Soon after Isolde fails her quals, she comes across Aldrich -- totally by chance.
Location: Hangar Deck, Vanguard
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1117
Isolde Asa is sitting with her Raptor, leaned against it and feet out in front of her. It is probably a rather endearing sight, as she has been spending a lot of time on this particular Raptor, despite its strange eccentricities. She has a book in her lap, but she's just turning the pages with the kind of sightlessness of someone pretending to read, but is totally in another realm of existence.
Aldrich has the rather conspicuous look of someone wandering that is only made more conspicuous by the fact that he's wandering on the hangar deck, of all places. Generally speaking, the chaplain is only seen around here when he's on his way on or off the ship, but apparently today is the exception. His meandering path takes him past Isolde's ship, and when he spots her, he give a smile and clears his throat a little. "Oh, hello there..."
Isolde jumps a bit, though only as much as someone seated on the ground with a book in their lap can. Aldrich breaks her reverie and she blinks up at him. It takes her a minute to recognize him, and then she starts to smile slightly. "Oh, um. Hi there, Chaplain." She looks around as if trying to remember where she is, or perhaps discern why Aldrich is wandering about here. "You lookin' for something, sir?"
Aldrich shakes his head a little. "Nope. Just going for a walk," he claims, taking a glance around, himself. Then, as though to explain himself, he adds, "It's a small ship, right?" He looks back to Isolde, then adds, "By the way, you can call me Aldrich. How're you doing?"
Isolde shifts a bit on the ground, starting to close her book. "A lot smaller than the Galactica." There's a touch of longing in her voice there, but she tries not to linger on that too long before looking back up at him. The question draws a small shrug from her. "Doing okay." It definitely has that facade of the acceptable answer to give even if it isn't the most honest. "How about you? Hear you've been made an honorary Marine." She wrinkles her nose, smiling as she does.
Aldrich plops himself down on the ground next to Isolde, inviting himself to her little retreat. "Yeah," he agrees. "I'm all right." After a moment, he smiles ruefully. "I mean, if I'm being honest, it's a little overwhelming. I mean, I went through basic, but I can't shoot like some of the Marines, and I can't treat patients like the medics. But I'm managing."
"Yeah, I know what you mean." Isolde does not seem at all perturbed by his intrusion, perhaps even a little thankful for the distraction from her endless studying. She leans her head back into the Raptor. "I got through basic okay, but until the Galactica, I was just a computer nerd." Granted, a nerd who helped code up the Galactica, but still a nerd. "I don't think I'm really doing all that well." The honesty comes a bit too easily, and she frowns at herself.
Aldrich just has one of those faces, apparently. The one that says 'talk to me, I care'. He leans his own head back against the Raptor and crosses his ankles, but watches her out of the side of his eye, with a certain gentle concern. "Oh?" he prompts. "You too, huh?"
"Did you know the previous CAG?" Isolde glances over to Aldrich. "He gave me a really unique chance... I just wanted to stop being behind the computers all the time, and you know, do something. No flight school, no officers training... nothing. All I had was books and sims and some guidance, but after it all, he let me become an ECO." She frowns deeper. "But, maybe it was a bad idea." She rubs at her shoulder.
"Not very well, no," Aldrich replies, gently. "But... I don't think he got to be CAG by making mistakes." He tilts his head, looking aside at Isolde. "You know what I think? I think that we have both set ourselves tasks that ordinary people would consider impossible. And yet, we're still alive here, somehow."
"Somehow." Isolde repeats. She looks down at her hands, worrying at her lightly scarred knuckles and the callouses formed up along the webs of her fingers. She looks up at him after a moment of thought. "I feel like I'm always scrambling to catch up. Cherry and Milkman are getting honored for fifteen kills; I only have three. I failed all my qualifiers, and Ryan just tries to make it sound like it's all okay. But it isn't. And it actually pisses me off more that everyone is trying to just shrug it off."
Aldrich nods a little, listening silently while she talks. "Well, I can understand that," he offers, quietly. "This isn't exactly summer sleep-away camp. People's lives depend on us. When we understand that, it makes us want to be the best we possibly can be. Better, even." He smiles faintly, "And if you're anything like me, that means you compare yourself with people who have training you've never had, and even talents you'll never have, which certainly isn't right or fair."
It is Isolde's turn to listen to Aldrich's words without interruption, and she sinks into a deeper frown. "But, then... what are we supposed to do?" The question is offered softly, even if there is the smallest hint of desperation there.
Aldrich considers this for a moment. "Well. Personally? I'm working with Lyn Arda in the gym and the shooting range. I'm working with Mikolas and Cate to learn more about treating injuries in the field. I started on my own, because I thought I had to do it all by myself, but then I realized I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the best trained people around, and so I decided to take advantage of that. To stop trying to carry the weight by myself and ask them to help me."
Isolde frowns. "You're telling me I should go ask for help." The ECO sighs and rubs at the cover of her book. "Ryan said that I can't figure this all out in a book, and Newton is chomping at the bit to get me in a sim... but I've done those things. I dunno." She sounds a bit downtrodden as she admits quietly, "I need someone who is willing to just take me out and let me practice."
Aldrich tilts his head a little, curiously. "Is Newton the pilot you usually work with?" he wonders, tentatively. "What about the other pilots? Have you reached out to ask anyone if they're willing to just...practice with you?"
"Newton's my boyfriend," Isolde says dryly, though she does smile a touch. "So, he's invested in a totally different way. But he flies Vipers." Then she considers his more direct questions, and she frowns. There's almost a touch of embarrassment in her expression. "No." Her brow furrows. "Which is probably extremely stupid now that I've thought about it." She rubs at her shoulder again. "It would be a lot smarter to ask instead of waiting to see if anyone offers. I just... don't want to be... rejected. I guess."
Aldrich raises an eyebrow slightly. "I'm not sure I would feel comfortable working with a boyfriend or girlfriend, either. That would be a pretty awkward dual relationship." He snorts faintly, then, and adds, "You are many things, but trust me. I've met stupid people, and you are not one of them." He smiles a little. "Like many of us, you're used to relying on yourself. Independence is not a bad quality in a person... But listen, I have friends among the Raptor pilots. Would you like me put out feelers and nudge them your direction?"
Isolde starts to smile with a bit more mirth. "I dunno. Could be the real test of our relationship." Then she stops rubbing and fussing with her hands, and turns a bit more toward Aldrich at his offer. "You... you would do that for me?" She sounds a bit surprised, perhaps forgetting his role onboard altogether. "I guess that would be helpful, if I don't work up the courage to reach out myself."
Aldrich raises his eyebrow, and actually chuckles a little. "Of course I would. I'm here to help, you know. I'll reach out and ask them if they'd be willing to help you out." He gives a crooked sort of grin. "And you know. You can always come to talk to me anytime, if you want. Even if you just feel overwhelmed and need someone to complain to."
Isolde finds herself smiling a bit more easily next to the chaplain. "Thanks, Aldrich... I... really appreciate it." She then breathes out a slow sigh and starts to gather up her book again. "I should probably get myself back to the berthings." She hesitates. "Out of curiosity, have you heard anything about where we might be going next?" It is, after all, the million cubits question around these parts.
Aldrich smiles and starts to gather himself up, as well. "I should probably get a move on myself." The question gives him pause, and he considers it. "Well, there are rumors going around that it might be Sagittaron, but you can't really trust rumors, can you? I think we'll probably just have to wait to know for sure, unfortunately." Once he gains his feet, he pauses. "Listen, be kind to yourself. What you're trying to do here is pretty incredible. Okay?"
Isolde grimaces at the mere idea of it being Sagittaron. She might even be about to say something about it before Aldrich offers that last bit of advice. It stalls her a bit, and she sinks down into her feet thoughtfully. Then she nods the kind of nod of someone taking something serious, her chin bobbing a bit. "Okay," she repeats back. "I'll try." Beat pause. "I mean... I will." There is no try! Then she offers him a small smile. "Thanks." She offers him a small wave as she starts to retreat back to change out of her flight suit and head back to the berthings.