References

Primum non nocere... "First, do no harm."

stardate 86618.25

Personal log.
Captain, USS Atlas.

One hundred fifty days.

Three thousand nine hundred hours.

Two hundred thirty-four thousand seconds.

It seems an insignificant chunk of one’s life in the grand scheme of things. Less than one-percent of my total existence, assuming I live to a not unreasonable age of one hundred twenty-five years. Time is a strange beast, though. Unpredictable. Cagey. Slippery.

One hundred fifty days stuck in a hole on Bajor, the prisoner of the True Way.

The mission began innocently enough. The Osler was ordered to Bajor to transport a group of high-ranking local diplomats to Earth where they were to attend a conference discussing trade arrangements between Bajor and other Federation worlds. After beaming down and greeting the group (accompanied by a security contingent) we were set to beam up. After calling for transport, I was surrounded by the familiar blue beam. But when the beam cleared I wasn’t standing on the transporter pad of the Osler. Instead, I was in a damp, unlit cell.

I would learn later that there was a True Way infiltrator onboard the Osler, a Crewman Jedek Otha, who redirected the transport beam to an underground True Way base. On the Osler, Otha (who worked as a transporter technician) was able to make it appear that due to ionic interference, my pattern had been lost in transport – a rare, but not unheard of, accident.

For the next one hundred fifty days I existed in darkness punctuated by periods of glaring light, ceaseless questioning and pain. I never saw my captors, I only heard their voices and felt their hands and tools of torture.

It’s strange how we settle into habits and patterns, even in the worst situations. It didn’t take me long to settle into a sort of haze of routine. I could time my weeks almost to the dot (though time lost some meaning in the darkness).

Every morning (at least that’s what I came to think of it as), my captors would throw a piece of bread and mouldering fruit through a small slot in the door of my cell. After eating, I would do some basic callisthenic exercises.

In the first days after I was captured, I used this time to search my cell for any sort of escape. There was none. The cell appeared to be (from my limited ability to survey it) a natural pocket. The walls were composed of a dense igneous rock, not unlike granite. The door was solid metal (aside from the slot which opened regularly to provide me with sustenance). There were no apparent ventilation systems or other entrances or exits (though there may have been on the ceiling, which I was unable to access).

After my callisthenic exercises, I would try to engage myself in mind games, humming songs, mathematical puzzles – anything to keep the darkness at bay. I would do this for hours until I fell asleep and was awakened the next day (morning?) by my meal.

This would be my routine for four days. The fifth day was always the day of questioning.

I assume they injected a gas into my cell because I would awaken bound to a chair, bright lights in my eyes, with no memory of having been moved. For hours on end they would ask questions, punishing me if my answers displeased them. These days are a blur of light and pain – I don’t even remember the questions or what I said or if I even told the truth. All I knew was that I had wanted the pain to stop.

Thirty times I visited the questioning chamber. Thirty variations on the torture and questions and pain.

It was during my last session of questioning that something changed. My captors’ voices stopped momentarily and I could hear them speaking in hushed tones. Then I heard phaser fire, screams, and the familiar hum of a transporter beam.

It seems that my faithful first officer, Draymen, had noticed inconsistencies in the transporter logs shortly after I had gone missing. After piecing together the truth of what had happened, he located the hidden True Way base and convinced Starfleet to send a squad of MACO anti-terrorist agents down to Bajor to save me.

I owe him my life.

Starfleet, assuming I’d been killed in action, had reassigned the Osler and her crew.

After several months of debriefing with Starfleet, I’ve been reinstated and provided command of the USS Orion, a retrofitted Excelsior-class vessel. Through a little finagling, I’ve been able to get most of my senior staff transferred to my command. Starfleet is still wary about the effects of my incarceration and have assigned me to system survey duty (a way to keep me occupied and away from key systems in case residual trauma from my incident should render me unfit for command). All I know is it feels good to be back in space again. I want to forget everything that has come before. It’s time for a new start.

stardate 86245.46

Personal log.
Captain, USS Osler.

“I am a mystery to myself.”

These words were spoken by Angelina Grimk√©. In the last few days they’ve come into my mind on more than one occasion.

We recently completed our joint operation in the Gamma Orionis sector. Things went well and we completed the assignment with no casualties or major injuries.

My crew performed admirably and we supported the Klingon ships, allowing them to successfully prevent an incursion into the sector.

I couldn’t do it.

I had any number of opportunities to ensure that the qul SuvwI’ suffered damage, or was destroyed. A moment’s delay in an order. A slight miscalculation in positioning. A second’s hesitation in firing weapons.

But I could not do it.

I could feel the weight of my wife and son on me. I could feel them watching over me. But I could also feel the weight of my duty and the weight of my command.

I could not do it.

And so I completed my mission. I did as I was ordered. I protected my enemies – the ones who took my family from me.

And still I feel the weight of their presence with me. The weight of their lives and deaths.

I only wonder if it was weakness that stayed my hand, or was it strength?

The more I move through life it seems there are fewer and fewer answers and more questions.

stardate 86029.96

Personal log.
Captain, USS Osler.

IKS qul SuvwI'.

Captain Ven’Qa.

These names have been echoing through my mind for second after second, minute after minute for the past four days. As part of our orders from Starfleet Command, it was mentioned in passing that due to the threat of a Borg incursion, the Empire and the Federation are performing a few small joint operations in the Gamma Orionis sector. A number of ships have been paired with some Klingon vessels for these cooperative exercises to keep the Borg out of the sector and the Osler has been assigned to provide medical and ECM support to Task Force Alpha One.

Perhaps as a show of attempted cooperation with our Klingon “friends” the Task Force consists of three Klingon ships, and two Federation. The Klingon ships include a carrier – Vo’quv class –  and two birds of prey. The Federation contingent includes the Osler, and the USS Saratoga, a Sovereign-class ship. The Klingons are expected to do the heavy lifting in terms of the combat, while the Saratoga and Osler will act in a support role.

This news in itself is nothing particular earthshattering. I’ve been a part of a number of discussions about how to ease diplomatic tensions with the Klingons and ways to go about building bridges. Joint military efforts are an easy way to gain some favour and trust with the High Council, and the Klingon populace in general, particularly given how hard the Borg incursions are hitting many Klingon colonies.

What caught my attention was the mission briefing and intel we received outlining our allies. The Klingons make no secret of their military victories, even when those victories are against Federation targets and the personnel reports we received make it clear that they take great pride in all of their military actions against Starfleet. I can’t begrudge them that. They are a warrior race and that is there way.

What really caught my eye was the designation of the IKS qul SuvwI', one of the birds of prey we would be escorting on this mission. Because the Osler was going to be providing ECM support to the other vessels, we received very detailed information on the Klingon ships’ shield harmonics and modulation (this would allow us to better support the other ships, and to potentially beam casualties through shields in an emergency situation).

The qul SuvwI' had something particular about it – a non-Klingon shield design. Klingon ships generally employ a hybrid of Romulan, Klingon and Gorn shield technologies that work in such a way as to minimize their power requirements during cloak. The qul SuvwI' was different. It employed an Orion type design that utilized tachyon-shifting to minimize power drain; a very a-typical shield for use on a Klingon ship and one that I’d seen only once before.

Reading the reports more closely, the service record of Captain Ven’Qa, commanding officer of the qul SuvwI' made it clear – this was the ship we’d encountered at Kharans II.

This was the ship that sent a group of warriors aboard and butchered my crew.

These were the ones who killed my wife.

These were the ones who killed my son.

Vengeance.

stardate 85706.71

Personal log.
Captain, USS Osler.


There are moments that make me remember why I entered Starfleet, why I became a doctor. Today I had one of those moments. A civilian transport vessel was moving a group of colonists from the Andoss system to the Aoki system. Unfortunately, a virulent strain of the Irakian fever (strain HGC-44124, refer to medical library for further information) had infected the colonists and crew. Being the nearest ship in the region, the Osler was charged with meeting the ship in interstellar space and providing vaccination for the colonists and crew. We arrived quickly and were able to inoculate all aboard with no casualties.

Unfortunately, one of the colonists, a young Andorian Shen was pregnant. The vaccine could not be given in utero due to the late development of the foetus. Working with my Chief Medical Officer, Lieutenant Bers, I was able to construct a retrovirus to deliver a gene resequencing routine that made the child immune to the disease and prevented prenatal infection, which would have resulted in severe respiratory damage.

With everything else going on in the Federation this reminded me of why I came out here. To heal and to help. To see the look of relief, the look of thanks on the faces of those colonists reminded me that despite all the evil in the galaxy, despite all the injustice, I can still make a difference.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

stardate 85705.56

Personal log.
Captain, USS Osler.


Today would have been Arthur’s eighth birthday. I had planned to give him a toy I’d found on Bajor during our last visit to DS9. The Bajoran who had sold it to me called it a ohn’ta. It’s a sphere, roughly six centimeters in diameter. I’ve scanned it, and it’s made of a metal particular to Bajor that acts as a superconductor even at fairly high temperatures. When placed near any surface with ferrous metals in it, the sphere levitates at about five centimeters from the surface. If placed between two surfaces with ferrous metals, it rotates. I had hoped to teach Arthur about the Meissner effect and superconductors, and how they relate to our own superconducting technology. There were so many things I wanted to teach him. So many things I had wanted to see him accomplish.

I still hear his voice in my sleep sometimes, calling me for help.

With all the power I command, the terrawatts of energy, the weapons of destruction and tools of healing, I couldn’t save him.

My son is gone.

stardate 85650.25

Personal log.
Captain, USS Osler.


In the past months, the Borg are becoming bolder in the Gamma Orionis sector and we’ve seen heavy duty. I can’t count the number of ships we’ve lost. I can’t even count the number of corpses I’ve seen. Sick bay is becoming an abattoir and triage is almost a joke. My crew is doing well under the conditions. They’re a good bunch.

We were recently assigned to provide support to a task-force in the Sibiran System. Rear Admiral Qer was in command of the mission, leading from his flagship the USS Shay II. Along with us were the USS Gladstone, USS Acheron and the USS Pegasus. Our primarily role in the mission was to be ECM / ECCM and medical support / triage. 

Starfleet lost contact with Starbase 82. When we arrived, we quickly discovered why – the Borg had invaded and managed to assimilate the station and most of its crew. We were able to clear the station out, though not without casualties. I lost four crew myself – Ensigns Joffrey and C’ten, and Lieutenants Arch and Hu. Sixteen crew dead plus the crew of the starbase itself – more than three hundred.

The Borg are an insidious enemy. The worst kind of enemy. They don’t kill their victims. Instead they pervert them, they change them. Death would be clean, but the Borg aren’t that compassionate. They take our own people and make them our enemies and they let us kill them. That’s the real irony – we are the Borg. They take us and make them their own.

I knew some of the crew of Starbase 82. I went to the Academy with Commander Athelosh, one of the senior engineering officers on the base.

Yesterday, I shot him with a phaser rifle.

Or, at least I shot what he had become. Was Athelosh still in there? I’ve read accounts from liberated Borg – people who have been severed from the Collective and returned to normal life (whatever that means these days). They say it’s like being trapped in your own mind, like watching your body through a viewscreen.

I wonder what Athelosh was thinking as he watched me pull the trigger? Was he in there? Did he recognize me? Did he curse me as I gunned him down, or did he silently thank me, glad for the release?

In the end, does it even matter?

stardate 85466.73

Personal log.
Captain, USS Osler.


It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I set foot on the bridge of a starship. Six months of leave and counselling and more leave. It seems like a lifetime ago that someone called me Captain. At my request, I’ve been transferred from the Exploration and placed in command of the USS Iaso, a medical support ship patrolling in the Gamma Orionis sector. My former first officer, T’Fren has been promoted to Captain and given command of the Exploration. She’s a fine officer and I know she’ll do a fine job. I would have liked to go back, but there were too many memories, too many ghosts. It was time to move on. They wanted to promote me and give me a desk job, but I needed to get back out into the field. I couldn’t stand sitting still any more.

I was able to bring a few familiar faces over to the Osler with me – Joe Kraft, now a Commander, is my Chief Engineer and Draymen came with me as my First Officer. It’s good to be back in space again, to feel the deckplates under my feet. I just need to keep moving. I just have to keep moving and the ghosts can’t catch up.

stardate 85124.82

Personal log.
Captain, USS Exploration.


I have fought Death at every turn - with medicine, with my wits, with all of the tools available to me.
I have fought Death at every turn and won more battles than I have lost, but Death is patient and Death is vengeful.

Today, while performing routine survey operations of Kharans II, a class-D planet orbiting a binary star system, the Exploration was the victim of an unprovoked attack by three Hegh’ta-class Klingon birds of prey. The Klingon vessels attacked from port, starboard and aft. We returned fire and executed a standard evasive manoeuvres pattern. The Klingons pressed the attack, dropping our rear shields in the process. Seizing the opportunity, they beamed three strike teams aboard.

Our security forces responded quickly, but not quickly enough. Two of the strike teams beamed to Engineering. One of the strike teams, beamed to deck six, crew quarters. The Klingons must have had intelligence regarding the layout of the Exploration, as their attack was designed to target our most vulnerable areas. Twelve crew members were killed within the next seven minutes as the Klingon invaders lobbed plasma grenades into corridors and crew cabins. Security forces responded quickly and disabled the Klingons, but not before the damage was done.

Carol and Arthur were sleeping in our quarters when the attack started. Ours was the first cabin the Klingons threw a grenade into.

They say it’s a slow death, burning in plasma fire. They say the pain can linger for up to two minutes before you die.

The Klingon strike teams were dispatched and we were able to warp away before any serious damage could be done to the ship.

But the damage was done.

My wife and my son are gone.

For some moments in life, there are no words.