Battlestar

Artemis

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Cardboard Blasphemy

Posted on 10/19/2019 @ 3:38pm by Lieutenant JG Finn Kidane

Mission: 1 - Twilight
Location: Somewhere on the Artemis
Timeline: MD 02: 0125 Z

The decking creaked: it was a high, tested metal whine, short on length but long on meaning. When Finn Kidane had sidled inside with a beam of blue-white light in his hands, he had not only seen the emptiness- he'd felt it. This ship was a catacomb. How fitting then. If they were to die in here- and only minutes before he'd suggested they were already dead- then this was the right place. It was even cold.

Hell, to a Sagittaron, was the classic hollowness of mythical Tartarus and the shores of Stygia: a cold that chilled the skin but never penetrated dead bones. "Behold, the Tower of the Lead Coin," Finn whispered Scripture to himself as he surveyed the drab gray, lead-colored walls of a junior officer's quarters. It was the first thing the Departed supposedly saw across the Styx- the Tower of the Lead Coin.

Maybe they were all waiting shades of once-Humanity? How would they know if they weren't? Ghosts did not understand they were dead either. They simply milled around the base of the watchtower. Until it came time for them to climb the watchtower. The only solace Finn could pull was that he still had memories.

Finn exhaled a ghostly vale of breath through his nostrils. Life support had only just begun to touch its warmth down here. It would be a few hours until the temperature was comfortably warm. The air was stale and tasted metallic. Finn ventured inside further, swinging the light to a spent mattress and a built-in desk and nightstand. There was little more room, besides a small Refresher and a uniform alcove.

Finn sat on the bed, casting his eye to the bulkhead. Whoever had stripped the Artemis of value had decided some yellowed tape and scraps of moldy pictures weren't worth the tedious razor work. Finn fingered the rolled image. Maybe he shouldn't have been surprised. She had nice breasts- pert, dark brown, perky nipples. She leered at Finn like he was a welcome stranger between her open legs and the split pink of her labia. He shivered and let the picture re-curl. Who knew if she was even still alive... let alone how old if she was. Finn felt like he'd stepped over someone's grave.

Was that it then? The only pieces of civilization and life left was a bit of moldy old, obscene masturbation material? Finn, naturally, thought of Vesta, the diametric of the nude. Where was Vesta now? Was she saving the girls and young women from the Cylons' revenge, or had She abandoned the Colonies? The Gods were, of course, more distant than that. And they could not intervene in Fate- at least that was the Sagittaron translation of it all. But he wondered nonetheless. All they seemed to have left was Faith. Their science had failed them.

Finn sighed softly in the dark. He set his light aside and lifted his butt long enough to sit next to the night stand. He opened that. The drawer caught: it was either rusty or part of it had swelled. He pulled harder and peered inside. He snorted the benign, patient amusement of the faithful at harmless blasphemy. Or at least that was how he viewed it. To his homeworld, it was witchcraft.

The cards were not really standard: clipped corners to form oblong octagons, yes. Finn couldn't decide if they felt waxy or just old and greasy. But the stack of them was haphazard. He pulled a few out a card at a time, flipping them to face him. They felt strange in the hand, larger and longer than Pyramid cards. And the wrong shape.

Lancestra. She was Bodhi's cousin, and his best friend. As he righted each card in his palm, he remembered her doing a reading and a seance on the Night of Walking Shades. The memory brought a shiver to his spine: it started it's cold tingle mid spine and crawled down to nestle between his butt cheeks. She was... a strange person. Purple eye shadow the likes he never saw again, almost thick and electric. When she'd brought out the cards, Finn's nose had naturally rippled in a muted recoil. "Oh stop looking like Alpheus hasn't washed the stables in a week," she'd scolded him.

Then she suggested to Bodhi that, "The new guy needs a blowjob."

And Finn asked, naive at the time, "What is a blowjob?" Bodhi had snarked that he'd show him sometime, mouth drawn in dry Picon amusement at the ignorant kid from Sagittaron. 'Sometime' was several months later, just inside a year. Finn repelled from thinking about Bodhi, as if the very idea would close down his windpipe and choke him. He shifted his attention back to the cards.

Tarot. Blasphemy on Sagittaron, and harmless Paganism in most of the rest of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. Finn's pattern recognition skills- and need to keep his idle hands busy- had him sorting them into the Minor Arcana by their suits. And then the Major Arcana. It was already revealed to be an incomplete deck. Maybe that's why nobody bothered to take them with them after the decommissioning.

A few of them, Finn noticed, were smudged in a muted pink lipstick. Like someone had put one of the edges between their lips. Was it the memory of a woman behind him with her open vulva, or was it the owner of these cards? Finn considered that this had been a woman's bed, a woman's room. But with a quick glance around, any hints of further gender had long since been stripped away by the decommissioning teams that Tyrus Craine seemed to have commanded.

Finn didn't remember most of the cards. At least two of the Knaves were gone, so was the eight of cups. The irony of both Temperance and the Fool having gone missing was lost on Finn: moderation and innocence were gone from this world as well. Finn eyed the Death card in the same ignorance as most did- that it was death, not it's true meaning: change. He sought out one card he did understand: the Hierophant. It was one of them with a corner slightly warped and smudged in lipstick. He eyed, next, the Hanged Man with only thin, tenuous memory of what Lancestra had told him it'd meant. It'd come up when she'd read him.

Hades. In this context The Devil. Well that was the Cylons, if one took the card at face value. But there was deeper meaning to every card. Finn thumbed past the Lovers and the Star and then the Moon. He settled his eyes on The Tower. His thoughts returned to the Watchtower of the Lead Coin, standing in the grayness of Stygia before Hades. It's meaning was lost on him too. He assigned it as a state of siege or protection from one's enemies. But the meaning of the card was destruction. Things must die so new things can be built anew.

Finn held his breath, then sighed ghostly out his mouth. He thumbed through the cards and picked out the Hierophant and the Tower, shoving them in to his jacket pocket. He picked up his light. The bed creaked when he left: he couldn't help but eye the yellowed curl of photo paper on the wall. He didn't have anything like that of Bodhi. Bodhi just had that stupid picture of him with drool across his cheek, having just woken up. Finn hated that picture.

Finn let the rest of the room be, just like the decommissioning team had who knew how long ago. He had no stuff to stow- everything he had owned was probably floating in space or burned from the Cardia. But as a place to lay his head, this one was as good as any other. As desperately as he wanted to do just that, he couldn't.

Finn stepped outside and pulled the red marker the survivors were passing around to mark their space. It stank of chemical bonding agents and Finn swiped a large signature across the door like he'd seen a couple of people do to their new stows. He recapped the marker. Now it was time to return to CIC. There was a plan in place.

 

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