“You’re giving me life.” Gurat was sitting up and staring at the frowning face of his savior, Helena Dread. The walls of the high-security Janoor III prison surrounded them, and the guards remained monoliths. The treatment system was hooked into both his arms as it pushed the medicine responsible for getting him closer and closer to remission. Dread sat in a chair on the other side of the bars reading a PADD and ignoring her patient. He sighed, “You can’t ignore me forever.”
Helena continued to read the archived article from the Olympic Journal and replied without looking up, “You don’t get to be a captain and a doctor without having your patience tested over and over.” She noted the advances in surgical care that were highlighted and read onward. Hargraves had left to discuss the next steps with the Janoor III contingent that had met them on the transporter pad. His business-first attitude and willingness to push up against any oppositional force had endeared him to her as they’d navigated to the jail.
“You don’t care what happens to me, do you?” He kept his eye contact drilled at her. Her assistant chief had reported him to be ‘talkative’ initially, and then after the Vulcan had debated the finer points of interstellar law, he’d gone silent. She quietly prayed for the miracle of pointed ears. She finished the next article and set the PADD down, searching the bland ceiling for an answer that would be both professional and direct. Dread settled on, “My orders are to cure your disease and deliver you to the justice system of Janoor III. Once you are discharged from my care…what happens to you will be a combination of your choices and theirs. I don’t care what happens to you because you didn’t care what happened to the people of Janoor III.”
Gurat chuckled, “What of your medical duty? The Hippocratic Oath? I know of your human culture.” He grinned as if he had caught her in some kind of trap, and that she would be unable to escape his Cardassian rhetorical argument.
Dread sat up in her seat, “You’re an idiot. The Oath isn’t an escape clause for war criminals.” She shook her head in disbelief.
“First, do no harm.” His smile remained wide and gleeful. She wanted to punch him, shoot him with a low-powered phaser, and then strap him to a shuttle bound for deep space. She counted to ten.
Helena spat back as she recited parts from her own oath she had taken, “Above all, I must not play at God.” She leaned forward, “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.” His smile faltered, and it was her turn to return the smile, albeit thinly. “If I were to try and prevent justice, I would be playing God to the people of Janoor III. The Prime Directive cuts both ways – when both Federation and local law are in agreement with the orders, we don’t stand in the way.” Hargraves stepped through the heavy door and listened as she continued, “Preventing disease is a little more of a metaphor in this situation. You are the disease, Gurat. Saving your life cures the chronic cries for the justice you’ve avoided for twenty-five years.” Sitting back, the captain scoffed, “Your hubris has been your failure.” Gurat’s shrugged and sat back, closing his eyes. She had shaken him, but a quiet confidence remained, and it bothered her.
Two days had passed, and Gurat had begun walking around his cell, making notes on a device the Janoor III Judicial Branch had given him. It was a simple note-taking device and had no connection to the world. The morning had begun with the news that the trial would begin in an hour, and Gurat would be escorted through the hallway and across the courtyard into the courtroom where the trial was being held. Dread and Hargraves walked behind the Cardassian as two Janoor security operatives led the group out of the tunnel and into the open air. They made it five steps before the air suddenly exploded in blaster fire from what felt like all corners.
Hargraves dove behind a stone wall, fumbling for his phaser. He glanced around the wood and found three Cardassians were advancing on the group and had taken down the two guards. Shouts and alarms echoed as the three approached Gurat and lifted him, “It is good to see you, Supreme Commander.”
Gurat felt relief as they released his handcuffs, and they indicated they didn’t have much time. He pulled away from them, snatching a blaster rifle from one of their hands, “I’m not finished yet.” He advanced on Captain Dread, manually setting the power setting to maximum. Helena lay on the ground, bloodied and attempting to stand on a broken leg. She’d given as much as she’d gotten. He raised the rifle against her head, “You choose poorly, captain. Now I’ll choose for you.” She tried to push herself up, but the stabbing pain snapped her strength. She opened her eyes and stared at Gurat, “Kill me, then.”
Suddenly a phaser rifle blast slammed into his center mass, sending him flying and rolling across the ground. The three other Cardassians spun in shock and were summarily dismissed by three successive blasts that threw them to the ground, sprawling and still. Dread rolled to see Gul Hasara limping across the courtyard, rifle in hand. For a moment, it was just the two of them. He reached her before his leg gave out, and he knelt at her side, breathing heavily. “You are hurt!” he said, genuine concern filling his face as he examined her injuries.
She grimaced at the pain, “Broken but not phasered. What the hell happened to you?” He related that he’d wondered about Gurat’s attitude and had grown concerned. He’d asked to be assigned to work with some of the Janoor security teams and come under heavy fire from another Cardassian group. His team had been killed in the process, but he’d put them down alone, even after getting a blast to his leg. Hasara had run and then hobbled his way across the complex. He gestured to her, “I wasn’t about to lose another captain.”
Dread felt her heart reach for her throat. The regret that followed the death of Captain Harris had settled on each of his old crew. She smiled, “I’m thankful it was you, Gul.” They regarded each other as the whine of transporters filled the area. Security officers swarmed along with medical teams. Dread accepted a mobile biobed, and they lifted her up and began to stabilize her. She glanced over to the prone body of Gurat and his dead rescuers. There were going to be a lot of questions. And she had a feeling she wouldn’t like any of the answers.