Doctor Alice Boatman was working in her office at the ground base when the phone rang.
“Hello?” She said.
“This is Doctor Mark Goldman, we met at the conference in New York and I’m calling about a patient that was just brought into Parkland Hospital.”
“Is she stable?”
“For the moment yes, but it’s entirely possible that she will eventually succumb to her injuries. And there’s also a political factor.”
“The injuries were the result of her being severely beaten by her father, William Grant, and the Dallas police are reluctant to act on the case.”
An emotional button had just been pressed for her. Alice firmly reminded herself to remain calm.
“There are several procedures we’ve developed in the last five centuries that could help, but in the absolute worst case we could do a RC.”
“Recorporation, it’s an annoying procedure to go through, but it’s clearly better than dying. We’ll need a blood sample and we’ll have to do a memory scan on the patient. Fortunately we do have a portable kit for that.”
“How soon can you come here?”
“We can come right away, but you’ll need to have the local police clear an area for the lander to set down on.”
“Okay, we can do that. Thank you Doctor Boatman.”
Thank you, Doctor Goldman, she thought.
For this mission she would take two assistants and a four man security team in a medivac lander. And the alert squad of Rangers would come along in their own lander just in case there was a serious security problem on site.
Larry Travis was a field producer in the news department of the NBC Television affiliate in Dallas. On the job at this station he had personally witnessed the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. He was now called into an office by the head the of the news department.
The department head spoke.
“Larry, one of those landing craft from the time traveling starship just set down at Parkland Hospital. Take a reporter and a film crew and find out what’s going on there.”
“Yes sir.” He replied.
As he left the office another field producer stepped inside.
“Jack,” said the Department Head, “the police scanner has just picked up a call about the daughter of the Reverend William Grant gone missing, I want you to work on it.”
In the Parkland ER Doctor Goldman updated Doctor Boatman on the condition of the patient as they performed another examination.
“There were numerous broken ribs and some broken bones in the arms and legs as a result of falling from the second floor. And some internal injuries, but she appears to have stabilized for the moment.”
“Getting her into free fall or just lower spin gravity aboard the Eagle would help her recover faster.” She replied. “It would also get her away from the monster who did this.”
“Yes.” Doctor Goldman replied.
Judith’s eyes flickered.
Alice spoke to her.
“Can you hear me?”
Judith could barely reply.
“I’m Doctor Alice Boatman from the starship Eagle, we’re taking you up to the ship where we have better facilities and you’ll heal faster. Do you understand?”
“Do you have any other questions?” Said Doctor Boatman.
“I don’t know what to believe.” Said Judith.
Doctor Goldman replied to her.
“Well, if there’s a God and he is just, then he won’t care how you worshiped him were but will welcome you because of how you lived. Now if there wasn’t a God, then you will go, but you will be remembered as a good person.”
“Okay Judith,” said Doctor Boatman, “we’re going to prep for transit to the Eagle. Okay?”
Judith went back to sleep.
In the corridor Travis and his crew had set up their film camera and audio tape recorder when the Uptimers began to move their patient. It was here that the hospital administrator stopped them.
The administrator wanted to speak to Doctor Boatman but directed himself to the male field medic.
“Doctor Boatman, I’m sorry but I can’t allow you to take this patient from here.”
Boatman directly replied.
“You’re the administrator?”
“You act like one.”
Alice had mentally stopped herself from saying the word moron.
The administrator spoke again.
“You don’t have parental permission.”
Doctor Boatman calmly replied.
“The father had beaten the girl into a bloody pulp. His claim to parental right is null and void.”
It was at this moment that there was a commotion at the end of the corridor. The Reverend William Grant had entered the Emergency Room of Parkland Hospital. He immediately saw the group of Uptimers with his daughter on the gurney and strode towards them.
Travis spoke to his crew.
“We are getting this?”
Grant had reached the group at the other end of the corridor. He spoke up with a strong voice.
“Who dares to take my daughter from me?”
“Doctor Alice Boatman of the starship Eagle.”
“You will return her to me!” Said Grant.
“I don’t take orders from witch doctors.” Doctor Boatman replied. “Get out of the way.”
Petty Officer Third Class Elizabeth Murphy stepped forward to block Grant.
But Grant shouted.
“I don’t take orders from whores!”
For Alice Boatman a mental button had been pushed.
Every member of the Eagle Expedition was fully aware of the doctor’s background. They knew that she had been born aboard the last sublight starship that had departed from Earth. And they were fully aware of what happened to her on that ship when she was twelve standard years old.
The Integral was the last sublight starship to leave the Solar System and it was also the most primitive. It was propelled by the Orion nuclear fission drive and was configured to carry twenty thousand people for three generations to Alpha Centauri. Unfortunately it was manned by people who firmly believed in the doctrine of Communism and as a result of ideological actions and simple idiocy the number of souls aboard was reduced to a bit over 2,000 at the end of the journey.
The ideological leader of the this space going clusterfuck also had himself carried in cryostasis for the bulk of the journey with special arrangements made for his arrival. One of them was to have a twelve year old girl available for his use for sexual gratification.
Upon arrival at Alpha Centauri he was put to death for his numerous crimes, including the repeated rapes of the girl.
The girl had been given an alphanumeric designation on the ship. On the ground she was adopted by Evelyn and Cheryl Boatman and chose the name of Alice.
She would grow up to have a normal life. But one of the consequences of her being used as a instrument of sexual gratification was that she would never enter into a mature relationship with a man.
For the rest of her lives Petty Officer Murphy would swear that she heard a mechanical click when Doctor Boatman’s eyes shifted towards Grant. And that the temperature of the corridor seemed to have clearly shifted downwards.
Murphy briefly turned away from the scene and with her left hand shifted the microphone closer to her mouth. She then softly but firmly spoke into the mike.
“Team Leader to Control, we need the Rangers on the ground and inside right now!”
Larry Travis was watching the scene from down the hall. He spoke to the cameraman.
“Are you getting this?”
Alice Boatman reminded herself that she was facing a problem with a clearly rational solution, very much like the surgical removal of a cancerous tumor. With absolute clinical calmness she responded to the overt insult.
“What did you say?”
William Grant replied with the full fury of the righteous.
“You are a harlot! A whore of the devil! And only through renouncing Satan and bowing to our Lord Jesus Christ can you be saved!”
Doctor Boatman calmly turned to the nearest cop and calmly spoke.
“This man is clearly irrational, and he is a clear danger to himself and to others, he must be taken into custody.”
The Dallas cop was clearly frightened by this situation with a political factor. With a shaken voice he replied.
“I can’t do that Ma’am.”
“Then there is no law.” Doctor Boatman responded with a clearly calm voice.
This is it, thought Murphy.
Incredibly Grant raised his voice further and shouted.
“That’s right you whore of Satan, there’s only the law of God!”
At this point and without emotion Alice Boatman drew the gauss pistol from her holster, aimed it with both hands, and shot William Grant in the head. There was no report of a gunpowder weapon, only the supersonic crack of the round and the sound of impact.
It was like shooting a shriek back home on Eden.