Everything you know is wrong Black is white, up is down and short is long. And everything you thought was just so important doesn't matter.
Location: Hangar Deck - Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1076
If ever there were a busier place in the cosmos than the Hangar Deck aboard the Vanguard, one certainly would not be able to stand it for long. As it is the shrill beeping of vehicles towing spacecraft about the place, along with the clattering of tools and shouted conversation over the din, takes a certain kind of person to get used to. One such person is the aged and 'venerable' Captain Johannes Whyck, a gentleman with quite some years behind him when it comes to coping with cacophonous places.
The old pilot does not seem to be one to rest on his laurels, however, apparently contenting himself in this early afternoon's shift by washing a large Raptor spacecraft with a strong, wet cloth. All manual labour, no power hoses or robotic assistants here.
The Timber Wolves' assigned Chaplain has been away from the Vanguard for a couple of days, presumably doing some sort of chaplain-y duties down on Scorpia. (Or maybe he was just sneaking away to party, you can never tell with these religious types, can you?) As he climbs down from the ship that transported him back to the Vanguard, he's looking a little rough around the edges, as though he hasn't been sleeping too well. He trudges across the Hangar Deck paying less attention than he should, which is really not a great idea, as demonstrated by what happens next: As he's passing by Johannes's Raptor, he fails to notice some water pooled on the ground. Feet slip, and Aldrich goes down with a startled little noise. Whoops.
There's a pause in the old pilot's studious, almost Zen-like motions of washing the Raptor. He turns slightly, peering down at the puddle-Chaplain and with a small sigh deposits the cloth into the bucket of soapy water beside him. The long-legged Leonese pilot strides over to the fallen man-of-Gods and, with the air of someone that has already had enough of his day, picks up the clearly visible 'wet floor' sign and places it on Aldrich's chest. Making some point, one would assume.
There is a long moment of silence as he peers down at Aldrich before flicking the sign aside and offering his hand, "The measure of a man," he says with a slight arch of his eyebrow, "Is not whether or not he falls, but how he deals with having fallen. So. What have you learned?"
Aldrich stares at the ceiling for a moment, blinking rapidly as the brain meats grind into motion to process what happened. Just enough time for the nearby pilot to engage in some physical comedy, which at least draws a weak smile from the chaplain. He accepts the hand in climbing to his feet, and brushes himself off. "Well, I've learned that I'm very good at making a fool of myself," he chuckles. "But that's nothing new. Sorry about that..." He takes a second look at the pilot, and then goes on, "I don't think we've met, have we?"
"Better to make a fool of yourself than have others do it for you," Johannes says with a light shrug of his shoulders, "You've nothing to apologise for. It wasn't my puddle." There's a flicker of a grin gracing his lips for but a moment before it is gone forever. Once his hand is released, and the Chaplain properly stowed in an upright position, the pilot retracts it and shifts to put both hands to the small of his back, "Johannes Whyck," he responds with another nearly imperceptible shrug of his lean shoulders, "I just arrived this morning, making myself useful."
Aldrich chuckles a little. "I should be set for all time, in that case," he comments, as he finishes straightening himself out. "Oh, well, it's nice to meet you, in that case. And welcome to the Vanguard. I'm Aldrich Kavanagh, the Timber Wolves' chaplain. Do you have any particular needs that would fall under my jurisdiction?"
"The pleasure is mine," the Leonid says with absolutely no emotional indication that this is, in fact, true. He glances up and down the Chaplain's form with little in the way of obfuscation and arches his eyebrow once more, "Would that be your priestly jurisdiction, or would that be your jurisdiction regarding puddle maintenance?" He offers an infinitesimally small smile to this comment before presenting yet another tiny shrug, "I typically have no use for either, I am afraid. I respect your desire for beliefs, and I do hope that you respect my lack of such a desire."
Aldrich gives a smile that is entirely unaffected by the pilot's rejection. In fact, it's almost as though he expected that sort of response. "We each have our own path," he replies. "If there's one thing that I know for certain, it's that there is no one right way. You should know that all are welcome in the chapel, regardless of how you believe, or even if you don't believe at all. Many members of the crew find it a peaceful place to sit and think."
"Most of your compatriots," Johannes says as he half-turns back to return to his cleaning, "Have expressed reactions from disgust to evangelism." He pauses and gestures to a second cloth in the bucket, "Start on the nose. Circular motions from the tip up the cone." He slaps the cloth on the side of the Raptor as he continues to speak, "You're the first of your profession to treat educated... reticience differently to abject ignorance." He nods, apparently approving, "That does you far more credit than you probably know, Mister Kavanagh."
Aldrich raises an eyebrow with some amusement as Johannes put him to work, but he doesn't voice an objection. He fetches the second cloth and walks over to the nose as instructed. "You seem a well-educated man. But even if you were the most ignorant man in all the colonies," he comments, gently, "You would still be deserving of respect." He goes to work, cleaning in circular motions as Johannes requested. "And you can call me Aldrich, if you like."
"My mother would disagree," Johannes says with a shrug, tugging up his sleeves with his damp hands as he returns to work, "But then one doesn't spend one's life raising fifteen children to have them turn out stupid, mm?" He sighs gently as he scrubs the cloth over the Raptor's hull, seemingly unimpressed with his own efforts as he goes over the same spot a handful of times before moving on, "Every person deserves a modicum of respect, I suppose. But I prefer to keep my sentiments for those that have actually done something with their lives. Be they a farmer or a politician... more so the farmer, obviously. Sitting on one's backside waiting for others do to the work for you... makes you less deserving of attention."
Aldrich chuckles faintly. "So would mine, if I'm honest. But we don't always follow the paths of our parents." He keeps scrubbing away, his eyes on the task and only occasionally glancing up to look at his conversation partner. "I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, if you're doing no harm. My job... Well, the way I see it, I'm here to help people. To offer some comfort, if needed, so that all of /you/ can better focus on your jobs, and perhaps be a bit less miserable. I can't do that if I can't find something to respect in each person, if not love."
"Thankfully we do not," Johannes says with a small frown, "Otherwise I would be hosting some kind of gala evening with small cakes and small minds, probably wearing some kind of hat." He wrinkles his nose in evident disgust at the idea of his mother's life and shakes his head gently to dismiss the thoughts. "My point, though, is that while everyone is worth civility not everyone is worth admiration." He pauses to look over the nose of the Raptor to see how the younger Chaplain is getting on, "Everyone here, I believe, has already earned more than a modicum of respect simply by being attached to this unit, so your job is far easier. Not that I desire to assess the worth of every person, simply that I know to whom proper admiration - which is the end result of respect - is owed."
Aldrich lifts a shoulder a little. "I suppose I have a different perspective," he admits, as he goes back to the bucket to rinse out his rag. "I've found that most people have qualities that you can admire, if you get to know them well enough. But I grew up on Gemenon..." He smiles a little, self-depricating as he explains, "If I had not learned how to look for the good in people, I would most likely still be there."
"True," Johannes says with another languid shrug of his aged shoulders, "Though by equal measure almost everyone has some quality about them that is reprehensible, at least to some audiences." His eyebrows raise slightly as he leans into the cloth, trying to shift a particularly stubborn layer of grit on the Raptor's tortured surface, "Do we cherry pick, and only see the qualities we like? Or do we assess the whole person, no matter the outcome of our observations?" He rests an elbow on the cloth as he scratches something from his face, "The good will do the best they can, and the bad will do the worst they can. Which is why I judge people on what they do, rather than what they might possess as far as personality. A tyrant with good intentions is far better than a polite simpleton."
Aldrich cleans in silence for a time, first listening to Johannes's words and then considering them, lost in thought. After awhile, he finally says, "I suppose I feel... Personally, that it's up to the gods to decide who is good and who is bad. I try to guide people to treat each other kindly, if I think they will listen to me, but in the end... It's not my job to decide whether they are good or bad. It's my job to do as much good as /I/ can do." He smiles faintly. "I often fall short of that goal, but we're all only human."
Finally finishing up on this particular panel, Johannes tosses the cloth back into the bucket before making his way around to the nose to see how his companion is getting on, "That ideology falls somewhat flat on occasion, though I can understand the intent." He puts his hands on his hips, though his body language would likely suggest this is simply something he does rather than an action with intent behind it, "If you have to rely on people - and you will always rely on somebody - is it not important to know whether they are motivated by goodness or by evil?" He shrugs lightly and gestures towards the outer hull, "Were our minds filled with good or ill intent when we created the Cylons? Though the result is likely the same, how we as a society can continue and deal with this stain on our collective conscience depends entirely on the intention behind the act."
Aldrich smiles faintly. "I've found that the vast majority of people mean well, even when they do bad things. The person who does evil for evil's sake is rare, and to be honest... I'd rather be kind and find myself the victim of someone who isn't, than potentially harm someone needlessly." He pauses in the work to step back and survey the result, then glances back to Johannnes. "You know, I cared very deeply about things like that as a young man. The rightness of cultural institutions, I mean. But somewhere along the way I realized that the only thing that matters is what I can control, and I can't control the world I live in. Only my own actions."
"Well, perhaps evil is too strong a word," Johannes says with another of his trademark shrugs, "there are many sins that drive men, after all. Greed, a want of power, desire for more mundane pleasures..." He bobs his eyebrows slightly and tilts his head as he continues to gaze, almost unblinking at the chaplain, "Cultural institutions come and go. When I was born, Leonis was the crown of a strong... well, relatively strong, Empire. Now? Mmm. Our actions are what defines us. Intentions drive those actions. Thus intentions are all important." He allows himself a small, transient grin before his eyebrows knit together, "You're still a young man. My philosophy might not fit your needs, right now. But think on it. Our intentions are the truest expressions of who we are. As individuals, as a community. As a species. One man can change the lives of thousands... so it will help you to know what to do when that time comes for you."
Aldrich gives a crooked grin, and points out, "I'm not a man of large ambition. I doubt the time will come for me to change thousands of lives, but if it should come, I will hope that others will have as much compassion for me in that moment as I've had for them." He tosses the rag back into the bucket, and pulls out a handkerchief to dry his hands on. "You're a very interesting man, Mister Whyck. I do hope you will visit the chapel now and then, even if it's just to talk philosophy."
"I might just do that," Johannes says with a small nod of his head. He steps forward slightly to toe the bucket under the nose of the Raptor, "Assuming you can make it back there without falling in any more puddles, of course." He grins swiftly and settles his still-damp hands against the small of his back once more, "Your vocation charges you with touching the souls of men, Mister Kavanagh. Changing one life could well change dozens. Don't take yourself so lightly, it's unbecoming of you. Of anyone." He pauses to gaze at the man before him before nodding, sharply this time, "Though I do believe I've taken enough of your time, Mister Kavanagh. Undoubtedly you have other duties to attend... perhaps bathing?"
Aldrich chuckles faintly. "I've found humility to be a valuable cushion against life's little falls," he says, and then adds, "But I /will/ promise to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds this time." He tucks his handkerchief away and snorts faintly at the suggestion to bathe. "Have a nice day." And with that, he starts off the direction he had originally been headed. It seems he's a man of his word, because he manages to stay upright until he's out of sight, at lest.