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501

Posted on Sun Mar 1st, 2020 @ 8:48pm by Lieutenant Commander Dominic Aldrich

Mission: Promenade
Location: Arcana Lounge
Timeline: Shoreleave
1523 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

Since mankind had discovered the potent combination of water, cereal grains, and the magic of fermentation many centuries ago, beer had been one of the staples of civilization - a golden elixir somehow responsible for accomplishments such as the Great Pyramids, but also many nights full of poor decision making and regrets. However, its significance in social gatherings through human history was irrefutable, and in was in that spirit that Jared Hanover stepped through the doors into the lounge.

Having spent most of the day in various meetings in one official capacity or another, a trip to the local watering hole was just the ticket. Rank always seemed secondary in a lounge, at least in Jared's mind. The opportunity to see the morale of the crew and how they interacted with one another in a less official setting was invaluable. Hanover partook in a few amicable conversations, buying more than his fair share of drinks for the crew. However, during a lull in the ambient hustle and bustle of Arcana, the distinctive thud of darts hitting a dartboard caught his attention.

"Excuse me, Kevin?" Jared addressed the bartender.

"Yes, what can I do for ya?"

"The gentleman over there at the dartboard, what is his name?"

"I believe that's Commander Aldrich. He comes in now and again and plays a few games," the bartender explained as he cleaned a glass. "Mostly keeps to himself. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen him lose a game."

"Noted. Keep my tab open, I'll be back."

The science chief had been one of the officers that Jared had not yet gotten a chance to meet with. His visit to the lounge was becoming more and more beneficial by the moment. He approached the younger man with a smile.

"Hello there. Are you Commander Aldrich?"

Dominic had just thrown his last dart and looked to the man. "That is correct. Can I help you?"

"Rumor has it that you're the one to seek out for an education on how to throw darts," Jared gestured towards the dartboard hanging on a nearby wall. The area immediately adjacent to the circular disk of sisal fibers was riddled with holes from errant throws of the past. "So what say you to a friendly game?"

Dominic pushed his glasses up and raised an eyebrow. "Well, the rumors may be slightly exaggerated," Dominic replied, "however, I'll take you up on it. But if we are going to call it 'friendly' then I believe it is customary to get a name."

"Ah, well noticed sir. I do hope you'll forgive the breach of etiquette. My name is Jared Hanover," the older man extended a hand. "I've been newly assigned to the Majestic. I've met several of my new shipmates in last few days, and I think it's always good to make a first impression away from the setting of work or rank. In that line, it's your honor sir, if you'd like to throw first."

Dominic nodded, took a sip of his drink and stood. "Very well, what game?"

"A standard oh-one game seems appropriate," the older man ran his fingers through his beard. "How about five oh one, and we'll see how the night goes from there. A friendly wager for a drink?" Hanover tilted his head towards the bar.

"You're on," Dominic said picking up his darts. As he walked to the line, he checked the tightness of the shafts to the barrels and flicked and tapped his flights mindlessly as he always did. Coming to the line, he pulled one dart from his left hand, took up his posture, and pointed it to the board. He got to work....triple twenty, triple twenty, single twenty... He squinted at that last dart analyzing what he did wrong as he retrieved his darts from the board. "You're up."

"One hundred forty, an impressive start to be sure," Jared chuckled, understanding that if Dominic's form held up throughout the match, only sheer luck would allow him to win. He took his stance at the line, studying the target a few meters in front of him. His red colored flights contrasted sharply with the teal ones that the ship's science chief had just retrieved from the dartboard.

"So Mister Aldrich, tell me a little about yourself. What combination of time and circumstances brings you here?" Hanover asked, grimacing slightly at his throws. Triple five, single twenty, and finally a triple twenty.

"Well, I have been around you could say. I used to do research but when I got the chance to get on a ship I took it. I served for eleven years under now retired Admiral James Hurin through three ships and a starbase. However, when he retired, our crew got reassigned and I took the posting here." Dominic looked at the score. Three-hundred and sixty one points left. As he stepped to the line, he ran the numbers through his head. He hit a triple twenty, a double twenty and triple eighteen, leaving him two-hundred and seven points.

Jared looked up from under a raised eyebrow, taking his hand away from rubbing at his beard as he focused in on the scoreboard. The holographic display floated in mid-air, broadcasting the fact that he was well behind in bold font to anyone who cared to look over towards them at the bar.

"C'mon commander, got some catching up to do," an onlooker piped in, breaking away from his conversation at a nearby high table to observe the contest.

"Well sir," Hanover turned back to the board as he spoke to Dominic. "Now you'll have witnesses to substantiate the story of how badly you beat me."

Triple twenty.

"Oh, wait a moment, hope springs eternal."

Double twenty.

"Good grief, I may as well forfeit now so that we seek solace in a glass of draught beer," Hanover sighed. "Let's see, the board says three hundred six. Before this math gets complicated, let's have a triple twelve!" The dart found its mark, leaving him with two hundred seventy points to go.

Dominic shook his head, "Quitting is not an option in a gentleman's game, Commander. You take your loss and you learn from it." He stepped to the line, confident that he could get out of the game in two more turns. He threw the darts. Triple twenty, single twenty, and single eighteen left him one hundred and nine points.

"Well said," Hanover replied in turn, quietly nodding his head in agreement with the younger man. "Never in a gentleman's game, but there are times when quitting, or not even playing, is the best strategy to take. My mind wanders back several centuries to the simulated war games after the militaries of Earth discovered the power of splitting the atom. The only way to win a game of mutually assured destruction, my friend, is to not play."

Jared stood at the line, darts in hand. Of course, his first objective had not been to win the game of darts, but to introduce himself to another one of the senior officers aboard the ship. In that, he had been successful, but he knew that it would be unsporting to give the secondary task at hand anything other than his best effort. He inhaled deeply, humored by the alcohol-induced shortness of breath.

"But I digress," the older man pivoted and faced the dartboard. "I am merely prolonging the game because I do not want it to end. Wish me luck," he winked as he rubbed his thumb, index, and middle fingers together in an attempt to conjure up some skill. Three darts flew to their target at varying degrees of accuracy, leaving Jared with one hundred forty-six points remaining.

"You are correct as well," Dominic replied standing from his stool. "Sometimes, not playing is a good strategy, as can be delaying the inevitable when clinging dearly to life." He threw his first dart and hit the triple twenty. "You see though, this is not a life and death situation that needs to be dragged out." He threw his second dart and landed a single seventeen. "In fact, I would say that the sooner this ends for you, the better because..." He threw his final dart and hit the double sixteen, bringing his total to zero. "It gives you another chance to try, learn, and hone your skills," Dominic said turning around and offering his hand for a shake.

Perhaps the result had been inevitable, but despite this, Jared had still enjoyed the company and the conversation. He took Dominic's hand and shook it firmly, giving him a nod that came out of a place of respect.

"Well played sir," he looked towards the bar. "Thank you for the discourse Mister Aldrich. A refreshing chance of pace to the sort of churlish conversation that can so often be found in places like this, occasionally instigated by yours truly," Hanover laughed. "But I digress - I believe I have a wager to make good on. After you, sir."




Commander Jared Hanover
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Commander Dominic Aldrich
Chief Science Officer

 

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