I Want Something Else
I Want Something Else
Summary: After the most recent Cylon attack, Quill and Eli look to escape normalcy. In the Chapel.
Date: 32 ACH
Related Logs: None

Greje is still alone. Duty stations do not, for most, include Chapel. Sure enough, soon they'll be flooding in, but for the time the priest sits in stunned, numb silence on the second stair leading up to the altar, where fresh sacrifices have been made and consecrated, prayers said. The priest, for her own part, sits with her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands, either still praying or absorbed in more secular thoughts.

"…Hello?" The voice is male, and its owner has appeared in Greje's doorway. The first of the flood? Maybe. His pins (or lack thereof) mark him as a Recruit, and he takes a few hesitant steps into the sacred space. "I, um… wasn't sure where to go, I don't think I actually have an assigned place. I ended up here." Obviously. "Do you, um, want to be alone? I could…" Quill waves a hand back at the doorway, offering to take off again.

Greje looks up at the greeting, standing a moment later, looking awfully rickety for amoment, for a woman so young. "No, please…" she offers, her voice soft. "Come and sit. We'll figure out where you need to be… or you can weather the storm here," she offers with a meek sort of smile.

"Is it weathering the storm at this point?" Quill asks, stepping further into the chapel. "Or is it more crawling out of the rubble to check out what's left of your house?" A touch of a smile, robbed by dark times of its warmth and humor. But a smile nonetheless. "I'm a civilian recruit. I'm pretty sure that right now, where they need me to be is out of the way." A pause lingers, for a moment or three. "I guess you're the ship's chaplain, then?"

Greje exhales sharply in something which might at other moments be called a laugh, now just a recognition of the metaphor and the smile. "Ah— yes, I see. Yes, I am… and… if you're looking to be out of the way, you're in the right place. I'm pretty sure that's why they keep me here," she attempts to launch her words vaguely toward 'joke' status, but a sense of feeling pretty useless can't quite help but invade them. "I'm Greje Karthasi," she finally resorts to retreating to the safe area of introductions.

"They keep you here so we can find you," Quill suggests an alternative explanation, with that ghost of a smile again. "It's like… an emergency toolkit. When you need it, you fracking /need/ it, and you're in a load of trouble if you can't find it." He sits on one of the room's stadium steps, not far from Greje. "I'm Jonah Quill. Formerly of the Carina. Do you regret it?" The question is something of a non-sequitur, and whatever 'it' is remains unclear for now.

Greje lowers her head, reaching a hand to the back of her neck in an awkward gesture. Praise breeds hubris, and so it's probably a good sign that the priest simply doesn't know how to take being called indispensible. Even if only by metaphor. She looks up at his introduction and gives him a gentle nod of her head. "Do I… regret what?" she wonders. Requiring clarification for an answer to be possible.

"Oh, sorry," Quill blinks, as he realizes he was being obscure. "This." One hand waves around at their surroundings. "Being the chaplain. I mean… it can't be easy, right? People like me traipsing up to your door and demanding service, wisdom, courage, at all hours of the day and night. Asking things that were never meant to be asked and which, accordingly, have no answers." The quirk of a smile reappears. "Though if I'm wrong, and there /are/ easy answers? I'm all ears."

Greje laughs a little, more voice behind it, this time, if a good deal more rue, as well. "Oh. Well… that's not an easy question, itself. I… thought, in all honestly, when I took the position, that it would be an easy post. The Navy in particular is known for being for the best part comprised of atheists. I was to have my own office, I could bring my library, have some time to meditate and write… get my dissertation ready for publication… pump out a new series of articles I was planning…" she shakes her head, pressing her lips tight together. "But I'm here, now, and… considering the alternative, I can't say I'm displeased with my choice of post. I might have answers for you. Did you have any particular questions in mind?" she asks gently, easing herself back into her assumed role as spiritual advisor.

"I'm not here to think," Quill admits, somewhat apologetically. "I'm here to not think. I have a PhD in mechanical engineering, specializing in FTL technology — and from what I've heard shouted here and there about what just happened to the PAS today? I don't… I don't want to think about it. I suspect I know what happened, which is complicated and…" he swallows, "Might make me ill. Knowing… the process." Quill shakes his head, as though trying to chase the thoughts away. "What was your dissertation about? I mean… what /is/ your dissertation about?"

Greje doesn't quite know what to make of Jonah's predicament. The PAS exploded. She put together that much. She doesn't press for what he means, not, by any means, wishing to make him ill. He's looking for distraction, and distraction is something she can easily provide, going to sit by him on the step, folding her arms on her lap and slouching over them a little. "I was investigating the ways the comsogenetical succession is echoed in the Gospel of Rage," she replies. "And what those echoes mean for modern interpretations of heroic cult practice."

"I have no idea what you just said," Quill laughs, quietly. "But if you can translate that into layman's terms, I'm listening." He's quiet a moment, then looks over and raises a brow. "When most people come to you, are they faithful, looking to connect with the gods? Or are they attacking the faith, crisis turning them against it?"

"Basically… well, according to the Cosmogony, the universe existed under a separate set of principles before and after the incarnation of the sky god we know as Zeus. Before that, there were a series of sky gods who succeeded one another in various ways, but all following a stock sort of progression. In the Gospel of Rage, Achilles is born in a manner that evokes some of the most characteristic aspects of the divine succession, lending, as it were, a link between the Pre-Kobolite natural progression of time and space and the humans who came onto the stage afterward," Greje continues to explain, probably way past the point at which it's interesting. Then, with a sigh, "About half and half. I get the impression that those in the latter category were more or less convinced of their beliefs ahead of time, though."

"Oh," Quill says, insightfully, regarding the Cosmogony and the Gospel of Rage. He's rubbing his chin thoughtfully, though, as though the wheels in his head are turning somewhere. "I'd probably understand more of that if physics and alloys were involved," he eventually admits. "But you should keep writing it. Publish it anyway. I'll read it," he offers with another one of those bittersweet grins, despite having already declared he doesn't really get it. To the latter words, he nods. "Sounds about right. My thought is that modern society as we knew it was having a detrimental affect on religion. When people are comfortable, they don't pray. These days, people may be rejecting the faith or questioning it, but at least they're thinking about it, you know? Before, it was possible to politely ignore the gods entirely. If we're lucky enough to see future generations of humanity, I think they'll be a bit more faithful."

Greje smiles quietly down at her hands. "Yes— that would be one of religion's main societal functions. To make us feel in control of a situation we're not… actually in control of. But given that reasoning, if it weren't for a deeply entenched religious background, if not active religious practice, telling us that we have that control… we never could have become so complacent, could we have?"

Greje smiles quietly down at her hands. "Yes— that would be one of religion's main societal functions. To make us feel in control of a situation we're not… actually in control of. But given that reasoning, if it weren't for a deeply entrenched religious background, if not active religious practice, telling us that we have that control… we never could have become so complacent, could we have?"

"Make people feel in control, or control the people?" Quill grins, regarding the function of religion in society. "Or both? Here's betting the Gemenese go for the second one." Pause. Quill prepares to insert his foot into his mouth. "Er, sorry, you're not from Gemenon, are you?" Moving quickly onwards! "I think you're right, though, it's cyclical. Strong religious traditions build a certain type of society, which, once successful, abandons religion. Upon the collapse of that society, what remains returns to the solace of religion, to rebuild… It's kind of poetic, really. Just wish I wasn't living it."

Greje gives a short laugh at the comment on the Gemenese fundies. They're still so easy to have as the butt of every joke… just like back in seminary. She stifles, it, though, because, after all, it's disrespectful. "No, no I'm not," she professes. "It is cyclical. Most things are. Just as the sky god is despised and slain and his son praised and elevated to his father's post… just so you can be sure that the new sky god will be despised and slain, in time. Like it said on Themis' temple at Parnassos: All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." She turns her head. "You were living it before. You just didn't know it, yet," she points out.

"Touche," Quill sighs, at Greje's latter words. "Suppose I was. Do you think we threw a spanner into the works, when humanity made cylons? Maybe… well, no," Quill stops his own line of thinking. "Cycles are cycles, different catalysts notwithstanding." His feet tap against the step for a moment, before looking over at Greje with a different topic. "What's it supposed to be like, after you die?"

Greje lifts a hand to scratch the back of her head momentarily, "One of the conventional signs of the point of crisis in each sky-succession tale is the invention of new technology. Artifice. Progress," she muses, "The sickle, the carved stone…" she trails off, looking lost in thought for a moment before turning back to Jonah. "Depends on which part of the scriptures you're reading," she admits. "The Gospel of Rage says very little about it. The Gospel of Nostos depicts it as a place of sorrow where all men are made equal in eternal suffering. That's… probably why the Gospel of Nostos has been so furiously emended over the years. Made to mesh with later gospels' depiction of an afterlife where the sinners are separated from the heroes, where the one receive punishment and the other eternal glory. I think… I think that's too easy. I believe in the lectio difficilior," she adds, using the technical term from the trade of linguistic analysis. "There's nothing wrong with admitting that death is a place of sorrow. We should allow ourselves to grieve our dead," she explicates the text gently, taking it, not as the Gemenese, literally, but with a more metaphorical slant. "And indeed in death, if nowhere else, all men are equal. The best things we can do we need to do in life. And be prepared to be satisfied with what we've done and what we've left behind us as we pass on."

"Is it?" Quill seems surprised at the mention of technology and artifice; perhaps he's not a devoted Scrolls reader. But then again, there are people who only read the pieces they like and ignore the rest, he could be one of those. "Sinners and heroes… I'm with you, categories like that are too easy. I mean, you've got sinners and heroes, sure. But then you've got people like me, who aren't either. I've done things I regret, things that were absolutely wrong. I've done things that I'm proud of, selfless things. But one doesn't necessarily outweigh the other on my cosmic scales, here. I'm just a guy." He pauses a moment, before looking over thoughtfully. "Should I be trying harder to be a hero?"

Greje hms in brief affirmative to his first question, then, to his second, she shakes her head. "I mean… not to say we couldn'tt use all the heroes we could get, right now. But for your own part… my advice to you would be the same that Apollo gives on the very ediface of his temple at Delphi: Know Thyself. If you've done things you regret, come to peace with them. You don't want to take those with you. If acting selflessly makes you feel fulfilled… listen to that. That will be your legacy."

Quill lets a pause linger as he thoughtfully studies the Chapel without really seeing it. "I don't know how to come to peace with it," he finally says, looking back to Greje. "The things I did. I mean, it's not deep and dark, like I killed anyone, and it's not exciting or dangerous, and it wasn't a dark deed compelled by need. It was just a shitty thing to do. But there's no one to apologize to, the only human left that knows about it is me. And now you, sort of. I don't know how to make peace with people who don't exist anymore, so it just sits there in my soul like a squashy moldy spot on a piece of fruit. And I'm like, 'frack, this is a decent fruit, if only it didn't have that nasty bit there making the whole thing kind of gross.'"

Greje nods gently. "That would be the other main function of religion. Again, cyclical: it makes us feel as if we're in control of everything. Ergo, when something goes wrong, we blame ourselves, and feel guilt. For religious systems to function, they require a means of purging that guilt. That's why we have rituals of purification. I don't know if you'd like one. They are, by definition, very cathartic. Or else, if you just need someone to talk to… someone to listen and forgive you… give you permission to forgive yourself… that's what I'm here for." It sounds a little strange, like a magician telling the secret to her most impressive tricks, but there you have it.

Greje is sitting with Jonah Quill on the front step of the bleachered seats.

"I'll think about it," Quill replies. "Seems like humanity in general has bigger things to worry about though, you know? There's the guilt that 1, I fracked up, and 2, Gods, Jonah, who cares, did you know lots of people died today? It's like an exciting guilt cocktail with multiple flavors in varying proportions. I mostly just… try not to dwell on it."

"Hmm," Greje replies. "Suppressing those feelings is typically not a good idea. They like to bubble up through your subconscious and leave interesting patterns in your mind, then you have to go to the psychologist to fix them. I know your problems -must- seem small to you in comparison to recent events. But they're important. It's important for you to feel at peace with yourself, who you are and what you've done. The rest of it… it's important, too. But don't neglect your own soul, and don't feel the need to trivialize your problems. They're not trivial."

"I'll think about it, Chaplain," Quill repeats, the words accompanied this time by what passes for a smile on a day like today. "Don't know that I've got it in me to make a course change like that right now, cathartic though it may be. Maybe someday. Maybe soon. And I do appreciate it, the… offer. The listening."

Eli makes his/her way in, and if she had a hat she'd be holding it in her hands as her head is bowed and she looks to be in serious thought, lingering right inside the entrance and closing her eyes, sighting softly. War is hard yo.

Greje nods gently, responding to the appreciation with a soft pat of her hand on his arm, a gesture of comfort and support, and a nod of her head. "You know where to find me. I've also got my office up in the Naval offices… if you'd prefer a more secular setting," she tells him before looking up at Eli. She doesn't offer greeting, yet, letting the Sheriff alone with her thoughts and prayers, undisturbed, for now, but she also stands, breaking conversation with Quill for the moment to give Eli that peace.

Quill nods to Greje's arm-pat, looking over as the cleric stands and someone else arrives. He watches Eli for a moment, and then another moment, before remembering that it's rude to stare at people and it's especially rude to stare at people who are seeking peace after humanity has suffered another crisis. Quill studies the incense burners. Fascinating, fascinating incense.

Eli lifts her head after a few minutes to stare at Greje and then she quickly looks away and then coughs and looks between Quill and Greje. "…Y…you two are okay, like not hurt or anything physically?" She asks in that gender neutral voice, clasping her hands behind her back.

Greje doesn't stare at Eli, either, though she does step toward the altar, reaching out to rest a hand on it in a reverent gesture, but one not wholly unlike the arm-pat just rendered to Jonah. She turns her head to check on Eli just in time to catch the stare and the question. "Yes, Eli, we're fine," she assures the Sheriff in gentle tones. Physically, at least. "Are -you- alright?" she asks, brows lowering a little in concern.

"Alive and intact," Quill confirms, looking over and turning a bit towards Eli to answer. "And lucky to be so, from the sound of things." He moves to stand, "I can give you some privacy with the Chaplain, if you'd like? My soul's been fixed up as much as it can be, and frankly more than I expected it would."

Eli holds up a hand and points to Quill. "No need for you to leave. Seriously." Then she gestures towards Greje. "Am I ok…well um. Yeah. Kinda. I mean, I didn't get shot or blown up." A long pause. "Are we doing a praying acid trip thing today or just…the more sober non-stoned thing?"

"I'm not doing anything, yet," Greje replies gently. "I've santified offerings to the pantheon as pledge for the safety of the fleet. I thought I'd wait until people began showing up and see what sort of service people felt they needed. What do -you- need, Eli? I'm here to serve your needs," she reminds her quietly.

"Praying acid trip thing," Quill casts his vote. The goal of coming here was not thinking, after all. Or at least, not thinking the way he usually does. "I'm not knowledgeable about too many ceremonies and rites, but that particular description sounds…" Trippy. "…Peaceful."

Eli ohs and then places a hand on 'Betty' her nightstick. "What do I need?" She pauses and then blurts out. "Can you find missing body parts in the ether, dragging them back and putting them where they belong?" A pause. "Forget I said that." She shudders and then coughs again. "I'm here to…pretend for 5 minutes or so, that I'm…not the MaA." Then she looks back towards Quill and sighs. "Peaceful? I have no idea…if it was peaceful. It looked frakkin' /awesome/ though."

Greje gives a slight smile at Eli's description of Apollo's rites. "I had to maintain ritual purity for a week before I was able to bring the God's voice to you, Eli. I couldn't do it again tonight, not even if I really wanted to," she tells gently. "You want to become someone else? Well, that's a job for Dionysus. He transformed Pentheus into a woman, he transforms people into figures from scripture during his rites. The loosener-from-cares, the loosener-from-identity. Lord of Illusion whose Illusions are more real than reality," she muses in that usual half-distracted manner she has when she gets talking about these things. Her eyes focus on Eli again, "Amalina was asking me about putting on some of Dionysus' dramatic rites. Would you like to participate? Let the God transform you?"

Quill appears slightly disappointed that the praying acid trip thing is apparently for the priestess only and anyway can't be done at the drop of a hat. That expression is exchanged for a wince at the mention of missing body parts in the ether; he swallows hard and looks a little pale. "Is it as bad as everyone's saying, or is it worse?" One brow lifts at the description of Dionysus's rites, and the Recruit appears first skeptical, then curious as he listens to Greje.

Eli looks a bit uncertain now as she shifts her weight from one foot to the other. "Oh thank the gods…I mean, the not doing the thing tonight. Cuz that was seriously freaky." A pause. "I mean I had a girlfriend once, she did that. But she was high. And naked." A pause. "Right, forget I said that." She just runs a hand over her face and sighs. "Ummmm. Rites of Dionysus…no, not an illusion. Or getting very drunk. You're not a surgeon so um." Another pause. "I think a transformation would interfere with my duties I'm sure…maybe."

"She performed Apollo's high rites?" Greje asks, slightly confused. "Or just… had a bad trip?" she wonders, trying to decode what Eli is saying. She doesn't seem particularly upset at having the rites described as simply 'getting high.' "I'll ask the Commander about a good time to put on the rites. I'm sure people will want to be able to watch them, as well. If you'd like to participate, you'll be very welcome. You won't need to drink alcohol if you don't want to, and there's no ritual purity to observe beforehand, so it shouldn't interfere with your duties."

Overhearing this conversation, Quill suffers the same feeling one might feel upon driving down a strange road at night and finding a lot of No Trespassing signs — you know you're lost, and you're pretty sure that along with being lost, you shouldn't be here. And yet, like any good stranger in strange places, he's curious. "People would watch?" the Recruit echoes Greje. "Those rites, with illusions and transformations and whatnot… that sounds kind of, um, personal, why would people watch?"

"…she had a piercing. I'm talented when I'm not talking." Eli isn't about to elaborate here. She just continues on. "I'm just saying…I don't think what you're talking about is exactly what…I'm talking about. It was a stupid thing to say, honestly. Pretty stupid to think about during this type of time." Then…something dawns on her. "Somebody would WATCH?! I don't…what…what the person over there said." She jerks a finger towards Quill. "Dude, that would be…gross. Kinda…really gross."

Greje looks mildly baffled as to everyone's sudden animosity toward the rites' exhibitionist tendencies. "It's… it's a play. As much for the education of the audience as for the illumination of the actors. I was thinking we'd put on Hippolytus," she adds sort of meekly. "Eli, this is Jonah, Jonah, Eli." Ranks don't belong in chapel, evidently.

"It's a play of /what/?" Quill asks, glancing between Eli and Greje, ending up on the priestess. "Are you talking about what I think you're talking about? I mean… illusions and transformations in varying degrees of reality, right? If I want to be transformed or illusioned, then clearly I'm not happy with something existing about myself, and I wouldn't think that I'd want everyone to know… about…" He rubs the back of his neck awkwardly. "You know, I think I'm just going to shut up. Hi, Eli, it's good to meet you."

Eli looks a bit confused and shakes her head. "…oh, a play…ahaha, not a public…surgery." She looks relieved before looking back to Greje and then to Quill. "…very nice to meet you um. I've never met you before. I'm not usually this weird but I'm uber stressed out right now." She bows her head for a few moments before looking back up. "So. What ya'll up to?"

Greje settles down on the second step leading up to the altar, slightly to the left of the altar proper, her accustomed spot. "A play," she explains gently to Jonah. "People learn lines and put on costumes and the ritual masks. The masks are sanctified to Dionysus, and he allows a certain communion between actor, character and god. The Dionysiac Gospels are written to be performed, to give lessons both to the audience and to the actors in communion with the God. Some people who participate might be looking to change something about themselves. Others may be perfectly content, but they want to try an outside perspective… see things from a different point of view. Take lessons back with them once the rites are complete. It's an exercise in introspection, more than anything, for the actors. And one of catharsis for the audience."

"I haven't been here long," Quill notes, when Eli says she hasn't met him before. "I used to be a civilian, couple weeks ago." He sounds almost apologetic about it. "Arguably, I still am, there's a lot to learn. What MaA means, for example. If you want to enlighten me on that one, I'd be um… grateful." As to her question, "I came in here to avoid thinking about the PAS, and the chaplain was helping with that."

Quill listens as Greje explains the play, everything making a lot more sense now. "Oh." A moment passes, before he abruptly decides, "If you hold one, I'll volunteer to take part."

"Master at Arms. Basically I figure out who's been naughty or nice, give them spankings or ice cream, or do the whole handcuffing and locking up things…" Eli explains after the explanation about the play and then she just exhales and scratches her head, looking away, closing her eyes. "Welcome aboard…"

Greje stands again, "And yes, Jonah and I were simply talking. Do you want to come to the altar and pray with me?" Greje asks Eli gently, holding out a hand of invitation. "Or if you just want to talk, we can do that, too."

"Thanks," Quill replies to Eli's welcome, managing a quirk of a smile. "I'll stay comfortably mediocre, avoiding your lists for either spankings or ice cream and hopefully sparing you that much more stress." As the priestess offers to pray or talk, he rises from his stair-seat, and heads unobtrusively towards the exit, to give the pair some privacy.

Eli opens her mouth to reply but then Quill is leaving and she's left alone with Greje and she just shuts her mouth and takes a step forward then stops again abruptly, worrying her bottom lip. "I don't usually uh, do this." A pause. "I probably should go…"

Greje contines to stand, letting her hand fall softly to her side. "That's alright. You don't need to do anything you don't feel comfortable doing. I know not everyone is religiously inclined. I'm here for everyone, not just those who follow the Lords."

Eli sighs softly. "It isn't that, I'm just too conflicted right not to offer uh, worthy…pleas and stuff to the gods right now. I think after I get everything cleared up a bit more…I'll be back to talk to you or to pray or to whatever."

Greje nods her head gently. "Alright, Eli. I wish you the clarity you need," she offers, stepping up the middle aisle stairwell in order to give Eli a gentle pat on the arm, or maybe even a hug, is Eli seems receptive.

Eli actually accepts a hug, inhaling deeply and squeezing Greje tightly before taking a step back and turning to make her way out.

Greje gives a gentle squeeze in return, then turns to head back toward the altar.

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