Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Last Days of Rishi Antall

Note: This is a companion post to the previous one about a Nordic Larp I did in Sweden in March set in the world of Battlestar Galactica. To give a better feel for what went on, I wrote this one from the first person view of my character, Rishi Antall. I stole this idea, er... was inspired by Thomas Be, who did a much better job with his character's writeup. 

I have no idea how Rishi is writing this from beyond the grave. That kind of thing happens a lot on the Celestra. I have to warn you: Rishi is not a very nice person. 

Lots of noise coming from the upper decks. We've jumped back to Tauron, but there seems to be an attack going on. "Humanity's children are coming home." Not sure what that means. Down here in sublight engineering, we just keep the engines running and the ship manoeuvring. 
It looks pretty bad. The Cylons are back. And they are mad. Millions of Taurons have died. People on the other colonies too apparently. I hope the Captain has a plan. 
Those faster-than-light (FTL) engineers are getting on my nerves, talking about the ship as their "lady cat" like it has feelings or something. Frakking idiots. 

E304R5 must be in there somewhere. 
They are totally lost now that the ship's network is down to keep the Cylons off our systems. They are running around looking for valve E304R5 or some such, but it is obvious they have no idea what that valve, or any other control actually does. They just know how to follow an instruction protocol, but have no idea how to actually jump the ship. 

They have forgotten everything they learned in training. I guess their shipwright never made them drill on manual operations. Puskas did, so we "snails" as the FTLers call us still know how this ship actually works. I don't even want to call them engineers. We may be slow, but we know how to do our jobs. 

Frakking idiots. 
FTLers in the engine room. Looking lost, as usual.
After the attack, some civilian vessels were on their way to us. The bluesuits on the Galactica ordered Captain Polos to jump away immediately, but she disobeyed and waited for the civvies. Good on her for not letting more good Taurons die. The captain just made an announcement that the Galactica is sending some bluesuits, engineers and pilots to come "help" us. Wonderful. Just what we need. Help from the Capricans. 

I can't understand the attitude of some of the people on board. They seem to think Taurons might need help from Capricans. I can't get my head around that. Millions of Taurons have died, and someone must pay for that blood debt. Blood for Blood; The Tauron Way. Many are talking about getting revenge on the Cylons, but that is ridiculous. Killing a toaster does not avenge any deaths. If your brother dies in a car accident, you don't free his soul by destroying the car. Someone who can feel must pay. 

Fancy frakking bluesuits. 
The Capricans invented the cylons. 
The Capricans control the military which was supposed to protect us. 
The Carpricans dominate the government that got us into this.

We have to defeat the Cylons, but I cannot hate them. Machines do what they are built to do. It's another story for the Capricans and everyone from the Galactica. 

Someone told me that there was a civvie from Tauron named Antal who was an aerospace professor. Went off to find him, to see if I have family aboard and to recruit another engineer. It turns out Clem Antal is here with his sister Amira. They are my mother's sister's children. My cousins. Family, even though they were Tropoi and I was Faneia clan. My mother Mara never spoke much about her family, but I knew she was raised a Tropoi. 
Pilots always think they own the place

When the three of us find a quiet place to talk, a Galactica bluesuit barges in, with a pilot in tow. He wants to know all about us for some kind of inventory of personnel. I can barely bring myself to spit out my name to him. The pilot gets all blubbery about our tragic loss after he leaves. Crying is not the way to grieve. 
They have announced a mourning ceremony for all Taurons in the civilian area. Priests speak, and individuals remember those they have lost. I speak of Blood for Blood, and the need to settle the souls of the dead with revenge. Get shouted down, that this is no time for politics. Politics! Vengeance is a part of grief, the largest part to true Taurons. I am not asking anyone to vote for me. I have no time for politics. 

I spoke to find other true sons and daughters of Tauron who feel the same way, but no one seems to understand. Except the Guatrau of the Ha'la'tha. She reveals herself, and speaks eloquently for the Tauron ways. I always stayed away from the Ha'la'tha; how can there be honour in sneaking around like they do, dealing drugs, and murdering? But her words give me hope. If the Ha'La'Tha becomes what she describes, it could be the best future for Taurons. 
Vergis scientist in holoband room
I spoke with a Vergis scientist about using the holoband together with Clem and Amira to try and understand  the story of our mothers. I slipped them some more power from the power distribution console to butter them up a bit. It helps to know engineers. 

The holoband was very realistic. We appeared in their kitchen with their mother fixing breakfast. The machine pulled out memories to reconstruct that my mother had failed an exam for a Tropoi academy. Because academic achievement was so important, she "knew" that her family would reject her, so she left and married a Faneia engineer. Their mother never knew why her sister had abandoned her and was hurt and angry the rest of her life. Both of them hurt each other and themselves based on expectations and half information. 

Master and Captain Polos
Puskas has been busy. It seems the Galacticans and Vergis corporate suits have been calling the shots, and that has to end. We are taking over the engine room, with a hostage until the Captain is restored. He somehow has acquired some weapons. Galactica marines try to sneak in, but we make them retreat. We know this engine room better than they do. We negotiate with Ops (Galacticans keep calling it CIC, the idiots) until we are sure that the Captain is back in command. A Tauron captain on a Tauron ship! 

Marines need to stay down there.
We emerge from the engine room, and I establish myself with a shotgun to keep the Galacticans and Capricans away from Ops. Some marines start to make their way down the corridor, but I wave the gun and they back off. There is a lot of yelling as people try to get past. 

I get word from Ops that the Captain wants pilots and Galactica bluesuits to be allowed past. I am crushed. We risked our lives and now she is inviting them back in? How is this possible? But I comply with her orders. I do relieve a few of the pilots of their sidearms though. Did they really think they could come into the Tauron part of the ship with weapons? I draw the line at marines though. I don't like them and they will not pass. 
At one point, boatswain Bartos passes word that the head bluesuit is to be allowed past with a marine escort. I guess there is no point in holding this part of the corridor anymore if they allow marines all over the ship. I still respect her command, but I am beginning to think that the captain might be too weak to keep control of the ship. 

Why are they tolerated on a Tauron ship? 
I head forward to get some food, expecting to be arrested or jumped for waving a gun in so many bluesuits' faces. I guess they have orders to back off, because they leave me alone. 
With the bluesuits and Caprican marines wandering around, I figure a Tauron in Ops with a weapon could be a good idea. A few minutes after I got there, a line of bluesuits come marching in. They lined up in front of Cpt Polos and snapped to attention. I guess they have something to tell us. 

The major said that they want to continue to work together with the Taurons, but will not give up their Galactica identity as the Captain had asked. They refused to accept her demands, and said they realized they could be arrested or even airlocked, but were ready to face the consequences. 

My Tauron heart soared! This was the chance to settle a few blood debts and truly regain control of our ship. But the Captain gave in, again. She said she respected their decision, likening it to something a Tauron would do (disgusting idea). My heart sank as she invited them back into command positions as if nothing had happened. I considered using the shotgun to drive the decision in a different direction, but knew that would be suicide and would change nothing. 

It is getting harder and harder to keep any respect for the captain, but I will try. 
The FTLers keep getting weirder. They stroke the engines like a lover and talk to them. They aren't the only ones saying the ship talks to them though. Some strange rumours are coming from the Vergis tower about AIs and sentient computers. Reason enough to stay away from there. 

I found a good chance to mess with the FTLers a bit. When no one was in the engine room, I swapped their lady cat idol for a Cylon doll I got off of a civilian. They think that their machine is becoming sentient and talks to them, so why not a Cylon? Apparently it caused quite a ruckus when someone noticed it. I'm glad I wasn't around; I don't think I could have kept a straight face. I found the doll after it got flung from the engine room, with a head and a hand missing. At least one Cylon got damaged. 
I am in Ops when it is announced that Cpt Polos will go to the Galactica mess to negotiate with the bluesuits and the politicians. I figure if the Capritrash bluesuits get an escort then so should the Tauron captain and I offer to go with her. She is never threatened except by boredom as the politicians go on and on and on. It seems that they are offering terms as to how she can keep part of her command. How dare they! When she leaves to check in with Ops, she says she will go back to tell them she rejects their offer. I convince her to just leave; the risk that they will arrest her is too great. 

The speech she delivered to the ship after the negotiations was a thrill. She started by describing the terms offered by the Capricans, making it sound attractive. Then she rejected them all, as she should. This is a Tauron ship, and it is not up to the Capricans to offer terms as to how the Taurons can retain their own vessel. But she still doesn't eject the bluesuits. I am not sure how this is going to end. 
Gaspar, the Guatrau. I was unable to protect her. 
I run into Puskas and find that he has gotten closer to the Ha'la'tha, especially Gaspar their Guatrau. It looks like they are the only group really looking to defend the Tauron Way and I would like to get closer, or even join this scary organization, if they would have me. The Guatrau is in danger from some turncoat members, and needs protection. I volunteer to help protect her as a way to really do something for Tauron. She goes to Ops to confer with the commanders and I see some of the renegade Ha'la'tha approaching. I hold them at bay for awhile so that she can go out the other way. 

Then things start to happen quickly. 

I was escorting Gaspar to a safe place behind Ops. She went down the stairs first and I heard shouting. When I got down the stairs, I saw the Boatswain Botros with a knife raised in his hand over her, shouting something about honour. I shot him to protect her. Then I shot a Vergis Security who was with him. I went to cover the stairway and was shot by Galactica marines. I lay for a while bleeding, until a medic could get to me. He patched me together and carried me to the med bay. 

We never even spoke before this. 
In the med bay, I found out that my contribution was ultimately pointless. Gaspar was already dead, killed by someone I didn't see hiding around a corner. Botros had raised his knife to call for a new Guatrau, not attack her. I also didn't know that that there was a split in the Ha'la'tha and Gaspar had been a bad leader, and maybe even a Cylon. I was probably defending the wrong person, and didn't even end up defending her very well.

Botros explained that there is always blood when the office of Guatrau passes from one person to another, so he did not hold it against me. I was acting to protect the Ha'la'tha as I understood it so he respected that. Final irony: After all I did to protect Taurons against the Capricans, who were the real threat, who did I end up shooting? Two Taurons.

I moved around a bit after they were finished with me in the med bay Amira did what she could. When I heard we were going into battle against a base ship, I staggered to my post at the power distribution console. I couldn't fight, but I could still push some buttons, I thought. Death slipped over me when I was slumped in front of the console.  Never mind that it took 30 minutes for my sublight colleagues to notice I was dead. Gulyas took good care of me, and sent me out the airlock with beautiful words, into cold space. 

The rest of the crew followed soon after. 

Photos from various sources, including me and Larson Kasper 

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