Pandora's Box #123 - Right and Wrong

ON: <<USS Pegasus, Brig>>

Ryylar looked at the medal. A symbol of virtue. Of right. He had been granted it the very day that the decree of exile was sent from Cait to the USS Rhode Island. He had been honored and dishonored in the very same day. Within hours of each other. One act had been both. One single decision had been both one of his greatest acheivements and one of his greatest failings.

Running his fingertips over the brass of the medal where the Starfleet emblem was impressed on the medal as it hung from the ribbon he thought back to then. There wasn't really any thinking about it. It was just a snap decision. It hadn't even been that really. It was more of instinct than anything else. Survival was paramount. When the Breen waved his disruptor and swore to kill everyone in the lounge Ryylar didn't have the time to think of the consequences. He had acted without rational thought. The blood that had stained his claws after tearing out the Breen's throat was a welcome feeling compared with the prospect of feeling his own blood or one of the civilians who were trembling and scared huddled against a wall and waiting to be shot.

Now here he sat in a brig. Caelan, Kristiana, Kitty, Melina, Alyson, all their words echoed in his mind telling him that he should comfort himself with the fact that he had done the right thing. Kristiana and Kitty had been the first to point out that while he did the right thing in the lounge, that it wasn't, what was the term? Politically convenient. He reminded himself that being politically convenient in that situation meant waiting for someone to respond. Waiting for someone to get their rear ends down there that those Lieutenants would have respected. But to wait would have put he and Mason at their mercy until then. No other officer had stepped forward. No one else had told them to shut up and sit down. Only Ryylar had been strong enough to stand up to them. In one breath Kristiana told him that he had screwed up and that she loved him madly for it and was proud of him. A day later she told him that was in the brig for political inconvenience and that by doing the right thing he could lose her if he kept using his morality as a guide.

Morals had been the only thing after Starfleet that Ryylar had left. After leaving the fleet to be on his own. The only rock he had was his moral compass. The certainty of knowing what was right. Now he was torn. Morality versus love. How could he choose? To choose the certain path to keeping Kristiana, the only woman he had ever truly loved in his life. If he chose to remain his own moral compass and refuse to accept that his actions in the lounge were wrong, then he risked losing the only person that had ever truly loved him. Even if he had said he could live without Kristiana, he honestly couldn't imagine his life without her soft voice filling his heart. There would be an emptiness if he lost her. But to do what she said, to accept his punishment as being just, he was admitting that he had acted incorrectly in the lounge. That he was not within his rights to defend himself or Mason against the tirade of abuse he had received at the Security officers hands.

Decisions plagued his mind and he sighed, looking at that medal. That medal was the key to two worlds. A world that represented his past and his future. That key to his past proved positive that his sense of morals and his instincts were right and worthy of praise. That key showed him a future he could earn and be proud of, and more importantly, give Kristiana a sense of pride for being his companion.

But would she be proud of him? How could she if he was willing to compromise the one source of strength he had? If he was willing to say that he had acted incorrectly in the bar and change for the future, he was betraying himself and his heart. He sighed once more. He couldn't betray himself, but could not afford to lose Kristiana.

His heart was telling him to hang on for dear life to his morals and to Kristiana, but deep down he knew that he had to let go of one or the other. How could one abide by laws that protected the guilty and murdered the innocent through inaction? He had never understood the logic behind the Prime Directive or any of the other Starfleet regulations that forbade people from helping others. He shook his head. How was he supposed to sit back and let people be hurt? How was he to stand by and do nothing when there were those asking for help? How was he supposed to face Kristiana with an honest heart after doing so?

Caelen had ordered him to seek mental help with the Counselor and he nodded at the wisdom of his Commanding Officer. Sitting in this jail cell thinking about things like this was going to drive him absolutely nuts anyways.

His fingertips ran over that brass button again. He looked it over and thought of what Kristiana had asked him. If he was proud or happy with his life. He was happy with parts of it, but not in its entirety. He had such difficulty understanding humans. Sure he knew how to make them smile most of the time, but to grasp their sense of right and wrong was alien. Politically convenient would change with each election and diplomatic treaty. He wasn't sure if his morals could change that fast or were that flexible. He sighed and asked the guard for a PADD to write a letter. The guard responded and nodded, handing him the PADD as he walked away whistling a tune.

Ryylar wrote down his thoughts and tapped in a security access code, sending them to Kristiana. He would give it a try. He would bow his head for his actions and fall to his knees if that was the only way he was able to get back up and stand proudly by her side. He loved her and after this, he hoped that there would never be any doubt in her mind.

The tune that was being whistled clicked in his mind. It was an old song written in the 1950's by a Terran named Charlie Chaplin. The words ran through his head.

Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though its breaking When there are clouds In the sky You'll get by...

If you smile through your fears and sorrows Smile and maybe tomorrow You'll see the sun come shining through For you...

Light up your face with gladness Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear May be ever so near That's the time you must keep on trying. Smile what's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile. If you just smile.

As Ryylar called for the guard again and asked that the PADD be delivered to Commander Petrova, he wore perhaps the most dazzling smile he had ever had. The sun would come shining through these clouds that hung around him. And for the first time in his life since before the Rhode Island, he felt that his future held only happiness.