Colin Gallagher, middle child, son of parents whose upper middle class status afforded him enough luxury that he had little in the way of wants, and his needs were, usually filled, lived what, by many would be accounted as a charmed life. Caught between the constant bickering of his siblings, and their overly competitive natures, the quieter, gentler middle child found himself often left to his own devices. As he grew, he found that he too had his own competitive spirit. But in Colin’s case, his greatest competition was himself. He lettered in track and football, always pushing himself to the edge of his abilities. He made and stayed on the honour roll for the entire four years of his high school career. But perhaps his greatest achievement was in winning the heart of Ainsley Quinn. They met during their sophomore year of high school, when Ainsley transferred into the district. And from that day the cheerleader and the wide receiver were inseparable. When they graduated, she going to one school and he the other, they made plans to meet on every weekend, often taking the greatest pleasure in simple things. They’d share a pizza at a local eatery, or lay their blanket out on a grassy hill to watch the distant twinkle of stars. They continued that way for the entirety of the first years of their ‘adult’ courtship, until Ainsley finally convinced her parents to allow her to transfer to the same school as her sweetheart. Both majored in molecular biology, though Colin picked up a minor in history. Graduation was bittersweet. For Ainsley, it meant graduate school. For Colin, it was medical school. Both came to the same decision without even bothering to communicate with one another. They were married in a courthouse a week later, inviting only the closest of their family to witness what they described as ‘our event’. The next several years were tough. Many nights were spent apart, but when they could meet, Colin and Ainsley gloried in one another’s presence. She came out with a PhD and he with an MD, specializing in ‘Trauma and Emergency Surgery’. His residency was at the same hospital she was hired on as a researcher, Queenstown Memorial. Though they never thought about children, work consumed their lives. Colin rose into top slots as a ‘go to’ surgeon while Ainsley achieved a few moderate breakthroughs in her cancer research.
And then...the world as they knew it ended. And it ended, not with a flash of fire, though there would be many of those, but with a single phone call. Something had attacked Picon and the wounded were being shuttled to every major trauma center in the area. Colin had been paged as part of a ‘manpower recall’. That... had never happened before. His car barely got him to the hospital on the rain slicked night. And the scale of what he saw. The sheer, unrelenting scale of the tragedy. The injuries, the panic, the sheer terror, as Queensland's cylon contingent rose up, joining with the those of the invading machine army and decimating the human population...even now, there are some things Colin Gallagher will never speak about. The living nightmare that he found himself in. So many, so many so fast, and all needing his aid. So many that he simply had to turn away, knowing there was only a finite number that he could save. So many faces, until he could not even tell one from the other. Until what Colin, even now, considered the final wave. A glimpse of her, as the next wave of patients came on. An MVC, one driver fleeing and the other on its way through the city. The single glimpse of Ainsley, as she was being wheeled in, being pulled away from her, raging at the chief of surgery who refused to allow him to go to her, to attend to her. That moment, the one that would, for Colin Gallagher, mark the true end of his life, as he looked up from the patient he was just stepping away from, to find the Chief looking his way. A shake of the head. A small thing, the thinnest of gestures. The end of Colin’s world.
How the man made it out of those days, Colin will never say. In truth, there are whole days, in the time he would only ever think of as ‘after Ainsley’, where he remembered and still remembers nothing at all. He slept, he woke, he lived, in body, if not in spirit. He survived, and he cursed the gods for it. In the wake of the tragedy, the surgeon found himself in a new, if temporary, duty. Emergency Physician. The Chief of Medicine allowed Colin to continue light surgical rotations, but whether by design or decision, in the aftermath of the attacks, he had lost his place as a rising star in the operating theater. And perhaps that was for the best, he would think, in his deepest thoughts. The theater had taken too much from him. Medicine had failed him. And in the particularly cruel glare of hindsight, he could not still that single, fatal question. ‘If it had been me, could I have saved her?’ Eighteen months. Eighteen months without his wife, without a home, without a hearth, without hope. And then, a glimmer. A hope, not for peace, but, perhaps, for an end to pain. It was the hope, certainly, of the hospital staff that when the stress passed, Doctor Gallagher would return to his scalpel and table, that he would once again make himself available to the hospital in his truest form. The military, finding itself losing the nascent war began the search for qualified medical personnel. A promise of purpose, of a chance to take back what had been stolen, to restore peace and win the war. All of the lies they tell in war. But for Colin, who wanted none of those things, it, instead, presented him the only chance he might have to see his wife again. And so, he took a commission to the Navy, accepting a billet to surgery, knowing, with his skill they would not turn him away.
And he did serve, long and well, nearly a full year of service, before he would receive what he had truly been seeking. A chance to serve on the front lines of the war. He would not be on the ground, no, he would not be in the air with the combat wings. And so his end might come more slowly than he might like. But still, a hope, even one so dark, is still hope. And so Colin has found himself newly assigned to the Timber Wolves, serving as one of their cadre of surgeons.
Weathered. If a single word could be used to describe this man, it would be that word. Standing at an even 6’0”, with a slim, athletic build, he carries himself with the ease of a natural athlete. Short, brown hair lightly dusted through with grey and a neatly trimmed mustache and beard offset a patrician nose, dark, thick brows, and eyes the blue of a robin’s egg. There’s something about the man, some...intangible thing. Kind, careworn, grave. It was a look made to inspire two things: trust and sorrow.
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2237-11-25 - Different Priorities
Stirling and Colin chat about career priorities and catch up on the news from Stirling's family.
2237-11-25 - House Call
Colin makes a 'house call' to check up on Stirling after her crash landing.
2237-09-17 - Battle Of The Staircase
Stirling rushes to the infirmary for word on her family.
2237-09-15 - Just Old Cake
Fun times in the infirmary. The cake is not up to the usual standards.
Gage, Sarita, Tove, Colin, Aidan