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Log of the Month for April, 2019

The Doctor Hates Surgery
Posted on April 7th, 2019 by Emilaina Acacia

25 years ago…

Due to a number of unflattering events in Earth’s history, genetic enhancement was strictly outlawed in the Federation. Exceptions were of course made in exceptional cases, but the Federation Medical Review Board (theoretically) saw every case sooner or later.

It was only mildly unusual for a petitioner to be, themselves, a Doctor, but Darokkatan Acacia was hoping that arriving at the meeting in Starfleet blue might give him an edge. At the time he was just a Lieutenant himself, and still green enough to be incredibly nervous. He had a rolling box stuffed with files, pictures, and even samples. He had a laser pointer. And he was prepared.

Janessa, his rock, was not there to give him strength… she was at the hospital in San Francisco, where she would remain for months to come. Darok took a deep breath, following after the young Human woman who was leading him into the meeting room.

The room resembled an old courthouse and featured a curved table at the front seating the fifteen members of the review board, Doctors of many Federation races. For the most part they seemed bored, though the Vulcan woman who sat at the center, clearly head, seat had attention fixed directly on him. Darok swallowed, and adjusted his collar.

“Good evening,” T’keren Pallena, who Darok also had a file on, being that she held all but final say over the decision, said, “You are… Darokkatan Acacia, yes? You’re a bit late.”

“Cargo ship malfunction,” Darok croaked inaudibly, before having a coughing fit. He waved a hand, grimacing, “My… wife’s in the hospital.”

“Yes…” T’keren looked down at the file in front of her, skimming it, “Let’s not delay, then. You have quite a number of requests, more than most petitions. Ah–” she looked up at a shuffling sound, to see Averi and Emily standing just outside the doorway. Emily was seated in a small wheelchair, at this point just barely three years old, “Hello there.”

Darok looked over, flushing and fiddling with his papers as if to find the solution, “Oh, forgive me, I asked the woman in the lobby to–”

“No,” T’keren corrected firmly, and Darok shut his mouth, “They have a right. Come in, girls. Sit.”

Averi looked up at the Vulcan with beady black eyes for a long moment, before slowly pushing Emily into the room. She found a seat in the empty once-courtroom audience seats, and left Emily beside her. Emily just… sat there, staring off into space. She blinked a few times, though it was hard to catch, and that was all she moved the whole time she sat there.

“How much time do I have?” Darok asked first, and T’keren thought about it for a moment.

“As long as you need, but why don’t you give us the short version first?”

Darok looked down at his notecards, and his laser pointer, and back up at the people in front of him. He took a deep breath, and he tried his best to trust that everything would be fine. After all, these people were only Human.. or at least, in the ‘they have a heart’ sense. He slowly sat down, and began telling his story, man to man as it were. He told them how he met Janessa, how she worked at a coffee shop near Starfleet Medical Academy and he went there every morning for almost three years to win her over.

He couldn’t help but tear up a bit as he thought about her, young and happy, expecting their first child. At the time, Averi was found to have a very minor genetic error. She would have had webbed hands and feet, but the Medical Review Board was quick to approve such a minor alteration, and everyone involved thought that would be the end of it.

Darok paused for a long moment, holding his face in his hands to collect himself, “And then, when we found out she was pregnant with our second…” He couldn’t even bring himself to begin, but everyone on the board had a copy of the file in front of them. T’keren looked at Emily’s ultrasound, a thing even smaller than it should have been at eight weeks with no arms, finned legs, and half a brain. There was also a long list of treatments already rendered, including dozens of surgeries, and even a few small gene edits already.

“She’s three now?” T’keren said softly. Even being a Vulcan, there was a bit of compassion in her voice. She could recognize that this was a very emotionally charged case for those with emotions, let alone the father of the poor girl. The longer Emily sat, unmoving, staring blankly at them, the more unsettling the idea became, “Nonverbal, doesn’t move on her own?”

“Right..” Darok exhaled, the idea visibly taking its toll on him, “Well, the Doctors did manage to save her. Then, I had a sterilization procedure, but… it was, evidently, ineffective.”

T’keren took the cue, and flipped to Torinessa’s ultrasound. It was, well… even worse.

“We assumed it was me,” Darok’s voice wavered, “I’m Betazoid, she’s Human, so it made sense that it was me. I even had genetic testing, because of Emily. It didn’t come back until after she was born, and I was clean, then we thought it didn’t matter, but now.. we just found out Janessa’s great grandfather was Vulcan.”

T’keren stared down at him with unwavering neutrality, but somewhere deep down, her heart twinged. Genetic combination problems were pretty common, but some of the worst cases shared a common thread in which one partner in a mixed-race couple had a very small amount of some tertiary alien DNA. These issues were hard to pin down and study for a number of reasons, but there was one thing T’keren was pretty sure of, the Acacias weren’t trying to genetically enhance their children for any of the wrong reasons.

“Well, I’ve seen my fair share of people who come in here to try to trick or manipulate us..” T’keren began, and Darokkatan felt his soul leave his body, “but I’ve never seen a clearer case in need of approval. We’ll review your file after the girls are treated, but… I see no reason not approve unlimited genetic editing in this case. Do what it takes.”

A few members of the board nodded in approval, and Darokkatan shot up out of his seat, bowing out of reflex and thanking them profusely. He ushered the girls out of the room, and once they were back in the lobby, he grabbed his holocamera and started recording.

“Emily,” he smiled warmly, his eyes red as he tried not to tear up, “I was right. You’re approved. We may get to hear your voice one day. I want to.. play sock-core ball with you. And pick drakberries. Or, if it’s too late and we never do… that’s okay too. I love you, Laina. I don’t know what your first memory will be, but someday we will make some good ones. Promise.”

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  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    What an emotional treatment of the potential issues with all of the half-this/half-that/a third this characters that are so casually strewn throughout the Trek fandom! Using a Vulcan judge that Emily’s father gets through to was a nice touch in a well-written log. Great work!

  • Ryleigh Grey Ryleigh Grey says:

    Awwwwww that is so stinking adorable. Like the relationship and applications of Emily’s father to get her the needed medical attention/genetic changing!

  • Kuari Kuari says:

    This is very touching, and a surprising start to Emily’s life! I also found the Vulcan judge to be fitting for drama. I couldn’t help but feel the depth of the characters here, taking to Darok and his plight immediately!

  •  Alexis Wright says:

    I really liked this. I also really like this man, who you made come to life for me. This line stuck out to me: “He had a rolling box stuffed with files, pictures, and even samples. He had a laser pointer. And he was prepared.” It really set the scene for me as to what kind of man this is, what the stakes are for him, etc. Very nice work!

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