Summary: The NX-01 Captain Kathryn Janeway faces a moral dilemma.
Categories: Enterprise, Voyager, Alternate Universes Characters: Janeway, Kathryn, Phlox
Genre: Alternate Universe
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Word count: 1584 Read: 1590
Published: 31 Oct 2013 Updated: 31 Oct 2013
Big Thanks to Little Black Dog for her Beta Check and improvement suggestions.
1. Chapter 1 by FalseBill
Captain Kathryn Janeway sat alone in the mess hall drinking coffee; it was late in the ship’s day. She looked out of the window at the planet Valakis -- the world that the Enterprise was currently orbiting.
She used a pastry folk to pick at the pecan pie that Lili O’Day had left out for her. The moral dilemma that the Valakians and the Menk presented her was not something she had ever expected to face when she first took command of the Enterprise NX-01. Her late father had warned her when she made captain she would face tough decisions and she must learn from history if she wanted to make a better future. Now his words, “Just don’t be tempted to play God, Kathy,” echoed in her head.
So she drank more coffee, hoping for inspiration for another solution. She had expected to be faced with pain when they had responded to the Valakians drifting sub-light astronauts. They had pled for the Enterprise to come to Valakis and help them with the plague that was devastating their society.
The cold facts of the unpronounceable plague showed that it started small but was rapidly growing out of control; nothing the Valakians could do was able to slow it. All their attempts at quarantine had failed. Indeed the plague was killing over twelve million Valakians each year and was showing no sign of relenting. Indeed Phlox had estimated that the plague would totally wipe out their species in less than two centuries. One of the lines of hope was that this planet had a less advanced second sentient species, the Menk, who had a natural immunity to the plague that was wiping out the Valakians.
The mess hall doors opened and the ship’s Denobulan doctor Phlox walked in. She noted that for once he looked tired; he had being working hard on trying to help the Valakians. He had been studying the genetic make up of the planet’s second sentient species the Menk, to see if he could locate a cure for the Valakians in the Menk natural immunity.
“Have a seat, Doctor,” said Kathryn, inviting him to join her.
“I’d rather stand, Captain,” said Phlox.
“As you wish, Doctor,” said Kathryn.
“You seem deeply bothered, Captain,” said Phlox,
Phlox caught a glimpse of Valakis through the window and he quickly looked away. His eyes came to rest instead on Janeway’s plate. What was obviously once a piece of pie now resembled something that had experienced a warp core breach.
“You can say that, Doctor. I’m always dreaming of being a famous explorer, discovering new worlds and new civilizations, but I never dreamt that I would discover a dying civilization and find myself put in the place of playing God,” said Kathryn.
“It’s not an easy decision and one where your head must rule your heart. I do fear for once that T’Pol is right; that as a species you are still young and will let your emotions rule your decision too much,” replied Phlox.
“You becoming a Vulcan philosopher now, Doctor?” Kathryn asked.
“No, Captain. I’m just stating my opinion based upon my observations of this crew in action,” said Phlox.
“Well I say you’re wrong about us, as I know that my emotions do not rule my decision. They might colour and guide my decision but in the end my decision will be made on sound facts,” snapped Kathryn.
She stood up, and picking up the dish with the pie remains, she took it back to the dirty dishes stack.
“Captain that wasn’t meant as insult. I’m sorry if I’ve upset you, but you’re not a God,” said Phlox.
Kathryn turned her back on the doctor to look out the window and put her hands on her hips while she regained her composure.
“No I’m sorry Mister Phlox, I’m tired and for once I wish someone else had come here first and set a rule or a directive on how to act or cope with these type of situations,” she said.
“Captain, you understand that if we were to give the Valakians a cure for their evolutional flaw then the Menk will remain in their current social underclass role. But as you’ve seen, the Menk are on the verge of an evolutionary breakthrough. They are already showing increased intelligence, which might lead them to becoming the dominant species on the planet,” said Phlox.
“I’m aware of that, just as I’m aware that you already found the cure which you’re now withholding,” said Kathryn.
“Captain?” said Phlox with surprise.
“Doctor, your work rate dropped off after lunch time as did your communication to request further medical information from the Valakians department of medicine,” said Kathryn.
“Captain--” started Phlox.
Kathryn swung round, stared at him and said with an icy voice: “Don’t lie to me. You left your journal open and when I went to check on you this afternoon, I saw enough to know you had indeed worked out a cure. You forget I was a scientist before a captain, which means I know that you are withholding the cure from me and the Valakians.”
“Arh--” said Phlox.
“So why, Phlox? Do you think that you’re better placed to play God on this issue than me?” asked Kathryn.
Phlox walked over to the protein re-sequencer and putting a spare mug inside it he pushed the button for green tea. As the drink was dispensed, he looked at the captain.
“Captain, you must understand, I do respect you, and yes I do have a cure, but the moral problem is the disease isn’t actually a global virus but rather the Valakis epidemic is genetic; the proteins that bind together the Valakian chromosomes are deteriorating. The solutions would be the sort of genetic engineering that your race outlawed after the Eugenics War. I didn’t want to place you in an awkward position, to have to choose one race over the other. Just let nature take the intended course,” said Phlox.
“Doctor, I’m the ship’s captain; it’s my job to make those awkward decisions. That’s why Starfleet put me in command,” said Kathryn.
“Captain, this is so far outside of your experience and expertise, indeed it’s outside Starfleet’s, that clearly I need to make a medical call,” said Phlox.
She turned to face him and spread her arm wide. “No Doctor, this is a diplomatic issue, so it’s my call,” said Kathryn. Then she grabbed up her coffee and sat down at the table again.
“Captain- -,” Phlox started again.
“No!” stated Janeway.
“Captain?” asked Phlox.
“We are not children; maybe we might be immature and still developing as a warp capable civilization but for humanity to grow we’ve got to make our own decisions and our own mistakes out here, so you should have come to me with the cure,” said Kathryn.
“Captain, might I ask, what are you going to do about the cure for the Valakians?” asked Phlox.
“That’s a good question and I don’t have an satisfactory answer yet. I’ve been here since I saw your journal, trying to work out why you didn’t share the information and more importantly what the correct moral decision is, with regards to both the Valakians and the Menk,” said Kathryn. She put her head in her hands and sighed.
Phlox finally sat down at the table opposite her. “If you don’t have an satisfactory answer, do you have an un-satisfactory one then?” asked Phlox.
“Yes, we can’t give the Valakians the cure, as it would unfairly hinder the natural development of the Menk. So the next question is can we give the Valakians warp drive. Again no, since they don’t have anti-matter power technology, so they wouldn’t understand the risk in managing anti-matter. This would likely cause them to do environmental damage that would affect the Menk as well as themselves. I even wonder if we could give the Valakians the cure and relocated the Menk to another world, but we don’t have the resources to do that, and we still no idea how the Menk would adapt to another eco-system.”
“In short we can do nothing that’s not unfair to either the Valakians or the Menk,” said Phlox.
“Yes,” said Kathryn.
“I’m sorry, Captain. It seems you’ve reach the same conclusion as me by different routes. We have to let nature take its intended course; it’s not our place to interfere,” said Phlox.
“Maybe the Valakians can still save themselves?” said Kathryn.
“Maybe Captain, but it’s not our place to tip this balance,” said Phlox.
“No you’re right, we’ll do one last visit tomorrow morning to say we can provide them with no further aid and then we will warp out before midday,” said Kathryn.
“I understand, Captain. I’ll see if I can at least arrange some medicine to reduce the Valakians’ physical suffering at least.”
Kathryn lifted her coffee cup to Phlox and said: “Here’s to small moral victories, Doctor.”
Phlox touched his mug to Kathryn’s and replied, “No Captain, this is a big moral victory and will go a long way to show the Vulcans that humanity is ready to explore the stars without a chaperone.”
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