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ACT THREE

 

FADE IN:

 

11 INT. DS9 - MATTHIAS FAMILY QUARTERS

 

The door opens and Matthias slumps in, shaken by what just happened. Sibias, who had been napping on the couch while he waited for her, awakes at the sound.

 

SIBIAS
Hun...?

MATTHIAS
Hi.

SIBIAS
Are you okay? You look wrung out.

MATTHIAS
Thanks.

 

He gets up, embraces her, and leads her back to the couch.

 

SIBIAS
You know what I mean. You
can’t keep going on like this.
It’s wearing you down.

MATTHIAS
It’s my job. I can’t just stop.

SIBIAS
I get that... but what about Knezo
and Collins? Can’t they help out?

MATTHIAS
Oh, there’s enough to go around,
believe me. We’re all busy.

SIBIAS
I know you’re not allowed to talk
about it. But you’re going to have
to find a way to get it off your
chest before it swallows you up.

MATTHIAS
I can’t. Patient confidentiality is
absolute. They could suspend my
license, and a trained counsellor
is more needed than ever right
now. Don’t worry about me.

SIBIAS
I’m never going to not worry, hun.

 

She smiles tiredly, and lays her head down on his chest...

 

12 EXT. DEEP SPACE NINE

 

Time passing, as we move to the next morning...

 

13 INT. DS9 - WARD ROOM

 

Tenmei sits at one end of the table, passionately facing off against Bashir. Ro and Matthias caught between them.

 

TENMEI
There is a living, breathing man
in my quarters. You can’t just
turn him off like he’s nothing.

BASHIR
(patient, considerate)
That’s just an empty shell, kept
ticking over by machines. Think of
it as a shuttlecraft - the engines
might be in perfect condition, but
if there’s no operating system in
the computers, it will never fly.

TENMEI
Please don’t condescend to me,
Doctor. I do actually understand
what “brain dead” means.

BASHIR
I’m sorry but it doesn’t seem like
you do. Brain death is the measure
by which we declare someone to
be actually, truly dead.

RO
Do we know for absolute certain,
without question, that removing
the life support would result in
Captain Vaughn’s death?

BASHIR
It can’t not. His brain is not
capable of sending the signals
to keep his vital organs
functioning on its own.

TENMEI
And that’s why we can’t do it. If
there is any chance to save him,
and we don’t know for sure there
isn’t, he would want to be saved.

RO
We all know that Captain Vaughn
was fully prepared to give his life to
save others, Lieutenant. We’ve all
witnessed that on many occasions.

TENMEI
I don’t deny that. But that’s not
what’s going on here, is it?

BASHIR
You’re right, it’s not - because
that already happened in the fight
over Andor. I’m sorry, Prynn, but
to all intents and purposes, your
father is already dead.

RO
If that’s the case, Doctor, why
have you been keeping Captain
Vaughn on life support at all?

BASHIR
Well, two reasons. The first was
to give myself time. I don’t know
everything, maybe someone else
could think of some way to help.

RO
How have you pursued that option?

BASHIR
By correspondence with my fellow
CMOs across the Federation. It’s a
sad truth that war often results in
innovation. Perhaps one of them
came up with something on the
fly in a crisis that could save him.

TENMEI
And have they?

BASHIR
You would know if they had.

RO
Is there any likelihood they will
in future?

BASHIR
Perhaps? But I can’t imagine how.
By every measure of which I am
capable, there is nothing to save.
Everything we know of Elias Vaughn
- his personality, his memories,
his likes and dislikes - is gone.

RO
What about his soul?

 

Bashir and Tenmei look rather surprised at the question...

 

BASHIR
I’m a doctor, not a philosopher. I
can’t let metaphysics influence
my decisions.

TENMEI
There, at least, I can agree with
you. My father was not a religious
person. He wasn’t concerned
about his eternal soul, he just
wanted to enjoy his life.

BASHIR
Prynn... he was a-hundred-and-six
years old. How much life could he
have had left even in the best of
circumstances?

TENMEI
So your solution is to give up?
Assume he’d be dead soon
anyway, so no need to bother?

BASHIR
(sigh)
No. Captain Vaughn was a vital and
active man even at his age. That’s
why I believe he wouldn’t want it
dragged out. To be forced to cling
on in such a state... I don’t for a
moment think he’d want that.

 

Tenmei seems to consider that for a moment... Meanwhile Matthias has been drifting, distracted by her own concerns.

 

RO
Counsellor Matthias...?

MATTHIAS
(jerks to attention)
Yes, Commander?

RO
I was hoping you could offer us
a psychological perspective.

MATTHIAS
In what sense?

RO
Well, theoretically speaking, how
would you advise a patient facing
this dilemma in a session?

MATTHIAS
I would advise them to consider
the other party’s feelings.

RO
You mean Captain Vaughn’s?

MATTHIAS
Not at all. Frankly the captain’s
feelings no longer enter into it,
beyond the two opposing parties’
desire to honour whatever they
believe those feelings to be. I’m
much more concerned with those
of us still here to see the results.

 

That seems a little harsh. Ro tries to soften it...

 

RO
Can you clarify that, Counsellor?

MATTHIAS
I have spoken to both the doctor
and the lieutenant in the weeks
since the invasion. And without
breaking confidence, I think I can
safely say they are both suffering
from post-traumatic stress as
much as any of the rest of us.

TENMEI
But we weren’t the ones involved
in the fighting. We escaped that.

MATTHIAS
Yes... and so we’re the ones left
looking at the state of the galaxy
now and trying to somehow process
what happened. Whether that means
clinging to impersonal numbers to
avoid emotion, refusing to let a
loved one go despite all evidence,
or leaving behind a century of
perfect Vulcan equanimity to turn
into a borderline sociopath...

 

Ro, Bashir and Tenmei look confused and worried. Matthias realises she has let her own feelings slip out, and struggles to find her way back to her point...

 

MATTHIAS
(continuing)
...what I’m saying is, it’s more
important than ever that we make
an effort to sympathise with people’s
trauma, and give everyone the
time and support they need.

BASHIR
That was my second reason for
keeping him on life support,
even knowing it was futile...
(to Tenmei)
...for you.

TENMEI
For me? I don’t understand.

BASHIR
To give you time as well - time
to come to terms with what
happened. Instead I’m afraid
I’ve had the opposite effect.

 

The rest take that on board. Then Bashir’s combadge CHIRPS.

 

RICHTER (comm)
Richter to Doctor Bashir! Please
respond.

 

Richter sounds agitated and worried. Bashir looks to Ro - she nods her permission. He taps to answer...

 

BASHIR
Go ahead, Kristen.

RICHTER (comm)
We just got an alert here in the
Infirmary - it’s from Lieutenant
Tenmei’s quarters. The monitors
show that Captain Vaughn’s life
signs are faltering...

 

Tenmei shoots to her feet, Bashir not far behind. Ro taps her combadge...

 

RO
Ro to Ops - is there some problem
with power in the habitat ring?

NOG (comm)
Yes! It’s that same EPS issue
again - I’m working on rerouting
it but it’ll take a second.

RO
Major Cenn - transport Lieutenant
Tenmei and Doctor Bashir to her
quarters immediately.

CENN (comm)
Aye, Commander. Energising...

 

Bashir and Tenmei both disappear in the golden swirls of a Cardassian transporter beam. Ro and Matthias look at each other with worry...

 

FADE OUT

 

END OF ACT THREE



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