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Lt Cmdr Richards "The truth of it all"


LtCmdr Alexander Richards
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​((Chief Science Officer’s Office, USS Gemini))

:: Rest. Normally that would bring a sense of relief to Alexander. That wasn’t the case this time around. All he had in his head was a sense of dread looming over him, lieutenant Driscoll, and the captain. Scratch that! It hung over the entire ship like a dark storm cloud ready to unleash its massive store of energy via thunderbolts and very heavy rain. If they only had more time they might have been able to formulate a cure, some simple way of saving Vanessa’s life and the Rathosian people. They would return triumphant heroes and be bestowed with medals. ::

Alas, reality was a lot more fickle than that. The truth was the mission was an abject failure and through no fault of anyone directly involved they had not stood a chance since the start. Failure had always been inevitable and lieutenant Driscoll was going to pay the ultimate price for it. The only small glimmer of hope, a tiny ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark and cloudy night was that the lieutenant’s death might, just might, lead to a potential vaccine. The one caveat was that neither Rathos nor the Gemini had the capability to mass produce such a product. ::

:: During this whole thought process since the line to the captain had closed, Alexander had been unable to cease his crying. Over the months since the Gemini had left the fleet yard above his Lunar home he had become quite attached to the yellow shirt that had transferred to his department. He had been impressed with the way she adapted so quickly to her new role and just how much of an asset she had become to the department. Her analytical mind reminded him a lot of his wife Marissa and her dedication to duty had been second to none. Even more so when one considered just how much emotional pain she had suffered following the loss of a loved one. He liked to think that she had become a friend over their short time together, someone he could rely on and confide in when on the long jaunts away from his family home. ::

:: He would miss her warm glowing smile, her almost angelic presence and her ability to always see the bright side of a dark, dangerous situation. He really would miss her. It was almost as if her death was ripping out a part of his soul. Something he once thought only the death of his wife, son or parents would be able to do. ::

:: Alexander finally stopped ‘leaking water from his eyes’ as his former colleague on Star Base One Eighteen, Pandora, would have put it. He took several large breaths and rubbed his red, fiery eyes before turning his chair and moving to the replicator. Ordering himself and tall jug of water and a glass to decant it too he found himself pausing to consider the ramifications of the option he had placed on the table in front of his CO. His history in Starfleet wasn’t exactly the shining example you would expect from a department head. He was the kind of person to stick it to the man if he felt the situation warranted it. ::

:: Hell, all those years ago on the USS Tiger he had walked away from Starfleet after Intelligence had run him and his crew mates through the ringer in a holodeck simulation to ascertain their loyalties to Starfleet, a simulation that had led him to believe that his family were in very real peril. Then, when he returned owing to the Klingon crisis he found himself in a situation on a God forsaken rock somewhere up past the Cardassian border where he illegally initiated a fire fight without orders knowing that if he had not the entirety of the away team, including himself, could have been killed. That decision had led him to where he was today. His CO at the time rather than punishing him gave him command of one of the most advanced science departments in the fleet. He hadn’t looked back since. ::

:: There had been many times where he had reason to question his ability to lead. Taking command of the USS Mercury whilst the senior staff went off on a black ops mission to rescue his good friend Eyas Wulfantine’s mother was one example, whilst taking up station on the bridge during the Gemini’s last mission during an intense standoff was another that remained most prominent in his mind. Both times he had felt completely inadequate and had almost collapsed under the pressure. ::

:: This however, this was different. Now he really was inadequate, powerless, and there was no person or being in the universe that would be able to calm or encourage him. He was a department head and he was directly responsible for those underneath him. Vanessa was going to die on his watch and there wasn’t a [...]ed thing he could do for her save the suggestion he had just made to his CO. A suggestion he had mulled over in his mind had the ethical and moral argument and decided that in this case the ethics and morals were wrong. By rights, Liam could have had Alexander thrown in the brig. The fact that he hadn’t done this suggested the Commander was seriously considering the option. ::

:: Before retiring for the day, Alexander felt it prudent that he leave an encrypted personal log for the records detailing his decisions and his reasoning. If Liam did decide to place his option on the table it could either be used to support his actions or to [...] him to a Starfleet prison. As it stood at the moment, Alexander simply didn’t give a [...]. He would happily face prison time with a clear conscience if Vanessa were to decide to take that route were the option available. ::

Richards: Computer, begin recording.

:: The computer chirped its acknowledgement of the chief’s command. He cleared his throat, poured himself a glass of water, took a few sips and focused his mind. ::

Richards: Chief Science officer’s log, Star Date 239109.19. Our mission to Rathos has been nothing short of an abject failure. Not only have we been unable to find a cure for the deadly pathogen that has brought the Rathosians to the point of extinction, one of my own, Vanessa Driscoll has become infected and now faces a fate I would not wish upon the vilest scum this galaxy has to offer. I fear I have failed as a department head, can’t shake the feeling that I could have done more, explained the risks to her or convinced her not to go. Regardless, the fact remains that Lieutenant Junior Grade Vanessa Driscoll will not be returning from this mission. So far, this information is limited to me, the away team, the captain, the bridge crew present during the message from the surface and Ensign Easterwood. I fear that were the information to be revealed to the rest of the crew, morale would drop to irreparable levels.

:: Alexander took a long sip from his glass of water and once again cleared his throat. He thought very carefully about what he was going to say next. ::

Richards: Lieutenant Victor Frankenstein has put forward a proposal for a possible Vaccine against the Pathogen which Vanessa has rather graciously consented to being a test bed for. The only problem with this is that the proposed vaccination involves infecting would be recipients with the Malo Lupo virus, a virus that in itself produces a large amount of rather nasty side effects. Unfortunately despite our best efforts we have no other viable solution.

:: Another long sip and a deep breath followed. What Alexander said next would cause most in Starfleet to lash out in anger and could very well determine his suitability as a command candidate in the future. ::

Richards: In the hours since learning of Vanessa’s accident I have found myself fighting an internal moral and ethical battle. Her ultimate fate as it stands at the moment is incredibly grizzly and painful. I found myself reminded of situations in Earth’s past where people who knew they were going to die sought out methods to die on their own terms in peace and with dignity. Most called such actions suicide. Weighing up the consequences of putting the option of assisted suicide on the table for Vanessa, I came to the conclusion that despite Starfleet’s, hell the Federations moral and ethics codes and laws the right thing to do in this situation was provide Vanessa the option of making her own choice.

:: Yet another sip. This time a rather large pause followed. He knew that he was about to place both he and Commander Frost at the very real risk of being court martialed. In the end though, that didn’t matter to him. All he could think about was Vanessa and her life. That overrode everything in his mind. ::

Richards: To that end I suggested to Commander Frost that we give Vanessa the option of taking her own life via an overdose of medication, ‘assisted suicide’ as he so graciously put it. I put out on the table as well that I would never consider asking Doctors Frankenstein and Easterwood to have any part of it. Unlike Liam and I they are bound by the Hippocratic Oath. Not only that but both would likely find the idea abhorrent. The fact that I currently find myself at my desk rather than in the brig suggests that the Commander is giving the issue some serious thought. I can only wonder on just how hard a decision this must be for him when all things are taken into consideration and can only profusely apologize for placing him in the situation in the first place. Should this be the last log i make as a Starfleet Officer, let it be known for the Record that my only regret is that I could not save Vanessa Driscoll. I have a clear conscience despite your moral and ethical code. I made the right choice and I can live with it.

:: He tapped his fingers on his chair. ::

Richards: Computer. End and encrypt log, authorization Richards Charlie Two Niner Niner.

:: The Computer chirped its response and closed the recording. Alexander finished the glass of water in front of him and prepared to pour himself another one when the door chimed at him. ::

Richards: Enter.

:: Normally Alexander would have found the sight of a counselor in front of him imposing. For the first time in his life however, he welcomed the intrusion. He had a lot on his mind and could really use the company. Perhaps the Ensign would be able to help clear his mind. ::

Richards: Ensign Riel. Please take a seat. Would you like me to fetch you anything from the replicator?

Tag/TBC...

Lieutenant Commander Alexander Richards
Chief Science officer
USS Gemini​

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