AWD #163: Burdened With Glorious Purpose
Log Title
Summary: Cooper and Iphigenia struggle with the burdens their gods have laid upon them; Iphigenia discovers a sense of the truth.
Date: 18/06/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Iphigenia Knox 
Temple of the Lords of Kobol - Piraeus
The interior of the temple.
AWD #163

Soon Orion's focus will turn from Piraeus toward Picon, and Iphigenia will not be able to indulge in the simple pleasure she is enjoying right now. Sitting near the altar is the priestess with a small contingent of children, while she tells them the story of Leto's twins, Apollo and Artemis. Storytime is over though, and soon enough the children are being sent outside to awaiting parents and caretakers. Geni watches them, smiling wistfully.

Knox comes inside and takes off his helmet almost by reflex. Its not just a habit from removing cover inside, but also out of reverence. He steps aside with a smile to let the children out. None of them really recognize him and there is a comfort there. Innocence. Seeing Iphi alone, the Sergeant dips his head to her. "Sister. How are you?" A step forward. "I was wondering if you had a few moments."

There are a few who offer lingering glances. He's a marine after all, and that is the stuff of some childrens' imaginations, boy or girl. But indeed, they are soon left alone in the temple, and Gen offers Knox a smile and gestures to a pew. "Of course. What can I do for you, Cooper"

Coop moves to sit on a pew and he holds the helmet in his hands, looking at it for a bit. There's a sudden smirk before he speaks, "I know the phrase 'hat in hand' has a bit of a different connotation, but here I am." He looksto her and smiles. "Sir, something has been bothering me. Especially since Ceres.. left. I wanted to talk to you about the night at the bonfine."

Iphigenia looks briefly taken aback, eyes darting sidelong briefly. "Well," she says, "That was quite a night, wasn't it." Understatement, much? "I could certainly imagine you'd have a great deal of questions."

The man nods slowly and looks back to his helmet. "It was certainly a night, sir." He always defaults to 'sir'. "I didn't want to bother you too much that night after I got you back. And I wanted to give you some time to digest it, I guess." He clears his throat gently. "Our unit chaplin used to hand out cham to people who were overstressed. Let them partake and calm themselves. Maybe commune a little. Its pretty regular among the JTAC teams. But, uh, I've never seen anything like that before." He looks over to her, voice ever-quiet. "What do you think about that night, sir?"

His question prompts a long pause. Then, "I think the gods showed me some very important things." She's trying to skip around the edges of this, because truthfully? She doesn't want to think about that night too often. "And I'm grateful to have been able to convey their message to the others who needed to hear about what they showed to me and told me." Yeah, she's sugar-coating this in a big way.

Coop sits back in the pew when she finishes and just chuckles. "C'mon, sir. Cut the shit." He looks over at her with the last word. "You told us what you saw. I'm sure you've passed it along in your own way and politicked that one to be something palatable." He wets his lips and looks back down. "You saw something behind Ceres and I. You saw the crowd. I want to hear it from you, without the chamalla. Would did you see, sir?"

"You know what I saw, Sergeant." Gen says. "I saw the gods. Apollo and Artemis, looking upon you with favor. The rest of the Twelve. Another, edging in upon them, but unseen. Ares giving me the vision, and both he and Aphrodite speaking to me. Aphroditw carressing my face." Her hands, resting serenely in her lap, have begun to tighten, her knuckles turning white."

Knox hears that and he nods slowly. "And they spoke to you." Coop nods twice again. "Sir, did you know that my model are extremely religious? As are Ceres'?"

"I was aware of Ceres. I had rather gotten the impression that you in particular are…questioning. Which is certainly by no means a bad thing." Then quietly, "Yes, they spoke to me. It's not the first dream I've had of what's to come, but then, so many had dreams before War Day."

"Mm." Knox hears it all, weighing his own word before he says anything else. "Ceres is what you might call a 'zealot'. The Saggies refer to them as 'jihadists'. Their cause is always a religious one. they believe in the divine right of their model to do what is necessary for our God to attain the glory it supposedly deserves." He looks back to her. "Similarly, the Sixes? My own model? We look at the world through a pattern of honor. We serve our God to the best we can to protect our own and others from the sin of combat and other atrocities. We are the sacrifice. We do things others cannot so that the rest will find peace." He drums his fingers across his helmet. "I learned to question this long ago. VERY long ago. I hold myself to something of an agnostic theist. If God, or the Gods, are our there…. it cannot be proven. But nor can people prove they are not. Your vision causes a problem for me personally, one I still wrestle with months later." Eyes drift back to her, followed by his gaze. "Can you tell me about your dreams? Please?"

"I don't know that they're any more or less remarkable than anyone else's." Gen says matter-of-factly. "But I dreamed of the destruction of Virgon in particular on the day. I saw my home burn. I saw Daniel Aios burn." She shakes her head. "I suppose it cannot be proven. But I know. I know. I saw them. I had their hand on me. I felt it and it was not a hallucination."

Coop listens once more, never interrupting. Again, he weighs his words before speaking. "Ceres was in love with Aios. Before he died, she shared a vision with him. On purpose. She was able to command it out of her cover and do-so. From what I know?" He looks at her steadily. "It helped him find peace, sir. She was already beginning her defection before the war started." The man looks away, looking almost sad by his expression. "Your Gods showed you the destruction of Virgon. I would say that is remarkable. That is a foresight I did not have. These dreams feel real to you? Like you are actually there?"

"This dream did. I felt sweat running down my back..the fear pounding in my heart. I ran through my house, and clutched at a small door of an anthechamber in the nursery and I could feel the metal my fingers gripped." She shakes her head. "It felt very real." Then quietly, "I know about Daniel. She carried his coin because I gave it to her."

"I wish I knewhow the Gods felt about my kind with any kind of assurance." Maybe he doesn't quite trust the vision? "But I knowshe carried the coin. For a fact. You gave it to her cover. That other personality. When I woke her up to who she really was? She ripped it off and threw it out of pain. She couldn't handle the dedication, but she felt it in herself. Not a few minutes later I helped her find it and she never took it off again." He swallows. "I carry coins, myself. I wasn't lying in my testimony. If this body dies I can only hope and pray my fellow Marines get what I carry for them." So maybe he does believe. But the man goes quiet for a long time, leaning back as he thinks about her dreams. He leans his head back, a lot on his mind.

"What are you thinking, Cooper?" asks Iphigenia gently. "The truth is, I've thought about what I've seen a great deal. I've wondered if I will continue to be granted such messages. And what that means." She shakes her head. "And then I stop, because I realize I'm afraid to know."

"I wonder a lot, Sister. The vision shared by Ceres and Aios… we all have that ability. We can give you visions that feel so real, that you can…" He lets off a long sigh and looks down. "You can lose yourself in them. They feel like a life lived." That, more quiet than most. "It sounds like a vision we can give, but there is less prophecy." Looking back to her, "Why should you fear these messages from..beyond? Does it strike a particularly painful chord?"

"Words like prophecy and prophet are very dangerous, Cooper." Gen says, eyes lowered. "To call yourself a prophet opens a doorway to hubris, and that is a profound sin." Looking back up at him. "Do you honestly think someone so touched by the gods will ever be afforded a normal life? A spouse, children, peace?"

Coop chuckles. "Well, we can't provide prophecy, sir." His head leans back again. "I am certainly no prophet. I'm just…" The man takes his time, letting off a long breath. "I'm nothing special to my kind, sir. I'm a particular instance that raged against it all. I can't tell the future any better than anyone else. Except, well, maybe you." He glances to her. "But I can't have kids, sir." Looking back forward, towards the alter, "My kind? We've tried. We can't do it. As for the rest? Well you're assuming I am touched by something. By your own words, you were touched. I was not. Are you questioning yourself?" Its not an official question. There is not a 'sir' attached to it. Its personal. "Please, sir. Between us."

"You're so very like us. I wonder what the missing component is for your kind." Gen's tone is thoughtful as she woolgathers on the idea for a moment before being brought back into focus. "It's hard not to question. The idea of being someone the gods notice in such a particular way is a very conflicted sensation. Do you feel excited and honored and special? Afraid? Angry? Despairing? Isn't the very idea of considering the possibility an act of hubris? I don't know. I could try and ask for certainty of notion, but that's not what faith is about. Like anyone else, I wish my purpose for being was clear."

Coop shrugs. "If there were a missing component, would it matter at this point? If it were discovered, could it be exploited any more than I already am?" The man shakes it off with his head, dismissing it. Focused on warfighting. "But me?" Coop sighs again. "Nah. Not really any of that. I mean, you saw it. I don't feel different. I can't answer the question of hubris because, again, I really don't know either. If anything? I feel, with the knowledge, a little bizarre. I haven't told anyone. I don't want to. I don't know that it was real. Do you tell people of your own vision and dreams?" Its rhetorical. "Like you, I'm just looking for my place. Religiously."

"I told Marcus Petra." Gen says without hesitating. "And when I had my first dream, I went to the Old Man. I didn't expect him to believe me." She shakes her head, sounds surprised. "But he did."

Coop thinks on that. "I sent my first warnings to Marc. He said he took them to the Admiral." Coop shakes his head. "Our fates, if they exist, may be intertwined, sir." Another long breath taken. This is a lot of thought for a man that, despite it, spend a lot of his time thinking. "What do you make of the two behind us, sir?"

"The two behind us?" She seems for a moment to take him literally, looking over both her own and his shoulder.

"Sorry, not you and I. I still think of Ceres as a living person. She is not dead. I'm referring to the night." Coop smirks, albeit lightly. "What do you really think of that? Are her and I some kind of 'watched' beings?"

"We are all watched in some varying degree. But if what I saw was an indication, you are both looked upon, yes." Iphigenia says honestly. "If you want to know what that may mean…you're as likely to know as I am."

Coop looks down again, hearing that. "Okay." There's some finality to it. "I'm just looking for some kind of answers. I know a lot of people come to you for them, but I think we're both kind of screwed for those." He cuts her a wry look and places the helmet on his head. "If you ever want to try and compare dreams, let me know. You have a standing offer from me. Petra told me not-to, but I think it could be something here. Let me know, okay?"

"Petra told you not to what?" Iphigenia asks, puzzled. "Talk about your dreams?"

Coop stands, bringing his rifle around to sit in front of him. He plugs his radio back in from the headset and smirks. "No. Not my dreams. Skinjobs, as you call my people, we can share dreams. They feel real. We can transplant emotions or anything we want. I think Marc believes that anyone who experiences them, and talks about, it could be conferred as 'corrupt'. It is what it is, though." He glances towards the door, then backto her. But he wouldnt be in here unless he was off-duty.

Iphigenia is clearly and visibly curious. She too looks back at the door, and then back to Knox. "What do you want to show me?" she asks. "Or is it better not to question, and just allow for the experience?"

Knox resettles his gear and shrugs. "There's nothing in particular I need to show you. You've seen enough. All I can really offer you are my own emotions. The things I know. what I've felt. Maia volunteered for it and….." A long pause. "I showed her something that was a little too heavy. Imagine being in a body, without context, and just feeling everything. Its not easy." Its the kind of admission nobody wants to make. "Unless you have something from me you'd like to experience, I have no idea, sir."

Iphigenia shakes her head. "I admit to being curious, but I can't define what I need to see. It would be up to you to decide what's relevant for me to experience." There's a pause. "When you feel there's something you need to show me, I'm willing to see. Perhaps I'm meant to. If we're being guided by something greater than us, you will known when it's time to show me."

"Sir, I can think of a lot I'd like to show you. Of anyone, I'd like to share so much with you. I think you'd understand. But I don't want to get you in trouble." Coop looks towards the door, then settles back on her. "The moment I woke up. The moment I defected. The love I have for my fellow Marines. What I felt when Ceres died. The fear when you told me what you saw behind Ceres and I. I… I can even give you something that is non-exiestent but feels real. A place to talk quietly." He clears his throat. I can give you anything, sir. But I'm not a prophet. And I don't want to be."

"Neither do I." The words are very soft. "But neither of us may have a say in this matter." Her eyes are lowered, and abruptly flick up to his. "If we're both to be equally burdened with glorious purpose Cooper, than perhaps you should call me Gen, or Iphigenia." Leaving that where it is, she asks, "How does it work? What do we do, exactly, that you can show me?"

Coop looks a bit nervous for a moment with the last. "Okay, uh, Gen." He swallows and retakes his seat beside her. He casts the rifle off to his side and leaves it under his arm. "Okay." He doesn't touch her, though. But one hand hovers above his other. "If I touch you, andwe put ourselves into a state where we are both relaxed… You'll accept it. It works through our nerves. That's all I know. If I-" and he touches his hands, "-touch you and you're open to it, I can show you anything. Imagine your childhood home and your best memory. I can make it real. But sir- Gen. This is something we need to be careful with. I- I- Afton and I? we lived out years in a single dream and it caused problems. It feels real… Gen."

"I know who I am." she says, as if somehow that's an answer to his worry. She looks down at his hand for a moment and then holds out her own, palm up.

Coop looks at the hand, hesitant. "Do you?" He slowly lowers his hand to touch hers. "Alright. But, si- Gen. I'm only doing this because you request it. If you want out beforehand, let me know. Once it starts… we're there until I decide otherwise." The man swallows. "Just relax your mind. Roll down you barriers. You have to let me in." If she allows him, then after a few moments, she will find herself in a very clean, very white being. Dressed in her ceremonial robes that only she remembers so well. There is absolutely nothing. Coop is standing in front of her wearing a large white toga. the man dips his head before speaking, "Are you alright with this?" he shiwpers.

If there's one advantage Gen has in this, it's the fact that she has experience with meditation. With clearing her mind, and the discipline and focus of the spirit. "Thus far." she replies. She looks down at herself at the clean white robes, at the thick rope of her hair plaited and resting against her shoulder. "This feels very much like being an initiate again."

"interesting." Its all Knox has to say for a moment. He just watches her as she looks herself over and gets the feel for it. "Gen, this is just a gateway. In your mind, you are here. If I were to impress upon you the feeling of joy, you'd feel it. Ready?" He waits for a nod before he steps back and just clasps his hands in front of her. But to her… the feeling slowly climbs. Her first love. The day she graduated. That approving look of her mentor. The feeling of pure elation at the success of her career that she felt that one day. The endorphins kick in and it flushes. Its the kid of high they nobody can ever attain with drugs. Its the joy and pure high of the moment. All of them. It flushes into her system like it all happens at a singular point in her soul. "Do you feel it?" Oh she does. And it feels real. "This is the high. The lows can feel just as terrible. As can the pain, Sister." Is it real?

She sways in place, overcome by this onslought of emotions. Elation, tenderness, pride, confidence, love. She looks like she can't decide if she's going to expire from the happiness or be ill from it. "If everyone knew your people could do this…" she breathes.

"Then we might be worshipped as Gods?" he finishes for her. The man slowly shakes his head. "Right now I could easily give you pain and suffering. I could make you be as sympathetic to the Cylons as a Centurion. "Or I could show you sexual pleasure that would trap you in rapture for decades." But Coop? He just stands there and lets the joy fade. She can still feel it, though. It lingers like the warmth of a loved blanket on a cold night. But what he shows her? What he makes her feel? There is still something undefinable missing. It does not quite feel as real as those dreams before the fall. She can breathe the air, but it misses those subtle, important points her mind forgets about until it senses them. "Shall we leave? Shall I show you something? Or feel something I have felt or Ceres has felt?"

"That you'd be hunted down and every last one of you killed until none were left." she says quietly, sadly. "This would terrify most people. Terrify them utterly." She actually pinkens a little at his remark, murmuring something under her breath, and then as the color fades, she murmurs, "There's a - hollowness. Something's missing."

"Yes, well, that annunciates the differences, doesn't it?" he asks wryly. "My fear is to be venerated. Yours is that we would be killed." Still in this static whitewash, the man claspes his hands. "Is there? Well, this is what I experience. When I go into a jail cell and I close my eyes? I can be anywhere. I can experience anything. I don't like to because, honestly, it takes away from the human experience as it is. It bothers me. But in a place like this? there are no orders or imposed limits, Gen. This is a place inside -your- mind, not my own. That joy you felt was not mine, it was simply me bringing it forward to you. All I intend with this is to show that we can be more than we are. You can feel and be much more. I intend to share nothing between Afton and I, but I could show you the love I had for her. Or I could show you how I view you. You would feel what I feel."

"You don't have to show me anything for me to know that we can be more than who we are, or that we are greater than the sum of our parts." she points out gently. "Would it be arrogant, I wonder, in seeing that? Knowing what another thinks of you, I don't know if that's a blessing or a curse. She seems to shy away from talk of love. Hers is behind a door, and the door, for now, is locked.

Knox concedes that with e gentle nod. Here, he might as well hold the power of a God. He's within her mind. He could do anything. Is he prowling her own mind? It certainly doesn't feel like it. "I don't think its arrogant. I think that if its genuine, then its real. Its devoid of judgment. Its real, so is it so awful? Is it hubris?" He cocks a brow. "Only if its demanding of praise, correct?" He smiles. But watching her reaction to the idea of love. "Do not deny yourself love, Gen. Here. If this is too much, just will it and it will end." He smiles once and it all fades away.

What appears in front of her is a random bunk. As it fades in, there are pictures of Afton and others on the ceiling above. Gen has just finished sex, but not in the way she normally understands it. As a man. There is no control over it, either. The elation, the satisfaction. The warmth beside her is genuine and that of pure companionship. As before, its the sort of joy Genny knows. The kind she could almost wrap herself in. The view changes and she's looking down to Afton, a recent wound to her face still marring her. This had to be just after Aerilon. Four months ago. She looks down to the scars and they're terrible, but something else is there that rises far more. Afton is asleep, or close to it, and as Iphi rises Afton looks back to her. She smiles and its the flooding of everything right and beautiful. Like a blooming flower, that smile. Its a singular moment where everything comes together and iphi just finds herself blurting it: "I love you, Af." The look returned? Its genuine like nothing else. "I love you too, Coop," she whispers. The return emotion is nothing but warmth and it all fades once more…. but the feeling lingers.

"Do we feel like you, Gen?" Knox asks gently?

Too much, and too confusing. It hurts Iphigenia's chest. But love seems universally associated with pain to her, for some reason. She watches the pair of them, and is a part of Cooper's experience, and it's so beautiful and it's so terrible that her shoulders start to bow, and she starts to sob. Perhaps because she's overwhelmed by the emotional experience of another so intimately, but also with a complicated shame and regret of her own. She doesn't let go of Knox's hand, but right now she's more naked in front of Cooper Knox than she has ever been in front of anyone on Orion.

Coop lets it all fade away into nothing. It slowly melds away back to the chapel on P. It all felt so precisely real.. but its missing that one touch that Iphi felt. The Gods weren't there. There is no prophecy, but what that was felt very pointedly real. Iphi might find herself crying and sobbing quietly back in the real world, but Knox is there with his arm around her and keeping her close. Awkward with all that combat gear, but he's trying to comfort her. "I'm sorry, Gen. That was too much," he whispers.

She is weeping, and yes it was too much, and something was missing, and her own emotions where the kind of love Cooper has for Afton are put into play are so convoluted and barbed and that sense of of something phantom, something not right, is coming in mixed signals. "Oh gods," she chokes. "Oh gods, I'm so hollow." She sounds completely despaired.

Coop doesn't even know what to do with that. He blinks, tilting his head forward a little to look at her face more. "What? Good Gods, you most certainly are not. I know what its like to be hollow, Gen. Its scary as hell to think back on, but it felt like ambivalence. Given the things I've seen you do and what I've talked to you about, I think that's probably impossible." Her hand squeezes her shoulder gently.

"No, you don't know. You don't know." she shudders. "And even when I'm experiencing what you're showing me, I can sense it. The hollowness. How it's not quite real."

Coop moves her shoulder, or at least tries, to sit her up more straight and look at him. "You're saying that something I showed you felt like it was missing something? What did it feel like it was missing? These are my memories and th every things I felt, just as I felt them." He's a little confused, and crying women make his palms sweat. Not only is he a guy, which puts him at disadvantage here, but he's also a skinjob. D'OH!

Iphigenia attempts to compose herself. "I can't explain it. There was just something - a layer missing, I don't know. I don't think there was a question of what it made you feel, but the recollection of it, or being in that moment, something didn't resonate properly. Hollow."

"A layer missing?" Coop squeezes her shoulder again. "Did Ceres- I know I haven't done a projection like this with you before." He brow furrows. "Did that feel like something from your visions?"

Iphigenia considers this a moment and then shakes her head. "No, no. The dreams, the visions…they feel real. Your projection felt as if I was watching a film. I can experience the emotion, but it's vicarious."

Coop nods slowly, looking down. "Yeah, that's how it should be. What you're experiencing is essentially a bridge between our minds. I don't exactly know how it works, but that's what it should be. But were I to leave you in your own body in one, it would and should feel real. …Or did it still feel different before?"

"You mean when it was my mind versus your memory?" Gen asks, brows quirking as she requests clarification. "Either way, it didn't feel quite right.'

Knox doesn't look so sure, either. "I don't know. Yeah, I guess. I just haven't had anyone else pick that up before. Then again, I don't think anyone else I've shared a memory with has had visions." He settles back, dropping his hand from her shoulder. "But that's essentially what I was talking about with sharing things. Petra prefers I not do it, but I have my own opinions. Its sort of hard to explain to people how it feels or what it does, but its harmless in terms of what I do. Reactions are less sure."

Iphigenia wipes at her eyes once more. "The gods are something more than skinjobs. It would make sense that the texture of the visions they offer would be different. More clear, more real. Not to insult you, Cooper."

Coop smirks. "I'm probably the last person the Gods would consider one of them. Something about my existence being heresy or whatever," he jokes, bringing some levity. "If you'd ever like to experience something more, let me know. Its an intensely personal experience, but I appreciate your speaking to me about what you say that night. It helps me digest what we are and my concerns for Ceres."

"Of course." she says. "I'm sorry for breaking down like that." She actually looks fairly mortified. "I'm not usually like that at all."

Coop smiles warmly. "Let's just consider it a confession. I won't tell anyone if you won't." He rises from the seat and swings his rifle around again, resting his arms on it. "Everyone has different reactions. Well, everyone I've shown, I should say. Afton and I spend hours in them and we often share our dreams. It brings us much closer." He looks back towards the door. "I think I'm going to split, though. Will you be alright?"

"I will." Gen manages to summon a smile. "I'll see you on board. Picon will keep us both quite busy."

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