Captain’s Log: Stardate 20150808.naptime. The Enterprise is en route after refueling at Carnitas in the Al-Pastor system, but before reaching the Reflux Cluster, we’ve picked up a warning call from the Federation ship Ventilator. The decoded message tells us that a pro-assisted suicide ship, The Good Death, is in the vicinity. We’ve sent them the standard response, U-1st, but The Good Death remains as quiet as a tomb. Then it suddenly appeared on the Bridge’s screen.
“Tell me what I’m looking at on the screen and how that man can STILL be so damnably handsome.”
[Voice of Lt. Expendable] “It’s Patrick Stewart looking damnably handsome on the cover of Compassion & Choices magazine, Captain.”
“If I may, Captain. It appears to be a marketing vessel, bearing down on us for a direct hit. Unclear as to who is in command but it is highly unlikely to be ‘Patrick Stewart.’ These vehicles are typically a low-level risk but this one is outfitted for a ‘stragedy‘ campaign, or ‘strategic tragedy.’ Very difficult to defend against. Many humans find it repugnant to criticize a truly grieving fellow human even when they espouse a repellent social policy. There are, unfortunately, some humans who use or ‘exploit’ those in grief as ‘human shields’ to make honest and thoughtful policy debate difficult. In this case, the markings indicate the vessel belongs to Compassion & Choices. An odd human quirk, I’ve noticed, this use of terms that are the exact opposite of what one means. In poker, it would be a ‘tell’….”
“That will be all for now, Lieutenant Data. Tell Dr. Crusher to report to the Bridge. I can’t allow her to violate the Prime Directive but maybe she can talk some sense into them.”
“I’ve got a Prime Directive of my own: Do No Harm. Not to mention a fictional son played by Wil Wheaton, who eventually comes out as a person living with a disability — depression — and who is just one person who has had to handle the very common real-world problems of misdiagnosis, extreme lack of access to care, and the stigma of mental illness. Which are all supposed to magically not complicate physicians assisting suicide. Let me see what The Good Death’s First Medical Officer has to say. It might help you with Patrick Stewart.”
“Hi, I’m Best McPractices, First Medical Officer of The Good Death. I’m also in charge of collecting Oregon doctors’ assisted suicide data. Like all ‘comprehensive’ data, it’s provided voluntarily and destroyed each year.“
“I think we need a more…personal approach. But still data-driven.”
“Caprica Six reporting in for duty. Jean-Luc.”
“Caprica, that feels very nice but you DO realize you’re working on the wrong damnably handsome man, right? Lt. Expendable, get me Captain Janeway on TheLitchfield.”
“Greetings, Captain Picard. Perhaps you’ve not heard I was demoted. A long story but now I spend my shifts loading your famous Earl Grey teabags into wall units. How’s your tea? I do good work. I will tell you a truth: You know who gets the compassion and choices? You know who gets to worry about, ‘Am I gonna get the death I want?’ I’ll tell you: Captains of Starfleets. I know. I was one once. But most of us could use the compassion and the choices for getting the kind of LIVING we want. So I’ll make you a deal – you get me fresh produce, I’ll get you all the killers you need.”
“Ordinarily at this juncture, Captain, I would offer you my killing services. But even I recognize the necessity of the #CareNotKill message in this situation. I should notify you that your intervention may trigger an explosion in the Wealthy–Well-and-White galaxy. But it’s a small one and, by its own preference, very far away.”
“Captain, I’m sorry to interrupt but Wesley and Data have helped me create a logarithim for calculating the rate at which cadets of color who are disabled are pushed out of the Academy into the justice system. This ‘Starfleet to Prison Pipeline‘ demonstrates how unconscious or ‘implicit bias’ has highly negative effects on marginalized groups. Yet those in the dominant group are often unaware of their own biases. Perhaps if you presented assisted suicide as analogous to the Pipeline, in terms of the relationship between implicit bias and the risk assisted suicide policy poses to devalued people with disabilities and other minority groups, Patrick Stewart might rethink his position. Not that this is personal to me, at all, as a blind Black man.”
“Thanks for asking for my input. It’s not like a dark-complected ‘alien’ would know anything about other beings’ biases.”
“That’s enough! Wait — listen. I hear something. Something that sounds less like a character than a semi-regular narrative device. A ‘recurring chaos,’ if you will. “
“Beautifully put, Captain, though I prefer ‘disrupter’ to ‘chaos.’ But surely you expected to see me again when you agreed to be Compassion & Choices’ cover boy — after all, I am C&C’s Director of Intergalactic Stragedy ™ & Celebrity Relationships. Who else but Q could do this kind of work?”
“That’s not ME, you bonehead. Good god, that explains so much about how the Hemlock Society has created a public health risk by using Orwellian civil rights language. And don’t call me Shirley.”
“Well, all that anti-vaxx work I did hasn’t been wasted, I’ll tell you that much. You have no idea how easily fear can distort civic and public health responsibilities into a pseudo individual liberties crusade. But don’t blame me, I’m just carrying out the for-profit healthcare industry’s Prime Directive: Don’t interfere with profits.”
“Uh huh, suuuuper interesting, Q. Tell you whatskys, I’m going to send Data and Geordi on some vague mission and have Lt. Expendable pop over to The Good Death to have a look-see. Maybe you could pencil me in for five with Patrick Stewart so this bloody title makes sense?”
“Hello? Hello? Hey, eyes on the big screen, folks. Hmm, I seem to have taught you how to use the fork, haven’t I, Captain? Yes, it is I, Admiral Alice Wong of the Starfleet Federation. I’m busy at a Robot Overlords convention at the White House so here’s the deal: You need help and I’m going to send someone to be your Personal Intervention Assistant (PIA). DON’T go over your hours. Not even I can talk them into approving more time. Gotta go, Tyrell‘s about to give the keynote and the shrimp are going faster than tears in rain. OUT.”
“WHAT is going on here? Q said I was meeting Bill Shatner to help broker a cross-promotional deal between Priceline Healthcare and Compassion & Choices. ‘My assisted suicide death cost quote was only cost $300 and all the other death quotes were thousands more.”‘
“Our apologies, Captain, but Geordi and I have returned from our vague mission’s detective work into what — or who — might convince Patrick Stewart that assisted suicide is not all that he believes it to be. I think the guests we’re bringing will be of great interest to your thespian doppelgänger. I’ll let them introduce themselves while we divest ourselves of these wet woolens.”
“Hello, Patrick Stewart, I’m Sejanus, of I, Claudius, one of your ghosts of roles past. I can tell you a little history about the noble suicide, the death to avoid the shame of weakness, and, as always, families who really would kill you and then call it end-of-life care.”
“And we can tell you about how you might have come to prefer the thought of death to disability, given the poverty, charity, and infantilization you’ve been taught to associate with it.”
“That’s enough! You’re all VERY attractive but this is a personal issue for me and none of your business.”
“I’m so sorry to be tardy to the party. You’d think a wizard sent by the Admiral at a White House gathering would get his paratransit ship when it was scheduled. Now which one of you is the Captain who needs a Personal Intervention Assistant and which one is my friend with whom I can discuss a very personal issue?”
“Ian, why are you helping these people — including the damnably handsome one — do this to me?”
“Because, you silly git, this is me playing Bill Kraus in And the Band Played On. Think about the destructive attitudes and policies that LGBT people were living under in the 1980s, and the fact that HIV/AIDS were effective death sentences — social death, if nothing else. The same oppression that fostered the epidemic that claimed this LGBT generation could have been in charge of a public policy ‘treatment option‘ like assisted suicide. How much of a truly free choice would assisted suicide have been then for people disabled by AIDS? How free of bias would physicians have really been, do you think? Not much and not very. We’ve got a cautionary lesson in that. Learn from it.”
“Unfortunately, Paddy, my PIA hours are too limited for me to unpack all of the woefully under examined feelings about disability and power this conveys. Live LONG and prosper! Good luck, Picard. OUT!”
“Attention, Enterprise, this is The Good Death. Your Lt. Expendable is dead, Captain.”
“Oh god, I should have remembered that terrible joke before I ever listened to Compassion & Choices: ‘What do you call the guy who graduates last in his medical school class?’ ‘Doctor.'”
“Well, what did you expect? Lt. Expendable was running on fumes when he got to me. He had a mass the size of a burrito in his gut. Dammit, I’m an assisted suicide doctor not a healer!“
“Captain’s Log: Supplemental. I informed The Good Death that Lt. Expendable had a mass the size of a burrito in his gut because he’d just refueled on Carnitas with a BURRITO. My thank you note to their First Medical Officer read: ‘You didn’t see the cilantro still between his teeth? Oh bravo, Doctor, because unlike in every other instance of alleged medical malpractice, all even the most egregious quack has to do is meet the ‘good faith‘ standard to be in the clear.'”
7 thoughts on “NotPeople Magazine Presents: Star Trek: The Next Intervention”
You are simply brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing mind and creativity with all of us! Marsha
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I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Marsha, and appreciate you taking the time to let me know. Thank you!
Excellent! Brilliant! Thank you so much. Now we must just get the Time Lords to send Pat to a future where he’s dispatched and made into pie – or is that the past via Sweeny Todd?
Please send powerful thoughts against the Assisted Suicide bill we’re to have debated in UK parliament in September. Solidarity
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Aye aye! Retweeted.
Great site and posts. I might not have used worf/Michael Dorn. In an episode of ST:TNG Worf becomes disabled and due to his Klingon background wants help from the crew to kill himself.
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I didn’t know that! Was it magically resolved by him not being disabled after all?
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