Chief Medical Officer’s Log, Stardate 77416.6.
The vast majority of our patients have been transported to temporary facilities on the planet’s surface or to the dedicated hospital ship that has joined us in orbit of Gamma Sagittarii III, so I have been able to turn my attention fully to the care of Lieutenant Zaos Sarcaryn. While he is recovering nicely from most of his injuries, there is no indication that his spinal cord will ever heal on its own. I believe I have a treatment plan that would be effective: a combination of genetronic replication, cybernetics, and nanite therapy. It’s a radical approach, but I believe the possible benefits to Sarcaryn’s physical and mental health outweigh the risks. We will see if Starfleet Medical agrees with me.
“You have to be out of your fucking mind, Alenis,” Rear Admiral Stanton said over subspace. Wearing sciences blue, she was a senior medical official and the only person who could authorize his course of treatment. Anjar had worked with her many times before, and he knew that she wasn’t one to mince words, which he usually appreciated. “Genetronics has long been ruled out as a serious treatment option for neurological trauma. The only patient to survive died on the table and was only brought back because he had redundant anatomy. Risians are not Klingons.”
The Bajoran chuckled. “Tell me how you really feel, Admiral,” he quipped. “Risians may not be Klingon, but their nervous system does demonstrate substantially more plasticity than other Humanoids. I believe that could be the missing piece here.”
“You are proposing turning a situation where the patient has zero chance of dying from his current condition into one where he’d be better off hoping for fair odds at a Ferengi Dabo table,” Stanton replied. “I’m honestly shocked that you would even propose this.”
“When we brought him around the first time, he was so apoplectic at the idea of being paralyzed that he nearly had a stroke on the biobed. He just came off of suicide watch today.”
“So? He wants to kill himself, so you’re just going to do it yourself?” Stanton said, throwing up her hands. She sighed. “That was a little harsh. I’m sorry. His mental state is a factor, but the ultimate goal here is to preserve his life, not his legs.”
Anjar bit the inside of his cheek to stay calm. “Linda, it should be his choice. I’m not even talking about replacing his entire spine, just two vertebrae,” he offered.
“You know that’s not how this works. You can’t dangle a miracle treatment in front of him and reasonably expect to get informed, legitimate consent, even setting aside that we don’t perform experimental procedures on our patients like this,” the Admiral replied. “You are absolutely forbidden from discussing the subject with him, and that’s a direct order. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Admiral,” Anjar replied. He tapped a few more buttons. “I’m sending you the rest of his medical history and his service record. This is more complex than the danger.”
“It would have to be for you to be acting like this,” Stanton grumbled. “I will be aboard in two days to examine him myself. My shuttle leaves in an hour. I have… other reasons for being on Arcturus, and it’s a lucky coincidence.”
“I think my odds of convincing you just doubled, then,” Anjar replied with a grin. “I know you can’t talk about the other thing, but I don’t envy you on that one. If we were on the frontier, it would be me on that court instead.”
“Well, think about how Lieutenant Galan must feel,” the admiral quipped. “I swear, Alenis, if I get there and this kid can walk? I’ll drag you in front of a court-martial of your own. Stanton out.”
It just took a glance for Captain Lancaster to send the security technician out of the room when he entered the brig, which was well enough because he wanted to be alone with Lieutenant Galan. The young Romulan was sitting cross-legged on the bunk in his cell. His uniform jacket and shirt were folded neatly on the floor next to his boots.
“Uniform standards still apply when you’re in the brig, Lieutenant,” Lancaster snapped as he approached the forcefield.
Galan stood up and came to respectful parade rest. He wiggled his toes slightly, and the captain was reminded of the first time he’d had a real conversation with the lieutenant, who was barefoot and reeking of brine from time spent in Cetacean Ops. Galan had done away with his long obsidian hair in the meantime, out of who knows what foolish Romulan impulse.
“My apologies, Captain. I hope that doesn’t adversely impact my standing with Starfleet,” Galan replied, his voice dripping through his smirk like acid. “Is it appropriate for us to be speaking without witnesses?”
“Spare me whatever insolent Romulan twink performance this is,” Lancaster said, his grip growing much tighter on the PADD he was carrying. “I’ve recused myself from sitting on your court-martial because of how angry—and disappointed—I am in your conduct, Galan.”
Galan laughed, which made Lancaster see red.
“Apologies again, sir. I guess I’m feeling particularly insolent in the face of an entirely unnecessary dog-and-pony show. I did it. Send me to a rehabilitation camp and spare everyone the hassle.”
“That’s what I don’t get, Lieutenant. You obviously believed that the potential gain from your actions outweighed the consequences, but you don’t seem willing to make that argument to try to save your career,” Lancaster replied, pacing for a moment. “Do you want to go away for what could be the rest of your life?”
The Romulan shrugged. “No, of course not. But what I did was wrong, and I knew that going in. I don’t see any point in attempting to get out of this,” he explained, which made Lancaster soften just slightly. “The ends don’t justify the means.”
“Then why did you do this?”
“Because only a Romulan thinking and acting like a Romulan was going to get that information from him. Zaos is probably never going to walk again, but the people who hurt him are dead Captain,” Galan replied.
“Revenge,” Lancaster muttered. “That’s an extremely disappointing answer. But also one that speaks to your compromised emotional state at the time of the—” he started.
“Stop, sir. He summoned me, and I took my phaser with me. That’s premeditation by any standard. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew I was going to do something,” Galan replied, now sounding frustrated.
“Sarcaryn is important to you. Why?”
“We were intimate once.”
“At the academy or… I don’t understand.”
“No, I mean once. A singular time. On the away mission,” Galan admitted.
It was Lancaster’s turn to chuckle. “Well, that’s psychotic behavior if I’ve ever heard it. Not to undercut his loss or your motives here, but you barely know him, and you went and did something that’s going to get you a general court-martial,” the captain said. “The bad news for you here is that in this situation, a no-contest plea isn’t available to you. A situation this serious demands a full inquiry.”
“Hence the insolence,” Galan said, chewing on his bottom lip. “You’re going with ‘psychotic’ and not ‘chivalrous?’” he asked, quirking his head to the side.
“I’ll stick with my analysis that it’s symptomatic of an altered state of mind, yes,” Lancaster replied. “I’d probably do worse for my husband, but we’ve also been together for a decade and not ten minutes fumbling in some broom closet,” he replied.
That much was true and probably more than he should have admitted to the lieutenant, but Lancaster had long known that he would be quite willing to go scorched earth over Sheppard. He just didn’t expect an extremely intelligent being like Galan to be willing to do so after what sounded like a passing encounter, even if it might have been the foundation for something more. It was clingy, possessive, and quite possibly an excellent legal angle to attempt for his defense.
“Ouch. Sick dig,” Galan said, rolling his eyes. “With all due respect, but did you come here for some particular reason or just to mock my sex life and brag about yours?”
Lancaster’s grip on his PADD returned to the point at which he was close to shattering the screen for a moment. “I’m not about to allow a member of my crew to half-ass his defense because a.) it makes me look bad, and b.) it’s a colossal waste of Starfleet’s resources. I’ll be seeing to your defense personally.”
Galan was left speechless for a moment.
“You’re welcome,” Lancaster offered.
“Why would you do that? And don’t I already have Commander Holland?”
“He’ll assist as co-counsel. It’s my prerogative as commanding officer to stand for a member of the crew if I deem it appropriate even when a JAG officer is available,” the captain replied. “You’re free to refuse at the initial hearing, but you’d be even dumber than that histrionic haircut you’ve given yourself makes you look.”
“You’re not a lawyer, and I thought you recused yourself.”
“I’m not a lawyer, but I know Starfleet regulations better than anyone. I also think that what you did was reprehensible, so if you’re acquitted, it’s going to be because we found a solution within the four corners of the law,” Lancaster replied. “I only said I wasn’t sitting on the court.”
Galan crossed his arms. “And then what?”
“What do you mean? Acquitted means that you don’t go to prison.”
“You’d let me stay here, even though you clearly loathe me?”
The captain frowned again. “That would be a different conversation,” he admitted. He reached over and tapped his access code into the panel next to the forcefield, which promptly vanished. “I am releasing you on your own recognizance pending your hearing, which will occur in two days. If you enter a transporter room or the shuttle bay, you’re back in here.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Now’s the part where you cut the shit and say ‘thank you, sir.’”
“Thank you, sir.”
With that, Lancaster left Galan there to think about his choices and gather his belongings in the brig. The added context gave Galan’s story depth, but he was still baffled that one of the brightest linguists in the fleet would be willing to throw away his career and his freedom so cavalierly. Sarcaryn’s case was one of the most heart-wrenching things he’d experienced as a captain, but now there was a very real chance that one young man’s life was changed forever and another’s chance of any future was now gone.