Spirits in the Machine
Spirits in the Machine
Summary: Rhea and Darius talk ships and faith, and whether the Nebula might require an exorcism.
Date: 62 ACH
Related Logs: Abandoned

Main Engineering Genesis - Deck 8

62 ACH 23817 Souls

Main Engineering is staffed by the Chief Engineer and his or her crew. There are enough monitors, flashing lights, back-up generators, consoles and various other areas to man the battlestar and keep it in top form at all times. Storage areas, locked areas, pipes, machinery and tools are all around the area. The desk of the ChEng sits in an area where it is the quietest so work can be done.

Darius is sitting in front of 'his console', looking over schematics of… well, it looks like the Nebula's bridge, with bullet trajectories mapped out and an awful lot of math being done to one side. The man has a mug of coffee as large as a newborn's head next to him. Exactly when and where he obtained that cup is probably best kept a mystery. "Frakking marines."

Rhea has only made periodic stops in Main Engineering this past week. She's been skipping around the battered ships their Fleet has recently acquired, monitoring the repairs. And doing her share of wrenching. She's carrying her tool kit and she lugs herself back into Engineering proper. She eyes her desk. And the stack of papers it's acquired in her absence. And she promptly steers away from it, avoiding it for a little longer. "Sagona," she barks at Darius. A good-natured barky sort of greeting. "My gods, man!" That's exclaimed as she catches sight of his coffee cup. It is eyed. With admiration. "Where did you get that thing? It's huge. And impressive."

Darius staps a key on his console and starts to rotate the model, "Had to hit the frakking… son of a… oh, Major." He turns towards you and all but snorts in response, "I'm glad you appreciate fine craftsmanship. It, uh.. came from the same place that all fine goods come from." The man coughs a bit, apparently deciding to leave that bit to the imagination. Yes, it's filled with coffee. And lots of it, in fact. "I'm amazed these blast screens worked as well as they even did." It's spoken with a certain measure of bitterness, mixed with amusement: Yes. He knows you at least well enough by now to know that his mug is likely to be the very first thing on your mind. And he's deliberately being coy about it. Bastard.

Rhea snorts at that, smirking, approaching the Darius Console to get a look at his schematics. "Ah, the Nebula. My least-favorite child. Repairs to the rest of the ships are going along quite well. That viewport is a bitch, though. I'd like to seal it with pieces of Marine." She growls a little as she ponders plaster-by-Marine-gizzard.

The console is filled with equations which, to an engineer, might seem a lot like swearing… only more intelligent. he's apparently worked out the force required to utterly evacuate the entire bridge. Come to think of it, this seems to be a trend with him. The man always works out, mathematically, the surest route to total disaster. Better hope he's not a cylon. It IS a little suspicious, in fact. "You and me both. They did a real number on this thing. Who was the genius who fired that shot? Pierced the MOST valuable structural point. Like he frakking planned it."

Rhea's brows arch a little at the Plan for the Worst Darius has drawn up. But, she has an appreciation for worst case scenarios. And a properly bent engineer brain. So perhaps it doesn't seem so strange to her. She's got Marines to growl about now, in any case. "That would be Mister Gars." He gets no military rank from her anymore. Her tone is absolutely flat and cold, which is something Darius has probably never heard from the ChEng. Rhea can yell and bark, but there's usually warmth underneath it. "I wasn't there, but from the reports the whole thing was an utter cluster-frak. I guess he opened fire, full-auto, and killed thirteen civilians. Which touched off the little try-to-shatter-the-viewport adventure. Never seen anything like it, and I've been eighteen years in the Navy."

"One of his men should've shot him dead right there." points out Darius while working his console. "What kind of frakking marines stand by when that happens? Shoot him right in the head. Supposed to save lives, those guys. Well frakking do it instead of jerking off, right?" The man's scowl, when he's -actually- trying to scowl, is a little jarring. His face works so beautifully when he's genuinely bitter. That he's usually not is one of those mismatches of the universe, "Could've at least had the decency to get his foul ass sucked out the breach he made." He lifts the enormous mug of coffee and has a long sip, "Kills me. Look at this. Two decimeters over, and the dome might've dropped like it should have. Two meters. That's like…." Two meters? "Murphey wasn't an optimist. He was a damned prophet."

"From the sound of things it all happened pretty quickly," Rhea says. Though she can't summon up anymore defense of the Marines than that. "It would've been justice, though. Anyhow, from the scuttlebutt I hear Mister Gars will be gone soon. They aren't putting a bullet between his eyes. Which surprises me. They're sentencing him to hard labor on the Tracer." Refinery ship. "For the rest of his natural life from the tone of things. Well. I won't object to a tool being put to useful work." She looks over his equations, wincing. "Well, it can be fixed. Question is, if we can fix it before the toasters rain down on all our asses. War-time engineering at its finest."

"'Pretty Quickly' may as well be part of their job description. They're certainly not there to react 'Pretty Slowly'." No mercy from the other engineer, who sips from his massive coffee cup again. "Hard Labor. I suppose that's meaner than just shooting the dumb bastard, as long as they don't change their minds and let him out." He nods a few times, listening to you, "Surprised we've been left alone as long as we have. Almost scares me a bit. Makes me wonder what they're planning." Another long sip and he adds, bizarrely, "I made it."

"My father used to say. Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you," Rhea quotes the old man. Which isn't uncommon from the ChEng. "I will hope for the best and plan for the worst. Aside from the Nebula, all our Fleet ships should be ready to jump before the week is out. Frak, we could *try* and jump the Nebula. Engines aren't her problem. Only worry is the front of the ship decompressing during hyperlight travel and jettisoning the folks aboard in…frak. Whatever exists between one jump and another." A blackhole, perhaps, or a parallel universe. Or just oblivion. That's highly theoretical physics, The World Between the Jumps. She tilts her head at that last. "Made it?" Puzzled.

"Could just do the job ourselves. Save it the frakking trouble." Darius smirks at the thought, "Controlled decompression. Agree to fail. Just get it over with, but on our terms, and then we can just get the frak out of here.. but nah." He turns towards you, "The coffee mug. Made it myself. Not that I'm admitting to my commanding officer that I may have made some unofficial use out of a workshop, a ladel, and a ceramic block. But I'm simply saying that I was thirsty and had a feeling I'd be the envy of all the majors in Engineering." Deadpan. Total deadpan.

Rhea winks at Darius. "No one ever makes unofficial use of the workshops. Against the letter of regulation." She smirks, leaving it at that. Rhea is quite content to ignore such things. "It is a nice bit of work, though. You into ceramics, then?" As for the Nebula, she shrugs. "It may come to that, if this job drags on too long. But, it's one more ship. One more place to put supplies. And people. The commander doesn't want to sacrifice it if we have a chance not to. And neither do I." She speaks of the Nebula almost like it /was/ her child. Albeit a problematic offspring she spent most of her time paddling.

"No." More deadpan: "That would be a misappropriation of… of a lot of things." Darius nods a couple of times in self-agreement, then shrugs, "Not really. But a block of ceramic is like any other brittle material… just needs some high heat when you're done." He types some more while you mention the potential fate of engineering's worst problem child, "Ask me, it's not worth it just for the morale drain. Gars made that ship historic. Bad historic. I don't think we need the reminders and, if you don't mind me saying so, I'd rather we just scuttled the frakking thing. Luckily, it's not my call. You want one?"

"A mug?" Rhea is surprised by the offer. But it makes her grin. "Nah, you don't have to do that. No need to go to the trouble. It is a nice one, though. Would cut down on the embarrassment of repeated refills…" She /does/ envy the thing. As for the Nebula, she's not irritated by the suggestion. Little mechanical irritates Rhea. It's all fodder for the Engineering brain. "You believe in that stuff? That a ship carries with it what's been done on it before."

"C'mooon." It's still deadpan if he says it like he's trying to talk you out of blowing up something important, you know. "Could make it slightly larger than mine. It's a command thing." More deadpan, still. He's silent in response to your other question, though. At least for a bit. "I do. I really do. Call it superstition, but you can go anywhere and just feel the mood of a place. You can know where people suffered and it bleeds into the walls and the floors. I don't like that frakking ship one lousy bit."

Rhea is tempted. Though she snorts at the command thing. "I don't get cup envy. So long as my engines are bigger than the rest of the boys, I still feel properly manly in the morning." She listens to Darius, arms crossed along her chest. Really listening, turning it over in her head. "I've always taken a more practical view. Ships are what the people aboard make them. The rest is just parts, wiring, mechanics. I worked on ships that'd been through some pretty bad times at the Refit Yards, during my time on Scorpia. Some of them went on to have damn fine legacies once they got proper crews aboard." Though she doesn't leave it at that. "My dad, though…He used to say the bulkheads had memories. That you could tell the kind of people who'd crewed a vessel, what they'd done with her, just by walking through her corridors."

"Practical view. Spoken like a fine engineer, Major." Darius continues typing away at his console, starting to work out the chance of catastrophic failure during the repair plan, naturally. The man's a born pessimist: Must be an engineer. "Me, I don't want to set a gods-damned foot on a vessel that saw a massacre. Nebula's only a little one, but it's enough. I don't understand it, but I'm completely with your father. You can just tell… even if the ship is empty. THe walls just soak this shit up. I swear it does."

"I suppose my father would've known. He worked on a lot of ships that'd seen some bad times. He was a mechanic for a shipping company on Sagittaron. The city I grew up in, Aera Cura, wasn't a spectacular port-of-call. Got lots of medium-sized freight that could move through their cheaper than it'd cost in the bigger yards. Made it quite the haven for smugglers." Rhea smirks. "Dad didn't ask too many questions. It was honest work, or as near as one could get in that gods-damned city, and it kept us fed. But he used to swear he could see it. Soaked into the walls. The sins of what the crew had done. Memories walking the corridors like ghosts."

"You get it on dry land, too. Some parts of a city feel wrong. But they're not confined spaces." Darius shrugs, sipping his coffee and glancing up at you, "I don't understand it and it may be all in my head, but really. You just know. And even if not, there's the reminder that ship represents. We took on a lot of wounded, frakked up people. Now every time they look out a window and see that ship, they're going to get a little morale present."

"Maybe," Rhea says. "Maybe they'll see it working again, storing their food, carrying their families, put to work for the good of the Fleet. I've seen better done with worse." She sighs. "I suppose part of me wants to make up for what that Marine did. Anyhow. As you said, I'm a practical sort. Can't afford to throw anything away just now."

"You're practical and I'm what they like to call a pessimist… except pessimists never say that. We're actually called -realists-." Darius' tone is slightly good natured. He's ribbing himself at this point, "Probably we'll get a mixture of both. Makes me glad Gars isn't actually getting a bullet between the eyes. Means he can't haunt the thing." Who knew the senior chief was this superstitious

Rhea gets a chuckle out of that. "Nothing wrong with keeping the worst case scenario in mind. Keeps you on your toes, knowing the various sorts of fiery death that could await you." No shortage of opportunities for fiery death in Engineering. Damage control suits are hanging within easy reach for a reason. "You a spiritual man, Sagona?" The fact surprises her a little.

"I'd sooner die without ignorance than…" You know? For a moment, that almost might have been a little deep, but Darius just lets it go, "Well, it doesn't matter. Just need to keep those canners off of our assets long enough for the big brass to do whatever the hell they seem to want to do." He listens to you and responds, sounding genuinely surprised, himself, "There are no athiests in foxholes, Major. Of course I am. I'd hate to face the galaxy and not be. Are you?"

"I'm an agnostic, Sagona. And I've done okay in my various foxhole so far," Rhea replies. "I've never had much use for the scriptures. The gods…I don't know. Energy can neither be created or destroyed. That's simple physics. There has to be some kind of larger force behind the universe. But I'm not arrogant enough to claim I know what it is. Or naive enough to think anyone else has it figured out." She shrugs. "I've just never found much comfort it in. A flaw in my upbringing." She says it wryly, and seems ready to leave it at that. But she does add, "You know much about the religious sects on Sagittaron?"

Listening to you explain your views on the universe, Darius is quiet and respectful, even if the expression on the man's perpetually bitter face implies he doesn't precisely agree with you. "You've never really felt the hand of the gods pressed firmly on your backside, have you?" The question is posed more as an observation than a genuine query, to judge by the tone. "Life… creation. It's more than physics, and what started what chain of events that got us here. I don't really believe that any more than I believe we're the sum of our parts. And I know… a bit, I suppose. Why?"

"'Gods pressed firmly on my backside?' Apollo's never spoken to me personally, if that's what you mean. If you're getting at life, death, awesome power I can't begin to understand?" Rhea shrugs. "Yes. A few times spring to mind. But I've never put them on the gods." As for the last, she pauses a moment before answering. Sighing. Not looking at Darius. Eyes far away. "Some of its exaggerated. A lot of people don't believe the crap they teach in the temples there. The evils of modern medicine, distrust of science, ass-backward interpretation of anything any gods might've meant. But some do. That idiotic fundamentalism does exist, and my mother bought into all of it." She says it starkly and leaves it vague. Trying to keep her tone sharp and neutral. She rarely talks about her past, let alone anything like this. "I know all temples aren't like that, Sagona. I know there are plenty of people who find solace, hope, very positive things in religion. I'm not one of them. I grew up in a place where it was a tool to keep the people ignorant, so the corrupt could stay in power and the poor would just continue to be sheep. So. I don't go to temple. Just brings up bad ghosts."

"I'm talking about…" Darius stops to consider his words more carefully than he's done in the past, if the look on his face is any indication, "It's hard to explain, I guess. But it's a… a feeling. And I don't mean a placebo effect. But a genuine experience that we are simply not alone and the Gods are really up there… making things happen." He shrugs, "I don't claim to understand it. I'm not very big on scripture, to be honest. But yes, I'm spiritual and… well, that's just unfortunate, what you're saying." With a sigh, the man turns his console off and regards you again, "Human beings are flawed, crude, power hungry little shits. Not unlike the distributer network on deck five, might I add." The scowl returns over that one, "But you know the drill. It's not at all like that."

"I know the drill. I just don't get anything out of it. I believe what I believe, Sagona, and it's as valid as what any chaplain thinks about the universe. I don't knock anybody for their spiritual beliefs. All I ask is the same courtesy." Rhea leaves it at that. "Anyhow. I've got papers I need to get to, before my desk collapses under the weight of them." She cracks a faint smile. "Watch out for those distributor networks."

"Oh, I'd never knock you for it, Major." Darius shakes his head, "If you thought that's what I was doing, I really do apologize. It's just that I wish I could explain what it was that I've felt, and I can't. It's frustrating. Anyway, you handle those papers. I'll be over here, laughing at your sorry ass while I get some -actual- work done." He smiles darkly, reactivating his terminal.

"Brass is a bitch," Rhea says with a parting chuckle, though it's more forced than usual. Her head still half in the past. She strides back to her desk, to dig through memos.

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