Cate is worried about Aldrich after his uncharacteristically fiery sermon.
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1546
Candlelight flickers on the altar and the scent of incense fills the air, a sure sign that Aldrich is present. Sure enough, he is seated on the floor behind the altar, legs folded lotus-style. His hands are cupped and folded, palms up, over his ankles, and his back ramrod-straight, but his eyes are closed and his lips moving faintly. Presently, he must finish because he opens his eyes, unfolds to come to his knees, and performs a gesture toward the altar. Must be evening prayer time! In any case, he blows out the candles and starts putting them neatly away.
The hatch opens, and in comes Cate. Off-duty it would seem, given her sweatpants and sweatshirt hoodie. A few still-healing bruises and scrapes are visible on her face from that last fight on Sagittaron, but at least she wasn't laid up like some of the others. "Hey Al," she greets.
Aldrich glances up and gives a weak smile when he sees Cate, before looking back at what he's doing. "Good evening." He puts away the last candle, and then the incense joins it. "Come for an evening prayer? I can leave some candles lit for you, if you like."
Cate returns the weak smile with a faint one of her own, then shakes her head. "No, just came to see how you were doing." She comes over near him, and leans casually against the wall nearby.
Aldrich keeps his eyes on what he's doing as he dusts altar and cleans up any spilled candle wax or ashes. "I'm fine," he replies, a little too quickly. "Same as always. Lyn is recovering nicely, it seems."
"I'm glad," Cate says, still leaning. "'Cause I heard about your sermon. Fire and brimstone isn't usually your style."
Aldrich's eyes hood a little, and he puts away the cloth, closing up the compartment below the altar where such things are stored. "Perhaps some circumstances demand a little fire and brimstone," he says, quietly. "And I meant everything I said."
"Never thought otherwise," Cate says, a little sadly. She hitches a shoulder in a slight shrug. "Y'know, Al, I get not wanting to talk about things. And maybe I'm not always a good listener as I should be. But I care, and I'll still try if you ever want to." There's an awkward pause for a second, then she switches tacks and offers, "We could just go do something if you wanted."
Aldrich rubs the bridge of his nose, but forces a tight smile. "That's very kind. I appreciate the offer and will keep it in mind." But apparently has no intention of taking her up on it. At least not the talking part. Having run out of things that need to be done in the chapel, he steps back and looks around, seeming at slightly loose ends. "What I want to do... Well, none of it is a very good idea. I need to focus on work and caring for Lyn."
Cate doesn't look surprised, but the reaction does cause her brows to draw together slightly. "Okay," she says, offering another little shrug. "Well if you change your mind I was gonna head down to the planet tomorrow. We could go see some tourist stuff or something. Whatever." She pushes off the wall, standing up straighter. "I'll get out of your hair and let you do your work."
Aldrich looks at the altar, pressing his lips together for a moment before he admits, "I've been thinking about asking for a pass. To visit home."
Cate had started to go, but stops and turns back when he says that. "Oh?" An implied, if uncertain question. Not sure what to make of that given what he'd said previously about his family and Gemenon.
Aldrich nods a little, and brushes his hair back. He looks over at the look at her face and away again. "I won't be welcome there. But... I think maybe it's important to try. To see if anything has changed with... the Cylons and everything."
Cate nods somberly. "Well. If you think it's important then you should. I just hope you'll be okay." She can't keep the concern out of her voice.
Aldrich lifts a shoulder. "I will or I won't, as the gods see fit," he replies, perhaps a bit flippantly. "But... thank you." He frowns a little, though, and looks toward the viewport. "Do you really think I'm wrong to feel the way I do?"
"Doesn't stop me from hoping they see fit," Cate points out with a wry smile. The latter question causes her brow to knit in confusion. "Feel the way you do about what? Going back to Gemenon?"
Aldrich shakes his head, brows furrowing. "No, about what happened on Sagittaron."
Cate shakes her head then back at him, still looking a little confused. "I think you have every right to be angry. They endangered innocent people. They broke a cease-fire. They left us high and dry and your girlfriend almost died. Who the hell wouldn't be pissed at all that?"
Aldrich shakes his head. "I'm more than angry at them," he points out. "I'm angry at myself, for not finding something more I could do. I'm angry at the Colonial Forces. I'm angry at the gods. I'm just... And a part of me thinks perhaps my people have a point, even if they over-generalize. And that makes me even more angry."
Cate considers that for a moment, then nods. "It's hard... being mad at the world. But I don't think you're wrong for feeling what you feel. I wish people were better than they are."
Aldrich lifts a shoulder, and points out, "You thought I ought to make peace with it. Do what we have to do to fight the Cylons, all that. But I... don't think I can get there. I don't think I have that in me."
Cate's brows knit. "That's not what I said. I said that's what I did," she clarifies. "Because I don't know what else to do." There's a plaintive note in her voice, a hint at the pain beneath. "I spent my whole life hating them, Al. And I signed that enlistment paper, even though it made me feel like a godsdamned traitor. I hated them, I hated myself... but I hated the Cylons more." She shrugs, helplessly.
Aldrich shakes his head. "I betrayed my people out of a belief that /all/ of us are equal. That the gods favor no one over any other, regardless of their colony or beliefs. I joined the fight in hopes that in some small way, I might redeem my people for the evil they've done by looking after only their own interests in this war. But what does /any/ of that mean if I look away at the oppression of even a single individual? Much less contribute to it..." He scowls deeply at the altar. "If the gods are testing me, I feel somehow that I have failed."
Cate lifts her hands halfway in a helpless gesture, though the resulting wince makes her think twice about that and lower them again. "I don't know, Al. But I don't see you oppressing anybody. I see you doing your damndest to try and help. What more can you do?"
Aldrich sighs and shakes his head. "I don't know. And that doesn't make me feel better." He looks a little tired, at that, and starts to head toward the hatch. "I'm supposed to be the one who has all the wise answers, you know." He smiles, wanly.
Cate walks out with him. "Well, lucky for you I don't think anybody's supposed to have all the answers," she offers back dryly. Then more seriously, "I know it probably doesn't mean much in the Gemenese scheme of things, but... I think you're doing good here, Al. You're a good person. Probably better than we outsiders deserve." She mirrors his wan smile.
Aldrich rolls his eyes slightly, but whatever mild amusement he expressed is soon replaced by the same flat weariness. "I'm glad you think so, at least. It means more than you think."
Cate just reaches out to give his arm a reassuring touch, if he'll allow. "Could you let me know before you go? If you go?" Just so she can commence worrying at the appropriate time.
Aldrich raises his eyebrows a little, genuinely surprised, but then he smiles faintly. "Of course. And... if I do, look out for Lyn while I'm gone? I'll feel better if you do."
"Sure. Always." Cate pauses at the hatch and says, "You know I'd totally go with you for moral support. But I know it probably wouldn't go over too well, so..." She offers a what can you do shrug.
Aldrich nods a little and squeezes Cate's arm. "I know. But I do appreciate it." He smiles, faintly. "We can go for drinks when it's over. That'll be moral support enough."
Cate gives him another wan smile. "Deal," she agrees. "I would like to go someday though. Going to Picon was the first time I'd ever been off-world." The smile flickers somberly, but she presses on. "If by some miracle I live through the war, it would be kinda cool to go home and say I went to every colony."
Aldrich looks a little concerned at that, but nods slightly. "Well... Visit the University then," he advises. "You'll meet more open-minded people there."
"Yeah, maybe I will," Cate agrees, trying not to think too hard about the prospects of that chance ever coming to pass. "Y'know I've got seven of the twelve now. What do you have, like... nine? Ten?"
Aldrich chuckles faintly. "Something like that, yeah. One more, now. I hadn't been to Sagittaron until this mission." He grows more somber, and sighs. "I should go rest. But...thanks for coming to check on me."
Cate nods. "Sure. Take care," she says, offering one last faint smile before they part ways in the corridor.