TALKING ABOUT AN IMAGINARY GOD
(A Soldier falls; Doubts are given Voice.)
Sergeant Erin Mathias's EVA is almost done, as she moves away from the aft section and around the bend. "It's a big sucker!", she chuckles. Athena tells the Sarge to wrap it up, come back to the nest ASAP. "I was getting bored with the view anyhow... Hold up, got a leak. Some kind of gas venting through a crack in the hull, something's happening..." The steam from the Heavy Raider's core turns to gas, turns to flame. Mathias begins to scream. The whole thing vents, exploding off the Demetrius's side where it's docked, in a fireball, and her scream goes silent. In her room, Kara hears the sound but not the scream. "Mathias, report. Mathias, report!" And the static on the wireless resolves itself down to the truth, and Pike begins to shake.
Galen, still hungry, returns to Deck 8. This is the third time. It's always the third time. He makes his way through the muttering crowd as Gaius takes the stage, blushing at their chatter and applause.
"Please. Please don't clap." They fall silent. He grins, sharing a joke with them all, letting them in on it: "What are you all doing here?" They slowly begin to laugh along with him, as his grin breaks into a smile. He was born for this.
"The reason that we are all here is because the old ways have failed us. It doesn't matter if you're a believer or a nonbeliever. It certainly makes no difference to me. You are all welcome."
Galen, afraid of welcome, ashamed of being seen, turns to go. Gaius calls his name. Gaius is a bullshitter, but he's also a narcissist. Whatever happens here, it needs to happen in front of people. There must always be an audience, or else it isn't real. If Galen took his hand when nobody was watching, what would it be? Nothing. A tree of forgiveness in a forest nobody knows about. It wouldn't be real.