Charlie visits the Chapel. More discussions regarding the failed recon mission are had.
Location: Chapel, Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1157
Aldrich is still wearing a bandage on his head, which makes his hair stand up a little weirdly. He's probably not supposed to be working, but... Hey, he's taking it easy! Theoretically. Just at the moment, he's in the process of lighting a candle by the statue of Artemis.
The hatch creaks open and reveals... Charlie. A surprisingly un-damaged Charlie, at that. For the most part. There's still a bit of padding beneath the dual-tanks of her off-duties that show she's not been wholly released from medical oversight for the cracked ribs, but she's not bandaged up in some way or another like has started to become usual fare. The woman takes a few steps in to the chapel, nudging the hatch closed behind her to keep the usual noise of the Vanguard's corridors out. Hands go into pockets once she does because... well, no brass around to fuss at her for it here. In theory. Even if she is off-duty and less likely to be given shit for it anyway. The woman moves along the edges of the room towards the statue of Athena; chin down slightly as she mostly stares at her feet as she goes.
Aldrich glances over when the hatch opens, catches sight of Charlie, and then looks back at what he's doing. He finishes with the candle, whispers something under his breath, and then puts out the match where it can't do any harm. That does, he continues his rounds, which /just so happens/ to bring him around Charlie's way. Funny how that works out. "If you need anything, just let me know," he offers, quietly. "There are extra candles, if you need one."
The woman comes to a stop before the figure of Athena, lifting her chin a bit to regard the statue. She glances sidelong to Aldrich when he approaches. At the offer of a candle, her brow furrows. She looks briefly... apologetic. "Wouldn't know what to do with it," the Piconese marine admits quietly. "Never been... good with religion." Charlie looks back to the statue. "Always just said a prayer before a match. Now before a mission. Might be why they give no fraks about me."
Aldrich glances toward the statue. "Candles aren't everyone's way," he offers, gently. "We all have our own way of communing with the gods. Your way is not worse than anyone else's." He tilts his head a little, regarding her thoughtfully, and then finally wonders, "Do you mind if I ask why you think the gods don't give a frak about you?"
"Aren't you supposed to go to... whatever they call it when you speak about the scrolls and Kobol. The lectures." Charlie gestures vaguely towards the front of the chapel as she says it. "And all this other stuff. I just think to pray before big stuff. Or when something bad happens. You know. Selfish." She shoves her hand back in her pocket and looks back up to Athena. The corner of her mouth twitches slightly as she does, eyes sliding sidelong to regard Aldrich. "Lot of people, in this war... They got stories. About... feeling the gods there at some point. If I'm being honest with you? I've flt nothing and a whole lot more... nothing."
Aldrich raises an eyebrow. "Sermons?" He smiles a little and shakes his head. "That is the right path for some people. Others find that a more private path is right for them." He lifts a shoulder and gestures for Charlie to join him on a pew. "I'm going to sit down. I still get a bit woozy now and then," he explains, gesturing toward his head with a self-depricating smirk. "But please, join me." With that, he sits down and settles back a little. At the last bit, he remarks, "Perhaps the gods feel that you're handling things fine without them? Since you haven't indicated otherwise."
"Of course." Charlie's not about to make him stand any longer than he needs. Or should. She follows and sets herself down. When the mention of handling things fine comes, the sniper scoffs aloud. A hand goes to her left arm where the jagged scars from the Cython mar her skin. "Handling it fine? I really doubt that. I think barely keeping it together is more apt." She leans forward, lifting hand from her arm to tug at a few of her braids. She looks sidelong at Aldrich, then. "Why do you go out there with us?"
Aldrich smiles faintly. "The gods don't think in mortal terms. I...sometimes wonder how well they could even understand us. It's hard for them to know you need them if you don't talk to them." He leans back and looks back toward the front of the chapel, giving her question due consideration. "Because I felt the gods were calling me there," he finally answers.
It's hard to keep your hands in your pocket while you sit, but Charlie's no good at sitting still. The woman ends up leaning forward, fussing at a stray thread on the inside steam of her BDUs. She'll have to deal with that before an inspection. Can't have the brass noticing something out of line. "When I was little, my mom took me to a... sermon," she uses the word he'd provided, "and they said... the gods help those who help themselves. So which is it? Never ask for help and let them know you need them or..." She lifts a hand, pushing fingers into the braids and letting out a long breath. Dark eyes shift to the chaplain again. "It's dangerous out there. As... well, shit, you know. You've taken it harder than some of us built for it. Why would the gods want you there?"
"I don't know," Aldrich answers, and it has a ring of truth to it. "I just have faith that in some way, my presence will help someone else. Perhaps someone like you, who's having a difficult time out there. And if its the plan for me to die out there..." He lifts a shoulder, with a crooked smile. "I'm not /thrilled/ about it, but I don't make the plan. I just go where I'm sent and trust they know what they're doing." He takes a deep breath, then glances toward her with a slightly raised eyebrow and a kind smile. "But really, why does it need to be either or?" he wonders. "I find I am most at peace when I give my worries to the lords, and then /also/ focus on doing the best I can, in the hopes they will hear my prayers and guide my actions."
"You shouldn't want to die," Charlie offers, quietly. "I mean, it's a marine thing to be at peace with the idea of it, but we... do what we do so the rest of you don't have to face it." She continues fussing with that stray thread. There's a look over at him, brow furrowed a bit. "How can you give your worries to the lords? That..." The woman shakes her head, braids sliding against her shoulders and the scars there. "That doesn't even make sense. That's... I mean, to me, that's about the same as saying you're giving your worries to the mashed potatoes in the mess."
Aldrich looks back toward Charlie, startled. "I don't /want/ to die," he insists, looking puzzled that she would even say such a thing. "But everyone dies, whether they want to or not. When and where is in the hands of the lords." The next question seems hard to answer. "Faith has to come first," he replies, gently. "To me... Well, when I light a candle at Athena's statue," he gestures to the statue in question, "And when I say a prayer, I'm not doing it for the statue. It's like... writing a letter to an old friend. They can't talk back, but you put the letter in the mail, and you know that they are going to receive it."
"Sorry," Charlie says, holding hands up in appeasement. "It just sounded sort of... fatalist." She drops her hands to her knees, leaning back against the pew. "Hmph." There's a look to Athena. "Not like, a plea for her wisdom or any of that? Because I sure could use some." She digs her heel at the carpet. "I don't mind if I get hurt out there. It happens. It'll happen again. But when other people get hurt... and worse, when they could just leave me behind and have been safe? I hate myself for that."
Aldrich looks back toward Charlie, and gives a faint smile. "You can't think of it that way..." he starts, and then gives a chuckle. "Though I know you will anyway. Lords know I do enough of that sort of thinking..." He sighs a pats her on the shoulder. "Let me try it this way. Would /you/ leave behind a team member to save yourself? If you did, how would you feel about yourself, afterwards?"
There's sort of a sigh and a look down at her feet. As much an admission of agreement that he'll get. "It's all hypocritical, isn't it?" Charlie pushes at her knees with the heel of her palms. "We're told to follow orders, but going back for a squad member is sometimes in violation of those members..." She shakes her head slightly. "That's the whole argument for this last mission. I'm angry at them because Ingvar nearly died. If they'd left me, he'd be fine. They should have gone to the exfil- it'd be smart, proper, to have done so. Leave me for the next possible extract. But their comeback is I broke orders... It was a mistake. The transport may have had the coordinates of the camps. Unfortunately, it had a frakkin' bot inside. So they're mad at me for breaking orders... so they broke orders."
Aldrich lifts a shoulder, and points out, "The lords made humans to work in teams. To protect each other. In the grand scheme of things, that is where our greatest strength lies. They're only acting as the lords intended them to." He smiles faintly, and tilts his head. "You know, I keep hearing people talk about this last mission... But nothing I've heard has been productive. I think it would be healthier if everyone would just let it go, be grateful he didn't die, and move on."
"People are angry about the last mission," Charlie points out, lifting a hand to rub at the back of her neck. She wraps her fingers there, elbow winging out a bit. There's a look over to Aldrich, through the braids that dangle. "Arda's angry at herself for frakkin' up as mission leader. People that weren't there are angry that we failed to get intel. People are angry at me for going into the transport. I'm angry at myself." She bites into her lip. "But... if that bot hadn't been in there? Just think how... frak's sake, we'd have gotten the coordinates for everywhere that transport's been. Every last godsdamned-" she pauses, looking apologetically to the altars, then the chaplain himself, "...camp. It would've gotten the intel we needed. But I got caught in the transport with that thing and a patrol came by. They should've let me deal with it and gotten to the exfil. I could've handled it."
Aldrich raises an eyebrow slightly. "I've been talking to Arda," he says, quietly. "I'm not sure angry is the right word." He doesn't seem to be bothered by the language. He just smiles slightly, and offers, "Anger is rarely a very productive emotion. They wouldn't change their actions any more than you would change yours. If you keep chasing your tail over it, you're going to make yourself so dizzy you won't be able to function."
"Got chewed out by a Staff that wasn't even there for going into the transport. For making enemy contact when it was against orders." Charlie closes her eyes, letting out a low breath. "That wasn't the intention. I was going after its computer. Didn't even know there was anything inside... but when I heard movement? Might've been a refugee or-" She scoffs a bit, opening her eyes to look at the ceiling. "Funny, that she'd be like that, when her brother was in a bed just feet away. Freshly rescued and she thinks she can argue on how any other potential escapees should just be left behind? Seems ridiculous."
Aldrich considers that for a second, and then offers, "Well. You're a marine," he offers, gently. "When you decided not to follow orders, weren't you aware you might get a dressing down after? Regardless of whether you made enemy contact... They tend to be sticklers for that whole following orders thing..."
"That's the thing of it... We were sent to gather intel. Going in the transport? Was gathering intel." Charlie shrugs, absently. "Walker thinks Arda should've had us avoid the transport altogether, but then... Walker's not recon. You have to go into dangerous, risky places to get intel." She lifts her hand from her neck, rubbing at her temples. "I could've backed out as soon as I heard movement inside. That's where I made a mistake. Not going into the transport itself. But ..." She exhales slowly, her voice dropping. "I knew that town. Went there once when I was younger."
Aldrich watches Charlie for a moment, but he looks confused. "Hm." After a pause to consider, he offers, "Sometimes the urge to help is stronger than our instincts for self-preservation." A beat, and then he asks, gently, "Have you thought about visiting Dr. Anders to talk about this?"
There's a brief twitch of Charlie's lips. "Oh, I'd say mine definitely is." But she doesn't expand on why. When he mentions Dr. Anders, the woman looks sidelong to Aldrich. "That the... uh, brain doc?" She scoffs, slightly, shaking her head. "I don't talk to people like that."
Aldrich raises an eyebrow slightly. "In my experience, people who 'don't talk to people like that' are the very ones who wind up being forced to when they finally implode," he says, gently, but then pats Charlie on the shoulder. "Anyway, you can always come here and talk to me, whenever you like. Even if my brains are still a bit scrambled right now," he jokes, gently.
"And in my experience, it's a whole lot of being asked 'and how does that make you feel?'" Charlie makes a face. "None of that is helpful. Never has been. Never will be." She gives a slight nod, casting a glance towards Athena. There's a slow breath as she pushes herself to her feet. "They're not so scrambled." Before she pulls away, she asks quietly: "Mind, uh... including me in your... letter to her, asking for some wisdom sometime?"
Aldrich shakes his head a little, raising an eyebrow. "Dr. Anders a bit better than that, from my experience with him. But I won't pressure you," he replies, gently. He climbs to his feet, as well, though he's looking a little tired, now. He smiles, and replies, "Of course I will. And you don't have to come to services if you don't want to. You can still come by and meditate, pray, or just look at the view, anytime you like."
"Uh-huh." Charlie doesn't sound entirely convinced... but perhaps a bit willing to consider, all the same. She gives a small smile; just a quirk of the lips. "Thanks," she offers, finally. Her hands return to her pockets. "Get some rest. Can't have you back out on the ground with us trying to fall asleep." And then it's for the hatch she goes.