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Title: Compassion For The Enemy
Author name: Icarus
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sub Category: Drama
Pairing: Carson Beckett
Summary: Carson frets over what they're doing in Michael.
DISCLAIMER: The characters and universe contained in this story are Copyright MGM, Showtime, Gekko, Double Secret. No infringement on their copyright is implied. Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved. This story may not be reproduced in whole or part without the author's explicit permission. Ask, guys. I'm easy to reach and usually quite generous.
Author notes: No beta, number two of eight darker SGA fics.
Carson sat on his bed and sighed, fingers laced together nervously. Cool blue eyes in the photo regarded him, weighed him.
He explained, "I will not offer any excuses, I simply want that you will understand my reasons."
Dipping his head, he continued, not looking at the familiar face. "Maybe you will consider them excuses at any rate. You were so proud of me when I became a doctor." A smile washed across Carson's face, softening the worry lines there. "You were never one to understand - meaning no disrespect, mind you," he added quickly, "--the difference between a medical doctor and a geneticist. To you, it was all the same, and I was so glad to make you happy.
"But, mum, there is a very big difference a geneticist and a simple medical doctor." He took a breath, leaning forward, his voice hurried and almost urgent. "A medical doctor is… reactive. They fix what is wrong after it has occurred, repairing the damage of disease, of injury, old age, illness."
His brows furrowed in pain. "That is the worst part about being a doctor, for me. Once it has gone to that point, one is so helpless. Many patients die, simply because the damage is too terrible, it has gone too far. And you try to tell yourself that there is nothing you could have done, you've done all that is within your power, but," he gave that soft face a wistful pained smile, "you know me. I cannae bear it. Everyone in the family was so surprised that I became a doctor, given the way I am. They imagined I would become a gardener like dear old dad, god rest his soul." Carson snorted and looked down at his hands, his expression wry. "Perhaps I should have."
Taking a deep breath, he forged ahead with his explanation, bravely facing the music. "A geneticist, in the ideal, prevents damage before it occurs. Can you imagine that? One can, with the right knowledge and skill, be able to cure terrible disorders - even deafness, perhaps.
"And deafness is a perfect example for the Wraith," he explained with a serious expression. "In our culture, some, in learning to manage their disability," he swallowed, "have chosen to celebrate it. 'Deaf Culture' they call it. And if one cannae change it, then I'm certain it's perfectly healthy to do so," Carson said, looking away, his hand making a brushing motion. "But some refuse coclear implants, and prevent themselves from hearing music," he winced, "and argue for others to do the same, simply because of this crazy belief that how they're born is really how they were meant to be."
Carson leaned his elbows on his knees and said gently, "I know you would say that I am talking about playing God, but nothing could be further from the truth. If letting these people, living souls, suffer, is part of some greater plan - well, I cannae accept that." He shook his head. "We would have no medical science if that's what we truly believed."
Emphatically, he said, "I have studied the Wraith DNA. It is human at the root." He patted the bed next to him for emphasis. "What you see as a separate sentient species is in truth a disorder. A very, very serious illness. They cannot consume food in the manner we do, they cannot reproduce as we do. And yet, at the core, they are human. Originally, that is what they were."
The shock played across his face, as fresh as when he first realized the implications of that genetic lineage. "They are preying on their own kind, their brothers. And that," he said, pained, "cannae be natural.
"Any geneticist can tell you that just because it occurs in nature does not mean it is natural. Cancer is not natural, despite the fact that it occurs without human intervention," Carson explained. "But if 'Deaf Culture' can arise in a mere hundred years, then in ten thousand years of course the Wraith have come to accept and even celebrate their… difference."
He shook his head, a hand to his mouth. "Despite the fact of what they're doing. Even they must see how similar we are, how could they not?" Carson turned thoughtful. "Perhaps that is why they will not give us their names, to deny that, to pretend that it isn't true." His gaze turns inward, considering. "It implies that they are not happy with what they are doing."
He makes a quick gesture, a casual smile. "That is all just speculation, naturally. We have no way of knowing for sure: we've never before met a species like the Wraith. The Asgard race is far more genetically dissimilar to humans."
Carson met the eyes judging him, weighing him, as they always had. He respected her opinion more than anyone else's in the world. "This bring brings us to the matter at hand."
He said slowly, softly, his tone urgent and serious, "Ultimately, I am curing a genetic disorder that has caused inconceivable misery for both the Wraith and the people of this galaxy -- mum, you have no idea what these people have gone through," he explained, his compassionate blue eyes a more sensitive mirror to hers.
"And the Wraith, well, Colonel Sheppard doesn't appreciate this point of view, but we have woken them too early. They are starving to death, and that is a terrible way to die. Worse for a Wraith than it is for a human, believe me," he said earnestly. "I studied the Wraith that we called Steve, trying to find some alternate source of sustenance - Sheppard wanted to question it longer, while I thought if we could find something else, they might prefer it." He shut his eyes. "Their very resilience means that they suffer that much more, that much longer." He ran a hand through his hair. "They can live a horribly long time, in agony."
Carson put his head in his hands. "I am not cut out for this. The ethics of what we do on a daily basis in the Pegasus galaxy are… unprecedented. I was very confident that the gene therapy I gave Rodney would work - I was chosen for this mission precisely because I am pretty good at what I do, after all." He raised his eyebrows. "The primary risk was that it would do nothing whatsoever, simply pass through the bloodstream unabsorbed. And I was correct. For many it does not have any effect. We were lucky Rodney's DNA was compatible.
"But, you see, for all that I am certain that this new procedure will work… Rodney was willing to test the retrovirus. The young Wraith girl, she was willing to try to become human." Carson blanched, for a moment near tears. "This, where we must tie the patient down, kicking and screaming - I can't do this any longer!"
He swallowed, pulling himself together, letting himself breathe. He hung his head. "But I can't sit here, with the knowledge that I might be able to save us, save this entire galaxy, and do nothing. Then I would feel responsible for the death of every man and woman lost on this mission - and yes, I know, I know," he held up a hand, forestalling the familiar argument, "I am always taking responsibility for things that cannae be helped, that are not my fault. It is my nature, mum." He looked up at the photo sheepishly. "I would not be a doctor if I did not want to change things."
Carson sighed, standing up and kissing his fingertip, touching it to the lips of his mother's photo as he stood to leave, to give Michael his next treatment. "I wish you were here, mum. You are the wisest person I know, and you have always had such good advice. I wish you were here."