The Beating Heart

She watches them disappear every day. They walk into rippling blue infinity, fighting a war their people know nothing about. They are the line between freedom and a return to an age-old slavery. Sometimes, they don't return. When they do, they come to her first. Most times, thank God, they walk into her infirmary on their own two feet. They complain. Other times, they come in bleeding. She watches the ones who weren't hit as they lurk in the doorways or linger at bedsides when they should be sleeping. Usually, she doesn't make them leave. She understands. Their brother, their sister, is lying in that bed, and they all blame themselves. Sometimes, she does too. She has been the target for their frustrations, the silent shoulder to help them bear their grief, and she has stood in the line of fire too.

She fights for them as they fight for their world. Silently. Her weapons are her hands, her mind, her penlight, her scalpel--and when need be, her weapons are the ones they carry. She knows how to use those too, and she will when the enemy comes calling. She is the hero who stays behind. She is the beating heart, the healing hand, the one they carry with them when they step through the Stargate, and the one they come home to.