings, Heifers, and Hilarity
Summary: The Deck is invaded by an exceptionally clean heifer and a Priestling intent on sacrifice.
Date: 13 Feb 2041 AE:
Related Logs: None yet
Karthasi Atreus NPC 

[ Hangar Deck - Port ]---[ Midship - Battlestar Cerberus ]
The single largest rooms on the Cerberus are the hangar decks. Each flight pod consists of two stacked landing bays with adjoined decks and hangars, which along with computer-assisted landings results in a faster Viper recovery rate. Mirror images of each other, these two huge areas are located on the flight pods. The inboard sides of the deck, closest to the ship's main hull, are lined with parking and maintenance bays for Vipers and Raptors based aboard the battlestar. The outboard side of the deck contains the launch tubes used by the Vipers for standard deployment. Huge blast doors seal the deck into four sections, each one containing an elevator that leads up to the flight deck directly overhead. The fore-most section contains an elevator system that leads towards Aerospace Fabrication.
-=[ Condition Level: 3 - All Clear ]=---------

The deck is a busy place, especially in the mornings. At the moment, crews are working on the birds and reptiles that were out the day before; checking them over, refueling and just generally making sure that they are in top condition to fly the next time they are needed. They move a bit like a well-oiled machine themselves, with only the minor glitch where a newbie brushes up against the orbit of someone more experienced. Supervising it all, Atreus has his own list of things to do, but he makes sure that there is room in everyone's schedule to learn, to teach and to laugh. And there is laughter on the deck, from the bright and joyous to the subtle and commiseratory. Atreus is currently working with a younger tech. They are sort of beneath the wing of a viper and the older man is pointing to something. "See Evans? The junction is right there. Above the feed, but below the coupling housing. Got it?"

Laughter has its place on deck. Talking, even yelling, when needed, over the roar of an engine or the clash of metal against metal… nothing that doesn't blend nicely into the genial sort of uproar to be found on deck early in first shift. The first few times Cerberus' most recent dignitary speaks up, the low sound is muted enough to slip unnoticed behind these other sorts of more appropriate noises, and soon enough the noise just becomes part of the auditory panorama of the room. It's only when the young heifer starts taking to a more spirited lowing, its mass casting dark shifting shadows on the semi-opaque plastic slats that seal off decontamination while the Priestling struggles to brace herself with her hands on its horns and let the deckies spray the animal down, that it begins to sink in with some people out on deck that one of these noises is not like the other, and belongs better in a barnyard than in a battlestar— at which point, of course, a fistful of people pause in what they're doing to turn and peer over toward the source of the lively mooing.

The young tech nods, lifting a hand to touch the indicated spot. Atreus grabs the kid's wrist before contact is made, "Hold up there. Are you absolutely one hundred and fifty three percent positive that there is no juice running through there?" The young man blanches and Atreus releases the wrist, "Exactly. Sure, I checked it, but if you didn't, you don't know. Remember that it carries enough power to fry you where you stand. Being a tech is fun and can be exciting work. Surviving? That means you don't take short cuts. Ever." He winks to relieve some of the boy's fear reaction. Then the lowing is heard. Clearly. Atreus startles and whirls around to see where the noise is coming from. His movement is too sudden, the straightening too quick. His head meets the lower strut of the wing a bit too sharply and one hand lifts to rub a reddening spot. Turning to look at the rookie snipe, he grins sheepishly, "See?" Stepping out from beneath the wing, the grin dies and the man walks purposefully toward the decontamination area. For his part, his voice is raised, projected and clearly audible, "Now, someone tell me what the frak is going on?"

Hooves clatter on deck as another unwanted jet of decontaminant startles the creature, and Greje lets go of its horns and just grabs on for dear life to the rope harness it's got on, digging in with the heels of her boots as the young heifer's flank smacks into the plastic slats, setting them waving. "I've… I've got her, it's alright," the priestling announces, her usually mild voice managing to sound mildly flustered, "She's just… a little scared," she goes on, standing up straight and wrapping the rope swiftly around her arm before she grabs the harness right up close to the cow's face with a facility that might indicate this isn't the first time she's had to wrangle such a beast. The cow flicks its ears and shakes its head in irritation, trotting about the priest in a half-circle before it calms down to a walk. The priestling follows it along in its circular path before leading it through the plastic slats and out of decontamination, looking a little red-cheeked from the exertion of wrestling with the cow. Fortunately it's still a young thing, not a calf, anymore, but not a massive beast, by any means.

"Ah— Chief," she begins, as she's accosted immediately out of decontamination. "For the launch," she sets about explaining. "We'll be taking the, uh, a-u-s-p-i-c-e-s tonight," she spells it out, lowering her voice as if the cow could potentially understand what she means. And what she -does- mean is that Bessie here isn't long for the world, destined first for the altar, then for the grill. Never a sacrifice without a banquet afterward.

When the decontamination jet squirts the heifer one final time before Karthasi gets the animal under control and the critter's jitters smack a wobble to the plastic sheeting, Atreus turns and points to a squad of passing snipes, "Ptolomy, Agustus and you… What's your name? Right… Filidae. Get that mess cleaned up, please." He looks up at the decont operator, "You too, Phiggawitz. Move." Then, voice lowering to something less than a shout, but louder than a whisper, he places his hands on his hips, "I see. And who authorized the bringing of livestock aboard the Cerberus?" Before she can answer, he looks again at Phiggawitz, "Did you know you would be deconting an animal?" While waiting on the answer, his gaze resettles on the priestling. "I try to run a clean shop here, Captain." With a belated, very perfunctory salute, "We could have made better arrangements if I'd known. Now, the…" A pause as the city boy looks at the beast, "What is that, anyway? A cow? I thought they were bigger than that." Not much on biological beings, this one.

Karthasi has got both arms engaged in keeping the little cow under control, but she sort of nods her head in a brisk, military fashion to the salute. "A heifer," she replies, half-breathless in her specificity. "Unblemished, untouched by the yoke, unmounted," she goes on, "Ritual stock bred in a compound not far from the port. I ran the request through operations, jointly with the Galley staff," she goes on to answer his first question, "I'm not sure by whom operations runs these things, but I obtained the green light on the pre-launch festivities four days ago. I have a copy of the memorandum I had received… it's…" she looks down toward a fatigues pocket, but both her hands are, as mentioned earlier, otherwise occupied.

Okay, now it is starting to be funny. The salute acknowledged, it is dropped and his arm lowers, "A heifer. On a starship." The mirth does not show in his tone, but it crinkles around his eyes, "Okay." As the two and a heifer speak, the crew is working to clean up the decontamination area. As one moves past, Karthasi is given another of those 'I'm busy, but you are an officer' salutes and Atreus stops her. "Frazier? Go bring me one of those transport gurneys, yeah? One with sides…" He turns to look at the heifer, then back, "One of the medium sized ones." With a nod, the snipe darts off and Atreus looks back, "Four days? No wonder I didn't know. Just got aboard yesterday. Well…. night before last. Give us half a tick and we'll have something you can cart the beastie on. Don't want to drip fluid all over the ship, right?"

Karthasi has got her nod reflex pretty much down. She's not required to receive or return salutes, by the book, but people often do so anyhow, when she's in her blues, especially those who don't know that she's a priest. And especially those who want an excuse to pause briefly to watch someone in those blues grappling with livestock. "Oh, goodness, Chief, thank you so much," she sounds regularly relieved and pure-heartedly grateful when he arranges transport for the beast, "I thought I was going to have to get her to go up seven flights of stairs. I wasn't looking forward to it in the least," she chuckles a little. "No, certainly not."

The gawkers are tolerated this once. Things are ticking smoothly and it isn't every day that one gets to see a Captain in blues wrangling a cow. It is one to write home about, certainly. "No problem, Captain. See? If I had known, you could have used one of the transports during decontam. Might have made it easier. And… uh… Kept your uniform in better condition. If you don't mind me saying so, sir, you don't want to be seen with… What did you call it? Heifer?" He nods, "Heifer hair all over. And decontam fluids." The twinkle in his eyes begins to turn to a twitch of mirth at his lips. "Tell you what. I'll send a couple of techs with you up the maintenance tubes as far as possible. Uh. Do you have a … what… a stall? For the animal? Or were you going to put it in your bunk?"

Karthasi looks down over herself briefly, uniform indeed in two different colors of blue where she got splashed with the stuff on the way through, and nicely salted with long white hairs. She looks up again, looking more amused, herself, than annoyed at the circumstance. "I'm certain that anyone who finds fault with my uniform's current status will forgive and forget over a steak dinner," she replies, a low note of muted joviality to her voice. "Ah— no, she'll be going straight to the chapel. We have accommodations for her there, for the time being," she explains.

In the distance, Frazier can be seen driving a transport. She is headed toward the grouping near the decontamination area. More and more techs find excuses to drift closer to the cluster. One or two step forward, "Excuse me, sir." The man's tone holds an Aerilon twang, "I used t' work on a ranch. Y'want some help with th' heifer?" He turns to Atreus, "Uh. If that's cool, Chief?"

Atreus nods to the newcomer, "Fine with me, Higgins. Get a couple more with experience and lend the Captain a hand. Just don't touch the… heifer…" He is still uncertain of the word, it seems, "…unless the Captain says it's okay to do so." He inclines his head toward Karthasi, "Behind the chapel?" A nod, "I think we can get you close anyway. These folks will know where the nearest maintenance conduit is that is big enough to fit the transport." Another twitched smile, "And if you have time later? I would like a word." He steps back, then lifts his hand in another salute, "Sir."

The heifer lifts its chin and stretches its neck into another bout of lowing as people begin to gather about, and she tries to step back while the Captain lowers her stance a little and pushes on the rope halter to try to keep her in place. "I think we'll be alright— but thank you, Higgins," she tells him with a soft but heartfelt smile, lowering her head to him in a gesture of gratitude for the offer, then making a few low noises to the heifer and getting her to walk along. She seems perfectly tame, when not spooked. The cow, that is. Well, the priest, too, in a way. "Of course, Chief. Today's going to be a little hectic, getting ready for the taking of auspices, but— well, will you come? Maybe I will see you there."

The mobile transport arrives and Atreus' voice raises a little, "Alright, people. Let's get back to work. Apparently our visitor does not like crowds. Back off…" He steps to one side to help clear a place for the transport, though the onlookers begin to fade. Soon enough the area is clear again.

Higgins looks almost crestfallen, but nods, "Yes'ir." He begins to turn away when Atreus pipes up, "Wait ia minute. You'll want someone to drive that transport, Captain. I doubt that you are as familiar with them as my crew." What he does not say, but is clear in the way he looks from the woman to the beast, is that it would be nearly impossible for one person to manage the cow and the controls at the same time.

Karthasi lifts her chin, "Oh. Yes, quite," she agrees in her clipped, Caprican tones. Not quite as firmly upper-crust as some on board, but definitely steeped in that flavor. "I'll stay in back and tend to her if you'd care to take the wheel, Mister Higgins," she remarks, the statement sounding an awful lot like a question, even if it's not technically phrased as one.

Higgins' eyes light up and he grins ear to ear. Animal lovers get so few opportunities to be around them aboard ship, "Thank you, sir." Climbing into the driver's seat, he manipulates the controls a bit and a ramp lowers from the back as the sides open. "Whenever you're ready, Cap'n."

Atreus moves to stand near the opening, as though to assist in some capacity, "To answer your previous, sir. Yes, I will be there. Unless something happens down here to prevent it. And we can get together sometime over the next few days. After the ceremony." Pausing, he adds, "And if there is any muck on the transport when it is returned, I hope you understand that I will hold you responsible." The twitch is again hovering about his lips and sparkling in his eyes. "Personally." Although it is likely that he is kidding, one can never tell with Deck Chiefs.

"Ta ta ta," Karthasi tells the heifer as the ramp lowers, urging her along and walking up the ramp alongside of her, getting her situated. "Of course, Chief. I'll be sure to clear up any mess she leaves," she assures him, sounding serious about the pledge, herself, then, leaning toward the cabin, "We're aboard, Higgins," she lets him know with a warm call. Then, back to the Chief, "Until tonight, then," she replies with a smile.

Once the two passengers are aboard, Atreus steps back. "Appreciated, Captain." His glance flickers to the now spick and span decontamination area, then back again in time to catch the last, "See you then, Captain. Thanks." Stepping back a bit more, he motions to Higgins. The signal is complimentary to Karthasi's rather than either antagonistic or replacing it.

At Karthasi's call, Higgins toggles something and the ramp retracts, the back closes. There is a faint clang of metal on metal as a lock engages. When he catches Atreus' signal, the man grins and starts the transport moving. Every so often on its trip across the deck, Higgins touches a button and a slightly off key calliope playing Greensleeves. This is accompanied by an occasional 'ding ding' and a tinny, mechanical voice that calls 'Its a great day!'

As reserved as she generally is, the cart's sound effects draw a laugh from the priestling, and she leans her hip against the back of the cabin to steady herself while holding the livestock's cordage with both hands.

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