::Truth be told it was all his own fault. If Shar’Wyn Foster had ever learned to keep a
rein on his mouth he might be much farther in his Starfleet career than he
currently was. On paper he had all the
medical skills, all the training and certifications, all the experience and
more to have risen in rank and not transferred from ship to ship. And yet something kept the man back, kept him
The worst part of it was he wanted so badly to find a place
where he wasn’t a pariah of the medical community. He wanted so badly to find a crew that he
could support and grow to become part of their ‘family.’ While the news that he was to be transferred
had been a blow, the actual assignment to the Atlantis had been hopeful. And yet here he was, only fourteen hours
after arriving on the ship, shooting his stupid mouth off…::
FOSTER: ::Breathing, he seemed slightly calmer, though
his words were still tense:: Oh no, if this is sabotage, that means that
someone onboard is deliberately trying to harm this crew. And like hell
if I am going to let them succeed. ::Through clenched teeth, his voice
came out in a low growl:: And if. No. When. I find that
person I will personally dissect them into little pieces and feed them to my
VEDRA: ::He gasped in shock at the words that came out of the healer’s lips.:: Doctor!!
::It was that word, that one word that caused Shar’Wyn’s
head to snap up and he fixed his eyes on Vedra.
He had seen that look before. Had
seen it on the looks of the medical officers he was working with, the look of
shock and horror that drained into their eyes when they first realized he wasn’t
like them. He wasn’t an innocent soul, a
good healer that would do his best to preserve all life.
He was a man with a commitment to his own ideals, and not
enough fear to prevent him from acting – doing whatever was necessary – to make
sure good people survived.
And yet that one word from an innocent scientist, a man who
knew nothing of him bubbled up a painful mixture of memories and emotions. A deep blue shame burned through his cheeks
as an unbidden scene seared itself into his brain, unlocked from the chest
where he stored all his most painful memories.::
((Flashback – 11 months ago, Caldera VI))
::Doctor Tarenstar was dragging his young assistant chief
through the back halls of a wrecked Calderaan school building. The dust from the recent destruction still
hung in thick clouds in the air, though mercifully the terrified screams of the
injured children had lowered to a dull whimper.
The Bolian doctor could feel the heat creeping in bright blue streaks up
his neck and flushing his face a deeply unattractive shade of ‘blueberry.’
He had one hand latched onto the slim Andorian’s arm just
near the shoulder and was pulling him along.
Not that Doctor Foster was fighting the motion. Tarenstar had the vague notion that if Foster
had wanted to fight being dragged, he would have been long gone. No, Foster was willing to hear him out, and
if he knew his assistant, more than willing to argue his side. At this point the act of dragging only gave
some mental comfort for Tarenstar that he was still in control of the situation.
As they came to a mostly intact classroom, out of earshot of
the rest of the team and civilians, the older man turned, pinning his assistant
to the wall by the door.::
::demanding:: What in the hell was that back there?
FOSTER: ::He frowned, getting the sinking feeling this
entire day was about to go downhill at warp speed. Well, more than it already had…:: We were working on triage for the school
children when we uncovered an Essentialist terrorist who still had a live
explosives planted in the classroom. He
was in possession of a detonator, and was demanding we offer up for slaughter the
eight remaining members of the Federation task force that was visiting to determine
Caldera’s petition for Federation membership.
You know, the important people that we were protecting until the
transporters could be repaired...
TARENSTAR: ::The Bolian frowned. He had always been taught that in hostage
situations that one gave the hostage taken as much as they demanded until the
hostages were released. Then security
could take over and chase down the bad guys while you stayed and tended the
injured. Except trading people for
people was never a good bargain:: How
did you know that the Federation members would come to harm if you
offered them over?
incredulously:: Ok, ::ticking off on his spindly blue fingers:: He was covered
in weapons and was holding a remote detonator to blow up the area of the school
where the children were being housed,
::another finger ticked:: He was clearly mentally unstable, ::another finger ticked:: He shot and killed
a four year old girl for crying too loudly. ::another finger ticked:: He shot
Lieutenant Johnson in the thigh without hesitation when Johnson tried to assist
the child. ::And finally the thumb:: Oh
yeah, and he blatantly admitted he had every intention of shooting the
Federation consul members execution style in the schoolyard. There was absolutely ~no~ reason not to
He hated this mission from the very first report that it wasn’t just a
cut and dry aid mission to a petitioning Federation member. When the USS Kilim first arrived, they had
been told that the injuries and property damage was due to a recent
earthquake. It seemed simple enough…
until someone figured out the ‘earthquake’ was scientifically engineered by
TARENSTAR: And if you
were able to get a clear shot at the terrorist, why didn’t you stun him?
rehashing facts Tarenstar already knew:: We weren’t equipped with phasers,
remember? This was supposed to be a non-violent aid mission, instead we found ourselves in the middle of a terrorist attack. All I had was a Calderaani phase cutter. It has two setting, Doctor: cut and blast.
And you decided to blast a man in the chest?
FOSTER: I gave him a chance.
I cut off his hand first! He
still went for the damn detonator. So I
did what I had to do.
::What he had to do amounted to taking that second shot, directly
through the vitals. Save that a
Calderaani phase cutter didn’t work as neatly or cleanly as a Starfleet
phaser. He all too clearly remembered
the terrorist spitting at him in disgust, challenging him to take the shot. Denouncing the teal uniform he wore as a
Wyn had never flinched, never hesitated. He had been committed to taking the shot from
the moment he picked up the weapon and pointed it at the man. The look of horrified surprise on his face as
the beam tore through his chest, spraying blood and viscera across the school
yard and painting a carefully artistic archway of gore on the stone walls was
burned into Wyn’s mind. Nobody expected
a doctor to kill a man.
Because doctors weren’t supposed to harm people. Ever.
It said so in the Hippocratic Oath, it was drilled into them from their first
day of training.
And yet he had done it.
He wasn’t proud of it, but he stood by his decision. The death of one person who made the decision
to hurt and go on hurting others was well worth it in the grand scheme of
things. In Shar’Wyn Foster’s mind he had
done harm to save countless other lives.
He wasn’t happy, he wasn’t heroic.
But he wouldn’t deny it, either.::
TARENSTAR: ::He threw his hands up in the air, seething with
rage.:: You are a doctor! That is NEVER
FOSTER: ::He stretched himself to his full height, even
standing on his tiptoes to get some chance to staring Tarenstar in the
eye:: Last time I checked only doctors were
in the vicinity. If not me, then who? You tell me!
TARENSTAR: You wait for security to make that call! ::The elder medic stabbed a finger at his
young assistant:: I had already made the call, they were on their way.
FOSTER: Oh yeah? ::Wyn snapped back:: Because I really was
going to wait for security to come in, make that call and shoot the guy… while
in the mean time he murders twenty-seven innocent children! ::He was shouting now, and not caring one
seven innocent children who will now have a lifetime of emotional scarring
because they just saw a Starfleet doctor blow a bloody hole through a man’s
chest! ::Tarenstar was quivering with
FOSTER: ::Wyn glared
at his chief medical officer, spitting back::
At least I gave them the chance to recover. If I hadn’t acted all I would be doing now is
picking up the bloody pieces. And what
sort of life would that have been for them? What kind of doctor would I be if I let them
tone was grave:: The kind of doctor who realizes the reality of the situation,
and offers aid the best he can.
FOSTER: I was done offering aid. Done picking shrapnel out of the bodies of
little children, and explaining to their grieving parents that there was
nothing they or I could have done because some murdering monster decided that
killing children would be a good way to get the attention of this planet’s self
absorbed government. ::he narrowed his
eyes, his voice was low and dangerous::
That’s not being a doctor, that’s being a brain-dead sheep with a medkit
– and I refuse to stoop to that level just so I can go to bed with a squeaky
clean conscience ever night.
You’re not a doctor right now, either.
::Tarenstar grabbed the much smaller man by the collar and whirled him
around until they were face to face::
All you are right now is a murderer.
::For the first time ever, since he had first arrived on the
Kilim, Shar’Wyn Foster was struck dumb.
Tarenstar, the first CMO he had ever
served under. A man he – to this point –
respected, had accepted his quirks, had even catered to him… he had just
condemned him as the worst kind of criminal known to medicine.::
FOSTER: And you’re a
moron. ::He spat, tearing himself out of
Tarenstar’s grip and turning his back on the man.::
::Tarenstar stood there, mute. Foster continued to put distance between
them. He was shaking, and yet he wouldn’t
break down. Not completely. He always kept enough reserves of mental
fortitude in him to keep it together long enough to get the job done. It might be a bumpy road, but he would reach
a destination or die trying.
Still, fear sunk in.
The fear of being branded for his name.
Would he end up like his father- the man he loved and idolized –
transferred from ship to ship, always tossed away like a floating piece of
space garbage? Misunderstood and
slandered for having the courage to live by a different set of rules?
He didn’t know. Maybe
his rules were wrong. Maybe he was
playing God by choosing who lived and who died.
But he had enough blood of innocent children on his hands for one day,
and between the choice of killing one terrorist or picking the bloody pieces of
twenty seven innocent lived from a collapsed school – he had never even dwelled
upon the answer. He simply picked it and
acted on it.::
The Captain will know about this.
FOSTER: ::Not turning
around, his voice eerily calm:: I know,
I already filed my report. I had nothing
better to do when you took over the triage and told me to leave the area.
huffed. He had wanted to put his spin on
things and be the first worm in the Captain’s ear. Knowing Alcott she would be all to lenient on
Foster. She had, after all, started in
the security services herself. She had
no idea what it meant to be a healer.:: For
now I need your hands in the triage area.
When this is settled this will not be swept under the rug, Foster. ::he paused and waited for silence to fall
before he sunk the knife in:: I don’t trust
you. I don’t think anyone should trust
FOSTER: ::Hollowly:: That is for them to decide.
::And the worst thing was, he knew all too clearly that while he was sorry about what happened... he never regretted it. And if a similar situation arose he would make the same decision. Looking deep into Vedra's eyes, he wondered if the soft spoken Orion could see this in Wyn. Would he fear him? Judge him? Hate him?
Only time would tell.
It was Rennyn's voice that broke him from his reverie::
RENNYN: Maybe we should leave that to security... ::Ren was a little scared of and a little
drawn to the ferocious side of the Andorian. More scared, though.::
::Wyn turned, looking from Ren to Vedra and back. He closed his eyes for a second, realize he
had played too many cards too quickly.
Trust was never easily given, and he feared that he destroyed what
little he had built in one fell swoop. With
a frown, he decided all there was to do was to pick up the pieces and solider
forward. There was still too much work
RENNYN: Maybe... maybe we should remember all the people who still need your
help to heal...
FOSTER: ::deflated, he collapsed into the nearest chair, his shoulders
slumping:: I’m sorry, you’re right. ::again, softer:: I’m sorry.
::he looked down, putting his hands against his faceplate as his antennae
twined downwards into his snowy hair in a submissive pose:: Too much
blood. Too many deaths. Not enough sleep, no food and I desperately
need a shower. ::he waved a hand:: I’m ok. I have a few hours
left in me. Let’s get this antitoxin done. Let’s beat this and find
out who did this.
VEDRA: That’s the spirit!
RENNYN: I know you can do this, Doc. ::Today, he was careening wildly between
comforting others and being comforted.:: You're going to find the solution.
::He offered them both a reassuring smile. Someday he’d love to know how Vulcans buried their
feeling so well. He wore his on his
sleeve, and yet he was well practiced at swallowing them down in favor of
finishing a job.
The conversation with Talens was a small distraction until a
scream pierced the air in sickbay. He
felt the breath stick in his throat.
Maybe he should call Djordjevic.
He was sure the Trill was a good man.
A good healer. The sort who saves
lives with nobility and steady work, not one who would fight against death with
blood and steel if necessary.
The scream turned to anguish, the sobs were ringing. Wyn didn’t even need to see what was going
on, as a chill set into his bones. He
already knew. Another death had come
He sighed, all too perceptive eyes noting the barrier Ren
and Vedra made between him and the wash of blood behind them. Looking up, it was clear he was not going to
fight them. He was too tired to be
stubborn against act of kindness. Maybe,
even, he was a little relieved.::
RENNYN: Doctor, this is under control. You should get back to what you were
doing. Rai'ow can look in to this when she gets here. And maybe keep this
panicky crowd in order so you can work in peace.
FOSTER: ::A contemplative nod:: If we
can open up an extra bay where those who have not progressed to stage three can
get medication and rest, that would be a great help. ::he took in a long slow breath:: Steady
power so we can get the materials we need replicated wouldn’t hurt either.
RENNYN: We wouldn't have gotten through that panic in the dark without you,
Doc. And you can get us through the rest of this, too. Just focus on what you're
doing. I know we're going to make it. You're going to mix me that drink after
all this, right? It's a moba juice gin, and I'll show you how to replicate the
right moba recipe.
FOSTER: ::he offered a light smile::
Darn skippy, Lieutenant. ::he paused and
added:: You’re a trouper. Keep
RENNYN: I'm going to the Bridge to see if I can be useful. When that antitoxin
is ready, I'm still your volunteer. It may be hours from now, that's fine. I'm
still your lab rat.
FOSTER: I’ll let you know. ::His voice
was earnest. The antitoxin was foremost
on his mind, and now he had to trust the rest of the crew to do their jobs and
remove the roadblocks to getting it created and ready. And there was the core of his frustration –
the feeling of growing helplessness as good crew kept falling. Who would keep the systems up and running so
they could save them? All he could do
was triage and wait::
FOSTER: I should
check on Blueheart again. ::looking
around:: And if you guys see Asmara
or Nurse Ocano, let me know where they got off to.
earnest: Thanks. ::It was unqualified. Simply offered::
FOSTER: ::With a nod,
he tapped his commbadge:: =/\=Foster to Djordjevic=/\=
DJORDJEVIC: =/\= response
FOSTER: =/\= Are you still with us, Doctor? =/\=
DJORDJEVIC: =/\= response
Ensign Shar’Wyn Foster