Hakim was an older combat medic from a disgraced admiral’s family. They’re tough, they’re experienced, and they genuinely want to lessen bloodshed on a planet where people risk themselves and kill each other for sport. Hakim is too old to seek redemption for his family or closure for what happened in the war, but the expedition is an opportunity to re-invent themselves. They’re making the most out of being stuck behind the planetary blockade.
You still remember their names.
Pallav Aoi. Thirty-two years old. You numbed his ribs after a Baryos soldier had cracked his chest plate. He would often ask to patch a call through to his daughter. You let him, even though you weren’t supposed to waste military resources.
He died on Gyr.
Rachel Blum. Twenty-seven years old. You sewed their skin back together after a nasty fall from their ship. They couldn’t get skin grafts. You told them that their fiancée would not mind the scars that ran across their legs like constellations.
They died on Gyr.
Terra. Seventeen years old. She lied about her age in order to enlist in the army, and her officers were just glad that somebody was eager to be cannon fodder. She talked to you frequently, since she was closer to your age than most of her comrades-in-arms. She didn’t want to return to Dor Len Sono, but it was your job to make sure that she could still change her mind.
She died on Gyr.
None of their bones remained. Before the Battle of the Yards, a lucky transfer had saved your life. Therapy had taken some of the edge off your losses, and your sessions affirmed your desire to save human life. You spent the next decade or so as an Agerran civilian, patching up teenagers who barely survived the Sunwalk. During times of political unrest, you started dressing vibrosword wounds at all hours of the day.
The war taught you that politics murdered much more efficiently than any soldier. When you were thirty-five, you even tried to run for office. If Agerran society was truly so concerned about waste and excess, then both the Sunwalk and public dueling should be banned. Your opponent jumped on your platform quickly: “The Therras family is more interested in stirring controversy than preserving our society.”
Agerran traditions ran deep. More importantly, nobody was excited to openly support a candidate with familial ties to a disgraced admiral. Your campaign crashed quickly, and your opponents never had to send even a single assassin. You returned to your clinic, where you continued to see injuries rise in number and severity. Young people were dying of easily preventable diseases, if only they had brought basic, yet prohibited supplies.
You only knew about the stories from the survivors. You don’t know about the dangers that could kill those kids. There was only one solution: you would have to go up to the Agerran surface yourself. You purchased your first vibrosword and hired a private tutor. You didn’t have anything to prove to your peers, and it would be pointless (and stupid) to die within two days of setting foot on the surface. Armed with adequate supplies, you spent a month on the planet surface. You found local solutions to common toxins and injuries, slaughtered beasts, and wrote down your discoveries in a bound journal. You self-published your field notes into a book, and you distributed the information widely. Angry parents lamented that your book softened their children, but you didn’t think there was any honor in dying to simple plant rashes.
There are bigger things in the galaxy to die for. When the government asked you to accompany the crew to Phaelos III, you immediately obliged. You were playing cards in one of the ship’s breakrooms when Admiral Therra hijacked the ship. The battle on the bridge was bloody, and your friends became broken bodies.
You still remember their names.
The Admiral asked you to rejoin him. You refused as soon as the shock had worn off. Your purpose is not carnage, your purpose is –
Ya-Rett’s death had sown confusion on the bridge, and you managed to escape with the survivors. Therra’s blockade would ensure that you would never see your homeworld again.
For several years, you set up shop on Windrock. You passed your re-licensing exams with relative ease, and there was no shortage of demand for medical experts throughout the colonies. You took on temporary contracts so that you could study deadly creatures while you travelled. Your work was highly respected among Colonial Congress biologists, and a colleague recommended you when a position opened on Ottsalia.
“The Ottsalians don’t really think that an outsider would add value to their expeditions, but it’s good for diplomacy. You should think about it.”
You’re not going to let someone else decide if your work is meaningful, are you?
You are genuinely motivated by the opportunity to save people’s lives. Despite all the horrors that you’ve seen in both the wild (with a lowercase w) and the cities, you have developed healthy coping mechanisms to get you through the hardest jobs. You’ve had decades to practice.
You form personality assessments and judgments quickly, and it can take a long time for you to revise them. Part of it’s because you’re a human being, and the other part is because you’ve been burned by leaders in the past.