2237-10-13 - Delphi Distraction

Given a 48-hour pass by the brass and permission to bring company... Astraea carries through on a promise made to Alain and takes him to visit Delphi.

Date: 2237-10-13

Location: Delphi, Caprica

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 1482

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It's one way of helping those who were traumatized. Give them 48 hours to get away from the warfront. It's not much in the face of PTSD, but it's better than nothing. Certainly better than stalking the corridors of the ship and avoiding talking to the shrink... which is what Astraea has been doing. Being able to invite someone along just makes it all the better. It's accountability (to make sure the individual doesn't go AWOL) and companionship for people who probably shouldn't be alone at the moment.

So of course Nova asked Jigger. And Delphi was her first suggestion. Maybe the brass intended for them to visit home, but she hasn't been 'home' in years and she's not about to start now. Especially not now. So visiting one of the spiritual centers of humanity, war torn as it is, seemed a good option. It was somewhere she'd told the Viper pilot she'd make sure he got to visit and a suitable distraction for her. The Raptor that brought them in has just taken off, leaving the pair with their bag(s) outside the spaceport. Delphi isn't destroyed, nor are the more notable locations. It is, however, damaged. There's clear signs of the occupation. Some buildings lie in rubble, some are merely damaged. There's a lot o work being done towards repairs and the people, well, they're just doing their best to get back to life as it was.

In jeans, a black tee, and the duty greens uniform jacket, Nova is mostly in civies. She's at least largely comfortable. There's still bandaging on her right hand, but she's had a bit more use of it and even now fusses with the strap of her bag. "I figured we'd... find a place near th' 'port to stay for th' night, drop off our things, then venture out?"

Whatever reservations Alain might have about leaving the Wolves in the midst of an ongoing operation, he's certainly not about to turn down an opportunity that might not come again for some time -- not to mention helping out Astraea. While he's initially surprised by the suggestion (and mentions her home), he knows enough about her situation that he doesn't press for long.

When they arrive, he's still wearing his off-duty uniform, habit while traveling as much as anything, pressed neatly and earning a straightening as they head away from the spaceport. He notices, too, the damage -- and the repairs -- but his gaze is eventually pulled by Astraea's fiddling with her strap, a brief crease of worry appearing in his forehead. "Sounds like a plan," he says, with a gesture like, lead on, shifting the weight of his own back on his shoulder before reaching for hers, too.

"It looks worse from down here," Astraea says softly, noticing him taking things in. "Flew marine groups in an' out some while we were here an'... I didn't really get th' full extent of it." She blinks as he reaches for her bag and briefly seems about to protest, but... ultimately offers it over. "Thank you." The two words are offered rather quietly before she begins walking. "I do know th' temple an' museum weren't too badly damaged. Th' cylons, from what I heard, didn't try to destroy anythin' especially an' our forces were told to do their best not to damage things." There's a small, encouraging sort of smile offered to the Gemenese pilot.

She's eased up some, being off the ship and away from Sagittaron, but she's still far from the more firey and headstrong woman she was. It'll take time.

A few questions find a cheap hotel near the 'port that has rooms and it's just a cab ride later that they're approaching the lobby proper. "You wanna change b'fore we head into the city?"

"When some of those bombers got their payloads away..." Alain begins, but he doesn't finish the sentence, gaze shifting away deliberately. He doesn't seem so much worried about the state of the museum -- not right at this moment, anyway -- but he is listening, albeit quietly, as they pass the short walk before their trip to the hotel.

Once they've sorted rooms, Alain gives her a nod. "I'll be just a moment," he says, ducking into his room. When he returns, he's wearing gray slacks and dark green shirt -- both neatly pressed -- and a jacket. While casual, they're still crisp and as neat as any uniform he's worn. "All right. Ready to hit the town?" even he's forced to chuckle at that, as he hails them a cab.

"I know." The bombers that the cylons have started using against them in a sort of perverted form of a Raptor.

At the hotel, Astraea ducks into her own room just to drop off her bag (once she takes it back from the other pilot). It leaves her waiting in the hall for him once he surfaces. There's a faint smile, "Someday, I'll see ya in wrinkled clothes. I only pray I've got a camera when it happens." She looks more like one of those teenagers or college kids who is wearing a fatigue jacket for fun, but then. It's Nova. She probably doesn't yet own a separate jacket and it looks fine with the jeans-and-tee combo. For the moment, however, it doesn't help the fact that she already has a tendency to look a few years younger than she is. "Whaddya wanna do first? I was... thinkin' mebbe th' temple around sunset. Or first thing in th' mornin'." She looks off in the general direction that it lies. "If that's all right."

"You've probably seen me get out of my viper in wrinkled flight-suit a dozen times a dozen times," Alain replies easily, though that never lasts long -- his routine lending him to a quick trip to the showers and fresh, unmarred clothes. He doesn't seem defensive, but doesn't seem apt to linger on the teasing comment for long, either. With a gesture towards her in, presumably, invitation for her to decide, Alain says, "It's your day to do with as you will, Nova. I'm just here to ride your coat-tails," with a brief, self-deprecating smile. "What do you want to do?"

"As if I pay attention t'anyone else after a flight." They all have their routines and like most, Astraea usually zips right off to the showers after she returns from CAP or a mission. She considers Alain, but doesn't press the teasing further. Her heart's not in it either way. She does, however, manage a bit of a smile when he mentions it's her day. "Two," she reminds him. "Two days free of paperwork an' CAP an' all." Two days to try to clear her head. She looks off down the street as the cab pulls nearer. "Let's go to th' museum. Dinner after? I ain't really hungry yet."

"Have they given you the all clear for CAP yet?" Alain queries, with a furrow of brow. "Because if it's just paperwork, then yeah -- I don't blame you." When the cab pulls up, he opens the door for Astraea to precede him. "Sounds like a plan," he agrees, ready to climb in after her, leaning forward to tell the driver their destination.

"Not yet." There's a darkening to Astraea's countenance as she answers the question, climbing into the cab ahead of Alain. She leans back in the seat, holding out her hand to where he can see. There's not as many bandages, but still some light wrapping around palm and wrist. She curls her fingers as if into a fist, but they won't go the whole way. There's some straining before she relaxes, letting out a slow -- mildly pained -- breath. "Soon. Jes'... can't do what I need ta fly yet. But th' docs say I will. I jes' gotta keep up with my stretches an' all. Make sure th' scar tissue doesn't frak anythin' up, y'know?"

"I'm sure it will come soon. Maybe even when we get back," Alain assures her, as his gaze goes to her hand with a furrow of brow in mute concern. "Does it... have they given you exercises?" he asks, looking assured at her answer, "Well. Just a matter of time then," he says, with certainty. He's looking out the window as they travel, expression reflecting sorrow and dismay at the more damaged parts of the city they pass.

"I've even got a special ball t'squeeze," Astraea offers, helpfully. "Looks jes' like one kids might use to play with, but if th' doc says it's for gettin' better-" She shrugs, but lapses into a quiet, watching along with him. After a short time, she offers softly: "Th' Cylons won't come back anytime soon." Hopefully. "An' they've got a lotta support rebuildin'. Mebbe... not as much as if th' attack on Cap City hadn't happened, but-" She reaches out wth her uninjured hand to offer a gentle squeeze to his forearm. "Everyone knows how important this place is, Jigger. It's... another part of th' story, yeh? Priests'll be usin' it in sermons someday."

"Wouldn't be so sure of that," Alain says, quietly, with an exhale. "I wonder if it's just a numbers game for them? Do they wonder why a place like this is important to us? Do they care?" he shakes his head. It's not happy thoughts for the first of a day of leave, certainly, and he seems to realize that. He forces a smile, though only somewhat: "It will live on, regardless of whether it remains," he agrees.

Leaning briefly over to lean shoulder to shoulder with Alain, Astraea breathes a small sigh of her own. "They might," she says finally. "If... if what they did to us wasn't th' first time, they know things about us. It's... it's possible they've learned from others they captured how important this place is. Or a least our religious places."

As they approach the museum, she leans away from him a bit to get a look at it. "I visited once," she says softly, "while at Academy. It's... odd seein' it like this." Her brow furrows somewhat, but she glances over to the other pilot. "I mostly jes' wandered and thought how pretty a lot of it was. I'm sure you can educate me better on it all." When they stop, she waits for him to exit first before sliding out after.

"That makes it, somehow, worse," Alain concludes, with a grimace, his posture marginally tense, no less so when she leans her shoulder into his. As the museum comes into view, his gaze is naturally drawn towards it, silent for a time as they get nearer. "I can try," the Gemenese pilot says, "Although I've never been myself," he adds, as he steps out of the cab after leaning forward to pay the driver.

"Sorry," Astraea answers, wincing faintly. "I hope they haven't been doin' what they did to others, but..." She leaves it unsaid. That there's a higher chance they had been than that they were some of the first. Outside of the cab, she rolls her shoulders a bit. "Well, if we both jes' end up looking at nice statues an' pretty paintings an' all, then it's not a total loss. You're just..." She shrugs. "You know a lot about this sort of stuff." There's a sidelong smile for the other pilot, though it fades quickly as they start for the museum proper.

Once through the entrance and inside, there are sections undergoing repairs, but for the most part? It's open. The marines that fought in the place did a fairly good job of keeping damage to a minimum. A couple statues and the like are missing -- presumed damaged or destroyed -- but the place overall is recovering. On the inside, at least.

Quiet, at first, while they get their bearings, she finally speaks again in a quiet voice. Partially for the location and partially to keep her words for Alain only. "Hurricane visited me in sickbay," she says. "He said I... need to actually talk about what happened. Process it, he said."

Alain, too, is mostly quiet at first -- perhaps partially out of habit, given his background, and partially out of fascination. He's inevitably drawn to the depiction's of Ares, lingering over these the longest. "There's this story, not well told, about Ares and some giants who managed to chain him down and throw him into some sort of prison. It's said that, for the year he was imprisoned, there was no war, and many counted that a good thing. But that, instead of war, men slew each other for a great many other reasons, and that as many died for that as might've died in any war. That it was our nature, and not Ares' influence, that tended man to such things." He's frowning up at a statue of Ares in full battle dress.

When Astraea speaks, he glances at her, waiting a moment -- thinking -- before he nods. "You should. I've heard Dr Anders is good for that sort of thing, though I've never spoken with the man myself."

"I can believe it," Astraea offers after Alain shares the story and the reflections on it. "I sometimes think that if Cylons had never been built for war, this never would've happened. We'd still have our caretakers an' all of th' other functions they served. That it was th' ones we made int' soldiers that did this t'us." When he speaks of Dr. Anders, she shakes her head faintly. "Hurricane said... specifically not one of th' doctors. That..." She bites at the inside of her lip, stopping before a depiction of Apollo, herself.

"Th' medical staff'll be judgin' me on not jes' what happened, but... how I talk about it. An' he said processin' it with someone I trust first helps." She looks over to Alain, brow furrowed slightly. "I... I don't wanna put that on ya. I know it's a burden... But I dunno who else I could."

Momentarily surprised, Alain frowns. "Maybe," he allows, gaze still on Ares. "Maybe it was always going to happen, regardless." He murmurs something else, in Gemenese, maybe a prayer, before his gaze finally falls from the statue. "I suppose Hurricane'd know," the other pilot says slowly, like he's not sure, "Since he was... in much the same boat as you were. Maybe... he seems like the better person to talk to. He can relate. I can't... Nova, I can't. I'm sorry." His posture is tense, visibly discomforted, his weight shifting like he's going to reach out to her and decides otherwise. "I... I can't take that on. Maybe Hurricane's right. But maybe he's not. I've seen the way he flies -- he flies like he doesn't care about whether he lives or dies, and that... that's not right. That's not being being right. The medical staff -- they're not there to judge. They're there to help fix us. I trust them to do their jobs, and... maybe you should too, Nova."

"Oh." It's just the single word. And not even really a word. It escapes Astraea not like a sigh, but more the manifestation of someone who has been hit somewhere unexpected. Her jaw tightens and she looks away for a time; focusing on something -- anything -- else in the wing of the museum they're currently in. "He told me... if I go in to talk to th' doc an' I'm... too detached, they'll think I'm a sympathizer with th' cylons. An' that it's jes' as bad if you're too emotional. How it's... not to help, but to make sure yer... safe for th' Fleet." There's a somewhat despondent tone to her words. "I don't... want to talk about it, Jigger. Not really. But if it's gonna keep me from flyin' again-" She takes a deep breath, then, lifting her good hand to press the heel of her palm against one of her eyes.

"But I get it. I told him it was too much to put on anyone." She swallows, dropping her hand. When she turns, the smile is just for show; it doesn't extend to her eyes and certainly not her own posture. "Mebbe they'll clear me based on my kill stats alone, yeh?"

Fingers flexing, Alain says -- as bluntly as she's ever heard him speak, "That's bullshit. I'm sorry, Nova, but I don't think you should be taking advice from him. Maybe that was his experience, and if it was, that sucks. But he was gone for a long time, and getting back into the wing so soon after..." he grimaces, ending the thought abruptly. "You need time to deal with it. But you can't bottle it up, hide it. That doesn't work. The CF doesn't want you to never fly again. They want you to fly, but they don't want you to be a danger to yourself or others when you do. Trust that, if nothing else." There's a tension, maybe even something briefly bitter, but it's there and gone so swiftly as to be missed. "Nova, please. Just try and talk to the doctors." A breath, as he says, "We could even find one while we're here, if you don't want a military doctor."

Surprise flashes over Astraea's features. Outside of combat, has she ever heard him swear? Certainly not like that. She just stands there, staring at Alain for a time; uncertain what to say. Her first attempt just comes out as a rush of air, leaving her briefly deflated. When she tries again, she's looking down at her bandaged hand as she holds it with the other. "I jes' feel like a mess. An' I'm scared they'll think I'm crazy. That they'll... decide I'm unfit for duty." When he mentions a military doctor, she shakes her head just a bit. "No, I... frak, could you imagine if word got out here that there might be Cylons kidnappin' people? I couldn't do that to someone."

She tugs, absently, at her jacket before removing it to hold bundled up against her abdomen. "I'm sorry I brought it up, Jigger. I'll... figure out what t'do. I jes'... wanna fly again an' I'm scared they won't let me."

"Of course you're a mess. Anyone, anyone would be after an experience like that." Alain exhales, and then reaches to draw her into a hug, one arm wrapping around her. He's silent for a bit, just breathing -- still tense but getting it under control. "This isn't the first time they've had to deal with people who've had this experience. That's why you should talk to them, even above the reason that they're trained for this and they'll want to help you." He exhales a long, low breath. "Nova, you're going to fly again," he assures her, in a steady voice. "Focus on that, and getting better."

Still clutching her jacket, Astraea leans into that hug. She closes her eyes, focusing on the steadiness he represents. The surety in his voice. When she draws a breath, it's shaking a bit. "They won't treat me like an experiment themselves, will they?" There's a hint of fear in her voice. "I know... know some psychiatrists are like that. Like their patients are jes' there to be studied." She shivers, a bit. "I couldn't handle that, Jigger. I'd rather jes'... bury it an' try to forget than be somethin' to investigate."

"I can't say for sure, but if they're worth the paper their qualifications are written on, they won't," Alain says, almost forcefully, exhaled breath stirring her hair a little. "Promise me you'll at least talk to them before you decide you can't do it. One session, at least?"

The Scorpian pilot is quiet for a time, but finally nods against his shoulder. "I promise," she says softly. "I'll try. I'll... I'll see 'bout talkin' to Dr. Anders once we get back." Before she's forced to see someone else, perhaps. Astraea sighs, lifting her good hand away from the bundle of her jacket to rest against Alain's chest as she leans back a bit to look up at him. "But until then, help me relax a bit? Like... what's your favorite piece in here so far?" There's a faint smile, but it's backed by her own fear and all the more need for a bit of time at least trying to think of other things.

While Alain doesn't vocalize his relief, it's obvious anyway the way his arm briefly tightens around her when she promises. "Okay," he gives her a smile, drawing back at her question, though hooking an arm around to rest lightly at her back to guide her all the same. "I'm partial to Ares," he admits, to no one's surprise, least of all his own, if his twitch of lips is anything to judge by. "But, I like this one, here," he continues to guide her, winding around the statues, to one of Aurora, the dawn Godess. Unlike most of the others, her visage encompasses all the colors, particularly the yellow-red-gold-orange shadings of dawn, hair decorated by flowers, wearing a crown of feathers. "She gives me hope, that after all the war, all the terror -- that she'll be there to greet us through a new dawn, a new age."

Having him close, still -- guiding her -- helps. Some more of Astraea's own tension bleeds away. Not a lot, but some. Enough, perhaps. She shifts her jacket to drape over one arm, looking up at the statue he's led them to. There's a small smile as he explains. "I've always liked Aurora," she admits quietly. "Apollo drew me more, but... I've said more'n my fair share of prayers to her, also." She swallows, considering the serene features depicted in stone. "I... I was startin' to lose my faith, Jigger. Before- before we even got to Sagittaron. But in those caves, I prayed. A lot." It's not going into detail about what happened to her, but sharing a small, specific piece that he may understand. "I dunno if it helped, but... I know we were lucky an' luck rarely jes' happens."

"Me too," Alain admits, his gaze drifting over the statue, taking in every aspect, every detail with a smile. Astraea's words draw his gaze from the statue to the pilot at his side, exhaling. "I'm glad you were able to find comfort in that. That it helped," he says, genuinely pleased for her. He shifts his weight a moment. "Do you want to offer prayers here?" he asks. It's obvious that he wants to, but it's her day.

"Maybe Apollo jes' knew how badly I needed to see th' sun again," Astraea offers with a hint of amusement. She considers the statue a moment longer before looking to Alain; picking up on that desire. She smiles to him, a bit more assuredly now. The expression reaches her eyes at least. "Jigger, I could be anywhere an' jes' happy to have some time away. I chose here an' asked you along 'cause I told you, at Argyros, that we'd visit sometime. You're helpin' me feel normal an' sane an' you have as much voice as I do." She tilts her head. "Let's offer prayers, yes."

Alain's face is pretty expressive; surprise and hesitancy and relief all mixed in together. "I do. But it's your day to do with as you please. And I can always come back here..." sooner or later, as long as the Cylons don't take it over again. Still, when she indicates her assent, his lips twitch up into a smile as they head that way. It's an open space in the middle, sunlight coming down from above, lighting up the statues that make up the Lords of Kobol. Beneath, is an area where people offer various items, a written prayer for burning, but sometimes incense or flowers or other things. Alain reaches for pen and paper, passing some onto to Astraea, before dropping some cubits in the box.

"We're here, now, Jigger. Enjoy it. For me, if nothin' else? I can live vicariously through you... or somethin'." Astraea studies him, intently, as if committing that wash of expressions over his features to memory. "It is my day. An' I chose to spend it with you. Deal with it."

When they reach the central atrium-like area, she stops to look up at the ceiling above, then down to the statues. She's still a touch distracted by this when Alain passes her the paper and pen. She offers a brief smile and murmur of thanks before she moves towards the depiction of Apollo, kneeling before it to begin writing. It's a slow process- no wonder she hates paperwork right now. Her hold of the pen in that damaged hand is awkward, at best, but she takes her time of drafting the prayer.

Alain makes a noise like a huff, but he seems far from upset, if the brief grin is anything to judge by. As Astraea moves off towards Apollo, he starts at Ares -- no surprise. His prayer either isn't long, or doesn't take long to form, soon reaching forward to burn it at the foot of the war God, before moving down the line. He visits them all, some taking longer than others, but usually with little pause before he commits pen to paper, and paper to fire.

It's a good thing that Astraea doesn't intend to visit all of the statues. She spends her time with Apollo before moving on. She only stops before one other to pen and burn a prayer: Athena. When Alain finishes, this is where he'll find her; staring up at the statue in thought. She's still holding her jacket, draped over her bandaged wrist. Her good hand, however, is hooked lightly into her jean pocket. The Raptor pilot's expression is a touch turbulent itself; concerned, sad, and distant.

When he's finally done, Alain doesn't disturb her; instead he settles down on one of the benches and waits, hands folded neatly in his lap, head bowed, murmuring in faint Gemenese. The tension eases by measures from his posture.

After a short time more, Astraea pulls herself away and turns to locate Alain. When she finally spots him on the bench, she lingers briefly to watch the man. There's a small smile once she does finally approach, lowering herself to sit next to him. She listens, as he prays; picking up words here and there. All the books and prayers he's taught her doing their job. She's learning the language. For the time being, she just waits next to him.

He's aware of her presence, just a slight tip of head to acknowledge, but his eyes remain closed. Only when he's done, with a hearty exhale, does Alain stand and stretch a hand out towards her to help her stand. "Dinner?" he suggests, with a smile.

There's an answering smile as Astraea accepts his hand and the help to her feet. "Dinner," she agrees, "sounds like a good idea. I'm lookin' forward to something that's not th' mess." She squeezes his hand lightly before withdrawing to slide back into her jacket as they head back out, towards the street. "We could walk until we see somethin' or... get a cab an' ask th' driver for suggestions?" There's a beat and a glance to the Gemenese man. "Any preferences? I'm pretty open, so long as it ain't Virgan or Leonese."

"I'm happy to walk. It's... a nice change of pace." To, presumably, the limitations of the ship, and also being in their planes. Alain sets an easily, ambling pace, offering this or that tidbit about the various Lords of Kobol as they walk, before they finally find somewhere suitable to eat -- her choice, if the Gemenese man has anything to say about it.


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