Short Story: A Debt Unpaid lll

Author’s Note: Since it has been a while, I’ll just recap what had happened so far. At this point, Humanity has been helped by a galaxical organization following the eruption of the Yosemite caldera, which is an actual volcano that is active in real life. Humanity then recovered from what was one of the most catastrophic events in human history.  Humanity, which is left wondering how it can ever repay the galaxial organization for the help it provided, then find itself caught in the middle of a war.

Two members of the Hegemony- the coalition of nearly forty-five percent of the many species of the Milky Way- began a territorial dispute that quickly turned violent. Cities were destroyed, continents burned, and worlds attacked. As soon as the military that conducted the atrocities left, a human fleet dropped out of FTL.

At first the residents of Sarracota thought the military fleet had returned to finish the devastation. Then, they saw the markings. The first ship, Charaka, landed near the rubble that had once been one of the largest cities on the planet’s eastern hemisphere. It was colossal, fully five miles long, larger than most species’ capital ships and carriers. On her hull, a massive white field, with a red crescent moon. From within came hundreds of vessels of various types: half a dozen hospital-sized recovery wards with their own flight capabilities, dozens of air ambulances, a plethora of emergency medical landing teams. The sheer scope of the craft put most militaries to shame, and the humans landed nearly forty in a single day.  Qualified medical staff spent days upon end reattaching lost limbs, sewing wounds shut with plasma, reconnecting torn ligaments, performing more medical treatments than can be counted. Their doctors were more skilled in xenobiology than most other species were with their own native anatomy. When all was complete two weeks later, the casualties were three times smaller than expected thanks to the Interstellar Red Cross Society.

The most revealing thing about humanity happened when the UHS Cenotaph landed, carrying digging teams, priests of every human religion, and coffins. Copious amounts of coffins. They immediately found religious representatives from the planet and arranged funerary rites for every lost soul. The humans moved mountains upon mountains of rubble, finding everybody, limb, hair, every bit of the people who had died during the attack. They had to dig mass graves the size of canyons just to bury the dead, they numbered so many. And they watched. They watched as High Priest Musa sang the Song of Mourning in front of the memorial grave marker, and they wept. They wept in a way that no other could. They wept not from empathy nor sympathy. They wept from memory. They had felt the loss that the Sarracotas were feeling now, of the knowledge that loved ones were gone forever, of the lonely beds and the empty cradles. Of schools abandoned because there were no teachers to teach and no students to learn. Of the deserted cities because there were no residents to live in them.

By the time Hands for Hearts had dropped in, all that was left was the economic rebuilding. The bodies were healed, but more importantly, the souls were healed. Humanity left the Sarracotas to let Hands for Hearts do their work. Humanity had more work to do.

The war continued for months. The humans pushed ever closer to the front lines, evacuating civilians, treating wounds, anything they could do to soothe the pains. Eventually they began receiving the wounded soldiers from the armies, and humanity did what they do best: They healed them. They sent teams directly to the combat units, medics and priests with little more than band-aids and bibles to face the war’s atrocities. They healed, and rarely, they died, caught in the army’s crossfire. Humans appeared on every front line, healing both armies’ soldiers without question, without complaint. They were living beings, and all living beings had a right to live. They restored those they could, evacuated the rest. They became a standard of every army. To have a human medic near you was to know in your heart that you would see your family again.

That is how humanity repaid the debt no one asked them to. That is how the humans stopped needing any military force  to police their own people and stop piracy. The humans never needed any military, because they had everyone else’s. The sole time humanity was attacked, millions ships from nearly a hundred-species appeared and obliterated the attackers. It was not out of any need to remain in humanity’s favor, nor fear that the humans may recall their medical support. It was because the humans had earned their place among the stars.

Now, there in one title that is held above all others in the UHS. When a human walks in bearing a “Bahan” tab on their sleeves, generals stand and salute. They are welcome in any space, given authorization to land on any planet. They are our healers, our nurses and doctors and combat medics and hospice caretakers. They devote their lives to serving others.

They bleed so others don’t have to.

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