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

stardate 84209.8

Personal log.
Acting Captain, USS Tycho Brahe.

With all that’s happened to me lately, I haven’t taken the time to reflect on some of the more positive events of the past few weeks. First off, I’ve been granted a promotion to Lieutenant Commander. It seems that Admiral Quinn has been impressed with the work I, and my crew, have done and decided that a promotion was in order. Secondly, I’ve been granted command of a new ship, the Tycho Brahe. I’m still considered only an acting captain (the current captain was severely injured in an engagement with Romulan forces and is currently recovering at Starbase 1), but for all intents and purposes, she’s mine. Along with the new ship, I was able to select a few new bridge officers. With a little politicking here and there, I was able to get Carol transferred from the Ontario to the Brahe. Thank goodness for small miracles. Finally, I’ve been asked to present a paper I wrote last year (Effects of Transwarp Travel on the Quantum State of Brain Tissue and the Associated Neurological Effects) at a medical conference sponsored by Starfleet on Earth. That means my whole crew will receive two weeks of shore leave, and I’ll get to spend the majority of the time (aside from the two days for the conference) visiting with my parents and Arthur. I can’t say in words how happy I am. I’m still debating bringing him onboard – maybe when things settle a little. Even still, two whole weeks on Earth. I know my crew is ecstatic, and with good reason. They’ve earned a rest. We all have.

stardate 84197.23

Personal log.
Acting Captain, USS Tycho Brahe.

I tried to talk to Carol today about Joss’ death. She knew how much it was bothering me. I just don’t have the words. This war, the constant fighting. It’s dragging me down.

We responded to a distress call in the Ceron system today. A wing of Klingon Birds of Prey had attacked a civilian transport and destroyed it, killing all those onboard. 200 people. Almost half of them women and children based on the passenger manifest. I can’t lie, when Admiral Quinn ordered me to clean up the system and eliminate the remaining Klingon forces, I felt a rush. I can’t say it was happiness. No, it was something more base than that. Whatever it was, I revelled in the chase, in knowing that those ships I was destroying deserved to be destroyed. I revelled in the fact that the people onboard those ships (and they were people, I can’t fool myself into thinking otherwise, yet) were dying and that I was the agent of justice that was killing them.

200 civilians dead at the hands of the Klingons. But how much blood have I spilt?

I hardly know myself anymore.

At least now, in retrospect, I realize that destroying those ships was an act of necessity. But at the time, while the torpedoes were flying, I didn’t give a damn about the war or orders, I just wanted them to pay. I think that feeling, that sense of justification, is what scares me most of all.

stardate 84194.72

Personal log.
Acting Captain, USS Tycho Brahe.

He wasn’t supposed to die.

It was supposed to be a simple mission. Beam down. Check for contraband. Beam up.
I’ve watched people die before. I’m a doctor. I’ve seen incurable diseases, crippling injuries, accidental deaths. But to see someone I’m responsible for walk into their death on my orders is something I never bargained for. Of course, I’ve done the training. Every command cadet goes through the obligatory courses, the Kobayashi Maru scenario, the psychological screening.  None of it even begins to prepare you for the stark reality of a man’s blood running from his throat and lying dead at your feet. None of it prepares you for the knowledge that it was your order that sent him to the front of the team, your order that put him on the away mission in the first place. None of it prepares you to deliver the news to his parents that their son, their 22 year old son, is dead.

To do no harm, that was the oath I swore as a doctor. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to repair all the damage I’ve done.

Mercy – whatever powers might be listening out there, just a moment of mercy.

stardate 84184.76

Coroner’s Report
Patient Name: Emmett Rudolph Joss
Age: 22
Date of death: stardate 2438.77
Attending Physician: Dr. Daniel Carver

Patient suffered a major laceration of the carotid artery, both inner and outer, caused by a dull serrated blade during an away mission. Blood loss was immediate and substantial. Despite quick application of liquid polyderm and infusion of artificial platelets, the patient’s blood loss was too substantial to be overcome using field techniques and materials.

Patient’s death occurred at 2438.77

End report.

Commanding Officer’s Report
Ensign Joss was ordered to beam down to a trading station in the Argelius system, that was suspected of harbouring smugglers. Other team members included the commanding officer (Lt. Daniel Carver), tactical officer (Ensign T’Fren), and engineering officer (Ensign Laroche). During the mission Klingon resistance was encountered. Following standard procedure (Starfleet Field Manual, article 2.33), Ensign Joss was designated the point-man for the away team. During an enter and sweep procedure, Ensign Joss entered a large cargo holding area at the fore of the group, followed by Ensign T`Fren and Ensign Laroche with Lt. Carver taking the rear. A small group of Klingons were hidden behind a number of large transport pods. As Ensign Joss turned to give the team the clear signal, one of the Klingons leapt forward from hiding, drawing a large serrated blade (known as a mevak). The Klingon grasped Ensign Joss by the head, using the blade to slice across his neck (see Coroner`s report for details of damage). After the away team cleared the Klingon threat, emergency medical procedures were followed, but Ensign Joss` blood loss was too great and died on the station. His body was transported back to the USS Hippocrates.

A commendation for remarkable service is recommended for Ensign Joss as he executed his orders and served his ship with distinction and care.

Ensign Joss`remain should be transported to Risa, where he is survived by his parents (Thomas and Frances Joss).

End report.

stardate 84189.79

Personal log.
Acting Captain, USS Hippocrates.

I received new orders today from Commander Sulu. We were assigned to patrol several systems in the Orion Sector. First on the agenda was the Reytan System. Seems the Orions were disrupting trade routes again. I’m still having a hard time reconciling our mandate as a medical ship with our assignments as a military vessel. Even still, it’s definitely in the best interest of the sector and the quadrant that the Orion threat is neutralized.

I was able to spare a few minutes today to talk to Arthur back on Earth. Seems command has its privileges, with use of the sub-space array being one of them. It’s hard to believe how much he’s grown in the few months I’ve been assigned to the Hippocrates. He’s already taking his first steps. My parents have been wonderful with him and they’ve been more than willing to watch him while Carol and I are unable to be on Earth.

I’ve been debating requesting a transfer for Carol to get her onto the Hippocrates and maybe even having Arthur onboard with us. I just don’t know if it’s worth the risk. I’m not going to lie – it’s been lonely the last three months out here. Command is a burden and while I think my crew is more than capable of the assignments we’ve received, I couldn’t say I consider any of them to be my friends. I’ve asked Carol for advice, and she thinks that Arthur would be happy onboard with us – a lot of children have grown up on starships and been none the worse for the wear. Still, she’s yet to see active duty. The Ontario is still in drydock being retrofitted with modern weapon and shield systems. I wonder if she might change her mine when she sees what it`s like out here. I still find it hard to believe they’re pulling the old Miranda and Constitution class ships out of mothballs – almost makes me wonder about our chances.

Anyhow, we’re off to the Regulus Sector on more patrol missions. We’ll see how things go. If I can do well out here I may be up for a promotion – maybe I can have Carol transferred. Then, we can think more seriously about Arthur.

stardate 84179.74

Personal Log.
Acting Captain, USS Hippocrates.

It wasn’t supposed to end up this way.

I’m a doctor – a scientist, not a soldier. I didn’t come out here to fight battles and shoot phaser rifles. I came out here to heal people, to do my research, to make people’s lives better, not end them. I know we’re in war. I know these are desperate times. I suppose I just didn’t realize how desperate. I never wanted to command a ship. I never wanted to see the people around me get hurt and die. I never wanted to feel the weight of other people’s lives on my shoulders, not like this.

Maybe I was naive to think I could join the fleet and not have to see battle. Maybe I was naive to think that I could be a scientist in a time of war. “Do no harm.” That’s the oath I swore as a doctor and those are the words I live by - “do no harm.” Yet, here I find myself ordering attacks on other ships, ordering others to their deaths. But when I weigh the alternative, I have to wonder if I’m not doing the right thing. Would I be willing to sit back and allow others to risk their lives to keep me safe, to keep my family safe, and not be willing to take the same risk? Would I be willing to stay on Earth, knowing that there’s a war going on and that others were putting their lives at stake so that I could be happy at home with my son?

There are no easy answers. When others would seek to destroy all that we’ve built and all that the Federation stands for, I can’t stand idly by. I will see that the least harm is done. It’s a heavy burden to bear, a difficult burden. But these are not easy times.