Alistair listened to Sarah's answer attentively, reading her expression as she spoke, and he smiled with melancholy at her last. "I envy your certainty," he said quietly, speaking more somberly than he had so far. "For what it's worth, your instincts are dead on. The Theurgy is on the right side of this. I've met the Infested, two of them. I barely survived both times." He lifted his right forearm pointedly, the scar still visible; the wound was less than two days old. "They exist, they're every bit as dangerous and evil as you've heard, and they have to be defeated. Everything depends on it. I've seen what happens when they win."
Alistair sighed, rubbing between his eyes wearily. "Thank you for indulging me. I'm just trying to figure people out, why they...uh, why we choose to fight, and why we choose to keep fighting." He glanced at Sarah with a trace of embarrassment. "I...uh, I signed on to Starfleet for selfish reasons. I wanted to indulge my curiosity about the universe, nothing more. I never wanted to do any of this hero stuff. I'm terrible at hero stuff. I keep looking round, expecting to see someone properly qualified standing next to me who'll take over and send me back to my normal boring job while they save the galaxy. It's not happening, though."
After a moment, Alistair shook his head before looking at Sarah again. "I didn't have much of a choice with this; I was...uh, volunteered, rather than given the chance to volunteer. I keep asking myself, if I had the opportunity to choose this fight, would I have said yes, or would I have turned away?" He paused, frowning. "I think I would have said yes. I hope that I would've said yes, like you did, like so many others have. It's irrelevant anyway, since I'm making that decision every day that I stay here. I do wonder, though."
Alistair winced then in realisation. "Oh crap. Sorry Sarah, I'm rambling. I do that too sometimes, I'm prone to that." Thinking back, he added with an awkward smile, "Uh, you can call me Alistair, by the way. If you like, that is, if you...erm, prefer. It's the same number of syllables as 'lieutenant'. I never like being called by my rank, even when working."