2237-01-07 - The Lords Love A Good Smiting

Eli compares and contrasts his need for quiet to the average shipmate's need to make all the noise. Aldrich attempts to help a slowly unraveling Danica.

Date: 2237-01-07

Location: Rec Room & Chapel

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 941

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There's a new face on board, along with the latest influx of people assigned from Leonis, and today that new face has decided to check out the rec room. After he steps inside, he lingers for a moment near the doorway. The noisy dart game gets a glance, but he doesn't venture to head off in that direction. Instead, he heads over to the bookshelves to have a look at the offerings, with a friendly smile for the lonely Eli as he passes nearby.

Eli doesn't really look lonely. He's not sitting there scowling, but if he was a porcupine, the quills would be up. He gives Aldrich a curious look, but doesn't make an overtures. He's friendly like that. Over at the noisy dart game, someone apparently did something impressive because the whole corner erupts in hoots and hollers. Eli visibly winces.

Danica has finished a book. Don't get excited, it's the that awful romance thing about Aerilonian farmboys and Tauran important people that features the overuse of the word 'throbbing' and a plot so thin you can see through it. But even so, the pilot has strolled into the rec room eager to return the just-above-a-doorstop quality in great literature and pick up something new from the lending library. Her eyes fall on Eli first, mouth opening to offer him some kind of greeting before the dart game steals her eyes and her words. "You okay, Doc?," she asks, eyeing the physician a little carefully. Aldrich snags her attention next, grinning at him. "Hey, we meet again. This time in a room that smells like 60% less marine jockstrap. Fancy."

Aldrich glances up and over toward the hooting darts players, but he doesn't seem particularly bothered. He picks up a book at random to flip through, but looks up again at the sound of a familiar voice. Danica is treated to a warm smile, and then a laugh. "I think the noise pollution might make up for the improved smell... But as long as it's happy noises. How are you...?" He glances to 'Doc' to include him in the conversation.

"How's the wrist?" says Eli to Danica without looking up from that same page in his book. "I'm fine. I should know better than to think I'd find..." a cheer erupts from the corner. "...anything resembling peace here." He spares a glance to Aldrich and then says, "You're new." It's a statement, not a question.

"Upgraded," Danica states, showing Eli the soft brace where the cast was. "Just this week. No black market robot hand for me, yet." She grins at Eli before it spreads to Aldrich. The answer as to how she is thrown over for a chance to facilitate introductions. Picking up a random paperback off the shelf, she points at Eli and looks Aldrich. "This is /Cadmus/," Danica informs him with a certain emphasis on the last name, her eyebrows raising a touch. The book then moves on to Aldrich, looking at Eli. "This is Aldrich. He's gonna help you get religion, Doc."

Aldrich raises his eyebrows, apparently catching the significance of the name, though other than the eyebrow twitch, he just gives a mild, polite smile. "I see. Yes, I--" he stops when Danica gives that introduction and laughs. "Correction. I'm here to facilitate whatever religion you might /want/ to...get. Have? Anyway... I'm a chaplain not a missionary." He gives Eli a broader smile, and adds, "But if you want a quiet place to read, you're welcome to visit the chapel. It's usually quite peaceful there."

"Maybe," Danica hedges, looking down at Eli as her eyes try to hawk the title of the book he's reading for a moment. "But I'm not sure the Lord of Science is polyamorous about its adherents making time with other Lords." She smiles at Eli though, looking at Aldrich next. "It usually is, unless you get someone in there that wants to talk to Ares. Then it gets a little loud and crashy sometimes."

Aldrich shakes his head a little, looking rather amused by something. He flips through a page or two of the book in hand, then decides to put it back on the shelf. "Mmm. Well, yes. But I think if you took the average, you'd find that it's generally quieter than, say, here."

The book is one in a very long-running series about a Virgonian spy named Jan Brund. This one seems to involve high speed retro space car chases over an ocean. The title? 'The Leviathan of Picon.' "The Lord of Science isn't jealous. It answers only to fact and reason," says Eli. He too gives up on reading, but he makes a rather pointed motion of bookmarking and closing his book. "I tend to attract noise."

"You've got a steady way about you," Danica shrugs, as if Eli's chronic noise attracting condition is explainable in these terms. "It's a dog whistle for chaos, it just wants to be near you." Her eyes flicker to the book in Eli's hands once more before she replaces the book in her hands and pulls another off the shelf. "It's never quiet in here," Danica confirms to Aldrich, curious now for the titles he's after it seems, too. "We're a bunch of idiots sealed in a can hurdling through space. At some point, they better let us off this ship for more than toaster murder or noise is going to be the least of the issues."

Aldrich doesn't seem to have any particular taste in what he picks up. The first was a random work of fiction, and the next is a biography that appears rather neglected with its clean and uncreased cover. "Yes, there is certainly a potential for all sorts of problems, isn't there?" He flips open the book, but seems less interested in that than the conversation. "What do you suppose would be most beneficial, in terms of improving morale? Aside from more quiet spaces..."

"Are you saying I am the white shirt and you all are ketchup?" asks Eli, brow raising. "Honestly, sensory deprivation tanks couldn't hurt. I can't request it under my budget, but I'm sure someone somewhere uses those things to help meditate and connect to the gods." He stands up and picks up his book. "I have to get ready to go on duty." He offers them both a salute that is clearly not a real salute, and rocks back.

"...I was gonna go with the night manager at a StopN'Shop and everyone's trying to steal the cheap malt liquor that you shouldn't even waste a bag on but sure, that works, too." Danica shrugs at Eli before she looks at Aldrich again. "I don't know, maybe some kind of live entertainment? Or maybe a Dance? Sometimes, people just need good 'ol violence to get all tuckered out." Danica's hands pull another low rent romance novel off the shelf, the plot barely worth its occupation on the page. "See ya, Cadmus." The book sort of gestured with in his direction.

Aldrich chuckles a little, and glances down at the book, then up again. "I think perhaps the violence is already provided for..." He looks to Eli and offers a little smile. "I don't know about sensory deprivation tanks... But I can certainly... look into it? Try to make an argument for it? Anyway, it was nice to meet you..."

"Yeah, but its all common enemy violence," Danica says, once Eli's left. Her attention turning to the Chaplain. "Sometimes there's no amount of visiting the Chapel that will replace wanting to knock out the dude two bunks down that snores like a train is coming through the berthings. That's kind of my point though, yeah? It's the close quarters that gets people a different kind of wound up." Her hands gesture to an empty table away from the knot of dart players, one hand gesturing in offer of that direction. "But I'm guessing violence isn't really your deal, being a chaplain and all."

Aldrich smiles a little. "Me? I think you'd have to be terribly disingenuous to argue that violence isn't a part of human nature. But I suppose, like any other impulse, it's just a matter of how you channel it." He glances toward the dart players, and then sets aside his own book. "So, I understand you had something you wanted to talk about. Would you like to retire someplace more private...?"

Danica glances once more at the dart players before she focuses on Aldrich. She nods slowly. "...yeah, if that's okay?," she asks carefully. "I was thinking the chapel, maybe, since its about ... stuff in that area?" Her response somewhat vague about the subject matter as she tucks her new book under her arm. "...seems, kinda... fitting, or whatever, I guess?"

Aldrich chuckles a little, but it has a kindness to it. "If that's where you feel comfortable, that's where we'll go," he offers, and gestures toward the exit. "And it's probably the easiest place to go if you want to have a private conversation."

Danica chuckles a little. "We'd have to put on halo suits and tie ourselves to the outside of the ship to have a truly private conversation...," she replies, following him out. "But yeah, most people have the sense to not gossip about what they overhear in there. Also, there's no TV in there so most people stay out of the chapel unless they want to talk to a Lord."

Aldrich leads the way into the chapel, which is indeed quiet and peaceful at the moment. There doesn't happen to be a service going on at the moment, so the place is fairly abandoned. Aldrich gestures Danica over toward the front, and adds, "We can sit here, if you like. Or however you like."

"Sure," Danica says agreeably, sliding herself into the first row up at the front and waiting for Aldrich to take his own seat of preference. They pass the altar dedicated to Aphrodite on their way, Danica's head turned to observe it for a moment. The altar has a few trinkets on it from various places, including pictures and half smoldered before it burned out on its own incense cone. "So, yeah, how much do you know about Aphrodite?," she begins, just launching into it without much preamble.

Aldrich settles into the pew, at a distance close enough for comfortable conversation without being too 'friendly', and turns slightly to give his attention to Danica. "I know the basics, but there are regional variations, of course..."

Danica nods slowly. "The Pican interpretation is big on the sea elements," she states in confirming agreement. "Shocking, I know. It's like we have to lean hard into every stereotype, but there you go. Shells. Pearls. That stuff." Her eyes shift to the altar a moment before she looks at him. "I know... it's... the Gemenese way to start in on belief early. So, maybe its easier then when you've always just believed something?," her question of him, thoughtful and uncertain. "My mom was always kind of into her, but in a sort of major holidays way. Otherwise, our house was pretty religion free. My dad, before he left anyway, was kind of agnostic. Like, not really wanting to fully on deny the Lords if he was wrong but not about to go so far as to agree that they existed in exact."

Aldrich nods at the appropriate points, listening attentively. "I'm not sure there is any such thing as easy or hard. There are just different paths," he offers, quietly. "So you feel like you are more religious than your parents were? Or that you might want to be?"

"...want to be, I guess," Danica responds, her response kind of listless. "I guess, I wanted something to make sense around the time my brother died. I guess I just needed...," she trails off, her mouth shifting around as actively knits at her own thoughts. "...that it wasn't all random, I guess? That being on the wrong ship in the wrong sky means you have to die, now." She smiles weakly at Aldrich for a moment. "And to a point, I guess I'm getting my wish... that it isn't all random and maybe that is proof that the Lords aren't indifferent assholes more interested in torturing each other than helping us."

Aldrich nods a little, though his brow furrows with sympathy when she mentions the death of her brother. "I think... everyone handles grief in a slightly different way," he says slowly, "But many people do derive great comfort from turning to the gods."

"Yeah," she agrees with a continuing nod. "What if though my problem isn't grief, but instead guilt?," she looks at him, pointedly. "Aphrodite is strangely silent on this one, as I don't think she does anything with guilt in mind...," she grins at him briefly. "Seeing as she's banged half the Lords." A pause. "I mean, very serious and holy banging."

Aldrich nods a little and glances down, thoughtfully. "I see what you mean..." He chuckles a little, quietly amused by the joke, before subsiding into a quieter reflection. "She isn't often associated with feelings of guilt, no." He looks up toward Danica, curiously. "Why do you suppose that is?"
"Because it's her deal?," Danica says simply. "I mean, not all the sex. I think that's just maybe an expression of one kind of love with her. She just loves, y'know. She finds that good thing in each of them and decides...," Danica index finger pokes at something symbolic and unseen in the air for a moment. "That's the thing I love about that person, so I'm going to just focus on that. Y'know? She doesn't worry about... if her love's good enough."

Aldrich nods a little. "I really like that," he comments, with a little half-grin. "'She doesn't worry if her love's good enough.' It's quite beautiful... So you feel guilty yourself?" he wonders. "After your brother's death? Or something else?"

"Yeah," she nods slowly, grinning a little despite the question. "Yeah, I mean. The last time I talked my brother was right before he got on the ship. We were arguing about if it was worth his going to Libran, at all. I told him that it wasn't and that me and our other brother would feel better about his not going until there was some kind of cease fire or something in place. He pretty much disagreed and said it was fraked that we wouldn't even consider going to Libran." The grin fades off her lips. "So that's a big piece of it. But, also, y'know, just... I say shit all the time that gets me in deep trouble. I just see red and then horrible stuff just comes out. And..," she squirms, visibly, twisting a little in her seat. Her voice catching a small amount.

Aldrich nods a little, "So you didn't want him to go, but he went anyway, and that's the ship he was on when he was killed?" he paraphrases, then quiets to hear the rest of it. A deep, kind concern darkens his expression, and he offers, gently, "Anger, frustration, and so on... These are all normal human reactions to stress. It's not bad to hold yourself to a higher standard, but you shouldn't think less of yourself for being... Well, less than a god. We aren't gods, and I don't think the gods expect us to be."

"Thank the gods, or we'd have some seriously fraked up holidays," Danica's momentary wobble on the line of real emotion rescues itself by diverting into the shelter of her weak joke. "Yeah, I mean, aside of all that stress... which I'm fine," she adds, with a small gesture of her hand, in case the Gods of Psych Evals have a secret altar in this chapel space. "Just, I'm just wrestling with the usual self-absorbed shit, y'know? Like am I lovable? And why the frak would anyone look at me, all the stuff I've done to other people, and go 'yeah, sure, that one'?"

Aldrich nods a little, and interjects to add, "It's okay if you're not. It won't go beyond this room." He smiles a little, and raises an eyebrow skeptically. "So do you think Aphrodite teaches us to love everyone except Danica Reznik?"

"I mean, we can't all achieve the level of exception that I have....," she wobbles out a shrug that's probably trying to be funny but probably isn't. Danica slumps a little, slouching in her chair a little more. "I mean, it's more... I go back and forth between trying to decide if I'm being taught some abstract lesson in my past behavior? I mean, the Lords are pretty vengeful... they love a good smoting by working example." Her face tilts at him, slightly as her eyebrow raises.

Aldrich shakes his head a little. "Some people believe that," he agrees, cautiously. "And you know, I don't know you that well. But I've met a great many people in my life... And the person I see sitting in front of me is not a horrible person, deserving of smiting. She's... in pain, perhaps. And for very good reason. But just as deserving of love and kindness as any other person on this ship."

"...what do you do when you feel this way?," Danica asks, looking at the chaplain with something like expectation. "You're probably mortal. Probably. Pretty sure." Her fingers tug on the sleeve of his duty greens with a sort of academic interest. "Yep, not a highly animated mirage."

Aldrich laughs a little and looks toward the ceiling. "Me? You know, it really depends on the day. The Gemenese are very good at teaching their children to have an overdeveloped sense of guilt..." He hesitates a moment, giving the question its due consideration, and then he finally answers, "I try to work through it logically. Have I truly harmed anyone? If so, is there some way that I can atone? If I can't atone, can I act to ensure I don't do it again? If I /haven't/ hurt someone, then where does the feeling come from? Can I do anything to address the true source of the feeling? That sort of thing... Sometimes I find it helpful to write my thoughts down. But ultimately, it does no one any good to wallow in guilt. All you can do is either act on it or let it go."

"Like a Book of Days?," Danica asks, apparently familiar with them if only in form but not necessarily function. She shrugs a bit listlessly. "I'm not totally sure what the Gemenese write in those but it seems.... like something more than a 'Dear Diary' thing." She grins a little at him again before it fades. "I guess... I think it's more? I didn't know how good I had it until it all started spinning out of control. And maybe that's true for most people but-" She pauses, her expression darkening. "It's good that we can't see the future, y'know? If we could, I think a lot of us would never get out of bed again."

Aldrich grins a little. "Something like that," he replies. "But that's a very... personal matter." His grin fades as she continues, and after a hesitation, he puts a hand on her arm. "Things are very... difficult, right now. More for some than others. But I think it's important to remember that... Well, the people and things we love aren't any less important just because they have an ending. /Everything/ ends, sooner or later, both good and bad... Our job is to figure out how to be happy that they happened at all. And then to seek out and appreciate the things that are beautiful right now, before they're gone."

Danica nods slowly, something pulling at her expression like she wants to protest at points but she manages to sit on her protestations and just listen. Her body shifts, in something like a listless fidget but Aldrich gets a light grin for his effort at comforting her arm. "You're pretty smart for a Chaplain," she advises him, with a slightly cheeky appreciation. "It's like you know things and then take those things and make sense and reason with them."

Aldrich takes his hand back, and gives a brilliant laugh at her comment. "Well. I will take that as the highest of compliments," he answers. "Though I realize that sometimes feelings are... less than reasonable."

"Yeah, well, I have a strategy for that," she looks at him, his laugh earning a slightly more crooked grin out of her. "In event of feelings, I pour booze on them until they stop moving. It hasn't failed me, yet." There's a beat and Danica nudges the Chaplain slightly, her expression fading into something warmer and less bidding for a laugh. "Thanks, you're a peach for sitting here and listening to me whine it out."

Aldrich gives a little smile at that, and glosses over the drinking comment. "That's what they sent me here to do... I think everyone on this ship has earned however much whining they want to do. And you should always feel free to come back, anytime you like."


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