PHD #513: Reunions of Sorts
Reunions of Sorts
Summary: McQueen encounters his former CAG and flight-mate in Lampridis. It's not a happy reunion, precisely.
Date: 24 July 2042 AE
Related Logs: None
Cidra McQueen Evandreus 
The Boulevard of Doves - Lampridis Town - Gemenon
This is the central tourist drag, stretching for about 20 blocks, with everal cross-streets running north-south linking it to Highway 23 to the south. To the west is the Sacred Circus; to the east is the seedier part of town, Pearl Street.

The buildings here are all done up in old-town style, still discernable despite the damage. Cute brickwork, striped awnings, big whitewashed front porches, matching white picket fences, and so on. Most of the buildings got bombed to hell or gutted during the attacks, though, so there's something of a ghost-town air to it as well. Not helping this impression is the fact that there are still cars on the side of the streets, though they've been pushed aside out of the way once they were no longer of use.

On the street lamps are faded banners advertising this town, images of a dove flying free, exhortations to visit the Red Cliffs, happy families staring up at the Falls and the like, faded and battered, but still flapping in the breeze.

Condition Level: 3 - All Clear
Post-Holocaust Day: #513

Cidra has found her way down to the surface of Gemenon. Which has taken a surprising amount of time, given that the CAG is a native of the planet. Perhaps she's been avoiding it. But she walks it now, tattooed arms bear in the sun, through the battered by hardly deserted streets of Lampridis. She speaks to no one, though her gaze does linger on the faces of the humans, Elevens and Twos she passes. The Twos in particular, though she does not allow her flat blue gaze to linger on them long enough to draw attention to her staring.

A lilting, female voice rings off in the distance, echoing along the dusty path along with a series of footsteps. "We have gone over the matrix twenty times already." In the distance, one can make out the owner of said voice. A dark-haired woman. Well, at least /nominally/ a woman. A Cylon Model 11, her hair pulled back in a neat, tight bun and her no-nonsense black and white pantsuit looking a little too clean for the environment surrounding her. The only concession to any vanity or whimsy in her outfit would be the black bowler hat perched unevenly on the back of her head.

She isn't alone, however. There's a figure walking alongside her, in a baggy black canvas jacket slung over the shoulders of what looks like Colonial-issue off-duty tanks. About twenty meters away, one could make out the figure out if they tried hard enough. It's a Two. "Well? Try it again. What about our 'friend' back home, yeh? She's been forthcoming so far." There's the 'whump. whump. whump' sound behind them which can only be the harbinger of one thing. Centurions on patrol. Or escort. One would hear them pretty regularly, here.

The accent of the Two is pretty unmistakable.

It's the words of the bowler-hat wearing Eleven that draw Cidra's gaze in that direction. But it's the Two that holds it. And this time she does not bother *not* to stare. Her eyes, in fact, pin on him, sharpening. Features carefully inscrutable, albeit very cool.

Whump. Whump. Whump. The passing of the centurions continues as the figures approach more. "It's not as simple as that. Cairn. You of all of us should know that. At this point, Malia is taking a big risk even talking to us. We're building a house of cards here. All we can do is buy time." The Eleven continues. "Sooner or later our hands are going to be forced, and — pardon the pun, but the /force/ we can bring to bear will be what will matter here."

The Two scoffs. "You think I don't know that?" The Two, no McQueen - yes, it would be obvious at this point, continues. "You think I don't know that sooner or later we're going to have a brace of guns down here making demands? Part of me will be laughing its arse off when we see the look on Poole's face. Bu —" His voice trails off as he looks ahead, scanning the horizon, the environs, and the people approaching. Or rather, person. His mouth opens and closes as he suddenly stops in his tracks.

"Is security such a concern upon this planet?" Cidra asks coldly, approaching the pair. The question is asked of the hat-wearing Eleven rather than McQueen. "That is unsettling. But much upon this world still unsettles me." And at those words, her eyes do go to McQueen. "You have found your way back to your own kind, I see."

The buttoned-down, prim-looking Eleven starts to draw a breath as if to speak, glancing in askance at McQueen as he stops in his tracks, the man's arms dangling behind him as his fingers knit loosely. "I think — um. Yeh. Of course I know'er." The man (?) cuts in suddenly as he stands a little straighter, his eyes narrowing upon Cidra's form. "Hullo, Toast. Let's just say I managed to piss a lot o' people off. I don't really know what to say to that."

"Hello. It is Model Two, is it not? That is your true designation, I believe?" Cidra asks the question of McQueen in a decidedly crisp fashion. His last statement draws a snort from her. "Yes. You did manage to 'piss a lot of people off,' as you so colorfully put it. I am still unsure what it is you think you gained aboard our ship when you were posing as one of my pilots, but rest assured I shall find out. And if I find any of my jocks have come to harm by your actions, I shall kill you myself, and I am beginning to doubt your kind would raise a hand to stop me." This is not going to be a touching reunion, clearly.

Again, the enlongated, pointed jaw of McQueen opens and then snaps shut as he waves his Cylon companions quiet with a callused hand. "Do you honestly think, at this point, I meant you or yours any harm, after all we've been through? I thought a lot of things about you, Boss, but I never once thought you were simple or unable to grasp the obvious. I wasn't trying to harm you people. I was trying to /save/ you. Not that you'd believe it now." His right cheek twitches a little bit. "And you'd be surprised what my kind would do at this point. These folks need me, right now. But the people here aren't the ones that want my head on a stick. Before you go act out some poorly thought-out revenge spree, ask yourself why the Threes want me gone, and ask yourself if you and the Threes ever want the same thing, ever?"

"Sometimes I envy Money Shot her clarity," Cidra says, voice low, eyes locked on McQueen. It's a reference made to one long-gone, but she presumes he'll understand what it means. "I lack her courage. Today. I do not know what you intended upon our ship. Only that you lied to me for more than a year, as I called you comrade. Lied each day. And then you left." The last part might be incongruous with the rest, but she can't seem to help adding it. And it's a thing that clearly bothers her as much as any of the rest.

"You're talking about a woman who thought the Gods would damn her for taking an aspirin. As fond of her as I was." McQueen states, plainly. "I always have an eye for the complicated." He balls his fists and stuffs his hands in his pockets after waving at the others. Particularly the Centurions. "No. No. I'm good. Seriously - it's not what it looks like. If she offs me, I probably bloody deserve it."

The Eleven clears her throat. "Clearly I shouldn't get involved in this. You have my regards, Cidra Hahn, for how you and yours treated my fallen Sister above Saggitaron." With that, she turns on her heel and neatly strides off, gesturing for the Centurions to follow. One turns its head, curiously, out of step with the other and nods at McQueen, and then Cidra. It's a weirdly human gesture. And then it too retreats.

McQueen simply waits. "I left. Probably because I would have gotten my arse popped in hack. I wanted to stay but it wasn't in the cards. Not with what was going on. If Kepner took over, it would've been a disaster for all of us. That was a turning point, you see." He smiles thinly and weakly. "What the Hell was I supposed to say, Toast? I tried. I told you what I could, when I could. I even told you about the Admiral. But nobody listened to me, or that poor sprout of an Eleven."

"Admiral Michael Abbot. Yes." Cidra's tone is flat. "It seems now that he was not of the abominations. Yet you did very little for him, beyond making a nuisance of yourself when Major Tillman arrested him. He is dead over Audumbla, blood lost to the vacuum. Human blood. And yet you live. Not an even trade, I do not think." She sighs. "Well, my hands are not clean in that, either. But I did only what I thought I must at the time. You…can you say the same?"

Evandreus arrives from the The Sacred Circus - Lampridis Town.

"Oh, come off it. If I actually said 'He's not a Cylon - trust me, I know because I am one, would you've even listened to me? Considering that Eleven flat-out denied he /was/ one and you all ignored her what would one more voice have done? You wouldn'tve believed a word I said." McQueen's nostrils flare a bit. "It's not like you believed her. And trust me, there are many things Elevens can do well. Lyin' isn't one of them." He remains standing on the dusty path, his arms crossed then again in front of his chest.

."Oh. Making a nuisance of myself. What should I have done? Started bloody shootgin people? Tell me, Toast. What would /you/'ve done, in my shoes?"

Cidra has no answer for that, her posture stiffening, expression still inscrutably cold. "I would never have been what you are. Abomination." Her words are very quiet, but no less harsh for the softness with which they're spoken. She makes to move past him after that, out of conversation it seems.

"Oh come on. You can do /better/ than that." McQueen says, defiantly. "You never really addressed this. We're 'abominations,' as you say, but not by merit of what we are, but what we did. Just ask the Gods. What do they say?" He remains standing there, with no move to chase her. "To understand our sin, you have to understand what we are. We are your children. Some of us just want to be better than what we are."

Evandreus narrows his eyes from some distance away. Not in anger, nor suspicion, but one eye squeezed a little tighter shut than the other in a sort of facial wince at the tail end of the conversation over yonder, lips twisted into a smile to match, one without mirth of pleasantness, just a tic of the cheek producing a smile in form but without the usual emotional content. His casual stroll trails off into something more like a shuffle, not certain whether Queenie would even want to see him, much less wanting to interrupt… whatever this is. Well, wanting to, maybe, but not daring to. The Bunny is not made of as stern a stuff as that.

Cidra's shoulders stiffen. She definitely heard McQueen's words. But they don't stop her. Off she marches.

And just like that, McQueen is left waiting in the dust, alone, his baggy canvas coat covering his still-familiar offduty tanks. He then stuffs his hands in his pocket. "Well well well." He catches the passing figure of Evandreus. "I figure you're here to give me some brand of a ration of shite as well, yeh?" Yep. Out of all the Twos, it's definitely the one most familiar.

Evandreus distracts himself nudging at a tire of one of the discarded vehicles with the toe of a boot when Cidra passes— he's not going to get in the way of that, for sure. He swivels his head up and about when called upon, looking a little bashful to have been caught loitering, but offering the guy a smile, no less. "Didn't know you were a scat fiend, Queenie," he answers in an effort to break the ice a little, shuffling closer. "Nah, guy," he answers, then, warmer, but more seriously. "You doing okay? The Brother said you were kinda… down." The corner of his mouth twitches downward as if to recognize that that word is nowhere near adequate, but he shrugs up a shoulder in a wordless apology for his lack of eloquence.

"Nah. That's the Ones. But that little secret will cost you." McQueen finally regains some element of flippancy as he slips out a wink towards Evandreus, some manner of harshness faded from his countenance. "How'm I doing? Seriously? I'm bloody homeless, is what I am. I'm a Cylon who's a little tired of bein' a Cylon. Not that I'm not one, of course. Missed Yazdah an' her sisters something fierce, I'll admit." He looks at the man aside. "Seriously, Bunny. How frakked am I? I mean, I don't even know how to explain any of this."

Evandreus resumes some degree of his usual easy smile when he recognizes the flippant, disgusting Queenie he knows and loves. It fades about the eyes but remains there on his mouth, an offer of whatever moral support it can provide even as his eyes are touched with sadness for Queenie's condition. "You're… kinda seriously frakked. I can't really fix that. Wish I could. Once people get it into their brains to hate, it's… a hard thing for most people to turn off. I can't speak for the Cylons, of course, but… well, like you were just saying, the two of us, we're not really all that different. We don't even need to talk about the… stuff you guys pulled. But I can't say humans haven't done the same to you guys, eh?"

"Hmm. I suppose you're right. I'm not going to mince words here, he made a mess of shit." McQueen says, flashing a brief show of teeth. "I'm not saying we didn't have our reasons. Bad ones, good ones. But our reasons all the same. And I don't care what those imbeciles back home have to say. Truth is, man, we're headed for a kind of war, one way or another. We always were. We're different. It's in our nature." He gestures off towards the sky. "I mean my 'brothers and sisters.' Personally I say 'let them come.' They have /no/ idea what's bloody waiting for them here. I'm just concerned 'bout the collateral damage." He takes a few steps forward. "And I know people probably never can forgive what happened. I'm not naive, and I'm not an idiot. I just have one wish. I want them to understand why I've done what I've done. It's not to merely say 'I'm sorry.' Only an idiot would think that would even work."

"Everyone has reasons. You all just had the reasons and the means, which, well… the human race would ahve died off a long time ago if we had had the means to do it ourselves," Bunny laughs at the thought, a rough, dry huff of a laugh followed by a roll of the eyes and a nostalgic smile, like he was remembering a puppy that used to crap all over the carpet and chew on the chair legs. Oh, that rascally human race. "Though I guess you could always say we -did- do it ourselves, when we made you. We had the impulse. You were the means," he regards Queenie quietly for a moment as though wrapping his brain around that one. "Anyhow, the way I see it? And, y'know, please let me know if I'm wrong. But the way I see it, you were in a hell of a spot, Queenie. And you… you did the best you could with it. You got us here. Which. Whatever happens? I'm glad we're here. I don't know about anyone else, but… I needed to see here. To see this. Aphrodite ascendant over Ares again."

"Eh. I don't think that's really doing anyone any favors, - Denying our agency in all this, I mean. For better or worse, we /are/ sentient beings who guide our own destiny. Or something." McQueen mumbles, shrugging lopsidedly. "We felt backed in a corner, and — well, everyone had their own reasons agreeing to the Plan. Stupid as it was. But we didn't know. We didn't know what the Gods wanted. What God wanted. That part was much more vague than anyone thought." He clears his throat now.

"What you're seein' here, Doe, is a miracle. Nothing short of one. Never in the history of our two peoples have Cylons and Humans admitted and understood one anothers' sentience openly, and respected the others' space. /That/, and /only/ that is why people here are able to accomplish what they have."

"Not saying that you guys didn't have your own reasons. But we made you like us, that's all. And we were… frak, we still are just a jumble of confused and violent individuals looking for someone to punish for the things that hurt us and scare us," Evan tries to explain his line of reasoning, only to wrinkle up his nose. "That didn't sound too complimentary, either. Sorry," he offers. "This place, though. Yeah, miracle is about the word I was groping for. I can hardly fathom it, but at the same time, I never want to leave it. Everything feels so… just…" he shakes his head. "Have you ever studied Empedocles' hymn to Aphrodite? There's this part about how the world will finally come to an end when Aphrodite embraces all the disparate elements and mingles them evenly, letting fire live in water's peaceful embrace and letting earth and ocean and heaven invade one another freely, none of the atoms caring about differences in weight or buoyancy, but… living in peace each one next to the other."

"I was shite in school, Doe." McQueen admits. "Well, no. Just — I'm not one for structure. In fact, I look to bloody well break it when possible. That's what my model does. That's one of the reasons we started asking questions from the beginning. Whatever else you believe, I went through the Academy from the beginning. I lived as a human. I knew what I was, but — I just think," He looks towards the ground for a moment with a quiet quirking of his mouth to one side, "I realized I would have made a better human than Cylon. So I decided, well, 'why not?' When it came time to phone in the killing blow, I had other ideas. That's kind of what made them all pretty mad. Except Yazdah. I think she understands. She's a sweetheart, that one."

"But I get what you're saying. You're applyin' a personification to a cosmic principle. I can dig it. So, uh, yeah. How do I get Toast to listen to me? I don't expect her to accept me as anything but — all I want her to do is understand one thing, and one thing only about me. I'm easy to please, y'know."

"You can be whatever you want to be, Queenie," Evan smiles at the guy. From the mouths of Leontinians. "And no, I meant—" he closes his mouth and shakes his head, "Not important. One thing? Any one thing in particular, or… is it an open-ended list of options?" he wonders back at him, stuffing his own hands in his pockets in an unconscious mirroring of Queenie's posture.

"Heh. I've been telling myself we can be anything. Which's why I wanted to be a hero and not a murderer — a convert and not a bloody traitor. Problem is, when you ride both sides of the fence, nobody's really eager to see you." Queen muses, his hands splayed apart, fingers cupping his chin. "Nah. I just wanted her to know. Y'know - she's blessed. By both the Gods she knows but doesn't understand and a God she'll never accept. They're the same thing, really, and all I do when I talk to her is get some regurgitated Apostolos shite."

Evandreus twists his lips together in a nice mixture of pain for the remembrance of the Eels and pain for the remembrance of her hot-headed, single-minded hatred. Two… very different flavors of pain in one nice smoothie. "For what it's worth… I'll pass on the message. Don't know if she'll believe me any more than she would you, but I'll give it a go. There anything else you need, man? Anything from upstairs I could bring down for you?" he wonders. Upstairs being the ship, presumably.

"Nah. That's —" He obviously got what 'upstairs' meant. "I took what I needed when I left. More or less. I came aboard with little; anything I had can be better put to use in someone else's hands." McQueen processes all this as he repositions his hands in his coat pockets. "Listen. I don't know how else to put this, but — war's coming, man. War's coming, and it's the war every surviving human was waiting for, but it's not what people think. All I'm asking is this - trust me, and I won't lead any of you astray. You'll know who the enemy is. Three is every bit as much of a bastard as Kepner was, perhaps with worse cause, but these differences are semantic. Let me ask you this — when the time comes, Cylon and Human will have to stand together." And with this, he steps forward, and brings out a hand from his coat pocket and clasps Evandreus on his shoulder with an open hand. "The others don't realize this yet."

"The war we were waiting for, but not what we think," Evan repeats. "Have you been taking Cryptic lessons from Eleven?" he teases brightly, even as he unearths a hand from his trousers pocket and brings it to hook onto Queenie's elbow between them, giving it a little squeeze. "Yyyeah, that's going to be… a feat. But if it can happen anywhere… I'm guessing that place is here."

"Heh. Just remember one thing, man. The temple is blessed. The Temple of Aphrodite is not quite what you think. It's Sacred to more than just Aphrodite. But the others will learn that soon enough." McQueen intones, simply and succintly.

"I'll take that as a yes," Evan cocks a brow for Queenie. In re: cryptic lessons. Then, smiling, "The dead god lives there, too," he acknowledges, as though he's already figured out the riddle. "I know. Brother Solon brought me to the rites." He wobbles his head toward his shoulder in a thoughtful manner. "Maybe if Cid took part in the rites, she'd understand. But I don't know if her cult lets her take part in them." Athena and Aphrodite are, after all, in a manner of being immortal enemies, ever since that whole apple thing.

"Heh. That's the thing - it's not about Aphrodite. Really." McQueen says, quite simply. "Not just Aphrodite. But that's the secret of the temple. It used to be dedicated to someone…else." His smile is again thin.

"Yah, I know, the—" Evan begins, then turns his head to the side, eyeing Queenie, "Wait. You're not talking about Him," he realizes, shaking his head in a subtle wobble. "Who was it dedicated to? Or. To whom was it dedicated?" Because proper grammar matters, right now.

"I don't know for certain. It's all kind of hazy." McQueen intones, distantly, as he looks over his shoulder. "One of the Lords of Kobol, for certain. But I think there's more to it than that. Athena. But — not."

"Huh," Evan remarks simply, after having taken a little bit of time to try to incorporate that new information into his worldview. It has certainly FELT like Aphrodite over there, but, as he's a follower of the Laughing Lady, and was there for her rites, who can really blame him? His pensive consideration is tweaked somewhere deep inside him, disturbed from the inside out until the unsettled tinge comes to be apparent on his face. "Look, uh… I really don't want to ask. Like. Really don't. But I know if I don't, I'm gonna be kicking myself for, like… ever. So, uh… do you know what the hell was going on in Kythera?"

"I don't think these things are cut and dried. Do you think the Divine is lookin' at a bloody spreadsheet?" McQueen observes, idly, as he fiddles with his fingertips inside his coat pocket. "Maybe dedicating the place to one makes it so. I really don't know. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Five. Thank…everything." He snorts derisively. And lingers a while. "What do you mean, exactly?"

Evandreus' eyebrows rise even as he narrows his lids a little bit, like he would if Queenie were playing coy with him. "Do you remember the day I tried my best to crack my skull open on my locker door? Yeah, I thought there were cylon eggs hatching in my brain, 'cause I was out of my mind popping mood stabilizers trying to cope with the fact that I. Actually. Took a stroll. Through…" Evan narrows his eyes further in empahsis of the word, "The disemboweled intestines of the only person I ever loved. In that place." He presumably doesn't need to tell Queenie what place. There's a strain enough behind the words… as if going through it again were putting him through some serious distress, and he would just like some manner of answer so he could put it away again.

"Oh. You're barkin' up the wrong tree there, bud." McQueen finally states after a long, sort-of awkward pause, just standing still there. "Whoever's plan was, mine weren't really privy to it. Mind you, I was outside of the loop at that point." A shrug. "I can guess. We're —- We've been searching for ways to reproduce. I mean, without creating new models. Again, this wasn't a plan by /my/ people specifically so you'd have to ask a Five. Or a Twelve. Not that I'd ever recommend either of these things."

It's not much. But Evan lowers his eyes, finally, as though the agitation evoked simply by asking the question had drained him of energy. A breath moves his shoulders, puffing sideways from his mouth through a rightward purse of his lips. "Right," is all he can really summon up the presence of mind to answer before he packs all that back down into the compartment where it's been carefully stowed away through long therapy sessions and his tumultuous five month fling with pill-popping. "Okay. Um. Sorry. Anyhow, if you think of anything else you need, dude. Or if you just want someone to talk to. I'll be around, okay? At the clinic or at the temple. And I'll try not to… be all depressing at you, eh? Hug?" he finishes up by offering. Normally he would just hug, but he and Queenie were never the closest of friends, and now, well, it's even more awkward to do so without asking.

"It depends if they let me out of my cage." McQueen's grin is slightly goofy and lopsided, with a flash of teeth. With that, he just shrugs. "Listen, um, we've all had to pay a lot to walk this road. And we'll still have to keep paying. Don't worry about /me./ Worry about us. For the first time in thousands of years, humans and Cylons - at least the smart ones — we're in the same boat." He smiles thinly. "Just watch yourself, yeh?"

No answer means… hugs, right? Well, it's not much of a stretch for Evan to bring his other arm around to wrap the guy up in one, giving him a pat on the shoulder to mark the single beat of the hug before he releases him again. "Sure, okay. It was good to see you, anyhow, dude. Missed you upstairs. Hope I'll see you around… just… don't let your scruff go too far, or I won't be able to tell you from the other one." He blinks. "

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