Mathias sighed and he leaned back in his chair. “You are sure about this, Hope?” he asked the pilot seated across from him. “I mean, you’ve known this woman for only . . .,”
“Two years, Sir,” she said. She nodded. “I’m sure, Sir—we’re sure. We were wanting to wait until this assignment . . .,” her voice trailed.
And Mathias nodded. “And then the world ended,” he said softly.
“I want to make it official with Irina, Commander. I want to bind myself to her before the civil authority of the Colonies and all of the Gods—I want to make sure that if I die out there,” Hope said, as a tear leaked down her cheek, “that she knows I loved her, that she gets my flag and my wings.”
“Well, then,” the Commander said. “You have my permission—and my approval, Digger,” he said with a wide grin. And then he laughed. “You know, I have never actually performed this ceremony—I can’t think of a Battlestar Commander who has. You might need to give me a few days to reread the service; I’d hate to get something important wrong.”
Hope wiped her cheek and she beamed a brilliant smile back at the Commander. “Thank you, Sir. We had hoped to have a religious ceremony on Aerilon before . . . before we found out what had happened. My parents wouldn’t have approved, you see—they might have been from Scorpia, but they were very conservative . . . about sexuality and station, both. Irina being from Aerilon—and a woman—they . . .,” she sniffed, “in time they would have accepted it, but not soon.”
“Even with her being an accredited scientist?” Mathias asked. He knew well that Scorpia’s hedonism wasn’t exactly as the other Colonies had portrayed it—no world fit every stereotype, including his own homeworld . . . and Hopes.
She smiled. “In time, to be sure. But that lower class twang in her voice, oh, I can see them in my mind just grinding their teeth.”
“Surely we have a priest or priestess among the civilians?” Mathias asked. “If it is important to you—Hope, it is your day, yours and Irinas. If you want a priest, I won’t mind.”
Hope sighed. “There are four—all from Gemenon. Two who worship Hera, and one each for Athena and Artemis. They were attending a conference on Virgon and were saved by Captain Malcolm’s men. Unfortunately, all four of them are from the strictest Gemenon sects—they absolutely refuse to condone a marriage between two women.”
Mathias nodded sadly. “And I’ll bet all four of them are clamoring with their ship captains to see me and demand that stop this—probably citing that the marriage will remove two women of breeding age from society.”
Hope snorted. “That was almost their words exactly, Commander.”
“They can moan and groan all they want, Captain, but I’ll be damned if let them turn back the clock and deny a woman’s rights—you have my word on that.”
Hope gave a small nod. “Thank you, Commander. So, despite what we want, it looks like you might have dust off that old manual of regulations, Sir.”
Mathias laughed. “That depends, Hope—does your priest have to actually believe in the Gods, or is it enough that he has been ordained?”
“You want me to what
?” asked Brother Cavil a short time later. He sat down in the small, but actually quite pleasant little stateroom that the Commander had moved him to. Two guards were posted on the doors—and two more on those of the adjourning quarters assigned to Sam Anders—but those were more for Cavil’s protection than for anything else. Cavil had been astonished, to say the least, when the Commander had come down into the brig and ordered that he and Sam be removed.
“Mister Anders,” he had said, “is an innocent in this and he will not be locked up with that . . . person,” pointing at Daniel Graystone. “And you, Brother Cavil—I am giving you a chance to prove that you are willing to live alongside humans. I think you have might actually have a soul; a trait that Doctor Graystone appears to lack.”
His wound had been treated, and the rations were certainly much better—the Commander had even sent him six bottles of Scorpia Necrosia after he had shut down Aurora
and her fighters at Cerberus. He had books, and a bed with blankets, and clothing that wasn’t bright orange; a head that was private, and he was not being observed every second of every unending hour in a room where the lights were never dimmed.
Cavil shuddered. That was his first experience with a brig—and he hoped it would be the last.
Of course, the computer station had been removed, along with the phone hard-wired into the ship’s internal communications. But he had a music player and many selections—and it was better than that sterile brig, imprisoned next to Father Daniel who had tampered with Cavil’s mind! He felt a chill at that thought—his mind was sacrosanct; how dare Father Daniel do that? Now, he questioned all of his experiences, his memories, his thoughts, trying to discover what was true—and what was a fiction.
It was maddening. And yet, he was still enough of a One that he found it amusing and ironic that his own line had chosen to remove the knowledge of the Lost Five from the others. Perhaps he and Daniel were closer in spirit than either Cavil or Lorne cared to admit?
But, Brother Cavil shook his head again and he set aside the wool-gathering. “You want me
, a Cylon who doesn’t believe in a God or Gods, to conduct a religious wedding ceremony on a Battlestar fleeing the total holocaust of your Colonies? Can’t you find a single
surviving Gemenon priest? They were like the most common profession on the planet.”
Mathias grinned at Cavil and then he nodded to the Marine standing inside the hatch. He knocked, and the hatch opened, and Hope and Irina came in, holding hands.
“Ah,” said Cavil. “I just bet the Gemenesse loved
it when you asked them to marry two women. Why don’t you do it, Commander? That is a traditional power of a ship’s Commander, is it not?”
“These two want a proper ceremony—a religious
ceremony officiated by a priest. Even if the priest in question doesn’t appear to believe in the Gods or Goddesses after all.”
Cavil sighed and he shook his head again. “Sit, you two,” he ordered and then he snorted. “You two want an ordained apostate Cylon prisoner to marry you?”
“To conduct the ceremony, Brother Cavil—you aren’t our type even if a Scorpia-legal three-partner marriage would make the Gemenon priests even madder than they already are,” Hope answered tartly.
Cavil snorted again.
“The Commander says that you had nothing—personally—to do with the attack on the Colonies. And that you seem different from the other Cylons in that you might be willing to let humanity live in peace,” she continued. “You aren’t our first choice, but yes. Irina and I are willing to let you conduct the ceremony that will wed us,” and she squeezed her fiancée’s hand, which Irina returned.
“Will it be a private ceremony, then? Here? Now?”
Both of the women looked shocked and Mathias chuckled. “A few days yet, Brother Cavil. And it will be a small ceremony—just a few friends and senior officers; that is, if I am invited to the festivities?”
“Certainly, Sir!” Hope answered quickly.
“We would delighted if you would attend, Commander,” added Irina with a smile.
Cavil sighed. “You should know that I take my responsibilities quite seriously. If you want the full ceremony,” and both nodded, “then it must be done right. Which means, I need to interview each of you alone,” he sighed again and nodded to Mathias, “a guard can be present, yes, and determine for myself that this union is what you both want. Demeter or Dionysus? The Dionysian ceremony is certainly more exciting. Especially when performed in the traditional nude.”
Hope and Irina looked at each other, and then Irina nodded. “Aurora—the Goddess of the Dawn to signify that a new day has begun for us both.”
Cavil’s upper lip quivered and he canted his head to one side and nodded. “I know her ceremony. Very well, I accept. I have one last question, however—which of you is dominant in this relationship?”
Irina chuckled as Hope blushed. “That would be me, Brother Cavil,” the Aerilon scientist said.
“Good. Then I know whom to address the masculine part of the ceremony towards, and the feminine.”