Eye For An Eye
Eye For An Eye
Summary: Reighner brings his protest of Mercer's execution to Reed and Zaharis.
Date: 23 ACH
Related Logs: Execution Marine Style

Chief Medical Officers Office Genesis - Deck 13
24 ACH 6735 Souls

The office of the Chief Medical Officer is a small room, used mostly for consultations and review of sensitive patient materials than the paperwork of the Medical department, which goes through the Naval Administrative offices. Still somehow it has file cabinets along one wall stuffed full of papers, two chairs in front of a desk behind which a large leather chair is set. On the desk sits a computer terminal.

Zaharis slides his keycard through the slot, pushing the door open. He gestures for Reed and Reighner to have seats, stepping around his desk to his own chair.

Reed moves in, and takes a seat, turning it slightly to give equal attention to Reighner and Zaharis.

Reighner sits on the edge of his seat. He begins immediately, with no time to waste. "This is insane." So much for no polarizing language. "We're down to tenths of percents of our population and we're helping the Cylons along."

Zaharis isn't exactly the type that bats an eye at polarizing language. He sits back in his chair, pulling his ankle up to rest on his knee as Reighner talks. "To play Hades' Advocate," he says, "Letting a confirmed mutineer who'd cost the lives of hundreds aboard the Pandora return to the populace would have put the rest of the fleet in unacceptable danger. Even were he condemned to several years' of labour that would be security manpower taken away from the rest of the fleet. While on principle I oppose taking a life in any form, I won't be quick to throw command under the bus for the decision."

Reed listens to Reighner, and lifts a brow, looking to Zaharis, listening and looks back to Reighner, nodding. "Zaharis makes some excellent points, Doctor."

Reighner shakes his head and replies, passionately, "I'm not talking about letting him return. I'm talking about humane and ethical treatment." He taps the desk with his forefinger three times for the next three words. "/I don't care/ if it takes manpower, and that safety of the fleet argument can go straight to hell. What sort of slope are we to head down? Have we lost our humanity?"

"The man caused the deaths of nearly 900 Pandora crew, and the safety argument can go to hell? I don't think so." Zaharis replies, keeping his voice calm. "You're arguing a slippery slope, Captain. That one action has caused a chain of events. And it hasn't. If an execution is the end of our humanity then every effort made to keep the population healthy and on its feet restores it ten times over. It just doesn't hold up. Now trust me, I don't like to see it either. But we're not turning around and sending every person that committed a crime to the firing squad. Command is not a bloodthirsty barrel of snakes working at thinning out the populace. But this is not a place they can afford to do what they used to do." He gives a glance to Reed if the man wants to interject here.

Reed listens, intently, and nods as Zaharis speaks, looking to the man as he's glanced to, putting a hand on the desk, as if saying 'Let me try a minute.' He then moves his chair to directly face Reighner, "Doctor, I want you to look at me." He points to his own eyes, leaning forward, one hand on his knee, the other pointing to his own eyes, "Right here."

"You don't think so?" Reighner replies to Zaharis. "You don't know what Command thinks. What happens when resources are more pinched? Will those without criminal histories be given preferential supplies? There's your slippery slope. I don't have a slippery slope, I can say for damned sure that nobody will be executed, and that'll be the end of that." He looks at Reed expectantly.

Zaharis' expression is unreadable, even as Reighner fires back. Whether he agrees with his own words or Reighner's is hard to tell at this point. As Reed calls for attention he allows the man the floor without speaking.

Reed remains calm, and focused, not caught up in Reighners passion. He keeps his fingers pointed to his eyes for several seconds. "Okay, I want you to listen to me. I'm not Medical. I'm Command. Alright? I am Command Staff." He watches Reighner, not launching into a speech, but speaking slowly, remaining focused and calm as if trying to impart some of that to Reighner.

Reighner makes a wave with his hand — get on with it.

The wireless unit makes a soft beep on Zaharis' desk and he reaches over, flipping the switch to its No Incoming position. His eyes go back to Reed and he remains silent for the PAS CO's talk.

Reed continues to speak slowly, with a deliberate tempo of calm precision. If he could use a scalpel like this, he'd be a surgeon. "You, as a Doctor and I as a Commanding Officer, have something fundamental in common. We both look after the body of the whole. You on a level of the single human body, me on the level of the people under me. I did not make the judgement about the executions, but I understand why it was made. And I don't want you to think I haven't thought of this. Of what you're saying. That I haven't turned the problem over in my head to find a better way. And it's not the best way. But, you must understand this. Our species has been very nearly eradicated. We have come under attack, and have almost been snuffed out. You ask if our humanity is lost? No. But we must turn our humanity to our survival. You're an Oncologist, Doctor. And there is a cancer eating your patient alive. You have to protect the life of your patient, and you have to make the hard call to sacrifice a part of your patient to keep them alive. And you have to make that call now." He watches Reighner, and whispers, "And it's ugly. It's horrific. But it has to be done or you're going to lose your patient. That is the hard call that Command made, and it has to be done. Because if it's not done, sooner or later, something is going to happen and more lives will be lost. And if that happens? Then what? We tried to keep our humanity at the cost of more human lives? No, Doctor. That's not our work."

"Major, do not compare a human life to a cancer," Reighner cautions Reed, tilting his head down a notch. His voice grows terribly measured.

"If I may," Zaharis finally speaks again. "I understand where you're coming from. And I agree that as the situation turns for the better or for the worse we are going to see changes in the way we handle justice. Some of them scare the shit out of me, as I'm sure they do you, as people tasked with maintaining the quality of human life, equally for all. There will be more cases like this. But nobody, -nobody- intends to begin treating something as valuable as life right now with a handwave. It wasn't simple with this case. It won't be simple with the next, if there is one, and I won't say I won't oppose a next one, myself. But do I think that humanity is being lost here? No. I think that being forced to make such a decision was a travesty, brought on by these supremely frakked up circumstances. But I don't believe it's a path that leads downhill with no end."

Reed keeps watching Reighner, neither backing off, nor sitting back, "It's a metaphor, and a valid one. No, it's not perfect, but you are intelligent enough to distil it into what I am trying to communicate to you." It's only when Zaharis speaks that Reeds eyes flick away from Reighner, listening to what the CMO says, before looking back to the doctor.

Reighner shakes his head. He says, mostly to Zaharis, "That's what you say now, and that lets you cope, but you can't reason this away. If you won't meet me at that, then meet me on this. You and I both know the ethical conclusions that the medical societies have made. No participation in executions. Ever. There have been conscentious objectors in the military before, and I know you'll give crap about this being different times, but I damn well urge you to refuse the next one." To Reed, he says, simply, "There's no other way to interpret your metaphor. You don't view life in the same regard, and for that I am sorry."

Zaharis is listening, looking right at Reighner's face as the man talks. "These are different times, but I agree there are some separate issues here. I will meet you on the ethical problem, Captain. I 'participated' in the last execution due to a demand I made on JAG and the Marines that someone be present to ensure that the execution was not cruel. When there was so little time I did what I felt was right given that the man was on his way to be marched up, rather than provide him with no concern whatsoever. If and when the next one comes down, command will hear my voice on the matter. I have thousands of others that I owe the same attention to their wellbeing, and I will not act in a way that disrupts the workings of this bay or any other and so deprives the rest of the best we can give them. But command will hear my voice. That is where I will meet you."

Reed listens to Zaharis, then nods, "You're right." He tells Reighner, "I don't view life in the same regard as you do." He puts a hand to his chest, "I'm not a Doctor. I haven't taken the oaths that you have regarding human life. I've taken the oaths of an Officer, just like you have."

Satisfied with that, Reighner turns his disgust to Reed. His voice is hard. "You're right, I have. You'll have my formal protest within the day." He stands and tugs down his uniform roughly.

Zaharis folds his hands. Having given his part of this triangle argument, he doesn't interject between CO and his crew.

Reed nods, now sitting back in his chair. "Entirely your right to do exactly that. To properly address your formal protest, you will need to Carbon Copy the JAG office. Please make sure you do so."

Reighner nods to both and stomps out.

Reighner leaves for Sickbay [o].
Reighner has left.

Once Reighner is gone, Zaharis turns the wireless back on. It doesn't beep, the problem apparently taken care of elsewhere.

Reed loses about twenty pounds of mass as he deflates in the chair, swallowing and lifting his hand to his forehead. "You did very well."

"I don't like it any more than he does," Zaharis replies. He doesn't deflate, his demeanor staying much the same as he keeps his hands folded. "I just can't mouth off as freely." He picks up the carafe on his desk, pouring out some plain water into two cups. "For what it's worth, I understood what you were trying to do with the analogy."

Reed nods, taking the closest water and taking a drink. "Well, thank you. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have worked. And that distresses me. I can't see his logic. His passion, yes, but not his thinking."

"His logic is that he took an oath, Reed." Zaharis fills the other cup as he speaks. "'I will use all measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and my discretion, and I will keep them from harm and injustice. In a pure way and in a holy way I will conduct my life and my skill'. To willingly end a human life — consent being gray area for some — violates those ethics no matter the circumstance. From his statements about it becoming the destruction of humanity I would have to say…" He exhales slowly. "I wonder how much of it is about the condemned and how much is him expressing some guilt over what he's lost."

Reed nods, "That's the logic line I didn't probe, Doctor. I wasn't going to question his losses of his family. I'm not qualified to psyche him."

"Neither am I. Hence I didn't go there." Zaharis picks up his cup, sipping from it. "I don't believe in absolutes, not for command and not for his argument. What I told him I'll do, I will do. I just won't sacrifice the rest of this fleet for one."

Reed points to Zaharis, "And that, is where we see eye to eye."

"Which is good," Zaharis replies, a little blandly. "Because you're too tall for us to do it when standing up."

Reed smiles, then chuckles. Then he laughs, an open hearty laugh he doesn't try to hold back. another catharsis. Stupid joke, but it hit him funny and he's going with it.

Zaharis allows a little laughter through his nose as well, as much bleeding off the tension of the past hour as Reed is. He picks up his cigarette pack and slides one out, tossing the dented box back on the desk. "Frakkin hell." He smirks a little at gods know what, flicking his lighter to life.

Reeds laughter settles into a wheezing chuckle, and he lifts a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose, "Oh, Lords." He swallows, and chuckles once more, explosively. "Frakkin Hell, what?" He asks, taking a drink of his water.

"Who knows. It's just carthartic to say." Zaharis talks around the cigarette as he tosses his lighter back in the drawer. "You should try it more."

Reed nods, "Well, maybe. Just letting off curses can be cathartic, yeah. Still, I've kinda found some release in shooting things, you'll have to update my whine factor. I've been playing with my gun more often."

"With your frakkin gun?" For absolutely no reason that makes Zaharis laugh again, very briefly. "Well, so long as you're not sleeping with it on your pillow or jerking off with it, your factor's still safe."

Reed looks to Zaharis, and laughs, "Okay, then my whine factor is unchanged. I'm not that bad off." He chuckles, and scratches the back of his head. "Oh gods, this is going to get to Fotilas and Regas."

"Yes, it probably will." Zaharis takes a long drag off the cigarette, dark eyes briefly squinting to avoid the smoke. "And Matt may have to make a choice."

Reed nods, "Oh, I'm sure he will. I mean.." He laughs suddenly, and stifles it, "Regardless of if the Commander can identify wall art." Snort, stifle. "He's going to react to a protest."

"Matt's within his rights to protest via proper channels," Zaharis says, thoughtfully. "Or at least he was, before. I guess those 'different times' are about to be tested."

Reed nods, "That's why I had him make sure JAG had a copy. He wants to exercize his right to protest, I want him to make sure his rights are granted."

"We'll see if they are," Zaharis says, sitting back again now. "I just know Regas isn't going to change his mind. Fotilas I'm less sure about, but in the end it's not up to him."

Reed nods, "Quite true." He pauses. "I wouldn't change my mind. Not on this." He says. his voice is steady, and he's certain.

"I have wondered at times how far it will go," Zaharis replies. "We executed a man for treason at a time of war. Regas told us not to fill the brigs with terrorists, murderers, rapists or any other type of hard felon. We never executed rapists on the colonies, sometimes not even terrorists, depending. It was death for death. Are we really talking about pushing that line back now? And if we are, how far is it going to go?"

Reed shakes his head, "I don't know, I really don't. But, we have to define the rules based on all the information we can get. That means the Leonis mission." He sighs, "I just wish there were more I could do for that." He straightens in his chair.

"What," Zaharis asks, tapping his cigarette into the ashtray, "Does the Leonis mission have to do with deciding whether to shoot a man for a crime, Reed?"

Reed pushes himself against the back of the chair, hand reaching to the back of his head. a moment and a few pops from Reeds back, answer the pressure he applied. "What if they find evidence of Fleet survivors? What if they find out where the president went to?"

Zaharis keeps looking at Reed, as though he wasn't quite believing what he was hearing. "What does that have to do," he repeats the words, "With deciding whether to shoot a man for a crime?"

Reed shrugs, "In the basic argument, nothing, in the applied, could be quite a bit. Ethically, the argument is utilitarian versus moral law."

"So…" Zaharis makes a circular motion with one hand. "What, if we find two thousand more people we'll cut the rapists and aggravated assaultists some slack, but if it's only one thousand they stay on the dead list?"

Reed chuckles, "Oh, no, you're not going to get me with that old trick."

"You're evading," Zaharis replies, not chuckling. "If you say whether or not our taking a life depend on circumstance, you'd better be ready to define it."

Reed says, "Well, of course I'm evading, I'm flailing. I lost the train of reasoning minutes ago. I used up all my concentration on Chaplain Smoke Alot and trying to talk down Reighner.""

Zaharis smiles slightly. "Alright. Thought train has left the station, will not return till morning. I can handle that."

Reed sighs, shaking his head, "Really, I thought the frakkin point of the meeting was to find out what the Cylons had to do with the Crypt." He finishes off his water.

"Point of the meeting was to consolidate information," Zaharis gently rubs his eye and lifts the cigarette for a fresh drag. "Have to say I'd hoped the chaplain would've been a little more help, but things go as they go."

Reed shrugs, "Well maybe she will still be. She's convinced me she has the background to determine more than I do in the cultural arena." He sets the cup on the desk, "I'm gonna go home. See if… There's a protest waiting for me."

"I just think we need those papers." Zaharis squeezes the last bit of life from his cigarette and stubs it out. "Marines need to hurry their asses up." He looks up and nods as Reed mentions going. "Try and keep me updated as you can." From the slight change in his voice he means about Reighner, not the bodies.

Reed nods, rising and slides his hands into his pockets, slouching a little. "I will. I haven't gotten paged yet, so we'll see." He turns, heading out.

Zaharis lifts his chin slightly as Reed turns away. "Take care of yourself." And it's not till after Reed leaves the office that he finally gets some cracks out of his back.

Reed leaves for Sickbay [o].
Reed has left.

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