First Do No Harm - Part 3
Location: Mess Hall - BS Solaria
Timeline: MD 15 - 19:30
It had been yet another day of restocking sickbay, and Jamie was beginning to wonder if Dr Callahan or the CMO assumed he was particularly efficient at that job, seeing as he'd been rostered to it twice this week already. It wasn't his favourite thing to do - far from it - nor was it what he'd been trained to do. He wanted to do what paramedics do, although that meant people would have to get sick or injured.
At least he was on call for the afternoon. Any significant injury or illness requiring transport to the Solaria from any of the other ships in the Fleet - he'd be there. But until then, his day of work had been quiet, enough for him to leave sickbay for a bite at the mess hall.
It was dinner time again, and the place was relatively packed with hungry men and women, but at least the line wasn't too long. He grabbed his tray of food - a chicken stew of sorts with bread - and settled into one of the more sparsely-occupied tables.
Adam had been aboard the Solaria since the attack, and had fallen into an awkward balancing act of staying out of the way and trying to be useful. The Solaria had become home to several hundred civilians, awkwardly barracked in unused Marines facilities, most, like Adam trying to find a new role to serve in. So far there was a limited need for lawyers, the Fleet operating in an almost martial law like military structure. He filled some papers with the hastily formed "Civilian Services" section but the priorities were medical, technical, or scientific. He meet none of those. So like he had for the last two weeks he worked out, slept, read what few books he'd been able to get his hands on, and checked with CS if there was any need for his services.
"Mind if join you?" Adam asked approaching the young man at the otherwise empty table.
Jamie was mid-chew when he the man had approached him, also carrying his tray. He looked up. "Umm," he shoved some of the notebooks he had with him out of the way on the table. "No, it's fine," he said.
"Thanks," Adam said giving the man a smile. "Uh, Don't let me disturb you," he said gesturing to the notebooks.
"No, it's fine," the medic shook his head. There was a pause between the two as Adam settled into his seat. "I'm Jamie. You don't look like a Fleeter," he said, before realising that his observation could've been taken as a rude comment, as a means to exclude the newcomer from their predominantly military setting.
"I'm not, Adam Kendrick. I was with an officer in a raptor during the attack, guess that's why I'm alive. Not a whole lot for a lawyer to do though."
The young medic scoffed a little. "What law is there to follow now, anyway? The legal infrastructure for each colony's completely gone now." He stared at his food for a while. "Where did you escape from? And who did you come with?" he asked, suddenly curiously.
"Virgon, my home colony," Adam said softly. "I was with Coop, uh, Captain Yates." He said blushing slightly. "The legal is very much collapsed, not quite martial law but not far off. I'll admit I'm not sure the idea of living the rest of my life under military rule has much appeal but it's better than the alternative."
"I think I met Captain Yates briefly," Jamie said, but not mentioning the slightly awkward circumstance on how they had met. "I led mostly a civilian life," he added. "I was a reservist - only spent a few months per year with the Fleet. So I'm pretty new to all of this as well..."
"Yeah, any reservists have already been pulled into active service, and they're taking to anyone who's looking to join as a recruit," Adam said, "I have to admit I'm hoping once things settle we'll have a chance to rebuilt at least some of civil society."
"Hopefully," Jamie agreed. Although it was clear to both of them that no one alive today would ever be able to enjoy the best of colonial days prior to the holocaust. "You said you were a lawyer?" he suddenly asked, thinking over the kid he'd recently brought over from the Mah-Jong.
"Yeah. Mostly corporate for the last few years, but I did some civil stuff when I started. Did a few years as a Colonial Prosecutor," Adam said. "Why, planning to sue someone?" he asked with a small laugh.
Jamie hesitated, unsure whether to speak of the issue on his mind or not. It had been bothering him much of the day, and had wondered what its legal implications might be, especially in the current circumstance where every known judicial infrastructure was gone.
"Hmm," he began. "Well, let's say hypothetically..." he emphasised the word. "... A child of 'maturing age' wants medical treatment but their family refuse on religious grounds. You know, particular colonies are like that... Do you know of or have you dealt with similar 'medical refugees' in the past?"
"I haven't, but a partner at my firm used to do a lot pro bono work in that area. To be honest it depended on the colony and the judge hearing the case. A few didn't want to risk infringing on freedom of faith, but most of them would side with the child, especially if they wanted treatment and it was life-threatening for it to be refused," Adam said. "Hypothetically, of course. The other issue being, hypothetically if this was occurring now, the judicial system isn't exactly functioning."
"So... what would actually happen right now, if the child's parents refuse to allow treatment? And say ceasing treatment isn't going to threaten their life immediately, but they run a fairly risky chance of succumbing to their illness?"
Adam thought for a moment a took a bite of his food. "Hard to say. We're basically under martial law at the moment. The parents could appeal to the Commander, which to be honest I doubt he'd side with their faith. Because of the nature of the Fleet any infectious agent represents a significant threat. The only other recourse would be to try to appeal to the Commander of their vessel, who in theory could try to demand the return of the child, again I doubt that would go anywhere, and then they'd likely be denied access to Fleet resources. Until we get some form of civilian government running, or a judiciary there isn't much the parents could do. That being said, the Commander could have problems in the future if it looks like he's preventing people from following their faith."
Jamie wasn't sure whether to, but ended up mumbling out, "I think all this gods and faith stuff is bullshit. Especially those who get out of hand with it, like refusing medical treatment. You'd expect us as a people, having managed FTL technology and space travel, would've progressed to the stage where everyone's decided that this religious stuff is nothing but a hindrance. They should only be allowed to believe in whatever rubbish they want to believe in their own homes and nowhere else..."
"Separation of church and state," Adam said with a small chuckle. "But all of this hypothetical of course. I'm sure if it wasn't there would be a reporting procedure you'd be obligated to follow."
Jamie hadn't quite thought of that. It wasn't something he had discussed with the CMO just yet. "Of course," he said quietly. "I'm sure there is..."
It was then when the overhead blasted the announcement for action stations. For the briefest second everyone looked up to the ceiling, responding to the sudden disturbance of their meals. It didn't take long for the masses to stand up, hustling amongst each other as they began leaving the mess hall for their stations.
"Thanks for the info," Jamie said to the lawyer. "Looks like I gotta go."
Adam nodded and watched the military crew quickly run out of the room. He quickly finished his meal and returned to his quarters.