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Lieutenant Etan Iljor - Moral Quandaries

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@Etan Iljoralways plumbs some fascinating depths when exploring emotions, and this one is no exception. 

(( Ship’s Library, U.S.S. Excalibur ))

In the fourteen or so months since he had been assigned to the U.S.S. Resolution (and subsequently the Excalibur), Iljor had found himself utterly intimidated by Commander Addison MacKenzie. She was one of the most forthright people Iljor had ever met and carried herself with a sternness that reminded Iljor of several of his strict professors at Starfleet Academy. Meidra had often spoken about the XO’s dressing downs and had also been present for many disapproving looks and comments. In short, Iljor prayed frequently to The Prophets never to get on the wrong side of his imperious superior. So far, he had been doing well.

As MacKenzie lowered herself into the chair opposite his own, Iljor hoped that she was not about to grill him on the subject of his reading matter. Fortunately, she seemed to ignore the fact that he had been reading what amounted to poorly written Klingon erotica (indeed, it was more comical and - in places - disturbing than erotic).

MacKenzie: I think you had attempted to engage in a fairly important ethical conversation, but your timing was perhaps… poorly chosen.

Drawing a breath, Iljor nodded his head embarrassed. She was, as usual, correct. Attempting to debate the ethical implications of their efforts to remove technology from the Demesian people in the middle of what had amounted to a jail break had not been one of his finest nor well chosen moments. He had not planned to do so but had found himself unable to stop himself.

Etan: I see. ::he said, slowly.:: I guess bringing that up in the middle of breaking somebody out of an asylum wasn’t the best time. ::he admitted.:: How is Tina, if I may ask? ::he added a moment later.

The fate of Tina Kuppasoop had been playing on his mind ever since the Excalibur had retrieved him, Karrod and Sil from the emergency shelter a dozen or so kilometers outside of Jupe. Since their second return to the ship aboard the Gawain, Iljor had left a polite request for updates from the ship’s medical staff- but nothing had come of it.

The shake of MacKenzie’s head and the looks of concern that etched itself across her face told Iljor everything that he needed to know.

MacKenzie: I don’t have an answer. She is… not well. She looks like Tina Kuppasoup, but she insists that she is someone called Mary Daniel. There is no evidence in her file of any kind of multiple-personality disorder, and even if there were, there’s no evidence of multiple personalities at this point… ::she paused briefly, long enough for her eyebrow to rise:: only one. 

Iljor nodded sadly. It was an awful situation with very little ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ to borrow from an expression from MacKenzie’s homeworld. From the sound of it, there was little that the medical department could do and that psychological services would need to intervene. Unfortunately that might prove difficult.

Etan: Oh dear. ::he said, after a moment of reflection.:: It is just our luck that our counseling department is… lacking.

Iljor pursed his lips slightly in annoyance. That Meidra Sirin would transfer to the Gorkon without warning in the middle of a shift was unfortunate. Although he was not about to stop his friend from doing what she felt was important for her career- that she had not even bothered to say goodbye had stung Iljor. He was supposed to be her best friend, after all. He knew he was probably reading far too much into the situation and tiredness was probably influencing his emotion- but it felt as though she had simply discarded their friendship in the name of advancing her career.

Etan: oO I guess you just don’t know somebody like you think you do. Oo ::he mused, recognising the bitterness of the thought.::

MacKenzie: It is an… annoyance that our chief counselor chose this time to make such an abrupt departure. Timeliness and consideration were never the Vulcan’s strong suits, in my opinion.

Iljor nodded in agreement. As much as he cared for Meidra, the XO was right. Her enmity for the Excalibur’s former head of mental health services had been known to most aboard. That MacKenzie could work with Meidra despite her dislike was something that Iljor could respect- but also led him down an unwanted path: did she like Iljor or did she hold him in resentment? The fact that he couldn’t tell was another reason why she intimidated him so.

Etan: I’m not going to disagree with that. ::he said, quietly.::

MacKenzie: At any rate, no sense in worry about things we can’t change for the moment. I’m sure Commander Adea and the others are more than capable of figuring out just what’s going on with her. If I recall correctly, you started to ask me about the ethical implications of what we were doing on Demes II, but you never really got to finish your inquiry. Is that a conversation you’re interested in having?

Iljor straightened in the chair, feeling his shoulders tense in anticipation. He bobbed his head slowly to indicate his willingness to pick up their conversation from the asylum.

Etan: I’d… like that, yes.

MacKenzie: Response.

Iljor put his hands on the desk in front of him, intertwining his fingers as he did so. He took several moments to compose his thoughts and drew in a breath.

Etan: My concern is that what we’re doing is papering over the cracks. ::beat:: The Demesians have grown used to using Starfleet technology and they’ve shown a… startling aptitude for reverse engineering it. I mean, I read your reports: they managed to create their own approximation of an industrial replicator. If we take away this technology, we risk affecting their culture just as much Regillensis did when he abandoned that listening post.

MacKenzie: Response.

Etan: I don’t think removing the technology is the answer. The cultural contamination and damage to Demesian society is done. Short of going back in time and making sure the Rampart never visits the planet- we cannot change what happened. I think we have a fundamental responsibility to help these people adjust to a new phase of their development. 

To do anything else felt like covering up Regilensis’ crimes- and Iljor was worried that was exactly what Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Command were trying to do. Both departments had a frightening number of skeletons in their respective closets but in recent years there had been a fundamental shift in their approach to their litanies of renegade officers. Instead of being open and honest with the citizens of the galaxy and working to better themselves, Starfleet had taken to coverups and deflection. 

MacKenzie: Response.

Etan: I won’t disagree that the Demesians were not ready for Starfleet technology but they have it. I’m not suggesting nothing so grandiose as bringing them into the Federation, maybe something more akin to what Second Contact crews do. Help make them sense of what has happened and prepare them for whatever lies ahead. ::he sighed, unsure of whether he was making sense or not.:: Am I making sense?



Lieutenant Etan Iljor

Chief Science Officer

USS Excalibur

NCC - 41903 - A



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