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Posted on Wed Apr 9th, 2014 @ 4:37am by Commander Mercia Kavi & David Hawkins

Mission: Photons Everywhere Part 2

Mercia sat back in her chair on the bridge, her shift was nearly over, as was her turn for bridge watch. Despite Hawkins comments about her changing the ETCH's appearance and giving him a name, he had made several comments that there still personality adjustments he would like to see. They had discovered that when not being interacted with it stood as still as a statue, and some of the bridge staff complained about how creepy it was. Hawkins hadn't assigned the task to Mercia, but she had enjoyed the last card game, and she wanted to help with the project.

She should likely try to sleep, but the idea made her stomach turn with dread. She hated to go to sleep now.

She looked up at Elian who was standing stock still near the view port, watching a list of reports and status updates. When the bridge doors open and the next shift staff arrived she signed off and stood up. After a brief talk with the next person to take over she approached the hologram. "Elian, you don't have to stay on the bridge tonight... you know you don't have to be here 24 hours a day. Unless you are scheduled, which right now you're not" she commented. She smiled at the man, though his face was rather stoic.

The hologram turned and looked at Mercia for a moment and thought to himself... or at least it looked like it. He then came back with his own persona voice he had finally agreed with like his new view and nodded. "My assignment is Command, and the Command Center of the ship is the bridge. Where else should I go? I have no quarters and no reason outside the bridge."

"Interacting with people, developing a better personali... wait did you change your voice?" she asked. She smirked, "Well I guess I did some good opening up the ability for you to change things." Mercia folded her arms, "You should take some tips from Hawkins. He doesn't just sit up here all the time. Hes all over the ship and the crew responds well to it, knowing they can greet him and talk to him in the hall ways. It makes a big difference. Isolating yourself here wont help your personality development." she said. "That being said, why do you come with me and we'll find something to do?" she suggested.

He looked at her again with that puzzled look as usual and then nodded as he looked at the Lieutenant taking the bridge watch. "You have the bridge," he stated as he followed Mercia off the bridge. "I am still unsure as to why it matters. I am a emergency program."

Mercia turned around in the lift and eyed the hologram, "Yes, but say there is an emergency situation, and you need to interact with the crew for several weeks, or an ally or enemy. Developing personable skills can be important, and part of the project is to see how far we can advance your programming, how well it can learn personable behaviors." she said. "You're helping to command this ship, and I find it a problem when I'm pulled aside and the staff complains that you're standing there like a statue. Its unnerving to some people, and I agree... aside from that, did you have fun when we played cards?" she asked with a grin. She called out her deck and then looked at the hologram.

"Since I haven't had 'fun', I can not say it was or wasn't. I felt challenged, but not by much. I wasn't programmed to have fun, but to command and strategize and win or to achieve safety for the crew and ship," Elian replied as he looked at her. "And I can not be held responsible for their emotions against me."

Mercia rolled her eyes, "No, but something I keep hearing is that you need more personality, your program has the ability to learn that, so I figured I'd help you with it." she said. It certainly gave her a good excuse to avoid sleeping, not that she would say that to any one. "Did you enjoy the challenge? Did it produce a positive experience for you?" she asked him, hoping to define what fun was.

"I was programmed to be able to do that to find ways to win," He responded still not completely understanding the questions. "So if a positive experience is being good at it, then yes, it was 'fun."

Mercia laughed a little, she didn't know why this programs lack of understanding tickled her so, but it did. She strolled off the lift slowly after the doors opened up. "Close enough, I'll take it. You had fun." she said with a nod. "So tell me Elian, since you've been activated are there any things that have interested you? things you would like to investigate, explore, try?" she asked. "Thinks you have heard others talking about or seen them do?" she asked.

"The investigation of the SS Wasp," he simply responded. He really didn't listen to others except if it had to do with the operations of the starship.

"Thats it? Really?" she asked making a face. She reached her room and opened the door, not know where else to go for the moment. She pulled off her uniform jacket and tossed it over a chair before she pulled out an alcoholic mixed drink in a bottle. Real stuff. "Id off you one, but I dont think You can actually drink it..." she said. "Well You can't leave the ship, and I am no willing to transfer the recordings in to a holographic representation for you to explore. I already have enough nightmares." she grunted before she dropped on her couch, her mind soured a little with the thoughts of the Wasp in her mind. Ugh she didn't want to think about that. Maybe she should ditch Elian and find some thing more entertaining... she wondered what David was up to.

"I should be part of the investigations in a command roll," he responded. "I am just that. All information I have received have been thru reports recorded their the departments at the time being. But if I want to find out their thoughts and discussions, I would have to access the computer and break regulations in that aspect."

"To view our logs?" she said opening her eyes. "You can always request a meeting with the people who went and interview them." she asked. "But I'll tell you right now, no one is going to give you that, and not because of you but because what we saw over there." She gripped the bottle and shook her head, her eyes darkening, a storm building inside. "I can handle death, I've killed before, but those kids, the sadistic nature of what happened." She quickly took a long drink of her bottle as tears built in her eyes, and she quickly struggled to clamp them down.

Elian looked at her for a moment, and he started to dive into medical files to understand the right way to handle this situation. Once his program had added simple humanoid reactions and understandings, he simulated compaction. "Is there anything I can do for you to help you thru this."

"Yeah shut the hell up about it." she growled before she scowled and looked away from him. He was a program, and didn't know any better. She took another drink, "Sorry." she said with a heavy sigh. Just a program, and she was trying to help it grow. She should explain a little better. She closed her eyes for a moment before she spoke again. "I don't think it would eat at me so bad If it had been an accident or malfunction... but to know people purposely did this to them, for heaven knows what reason..." she said. She licked her lips, although her mouth felt dry and her eyes too wet.

"I don't get along well with kids, but I was one once, and I saw my mother and the nearest thing I had to a father get beaten to death over some bad business deal. When it was just the adults I was ok, but I keep seeing the kids, the terror frozen on their faces, the idea of what they witnessed... it makes me remember." she said tightly. She looked up at him, his face was softer, less ridged than it normally was. She took a deep breath, "That's why I react so poorly, and talking about it really hadn't been at the top of my to do list. Forgetting would be better." she said. "But we're not programs, we can't just delete memory files."

"Then I guess you should talk about it," he suggested it as he search counselor documents and quickly became aware of the different ways to handle it in a professional way.

Mercia narrowed her eyes at him before finishing off the bottle and getting to fetch another. "Why do you think that?" she asked, "Is tormenting my emotions fun for you?" she growled irritably as she opened a second bottle with a flourish.

"Not at all, I am to understand that most people feel that it helps to talk it out," He explained as he took a seat and crossed his legs as he rested his clutched hands on his lap.

Mercia shook her head, "I'm not most people." she snipped. "And I do talk a lot of it out, but with very particular people." she said dropping herself back on the couch. She took her boots off and set them aside before she tucked her feet under her looked over at him, "and even then I don't like it. It makes me uncomfortable, I feel vulnerable and that's not how I survive. Growing up it was kill or be killed a lot of times, showing weakness, crying, being effected by disturbing things... well.. I'd have ended up dead too." She took a drink, "Some days I wondered if it would have been better." she muttered. "Not having to see crap like this, having to change.. dealing with the nightmares again..." she closed her eyes, weariness washing over her. She was sick and tired of it, why couldn't she just be normal, and happy?

"What nightmares are you referring to?" Elian asked as he digitally made a note in his programming just for Mercia Kari, Lieutenant.

Mercia sighed, her eyes still closed, "I've had night terrors most of my life, reliving my mothers murder." she explained glumly. "I seemed to be doing well with them for a long time, and now they are back, I don't know why, but I really hate to sleep now." she said. Mercia opened her eyes and looked at him, "Just things us flesh people have to deal with." she said. "It must be nice to be able to witness things and be able to shut off the emotions to it." she said. "I have files with pictures and some videos of my mother, glad I was smart enough to keep the data chips when I finally ran out of our apartment... but I can't bring myself to set out the frames I have with her picture. I keep files to ensure I don't lose them, but I just can't seem to see her face right now, I think it will hurt too much. Not until I get the nightmares under control." she said with a sigh. She watched the program then looked down at her bottle, wondering how she seemed to be able to talk so easily. Maybe its because she knew he was just a program, or maybe because between Lyla and David she'd begun to open up. She didn't know what to think about it.

"I am unsure how to take this. It is a life to which not many can say they have lived. Your bio is locked in some sections to which my program doesn't have access to as of yet," Elian explained as he looked concerned but wasn't sure what to do at this point. "But all of this explains how you have become such a distant member. You have been keeping yourself away from people because you do not trust people. Maybe you never will. But there is a bright side to that."

Mercia arched her brows and looked up at Elian, "A bright side?" she asked. "I hate being alone Elian, I don't trust easily, but there is reasons for that, but I want to. This past year or so... I've been desperately wanting to find people I can trust... help, hell maybe even care for. I've gone a long way... and I still have so far to go. I've struggled against my trained nature and who I wish I was, and could be... I don't know what bright side of this could possibly be."

"I am not a person and there for, you can trust me. I can not lie, I can not fail where humanoids fail, and I can not tire," Elian smiled for the first time.

Mercia chuckled, "Well considering I've told you more already than I tell most people I suppose you're right." she said. "I suppose I should be glad I have a hologram for a friend." she grinned and took another drink from her bottle. "But you do realize that I asked you to hang out with me to help you be more personable, not to help me figure out my crazy life?" she grinned. She was more relaxed than she intended to be. A little tired too, that was a good thing. Being tired was needed, maybe she would sleep tonight.

"Is it not how humans interact and assist each other? By taking time to listen to upset co-workers and give advise? From what I can gather, I have been able to understand the process of assisting people in more than a work related moment, but also in a personal life. I have also downloaded several subjects alone just to give you proper responses. In normal holograms, their matrix's would break down but my matrix has been designed to handle more than the average programming," The ETCH responded with a slight positive remark.

She laughed, "Very true Elian. I suppose this was better for you than I thought it was." she said. A yawn caught her away a moment, "I guess you'll be less of a stoic butt head than most holograms when you encounter a crew member having a difficult time emotionally." she chuckled.

"I guess in my off time I can be the ECH after all... Emergency Counseling Hologram..." he slightly grinned as he leaned back.

Mercia grinned as she laid her head back on the back of her couch. She was relaxed and comfortable, and she was enjoying it. "Was that a joke?" she laughed, "That was a decent one, I needed a good laugh." she said through her giggles. She let out a long breath before another yawn grabbed her. She rolled her eyes annoyed at herself, she didn't want to sleep, if she could never sleep again that would be alright to her, because then she'd never have the night terrors.

"That is what you wanted to do correct? Humanize me?" Elian replied as he watched her actions. Clearly she was fighting sleep and he knew why. Although he never had actual dreams, records showed how dreams were a part of the humanoids and some believed that spirits came and communicated with member while asleep. But scientifically, it was just the brain keeping itself active and randomized electrical signals thru the body.

Mercia sighed as she closed her eyes, "uh huh" she said. "Make you more approachable, I think its working" she said slowly. She was starting to lose the battle of staying awake, but she didnt even notice.

"Well I guess if that is what I am to become, then its only a matter of time before you are able to 'perfect' my programming," He replied as he slowly got up and walked into the sleeping quarters. He returned with a blanket. "Not to mention, people will see me as more than a programming in some ways," He continued as he unfolded the blanket and slowly covered her with it before returning to the seat he had been in.

Mercia pulled the blanket closer, "that was nice... thanks" she said her voice getting more hollow. "I don't know about perfect." She said her voice fading, "but so far so good." She muttered before sleep over whelmed her.

The hologram looked at her for a moment and thought of what else he as a hologram could do. Was he supposed to leave in this case, or stay there just in case something happened? Was he her 'friend' or just another tool to be used. He was not completely sure. His programming started to work on unlocking her profile. Maybe there would be something that was locked up in the profile that would be more of an eye opener for him to use to understand her more. But it was going to take time to crack it, even for his programming and access to the Gladiator processors. This was another scenario that would be won and he would be the victor.


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