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Lt.Cmdr Isaac Bale & Lt.JG Alexander Richards, "Idle Chat"

LtCmdr Alexander Richards

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((Bridge, USS Mercury, moments after Alexanders meeting with Professor Cowens.))

::Alexander exited the turbolift with ease. He had become used to wheeling himself around, although he missed being able to walk dearly. His reason for being here today was not to 'work' but rather to familiarize himself with the helm controls once again. Although he was the chief of science, it never hurt to keep skills learned fresh. After all, he had unexpectedly found himself at the helm again during the last mission to JB-437.::

::He rolled down to the helm console and nodded to the rather surprised helmsman who left his post with a little bit of hesitation. It was rather odd for a blue shirt to take the helm, even in a period of downtime.::

::Isaac stood beside the center chair on the bridge. He wasn't nervous about taking the seat, he was simply far too tense to sit anywhere. He was currently in command of the Mercury by default, and he was feeling the weight of that circumstance now. Captain Kells couldn't get back aboard fast enough as far as Isaac was concerned. After what seemed like an eternity standing there, Isaac heard the turbolift doors open behind him. He turned to see Lt. Richards wheel himself onto the bridge, and the young man wasted no time in heading down to helm control. He probably wanted to make himself useful, and Isaac could only admire his determination. Losing a leg was no small thing, and Isaac appreciated the Lieutenant's desire to overcome that obstacle. With a nod from Isaac toward the current helmsman giving his permission, Richards took up the station.::

RICHARDS: Congratulations on the promotion Commander. That's two since I came aboard the ship. It seems the captain has a lot of faith in you.

::Isaac gave a small sigh before answering. He'd never been one for small talk, but given his past experiences with Lt. Richards, the Intel officer could appreciate the gesture and play nice.::

BALE: ::nodding:: Thank you, Mr. Richards. You should be proud of your own accomplishments as well. Becoming chief of science on a science vessel is no small feat. You are making the most of shore leave, I hope?

RICHARDS: Me, just thought I'd use the down time to familiarize myself with the helm controls again. The last mission taught me a thing or two about life in Starfleet. Things I had all but forgotten.

::Isaac couldn't help thinking of Velana then, and how she in particular had managed to remind him of who he really was... who he was meant to be.::

BALE: ::smiling:: Amazing how this life we lead can do that, isn't it?

::Alex couldn't help but crack a smile back to the Commander. They may have had their issues in the past, but as Starfleet officers, they could both look past that. Alex still couldn't consider the commander a friend. That would take longer but he knew enough now and had seen enough to respect him. Intelligence couldn't be an easy job at the best of times, let alone with the pressures of that chair added on. ::

RICHARDS: I can't help but notice you are standing rather than sat in the chair Commander. Any particular reason for that?

BALE: ::sighing:: It's not my chair. I suppose I don't feel that I've earned the right to sit in it, even temporarily.

RICHARDS: That's understandable Commander. I'm glad to be rid of it if I'm honest. The Mercury's little jaunt to JB-437 reaffirmed in me why I'm not ready for the command track yet. It is difficult to make decisions when you know the fate of the entire crew rests on your shoulders. Thankfully, the team left behind whilst you were all away were exemplary
in their duties.

::Isaac glanced at Lt. Richards thoughtfully. He was either being modest, or being in command had truly rattled him.::

BALE: I've read the reports, Lieutenant. You made the right call at every step, but I get the feeling you still doubt yourself. Was command really so heavy a burden? ::grinning:: Or was the office not to your liking?

RICHARDS: OK, you got me., It's also the fact my office down on deck 26 is more intimate than the Captain's ready room. Sometimes less is more. :: He let out a hearty laugh. ::

::Isaac chuckled a moment before becoming serious again. He still wore a black collar, but he was a command officer now. As such, morale would be as much a part of his duties as anything else. Wonderful. Perhaps he could ask Captain
Reynolds for tips on being cheery and optimistic. That thought elicited Isaac's own deep, full-bellied laugh before he turned back to Richards shaking his head. The young man needed some reassurance.::
BALE: Have you studied much of your own people's history, Mr. Richards? Late 20th, early 21st century to be exact?

::Alexander paused for a second. The Commander had just given him a reassuring compliment and was now making small talk. He almost had to do a double take. This certainly wasn't the man he encountered when he first arrived on the Mercury. ::

RICHARDS: As an Oxford graduate Commander, I have. Quite a lot actually. It was required reading on any course there.

BALE: There was an author on Earth during that time who went by the pen name of Robert Jordan. He wrote a series of fictional works collectively called the Wheel of Time. It was a fascinating read... a new twist on the classic tale of good versus evil.

RICHARDS: Ah yes. I know of that series of books My father has a vintage hard back collection that dates from the late 20th century. They are quite worn but considering what they've been through, quite fascinating.

:: Alexander recalled in his mind a moment in his childhood where his father was reading to him from book number one. ::

BALE: I found something quite profound in one of his books, though I can't recall which one it was at the
moment. Jordan, through one of his fictional characters, said that you can never know everything. And part of what you know is always wrong. Perhaps the most important part. A portion of wisdom lies in knowing
that. A portion of courage lies in going on anyway.

:: Alexander had never thought of life like that but it did make a lot of sense to him. Especially given his history. ::

RICHARDS: That makes a lot of sense now you mention it Commander. In my field, and that of my parents knowledge is tantamount to everything. The field of science is about the quest for knowledge and from that aspect, the sentiment rings true as you never really can know everything. Science continues to move forward at an astronomical pace. There is always something new to learn everyday and theories become outdated or irrelevant with each new discovery.

:: He took a deep pause. ::

RICHARDS: Unfortunately none of that prepared me for the demands of that chair.

:: He motioned to the captain's chair with his right arm. ::

BALE: Well... as an Intelligence officer, I make it a point to know as much as possible. Jordan was right, though. All any of us can do is take the information at hand and make the most of it. Trust me, Lieutenant, you did just fine.

RICHARDS: Thank you Commander. :: He looked at his body. :: I'm hoping this is only a temporary set back. I'll need to check in with the doctors and the Captain regarding future treatments at some point.

:: He pressed a button on the helm console, adjusting the yaw of the ship by 0.2% to prevent her listing. ::

::Isaac took a few moments to consider Richards. Since they were playing nice and opening up, another opinion on a personal matter couldn't hurt.::

BALE: You're a married man, are you not?

RICHARDS: Happily for many years sir. My wife means the world to me.

BALE: Any children?

RICHARDS: Just John. The little tyke managed to break his leg trying to emulate my love for rock climbing. Now he sees my current condition as trying to be like him.

:: He let out a smile. Sometimes the innocence of youth still managed to astound him. ::

BALE: What's it like?

RICHARDS: Being a parent? Being Married? (Beat.) Both are hard to describe Commander simply because there are no situations that can prepare you for either.

:: He paused before continuing. ::

RICHARDS: With regards to marriage, it's the ultimate expression of love for your partner. It's a sign of commitment and of courage and not something entered into lightly. If you find yourself wanting to spend every waking moment with someone, and can't bear it when you are apart the maybe marriage is the next logical step.

:: He took another pause to allow the Commander to assimilate the knowledge. ::

RICHARDS: With regards to being a parent, that is different again. To bring a child into this universe requires both parties to know it is what they really want. The child becomes your everything. All you do is for him or her. They can bring you great joy, but also a lot of fear and trepidation. Above all though, they are your future, they grow with the wisdom and strength of both parents and as they learn, so they develop their own personalities. But if you care for and nurture them, they grow to be quite possibly one of the greatest things in the Universe, a unique sentient being born of

::Years of practice allowed Isaac to keep a neutral face as he listened to the wisdom offered by the young Lieutenant. He was right, but that only led Isaac to doubt himself. It raised the same questions that he was already struggling with. Could he be a good husband? A good father?::

BALE: ::nodding:: Thank you, Lieutenant, for your insight. You've given me more to consider. For now, though, let's get our attention back on that Runabout, shall we?


A JP by:

Lt. Cmdr Issac Bale
Intel Officer/2nd Officer
USS Mercury


Lieutenant (JG) Alexander Richards
Chief of science
USS Mercury

Edited by Liam Frost
Fixed a font discrepancy
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