39,675 souls in the Fleet.
FRAGMENTS I HAVE SHORED AGAINST MY RUINS
(A Man and Woman nearly get it right, but get it wrong; Revolutions result.)
On Deck 8 the men and women are cooking, praying, laying out strings of beads. The shrine has grown, enormously. Gaius lies on his back, naked, in the back of the compartment. Tory comes to him, removing her scarf as she goes, and lies beside him, and plucks one single hair from his head. He wakes calling on the Gods, and she admonishes him. She plucks another; he cries out and laughs nervously. "Intense, isn't it?" He agrees. He's done this before, watched girls play out their explorations on his body and their own. "It happens at the same time as a pleasurable touch...?" She touches him and he moans; she plucks another hair. "Signals get crossed, don't they? It's hard to tell the pleasure from the pain."
That sick feeling of discovering your power, the absolute glory of it; the signals get crossed, when you lose your signposts. The bizarre responses of a body unused to new sensations, pleasures, pain: the kind of body that would take a monster to bed, and then burst into tears. This is Tory's life, now: glory, and pain, in rapid succession. Ecstasy and the sharp pain of hairs torn out one by one. Power and submission; Cylon strength and human weakness. These are the limits of existence, of the body; she's defining them, for herself and for him, and asking for an answer.
The last time anybody tried this shit with him, a messianic cult resulted. He doesn't like the feeling of being powerless, and starts to sit up; she shoves him down again with Cylon strength, startling him. "You're very strong, aren't you? You really..." She licks his face. "I think I preferred it when you cried," he says. And somewhere Tory smiles: this is, actually, vastly preferable.
The Sons of Ares paint their faces and charge down the corridor, toward war.
"If you assume that God forgives you, then it's gone, right? Erased? Forgiveness. You must consecrate the sin. Make it benign." Her hands coax out agreement; she's missing the point. Not the assumption of forgiveness, but earning it. Most importantly, remembering it like the Olympic Carrier; by writing it on your heart, and in that pain, learning from it. That's the consecration: when you take it into yourself, and it becomes a part of you. By this, we are consecrated. She's so close. "Bad becomes good...pain becomes pleasure..." She grabs his balls and he screams.
The Sons of Ares charge the halls; young men and hooligans, devotees of war in an age where war is all there is. Nicky was consecrated to Ares, just like these boys. Maybe, in an age of war, we all are.