Life Debt
Life Debt
Summary: Fotilas and Zaharis have words over Astyoche's possible death sentence.
Date: 33 ACH
Related Logs: The Astyoche stuff
Players:
Fotilas..Zaharis..

Chief Medical Officers Office Genesis - Deck 13
33 ACH 6285 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.


Fotilas isn't actually waiting /in/ the office, but he's standing out of the way beside the CMO's door and to the side. He's not speaking to anyone and seems to be doing his best to be a fly on the wall. Just quick nods to those that greet him, not trying to keep anyone from their duties.

Zaharis comes through Sickbay proper in what seems to be a blaze of energy, a clipboard tucked into his good arm. He stops to speak to two nurses at reception, talking quickly and handing over the chart and test orders, and then his steps take him swiftly towards his office. He stops upon seeing Fotilas lurking, raising his left hand into salute. "Colonel."

The XO returns the salute quickly. "Major." There's a quick nod and he glances around to the people that Zaharis had been speaking to before his gaze settles back onto the CMO. "I hope I'm not interrupting something. I wanted to talk to you about something if you have a spare moment?" He motions towards the door, but leaves the end of the line open for the Major to tell him to come back another time. "There's nothing wrong with me. I assure you. Despite what rumors may have said about me." He tries for a bit of humor.

Zaharis gives Fotilas a wry snort and a slight grin. "No, come on in, sir." He swipes his keycard through the slot by his office door and heads in, leaving it open for Fotilas. Inside it's still a bit chaotic, files on his desk to be plowed through, patient films stuck up on the backlit right wall. Zaharis motions for Fotilas to take a seat as he heads around his desk. "I was just coming in to send off a notice to command. But since you're here, I'll drop some good news on you to kick off. Carter's out of his coma."

The Colonel nods and follows Zahars in. If the man has a problem with the mess in the CMO's office, he doesn't even look like he notices it. Why mess with another man's work when its being done as well as it is? But Fotilas drops into a chair and watches the other man move about to desk. His words find relief, the XO's shoulders sagging with the sudden weight lifted. "Oh thank the Gods.. That's great news. Is he going to be alright?"

Zaharis doesn't particularly give off the air that he would give a crap if someone had a problem with his office. "Well, we're not done yet. There's still the gunshot trauma he took, so he'll be down for a while yet. But if I had to stake confidence on it then I would say yes. He's going to be alright." He picks up a long abandoned cup of water shoved over to the corner of the desk, downing part of it in a swallow or two.

The XO shakes his head. "Thank you. Fleets lucky to have you and your staff, Major. You've proven your value time and time again. I wish…" He splays his hands out. "..there was some way we coulda adequately thank you all." Fotilas looks a touch lost at how to even begin for that. He pauses for a moment before going on. "But that respect is a reason I wanted to talk to you, Major. I wanted to have a candid discussion about executions because we may be looking at more in short order." The happy expression slowly fades as he speaks.

Zaharis shakes his head slightly at the thanks. "It's our duty." He's ready to move on to next topic, and the announcement of what it is makes him set the cup down. The shift in his own mood is tangible as well. "Go on, sir."

"Major, we might be looking at executing someone that has shown this fleet a wealth of respect despite the charges allayed against them." Fotilas leans back in the chair and crosses an ankle over teh other knee. His displeasure with the idea is readily visible. "They have requested that if such an execution is to take place, that we harvest their organs for transplant to help the wounded in any way possible… as part of their Will." He pauses once more, jaw setting. "What is the most humane form of execution we can perform and still be ale to carry out the prisoner's last Will?" Yeah, this bothers him.

"You're asking me for the best way to destroy a human life, sir?" Zaharis makes the irony stand out a little in his tone, raising an eyebrow. He starts to say something, bites it back, then changes his mind. "Permission to speak freely?"

"No, Major, I'm not. I'm pretty sure the Cylons have that down pat." Its not meant to be humor. "I was asking for the most painless, least obscene… shit I don't know." Not eactly a man prone to cursing. Fotilas nods. "I was going to tell you to anyway. Please.. talk to me. I'm not looking for one-sided conversation on a topic like this."

The cursing doesn't seem to faze Zaharis. "Sir, we just lost four hundred and fifty more human lives. Hell it's more than 450 but I don't dare try to be precise, because I can't guarantee more won't be dead by the time we finish this conversation. Morality aside for a second, for all we know we are the last 6285 human beings left in this universe." He's looking at Fotilas hard now, searching the man's face. "-How- can you tell yourselves as commanders of this fleet that even one more death is okay?"

Fotilas listens and shakes his head. "The problem is that if we begin subverting our laws with that, when where do we stop? Do we also stop jailing people for offenses? Do we stop charging people for offenses? All for the sake of how few we may have left?" The man sighs and leans forward in his chair, setting both his feet back on the ground. He leans forward with his elbows on his knees. Its been a tiring month on everyone. Fots has been seen off-duty once in that time. "Look, executions aren't pretty and damn if I don't sympathize with you.. But we have to draw the line. I don't have to like that part of my job but I'm going to do it. Regas can have his own answers but I accept the moral digust some have with me because I have to." One might get the idea that he isn't so much having a discussion with a Department Head or a CMO or a Major.. but man to man.

"I'm sorry…that's your argument?" Zaharis replies, looking a little incredulous. "That if we stop -killing- people it might lead to a breakdown of law and order?" He's forgotten the sir for the time being. He stopped talking to Fotilas as his XO when he asked for that free speech permission.

"What would you have us do with dangerous criminals?" Fotilas looks at him, with a quirked brow. "We don't have a lot of people left. Should we lock them up on some ship and turn it into a jail? And I'm not talking about purse-thieves. I'm talking about dangerous, treasonous individuals."

"You were willing to argue a slippery slope with me," Zaharis says in return. "So let me show you how it feels for a second. Regas told us in that meeting that he considered criminals like rapists to be eligible for execution. 'Hard felons', criminals we've never executed before on the colonies. Your criteria is 'dangerous'? What does that mean, where's the line where that stops? What about the mentally ill, will you excuse them too? Or those that can't contribute to the fleet and are deemed to be taking up resources?" He waves a hand. "There's the other side of your slope. Isn't it ugly?"

"Only if you believe that the XO of the ship is going to start arbitarily shooting people because he's afraid of them. I stand by the Commander's criteria." He's pretty positive of that. "You can argue that case to Commander Regas if those are your feelings. But I am not about to break ranks and divide this fleet over something like this." Fotilas stops and dips his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I came in here looking for your help. I didn't come in here spouting about the merits of killing people. Please don't accuse me of being out for blood, Jesse."

"I'm not." Zaharis' voice quiets into a tone that's almost gentle. He shifts in his chair, exhaling quietly. "Captain Reighner came to me about a week ago about this same thing. Except he sat where I am and I sat where you are. And I did the same thing you're doing, so I don't blame you. But you said you didn't want one-sided, so I'm not going to kiss any ass on the topic. Whether you steal to feed your starving kids or steal because you're a greedy bastard, it's still stealing by law. And whether your murder someone because you think it's protecting others or murder them because you're out for blood…it is still murder." He draws a breath. "I had a conversation with Salin a few days ago where he tried to tell me that airlocking was an acceptable method of execution. Throwing a breathing man into space to asphyxiate slowly for five to ten agonising minutes of consciousness is 'acceptable'. How can that possibly be?"

"You're making it personal. I'm not here to make enemies or dictate anything about killing. I'm not interested in killing people. My business is killing cylons and the alternative makes me frakking ill." The hand lifts from the bridge of his nose and runs through his hair. Fotilas looks at the floor a moment longer and rises to look at Zahris. "I don't want you to kiss my ass on anything. True. But keep in mind how this discussion started. I was asking about treating another human life with as much dignity as I possibly can during an act which doesn't carry much. Now if you want to take the merits of airlocking to task, then assemble a case and take it to Regas. I can look it over before hand and agree or disagree. But I'm not a Doctor or a JAG so my judgement of whats right or acceptable is somewhat clouded by arguments on both ends."

"I am taking it to task," Zaharis assures Fotilas. "I'm slow, I admit…we're a little busy in here." He rubs his fingers over his forehead. "But there's so much work to be done in this fleet. Why, for example, could they not be sent to the Tracer to refine the tyllium?"

"Doc, I won't question you right now on why things are moving slow for you. You have more important matters like saving lives." Fotilas ettles back again and looks to the Doctor. "Again, because they are deemed dangerous. Beyond that, I can't help you. Lords, man.. I don't even want this person executed. I think they could serve with our Viper group given time. They've already proven their loyalty." He sighs, eyes looking towards the floor. "On my way to see the Priestess after this."

Zaharis is silent for a little while, not moving. Then he picks up the carafe of water on his desk and fills one of the other styrofoam cups. Carefully, as it's awkward to do one-handed. The cup's pushed over to Fotilas. "Drink some of that. I'd bet a nut you're dehydrated these days." He sits back again, picking up a pen to roll between his fingers. "As I see it, Regas is not going to consider anything except firing squad and airlock, and I'm going to hit the latter as hard as I can. Firing squads are not exactly ethical either, especially not the way that the Marines conducted the last one. The chance of a single shot failing to kill someone is high." His tone is low and a little tense, clearly hating saying this. Hating it.

The XO looks up after a moment and takes the cup. "Thanks." He downs thole thing quickly and holds teh cup between steepled fingers, eyes still on the floor. "I don't think he is either, but I won't accept it for this individual. Either one. If she has to take a bullet, I plan on handing her the weapon or doing it myself…. probably the latter." This prisoner has obviously earned something from Fotilas. "But I want this Will carried out of JAG finds her for death. She's adament about her organs going to those that need them. She'd probably want to give as much blood as possble, too. So… What's the.." He sighs. He doesn't even want to say it again.

"Don't put that on her," Zaharis says, frowning. "That's not fair. If responsibility is taken to judge her life forfeit then responsibility should be taken for the burden of the act." He sips his own water. "I asked Salin off the record not to sentence to airlocking until I could get my case together. He said he heard me. If he does do it, I'll stand with you however I have to to prevent the torture of a human being." He's been looking at Fotilas the whole time, though now his eyes shift away. And again he gos silent for a while. "If it must be a firing squad then it should be more than one bullet. No less than five, if I have to say. But…" He draws a tense breath. "There is -no- ethical, dignifying way to end the life of a person. We have no proof of any method of killing being painless…none. I want to give you some peace, but…I can't."

"Yeah. I guess you're right. I'll do it myself, then." Resigned. Some ideas briefly cross his mind but he just stares at the floor where it meets Zaharis' desk. "Sorry. Not always the most clear thoughts on some issues." Which is why he probably doesn't ask for people kissing his ass. "At least Salin could give you that. Good of him. But I'll take responsibility for this. If it has to be done.." A shake of his head and he finally looks back up once more. "This job sucks. This prisoner has more honor than some of the Marines we have skulking around the Berthings and she has to take a frakking bullet." He rises from the chair. "So.. nothing to help soften to blow for her? If this has to happen, I'll request that someone from your staff be there to confirm death and get her back here ASAP. I'm sorry."

Zaharis lifts his eyes but not his chin as Fotilas rises. "Please, sit back down for a minute."

Fotilas stops and looks to the Doctor. This topic hits home a little more than he's probably willing to admit. But he does sit back down, looking at the man cross the desk.

Zaharis lets Fotilas sit before he speaks. "I won't apologise for what I've said and for what I feel I have to do. I don't want you to apologise either. In the end it's not to each other that we're going to owe apologies." He sighs, quietly. "You've given your testimony to Salin about this prisoner?"

Fotilas shakes his head. "For the decisions command makes? We'll burn. In the end, Regas and I will answer. I'm sorry you all have to deal with it until then." He's solemn about it. The man has accepted his fate as if it were served to him like a TV dinner. "But I don't think I have any testimony to give. I'm not a part of the investigation. I'm not a witness. I don't know anything about the law, either. So, my hands are effectively tied. But Major Altair knows how I feel about the case… Is there anything else I should know that I can do without frakking the system?"

"Those who are complacent are just as guilty as those who decide," Zaharis says quietly. Pen still in hand, his thumb keeps softly clicking the end. "You sound like you know this prisoner, though. I'm not up on trial law either, I would think she'd be allowed to have character witnesses or something." Click click, and he frowns. "Have you asked Salin about alternate sentences? I mean, I can understand reluctance to let a criminal pilot a Viper. But have you suggested something like hard labour? Because I'm serious, if we're going to put people out of commission then gods know we could use them somewhere where it -benefits- the fleet, and not in the morgue."

"Easy to say, Doc. Just remember this conversation the next time you hear someone spouting off about Command." Fotilas has heard enough of it himself just walking the halls and it shows. The man leans forward to set the cup back on the Doctor's desk. "I don't know the prisoner other than by her reputation, behavior, and an interview I did with her. Everything else is what I have read in reports. So.. asking me to testify on her character would be a compromise I am not necessarily willing to make. Purjuring myself sets a bad example." He's not really looking at Zaharis anymore. Just the absent looks around desk. "I will discuss alternative sentancing if its required. But to be honest… I get the idea she should run a Viper for us if not for these charges. And do it well. Hard labor would be a waste of a valuable resource in a way that I can't ignore."

"What's her supposed crime?" Zaharis asks, thoughtfully.

"She willfully admits to killing the man who raped and murdered her sister. The man supposedly got off when the family purchased his trial. So she went after him. She planned it down to the detail and killed him. But he was some sort of Viper pilot. A Captain or something. Maybe a Major.." Fotilas shakes his head. "She did it. She admits to it. Every detail has been lain out. Said she did the same thing when she surrendered but the family bought her trial too. She wanted to lay out a guilty charge but the family wanted her dead and prevented that." The XO rubs his forehead. "The shit of it is.. the evidence supports it. But she still killed someone. The courts sentanced her to die."

"Murder is still murder," Zaharis says, echoing something he'd said earlier. "No offence…you claim you don't even know enough to testify, and that evidence supports that she's a murderer. But at the same time dare to say she has more honour than some Marines and should be allowed to just waltz into a Viper? Even I can't get behind you on just letting her go and putting her into a bird. If you want to stand up and say we need to not subvert our laws right now, then don't subvert them." He sits up slightly. "But I believe - I honestly do - that proactively giving Salin a better plan than 'execute or let a murderer walk' is good here. I'm not saying toss her in the Tracer for the rest of her life. But long enough that Salin won't feel like he's breaking the system by just handwaving murder. Maybe even propose a concurrent labour-service sentence, I don't know."

"Yeah, I'm aware of exactly what I said. There's no claim that she is innocent on any charges. Period. And yes, I dare say that about some of the Marines who currently seem to prefer talking back to officers than actually getting anything done. Marines such as our former Master at Arms, Farkas. Seems like every week I get a notice about a Marine having to get bailed out. Meanwhile this prisoner sits quietly in her cell, reading scripture. Is polite and cooperative? I stand by what I said." Fotilas doesn't take the tone of a man lecturing, but he's nearing the end of his rope. "But if you want me to propose alternative sentancing.. I'll do it. I'm not looking to interfere with legal proceedings anymore than I have." He settles back into the chair. "And for the record, I would not have anyone jumping out of the brig with her charges and sliding into a Viper. Absolutely not. Trust needs to be re-established. Medical evaluations need to be done. I am still waiting to hear from Lieutenant Sloan before she talks to the prisoner."

Zaharis isn't going to argue the Marine honour point. He doesn't care and he's focused on the other issue now. He folds his good arm on the desk, leaning on it. "Please…do it. It's not interfering, you -know- it's better for this fleet than condemning a woman to death. It's just a proposal. I'll help you if you want but please. Jameson, this is someone's life."

Fair enough," the XO finally says, tired. "I know you're right. I'm not going to protest." He mulls over what needs to be done. Going to Salin for a third time about this prisoner. How its going to look. But sometimes you have to swallow your pride and face things that need to be done. "Alright, I'll speak with him. Just be sure you have Sloan come find me." He stares at the desk while he waits for Zaharis to reply.

"Frak pride." Zaharis offers Fotilas a slight smile, even if he's not looking. "But seriously, if you need any support I'll go with you or whatever you need me to do. I believe in this." He exhales slowly through pursed lips and nods about his psychiatrist. "I'll leave Sloan notice to get with you ASAP."

"No, I don't think that will be necessary. Thanks, though." Fotilas continues rubbing at his forehead. "I know you believe in it. But.. please consider something alternative to a magazine of bullets to the face." He looks like he'll be sick just at the thought. Probably won't be pretty if he has to do it. "Yeah, thanks." He slowly rises again and looks years older for having this conversation. "I'll let you know how it goes, Jesse. Thanks for this. Realy." He meets the Doc's eyes, sincerity there.

People being sick is at least something Zaharis is used to. The CMO stands up this time. "I'll…think about it." He says that in a way that already knows there's nothing else, but he still tries to promise. "Thanks for coming to me. Let me know what Salin's thoughts are. And if I think of anything else in the meantime I'll be in contact." He straightens his shoulders, mindful of the bandaged right side, and raises salute.

"I came to you because you're one of the best and smartest officers on this boat. Again, proving it. I'll keep you informed." Fotilas smirks a bit at the smile and lifts his hand as well, tapping his temple before extending to the Doctor. "You're a credit."

Zaharis smirks back at Fotilas. "Let's pretend I say something humble and poignant right here, eh?" He grins slightly, then nods. "You're a good man, sir. You'll do the right thing."

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