Medicine is important.
As it turns out being able to prevent or slow down death using science is quite the achievement and one of the biggest advantages intelligent species have when compared to common animals.
Medicine is a great tool for good and peace.
So, naturally, everyone adapted it for war.
The equation is simple: fewer soldiers dying means more soldiers on your side and therefore higher chance of victory.
That is how battle medics, or combat healers, or whatever name your species gives them, were born. Men and women whose job is to minimize losses on their side so the other soldiers can maximize losses for the enemy.
Now, while the core of their profession is still the same most empires like to add their own flavour that matches their military doctrine.
The zelotis for one aren’t fond of the idea of dying without the right rituals so their military clerics both heal the wounded and pray for the dead.
Some, like the glomili, are obsessed with the idea of a “worthy death” and their medics are there mostly to give the ones deemed worthy but beyond healing a quick and painless death and to reassure the others that their comrade died like a hero.
There are also some that… blur the meaning of “medic”. The capulans are so utterly stuffed with mechanical modifications that their training consists of more engineering than actual medicine and since they are so tough to kill most of their job is just dragging broken soldiers out of the frontlines and scavenging for pieces from the dead ones.
But there is a very nice constant among all medics: compassion.
The zeloti clerics treat the dead with respect and care for the wounded like they are their children. The glomili medics tell tales of the great deeds that the fallen soldiers have done while fighting for the empire. Even the “medics” of the capulans show compassion to the fallen for allowing their reused modifications to bring forth a new generation of soldiers.
What would a medic be without compassion and kindness?
Well, that would be a human medic.
Humans are not, as some less informed may claim, psychopathic maniacs incapable of feelings, though they certainly may seem that way for anyone that only watches their wars. No, humans are quite the average species in most regards with their main quirk being their seemingly otherworldly railguns.
When we found the humans they were steadily expanding their borders and generally going with a “don’t bother us and we won’t bother you” mentality which most nations could get along with.
Nothing good lasts forever of course, humanity eventually started to run out of empty space to colonize and so they made a couple of alliances with their neighbours to make sure no one would try to mess with their borders. The most significant of these alliances being the one with the glomili.
And then, as it was bound to happen someday, a minor border dispute between humanity and the zelotis grew into a small war which then evolved into full military action.
The glomili were called to honour their alliance and they did so by sending a force of volunteers, most were young men trying to earn honour and old veterans wishing for a glorious end against the enemy.
No one expected the humans to win, they were much younger than the zelotis and had only half the territory, but a promise is a promise.
After five years of conflict a treaty was signed which, surprisingly, ended with a costly human victory.
After the glomili veterans came back they told the others about the war, about the great machines of carnage and fire that killed and destroyed everything in sight.
But the machines and death weren’t the worst part, not by a long shot.
The worst part were the human medics.
The human medics did not let the warriors die in glory, they did not show compassion or pity, only rage.
Any medic should know that trying to save a man that has been torn in half is a waste of time and they should instead focus on giving them a quick end.
Not the humans.
They told tales of medics sewing wounds of dying men all while screaming at the top of their lungs that the soldiers “didn’t have permission to die”.
Men whose legs had been literally torn to shreds would inject themselves with a concoction of drugs so they could keep on treating the wounded until the bitter end.
Veterans came back to their families after some stupid healer decided to carry them to safety across the entire battlefield all while being shot at instead of letting them die.
People across the galaxy had mixed reactions to this doctrine. The capulans thought it was efficient and started placing implants on their medics that made them more aligned to humans, the zelotis were utterly disgusted with the idea of forcing a soldier to keep on living after being brutally mangled and many others had different opinions on the matter.
But no matter the species, nation, or culture, there is always one thing that all soldiers who have seen human medics in action can agree on.
They are goddamn scary.
Republished with permission from the author, Reddit user u/Mercury_the_dealer. Image created using Stable Diffusion 2.1.