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Ensign Nathan Richards - Definitely More

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This whole scene was short and sweet. @Hannibal Parker (John Carter)'s contributions were great as well, but I found this closing entry from @Nathan Richards especially compelling. It's been a pleasure exploring the dynamic between Robin and Nathan, seeing where their path is leading, and I appreciate the nuance and subtlety with which my fellow writer tells that story here. (Original post here: https://groups.google.com/g/sb118-amity/c/jX_zAJh5csc/m/iF-mbzrNAwAJ


((Shuttlebay 4, The Cellar, Amity Outpost))


Richards: Yes, ma’am.


Hopper: ::A teasing smirk:: Good boy.


He was going to miss their banter while working on the shuttle. He finally realized what seemed off about her, as he felt it now too. The pang of sadness sunk in as he realized that they weren’t going to be meeting like this anymore. Nathan was pulled from his thoughts as the doors behind them opened. He turned and saw Commander Carter step through, and smiled.


Hopper: Oh, hey! Commander, you made it! ::Chuckling:: I’m afraid there’s not much more work to be done, but… ::Pointing to the shuttle:: Take a look.


Richards: I just put the finishing touches on the outside. I still need to meet with Commander Iovianus about what I can do about arming her for emergencies, and have to get her registered aboard the station. Other than that I think she is good to go!


Carter: She’s a beauty, Nathan! You’ve done a great job on her!


Nathan set his coffee down and stood up. It really was a surreal moment to be standing there with the completed Targhee. 


Hopper: ::Agreeing:: Isn’t she a beauty?


Carter: ::Nodding:: It’s amazing what you can do with some motivation and a purpose. ::smiling:: How fast do you think she is?


Nathan looked towards the shuttle before shrugging with a smile.


Richards: ::Smiling:: I’d wager she could beat both mine and S’Raga’s time through the Grinder. ::Chuckling:: Might have to put that to the test.


Hopper: Well, why don’t we get in there? You’ve done so much work since I saw her last - we could both use a tour, hmm? Don’t you think, Commander?


Carter: Absolutely. I’d love to take the tour…


Richards: ::Gesturing towards the shuttle:: By all means. A tour it is.


Nathan led the way to the rear hatch, which opened and the loading ramp slid down to the deck floor. He climbed the ramp and gestured around the empty cargo hold.


Richards: This is the Foyer. Leave your coats and hats…anywhere, I guess.


Carter: If I had one, I would…


Hopper: You maek it sound like you’re ‘moving in’... ::Jokingly:: How does S’Raga feel about that?


oO Is that an option? Oo


Nathan stepped through the doorway into the main section of the shuttle. The biobed was folded up against the wall, opening up the main floor. The two doors on either side sat open, giving access to the EVA storage and Munitions closet. There was a small sleeping area with bunk beds that sat directly across from the biobed with a lavatory right next to it. 


Richards: This here, is the lounge. Lots of room for activities and relaxation. Fully functioning biobed and medical station. Sleeping capacity for two crew members at a time, unless they share. ::cough:: And of course, the luxury suite. ::Gesturing towards the Lavatory::


Hopper: In truth, getting everything functioning - and keeping the layout operationally functional as well, was quite a feat. I remember how she looked back on day one. ::To Carter:: She’s come a long way, Sir.


Carter: I bet she has.


Nathan led the way through another doorway into the Ops section. Terminals sat on either side of the doorway next to two exterior hatches. 


Richards: Tactical and Science stations. ::Gesturing towards the two terminals:: Exterior access hatches for multiple points of entry and exit.


Carter: Very Good…


Hopper: Alright Nathan… ::Smirking;: Let’s get to the good stuff, hm?


Richards: And finally, through the last doorway here, is the cockpit. Pilot and copilot consoles. Nothing too fancy. ::Turning towards the others:: What do you think?


Carter: She’s beautiful. What you have done with her is incredible, absolutely incredible.. A person committed to what seems the impossible can work wonders.


Nathan beamed at Carter’s compliment. It had been a long road, and getting to hear such positive comments on his work from someone who hadn’t been as hands on as others really lifted his spirits.


Hopper: Well said, Commander. ::To Nathan:: This wasn’t an easy project to take on. It was demanding - physically, mentally, and it required you to realize a final product in what was, and I’m speaking from my own observations here, a heap of junk. You’re a dedicated man, Ensign Richards… The Targhee is lucky to have you.


Carter: So, that’s her name?


Richards: Yes, sir. After the Targhee National Park back on Earth. It seemed fitting.


Hopper: ::Patting Nathan’s arm:: And, hey, thanks for putting so much faith in me. Letting me be a part of it. I know how much this shuttle means to you, so…I appreciate it.


Carter: I would also like to thank you for joining in on this project.


Nathan smiled at both of them. It had been wonderful having their support. He for sure could not have done it without Robin. And without John basically ordering him to put the Targhee as a priority, he had no idea where he would be with it right now.


Richards: Thank you, both of you. You can’t begin to understand just how much this project has helped me, and how much each of your involvement has helped.


The three of them made their way back to the shuttle bay. They stopped next to the crate with the tall stack of coffee trays, turning to look once again at the shuttle.


Hopper: So - how soon will she fly? Have you sorted out your certifications yet?


Richards: She is ready to go right now, actually. I just need to get the process started for the registry and certification then we can do a test flight.


Carter: I’ll go right now and have that taken care of so the Targhee can have her flight certificate as soon as possible. You’ve spent a lot of time getting her ready, and I know you are ready to fly her. Anybody want to come with?


Richards: Nah, that’s alright. I’ve got a little tidying up to do down here. But you need me for anything I’m just a tap away. ::Chuckling::


Nathan began to clean up the area around the shuttle as the other two moved closer to the exit. He could barely hear Robin and John talking before John left the bay.


Hopper: Oh, um, you go on ahead, Sir. I’ve just realized I left something in the shuttle. I’ll catch the next one.


Carter: Alright. Tell Nathan the flight safety folks will be down to talk to him pretty soon. See you two later…


Nathan heard the doors slide closed and Robin’s footsteps approached him. 


Richards: What did you forget? ::sly grin:: Lieutenant?


Hopper: I… Didn’t forget anything. ::Looking down, fidgeting with her coffee mug:: I’m just… Going to miss this. All this. The shuttle, the work, the Cellar, the… ::Chuckling, holding up her empty cup:: coffee… ::Looking at Nathan once again:: I guess I don’t really feel ready to say ‘goodbye’.


Nathan leaned up against the crate and tilted his head a little to the right. 


Richards: I don’t know why you would think this is… goodbye. I’m not going anywhere, the Targhee isn’t really going anywhere, for now…


Hopper: Well, now we both go back to spending our afternoons ‘in the office’ - so to speak. I mean , your office is probably more like a jefferies tube or something… ::A tiny laugh, mostly at herself:: Out of everyone I met here on Amity during my first week, you made me feel the most like… ::Looking for words: Like I’d.. Like I belong here. Thank you, for that.


Nathan smiled softly at Robin. When they had first met, Nathan had taken to her almost immediately. He knew that he wanted to be around her. Make her feel welcome, like she belonged. He knew what it felt like to be an ‘outsider’ of sorts. Just not knowing if you are in the right place, or if your decisions were going to have good or bad consequences. Having someone there to understand and lean on was always a great help. He had felt the strong desire to be that person for her. Things had taken a bit of a turn when they had admitted to being attracted to each other, and it definitely thrown a spanner in the works momentarily. But Nathan still wanted to be the one she went to when she needed anything. That’s what friends were for afterall.


Richards: Of course. You do belong here. I’m glad you’re here. Without you, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we got with her. As far as I’m concerned, she is our shuttle. Not just mine anymore.


Robin smiled, turning towards the Targhee. She wrapped her arm around Nathan and laid her head on his shoulder. Nathan felt himself tense up at her touch for a brief moment before he relaxed and wrapped his arm around her.


Hopper: She’ll always be more than a shuttle to me.


Nathan smiled, thinking back to the first day they worked together. Listening and dancing along to the BeeGees. He briefly pressed his lips to the top of her head before turning to look back at the Targhee with her, cheek resting where his lips once were.


Richards: For sure. Definitely more.


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