Previous Next

Will I am

Posted on Sat May 22nd, 2021 @ 9:44pm by Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers

Mission: Lower Decks
Location: Mess Hall
Timeline: Prior to arrival at Dalacar

It seemed to Buck that the new Astraea's mess hall was as overengineered as the rest of the ship: a slicker version of the standard Federation model of eating places scaled up to fit a crew five times larger than the original Astraea's.

Five times the crew and what felt like ten times the diversity. Feeling slightly ill at ease and putting it down to hunger Buck had gone in search of food. As he queued he found himself next to the head of Ops. "Heard you got promoted. Congrats dude."

"Thanks," Will said. "It's good to see you up and about, despite my rather meager attempts to help you. How are you doing?"

"Good as new." Buck replied, tapping his chest with his fist. "I owe you for the stitch job, big time. I'd not have pulled through without it."

"Well, I don't know if I helped all that much, but I was glad to be able to help out where I could," Will said. "I'll admit that I was one of those who did play 'doctor' with my friends as a little kid, though I'll admit that it's not something I think I'd care to make a regular habit of."

"I don't plan on making a habit of getting blown up either." Buck laughed, his usual larger than life amusement at the preposition. "Kids still do that these days?"

"Some of my friends and I did, anyway," Will said. "I don't know how prevalent it is among other kids. I suspect that the imagination of kids has always run the gauntlet of things that they imagine being when growing up."

"Wait you mean actually pretending to be a doctor and not, ya know....." Buck awkwardly made a circular gesture with his free hand.

"Yep," Will said. "Crazy, I know, but such is life, I've found. If I may ask, when you were a kid, what did you ever imagine doing when you grew up? Sometimes I get the feeling that it would be a bit different than the rest of us."

"Well, I daydreamed about being rich and famous, and we played stuff like Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians." Buck paused and frowned thoughtfully as he cast his mind back. "I wanted to be an airline pilot when I grew up, but it was clear to me the best I could hope for was working at Walmart for minimum wage."

"Well, I'm not going to pretend that I know what some of that means," Will replied. "I suppose that it just goes to show how things can change over time. I can't really imagine what it must be like to be someone in such a different time that what you grew up with is so different that it seems like it might as well be from a different world altogether."

"Takes some getting used to." Buck admitted. "Earth's been part of the galactic community for what 200 some years? For me first contact was less than 20."

"Have you really gotten used to it at all? I can't imagine what it would be like to wake up 300 years from now. To say that everything would be different from what I'm used to would be a severe understatement."

"Not yet." Buck shook his head. "And that's normal, apparently. While I was at the TAF they had me watch a bunch of videos of people who'd been part of a first contact and they all said while they learned to cope with it, it never really becomes normal."

"That is assuming that there is such a thing as 'normal' out there," Will said. "I don't know about you, but I've seen some things in my time that do leave me wondering."

Surprise arched Buck's eyebrows. "What did you see? There's lots I think of as weird." He chuckled. "Every time I see something new I end up unsure if it's normal for the future or something out of the ordinary."

"Oh, there's plenty of out of the ordinary stuff around," Will said. "There was that time on the Concord where we visited a planet that had massage parlors for their domesticated animals."

"Stuff like that was starting to get popular just before I launched." Buck replied. "For pets, not like cows or anything."

"The more things change, the more they stay the same?" Will asked.

"More like the past is a different planet." Buck chuckled slightly. "It's kinda reassuring to know that you'd feel as out of place in my time I as I do in yours. It's why DTI were so keen on recruiting me out of the academy."

"Well, you seem to be doing a pretty good job of acclimating to the 24th century," Will commented. "Going from a man out of his own time to head pilot and second officer on a starship isn't too shabby."

A sly satisfied smile crossed Buck's face. "Better than I could have managed in my time."

"Don't sell yourself short," Will said. "You're very capable, and just may have had pretty good success in your own time as well."

Buck shook his head. "Took more than ability to make progress back then. You had to have the right stuff: the right skin colour; the right gender; the right sexuality. The right amount of genetic enhancements."

"Sometimes it's amazing that Earth ever made it to First Contact," Will commented.

"The TAF caught me up on some of the things I missed." Buck shook his head again. Sadder this time. Disappointed. "Not that there was much information. God. They really blew it all up."

"A lot more could have been blown up, given the nuclear weaponry available at the time," Will said. "But still, the fact that we were able to not only pull ourselves up out of the wreckage but to better ourselves is a testament to humanity."

"Yeah." Buck replied, although his agreement sounded less than convinced.

"You don't sound very sure," Will said.

"Guess I'm not." Buck shrugged. "We nuked ourselves real bad twice in sixty years. People don't seem much different now from then despite what you keep telling me."

"Yes, Earth did nuke themselves twice in sixty years, but then never did again in the three hundred years since then. In fact, after First Contact, humanity came together in a way that no one thought possible and eliminated things like war, poverty, and disease in less than a century. Yeah, we still have a a long way to go in certain things, but that's still not shabby, in my humble opinion."

"I'll grant you the latter two." Buck replied. "But war? Seems to me like we just traded going to war amongst ourselves to going to war with aliens."

"But we've managed it among ourselves, at the very least, which was no small feat. And how can we tell other people we'd rather be friends with them if we can't even be friends with our own people first?"

"Never seemed to to stop us in my day, but I guess you're right. You know the history better than I do."



Previous Next