From the private journal of Oksana Arkadyevna Vernadskaya, M.D.
Translated from Russian
Friday, 29 Sep 2519
Mid Bulk Freighter Space Otter
En route to New Melbourne
Red Sun (Que Zhe) system
12:01 hrs, ship’s time
I resolutely injected the killing dose into the IV port and held his hand until he died. I felt his life leave him but he remained unaware of the event. His brainwaves remained flat throughout.
Death was a familiar adversary. I fought her for my patients. Most days I won. Today I lost. As hard as it was to administer that final dose, I’d acknowledged the line into futility had irrevocably been crossed. My patient would never recover from his vegetative state. Too much of his brain was already dead. If kept alive on the machines, his muscles would atrophy. His organs would fail. It would not be painless. It would be slow torture and it went against everything my Oath stood for. So I gave Death her due and called it. I did the right thing, yet knowing it was right did nothing to lessen the pain of having done it.
Time of death: 12:01, 29 Sep 2519
An autopsy was unavoidable. The Merchant’s Guild expected a live prisoner and would need a thorough explanation to accompany the body we would deliver. Feeling sick inside, I swallowed the self-recrimination that rose bitter and stinging at the back of my throat. I turned off the machines, covered my patient with his sheet, and went to find the Captain.