PHD #352: Science, Faith and Philosophy
Science, Faith and Philosophy
Summary: Conversations in the ancient ship about it and its implications. Cidra and Andromeda have a well-mannered atheist vs. fundamentalist smack-down, while McQueen reflects on all things metaphysical.
Date: 13 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: Past is Prologue and other ancient ship logs.
McQueen Cidra Andromeda 
Ancient Ship - Midship - Battlestar Cerberus
Stored in the Starboard Hangar deck is a transport vessel - smaller than a craft like the Elpis but clearly designed for long-term travel. It takes up a good portion of the hangar by itself, and its entry is under guard 24/7 by Marine personnel. It's oddly shaped - seemingly built along more curves and gentle lines than standard ship design, and has a decidedly 'alien' quality to it. Neither much like any comparable human ship, or anything the Cylons traffic in. It's shape calls to mind a whale more than anything else, a curved 'tail' at one end and round 'head' at the other, elongated body with a fat 'belly' of a mid-section. There's an entrance of sorts in the 'tail' section with a walk-way rigged to make going in easy enough. From its size, it was originally made for small ships such as shuttles - not people - to walk through. The room one enters into is more a 'foyer,' or some other communal gathering place, than a traditional hangar. The ceiling is domed and rounded over head. The curve of the 'whale's' 'tail.' A large entry foyer, or common area. The 'floor' is bare, though there are openings in the walls. Alcoves. Thirteen of them. While there is an arched doorway at the opposite end of the room, this one made for people, but it's likewise guarded and those without clearance aren't allowed to pass. The walls are covered in thirteen large mural-like paintings. Almost more akin to cave paintings than anything else. Each positioned over the thirteen small alcoves with benches where one could sit. Twelve of those might be familiar to those learned in Colonial scripture, or just the lore of their own colony. A thirteenth, however, would not be a thing any of them have encountered before in any recognizable way.
Post-Holocaust Day: #352

Condition — Two. Given the sudden (and unwelcome) flurry of Cylon activity in the Outer Colonies, the stills have gone dry for the Fleet's military personnel. As a result, off-duty folk have found other ways of passing the time in pursuits physical, mental, or spiritual. Of course, the Gods are where you find them, and in this case, amongst the sparse circulation of visitors (carefully supervised visitors of course) is one Lieutenant McQueen, gingerly padding through the ancient derelict spacecraft's corridors with his hands carefully laced behind his back and his head inclined slightly, scanning the paintings in the alcove with a quiet attentiveness. His fatigues jacket hangs open, indicating off-duty status. As much as anyone is off-duty, these days.

Cidra has, rumor has it, taken to sleeping here. The previous night, at least. And those rumors would appear to be true, as she's squirreled away in one of the alcoves, sitting in it at present. In her flight suit, but it's unzipped and sans helmet. She runs her fingers through her hair, idly trying to straighten it, though she doesn't try too hard. She might be easy to miss at first, though she does have a decent a vantage to spot passing McQueen. "Strange times, these, Queenie," she notes to him. It's unclear precisely what she's talking about. Everything and nothing, maybe.

Strange times, indeed. Deeper in the bowels of the ancient craft, there are bodies — and it's these that have drawn the Areion's Dr. True to the scene. Every moment she can spare away from the wounded that the lately-regular skirmishes have been turning out, she's been here, and is just now ending a span of several hours, bent over ancient cadavers in a cumbersome hazmat suit. Through the archway she trundles, pulling off her hood and face guard, taking a deep breath in the less-confined space. She tilts and rolls her head slowly, working out kinks, letting her eyes adjust, then glancing curiously at the other visitors, only one of whom she knows. "Good afternoon, Lieutenant McQueen," she says with a faint smile. Cidra is included in the smile, though with a touch of awkward uncertainty.

It would appear that for a while, the /living/ weren't the primary objects of Queenie's attention. He does, however, shift his stance from having his arms tucked neatly behind his back to folded loosely in front of his chest, balancing his weight from one foot to the other and glancing upwards at a few of the old symbols — the symbol for what would later be known as 'Picon.' Then Leonis. Quizzically. Cidra's greeting and Andromeda's in turn elict a quick, almost jumpy series of head-turns. Visibly startled.

"Oh. Toast. Doc True." He looks between the two of them, gauging their responses. "Doc, this would be my esteemed Boss. Major, - This is the Areion's finest organic repair crew, yeh?"

Cidra stands, sliding out of the alcove and toward the more common 'foyer' area. She was resting under the double-sided face, herself. The Gemenese Twins, as such things are reckoned. "Remarkable, is it not? Shadows of what we are, yet not. It is all…remarkable." There's a breathless touch in her voice as she notes it, a sort of awed quality. An inclination of her head to Andromeda, who she regards. There's no particular expression in her gaze, though it does have a weighing quality to it. "Ahh. Hello. I am Major Cidra Hahn."

"Major," Andromeda inclines her head to Cidra, the hooded helm of her suit tucked neatly under her arm. She quirks a faint smile at her job description as provided by McQueen. "'Organic repair crew'. I like that, actually. It denotes a precision free of undue sentiment." She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, fidgeting a moment as she grasps for small talk. "It is fascinating, isn't it, this place?" she agrees, looking around. "It sort of makes me wish I'd pursued anthropology and history with more ardor. I'd like the symbols, artifacts, and architecture to speak to me as clearly as anatomical structure. I'm sure they have a great deal to say." She pauses a moment. "It's like the air's weighted with it — though I know it's really a minor variation in atmospheric and barometric pressure. It's amazing how easily, in the absence of obvious physical stimuli, we can be tempted to translate the things we sense into metaphysical experiences."

McQueen says, "Yeh. Repairs. Well, at heart, we're just extensions of our birds. Or is it the other way around?" McQueen tosses out some pithy dime-store philosophy like it's going out of style. His follow-up is merely a hapless shrug and a tight smile towards Andromeda before turning back to glance at Cidra quizzically. "I think we very much /are/ this, we just forgot. Occasionally we get tossed a big fat reminder. I guess this one just seems more real because it's more than just a museum replica, or a book." Shaking his head a little, he rounds to the next alcove, stretching an arm out to indicate the Gemenon painting. "Here we are. It amazes me, y'see. I wonder if they even knew where they were heading. Or if they were just flailin' about like we are now." Back to Andromeda. "I think you're on to something here, but this is one of those rare, brief moments where the physical and the metaphysical are both wrapped in a neat little package and delivered at one's doorstep, reminding us all how bloody /real/ everything is." Pausing, he fishes for some kind of validation of that response. Or maybe he's just being conversational. "You think?"

"The gods speak to us in many ways, Doctor True," Cidra replies to Andromeda, voice holding a rather philosophical timbre. "Omens are everywhere if you look for them. And this…" She reaches out to place her hand upon the hull wall. "…this is an omen of something. Perhaps for ill. The Cylons have dogged us like rarely before since we took it aboard. Not all omens are curses, though. Some warnings will save your life if heeded. I do not understand this thing. But I pray to know it better…"

"I do," Andromeda nods, smiling faintly at McQueen. "Think. Constantly, in fact." She tilts her head then, listening to Cidra, taking a breath and hesitating fractionally before giving those thoughts voice. "It's unquestionably the most important archaeological find in recorded history," she says. "I think… the word 'omen' presupposes many things for which there are more rational explanations. However, it doesn't surprise me that the cylons want this vessel, as well — whatever it's assumed to mean or supposed to contain. The religious fanaticism they've exhibited certainly indicates they may be inclined to imbue objects like this one with tremendous spiritual significance."

"/Now/ you're talking, sir." The junior pilot says, sidelong towards Cidra. "And Every time /I/ think, I can feel somethin' breaking up here." McQueen's hand curls to tap two fingers against this temple playfully. "If you look hard enough you can see the steam coming out of my ears. That being said, I wonder why this thing turned up /now./ Or maybe I don't." He continues. "I don't really know for sure about the Cylons in this, though." He edges long again, his face screwed up in concentration as he moves towards the odd alcove - one with no known Colony corresponding with the image it bears. He traces his two forefingers in the air vertically, downward in three parallell swipes. "If they wanted to deny us this, they would have."

Cidra smiles, ever so slightly, at Andromeda. "Ah." It's exhaled shortly and simply, though there's a certain level of disapproval for the term 'rational.' "Not all matters can be so easily explained, Doctor. At times the mind grapples for rationalizations which the gods do not readily provide." Her gaze follows Queenie's to the strange symbol. "And there is a matter I cannot explain…""

Andromeda utters a faint snort of mirth and glances at McQueen, as though checking for the promised steam. "I'll add 'Lieutenant McQueen thinking' to my list of differential diagnoses for 'burning smells'," she says, a dimple shadowing her cheek. She draws a breath, seeming about to pick nits with something Cidra's said, then appears to think better of it. Instead, she shifts her attention, as well, to the thirteenth alcove and its inscrutable symbol. "It could mean a hundred things. A thousand things. We may never have sufficient data to interpret it correctly, so far removed from its original context."

"If that isn't what's burning, I don't want to know what is. Wait. Was that…'burning sesation?' Maybe I'd better not metion that in front of the doctor." McQueen comments aloud as though he's talking to himself, curling his arm behind his shoulders and scratching idly at the back of his head. He trails off now, continuing to stare at that symbol. "Maybe we're thinking too small, with this." He says, pointing at that messy spiral with his other arm, fingertips outstretched and lips pursed in concentration.

Cidra just regards Andromeda in that mild sort of way, as if she's waiting for nits to be picked. Inscrutably. "What do you believe in, Doctor, if not the Lords and Ladies?" Her inquiry contains honest curiosity, and a hint of a challenge. McQueen's mention of a 'burning sensation' earns a soft snort. Though the last of what he says prompts an honest query. "Small, Queenie? Where does it take your mind?"

"That sort of depends on where it's localized," says the doctor, casting a unsubtle glance south of McQueen's belt buckle. "Generalized burning coupled with burning smell, however, tends to mean you're on fire." She pauses, conscientiously offering the alternative, "Or an impending temporal lobe seizure." She blinks at Cidra's question, appearing honestly surprised at the question. "Science, Major. I believe in science. I recognize, however, that religion has been a necessary anthropological construct in the history of our society, and obsolete folkways take generations to die out."

"Can always be friction, too. Oh, friction's a bitch. Knew this guy on Picon who almost went up in flames in re-entry but he managed to hold on before ejecting. Landed his arse in a — wait, that's not what we're talking about here, is it?" McQueen notes, innocently enough. "I'm just talking about what I'm seein', here." Again he points out the various alcoves. "Boss, if you look at it a certain way — All this spiral is a map. Of time."

Cidra's cloudy blue eyes narrow at Andromeda at her talk of 'obsolete folkways.' The CAG is not pleased with such talk, though she keeps the reaction subtle. "There many matters in the worlds that science cannot explain, Doctor True. Tread carefully. The gods see and hear all, even if they do not always respond in ways we can understand." She casts a long look around at the various paintings on the wall. As if she expects the lightning bolt in particular to come to life and strike Andromeda. It does not, however. She steps out to get a better view of the mandala, eyes narrowing. "Time…? Perhaps…it has the look of a spiral. Moving in upon itself…"

"I understand your need to believe that," Andromeda nods at Cidra, apparently completely tone-deaf to her own condescension. She squints at the symbol on the wall, taking a step back. "That's… interesting," she says of the interpretation. "One could certainly postulate time collapses in on itself, if one subscribes to certain theories of black holes… that the center of a galaxy is so dense, matter, energy, light, time… are all devoured there." She shrugs. "It could be a much simpler map — one representing the physical structure of a galaxy, rather than temporal. Or," she shrugs slightly, "employing Occam's razor, it might merely be symbolic of a thirteenth group. The other symbols, which came to represent our colonies, have no deeper astronomical significance of which we're aware."

To this, comes McQueen's response. "And people are so…literal and ironclad about these things." While he says 'people' it's not a stretch to infer that he's referring to /both/ the women present. "Things must either be ephemeral without form, shape, manifestation or evidence, or they must be some kind of cold matter without some deeper order." He falls silent, features wrinkling as he squints. "And here we are - standing in a relic in our own scripture trying to determine where it bloody well came from as if we don't bloody well know. You're right, Doc. Time. A bunch of poor fools crammed in a ship tryin' to make their way out of one right disaster to a new beginning. Ever wonder why it's always Twelve? Twelve Lords. Twelve Tribes. Twelve Colonies founded by those tribes." He snaps off a quick, almost wheezing laugh. "Even twelve Cylons. The joke's on /them/. I don't know if they're capable of laughter though."

Cidra levels a *look* at Andromeda as to her 'need' to believe, drawing herself up to her full height. She radiates disapproval and lets out a soft "Ah" under her breath. It's mixed with not a small amount of condescension of her own. A short little nod at McQueen's comment about 'people.' Which she clearly does not think applies to her, however he really meant it. "Twelve Cylons…that is not without logic. The humans who created the Cylons sought to be gods, to make life from nothingness, a grave folly of arrogance for which we have all paid. And yet they try to emulate us now in body. Creating themselves in our image, as they say the Lords created us. Flesh. Why not numbers as well? Twelve Cylons from the Twelve tribes. And yet, we have this outlier here…"

Having already turned her attention to the symbol, Andromeda completely misses how totally screwed she is in Cidra's esteem. She actually nods amicably at the other woman's assessment. "I concur with the Major," she states. "Twelve is a deeply significant number in our culture. The cylons' human progenitors likely relayed a reverence for the duodecimal, but accident or by design. And it's most likely we have twelve colonies because there are — were — twelve potentially habitable planetforms in the Cyrannus system. When scanning the heavens for a home, our ancestors would have seen twelve colonies as an omen. Predestined. Apparently, by the symbols present here, they already self-identified with the mythic twelve tribes. The thirteenth symbol probably also represents a group. Perhaps a council of elders, representatives from each tribe, could claim this symbol. Or perhaps it's a symbol of unification, representing humanity as a whole."

"Heh. I don't know about 'accidental,' Doc. That's — Nothing accidental about this if it happens again," McQueen says, with a snap of his fingers and moving his right arm in a circular, spiral motion. "and again." He repeats it with each utterance of 'again'. "And again. And again. The Cylons may have unconsciously stumbled upon something. I doubt they'd do it coldly and deliberately, which just might blow your mind a little more until the smoke starts comin' out of /your/ ears." A brief smile flutters across his face. "Toast, I'm damn well glad the Gods didn't decide that exact mass-production was the way to go. Can you imagine wanderin' around this ship with a one-in-twelve chance of running into a superficially identical copy of Kal Trask? Or even worse, that 'Fiasco' character. The ship couldn't take it, I swear."

Shaking his head a little, he comments further. "Nah. This /is/ a very big clue. This ship came from somewhere. And the answers lie somewhere in the dust of its home."

"Again?" Cidra frowns slight, turning away from the wall to regard McQueen. "You subscribe to the idea of Eternal Return, then?" There's a touch of philosophical curiosity in her voice now. Though his invocation of Trask makes her chuckle. "I do think whatever shape made him was broken. Same with us all, really. We are none of us so well-formed, even as we were a year ago. The gods are perfect. Their creations…ever marred."

"Pre-supposes scriptural truths," Andromeda dismisses the 'agains' with a shake of her head, arms folded, eyes on the symbol still. She's quite focused. "And if cylons are capable of even half the cold deliberation we know humans to be, Lieutenant McQueen, I'm inclined to doubt your doubt." She snorts faintly, mirthfully, when Queenie mentions Fiasco. "Mm. Indeed." Then, once more playing Eris' advocate, she takes the next point, "The pre-supposition that the place from whence this craft came is now dust risks skewing our other assumptions. There are any number of reasons this craft might have been launched from a viable society on a planet — or planets — that still exist today. Destruction is not the only motivation for an exodus."

"You might say, I do, Toast. Then again, you might just say I don't subscribe to it as much as it just /happens/. There's a science to this, too, although most of the — " McQueen looks between the Believer and the Skeptic now and points towards Andromeda here, "This is probably closer to your purview here even if you aren't a physicist — most of the time the experts quantify it when they talk about things like energy. Like when a monkey grips a big old pawful of shite and hurls it at some unsuspecting passerby, it hits 'em in the face. But the harder they throw it, the bigger the splatter. Still, that energy /goes/ somewhere. Planets turn. Stars flare up n' they die only to be replaced by new stars out of clouds of gas." He's clearly going somewhere with this, although it isn't readily apparent /where/.

"Humanity, Cylons, whoever, in their blind fumbling about can't even be trusted to truly /destroy/ anything if you look at it a certain way. Oh, sure, we can wipe ourselves out, wipe each other out, ensure what's for all practical purposes an ending for our species and all the ones we know. But can we really wipe out creation, life, forever? That's just it, Toast — like you said — we're /not/ Gods. But we're part of their creation. So if the Gods created us, who's to say we have the right to judge whether we're good, corrupt, whatever in their sight? Only they can do that. We just have to live with the consequences of our own actions." He frowns slightly, his thick eyebrows furrowing as he dwells on this. "Sorry, got off-topic. And that, my dear, clever Doctor — is exactly what I was getting at. We all know /where/ this ship came from but do we really /know/ where it came from? And what's there right now?"

"The Cylons very much tried to wipe us from the worlds when they nuked the Colonies," Cidra says. "And they are trying again now, death of a thousand cuts with these Raider swarms. Well. The gods shall judge us all one day, if we are not just banished to oblivion. You as well, Doctor True, even if you deny them today." Gaze turns to McQueen at that last, however. "There now? Do you speak of Kobol?"

Andromeda goes a little pink in the cheeks as she's called dear, clever doctor. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other, cocking her hips and re-folding her arms. "On a cosmic scale — the expanding, contracting universe — chances are that's correct. All this, matter and energy, has probably happened before. Will likely happen again. That these same species will render the same individuals to play out the same drama?" She shakes her head. "Not even on an infinite scale of time. Close enough to impossible that there aren't variables sufficient to express the probability." There's a thin sliver of a smile. "There is comfort, however, in knowing that of all we might destroy in our flailing, complete destruction — of anything — is a power beyond us. We are but poor players strutting and fretting our hour upon the stage." She raises her eyebrows at Cidra. "Assuming I'd be brought into their presence for such judgment, Major, I welcome the day. That would be very interesting indeed."

"Heh. The Cylons can't seem to make up their minds what they bloody well want to do. For mass murderers, they're coming across as a disorganized, conflicted band of bumbling idiots. Or maybe that big-eyed Cylon girl who sat in our brig was completely sincere. Who's to say?" The junior pilot speaks of the Cylons with a certain lack of respect here. A sort of belittling disdain. "And, Dear Doctor - I misspoke, in a way. You're right — Of course not the same exact people doing the same exact things." McQueen counters Andromeda simply, with a shrug. Did he detect the blush? Maybe, maybe not, but he grins lopsidedly all the same as it appears. "But just look at the course of human history. Have they been exactly the same arseholes muckin' things up? No, but one arsehole's as good as the next, and you can boil down a lot of the stories to common traits. Will there ever be another Major Cidra Hahn standing in a derelict, ancient spacecraft from a forgotten Age talking to a Doctor from an experimental ship and a dirty, loud-mouthed bastard from Newport? Probably not. But we don't need specifics, the generalities of life serve us fine." He starts to edge away from that mysterious thirteenth alcove and starts to retrace his steps.

"And yes, Toast, to answer your question. I /am/ talking about Kobol. Or what we called Kobol. Given the mutability of language, who knows what the poor people on this ship called it back then? Kobol is good enough for our purposes. Kobol is what we know." There's a loaded pause here. "Or have dreams about."

"What you term particles of physics, Doctor, theologians call 'souls,'" Cidra says. "And indeed, they cannot be destroyed. Dispersed, yes, but the energy remains to be delivered to the Fields, Meadows of Hells, as the gods will it. Or scattered to oblivion." She seems about to say more but, again, it's McQueen's words that hold her attention. "Dreams? The dreams. Ah. It is an odd thing, the way they recur. There is something calling us. Lampridis Falls is the name that keeps coming up. I know the place, a little. On Gemenon. It is strange to me, as it is not in of itself a holy site. Though perhaps there is meaning in that. The Cylons visited fire and destruction upon the holy places. It perhaps was spared…"

Dreams? One eyebrow lofts to confer with the doctor's hairline. "You believe you're having the same dreams?" she asks, looking back and forth between the Major and her Lieutenant. There's a beat, then a question with the milk-mild inflection of scientific inquiry, like she's taking inventory: "Do any of your doctors have a psychiatric specialty?"

"Y'ever have that dream, Toast?" McQueen suddenly rounds on his heel, eyeing Cidra simply. "I don't think they're talkin' about Gemenon. I mean, it's a place on Gemenon. But remember your history." He continues this line of thought simply. "'Ve you had that dream too? Funny, right? People would tell me I'm not the 'dreaming type.'" He raises his hands in the air and makes little air quotes with his fingers. "I don't think the Cylons knew what they were doing when they started frakking /that/ up."

He then turns towards the Doctor. "I don't know. People talk. Maybe. There's the Falls. The Serpent, the Sparrows. It really seems like /something/ is up when peoples' stories match up. And the ship has a shrink. But she's a total bitch. Can't stand her. Maybe we can give her kitchen duty."

Cidra shakes her head, a negative at McQueen's question. "The gods have never touched my mind in that fashion. I thought I felt something once. In these caverns upon Sagittaron. But…" A shrug. She shakes her head. Now she's not so sure apparently. "The sparrows…" She says the word soft, letting it drawl out in her Gemenese accent and trail gently. "Have you dreamed thus, Queenie?" There's an intensity to her question. "Perhaps…Lampridis was said to be named for a place on Kobol, but much else about it is lost in the histories. At least to one such as myself. I am not much a scholar."

Andromeda squints thoughtfully at the other two, listening, head cocked just so. A frown etches a vertical line between her brows. She takes a breath to say something, then seems to change her mind, and says instead, "My mother used to tell me that children's minds were messy, at the end of the day, with thoughts and deeds and daydreams and learning and seeing and doing… just flung all around. Left lying there, like toys in a playroom." All right. This is definitely not science. "And that while children slept, their mothers sorted through the mess, threw out the naughty clutter, folded up what was good and precious, storing all the good things in tidy cupboard drawers." She quirks half a melancholy smile. "I don't believe that any longer, any more than I believe that gods send us dreams of revelation or prophecy. But… I think we can make remarkable intuitive leaps and perform very effective reasoning, while we sleep. When we're free of pre-conceptions and self-imposed limitations. You might very well be processing things you've heard or read in passing, subtle visual clues, putting together pieces you've been collecting without even knowing it. It's not… entirely irrational, to consider one's dreams." She perks her eyebrows again. "As long as there's no mass delusion of shared dreamscapes."

"Maybe they have, maybe they haven't. The fact that you already know about it, Toast, may be enough." The man shakes his head too, apprently. "And yeah, I've seen my share of things. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have chosen to do what I did. I wouldn't even /be/ here. See? You're putting things together." He shrugs lamely but doesn't elaborate. Now, to Andromeda. He smiles faintly.

"Ahh. My family used to tell me I was a worthless sack of shite who'd probably end his days falling off a Wireless pole." McQueen states, simply. "I don't believe /that/ any longer, either. Look, I'm not saying this is any kind of ironclad, gospel truth, but I always wondered something." He rounds on one foot, standing straight. "Why do we have temples and chapels at all? If they're just here to provide some hollow comfort while some fat-arsed priest drones endlessly out of the scrolls that he's spent all his life studying but has no real understanding of, you might as well knock its walls down and put in a titty bar instead. People'll get more out of it." Well, /that/ was classy. "Nah. I mean, I think you're right. There's a lot we don't know about our unconscious. Again, it's that 'science /or/ faith' dichotomy which I just don't buy. This isn't an either/or, Doctor. Both can exist in relative harmony, and even say the same things. It's only arseholes that come in and pervert it."

Cidra's gaze snaps and narrows at Andromeda again. As if her eyes could shoot arrows, or lasers, at the blasphemous non-believer. They cannot, however, so it's just a very level and hard look. "Beware of dismissing the heavens and hells, Doctor True. You may meet proof of them before your days are ended, and I suspect you will not find them so kind as mothers sent to pick up your mess." Brows also *arch* at McQueen. So much *BANNED ON GEMENON* going on here right now. She clears her throat, prim. "The temple is vessel, Queenie." For him, her tone is more patient and conversational than ominous and chiding. "A place where the souls and minds and hearts can focus upon the gods, to sanctify the altars, to provide sanctuary or raised upon holy ground. Sacred places." She inhales deep and exhales long. "I believe this is a a sacred place, even if it is not a temple. Perhaps the Falls were, too, in ways we did not understand."

Andromeda blinks once at Cidra, seeming to finally be cluing in — a day or two late — that the Major might not like her very much. "There's no basis for your hostility, Major," she replies, a touch clipped. "I'm sure science doesn't threaten your beliefs — you'll hold them at the end of the day, no matter what I say. But here is why I will always prefer science: the powers I believe in will persist in the universe regardless of what anyone believes, and I don't have to threaten you with smiting or damnation to ensure it. You can be sure I'm aware that a sample of the remaining human population believes there will be divine retribution for my arrogant use of my mind. Thank you for the warning. It's sufficient, and doesn't bear repeating." She sighs, "There's nothing inherently sacred in a place," she dissents. Surprise. "We build temples so we have a place to 'visit' the gods, since our minds are so limited that we can't help but anthropomoprhize them. The same reason some cultures inter their dead and mark their place of rest for visiting. If we believed the gods were more at home in topless bars, we'd visit them there, and dancers would be better compensated."

"I'm pretty sure there were plenty of devout people who were wiped from existence in the blink of an eye. Which calls into question a lot of the carrot-and-stick ideas /some/ folks had about the Gods." McQueen observes, detachedly. "And for what it's worth, I think I had a conversation about the, ahem, 'adult entertainment establishments' with Sister Karthasi in the past. Seems I missed out on all the Cult of Aphrodite stuff." He says, with a playful mock-sadness.

But with this, he continues. "Yeh, like what you said., Doctor. Far be it from me to — I'm not saying anything against the existence of the temples — rather, I'm calling out how small peoples' minds can be when they leave the temple and forget that all of Creation /itself/ is a vessel. If the Gods only lived in places /we/ built they'd just be projections of our own vanity. Which is clearly /not/ the case." This clarification done, he moves to the next alcove. "Anyway, I think we got a little sidetracked, here. Kobol. Whether it's the Divine, or our collective Subconscious — if there is even a difference between the two, there's apparently /something/ prodding us there. And Gemenon's the way."

"The gods neither inflict our pain nor hover over us like savior guardians," Cidra says. "The gods made us, and guide us with their aspects if we follow their examples. But humanity sins. Such was a sin, our creation of the Cylons. And perhaps it was the sins of our own time, our own weapons that brought the holocaust down upon us…" That is voiced very softly, like it's a thought she's afraid to speak aloud. A nod to McQueen. "Something is drawing us toward Gemenon. That I believe. I intend to launch another recon Raptor there at least when we can, though I know not how much good it will do. The Cylons hold that planet tightly still, befouling it." She shudders. To Andromeda she merely replies, "I do not threaten, Doctor. And I am not an instrument of damnation. But I do believe all are held to account for their sins. And it is sometimes easier to find forgiveness in the eyes of the gods than with ourselves. As to that, the gods exist whether you believe in them or not. As for Kobol…" She pauses, thinking on this long. "…do you think it holds anything beyond our histories? It must have been a terrible thing to make our ancestors flee it in mass Exodus. Perhaps as terrible as that which the Cylons visited upon us. If you are a believer in Eternal Return."

"And… there's more evidence for this being 'prodded' toward Kobol than dreams?" Andromeda asks, actually looking a little concerned. "I confess to finding the idea that the Fleet might be charting its course based on prophecy and dreams a bit alarming." She sighs a touch impatiently, restating, "Again, there are many other explanations for exodus than disaster. We shouldn't allow our analysis to be hemmed in by epic tropes and mythic structure. Overpopulation. Exploration. Colonization. Exile. Stop me if I'm being too sensible."

"Toast — you know how I view Kobol? Maybe a lesson. Maybe a second chance. I don't know what to think, as I haven't seen it." Queenie flips his head towards Andromeda now. "I think you're mistaking me for someone with the ability to make command decisions. And considering that our ranking flag officer got plugged due to some extremely /dodgy/ evidence — well, let me just say that sometimes the punchlines write themselves." McQueen says towards Andromeda in a chipper tone of voice. "Still, Colonel Pewter has a — way about him. I'd follow that man into the mouth of Hell if he ordered it. Thing is - he's not the type to give such orders. That's probably /why/. But, Doctor - humor me. What would you do? Were you suddenly Commander of this little holdout? Admiral, even? What have you people been doing before we bumped into each other above Saggitaron?"

"I have not seen it either, of course…" Though Cidra's tone is distant as she says it, eyes drinking in the walls again. Another deep breath. As if she could inhale a sense of the place, even though any air the people aboard breathed was gone centuries upon centuries ago. As for his comment about their ranking flag officer she has no comment, though she does murmur something beneath her breath in Old Gemenese. It has the sound of a prayer. She clears her throat. "Gravel. Yes. I confess I did not know what to make of him when he first came aboard. But I think…we understand each other better now. And I would gladly fight and fly and die for his ship." There is nothing glib about the words. The question to Andromeda draws a look back to the doctor. Blue eyes intent and somewhat weighing.

Andromeda silently considers McQueen for a moment, then says, "The biological imperative to survive can masquerade as judgment, and even justice, when men lack insight. Introspection generally being a peacetime luxury, we will have our moments. We are remarkable animals, but animals we remain. Under duress, we will tear each other apart." A beat. "I've wondered more than once if the cylons are counting on it." She unfolds and refolds her arms. "I'd abandon Cyrannus. Find another place. We have a sustainable breeding population at present, but at the rate we're being whittled away, that won't last. Our odds are better if we strike out for a new home, much like the people in this craft did. Whatever their reason." The question about Areion's recent history hangs in the air, unanswered. Perhaps that's classified.

"We're of a like mind. Heh." McQueen confesses towards Cidra candidly with a light turn of the head. "To tell you the truth, I'd make a lousy officer in the long term. I don't have that gung-ho devotion to duty. McQueens - we were always a little bit working class. Had the bombs not dropped I would've rounded out my days at Picon before going somewhere else uninteresting. Isn't like the bloody Corvus would've welcomed me back." He reminisces a little while longer now before rounding on the Doctor. "Unfortunately I agree with your assessment of humanity. Not like we can do anything about it, though. Save — well, you just said it. So what part of 'search for the only habitable planet we've heard of' wasn't a good idea? Seems like you and I are thinking alike. Hell, if we could squeeze Allan Rejn's fat arse through the ramp here he'd probably agree too." Whether or not he took note of the unanswered question — he doesn't comment.

"Do you believe it still is habitable?" And Cidra asks him, for all the worlds, as if he might actually have the answer. "Or is it like our Colonies? Blasted. Ruined. Our ancestors were running from something, Queenie. Perhaps not so different than we are running now. If all has happened before…But you are right in that at least, Doctor. We need to seek a new path. If the way forward does not lie on Gemenon, at least there may be still something there we can save before we fly."

Andromeda squints at McQueen. Hrmph. "I don't disagree with your direction, I simply question your methodology. There are more reliable ways to triangulate the location of potentially habitable planets. It will require some exploration, but as hypothetical Admiral, I would explore those avenues before going on a proverbial wild goose chase for a planet whose very existence, never mind location, is entirely anecdotal." She glances around at the great big anecdote they're standing in. "If you're considering this vessel to be evidence of Kobol — let's put that aside. It is evidence of some place. A place that may yet support life. If there were actionable clues that pointed back to its point of origin, I would have to assume — as the Major insists — a worst case scenario exodus. We've been obsessed, as a society, with our own demise before. We've run projections for how long it would take for our worlds to recover from biohazardous epidemics, nuclear holocaust… back when we were assuming we'd push the button on ourselves. So we compare that data to the approximate age of this vessel, and we know whether this ship's home — Kobol, for sake of argument — is even worth finding."

"There's a reason why my dumb ass isn't in charge of these things then. Just call me the Morale Officer." McQueen grins cheekily at Andromeda and gives it a little bit of a shrug. "Leave the technical details to those who excel at them, I suppose. But — we've been talking about what we think here and there quite a lot. What do you /believe/?" He turns back towards Cidra now and gives a blank, honest shrug. "That's a loaded question. We don't know what happened. If life Here truly began Out There, something drove us from there to here. And if we take the accepted tradition at its word, we have a fight on our hands. Y'know," He narrates, "Return to Kobol, Prince in Blood, et cetera, et cetera. Except we've already paid such a price, who'd notice more?"

"Thousands of years…" Cidra breathes the words out in that low tone again. Then, more audibly adds, "That is the projection, Doctor, from the analysis of our engineers. No less than fifteen-hundred years old. Probably closer to two or three thousand. Time does not heal all wounds, though. Whatever the saying goes. Still…" It is a very long time. "…paid in blood…so say we all to that…" There's a stretch of quiet before she answers McQueen's question. "I believe we survived for a reason, Queenie. All of us. And I believe this…we found this for a reason. And if that reason is Kobol or Gemenon or somewhere else entirely…I do believe it is a step on the right path. I do not know where that will take us, but that is what I believe."

Andromeda chuckles, repeating her earlier conviction. "I believe in science. And science dictates that there are other habitable planets out there. I believe that we've been left with some of the finest minds of the era alive and intact, as well as abundant technical resources — our chances of finding one are better than average. There is every reason to hope." She glances about again. "This vessel may or may not be of use. Its age is promising. A nuclear war, for example, if executed tactically… the land could certainly be habitable by then. If it were a biological disaster… that's a crap shoot. Microbes can live a disturbingly long time…" She frowns. "I hate incomplete data. But… if we were to discover a star chart on this vessel pointing the way, tomorrow…" A sigh. "I'd say it's worth a look. I believe it could be."

"Some of the finest minds in the Colonies. And Petty Officer Second Class Stephen Vanderbilt, Logistics." McQueen chimes in, dryly, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "I suppose I'm spouting nonsense from your point of view. But — if any of us are alive when we make it there, maybe somebody will owe somebody else drinks."

And then there are those statements on belief. "Interesting." He adds, faintly. "And good to know. Listen — I have a rotation I have to be part of. But I'll be back here, as long as 'here' exists."

"I will stay here this night again," Cidra says. "Clear eyes and steady hands out there, Queenie. Doctor." The farewell to Andromeda is rather brisker than that to McQueen though it can't - quite - be called impolite. On that note, she retreats to one of the alcoves again, beneath the double faces of Gemini. "It could well be…"

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