“The bad news, captain, is that he’s dead. The good news is that we can fetch a hefty price for his organs on the black market. What? Why is everyone looking at me like that?”
-Sebastian Keller, street doctor
In the Serenity ‘verse, there remains but one constant: you’re gonna get shot. Joss Whedon never pulled a punch, and neither should the game master. Eventually, your crew is going to be shot, maimed, impaled, or have the great fun of contracting a disease. Every good captain knows that you’re gonna need a medic.
The medic serves that all-too-important function of putting the crew back together after they fall apart. Their job is to keep everyone alive, from patching bullet holes to inoculating them from the local crud. Without a medic, people could very well die.
Not every medic is the same, though. Your gentleman doctor is high society, a man all educated and fancified. He dresses sharply and speaks with a fine tongue, traits hard to hide out in the black. His education cost him a fortune, and it shows. He had the choice of any medical position in the core worlds – until something terrible happened to change all that. Skills relating to education and medicine are important here.
SIMON QUOTE: Insert quote here of Simon talking about his education and how smart he is.
For a little old-school fun, try out the “old country doctor.” He went to medical school, but it’s been some time ago. He believes in tried and true cures, not any of this new-fangled non-sense. Technology seems to baffle him as well. Bones from Star Trek is the perfect example of this character.
The combat medic isn’t a full doctor, but he knows enough about medicine to keep your crew flying. Combat medics can be former Browncoats or ex-Alliance. Whatever the origin, combat medics will have military training. They tend to work well in a structured environment with a clear chain of command. Though capable, they are not medical experts. They practice what MASH refers to as “meatball surgery.” They don’t fix y ou up proper, but they get you through. Of course, what happens to the combat medic when he doesn’t have the training to save a life? How does he handle that? Also remember that bedside manner is purely optional. Just because he’s a doctor, that don’t mean he’s likeable.
Not every doctor is so pleasant. In the darker corners of the black lies the street doc, an unscrupulous immoral soul who has a blatant disregard for the Hippocratic Oath. They get a perverted sense of pleasure from working on the human body. They might patch you up, though their techniques are not always sanitary. Never cross a street doc. Doing so may mean that you live after your next job, though you will wish you died. Street docs work in the black market, harvesting body parts for sale and dealing with the illegal selling of prescription medicine.
SIMON QUOTE: From Arial, something about Simon going into the drugs that can be sold on the black market.
Game masters should feel free to make medics into foes for the players. See whether the players will trust a street doc to cure them of a rare disease. Strand an injured player character with an Alliance medic and see if the Hippocratic Oath still holds. Or use a manipulative gentleman doctor to hire the players to do some not-so-nice jobs.
Getting the medic into the heart of the action can be a lot of fun too. How will a medic react when he is given a gun during a firefight? Will he refuse to take another human life, or break his oath to do no harm? How will the medic react when he sees the horrors left behind by the Reavers?
Playing a medic can present a real challenge to players who wish to explore non-violent characters in a violent ‘verse. How your medic deals with this challenge will be the catalyst to your character’s growth. Take two of these, call me in the morning, and sleep with one eye open!