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Learning the Truth

Posted on 08 Aug 2016 @ 7:36am by Captain Harvey Geisler

Mission: History
Location: Betazed
Timeline: 2374

Part 1: Drums of War
Part 2: Passion Interrupted




Harvey began to wonder if this was a good idea.

Ever since the Jem'Hadar had overrun the planet, they'd made quick work of utilizing available resources so that they would not have to tax their own. This included using local transportation such as shuttles. The Dominion cared not that most of these shuttles were of the old SD-103 shuttles. These made it ideal to transport prisoners and resources around the planet, much like the group of Doctors they were transporting today.

For the past month, Harvey had kept his head down, quietly treating prisoners as they came into his camp, as well as treating the Betazoids near the camp. He saw first hand how much, or how little, the Jem'Hadar valued the life on the planet.

The Vorta, however, seemed to take a great interest in the Betazoid population, taking in small amounts at a time for interviews and processing. Having an empathic species at their disposal would be essential for the future of the Dominion, so placating the population was quickly becoming essential. This reason alone prompted summoning a handful of doctors to the capital city to supplement a shortage.

Ever the quiet one, Harvey actually volunteered for this journey, not because of the Hippocratic Oath or humanitarian reasons.

Harvey had taken every examination as an opportunity to network with the local population, trying to learn everything he could of those who evacuated Starbase 211. He'd been separated from Alison during the evacuation, an occupational hazard. Information became too scattered, too unreliable. Over a month, he'd learned that fifty shuttles and runabouts had left the Starbase, and he'd accounted for forty nine. Still missing was Shuttle Thirty-Seven, the number he remembered seeing on the side of the shuttle that Alison had boarded.

Alison was nowhere to be seen.

Two days ago, he'd learned of the fiftieth. Information about its occupants was unavailable, but at least he had a location. He'd been trying to figure out how to get there, so when the opportunity miraculously arose, Harvey couldn't refuse.

The challenge now was to conduct his own search without the prying eyes of the Jem'Hadar. He'd been forced, like all Starfleet prisoners, to wear his uniform for no reason other to identify that he was affiliated with Starfleet. His combadge had long been removed, but his two pips on his gray collar remained in place. The blue shoulders of his uniform jacket showed more brown and red from dirt and blood than they did medical blue, but the uniform was still unmistakably Starfleet. How would he now look for her? All he had to do was see her, to know that she was alive!

A Jem'Hadar entered the anteroom. They were making a final approach and everyone was to be seated. Harvey, the senior officer on board, turned to look at a team of Starfleet doctors, each one pulled from captured ships and outposts. None of them really knew him and vice-versa. Not a single soul knew his plans, especially since he wouldn't rule out the possibility of a Dominion Founder among the group. He was not in intelligence, but it just made sense that if he kept his plans secret then he would have a better chance of success. Harvey adjusted his restraining harness, keeping him secure to the seat as the shuttle began to touch down. The shuttle showed its age as the deck plating rattled.

Everything came to a stop moments later, and Harvey found himself escorted off of the shuttle with the other doctors. They'd landed at a field hospital. Harvey looked around, taking in what he could from the afternoon-lit landscape. The city looked almost untouched by Dominion hands. Of course, most of Betazed hadn't put up a fight. The Royal Houses issued an immediate surrender as soon as the Starfleet Task Force in orbit had been eliminated.

A lone building nearby showed signs of damage, most of it blown away. Harvey didn't get a chance to look at it as a Jem'Hadar soldier ushered him inside the makeshift hospital using the butt of his rifle.

Oh, he longed for the days when that was no longer necessary. Of course, not a single shred of news about the war reached the internment camps. Whether Starfleet was winning or losing was of no consequence to him. He just wanted to be with Alison.

For the next several hours, he saw patient after patient. He tended to healing wounds, immunizations, colds, bumps and bruises, and the occasional broken bone. The actions were of no importance to Harvey. He just kept asking each person if they’d seen a Starfleet shuttle, Personnel Shuttle Thirty-Seven in particular, land in town just before the invasion.

He’d gotten many confirmations that Shuttle Thirty-Seven had landed. Its occupants, however, had never been seen. Naturally, not a single person had known who had been on the shuttle.

After five hours, Harvey had found a reprieve, choosing to take a trip to the restroom. His Jem’Hadar escort stood nearby, but paid no particular attention to him. Entering the restroom, Harvey went straight to the sink, thankful for a bit of fresh water to splash the weeks of soiled dirt and grime from his face. The water was cold and refreshing, a pleasant sensation he had long forgotten.

His ears heard a flush in a nearby stall but thought nothing of it. In fact, he continued to wash his face until he heard a voice behind him. “Lieutenant Geisler?”

Harvey paused, taking a moment to match the familiar, curious tone with a name. Could it be? With the water still running, Harvey spun around to see another Starfleet medic there. It was none other than Ensign sh’Zarron, a nurse from Starbase 211 and one of Alison’s closest friends. Harvey smiled and chuckled, embracing the short Andorian. He’d seen her aboard Shuttle Thirty-Seven shortly before getting his last look at Alison. If anyone knew where she would be, it would be her.

Nearly a minute went by before Harvey noticed that she didn’t embrace him like he had her. He knew the embrace was entirely out of character for him, but for Harvey, Ensign sh’Zarron was the first familiar face he’d seen besides his own team from Shuttle Thirty-Four.

Harvey removed the embrace and took a step back. He saw the woman’s grimaced expression and knew something was wrong. His smile weakened, but he tried to stay strong. “Where… Where’s Alison?” he asked.

Her antennae drooped, as did her eyelids. Though a month had passed since she witnessed it, the memory still cut her deeply. She recounted with great detail how she’d been running down the hall at the hospital. A Code Blue had been declared by Alison. sh’Zarron was on her way, spotting Alison over the biobed. A bright light suddenly overtook the Andorian’s vision and she was instantly propelled backward, flying over fifty feet into a wall. When she came to, half of the building was gone.

And so was Alison.

From the description, Harvey recognized the building as the one he’d seen when entering the makeshift hospital. sh’Zarron went on to tell him she’d learned that the Hospital had been one of the targets, only because a flag officer had been cited inside.

He barely had begun to process all of this when the Dominion soldier entered the restroom, likely wondering why either of the Starfleet officers had been taking so long.

The next few seconds Harvey would never remember. All he knew was that the soldier laid dead on the floor and the rifle now in Harvey’s possession. sh’Zarron stood next to him absolutely stunned, staring at the bayonet dripping with Jem’Hadar blood.

Harvey’s mind returned with his senses. “We have to get out of here,” he told her.

“They keep a couple 103s on the roof for medevacs,” informed sh’Zarron.

“Guards?”

She shook her head. “Too many.”

Harvey grunted. As he looked back down at the soldier, he knew it would only be a few minutes before someone came looking for the fallen soldier. A thought struck him. If the shuttles were primed for medevacs, then all they needed was a medical emergency.

sh’Zarron knew the system well enough to place a fake call. The call center, after all, was still staffed by Betazoids and unimpeded by the Dominion. With any luck, Harvey had told her before leaving the weapon behind with the guard, they just might make it.

They positioned themselves near the roof access and sh’Zarron made the call. The alarm sounded and sh’Zarron hit the nearby companel, claiming the opportunity to make the run. Smiling, she led Harvey to the roof, only to be greeted by a new Jem’Hadar soldier. He made no move to impede their departure, rather, he boarded the shuttle with them, a measure to keep them from escaping.

“Get us in the air,” he told sh’Zarron. Neither of them were good pilots, but he had the better chance of subduing the soldier as soon as they were airborne in the night sky.

As she did, Harvey moved to the back of the shuttle to check the medical supplies, or so he claimed. The moment the guard looked towards the front of the shuttle, Harvey stabbed him in the back with a scalpel, instantly slicing through the spinal column. The guard dropped with a grunt, and Harvey quickly struck again with the scalpel at the base of the neck.

“Cut the running lights!” Harvey ordered, rushing back to the front. It was night, and he figured if the Jem’Hadar couldn’t see them, then their chances of escaping were greater. “Manage our ascent,” he ordered as well, taking a close look at the instrumentation.

No sooner did he say those words did he freeze in his seat. The only illumination in the cockpit was from the console beneath his fingers, and it was enough to show his blood covered hands. In an instant, a wave of emotion seized control. He’d seen blood on his hands before, but never from a life he’d taken. Hippocrates’ oft translated voice echoed in his mind, Do No Harm.

His actions today were not those of a doctor, rather a vengeful husband who lost his wife in a war. Saying goodbye had never been an option, nor would an opportunity for closure ever present itself. His diaphragm convulsed with the revelation. For the last month, he’d believed a lie. He believed he’d see her again, to be reunited and resume their matrimony.

As tears began to stream down his face, Harvey wanted to believe this was all a bad dream. He swore to any higher power he could think of, promising if they let him wake, he’d never go searching for Alison. Ignorance was bliss, and he’d happy serve out his days as a doctor, forever imprisoned on Betazed until his wife showed up in his clinic.

Beside him, Ensign sh’Zarron did her best to ignore his wails. Though today was difficult, she’d grieved Alison’s death already. As soon as the shuttle was on an escape vector, she pulled out a hypospray and administered a dose of Melorazine to the husband of her lost friend. She knew Harvey to be a strong person, but she also could tell if she didn’t do something now, he’d mourn even more deeply on their way back to the Federation.

The cries slowly stopped, and she guided his fall to the floor as to not injure him. “I’m so sorry,” she told him softly. “I’m so, so sorry.” With tears in her own eyes, she returned to the pilot’s seat as the shuttle broke the atmosphere. Her eyes could not spot a single Dominion or Cardassian vessel, but that wasn’t going to stop her from immediately plunging the ship into warp. With any luck, they had enough fuel to reach the closest Starbase, which was hopefully in this direction.

Assured of safety by the warp trails zooming past the forward window, sh’Zarron left her seat and sat cross legged on the floor next to Harvey. Though she was not an Aenar, sh’Zarron swore she continued to feel his grief in his sedated state.

She tried to search her mind for anything Alison would have told her about Harvey, especially ways to comfort him. After minutes of thinking, she remembered one. Without saying a word, she reached down and began to gently scratch his head, being mindful of his matted long hair.

Even in his sedated state, a single, large tear escaped Harvey’s closed left eye. Somehow, Harvey curled himself into the fetal position, not at all ready or willing to return to the realm where the living reigned.

What he wanted would be forever unobtainable.

 

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