Torn in Two
By Jessica Krucek. You can email comments to her at email@example.com
"First do no harm"
- Hippocratic Oath
Kobayashi Maru...Now, I know why they prepare officers by using the no-win scenario.
It's to try and make moments like this easier.
My throat is going dry. All I can do is look at her, the condemned hostage. The Klingon pulls me to my feet. I can feel the barrel of his phaser against my back.
I look at the condemned woman and get my courage.
"I'll have no part in this!" I yell, glowering at the man the Klingons called Verad. He looks so harmless, so timid. In a way, I feel a bit sorry for him.
Verad raises his phaser. "I...I understand."
I think he's going to shoot me...Well, if he does that, he won't be able to kill her. I'm the only one with the medical training necessary to do what he wants.
I see her eyes widen. *Good-bye, Jadzia,* I think. *It's going to be easier this way...*
But Verad's not going to shoot me! He aims his phaser across OPS. The shot goes out, and Chief O'Brien screams and tumbles to the floor! I break loose of the Klingon's grip and forget everything except trying to find out if the Chief is still alive. I'm just about to reach him, when a harsh voice cuts through the air.
"Keep away from him, doctor!" I stumble back involuntarily and see Verad pointing the phaser at me. His voice goes quiet. "There, you see, I've taken the first step."
He stares me down, an odd anger burning in his eyes, canceling out his timid exterior. "Even if I don't get what I want my life is over, so either you help me, or you and your friends will die. It's your choice."
Chief is groaning with pain. That wound in his shoulder must hurt like hellsfire, but at least he's still alive. I glance at the armed terrorists in OPS. Their weapons can easily do worse, and Verad is fanatical enough to make good on his threat of killing everybody here...
I look up at Jadzia. In order to save my own life, and everyone else's here, I have to kill her...
She turns to Verad. "He'll help."
The hell I will! I stare back up at her and feel my heart sink to my ankles. I can't kill her.
She says it bravely, looking me in the eye, but I know she's terrified. "I don't want any one else hurt because of me." She stares down Verad. "But *you* have to give me your word that no one else on this station will be harmed."
Verad nods. "I...I promise." He lowers his phaser and stares at me. "Doctor..."
Her voice is urgent. "Do as he says, Julian, please!"
Kobayashi Maru...Winning the no-win scenario. Verad wants me to tear her in two, take out a vital part of her so he can have the honor his society has denied him. She will die and he will live out his life. The only other option, not murdering Jadzia, is to be the indirect executioner of everyone else. If it was just her or me...I'd take a bullet for her in an instant. She knows that, and I've told her the reason why, even if she thinks it's just infatuation...
My heart is pounding. I stall for time. "Let me treat Chief O'Brien's phaser wound first. It shouldn't take long. There's an emergency medical kit in the console."
Someone pulled it out of the console and handed it to me. I kneel by Chief and pull out the equipment needed. "Hold still, Chief," I say, trying to calm myself down as much as deliver treatment.
I glance up and see the Klingons towering over me. I try not to notice them. I'm just about finished, the healing is already underway. "There now, there should be no permanent damage." I hand the regenerator to Major Kira. "Apply this every twenty minutes or so. It should help the wound regenerate."
One Klingon in particular is getting impatient. "Enough stalling!"
I'm pulled to my feet again, about to start the death march. My heart's racing now, and I wipe my sweaty hands on my uniform.
I look at Sisko, hoping he has something to say. He's been friends with Dax for decades, even staying friends despite the fact that the man who was his mentor is gone, and the symbiont being is now part of Jadzia.
His voice is quiet. He doesn't even look at her. "Do as he says, doctor. This is no time to be a hero."
The words are ironic. When I came out here, out to the frontier, so to speak, I wanted more than anything in the galaxy a chance to be a hero, to use my skills to aid and heal. I didn't want them to be used to abet murder.
Except that's what I'm heading off to do.
"Take them to the Infirmary!" the more patient of the two Klingons order.
As we're about to enter the turbolift. Major Kira shouts out. "This isn't over, Dax. I promise you."
"Dax," says Commander Sisko.
Jadzia smiles bravely...too bravely. I'm practically shaking. "I know, Benjamin," she says. "You'll do everything you can, and just in case it isn't enough..." Her voice drops, and her eyes cloud over. She looks back up at him. "I want you to know that it's been fun."
The woman terrorist gestures to the turbolift. "Let's go."
Jadzia, the impatient Klingon, and I step into the turbolift. Verad goes to say good-bye to the woman with him. I can't hear the words, but the tone and posture suggests that she is his girlfriend. They exchange good-byes, then Verad follows into the turbolift.
"Infirmary," I croak.
The car starts to move.
Verad turns to his Klingon guard. "If anything happens, contact OPS and tell Mareel and T'kar to kill the hostages. I don't want any interference, understand?"
The Klingon nods.
The Kobayashi Maru simulation is required training for all Starfleet officers. The name originated with the command-officer training scenario, a helpless ship caught in hostile space with no way to save it without getting into a fight where you are hopelessly outmatched. The name now applies to all the no-win training scenarios, regardless of the type. The "no-win" situation in the simulation varies according to the type of duty the cadet is training for. In each case, you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't. The instructors call it a "test of character." The goal in the simulation is to find the best and most prudent way to lose.
But this isn't a test, or bad dream. this is it...a real-life no-win scenario.
I glance at the Klingon, and get as close to Jadzia as I can.
"I'll think of something to get out of this."
"Julian, that's not wise. What about all the people at OPS? They'll be killed if you try something rash."
I stammer out. "I don't think I can do it."
"You know enough to do the procedure," Jadzia whispers.
"That's not what I meant," I say. "I meant that I don't think I can knowingly kill you."
Jadzia frowns, then sizes up the Verad and the Klingon. They're talking among themselves, not looking at or listening to us.
"If you can knock out Verad," she whispers. "We may have a chance."
"That shouldn't be a problem. What about the Klingon?"
"I said we had a chance. It's slim though. Normally, the Hosts are kept awake and a pain suppression field is used."
"If I can trick him into using a delta-wave inducer, there shouldn't be a problem. A herd of Algorian mammoths couldn't wake him."
"Maybe," Jadzia is worried. "But if he refuses to use a delta-wave inducer, it might just be safer to go through with it."
"Murder you? I don't think I can."
She stares me down. "You may have to sacrifice me to keep everyone from OPS from being killed, and to save your own life. I was trained for this." Her voice is wavering, and she is trying to mask her fear. "Part of the honor of being a Host is anticipating the pain of separating the minds when it is time for you to die."
"After a long life. When the Host is beyond saving. Not now," I say.
"No, not now." she says, "But to save everyone else, it may have to be now."
I reach out and take her hand, partially to console her,partially to comfort myself. It feels so cold. She smiles faintly at me, and grasps my hand.
The turbolift stops at the closest location to the Infirmary. The Klingon turns and points his phaser at us, urging us ahead of them.
I weigh my options as I walk alongside her, keeping my eyes from her face. If I knock out Verad first, then Jadzia and I might be able to stop the Klingon. However, the Klingon can contact OPS before we can disable him, and there will be no way to save the others.
If I murder Verad on the biobed, the same hazards apply, and it will take a bit more to kill him than to knock him out, giving the Klingon enough time to not just notify OPS, but to kill both of us.
If we attack both of them when we get into the Infirmary, they will probably kill us. The Klingon is expecting us to do that.
Running would get us shot, and wouldn't do us much good.
The last option is to commit murder.
*Kobayashi Maru has entered hostile territory. Threat vessels powering weapons and preparing to attack.*
We enter the Infirmary. I gesture to Jadzia to go and change into a surgical gown.
*Hail the threat vessels.*
"Verad," I say. "You know the risks involved with this don't you? Your body could reject the symbiont. You could die in a matter of days, and if you are not as psychologically compatible as you think, you could go mad - "
"I'm going to be all right, Doctor. I've checked this out very carefully. Even ran genetic scans to determine compatibility. I stand as much of a chance of survival as she does."
Verad doesn't look at me. "There are things you don't know about me, Doctor. About my world and why I'm doing this. I'm doing this for everyone who has been deemed 'unsuitable,' and condemned to just being mediocre, stuck watching the Joineds accomplish and rule, and being unable to have anything but a token say. If you were me, you'd understand..."
*Not unless I had you rip out a vital organ from the woman you love.* I think, barely controlling my fury.
"Please," I ask him, close to begging. "You could die. She will die, and I will have murdered two people - three if you count Dax."
Verad looks away from me suspicious. Is he going to change his mind? I hope so.
"I know what I'm here to do. I've waited all my life for this." He is stammering, unsure of himself. "Now, I'm going to go change. Where is the change room?"
The Klingon's finger is twitching on the trigger, and the phaser is pointed at me. I can't do anything right now except point him to the change room and watch as Jadzia leaves and he enters.
*Threat force ships have cut transmission. They have begun firing on the Kobayashi Maru. Thirty seconds to shield failure.*
Jadzia walks up to me.
"I couldn't talk him out of it. I told him of the risks, but he's not listening."
"What about the plan?"
"Lie down on the biobed over there. Verad will have our answer. If I can knock him out, we have a chance, but if I don't..." I didn't want to say it.
Jadzia nodded. "Good luck. Remember that I don't want anyone else hurt. No one at OPS, and not you. Not if I can help it."
*Message from the Kobayashi Maru: Situation hopeless. Do not try to save us...*
Verad walks out of the change room. I have one last chance. He lies down on the biobed. I ready the crashcart and program the beds to generate sterilization fields. I pick up the delta-wave inducer and prepare to attach it to his forehead.
"What's that?" Verad asks.
"A delta-wave inducer. To keep you asleep during the operation. It also increases your body's natural endorphins to accelerate the healing process."
"I don't want it," Verad stutters.
"I strongly recommend that you use it," I say sharply, trying not to notice the Klingon. This the last chance I have at saving her life. I have to get him to consent. "The surgery will go much easier on you if -"
"I don't want your advice." Verad is firm, and looking past me, at the Klingon, who is looking more menacing, about ready to snap. "I want to be awake. Use a neural-electrical suppresser, and set up a monitor so that I can watch the procedure. That way, if you run into any trouble, I can assist you." He lays back on the bed. "Now, let's get started."
If I do anything now, the Klingon will surely fire, and order everyone at OPS killed. There is no way out of this one.
*The Kobayashi Maru has lost antimatter containment. It is too late to save them.*
I activate the field, and take the delta wave inducer to the other biobed.
"I'm sorry, Jadzia," I whisper.
I'm trying not to picture what's going to happen. Keep your mind on the operation. That's what they tell you in medical school. Just keep your mind focused on the procedure.
Her death-cold hand grabs my wrist. I lock eyes with her. She and I are both really scared, but she's being so brave about it. Is this the inevitability that her society trained her for? Is it because she knows that this sacrifice is the "best way to lose" for everyone else?
"Don't blame yourself, Julian." she says with a weak smile. "You did everything you could."
I want to say something, but there are so many things I want to tell her. I just want to break down here and now and tell her everything, tell her I'm sorry for putting her through this, tell her how much I appreciated her friendship...
Tell her that I'm in love with her.
I look over to the other biobed. Verad is waiting. I can't say it. It's taking all my strength to do this. I don't think I can listen to that bastard as he repeats perversions of my words back to me.
*Verad, may you wake up each morning and see her face staring back at you. May you never have a good night's sleep, knowing what you've done to her, and to the people who care for her. I hope you realize someday that she wasn't the only one torn in two...*
I swallow hard, trying to keep my eyes from stinging. "This will help you sleep."
She murmurs her thanks as she falls asleep. I pick up the laser scalpel.
"Forgive me," I whisper. *Oh, Gods, forgive me...*
I activate the scalpel. The Kobayashi Maru has been destroyed.
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