AWD #406: The Man Who Became God
The Man Who Became God
Summary: Toby and the Ghost Captain talk symbols and theology.
Date: 02/08/2016
Related Logs: Unfriendly Fight
the-captain Toby 
Wilderness - Piraeus
See text.
16th February 2006

Luckily the weather is compliant for the search. People are allowed off Sheridan, but they have to maintain radio contact with position reports. But people still sneak out - especially couples looking for alone time. Toby, on his own, is much easier. Moving through the woods, the sunlight overhead filters down through the bows and branches. The trees here look like pines, but don't have any branches lower than fifteen feet. It provides good visibility as he moves across the ridgeline. There's something different about the air here, though. He can feel that same sensation the others have felt. The presence of a higher power. It runs up and down his spine and over his brain, focusing his mind to something happening. For a moment, that fight or flight instinct kicks in- and then as soon as it hits, its gone. The persistent feeling of peace spreads. Birds sing a little more. A gentle breeze blows through the trees.

Toby has been spending a fair amount of time down on P of late. Snatching an hour or so here and there on shuttle runs to the rhino techs, or just managing to squeeze in some leasure time. While most of that has been focused in Sheridan trying to find Dr Thanos, it's now the 16th of the month, and that means it's a holy day. By means of swapping shifts with his colleagues he's got the whole day to himself and is off into the wilder areas to find somewhere secluded. Ironic perhaps, given his faith is one of fellowship, but thems the breaks when you know of no others still living. With it being a holy day he's fasting, but that doesn't stretch to drinks, so he's just looking for somewhere to sit and rest when he feels that sense of peace that he'd first felt up by the dig site. That fight or flight feeling might fade rapidly, but it's replaced by one of excitement. There are 'ghosts' around nearby, it's a day when Mithrians gather, if they are Mithrians, does that make this a sign?

He hears her before he can see her. That might be on purpose so he isn't startled by her arrival. She steps out from behind a large boulder with a casual smile on her face. The sunglasses she wears are black wrap-arounds. It makes the smile on her face look a little more welcoming. As always in her combat gear, the rifle is slung vertically in front of her. Hands a gloved and clasped on the buttstock. It's a very relaxed position and gait from her. Walking over towards him, she waggles her fingers in greeting. "Mister Shackleton." It’s spoken as if they were old friends. "We got the sense you were interested in speaking to one of us. I hope everything is well?" Friendly as always, words not quite matching her lips but he can hear her perfectly clear in his head.

"Captain," Toby replies, not really having anything else to call her by, "you're perceptiveness is remarkable, or is it one of the benefits of being.. ah, in your form?" He's mentioned it to one or two people in places he might have been overheard after all. While he's still careful not to look directly at her lest she fade away again he does try and glance over her uniform to see if that certain little symbol is there, the same one that he has inked into his flesh in several places. "Do you take water?" he ask, given he's holding a canteen, "it is not yet time to eat for the sun is still high, but water is fine." His other hand lifts up to scratch at the back of his neck for just a moment as she asks if all is well, and he answers, "things are, uncertain. I haven't given up the search for Shephard, although it is somewhat on hold for want of new leads. That however is not what I wished to discuss. Shall we walk?"

"Membership has its privileges. We know because you know. Or, more accurately, because you feel a certain way. And please, Tobias, you're not in uniform. Call me Lilah." The smile is sincere, as well. The woman leans her shoulder against a tree about six or eight feet away and watches. But when he glances over her uniform he realizes that he is actually looking right at her and she doesn't fade away into nothing. "I'm here, Tobias. You can look at me or even touch me." But the symbol is still there. "And no, thank you. We do not eat or drink. There's no need, but I appreciate the offer. You're fasting for the sixteenth, yes?" The offer to walk has her dip her head with an easy smile and she grins. "Definitely. You may ask me anything. I cannot promise perfect answers, but I will give what I can." The Captain moves with him when the guy starts to walk.

Toby is indeed out of uniform, he doesn't even have his tags on since he's alone and free from any fleet presence. "It's just Toby," he replies, filing her name away should it be needed later, "but yes, I am fasting til sundown as I'm on world, were I onboard then it's judged to be 6pm ships time to avoid complex time calculations." Taking a swig of his drink he then stows the canteen and sticks his hands in his pockets. Continuing along the way he had been walking he says, "I'll not touch for now, I know you can do.. a thing, and I'm not sure yet if that's something I want or not, there are questions I would ask first." And since she said he can ask her anything, he does so. "That symbol on your uniform, the circle and dot. What does it mean to you? Why do you wear it?"

"Ah, Toby. Apologies." A subtle nod with it. She moves at a casual pace, staying beside him. The sound of her boots on the forest floor could be anyone's. It sounds and feels exactly like she could be any other member of the crew. "I admit, we have so many debates about what it is that you do on your ships and how they must work. They fascinate us immensely. I wish I could visit." Though it sounds very much like she cannot. "And yes, I can do a thing. But I don't do that without your permission. 'Impolite' does not even begin to cover it." She laughs softly with the remark. The sound of her laugh is almost like hearing an angel. She draws out the feelings, perhaps unintentionally, with ease. The feeling of safety by her side is intense. "It signifies my rank. Officers all wear them of this design. Different ranks are denoted by chevron'd bars on the backing. The circle and star remain unbroken, always. The star represents the one that we circle on our planet. The circle represents our home. It means that we fight to protect all those who seek freedom, be it here or in space. From Piraeus to the stars, we are the guardians. It represents our honor, strength, and so much more. Some ascribe religious connotations to it. It was common for people to refer to dedicated, career soldiers as those who had found their religion. Some used it as a mocking point, but very few. …It means something to you, doesn't it?" she asks, glancing over.

Toby is, on a fundamental level, disappointed by that answer, and as she finishes he lets out a breath that he hasn't actually been aware he'd been holding. Still, while he'd hoped for 'it's the symbol of Mithras our God', at least it wasn't 'it's the symbol of our God which is the same one the Cylons worship' so it could be much worse. He takes time to digest her words, to try and hide his own reaction somewhat and find a suitable reply to her question. In the end he just stops long enough to ditch his backpack, then hauls his tops off over his head to reveal the network of tattoos on his torso and arms. Turning slightly so his right arm is in clear view he points to a band around his biceps that says 'Sol Invictus', with a telltale dot in the centre of the o. "It is the symbol of my God," he states simply, "it a star, all stars, for that is where he watches over us from." One he's sure she's seen it he dresses again, it is February after all. "We used to be many in number, the followers of Mithras, but out numbers have declined as the strength of the Lords and Ladies has grown. I know of no other survivors of the faith so when someone said they'd seen you wearing that symbol I had hoped.. silly perhaps, but I hoped none the less."

Lilah stops long enough to get a look at his tattoo's, an in particular the one he points out. There's a low nod. But that smile doesn't leave her face while he speaks. "It is no more a silly question then your religion is silly. These are fundamental and important questions, especially considering the nature of who and what I am. We are very old. We are very dead. But here we are. I respect that question a lot, Toby. But-" she reaches out with a gloved hand and stops short of touching him. A finger waggles gently. "I have a secret for you, Toby. I'm religious. Almost all of us were. But part of the freedom we defended was religious. We cannot wear our religion on our uniforms. Our people believed in a single God, much like yourself. They worshipped in different ways. You refer to Mithras? In many ways ours was similar. No God above ours, even if we bled for others many times over. After our war passed, our people were shown their truths. One day, perhaps, my soldiers will be allowed to see this with their own eyes. For now? We remain guardians."

"You know of Mithras?" Toby asks, brow furrowing in a faint frown, although more one of thought than concern, "from someone else, of is that another of those.. benefits of membership?" Shouldering his pack once more he starts forward again. "Would you tell me of your God? From what you said earlier, about what that symbol represents for you, we share similar principals at least. Courage, comradeship, strength, honour, protection of the weak. Does he, or she, have a name, and what truths were shown?"

"Benefits. Its the same way we knew that Zachary Sheperd was a coward. The same way that we knew that when we appeared to you, that you were the right people. That Zachary is not who you are, as a people. The same way we know you fight, my friend." She holds the gaze but takes off the sunglasses so he can look into her eyes. The glasses are folded and placed to hang off the front of her plate carrier. "We share the same principles, yes. Our God demanded many of the same things. Truthfulness. Honor. Integrity. As you said, protection of the weak. We place ourselves between innocents and danger from those who would put the innocents between us and them." Lilah's smile doesn't leave as they walk. Her eyes wander the forest and the light. "Our God was referred to as a He, but we would all smile and wink at that. Nobody was sure. God was mostly benevolent but was to be feared, but not by us. Our God stood behind us when we fought. He was with us when we were under fire. When we were wounded. I felt it when I died. Our God did not demand sacrifices or days of worship, only faith and to live the principles. That's why our career soldiers were so often referred to as religious. Nearly all of our clergy had long, established careers of military service." Hands rest once more on the butt of the rifle. "Our truthes? Those were lost to history. We did not originate on Piraeus, Toby. Piraeus is our safe harbor in the storm. Our people fled here from another planet thousands of years before we died. Our truthes and our religion came with us."

Toby listens without interrupting, similar, but different it seems to him, although once she's finished he does quip, "don't suppose there's anything about bulls in there is there?" It's not a terribly serious question, but the one that follows potentially is, "the storm of war? You sheltered here as we do? Who was it you fought? When you first appeared to us you showed us that firefirght, but not your enemies." It's not a criticism, his tone is clear on that, but he is curious.

"The bull, as you call it, represents strength. I'm a personal fan of it. Our religious texts refer to my people's early days. We have no facts, only testaments. One story in particular of a man wrestling a bull who had threatened his people who were ravaged by hunger. They fought for hours, the sound of their feet trembling the terra. The sound of battle called the people from their homes to witness it. Eventually the man slit the neck of the bull and spilled his blood. The town was saved not just from the aggression of the bull, but by the feast. The blood restored the land and crops grew. The bull is to be respected." She drums her fingers once as if in pleasure, remembering the story and how it made her feel. "But yes, we fled to this planet. Our histories did not say why, only that a terrible cataclysm had occurred and that some visionaries had seen the coming fire." She does stop, though. "You want to know who we fought? Perhaps you should see this for yourself. There is a place not far from here where you can see find remnants of our war here. Not a blasted city beneath the soil. Tangible items. The question is whether or not you are ready to know certain truthes about your life, and the lives of your crew. And your people." She seems much more serious, the look in her eyes like steel. "If you take the journey to explore this location, there is no turning back. You will not be able to ignore it. It will change many things."

Toby stops as she gets to the bit about wrestling the bull, just stops dead in his tracks and stares. "And the name of that man, the one who wrestled the bull? I know him as Mithras I am fairly certain given what you just said. For it is told that he brought forth a harvest in that same manner, and that he would, if ever humanity struggled to sustain itself, then he would return and slaughter another bull to create a second bountiful harvest. I have wondered this past year if that second harvest is Piraeus, but have no pater to speak with on the matter." As for the rest of what she says, it is a while before he can process it as he's still reeling from her tale of the bull wrestler. Eventually though he pulls himself together enough to blink and then nod slowly. "In which direction," he asks carefully, obviously still considering her words, "I think perhaps not today, today is for other matters, but soon perhaps? I need time to think, time to process."

"He was known only as the generic man. Our theologians believed that he remained unnamed because he was either an appearance of our God, or meant to represent any man or woman standing up and doing what needed to be done. Our scriptures were never clear." Lilah only flickers a smile just a touch. "Not quite the same story, but they are fairly close, I agree. I suppose that your allusion to Piraeus being your second bull is possible. A new harvest. Perhaps it is. To my people, perhaps it would have been seen as such if you had foretelling of a return of our fabled man." She looks off and away while she thinks on it, almost as if she were looking at one particular point in the infinite distance. "I think that your religion is deserving of respect, Toby. We all do. I wish we had some way to provide you guidance in the matter. But the truth is that we cannot. Our belief is that while we have our own personal feelings, we do not say that they are right or wrong." She looks back to him. "I cannot say this with enough conviction, Toby: Faith is more important than anything else such who or what you worship, as long as your faith does not infringe upon the freedom and safety of others. The power is in belief. That power is inside you because you feel your connection - your faith." She let's that settle before pointing back towards Sheridan. "From your landing pad, it is twenty miles on heading 085 by your compass. It is beneath an overhang at the base of a cliff. If you visit, we will be there with you or your own people."

"He was a man who became God," Toby notes, still working on processing all that has been said, "perhaps the story is the same, only there it diverges, I do not know." As she points towards Sheridan he turns to watch, then nods a slow nod of understanding, even though he says no more on that topic. "I think, perhaps," he eventually says, "that I need to be alone for a while. There is much I need to think on, and much I need to still do before I break my fast this evening." He fidgets with the strap of his backpack a little. "Thank you, for your time, and I hope we may perhaps speak again soon, when I have a better understanding of what you have shared." Or he hikes out to that given location.

"Oh now that is a very fascinating idea. I like that. I'm not sure I've heard that theory, but the man becoming a God is an idea I could respect. Greatly." Lilah does wait for him, though. Nothing is said, just the sound of the birds and the breeze. "It is not a problem, Toby. You've been a pleasure to speak with. I wish I could have known you in my life, but I will settle for now." She lifts her hand and taps her chest twice, just over the heart, with her fist. "Walk tall, my friend." She takes a step back before turning to go.

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