CPO Xander Richard Price

From Station

Balancing the Stars and Family

By Caroline Post

CPO Xander Richard Price is a man who wears many hats. He's a stellar cartographer, stationed on Kepler to map more of the Delta Quadrant. We're very new here, having only whatever the crew of Voyager was able to collect and the brief survey team activities which are still ongoing. In his role as scientist for Starfleet, Price is following in his parents' footsteps. They were civilian scientists for Starfleet and he was born in space, on USS Newton, near the Spider Nebula at the time.

I've written about the Chief's job in my article on Science of the Stars. Here is a more personal view of the man and his role as parent. Price is solely responsible for the well-being of 3 young daughters and their nanny. How did that come about?

When I asked him about his experience growing up in space, I was told, ". . . I couldn't ask for a better opportunity to experience wonders that the vast majority of people in the galaxy don't."

He spent most of his early life aboard Starfleet ships with his parents. "I'd had enough of space and Starfleet rules," he told me. "I was on my way to a science degree [on Earth] and thinking about grad school when I got married. My wife brought me right back to space."

When I asked what he meant by that, he continued, "Kyra wanted to be in Starfleet since the day we met. Her family transferred onto USS Tenacious, where her father was a maverick officer, Chief of Security, in fact. She wanted to follow in his footsteps."

Not an uncommon story in Starfleet families, but I asked how that led him into the service. "[When] she decided to enter Starfleet as an enlisted master-at-arms, and since we were only recently married, I decided to follow her. I didn't want to be separated," he told me simply.

I took the opportunity to ask how easy it is for married personnel to get postings together, especially when they are in widely differing fields. "It wasn't hard, really," he told me. "We rarely put in for transfers were there weren't two positions open, and we always filled out our requests as a joint assignment. Some couples probably aren't as picky . . . absence makes the heart grow fonder and all."

Unfortunately, a freak accident took CPO Price's wife. "The ship we were on was a class close to retirement . . . battle stresses and normal maintenance start to wear on a ship's efficiency. She was on patrol when a plasma conduit ruptured . . . ."

Understandably, the Chief might have wanted to leave his children with relatives and come out to Kepler alone. In fact, that was the original plan. When I asked why he didn't, he smiled his slow smile and told me, "I'd just told the girls they were going to live with grandma, which I thought they'd love. It turned out they didn't. . . They thought I needed them . . . and they were right."

Out of curiosity, I asked him why he hadn't settled on a planet with the girls. "Because [Kyra] wanted it for me, for one thing . . . she thought it was good for me, and that it gave me opportunities I didn't have before . . . Out here I feel connected with her still. My kids love it here too . . . ."

I asked Price about his goals for this posting.

"Well, my professional goal is to map places and things that have never been mapped before. I'd like to create the first definitive chart of this region," he said with his infectious grin.

But how can he do that, sitting in a station at one end of the quadrant?

"By taking the data from the sensors and long range telescopes we have here, and correlating them with additional data from passing ships or data streams from other stations further out," he assured me.

But there's more to his goals on Kepler.

". . . coming out here was a way for us to get away. To just be us without anyone looking over our shoulders or telling me how I was screwing up. Out here, we can grow as a family. Not only that, but I can show my girls things they have never seen before, and maybe instill some of their mother's love of the black in them."