PHD #136: Volunteer Scapegoat
Volunteer Scapegoat
Summary: Bannik volunteers to be Lord of the Mountain.
Date: 12 Jul 2041 AE
Related Logs: None.
Bannik Karthasi 
Chapel - Deck 9 - Battlestar Cerberus
The hatchway opens into a dimly lit corridor, stark grey walls now and again painted with some mural appropriate to the religious season, stretching from floor to ceiling and then sloping down away from the ceiling in two triangular forms that bracket off the tiered seating areas to either side. Straight ahead, in the center of an open space, stands a simple rectangular altar, the emblems of the Lords thereupon arrayed to receive sacrifice in the tall room when the altar isn't decked for some more specific use. Hestia, who is not vouchsafed her own emblem on the altar, is etched in relief on one side of the altar itself, shown tending the hearth in her usual fashion.
In the wall behind the open area are three evenly spaced hatchways which can only be opened and closed from the inside. The small cubicles behind each hatchway are each furnished with a small altar against the back wall, upon which sometimes the dark shape of a sacred object can be discerned even from the tiered seating for visiting on the sacral days. The hatches can be closed to block out profane eyes from rites they were not meant to see. The walls between each little cubicle can be retracted to create a larger space for more well-attended mysteries.
Post-Holocaust Day: #136

"… you whose delight is in the bow, whose delight is in the middle path of air between the spheres of heaven and earth, whose power is in the seven strings of the lyre and the notes resounding on the octave. You on whose birth all lands trembled, you to whom the palm and laurel bow, you whose seat is the midland navel-stone beside the singing fountain…" Greje is offering liturgy and the enunciation of the virtues of the Lord Apollo, for those of you just tuning in. The chapel is about a fifth of the way full, one group of people together on the foremost few rows of seating, all in a cluster as they follow along the catalogue of powers, a few others separate, apart, keeping their private reflections to the tune of the chanting of the priestling by the altar as she sanctifies offerings to Apollo. "Golden-haired son of Leto, be here with us, bow your head and lend ear to the prayers of those who come to you as suppliants with arms extended. Grant us to touch the down upon your cheek with our fingers and beseech you guide us on the far-reaching path of gold, far-worker, far-darter, sublime marksman and our Lord Apollo, son of Zeus and Voice of his Oracle. To you be these offerings blessed, be they sanctified, be they purified, be they pleasing." She passes two fingers through the smoke rising from the incense. "So say we all."

Karthasi seems to know the bulk of the group in question— very likely a group of friends all connected through shared patronage of Apollo, from their proximity to one another. And Greje's pretty good about setting up specific services if people come to her desirous of them. And so when she steps back, head lowered, and disengages herself from the ritual space around the altar, the flock of worshippers stands in a group and starts shuffling forward, coming to Greje one at a time to thank her for the service and to receive the Lord's blessing from her. It's less a line than a genial sort of flock, but eventually they all get past her and head out for duties or sleep or other less ecclesiastical business. The one left up front gets a quiet tilt of the Chaplain's head. She's pretty sure he wasn't with the group, but he seems to be waiting on her, somehow. Approachng, even. Oh, hello. "How may I serve you?" she asks him gently, voice welcoming, even if in a strictly professional manner.

Bannik rises to his feet when Greje approaches, watching the members of the group file past for their blessing in quiet silence. "It is not how you can serve me, Sister, but how we can serve the Lords," explains the deckhand. "I uh — I saw the flyer, about the Lord of the Mountain." That is as good of an opening as any, he seems to think.

Karthasi looks even parts baffled and intrigued. It's a standard enough line, in the priesthood. How may I serve you. To have it turned back around on her clearly isn't something that happens all that often. But then the notice is brought up, and her mouth opens a little bit, eyes widening and lighting up with a spark of coprehension. "Indeed," she acknowledges his statement. "Come and walk with me. We can talk," she invites him cordially along with a gesture of her arm out into the vestibule. Where people aren't endeavoring to pray.

Bannik dutifully follows along with the Sister, his hands folded before him in a sort of reverent walk. After all, he is in the Chapel. But as they walk, the Specialist offers some conversation. "Are you doing well, Sister? Are your needs being ministered to as you minister to ours?"

Karthasi tucks her own hands behind her as she enters the vestibule and heads on from there to the hatchway out into the corridor, though she takes pause there, by the threshold, turning to look to Bannik quietly. "I am as well as can be expected, thank you," she tells him, obviously a little odded out by the turn of the conversation. She's not the most socially ept person in the universe, and the reply is cautiously perched on the properly professional exterior she maintains. "You performed a rememrance for the fallen out in the corridor," she seems to recall, if timidly, as though afraid she might be wrong on that point. "I take it that theology is a study of yours?"

Bannik considers how to answer this question for a moment, his brow furrowing. "I am not sure it is a study, Sister," he says finally. "I am hardly book smart, the way you are. I can't quote long passages of the Scrolls or tell you all of the obscure holidays. But it is a passion of mine." He nods, as if to say that the word is the right one. "In my view, Sister, we all have a duty to minister to one another the best we can, not just those anointed or studying to be anointed. The Gods ask all of us to spread Their message, in whatever way we can. So that's what I do. But yes, I led the memorial service."

"If the Lords are calling you to serve them, then… you're a blesed man," Greje finally replies to the fellow. "It was a sweet thing to do. Leading the memorial. My Lieutenant— she— was somewhat better at that sort of thing than I am." A small crack in the cool Caprican finesse is pasted over with a dry, fixed half-smile. "In any event, you ought to come by the CMES offices. Our schedules are by necessity mutable; if you would like use of the chapel in order to lead prayers or have discussion groups, we can find a time for you to do so."

Bannik dips his head at the compliment, accepting it modestly. "I think the Lords call all of us to serve them, Sister. The question is if we're listening." He has a small, very small smile on his lips, as if quite nervous to share his thoughts of theology with an actual chaplain. "Sister Noelani was a lovely chaplain. I am sure our petitions on her behalf to the Gods aided her journey across the River and to the Fields of Elysium." But down to business: "Oh. Thank you. I felt — awkward using the chapel for lay gatherings. But yes — do you want to go now to talk about the — uhm. About the rite?"

Karthasi is somewhat nervous, herself, as evidenced by the knots her fingers are trying to tie in one another behind her back. For all her years of study and devotion, she knows the words, alright, but is still occasionally terrified of being shown What's What by someone with a more substantial connection to the divine than her own. "So say we all," she adds in a respectfully lowered tone to his invokation of her deceased LT. "Yes. Let's," she then succinctly agrees, stepping out into the corridor and down toward the stairwell.

Bannik makes his way into the Naval Offices after the chaplain, moving with her towards her more private office here. "Uh. So. I know about the basics of the Rite," he explains as he steps into the office and is seated. "But I figured I'd let you tell me about it so I can know all of the details."

Karthasi's office looks as though it was once a storage closet. Three out of the four walls are lined in shelves, all of which are stuffed with books, making the room look even smaller than it actually is. And between the Chaplain's desk and the hideous orange loveseat settled across from it, there are about eight square feet of floor space, total. "Have a seat. Would you care for some tea?" she asks of him, squeezing between the desk and the loveseat, then between the desk and the bookshelves, getting around to the business side of the piece of furniture. "I recently became aware, via a source who shall remain unnamed, that the ship was exposed to a religious pollution. Through this rite we will be able to purge the vessel of any lingering traces of miasma we may have picked up from… anywhere, really. It's a sort of… spiritual housekeeping, as it were."

Bannik seems a little bit confused. "Spiritual pollution?" he echoes. A pause. "You mean this is in response to a particular event? I just assumed it was done this time every year or something." But still, he nods. "Okay. Sure. I'd love some tea."

Karthasi shifts to the side and flicks on her electric teakettle, getting the water heated up while she pulls a mug from her mug tree and peers into it. "The point of the ritual is to elevate the mortal man as close to the divine as possible. As Achilles partook of the divine under the auspices of Zeus before his death. You would be housed in the chapel, given offerings in the spirit of reverence, honored and adored as a sovereign Lord. It is an excercise in the accumulation of hubris."

"So. Like. In concrete terms." Bannik gestures to the desk, as if that's to make clear the 'concreteness' of the issue. "What are we talking? Like, cookies? Or — I don't know. How does it work? I bet people are going to ask." Desk-like.

"Whatever you'd like," Greje answers him. "As far as we're able to provide. You only have to ask. Honey?" she asks, dropping a teabag into the mug, then picking up the plastic bear, showing it to him. "If it's cookies you desire, I'm sure we'll be able to deliver some. There will always be someone on hand, if you have any need or desire. But you'll be able to close the doors if you require privacy. We'll bring meals to order, or, if you prefer, you can go out to the mess. And I'm sure the faithful aboard will have their own ways to demonstrate their devotion. If they do anything that displeases you, only let them know. They will be beholden to modify their behavior appropriately."

"Oh. Okay." Cookies sound good. Bannik likes cookies. "That makes sense." He then purses his lips, as if considering. "Is there anything else I need to know? Any prayers I should recite or anything?"

"I understand that you are a man of faith," Greje smiles as the kettle begins to whistle, and she lifts it to pour some hot water into the mug. "It might be… disconcerting, to you, acting in a manner so uncordial to the precepts of the scriptures. I would suggest reading of the Aristeia of Achilles— how he acted once Patroclus died. How he yielded to no human prayer nor human custom, but did as he liked, allowing his rage to be unconstrained by custom, and he murdered Greek and Trojan alike by both inaction and action, and felt no guilt, nor shame, but was without morality, like the Lords. Remember to sin, and sin grandly, and take up the sin from this community and onto yourself. You will be sure to pay the price."

"So — eat a /lot/ of cookies?" Bannik may be kidding. Maybe. The smile around the edges can go either way. But he nods, his voice more serious. "People need someone to take their sins out on; a sacrifice that'll make them pure. I think our role as ministers — ordained or not — is to shoulder some of that burden for our flock, even as we help them shoulder their own burden more ably."

Karthasi stands up again, taking up the mug of tea and shuffling back around her desk to pass it off to Bannik up on the sofa. "I think… that you've attained a significant understanding of the needfulness and usefulness of this rite. I would gladly invite you to become our Mountain Lord."

Bannik takes a deep breath. "Well, it's certainly — not something I anticipated doing, Sister, but it's something I would be honored to do. I only hope my service is pleasing to the Gods." He exhales, taking a sip of his tea, and smiles — perhaps a bit nervously — at the chaplain.

Karthasi settles back against the edge of her desk, hands finding spots at her sides. "I am certain that it will be, Specialist," she tells him. Then, standing up, she starts making her restreat to the far side of the desk, "Would you like for me to discuss the situation with your direct superior, that he or she will have some notion of what is going on? Not that I foresee this getting in the way of your daily duties. But he or she should probably be made aware of it, no less."

Bannik finishes his tea and places the cup down on the desk. "I can speak to Petty Officer Damon about it," promises the Specialist. "I'm sure he'll understand." He rises. "But if you'll excuse me, Sister, I ought to go and see to some other things I'll want to tie up before we get started. If you'll be in touch on when we'll start, I'll be ready." He pauses. "And, Sister. If — if anyone can ever minister to you, please do not hesitate to call on me."

"That'll be perfect," Greje tells Bannik. "I will let you know the arrangements, once they've been arranged. Do send me a memorandum with your schedule, that I may find a time convenient to you to open the ceremonies."

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