3. Ron (Alex’s Best Friend & Right-hand Man)
Ron is also a rocket scientist, and has worked with Alex for most of his careers. He’s Alex’s right hand man on the mission to Mars, and has been a part of the project from the start. He was a contributor to Alex’s discoveries, research, and technology that will make the mission to live on Mars possible.
Ron and Alex share a lot of common interests and spend a lot of time together. They enjoy talking about their research together, strategy games, and rock climbing. However, Ron is quite different to Alex in his values and politics. Closer to that of Max and the rest of her team, he believes in the socialist ideals of the mission.
He is a little bit like Alex in his love of science, his natural introversion, and academic level conversation. His dreams of flying off into space are for more scientific and academic reasons, rather than political ones, but he at least agrees with the politics, where Alex disagrees.
Ron and Alex share other interests, such as reading massive amounts of non-fiction and educating themselves on everything they possibly can. Education for the sake of itself. They connect on an interest in ancient Greek philosophy and the pursuit of knowledge, physical strength, agility, and being well rounded in all areas of study as well as physical fitness.
They also both love to play really hardcore strategy games that are a little too complex for Max. So they play the more complex and challenging ones without her. They are both extremely good rock climbers, both lead climbers, but Ron is even more skilled and strong as a climber. He has a monkey like ability for it, but he is extremely modest about it. He doesn’t ever rub it in Alex’s face when he completes a bolder course that Alex is struggling with.
They are both very interested in aviation as well, they both have their pilots licenses and they enjoy flying for pleasure in their spare time. They spend every chance they get outside of the work for the mission, on these activities. This large list of common interests is what has kept them so close over the years, despite their differing political beliefs. Ron is also quite a bit more laid back than Max is, when it comes to his beliefs, so it’s a lot easier for him to just shrug off any disagreement with Alex.
Ron is also in love with philosophical debates, as is Alex so they spend much of their time together debating political theories, and plans for the mission. Ron taking the more liberal minded view, and Alex the more conservative approach. Their combined intelligence, pension for research, and lack of personal ego in their debates, has made them both so crucial to Max’s plans for the mission. Ron is able to articulate things in a much clearer way than Max can, because he doesn’t get all fired up about it, the way she does.
The three of them will often spend hours and hours playing board games together, the ones that are not so complex, while debating the merits of this theory over that theory. Or one policy versus another. Going over all possible scenarios. Sometime these debates and discussion can get a bit heated, particularly on Max’s part as she has a very high emotional attachment to her beliefs. Ron is a great balance for her in these discussions, because he is able to better make her points understood to Alex, without the emotional outbursts.
Ron is very even keel. Alex is in some ways, but is also very rigid and stubborn in others. When Max gets ampped up, he can often get triggered by her anger and tone, and arguments can sometimes get a bit ugly. It’s always better when Ron is there, they both agree on this. Without Ron’s balanced approach to the discussion, Max and Alex would likely argue much more often. It’s almost like their relationship couldn’t possibly last without him.
Max often comes to Ron, when she is struggling with something. Especially when it is something to do with Alex. But also about how to approach a problem with the mission, or in her personal relationships within the polycule. He has become a close confidant of both she and Alex equally, with both of them coming to him with either side of the argument. And he counsels them both, without giving away too much about what the other has said.
It may start to become clear in later seasons that Ron actually has fallen in love with Max, but he will not admit this to himself or others. He will never act on his feelings, because of his friendship with Alex. It would just be too weird with them being best friends, and could put a wrench in their friendships.
So, Ron continues to behave as if nothing has changed, and he and Max will never be anything more than friends. Max is completely oblivious to his feelings for her, and has never even considered him that way. Ron works hard to keep her oblivious. To Max, Ron is a crucial part of the mission, a dear friend, and the hinge pin that has kept her and Alex together over the years. But nothing more.
Everyone else on the mission, however, is convinced that they would be a better partnership than Max and Alex are. Many have come to both he and Max with the idea that perhaps Alex should stay behind and Ron should take over as lead scientist on the mission. Ron always tells them they are mistaken, that he and Max are just friends, and that he is not ready for that kind of step with his career. That he is happy working under Alex.
And for the most part all of that is true. He doesn’t want the pressure of being lead scientist on the mission. He is used to and comfortable with being number two. He can’t imagine that he would have what it takes to replace Alex. He is younger and less experienced than Alex.
The two of them together is what’s needed to have this mission be a success. He alone would not be enough. But he wonders, and can’t quite admit, there is a nagging feeling, a place deep down in his heart, where he does think that perhaps he might make a better primary partner to Max than Alex is.
Ron values knowledge, understanding, compassion and the betterment of the human condition. He believes that science, listening, observing and clearly communicating findings is the best way to deal with everything in life.
Introverted, kind, calm, and even-keeled. Ron believes in balance in all things. He is a total beta to Max and Alex’s alpha personalities.
Max, being an alpha to him in all areas of life, a type A, extroverted person, and used to telling people what to do. Which he doesn’t mind at all, he likes clear direction. Alex being alpha to him in his professional life. Ron is a contributor, but never the leader of their projects, and he takes direction well in their work environment.
Ron prefers to defer to another’s command. If he disagrees with something or someone, he is able to handle it with an incredible skill for listening calmly, understanding the person’s perspective, and uses logic and reason to have himself understood, without making the other person feel bad or wrong.
To people like Max and Alex, he is magic. To Ron, he is just doing his job, and being himself. It’s all he knows how to do.
Ron needs to truly and completely understand all things and all people. He is as deeply curious about hard science, as he is about the social sciences, and understanding what makes people tick. He doesn’t talk much, but he listens with incredible skill, he absorbs everything, trying to figure it all out.
This mission, if successful, would fulfill his lifelong dream to be a part of something truly trans-formative and world altering for people. He believes in Max’s mission with every fiber of his being. And he will do anything he can to serve the mission, to the best of his abilities.