PHD #337: The Girl on the Wall
The Girl on the Wall
Summary: The denizens of the Cerberus reflect by the Memorial Wall on past, present and future. One face in particular catches the eye.
Date: 29 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Hatin' From the Oven; It Lies in Odd Numbers Part One & Part Two; and Questing are referenced
Cidra McQueen Stavrian Sonja Malone 
Deck 9 - Recreation - Battlestar Cerberus
The floorplating along the corridors of the Cerberus are standard military. Their forged steel plates are welded seamlessly together to run nearly the entire length of each hallway. The hallways themselves are the typical load-bearing structural design of the angled quadrilateral. Oxygen scrubbers and lighting recesses are found at nearly perfect intervals throughout the angled passageways.
Post-Holocaust Day: ##337

Memorial Wall
A long stretch of cold, impersonal steel forms a pathway to and from several general meeting places common to crew and civilians alike. Yet, there is change, at last - a bit of warmth and respect that has preliminarily tugged against the walls surrounding the chapel. Border - black coupled with red cloth - drapes over several feet in either direction, long wooden boards painted ebon hitting hip high and secured to the wall tightly. Posting board is above it, and between the soft, flowing borders, jars of tacks available there. Wings have been meticulously built from gathered feathers from the Gods know where, marking each corner - a tribute, then, to Hermes, the only God who can safely draw loved ones into the Underworld, who can bring the messages of remembrance and love from those who still walk with the living. Pictures now hang from the boards, more showing up every day.
14 A Houseboat Eleven Gadjet Justin Foster Lily White Naevi Family Ringer Snag Sonnier Tied In Tisiphone

The crowd around the Memorial Wall is thicker on Colonial Day, many in the crew perhaps prompted by the day to come by with photographs, or just visit the images of fallen friends. Even though it means very little anymore. With the Colonies themselves irradiated to seven hells, there's little to actually celebrate. Still, they are here. Cidra's among them. She's kneeling at the moment. Lighting one of the candles provided by the CMES that are available at the base of the wall. Many are lit already, wax melting away to create pools on the deck.

More of an observer than a participant, amidst the group of Cerberus personnel is one Trevor McQueen, simply decked out in his offduties with a crumpled paper bag tucked beneath his arm as he lingers on the edge of the group, peering over the head of one of the shorter crewmembers towards the wall, closedmouthed. He stands there, perfectly still, save for a single blink of his eyelids.

Cidra straightens after lighting her candle, taking a long moment to look over the wall. Fingertips reaching out to touch some of the photographs. Her eyes pause on one bit of it. Narrowing. Slim frown coming to her face. With a slight bow of her head and murmur of something soft in Old Gemenese, she backs away. Toward where McQueen is positioned, come to it, though he gets no verbal greeting yet.

Still no word from McQueen, either. He merely scans the board and begins to slowly meander towards it, stepping around that same crewmember to get a closer look. Cidra's presence gets, for now, a wordless glance and maybe an arc of the head.

Cidra returns the arc with the smallest of nods, leaning back against the corridor wall. Eyes still focused on the makeshift memorial. Staring at one point on it. The point where the picture of the Eleven still hangs, somehow in place and not defaced after all this time. A slight tension in her frame. Yet when she does speak it's naught to do with that. "I was thinking of Leonis when I awoke this morning. Do you ever think of it, Queenie? On the exfile from that accursed place. It does not seem as long ago as I suppose it is. The days, they blur together now."

"I think of corner kids from Newport when I think of Leonis." Comes McQueen's immediate reply, although there's little flippancy in his voice. "It was a shithole, but it was my shithole, yeh?" A little bit of a rolling shrug of one arm. "I know what you mean, though. The whole last year's been somethin' of a blur." He too looks across the wall and his eyes briefly flicker upon the picture of the Eleven. "Don't think that was taken by a professional." He mumbles, aimlessly.

"When I think about Leonis I think about falling…" Cidra says softly. "Fly until you fall, Queenie. That is the rule. I was falling then. Raiders hit my Viper until I lost all control of it. I could see it explode upon the ground after I ejected. Gone in fire. I thought I was gone too…some days I think I was meant to die that day. That I cheated it somehow…" She's talking near more to herself than McQueen. Not looking at him, focus on the picture of the Eleven. "It should not be here. That abomination was as responsible for any of them for the murders of our family. Our friends. Our homes…" And yet it's still said soft. As if she doesn't want it to carry. And she's made no effort to take it down.

"It's a bloody /experience/ when you fall like that and don't die, yeh?" First and foremost, McQueen addresses the immediate statement. "I can only name a couple of times when I felt that alive. Must've been the adrenaline, but — no. There was somethin' else, that day. Did you feel it too?" He lets this question lie while straightening a bit and scanning some of the other images on the wall, as well as stopping on some empty spaces. His brows raise and eyelids flicker as the CAG goes off quite thoroughly on the subject of the skinjob. "She probably was. I don't know why that's here either, but someone put it there." He too makes no move to remove it. "It doesn't make up for it. Nothing can make up for it. You're more of an expert on this stuff than I am, though. What do you think? Do the Gods notice one good deed committed by bloody hands?"

"Something else…?" Cidra asks the question of McQueen as if she does not, indeed, know. Or, if she does, doesn't want to speak it aloud. Still not taking her eyes off the Eleven's picture. "The laws of the gods allow atonement. Though I think there are some sins one can never atone for, however many rites they complete…I often wonder how the gods shall judge me, Queenie…"

"Somethin' else." McQueen repeats succintly. "We survived a plan made by a frakkin' maniac. I'll be damned if it didn't work, though? Think about those odds, Toast. We shouldn't have made it out of there. But we did. Don't think that was random chance." He continues, crossing both arms in front of his chest and leaving the bag underneath his arm. "I'm not talking about atonement, really." He continues, also looking at the picture. "It's not like, you go through life, and some cosmic wanker of an accountant is tallying a balance sheet and if you come up in the red you end up in the Afterlife with that 'Aquarian Pete'," he coughs a bit and clears his throat roughly before correcting himself, "'Colonial Pete' fellow making unsweet, unsweet love to you for the rest of your miserable eternity. By the way, I heard he wasn't even Aquarian. Anyway — " this digression aside, if one watches carefully, the barest hint of a smile is on his face.

"That stuff, no, that's invented by mortals. Flesh-and-blood people. Not the Divine. I wasn't asking about atonement. I was asking if the Gods — if they /notice./" He lets out a flat 'hmm.' "I think they judge you plenty well. Besides, you're still here, aren't you? Do you honestly think that's an accident?"

"Fly and fight and die, Queenie. We have survived many plans made by maniacs, and executed them passing well." Cidra does look at him now, offering him the barest hint of a smile. His description of hell-by-Colonial-Pete makes her smirk further, and finally laugh soft. Shaking her head. "And we do remain. That is no small thing. Some of us more than others." Her gaze returns to the wall. "The fundamental faiths teach us they notice. That our path shall be righteous in life if we follow the laws of Scripture. That our lives shall be full of chaos and torment if we stray from it. I think they notice, Queenie. I am not sure they care, but I think they notice."

A not-so-subtle smirk is returned. "I think that maybe, just maybe, they care. Maybe not in a way we can easily comprehend, but do you think a divine being is like a simple man or woman? If we could understand them like" he snaps his fingers sharply and lets his hand fall to his side "that, they wouldn't be Gods, would they? I think that — I think they care because, quite simply, if they didn't, there'd be nothing left after this shitstorm. The same way there wasn't /nothing/ left when our forebears left Kobol all those centuries ago. Just as I think, because it took Cylons to finally ruin almost everything it took a Cylon to start making things right. What a small gesture it was. But it was a gesture." He takes a single step forward.

"I wonder what they did leave behind all those centuries ago on Kobol," Cidra says. "Was it as terrible as what we pluck the survivors from the outer planets out of now? Is that what it did?" The last question seems in reference to the Eleven. "Make things right? It did seem a great victory we scored over Sagittaron with the help of it. Greatest we have managed, in a swathe of battles where victory means all not dying. Part of me still thinks it was all game. A ruse to gain our trust for some longer betrayal. Another part of me…" She trails off, as if she doesn't want to finish that thought.

Stavrian arrives from Midship Stairs.

"Not like /either/ of us were there. One'd only have to think back to whatever stories of that time remain. And guess." McQueen sighs as he stands and looks upon the memorial wall blankly now. "I don't know. And it's not like she's around to ask. My money's on something going on that we don't fully understand, but it's a damn certainty that back then she could've killed us if she /wanted/ to, yeh?" He shrugs sloppily, retucking the battered paper bag beneath his arm. "But, nah. Kobol. They left /something/ behind, all right. What'd you think? It's just a story. It's not like — it's not like anyone's seen any proof of those days. Right?" He wheels on his foot slightly to give Cidra a flat stare.

"We have seen something, though I do not know if it is proof or not," Cidra replies to McQueen. "Have you not heard? The full report has been making the rounds and seems quite of interest. Flasher and Sweet Pea found an object on reconnaissance that *may* be a ship from the age of the Exodus. It could also be some Cylon trap, of course, but…even the photographs they returned with, Queenie…they call to me…" And yet, even with all that, her eyes still rest on the picture of the Eleven. The Cylon Eleven, on that wall among all those human faces. "It could have killed us. And yet, it spared us and won the day. I cannot reconcile it, but it is no small thing."

She and McQueen stand not far from the Memorial Wall.

Stavrian's hands are jammed firmly into his pockets as his boots thud off the stairwell's bottom lip and onto the corridor floor. Trajectory is towards the library, though pace unhurried, the prayer bead loop around his wrist making an almost inaudible click each time it swings against his moving leg.

"Sorry. I think I dialled up the 'coymeter' a bit too high there." McQueen quips. "Yes. I heard something about it. I was wondering how you were holding up? It's not like every day someone gets confronted with a piece of their own Scripture. That — if it's real, and if it's fabricated, I can't bloody tell /what/ the Cylons would be up to," he continues, shrugging, "You keep looking for a sign, Major. An' it's right there. In those pictures they took, I'm sure. Don't suppose — those would be available for public viewing, mm?" He doesn't comment on the 'Eleven' topic save one line. "No. It's no small thing. Very few things are small." He stretches his arm backwards above his head to scratch at the back of his neck idly, noting Stavrian's approach with one slight leftward tilt of the head.

"I am…I do not know," Cidra confesses to McQueen. "I think part of my mind holds to the assumption that it could be a trap. For if it *is* genuine…my gods, Queenie, so many answers to our past, our faiths, could lie there. I do not know if I could bear it were it not real, to accept it whole and then find out later it was some trickery. As for the pictures, yes, you access them. The XO has redacted only the precise coordinate points. The rest…if this is a true thing, it belong to us all…" She seems to have more to say on the subject of the Eleven. Whose picture her eyes are still fixed on as she gazes at the wall. But, when she spots Stavrian on her peripherals, her head turns in his direction. "Ah. Lieutenant…" It's part greeting, part said thoughtful. "How does the day find you?"

Stavrian's brassdar had gone off a while ago, but the two pilots are unavoidable on the way to his final destination. The reticent Sagittarian clears his throat quietly, slowing pace as he nears the wall where the two are standing. "Major, sir." His blue eyes search out McQueen's collar, unfamiliar as the man is. "Lieutenant. Fine…fine, I think. Yourselves?"

"So the we followed the Cylons and found — ourselves. So here's the million-and-one cubit question, Toast." McQueen puts two and two together verbally and extends a finger. "Why were /they/ looking for it? If it wasn't a trap. Like you say." That same index finger wags a bit to one side to turn upon Stavrian. "Evenin' Doc." He offers, simply.

"If it is not a trap…gods mercies upon me, Queenie, I do not know…" And Cidra is ever uncomfortable with things she does not know. A nod to Stavrian and then her gaze goes back to the wall. Back to the picture of Cylon Eleven. And she asks, ton carefully neutral, "What do you make of that?"

Stavrian's head stays still as eyes flicker between the two pilots. Then the photograph that Cidra indicates. Two slow breaths move his chest before a third props up his low voice. "I've wondered often who put it there, sir. But I've never been able to find myself an answer."

"I wonder yet why nobody's taken it down." McQueen muses. "Well, I guess that's interesting too." He hooks a thumb through his belt loop and dips his fingers in his pocket. "Oh well. There are more mysteries right now than anyone in their right mind'd be willing to solve. I'm sure they'll unfold one day. Listen, I —" He looks between the two of them, "I need to go. I have a place to be. Social obligations and all that." He finishes with an arc of a thick brown eyebrow.

"I know not. If it is a joke, it is not a funny one." Cidra frowns at the picture. Yet she makes no move to take it down, and as McQueen said it's been there for some time. "I would not disturb the Wall, for my part." It has the sound of a partial truth more than a real answer, but she does not add anything more. Brows arch at McQueen and his 'social obligations.' But all she says is, "Clear eyes and steady hands, Lieutenant. In all things."

"Lieutenant." Stavrian offers McQueen a formal nod, suited to lateral rank. Silence after that, which lingers past the fading of Cidra's voice. "I say putting it up moreso because…the motivations of one who would take it down are easy to guess. The ones of who put it up…" His eyes shift back to Cidra, his dark head making the slightest shake. "Those are more obscure."

"Obscure's the word of the year. Well, right behind 'horrible'." McQueen muses. "Watch your heads, you two. And oh, yeh." As he wheels about, he adds, lamely, in a lingering voice, "Happy holiday. For what it's worth." From Cidra to Stavrian, his pale blue eyes dart until finally he glances back at the wall expressionlessly. And then, he continues on.

As he trails off, there's the slightly chirpy rendition of the Colonial Anthem, whistled in his wake.

"Happy holiday," Cidra mutters in parting to McQueen. Gaze moving yet again back to the wall after he's gone. "I meant before, Lieutenant, more what you made of it. The creature itself." Judging by the ways her eyes are locked on the Cylon photograph again, she means the Eleven. "I recall you and…some others interacted rather closely with a copy of it when you were stranded on Leonis."

"Sir." The word is under Stavrian's breath and definitive, a slanted substitute for the affirmative. The silence that follows waits for the Major's return serve.

"Well then. What did you make of it? When you met it?" Cidra asks. "One of my officers said it…aided you lot. Gave you protection, or safe passage. I never…quite understood which."

Stavrian's eyes watch Cidra's for a few moments before he speaks. "Called itself 'Yazdah'." He looks back at the board, though around at all the other photos rather than the one that doesn't seem to belong. "We found it in a building. Leg shattered. Splinted her, and-" He pauses, just the sounds of his breath through his nose for a few moments. "-after it revealed itself…stopped the centurions from mowing us down in the street. Commanded them to stop."

"Yazdah…" From the way Cidra's tongue lingers on the syllables, it is a familiar name. "But *why*…?" The question is emphasized sharp, and asked half more of photo than over Stavrian. "Why would it do that, when the Cylons so tried to completely kill us all? The copy of it assisted us as well. When we attacked that Cylon base over Sagittaron so many months. Gave its life in our assistance and I…I ask myself a thousand times *why*, Lieutenant, but I still cannot understand…why…?" As she murmurs that she turns from the pictures to Stavrian. As if he might, somehow, have an answer.

Stavrian is still looking at the picture, and doesn't answer Cidra right away. "She said things…" The medic's soft-spoken voice has a hint of uneasiness. "Your officers, did they tell you what she said?"

"I heard accounts of it, from both my Captain Ibrahim Sitka, and Money Shot. Lieutenant Tisiphone Apostolos. Gods rest their souls," Cidra replies. "They seemed to…differ. Not the events themselves, but on the nature of the creature. Money Shot was quite sure it was playing some game. Gain our trust, then come back to us later, in some incarnation, and put the knife blade easily to our necks. She thought the same even after its copy destroyed itself over Sagittaron. I thought she had the right of it." There's something in her tone that makes the 'thought' sound like past tense. As if she's not so sure now. "Ibrahim…I do not know that he quite knew what to make of what it did. He said it…knew things. About us. Names. Bits of our past."

"It called the dead 'poor people'," Stavrian recalls, lips barely moving as he murmurs. His voice stays very low, not making any passerby privy to this conversation. "It…said that the war was 'over'. Only a saidst would want it to continue. That its 'sister' thought war was 'God's plan', but that it — Yazdah — thought Justice was the plan." He lifts his chin, looking back at Cidra. "It brought up Brenner."

"Justice…" Cidra murmurs. "Is that what they think it was that they did to the colonies?" There's no sarcasm in the question. It's an honest one, and one she's perhaps turning over in her own mind. "Brenner. I…yes. I remember that a little. Gemenese. When the Cylons boarded the ship he invoked the Faiths and sacrificed himself. They did seem to…respond to that. So, what, Lieutenant? You think it decided you and the others did not justly deserve to die that day upon Leonis?"

Stavrian chuckles, just a single exhale that carries no humor at all. "How much hubris would I have to have to think such a thing, sir?" His hands slip from his pockets, and his arms fold loosely over his chest. "No, it…seemed to blame us for starting the war." His tone chills slightly as he turns memories of months ago over in his mind, as he's done so many times before. "And it charged us to stop it. 'Take this message back to your ship'."

Sonja arrives from the Galley.

"How can we stop it, though?" Cidra voice is also soft and meant for but the medic's ears. "They still ravage the colonies. Even those they abandoned will not be in any way habitable once the radiation overwhelms them. We are still not free from them. They attacked us over Aerilon, over Tauron. And yet…we were crippled so long over Tauron, had they truly wanted to destroy us it would have been a simple matter with all their might they still build in the inner colonies…" She shakes her head. She's mostly speaking aloud to try and reconcile the contradictions for herself. And failing. She is standing near the Memorial Wall, though a little away from the crowd of passersby going over the photos, talking very quietly with Stavrian.

Malone arrives from Midship Stairs.

Malone leaves, heading towards the Recreation Room [Rec Room].
Malone arrives from the Recreation Room.

"There is much I have been thinking over since then," Stavrian murmurs. Almost reluctantly, as if it took some scraping around of courage to say such a thing to the Major. "I have…many notes about Leonis I took months ago. When we had just returned." He clears his throat, glancing sideways at Cidra. "If you like, I can bring them to you later. Show you."

Sonja is standing near the photo she's just placed up on the wall, her small hand runs down the picture of a rather large family. "Go with the gods." she says quietly, sighing softly in regret, she then closes her eyes she says a final pray then turns around to see whom else is around. The usual mill of people, coming and going and a couple stood to one side, Cidra is recognised, but the man with her is unknown.

"I would very much like that, Lieutenant," Cidra says to Stavrian. "There are…things I would like to speak with you about further. About the Yazdah. About…many things. She did you spare you and the others that day. And us all over Sagittaron when we later attacked their base." And she adds, even softer, "That is why I have not taken it down. I know not what this creature intended, but I owe her the life of my pilots, twice over." 'Her,' not 'it' that time. She doesn't seem to notice the slip. As Sonja approaches she stops her near whispering, inclining her head to the Nugget and saying in a more normal tone, "Lyon. How does the day find you?"

Malone makes his way in from the stairway, looking a bit lost in thought as he walks. It doesn't seem that he's noticed where he is at the moment, just walking on autopilot, so to speak.

Stavrian's eyes are, as so often, very hard to read as they watch Cidra's face. If he was going to say anything, however, it's lost to the distraction of superior officer greeting someone. Arms still folded, he turns his head to look at Sonja, glancing her up and down for some sign of rank. Seeing none, he merely nods. "Evening."

Sonja wasn't excepting to be acknowledged, so when she does it brings a warm smile to her plain face. "Major." she syas giving her a quick salute. "I am well thank you, training hard and enjoying every second of it." She glances briefly now to Stavrian. "Evening." she flickers her eyes to his rank and adds quickly. "Sir."

"Excellent," Cidra deems Sonja answer. "Lyon, this is one of our Medical personnel. Lieutenant Jesse Stavrian. He is an excellent one to know if you are broken in some respect." It's not, precisely, a joke. Even if it is said a little wryly. "Lieutenant, Midshipman Sonja Lyon is one of my Nuggets. Coming along toward pilot status quite well. We should get you in a Viper for live flights this coming week, actually. I shall see if Poppy is able to shepherd you through the first few." Malone is not immediately noticed, but they're a little away from the main crowd at the Memorial Wall.

Malone shakes his head to himself, pausing as he sees the crowd present, and just watching them for the moment now.

"Ah. Midshipman." It may have been nearly a year — or over that — since Stavrian last saw Sagittaron, but the Lieutenant's accent is still there. Harsh and slightly guttural, intrusive on the Colonial tongue. It almost clashes with how soft spoken he is. "Training to be a pilot?" He glances at Cidra and then back at Sonja, nodding. "You have been in the training long?"

Sonja smiles over at Jesse, offering her hand incase he'll take it. "Pleasure to meet you sir, though I hope you don't mind me saying but I hope I see very little of you, and the medical bay. I've been training for a few months now, very intensive but I've been enjoying it very much." She tells him and she's speaking honestly, a glances is given Cidra and her eyes light up, live flight yeah! "Oh that sounds awesome Sir, perhaps Drips can come along also, he's been working with me /alot/ and I'd like him there if I may.." She says, lifting a hand to Malone, she catches sight of him briefly through the lull of people.

"I do think Drips would like that very much," Cidra says to Sonja. She can't help but smile at the young woman's enthusiasm, though there's a note of sadness to it. Her eyes go to the wall again. Scanning the entirety of it rather than any individual face. "It is strange. To feel sentimentality about Colonial Day when the colonies are gone. And yet many have come here today. I admit…it prompted me to come."

Malone offers a half-wave in return, as he glances around the room once more. His expression seems to be one saying something like 'how the hell did I get here?', and after a short while, he shakes his head a bit to himself.

Stavrian takes just a hair too long to unfold his arms and take Sonja's hand, the touch awkward. Once shaken, his hand retreats quickly back to the protection of his bent elbow. "The less you see of the bay the better, yes. I will certainly pray you don't become too familiar." He gives her a slight smile, then glances over his shoulder at Malone. Wandering Malone. "Are you…alright, Lieutenant?"

Sonja looks half suprised by Cidra comment. "I had almost forgot it was today." She shakes Stavrian's hand, smiling again before she lets it go. "Thank you." She says, honored by his acceptance of her hand. "I hope not." She adds, then goes quiet, remember old colonial days not doubt.

"So say we all," Cidra murmurs in firm agreement with Stavrian's words. At his questions her eyes drift, and finally come upon, Malone. "Splash." And she repeats the question she asked Sonja previously, "How does the day find you?"

"I'm fine…" Malone replies after a few moments of consideration. "Just a bit lost in thought, I guess." Smiling momentarily as he looks between the others, "How are you folks?"

"Try and avoid the walls, will you?" Stavrian suggests to Malone, helpfully dry. He draws in a breath that moves his shoulders, eyes lingering over the wall of photos one last time. Then: "'Scuse me, I got to get some things done before duty. Nice to meet you, Midshipman, and gods bless. Major…" His eyes meet Cidra's, some communication there that goes unspoken. "See you later."

Sonja smiles warmly at Malone when he approaches the trio. "I'm well thank you." She tells him, then turns to Stavrian. "It was an honor to meet you Sir, I hope we'll get to speak again." She says politly.

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Cidra says to Stavrian. For what, she does not add, save a "See you later" which sounds like a promise. "Gods mercies upon you."

"But the walls help me when I need to make a turn," Malone remarks a bit lightly at Stavrian, before he adds, "Take care." Looking back to the other two, he sighs. "I should go take care of a few things…" he offers.

Sonja glances at Cidra and smiles, unsure what to say to the other woman, she places her hands into her pockets and rocks back and forth on her heels. "So, em Major when did you want to plan my first flight, should we get Drips on the planning also?"

Cidra inclines her head to Malone as well, offering him the same, "Good eve upon you, Lieutenant." To Sonja she nods. "Poppy primarily. It is she I would prefer you fly with first as your lead. But make sure Drips is aware, as I suspect he shall want to join. "

Sonja nods her head. "Of course Major, either would be fine and you know what will be best for me, I know you have my best interest at heart." She then bows her head. "I shall retire now, it has been refreshing talking with you."

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