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Cmdr Frost and Lt Cmdr Richards "Moral Quandry"


LtCmdr Alexander Richards
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((Captain's Ready Room - USS Gemini))

:: Liam took a sip of espresso from the small cup in front of him, wincing at the sudden bitterness that filled his palate. It wasn't that he disliked the taste, but rather that he was so used to drinking coffee, sweet and with cream, that he had forgotten how raw the taste of the style was. It was a strange dichotomy that he would enjoy one style one way, and another entirely differently, despite being such similar things. It was also interesting to note that thinking about it was an incredible waste of time.::

Richards: =/\= What I am about to say completely flies in the face of the ethics and morals we’ve had rammed down our throats since joining the Academy, but I would like you to hear me out. =/\=

Frost: =/\= I'm not sure I like where this is going... =/\=

:: He could tell that there was something that was weighing heavily on Alexander's mind. His voice was dry, flat, and devoid of the usual optimism that he had come to expect from his Chief Science Officer. It was a striking juxtaposition, and it made his skin crawl. If there was something that was affecting him this much, then it was something extremely difficult for him to talk about. And yet it must have been important if he was going to push through it like this in order to make himself heard.::

Richards: =/\= From our own research into the pathogen, and the records of the Rathosians we know that the death from this blasted thing is, although rather swift, an incredibly painful affair. Throw in the Malo Lupo and it’s a living hell with symptoms. When Driscoll reaches a point where the illness is causing her pain, I would like to have the option of a lethal dose of medication available on the table should Driscoll wish to use it when the time comes. =/\=

:: Liam regretting the sip of espresso that he had taken while Alex was speaking. What little had made it to his throat immediately stopped its journey to his stomach, causing him to audibly choke, as though he was being quite literally forced to swallow the words that he was being told. He could not believe that he was hearing the words that were coming over the comm. He wanted to believe it was some sort of malfunction, that he was not actually hearing the suggestion of assisted suicide. He wondered if maybe overwork had forced the Commander into thinking something mad. He even hoped that maybe, just maybe, Alexander was just drunk.::

Frost: =/\= Alex, I want you to think very carefully about what you say next. You are suggesting that we not only turn a blind eye to at least half a dozen Starfleet medical regulations and allow an officer to take her own life, but to actually enable it. =/\=

Richards: =/\= I am more than aware of that Liam. However unlike the doctors, neither you nor I are bound by the Hippocratic Oath. We could sit here for days, hell even weeks debating the moral and ethical ramifications of Euthanasia. As hard as it is for me to swallow though, we need to have all cards on the table and surely Vanessa at least has the right to choose between seeing out the illness to its end or taking the swift way out when it all becomes too much. She surely has the right to choose to die with dignity on her own terms. She must have earned that right? =/\=

:: Liam was not a philosopher. He had actively avoided taking philosophy classes throughout his education. It was not for an inability to philosophize. But the problem was is that philosophical discussions tended to leave him feeling like he wanted to punch someone. This usually had something to with the fact that his philosophical discussions tended to come after a fair amount of drink, in a phase of inebriation that Sidney had taken to referring to as "Professor Liam." For now, he had not nearly had enough to drink to get to that stage, and drinking that much while on duty was something that was frowned upon.::

Frost: =/\= I don't know. But what i do know is that we don't have the right to make that decision for her. And I also know that we have a sacred duty to make sure she doesn't have to make that decision. Not to mention the fact that Doctor Easterwood will absolutely loose her mind over the suggestion. Even Doctor Frankenstein knows that that has to be against I don't know how many regulations. =/\=

Richards: =/\= That is the other side of the coin. Hell, I fully expect both of them to be vehemently against the idea and I would not blame if they were. It goes against everything they’ve been taught, all their training. They’ve trained to save lives, not take them and I would never advocate either ordering or asking them to have anything to do with the procedure. =/\=

Frost: =/\= You know, the bad thing about this is that what you're suggesting is a court-martial act. What's worse is that you're actually suggesting this to your commanding officer as a viable solution. And I think the worst of all is the fact that there's a part of me that's convinced you're not wrong. =/\=

Richards: =/\= As commanding officer sir, the final say is yours on whether to even present the idea to the Lieutenant. The amount of wrestling I am doing at the moment in my mind Liam. I really can’t imagine yours being any better. All of us are going to need counseling by the end of this, each and every one of us. =/\=

:: He looked to the floor betraying his tough external exterior with a solitary tear streaming from his eye. He raised his heavily bandaged hands to wipe it away. ::

:: Liam couldn't figure out what he found more disturbing. The fact that one of his officers was openly advocating a plan that could get them all court martialed, or the fact that it made a frightening amount of sense. Everything they had encountered about the pathogen told them that if they couldn't find a cure, then Vanessa's fate would be intolerably cruel. It was the kind of end that would be considered cruel to inflict on even the worst murderers. And yet the letter of regulation said he was bound to leave her to it. The knot in his stomach was once again replaced with a sense of dread induced nausea.::

Richards: =/\= Some of us more than others. =/\=

:: He was no stranger to spending time in counselors offices. It was something that he had done a few times. And unfortunately it tended to happen after something like this. That was a ridiculous statement when he thought about it. He had never faced something like this before. Fortunately the counselors he had seen had been

Frost: =/\= Just... let me think about this. In the mean time, get some sleep. =/\=

Richards: =/\= Understood, Richards out. =/\=

:: As the line closed, Richards once again put his face into his bandaged hands and wept. The anger was out of his system for now. All he had left were sadness and a deep sense of regret. In another life, a parallel world, it would be he, not Vanessa facing death head on. He highly doubted he would have as much courage as she was showing. ::

:: Liam collapsed into the chair behind his desk, left with nothing but a sense of exhaustion, and thinly veiled dread. He couldn't imagine the kind of choice that he was going to have to make. The letter of the law was very clear on what he was to do. But to do so was to condemn someone to one of the worst fates he could imagine. He pulled one of the drawers of his desk open, pulling out a small glass and a bottle of rye. He poured himself a small measure before knocking the contents back, gritting himself against the burn in his throat.::

Frost: Computer, begin recording.

:: The computer chirped it's acknowledgement as he too a deep breath.::

Frost: Captain's log. It has become all but certain that Lieutenant Junior Grade Vanessa Driscoll will not be returning from this mission. She had become infected with the pathogen that we came here to try and cure, to help a people that a few days ago, none of us had ever heard of. She is doing remarkable well considering the fate hanging over her head, a quality that I cannot help but admire in a morbid kind of way. But the fact of the matter is that it is almost certain that she will die as a result of this pathogen. From the data that we've gathered, her end will be the kind that I could scarcely wish on the worst scum of the galaxy. I cannot in any kind of good conscience do nothing while she suffers. But the only alternative is to throw every ethical rule I've ever been taught out the window. I find myself between two choices that I can't imagine having to make. I'm [...]ed if I do, and [...]ed if I don't has never been more true than it is now.

:: He sank back again, allowing the magnitude of the decision before him to envelop him. A single tear traced it's way down the side of his face as he contemplated the choices he was faced with.::

Frost: Computer, end recording and encrypt priority alpha. Authorization Frost, Sierra Echo Nine.

:: The computer acknowledged the command as he poured himself another measure of rye, this time taking a long look into the contents of the glass. He had no idea how he was going to decide what to do, keenly aware that if he did not decide soon, it the decision would be made for him.::

TBC

Commander Liam Frost
Commanding Officer
USS Gemini

&

Lieutenant Commander Alexander Richards

Chief Science officer

USS Gemini

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