Nora prays. Calliope drifts. They talk about this and that in the chapel.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1439
Nora prefers the chapel at night, when the long lapse between services leaves it empty and quiet. It's even moreso when in orbit, when more of the crew keeps to normal hours and night feels like night instead of all running together as the hours do in space. She's knelt in one of the front pews, forearms resting on the row ahead, a delicate golden chain dangling from clapsed hands. She's leaned forward over them, head bowed, lips moving in silent prayer. After a moment she seems to finish, head lifting, but she remains kneeling, and still.
Calliope is an infrequent visitor to the chapel. But sometimes the quiet draws her. This is one of those times. She strides in, a pair of headphones in her ears, fingers toying with a little music player in her palm. She's not particularly loud, but her footsteps are probably audible.
Nora startles at the sound, head snapping automatically round at even that slight disruption of the chapel's peace. The ramrod tension in her posture eases again as she recognizes Calliope, and she lifts a hand in greeting. She hasn't bothered to turn the lights on, leaving them at the dim auot-setting so that the room is instead lit mostly by the light of the votive offerings burning around the altar. In the flickering of dozens of candles, the chain in her hand glints, and the tattoo that twines from bicep to neck seems almost to shift and move on its own as she pulls the necklace back over her head and tucks it under her tanks. "Soundbite. I've never seen you here before."
It takes Calliope a beat longer to notice Nora, even with the startling. Her brain is filled with whatever's filtering through those earbuds. As she's finding her way to a pew, though, she realizes she's not alone. She sits, the buds are popped out, and she offers Nora a slight smile. "Shirts. Hi. Sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt..." She trails off, unable to put a finger on exactly what she might've been interrupting. Shrug. "Yeah. I. Umm. Don't get to services a ton." She sounds a little embarrassed about it. "I like to sit in here sometimes, though. It's a nice place to think."
"Sorry, I didn't spot the earbuds," Nora says, sliding back to sit in the pew instead of kneeling in front of it. "I go to services on occasion, but I prefer it on my own. No offense meant to the chaplain, of course. The services are just very... general?" She shrugs. "Don't let me interrupt your thinking, though."
"I was never, like, big on the gods," Calliope admits. In an undertone. Like maybe They might hear her and scold her. If they exist. "It just wasn't a big deal for either of my parents. Some of the stories and ceremonies are pretty, but they still don't...I don't know." Another shrug. "That's probably, like, kind of a terrible thing to say in chapel. I do really like Chaplin Aldrich, though, and just sitting here sometimes helps me get my head on straight."
"I've never really spoken with him," Nora says, "But he seems very well liked." She's quiet for a moment, a thoughtful hesitation before she offers, "The gods were just an automatic part of life, where I grew up. It never really occurred to me that faith might be a choice until I left for school. And was suddenly surrounded by people like you, who'd grown up in big cities and thought belief was...quaint."
Calliope looks a touch abashed at the word 'quaint.' "I was never, like, one of those hardcore anti-religion people or anything. At least, only when those Gemenese whackos came to my door with those pamphlets and speeches about how I was going to burn for my evil Caprican ways." She laughs soft. "But other than that I just...didn't give it much thought. Maybe you have to be raised on it, for it to really hit with you." She sounds almost sad. "Where're you from? I remember you mentioning Leonis, but just fighting. Not, like, living before everything exploded."
"Possible," Nora allows, "I think it gets you differently if you learn it young. But it's not impossible to come to it late. Especially in times like these. Plenty of people find the gods when they realize they've need of them after all." She props her feet up on the spine of the pew in front of her, boot soles jammed against the wood, and links her hands around a knee. "I'm from Virgon," she replies, "But not the parts you see in movies. A small town a day or so north of Boskirk. Nothing but miners and fishermen and priests." She smiles, close-lipped, and says, "Leonis was just supposed to be a holiday."
Calliope makes an "Mmm" sound that could mean any number of things. Blue eyes going to the candles, then back to Nora. "I never got that far outside of Boskirk when I was flying tours to Virgon. I liked the time I spent on the planet, though. Things felt...older there than they did on Caprica. Cap City, especially, in those last years when all that new Cylon money was coming in and it seemed like nothing on some city blocks hadn't been torn down and rebuilt with more chrome."
"No reason to," Nora says with a shrug, "Nothing for tourists to see out that far." She nods as Calliope goes on. "It does feel older than most places. I was surprised by Delphi, I always imagined everything in Caprica being shiny new like that."
"Delphi wasn't as over-rebuilt as Caprica City. The city fought harder to preserve the older museums and temples around the university, and so the stuff around it didn't get bought up as fast. I went to college there. It was bizarre being back like we were. At least we got to do some good for it." Calliope runs her fingers through her stringy blonde hair, pushing it out of her eyes.
"That must have been strange. To be back like that." Nora rubs a thumb across her knuckles, idly worrying the pad of it back and forth in the grooves between fingers. "I haven't been home. A base near Boskirk for a couple weeks until I was cleared to return to training. It was strange enough seeing the city at war. I can't imagine...."
"Yeah. It was a mind-frak," Calliope admits. "Especially walking the quarters I lived in during university. Some of the buildings on those streets were just...gone, after the Cylons were done with the city. It wasn't all bad, though. I got to see my mom, and some of my old friends. I'm glad we were there. Made leaving harder but..." More shrugging. There's a beat of silence, and then she veers off the topic of Caprica. "Sagittaron is a long way from anywhere I called home. The tours I flew as a civilian pilot didn't even really fly out there. I stopped to for fuel a couple of times, during longer runs, but they started warning us away from the tylium stations in this sector a couple years back. Said it was too dangerous." She lets out a soft "Heh." "Everywhere's dangerous now."
Nora makes a quiet noise, somewhere between a snort and a scoff. And then flushes faintly on realizing she actually made the sound aloud. "Sorry, I don't mean to be rude. And you're not wrong, everywhere is dangerous now, but we're safer than most, in some ways. We know right now we can sit here and have this conversation and have almost no fear that a Cylon will suddenly walk through the doors. We do dangerous things, but when they're done, we're done. And then we get to eat cake. It could be much worse."
The scoff gets a side look from Calliope. "I mean..." But she just shrugs and doesn't elaborate on what she means. "Right. We aren't on the ground full time. Not now, at least. Things were different on Canceron for awhile...and parts of Picon. I keep wondering if we'll get sent back there. It didn't feel like we really finished the job. Not that we have a lot of control over that. Things went well on the last flight out over the canyons, at least."
"It seems like finishing jobs isn't what they have in mind for us," Nora agrees, once again not pressing the point as Callope steers the subject off in a slightly different direction. "I suppose I understand the strategy, but it's still frustrating. It's always been that way? On past missions too?"
"Depends. We're stationed where we're needed and we're needed...the war's not just in one place, it's everywhere. The Cylons are everywhere. I wish we could've liberated Picon but...I mean, the way the Cylons were dug in, that might take years. The idea of this unit is that it's supposed to hit hard and fast." Calliope shrugs. "It's frustrating to leave places where there'll still toasters, but...I don't know. Maybe even ships like the Galactica can't push them back all the way. Maybe they can just do a little bit. So we do our little bit, too."
"I understand our role," Nora replies, "It makes sense. It will take a much larger force and longer time than we have to clear the enemy out of an entire planet, let alone twelve. And it might raise concerns about this being a truly Colonial force if we chose just one planet to stay on and see liberated first."
"Yeah," Calliope says softly. "And I get it. It does feel kind of wrong to leave a place like Picon that's still occupied in places, but there are still people fighting for it. We'll make it back there someday, and what we're doing here's important, too. There's just...so much..." Her eyes go to the candles again, and she's quiet for a moment. Then, she exhales. "Maybe I'll hit the gym for awhile. Before I try to make it back to my rack. I hope you find what you were praying for. Whatever it was."
Nora touches her forehead, sketching the general idea of a salute as Calliope makes to leave. "I hope you escape what you're running from. At least long enough to sleep." As for herself, she seems to be planning to stay a little longer.
"I'll do my best," Calliope says with another of those quick, flickering smiles. She offers Nora a two-fingered salute in return. And then, off she goes.