BCH #012: Right Foot Back
Right Foot Back
Summary: Conclusion to Right Foot Forward.
Date: Feb 14, 2041
Related Logs: Right Foot Forward
Oberlin Atreus Stavrian Karthasi 

Oberlin is one of those staying behind. At least for the time being. He leans forward and cups his chin with spread fingers, staring at the cursed beef serenely. Insert some joke about jackals waiting for portions, etc, etc, so forth.
Sabien heads through the exit labeled <O> Out.
Sabien has left.

Intestines. There are a lot of those, and they come out, slippery and red, as Greje looks them over with an almost surgical eye, looking for blemishes as she lets them pile up in a big tangle. The rumen, too, takes up a lot of room, and the other stomach, as well. Kidneys, gall bladder, bladder each get washed off in the braziers for closer inspection and left there to boil.

Atreus nods once to each group that makes its way out of the chapel. When the place has cleared out as much as it is going to, he leans against the bulkhead, watching. As the entrails and other bits accumulate and the smell of blood and gore mounts in the enclosed room, his compleccion fades. City boy that he is, this is the first time he's seen the gory details surrounding the preparation of meat. His arms remain crossed and his gaze lifts from the gristly task to focus on the representations of the gods.

Stavrian sits there silent for a good while. Not even his lips move, focused on some spot near Apollo's shins, hands resting on the bench seat on either side of his legs. The blood on his forearms and chin is drying rapidly, turning a chalkier shade of red. It's the sound of something clanging or a splash of water that draws him back out of his head, eyes focusing again and turning back to Greje's work at the altar. He stands up, bench creaking softly in the descended silence. "Sister. Anything I can do?"

Oberlin's teeth gently flash as his lips part. He's watching the process attentively, not approving or disapproving in particular. "Never sat through a ship's blessing before."

Karthasi's work having for the moment veered from the sacrificial to the practical, she tosses her head back, tipping off her hood and lifting a bloody arm to try to scratch her forehead with her elbow. Failing, of course, and getting blood all on her forehead, anyhow. "Jesse. Can you take a look… see if… you can figure out what was wrong with it?" she wonders. She's a priest, not a doctor, after all. She, for her part, continues her way up through the diaphragm to get to the heart and lungs. "It, ah— it generally goes a lot more smoothly," she remarks back to Oberlin, sounding almost apologetic, face glistening with a little bit of sweat from the hot hood and the hot entrails, the twin fires and all the cutting.

Atreus pushes from the bulkhead and begins a slow walk up past the pews toward the alter area. He does not encroach on the sacred area, however and not merely because it is awash in gross. "Uh." Where he can be forceful on the Deck, the man is out of his element here. "Can I get you all anything? Water? Anything?" It is not what he wants to ask, certainly and that fact is writ large in his tone and his expression. "Are you okay, Captain?" Again, not what he wants to ask, but it is closer at any rate.

Dammit, Greje. Jesse's a PA, not a veterinarian. Any comment, however, is canned and Stavrian approaches the altar again, stepping over the heap of entrails that Karthasi's working on. A glance over his shoulder at Oberlin as he crouches down, fingers hiking at the fatigues fabric just above his knees, then he squints down at the entrails. The blood doesn't bug him at all, despite his not having gloves on, and he starts picking through the entrails for things that don't look quite right.

"I'll take your word for it, sister. Maybe the prognosis will be 'interesting.'" Oberlin offers in a polite sort of wry tone, slowly rising from the pew and tucking his hands behind his back as he straightens.

Oberlin then glances downwards and starts picking at a few stray bits of fuzz littering his fatigue pants.

Karthasi finally digs her way into the chest, getting in all the way up to her shoulders and looking like she might try to climb right inside the animal as she gets up there to swipe the lungs and heart, depositing the lungs in one tripod, the heart in the other, and nodding to Atreus, "Some water would decidedly not go amiss, Chief," she utters gratefully, coming 'round, then, to continue cutting where she'd slit the beast's throat, working to decapitate the thing while Stavrian gives his Medic's eye to the innards. "And I think it already has 'interesting' covered."

Nodding to Karthasi, Atreus turns on his heel and makes his way away from the mess. Somehow, seeing blood up to the Priestling's shoulders was even more disturbing than seeing the pile of discarded ex-cow parts. As he passes Oberlin, he offers a quick nod, "Back in a tick." Reaching the hatch, the man slips out into the hall, grateful as much for having something to /do/ as he is for the excuse to get away from the smell. Give him filthy grease any day over that.

"Hand me a knife, Sister?" Stavrian sits back on his heels as he turns the cow's heart over in his hands, the pericardium hanging partway off in a stained filmy shred. His knees have patches of sticky red in big circles where they touched down in animal fluids, fingernail crescents nearly black with the blood pushed up under them. Atreus gets an absent, but grateful lift of his chin when it registers belatedly that the man's grabbing water.

"Interesting. Here's hoping 'interesting' consists of the Cerberus heroically rescuing a broken-down passenger liner ferrying hundreds of friendly showgirls who happen to have professional liquor-distilling skills and a cargo hold full of Picon Brandy." Oberlin observes, as he steps away from the pew. "Thank you for the blessing, Sister." He smiles thinly as he walks on towards the back of the Chapel lazily.

In far too short a time, Atreus returns. He is carrying a smallish stack of plastifoam cups in one hand and a pitcher of fresh, clear and clean water in the other. Stepping into the chapel again, he pauses as the smell again assaults his senses. A soft "Gah" escapes before he can muffle it. But, if the priest and the medic can handle it, he can. Squaring his shoulders, the man walks resolutely up the passage between the pews. As Oberlin approaches, Atreus steps aside to let him pass, "Excuse me."

Karthasi is using the only knife she's got on her, at present. She looks up, though, and, fortunately, Atreus has returned just in time to watch her sever the vertebrae still connecting the cow's head from its body. "Chief. I hate to bother you again, but could you head into that second door there," her eyes flick toward it, "And get a black folded bag that's in there? There are some knives in it, if you could get one for Jesse I'd be very grateful," she begs of him, meek-voiced, sounding way too mild to have just pulled the head off of a cow.

Atreus stares for a moment as the vertebrae is severed and the cow's head is seperated from its body. He swallows, certain that he has gone pale as a sheet. Luckily, he did hear Karthasi. "Right." He has to swallow a bit before trying that again as it came out with kind of a squeek. "I mean. of course, sisger." Turning, he sets the pitcher and glasses on a pew near to hand but far enough away to avoid splashes. "Be right back." Heading to the door in question, he opens it and slips inside. If he takes a moment to recover, who could blame him? Still, the fate of the ship is still waiting to be told. With a quick, silent prayer to Heph, he finds the knives as described and heads back. Walking gingerly around the pile-o'-goo, he offers one handle first to Stav, "Sir?"

Stavrian, in the meantime, holds the slimy heart up more into the light, a rivulet of blood making its slow, snakelike trail down the blade of his hand and wrist. "Right ventricle looks huge," he murmurs, more to himself than to Greje. "Overworked, maybe…" He rests his forearm down on his lap, frowning slightly as he looks over the rest of the entrails, eyes focused as if searching for something. And then Atreus appears with the knife, the handle of which he takes. His fingers are slippery, thumb wrapping arund the wooden part and holding tight. "Perfect, thanks Chief." He scooches closer to the cow and scrunches down until he's bent down over his own knees, bracing the upper lip of the huge gut incision onto his shoulder and sliding hands inside the carcass.

Karthasi slices up the front of the cow's throat, next, cutting away until she comes to the base of the tongue, slicing it out. Easier than going through the mouth. And into one of the tripods it goes, destined to end up a special treat for Hermes. She works cautiously at the eyes, next, 'cause those are fragile to get out without breaking. "Thank you, Chief, she smiles at him, a pale little smile, and she pops out one of the eyeballs, plopping it in the tripod, working on the other while she watches Stavrian's invastigations. Pop. There's the other one. Plop. Into the water. She sets down the head by the shoulder of the beast, and rinses her hands in the tripod before going over to fetch a cup of water.

When Stav takes the knife, Atreus steps back a little and nods, "Sure. Any time." The man who can face down oncoming vipers without a flinch, who can bully recalcetrant raptors into submission, is having trouble with a little (gallons) of blood and entrails. In an attempt to get the vision of Stav half in a cow's carcus out of his line of sight, he turns to Karthasi, "Welco… Welcome." Pop and pop go the eyeballs and he closes his eyes. "Uh. Right." Walking around the altar he moves almost beside the Priestling to the water pitcher. "I honestly do not see how you can do this. You are very strong people, I'll give you that."

Stavrian's blue eyes look back up at the Chief, neck craned painfully. "You eat steak, don't you Chief?" He turns his head, wiping his cheek against his shoulder. "Or would that answer be: 'Not anymore'?" The corner of his lip twitches in a subdued smirk and he ducks his head again, pushing his hand past the layers of filleted raw muscle. That smell is no longer just blood, the hot coppery stink mixed with the cloying, acidic smell of digestive juices and bile. As Stavrian cuts a section of intestine and tugs it free, it spills a thick blackish paste. Cow's last meal, long churned through half the bowels. He exhales through pursed lips, his cheek and forehead smushed up against the incision, and suddenly he pauses. "Sister, Chief?" His tone's changed, having lost any sense of jest. "Anyone have a flashlight?"

"We give unto the Gods that which is due to the Gods," Greje replies quite mildly to Atreus. "We share the meal, as Prometheus once saved our souls by contracting with Zeus for us to do. The stories may be gruesome, and the rituals might be gruesome, but if we don't retell the stories and reenact the rituls with exactness and right action, we lose their meaning to time." A sip of water punctuates this little discursus. "I do not. But let me turn up the lights," which had been dimmed for the ceremony. She heads off to go do that, and in a few moments the lights come up to a full military bright whiteness. The better to see the gore with.

Atreus does listen to Karthasi. Attentitively. Like a student or proper supplicant should. Perhaps the chief is a believer. "Thank you, sister." There is no sarcasm there. Seems the reminder was actually timely. Turning, he intentionally looks back to Stav, "Oh. I do, yes. Probably still will, but we'll have to see." At the request, he lowers a hand to his utility belt, "I do, actually. Didn't have time to change before coming up." Extracting the flashlight, he turns it on and moves close enough to hand it to Stav. The smell. Well. He does not take deep ones. That would be taking bravery too far, "Uh. Need a hand?" Though he truly hopes that the answer will be 'no'.

Stavrian reaches up for the flashlight, before he gets a glimpse of his own bloodsoaked hands. He licks his lips and motions with his head towards the cow. "Just shine it inside, would you?" His eyes flicker up as the lights come on, but, well. It's still dark in that there abdominal cavity. "Straight back towards the spine. I felt something." He's still got the knife gripped, awkwardly with how slippery it is. His uniform T-shirt is damp and sticky with blood by now, which matches the blotches on his knees. And he's going in. "There's…sister, grab a bowl?"

Karthasi returns from turning the lights on just in time to hear the request, and she scurries to the side to take up the bowl which had held the cow's blood, getting down beside the altar to hold the bowl ready much like Stavrian had done earlier, for whatever it might receive, one knee planting in the blood still pooled around the drains by the base of the altar.

Atreus says, "No problem." Swallowing again, the Chief grips the light as a dying man minght a lifeline. When he realizes that his fingers are starting to go numb, he eases the grip. Stapping to one side to allow Karthasi access, he either ignores the fact that he is standing in cow's blood or simply does not notice. Curiosity is a great palliative when coupled with the perspective of the faithful and, mind engaging in things other than gore and blood, ease begins. Angling the flashlight's beam as directed, he bends a bit so that he can get a glimpse of whatever it is. "Like this?""

"Yeah…" Stavrian grunts, teeth clenched as he wrenches his shoulders, pushing his arms in all the way back to the dead beast's spinal cord. Muscle and innards make a viscous slurping sound as they're disturbed, and the knife scrapes on bone and into…something. He tugs gently, cuts, tugs again, and gradually the other two can see the edge of what he's been spleunking for - a jellylike sac, veined and dark bluish-black. The smell is nearly overpowering, an earthier, bitter stench. The knife scrapes and slices, more and more of the protective goo coming loose, and as he carefully pulls on the prize a side of comes loose. A little protrusion, gooey and wet. A tiny /animal leg/.

Karthasi catches the sac in the bowl as it's scraped out, bit by bit, looking moderately distressed by the discovery, "What is—" she begins to ask, then, eyes flicking upward to the new discovery, she interrupts herself to ask, "What is -that-?" Which is probably what she was going to ask before, but in a completely different intonation, and about a different substance.

The extraction of the goo and then the small leg has pricked both Atreus' gross factor, but also his curiosity. "W…" He was probably going to ask the same thing Karthasi did, but she managed it for the team. By this point, he has been breathing through his mouth for a while in an attempt to mitigate the stench. He shifts the angle of the light so that it shines more fully onto the thing Stav is working on extracting. Then, just because he cannot seem to stop himself, "Is that a… What is that?"

By now, Stavrian's cut the back of the sac loose. He pulls his hand out to deposit the knife on the floor with a bloody clatter, then delves back in, fitting his hands back into the deep viscera. Carefully he pulls the rest of the sac loose. It's not a huge thing, about the half the size of a man's head, oozing more of that strange smell with it. That tiny leg sticks up through the ripped hole, and something clinks against the side of the bowl as the whole thing is most carefully deposited. As the delicate film's further pulled apart, the flashlight beam gives a much clearer picture of the glob. The leg juts up from a mass of gooey, malformed tissue. A second leg is clear on the other side, and in the middle, perhaps most horrifyingly, is a deformed but identifiable skull. Small and misshapen, the protruding jaw covered in a thin layer of half-developed skin and a wet dusting of hair, several teeth sticking out from places they really shouldn't be. A crest of bone is shoved right up next to the deformed little head, making a one-sided hunch that connects to nothing but more dripping tissue. The JG can barely remember to speak, his fingers frozen in place where they've been pulling the sides of the sac away. One word, his voice low. "Teratoma."

"Oh. My," Greje nearly whispers the two words in a moment of understatement that's impressive even for her. "It's… is that a… baby?" she asks, "But— I already took out the uterus, and— this cow hasn't borne any calves, it's too young," she points out, further. Not that she's doubting that he knows that, but she has to say these things, anyway, holding upt he bowl for the malformed little thing.

Watching the extraction, Atreus shakes his head at Greje's query, "No, ma'am. Er. Sir. Unless I miss my guess, and I'll wait for the doc's verdict here, that… Is a twin. Or should be." Once the blob of flesh and bone is deposited in the bowl, he turns the light back into the cavity. The light flickers back and forth for a moment, then he clicks it off. Looking back at the malformed beastie, he sort of sinks into a bit of a squat, hands resting on his thighs. "It is a twin. Isn't it?" With that, his gaze lifts to Stav.

Even the PA looks shaken. If olive skin can be said to be able to go pale, Stavrian's has lost a shade or two. He licks his lips, a mistake as his tongue touches an errant smear of cow's blood, the taste turning to copper in his mouth and nose. "Yeah, it…" He clears his throat. "I can't say so officially, you'd have to ask one of the doctors. But it's…it's like a twin. A parasite. It's a kind of tumor." His blue eyes look up from the bowl at Greje, searching the priestess' face.

Karthasi stands, looking down into the bowl, brows drawing together and down. "How strange," she whispers. "Is the meat still… safe? Will we be able to continue the sacrifice?" she gets down to brass tacks for a moment, trying to forge ahead with the practicalities for now, letting the theological implications simmer for the moment along with the internal organs in the tripods.

Atreus just keeps looking at the… the thing for a while longer. Finally, he rises, slipping the light into a pocket, "Okay. Okay. What we do now is get a doc here, or a cook. Someone whose dealt with this sort of thing before, right? A specialist." Trust a tech to throw a specialist at a problem that a generalist can't solve. "Sir?" That seems to be aimed at Karthasi, "I would go forward with the assumption that the sacrifice can proceed. Just so you are not caught flat footed if it can. Right? Go as far as you can until you have to know. yeah?" He turns to Stav, "Uh. Sir? If you would find a doctor, I'll go for a cook. Sound like a plan?"

"I don't know," Stavrian shakes his head at Greje's query. They're already up past his scope of practice with this one. He nods to Atreus' opinion on the matter. "I'd ask Captain Diego. I think she's on duty right now. I'd call her before you did anything else though. In case she needs to see it to be sure, or anything." The bizarre mass in the bowl certainly has no answer. What can be made out of its crooked mouth and jutting teeth doesn't move, fixed in a gruesomely malformed rictus.

"Agreed," Sister Karthasi nods to the medic. "I will see if I can get her on a comm line," she goes on, "I doubt that dropping by Sickbay in this… state… would be the best idea." Probably set off a panic of nurses. "If we can get her OK, we'll go on with the division of portions, and I'll send off Prometheus' share to the galley," she adds, to Atreus. Or, more likely, to herself. She talks aloud to keep her mind straight. "And then we can see to the expiation of the omen," her voice just a little grave, there, since she doesn't even know what the omen means, yet.

Although he was the one who came up with the division of labor, Atreus has not yet moved from his spot. "Right. Get 'em on com." Shaking his head, he smiles at Strav, "Sorry. I guess we're all a bit on edge." Or totally freaked out. "You are right, though. Best have the thing tested before calling in a cook. Though I'll be glad to deliver Prometheus' share." At last he steps out of the trickle of blood leading from the cow to the drain. Looking down, he sighs as bloody footprints follow him.

Stavrian's eyes are on the bowl, his head nodding after Greje's spoken. First a nearly imperceptible movement, then another more visible up and down. "I should wash off and check in," he tells Greje, voice low. "I'll let Captain Diego know to come up soon as I get down there. Give you time to…" His head makes a vague motion, presumably to refer to 'whatever Karthasi might need a few minutes to do'. He picks up the knife out of the cold pool of blood that it landed in, holding it blade-down as he stands up. His pants from the knees down are completely soaked in blood. There's a hesitation, as though he were about to say something. Ask something. But then he looks up and over at Atreus. "Thanks, Chief."

"Oh. That's probably a better idea," Greje notes, "Here, would you like to take this with you… for… her to look at?" she asks, offering out the bowl to the medic. "I could use a few minutes just to sit, I think. And perhaps change clothes."

It takes a few ticks for Atreus to pull himself back together. Sort of. "Uh. Sir?" Turning this time to Stavrian, he motions with his head "I can take you to your quarters through the maintenance ducts, if you like. It'll keep us off of the main hallways." His gaze drops to the man's blood soaked lower pantlegs, then rises. "It might be less alarming for crew, sir."

Covered in congealing blood spatter, holding a knife with a gripped hand. Lovely picture for the press. Stavrian starts to reach for the bowl, then holds up a hand. "No, sir. All the people walking around…" And Atreus says what he was thinking, and he nods the man's way. "Yeah. Thanks. If you could cover it and put it somewhere, Sister. I'll make sure the Captain knows it's important."

"I'll keep it here," Greje replies, indicating that she'll be staying here, herself— probably until this dilemma comes to a satisfactory conclusion. If satisfactory conclusions are in the cards at all, which, given the state of the sacrifice's insides… maybe not a good bet. "Thank you. Both of you. For all your help."

Atreus winces as he notices the knife that Stavrian is carrying. Add the bowl filled with bloody bits and it is a picture to keep children in all Twelve Colonies good for years to come. Half turning to Karthasi, he offers the woman a smile though it does not yet reach his eyes. "Any time, sister. Call if you have need." Motioning for Stavrian to follow him, he angles for the external hatch, "Let me just make sure that the way to the hatch is clear."
You paged Stavrian with 'I paged her, I think she's going to bed, soon. :) +mail should be fine :)'

Stavrian steps into the aisle, staying out of the direct line of the hatch while Atreus checks on the hall. The PA's eyes wander to the statue of Hermes, not for the first time this strange evening, then back to the priestess. "I'll come back after shift, sir. And I'll disinfect this for you." The knife, which he doesn't bother holding up.

"Thank you, Jesse," Greje repeats, sounding tired, but never too tired to be polite. "And I will, chief," she nods to Atreus, looking about behind her before ascertaining that her hindquarters are free of blood, and settling down on a pew, weary, pensive.

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