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Principle of Uncertainty

Posted on Sun Aug 12th, 2018 @ 4:12pm by Lieutenant Benjamin Ingram Dr & Lieutenant JG Rizena Virodin PhD

Mission: Preflight
Location: Executive Officers Office
Timeline: MD 64 09.15

The news had been… unexpected, to say the least. Rizena hadn’t even shared it with Mors yet. Heck, she was still not really accepting it herself. She hadn’t been on the Palatine long, but there was one person who had shown her understanding, who shared her enthusiasm for science.

She rung the chime outside Lieutenant Ingram’s door.

The door opened to his office, and Benjie smiled warmly from the desk where he sat.

"Dr Viroden, what an unexpected surprise," he said, gesturing to the desk littered with PaDD's and holographic panes of data. "But a welcome one, as you can see. How I long to return to a lab environment, instead here I am bunkered behind supply requisition forms and weight distribution tables."

She gave him a half smile. “I’d offer to lend you a hand, but I have… other matters that I need to attend to. That’s actually why I came. I’m facing a hard choice, and I’d like your advice.

“I received a somewhat extraordinary offer today,” Rizena explained, “Full tenure at the Daystrom Institute. Lab space, funding - not earmarked for anything in particular, just to pursue whatever I fancy. I could research better popcorn design, and get funding. It’s the position of a lifetime, and that’s not even mentioning the prestige that would come with such a position. At the same time, I find myself wondering if I really want it, which is silly because of course I want it, but it means being back here in the heart of the Federation, not getting into the real work out in the field, but it’s not like you get invited to the Daystrom Institute twice, though since they’re approaching me this early in my career, maybe I might, or maybe they invited me by mistake? There is another Dr Rizena Virodin on Calabra II who is an orthopaedic surgeon, we get each other’s comms sometimes, maybe they meant her?” She waved a hand dismissively, “Not the point. I need your advice, Benjie. Would you take it? Or stay out here for the pure discovery?”

"...That's...a lot to unpack in a short amount of time," he said slowly. He imagined this was what fishing was like, feeling that tentative nibble on the line but not wanting to draw the bait in too quickly. Better slow and steady than no fish for dinner. He leaned back in his chair.

"I'm not entirely sure I could provide you with a full and unbiased opinion on this matter," Benjie said, for once being quite truthful. "You are right, opportunities like an appointment to DIAS do not come along very often. I mean still remember the day I got my invitation."

He smiled warmly at the memory.

"High off the adrenaline of winning the Epstein 500K Free Style over Saturn, and there it was: tenure on the biochemical track. Full lab, funding, and an expedition to boot. I, of course, said yes," he grinned. "My wife and I were quite taken with the idea. A colonial study expedition, surrounded by pure researchers in an environment tailored to the desires of scientists not...Fleeters. It was like heaven."

Benjie's voice soured in the telling. This was a bad analogy to use, and his arm ached in the telling. How quickly the joy had turned to worry, the sadness to grief and then the screaming...

He started away from the rabbit warren of memories that were opening up.

"I'd still be there to this day," Benjie said brightly. "But needs must. And in that, I think I have the answer here for you. Could the work you are overseeing be done just as well by someone else? If the answer is yes, then you must go. If the answer is no, then you would not have been given such an opportunity as a letter of invitation from DIAS."

Rizena nodded, though something about it didn’t quite sit right with her. “I suppose that makes sense,” she said, “Mors would certainly prefer to be back in the safety of the core of the Federation. I’m a bit surprised you’re advocating it as much. What was it you were saying about wanting to return to a lab environment when I walked in? I’d have thought you’d be more taken by the idea of staying hands on.”

“And I am, now,” Benjie said. “But one cannot grow and expand one's intellect in a fish bowl. To quote a teacher from the Mars University, you must go out into the wilds and court the name of the wind. Take chances, find things no one else can, and make a name for your self that doesn’t start with the phrase ‘Starfleet Officer’.”

He placed a hand on his chest.

“I am an Ingram, and thus as a man of fortune, I must seek my fortune. I studied at numerous universities and study sites, and I jumped at the chance of expanding the bounds of knowledge with that colonial junket I told you about,” he reached over and rubbed his left arm. “I wouldn’t be the man I am today if I hadn’t gone forth and courted the name of the wind, as it were.”

"I suppose there is a lot of opportunity to be had at the Institute," Rizena said, "Though I'd feel irresponsible leaving the ship without a chief science officer. I know you share my love of science, but you've got the logistics of the ship to consider as well."

"In all honesty, though, the projects you were working on required only minor oversight. They had great mind already working towards their end goal," Ingram said with a wave of his hand. "I am merely...correcting their course if needs be."

He smiled warmly.

"At least until a suitable replacement can be found to fill your shoes, if such a thing is possible."

Rizena stepped forward and hugged him, a fierce squeeze that threatened to break some ribs. "Thank you, Benjie. For everything you've done." She released him and returned to the door to his office. "I suppose I should really go pack, then. Good luck out there, Doctor." And with that, she was gone.

Benjie waited a moment, just to be sure, and then he smiled the smile of a man who schemed and gotten away with it. Today was becoming a very good day.


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