PHD #213: Schools and Scrolls
PHD #213: Schools and Scrolls
Summary: Rose helps reassure Astra in her worries and needs as she gets her flock settled.
Date: 27 Sep 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Astra Rose 
Hangar Deck - Starboard - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
This Hangar Bay is filled with boxes, crates and other various supplies that are needed throughout the ship. Most have been moved to one end and lashed with tarps to keep them out of the way. The place has gone from extra ship storage on one end and the ability to house over 450 people on the other end. Whatever could be made into cots has been set up like a huge barracks. Some areas have been made more presentable with a few items that belong to the person holding onto their small area in this world. Marines guard this area 24/7 and food is brought in cafeteria style, feeding people out of vats and buckets as they line up with their plates. One area has been tarped off to the side, that holds canvas showers and sinks. The 'Head' in this area has to be cleaned daily since it is a temporary military bathroom setup, due to there is no way to flush it out through pipes.
Post-Holocaust Day: #213

The days blur together, from one to the next, in the starboard hangar. Before they were rescued, people were occupied with the constant demands of survival: avoiding the Cylons, finding supplies, finding shelter. Most folks do what they can to stay busy here, usually by organizing the supplies provided by the Navy.

Rose can often be found sorting, folding, or doing activities that don't require sight. But today, she's sitting with a small circle of people, who have what look like scrolls of scripture laid out. Rose herself isn't reading, but it's obviously a prayer and discussion group. A few idols, either statuettes or wrought figurines or pendants, are held in hands or laps, or laid out on the scrolls.

It looks like someone else is moving in. A group of someone elses, a gaggle of seven children and Astra carrying two more, shuffling through the bay to the area where most of the other children and families are situated. They have, apparently, set up their area already; some of the camping tarps have been strung up to give them some privacy around their handful of cots. Astra settles the twins in a makeshift cradle, then gets the other children situated. Finally, the young ones occupied, she settles on an overturned box that is apparently now a stool, and she sighs softly. Not far from where rose's group is praying, she watches for a few moments before one of the girls starts to cry. She lifts her up, a spindly four-year-old, and shuffles with her to soothe her, drawing closer to Rose.

It's not as if there are many young children around usually, so Rose easily picks out the sound of the crying girl. Her head tilts to the side, and she smiles slightly. Astra must be here. Rose leans in to murmur something to her scripture group, and smoothly rises to her feet. With a click her whitestick snaps open and she makes her way over to Astra's little tarp fort - although likely she doesn't know it's there. "Miss Koios? Is that you?" She calls out, getting close to where she first heard the little girl.

A familiar voice. Astra turns, and she moves over to Rose, shuffling more slowly than the blind woman. "Yes… yes, it's me," she calls back. "Miss… Ib… Ibbhanas, right?" She pats Petra's back, cooing at her, making soft sounds to comfort her. "I… I'm sorry, I hope we didn't disturb you. Petra…. she's a bit frightened by all of this." Astra's voice quavers slightly, as if she is nervous herself about being here.

Rose pauses at conversational distance. Her demeanor is easygoing with a kind smile for the mother. "No, it's quite all right. You can't expect this place to be perfectly quiet at all times. Actually, there's uaually a low din, outside of mealtimes. You get used to it. People at this side of the hangar are usually quite mindful." And, sensing the woman's nervousness, she queries, "What's wrong? The children are quite safe down here. The troublemakers are that way," she says lower, indicating the opposite end of the hangar.

"Last time I was down here, I almost got trampled," answers Astra. "And the children saw what happened. And there's no easily-accessible escape route, nor safe hiding spaces that are easy to bolt to in an emergency. Not with so many people. It feels so… open, unprotected. I know…" She sighs softly. "I know there's nowhere else, and that it's the best that can be done, and it's something. And I know we'll get used to it…. eventually. But right now I just want to find a nice quiet broom closet and hide there."

"If anyone gives you trouble, you let me know," Rose says to the woman, reaching out a hand for her, to pat her arm or shoulder, whichever she finds. "I've the ear of Major Cavanaugh, so if there are problems, I can make sure she knows what's happening. And I promise that anyone who comes looking to harass you will not be one of us," she explains, indicating the folks that collect at this side of the hangar. "We're not rioters. We're against what happened to Captain Sitka."

"Thanks. It does help." Astra nods her head, putting her hand over Rose's. "It's just so… overwhelming. And… well… thank you." She sighs again. "I… I didn't mean to interrupt, truly. I know you're busy, and have people waiting for you. But… would you like to come… in… and sit at all? I have… well… nothing much to offer except company." She glances around, shaking her head. "And where I can find room to set up a school, gods alone know."

Rose smiles brightly. "You're more than welcome to sit in, just as long as the little one is quiet enough," she says. She gently tugs Astra towards the group, walking slowly enough so that the two can converse. "And I had thoughts about schooling. Miss Averies came to see me last night. She was talking about… well, grandiose things. I was thinking, why need a school at all? There are more than enough people here, I'm sure you could find someone to help you. Teaching and caring for the children comes from here," she taps above her breast, "and not from a room or a building. Just like faith."

"I can't promise she'll stay quiet… and…" Astra looks towards her children, then lifts her voice just a little. "Zander, Nestor. I'll be just over here. If you need me for anything, just come get me. You can see me from there." She bites at her lip. "You're right, a school is in us. Withough us, without caring, a building, a room, it's just an empty shell. But I was thinking of it more as a multi-purpose room— primarily for school, but a safe place the children can play and be… well, children. The crew has the recreation room. We… well, we can use it to some extent. But it's not a place for children. And adults can understand not having any real place to call their own. But we see how hard that is. Children? They need some place of their own. Not to mention that it's harder to keep *them* focused teaching a class out in the open."

Rose nods, sympathetic. "I know, I know. But we can't place demands on the military. Not the way Miss Averies was suggesting, without saying it. It's how she came across…" Her tone changes as she and Astra reaches the group. "Everyone," she says to the group. "This is Astra Koios. She'd like to listen in." There's a chorus of greetings from the half dozen or so individuals.

"Oh dear. I haven't demanded anything. I don't *want* to demand. Just ask if there's… anywhere…" Astra's voice is strained, shocked, and she shakes her head. But her voice trails off as they approach the group, and she stops shyly, then nods. "H-hello," she manages. Then she pats Petra's back, soothing her own nerves by soothing the little girl. "Thank you…"

Rose turns to face Astra once the group goes back to whatever point they were discussing. Murmured so only she can hear it, and placing both hands on Astra's shoulders, she says, "Astra, we have to provide for ourselves. This is a military ship. They're not equipped to handle us. They just don't have the facility to provide a school for you. But, there's hope." Her smile hopefully softens the blow. "There's talk of a freighter that they're going to try and find, fix, and bring up. For us. It'll have hydroponics and living space. And I bet there'll be a space for your school. For the children."

Astra's shoulders shake under Rose's hands, but she gulps down her tears, gulps down pretty much anything the might say. She just nods, managing a soft, half-strangled "Yes." She rocks back and forth a little, though perhaps this is for Petra's sake and not her own. "Poor Bunny…." she murmurs, then clips that off as well, falling silent again.

Rose sighs softly, gathering Astra into her arms for a hug. Mindful of the babe, she rests her chin on Astra's shoulder and squeezes reassuringly. "I promise, you'll have a place for your children. I promise," she whispers to the emotional woman. "Poseidon will give back to us once He's done taking. The sea can be ruthless in what it takes from us, but it will always calm. And then it yields to us again. All this will pass."

"I know… I know…" Astra shakes her head. "And I'm sorry. I can make do here… I can… but I still have to at least *ask*. If there's not one single space for a school, I can accept it, but… for the children, I have to at least ask. I owe that to them. Not just mine.. but all of them." SHe shakes herself. "A separate ship… would be nice… if it's secure, safe… but… I'd be tearing the children from a man they've come, in these couple of weeks, to view as a father. And take them away from him. I'm not up to making that decision just yet." She shakes herself. "I should go. I've disrupted your group enough already. I'm so sorry.:

"No, you haven't!" Rose insists, her voice still soft and reassuring. She looks into the woman's eyes - or at least, she happens to be at the moment, despite her impairment. Sometimes, she just connects with people, and it seems like she can see through the gray haze. "I will ask Major Cavanaugh. I promise. And, even if she can't help you now, she will definitely set space aside for you on the new freighter. I know it, in my heart." A pause. "A father? But I thought…"

"The twins are mine, and my late husband's," answers Astra. "The other seven are orphans of Aerilon, though I wish to adopt them as my own, unless they have family found. From what they have been able to mention, I doubt it. Gods, I don't even know who to ask about that. But… the pilot… Evandreus Doe… he was part of the rescue team that brought us back. He delivered my twins. They're named after him. He loves them very much. He loves the other children. They see him as a father. He's *family*. And I don't know if it's right to tear them away from family again…"

Rose can't help but tear up a little at Astra's story. Lip trembling as she smiles, she murmurs, "That's wonderful, Astra. That really is. I have no idea how military families stick together, but if this man loves the children as much you feel he does, then he'll find a way. You'll both find a way." Sniffle.

"He's the brother I never had, and I love him like that. I suppose, when the time comes, I will find a way to do what is best for all of us. Most of all for the children." She shakes her head, swallowing a few escaping sobs. "Thank you, Miss Ibbhanas. I… I am sorry. Normally I manage to work all this out… I've had to, for the children. But… every now and again… I just… well…" A shrug, and she gives a weary little laugh. "I'm sorry. I'm so lucky and so… rich, really. I just want what's best for the children. But I do have them. All… nine… of them. And clothes, and shoes, and food. Food. The gods provide. And a place to lay my head to sleep in relative safety. That's rich, nowadays."

Rose nods slowly, looking the woman in the eyes again. "They raided a mall on Aerilon, you know. Food and clothes and toiletries are going to be distributed soon. I can make sure that someone consults you for the needs of the children, if you like? So you're stocked up for the next, oh, eighteen years." Laughing now, she gives the woman another quick hug. "We'll make it. We'll all make it. Family… village… comes first. We'll make it."

"I know. They got us new clothes and food and shoes and some small things. A harp. They brought me a harp." Her voice warms. "The children, being Aerilonese, love the plaid. And the sheep. Sheep." A soft laugh. "I do have a list, actually, of texts and supplies I would *like*, if possible, for a school. Most I can do without, but it is a wish list. I taught school on Aquaria. Founded one with my husband. I might have mentioned that to you already… Oh. Your group. I'll shush. But if you need music… let me know."

Rose chuckles quietly, shaking her head. "Get me the list. I'll pass it on. And music would be lovely, any time. I'd think you would become a celebrity. First Supermom, now harp player? Instant celebrity." She winks.

A peal of laughter escapes 'supermon', and she snorts. "I'm an artist, actually. And an art teacher with credentials in primary ed. Supermom? No. I started as a teacher to them, then became more. As they became more. We grew together. But I wouldn't say super." She sighs. "I'm good at art, music. I don't have an abundance of useful skills. So… I do what I can."

"Well, in my opinion, you're doing just fine," is Rose's final opinion on the subject. "Now, sweetheart, I need to get back. You're welcome to listen. Or chime in. Most of us don't have degrees in theology or anything like that. We just look for truth and wisdom in the scrolls. It's how I know things will get better," she explains. "I have faith."

"Thanks. I'll… I'll listen for a bit." She smiles, and the warmth of that smile comes through to her voice. "And… you're doing just fine too. More than that. Thanks for reminding me to have faith. I needed a shoulder to lean on for a bit. Thanks for that." Astra lowers herself carefully, tucking Petra against her so that the girl can see if she wants to. She lets out a few cleansing breaths, weary breaths, relaxing, just letting herself *be* for the moment.

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