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Real or not real

Posted on Wed Mar 15th, 2017 @ 12:31pm by Emmah [Kavi] & David Hawkins

Mission: Blackout
Timeline: Backpost

Emmah strolled down the hall way and paused in front of a door. David Hawkins quarters, it wasn't terribly late, but he was off duty, however, she was uncertain she would get a chance to speak to him before the ship arrived in a couple of hours. She was hoping for some insight after her talk with Counselor Caldera.

She touched the chime and took a deep breath, hoping she was not intruding.

"Come in," David called out as he laid back in his recliner as he faded in and out of sleep. He was worn out and quite honestly, hadn't slept well in a while. It wasn't a surprise with how much that had been going on and now it was starting t catch up with him.

"Better have a good reason to waking me from my slumber," he muttered as he turned his head to the door to see Emmah. He smirked and waved her in. "Didn't expect anyone, let alone you. What's troubling ya?"

Emmah frowned, "I am sorry if I woke you Sir, I had hoped to not interrupt." she said.

"I'm just kidding, I always have time for ya. What's going on?"

She moved closer and sat down on the couch, near him, "I have concerns, regarding the Federations intentions with this AI trade, and what it means regarding those such as myself." she said.

"As far as?" David asked as he sat up in the chair and looked her way

"The Hadeen have several levels of AI. Some seem even as advanced as myself, and yet the technology is a tradable commodity. What does the Federation intend to do with it? To better and prove personhood? Or solidity the idea that I am merely a tool, to be owned?"

"To be honest, I am unsure. It could be either case really," he countered as he pondered the thought for a moment before he continued. "Let's say it was a medical advancement, as Star Fleet has done before as well with the Son'a having the technology Federation cannot duplicate. So an alliance was made with petty thugs in order to share the medical science that would have come from it. Obviously, we know what came of that, but the ideal behind it was that they were willing to bend the Prime Directive in a way that allowed for them to try and advance the lives of billions across the Federation."

"But there has been no confirmation of my life, nor that of the Doctors." she said. "The personhood case is still being debated in the courts." she said. "I understand the difficulty, at what point does a program become life? At what point did I become more than an emergency medical hologram, and choose my own new path? Do the Hadeen consider those AI's which are indistinguishable from themselves to be real life?" she wondered. "Spouses, and children, it said in the briefing... but are they real to them or just a tool to satisfy their needs?"

"Obviously, this is a massive bother for you," David noted as he looked her over. It was hard, at times, to remember that she was just a hologram. But she had been with them for years. It was hard to even try and remember a time without her around anymore.

"Obviously, this is a massive bother for you," David noted as he looked her over. It was hard, at times, to remember that she was just a holographic program. But he and the rest of the crew couldn't even imagine their lives without her in their day to day activities, let alone remember a day that they she wasn't around.

"Of course it is. With out personhood I could be ordered to be put off line, or destroyed for any reason with no security. At least with personhood I could fight for my own life, I could have the backing of the law at least!" she said. "I could choose a different life if I wanted. Sure I have freedom under your protection, but what happens when that protection is gone?" she sighed, "When you retired I had to fight for any job I could get. I was threatened to be deactivated many times. I was used as a janitor program more than any thing. There was a reason I begged to go with you. Being owned... is frightening."

This was an unsettling thought in his mind. David hadn't figured that this would come down to such a thing with her. Her actions spoke louder and more focused than some of the great people. Almost at the same line as the Doctorfrom Voyager. But to think of her as a janitor or tool...

"Fair enough, and I am sorry. But I still hold onto the hopes of you being able to have those very same freedoms and rights as that of the late Commander Data and B4. They had their own struggles, but had legal rights as well," he reminded her as he looked at her. "And then you have the Doctor as well."

"Even he does not have the full rights as you do," she reminded him. "He acts free because no one really has the heart to stop him to this point, but he has not been declared alive yet. The case is still in court, along with mine." she sighed. "My emitter is owned by starfleet R and D. Someone above your head could demand it sent in at any point. I do not own it, and then I would be stuck to a computer systems all the time, unable to move about freely, until someone decides to remove me from the computer. If someone was to give me a computer of my own, I have no legal backing to claim ownership as I am not considered alive." Emmah said feeling frustrated. "I find it alarming we are going to a planet with heavy AI use, with out knowing what the trade is intended for... to increase the validity of my freedom, or dismiss it, and set me back to my original place, a tool."

"We are all a tool in Star Fleet. When we get to a point of doing something for another, we can all be seen as a tool. So as long as we are in Star Fleet, we can all be considered tools to achieve an outcome for all," David stated as he thought out loud as he tried to understand her place. "But you are right, we don't know how you feel as we are not you."

Emmah took a deep breath, "You can retire, and choose your own way. That is never an option for me, at this point in time. I am eternally a program owned by an entity with changing thoughts on my existence. It is different. Being a tool doesn't bother me as much as knowledge that I am owned, and never have the same freedoms. I could never marry, I could never raise a family, I could never own a home, or even something as simple as dish, because I have no right to ownership." She motioned to her chest, "let alone, the source of my freedom." she said. Her emitter rested on her chest, it was larger than the doctors, but Khelev had added a small portion of the visual emitter to cover the top of it, so that it was hidden with in her skin or 'clothes'. He couldn't make it nearly as small as the Doctors, however he did do his best to hide it a little better, which pleased Emmah. It wasn't exactly central in her body, however she could choose where she 'wore' it, and it would blend in with its surroundings. She removed the layer, showing the device, as if it was sticking out of her shirt. "This isn't mine either, and yet it is the reason I can move relatively freely."

She covered it again and then ran her hands over it, looking a bit restless, "Does that make sense?" she asked him. "I am... for no better term... a slave.. I'm not considered real, I can hold no degrees, I can hold no rank, nor progress in rank, I can not apply for a job I wish to have. My work is because of your doing, and the fact you see me as a real person, but that opinion is not common David. I'm not... really IN Starfleet, such as you are."

"The doctor was given a position, and even command have hinted at offering him a full on commission in Star Fleet. How is that not possible for you?" David countered as he looked at her. "You don't think its possible but in the end, you are the only one that is holding yourself back. ch'Koro is the one that designed that technology. So why wouldn't he be able to make another that isn't stamped with a Star Fleet insignia on it?"

Emmah considered his words for a moment, "That is true, however, with personhood still up for legal debate, does it mean enough?" she asked him. "The doctor is far older than I, and has many accolades and experiences in his life that I do not have. I consider myself the same as himself, and he is currently in a fight to obtain personhood. Position means nothing if you are owned. If ch'Koro was to make me a privately created device for my freedom, it would provide me some comforts, absolutely. However I must question... If I am property than any thing I own is then property of whoever owns me is it not?" she asked him.

"Well," David pondered for a moment before he continued. "By that logic, your personal experiences are owned by starfleet, the space you take up is owned, and even the time you use up with me or anyone else is owned, by your own logic. Yet, this is off duty, which means, by even talking to you, is on duty. Any conversations you have with outside Star fleet personal, could be subjected to official business and obtained by that logic."

"Exactly." Emmah said. "With out legal protection, nothing I do, nothing I am, nothing I say is my own. All of it, inducing my memory files, and experience programming is property of an entity, which has conflicting perspective on my existence. Real... or program... Free... or property." she said.

"So run away," He shrugged as he looked at her with a serious face. "Its not like you are going to be hunted down if you do such a thing. Hell, they are more busy with other things for crying out loud. And they sure as heck know it."

Emmah blinked, "You would rather me run and hide, rather than stand up for justice?" she asked him in shock.

"Justice will prevail, but it may take a while," he shrugged as he looked at his hands slightly before he continued again. "But its obviously effecting you in a deep way. I'm concerned about you and your well being. Light and force fields or flesh and blood. You are family to us, and that is all that matters. Legal or not, real or not, you are very well capable of overcoming this. We truly believe that we can endure anything before us. So... You are not alone."

A smile tugged at her lips, "It amazes me how much more things like this are important to me, more so than two years ago." she commented. "Just do me a favor. Don't retire until justice prevails." she said. "Your protection is rather important to me, as is your guidance and perspective." she said. "I still am very concerned about the federations intentions with this trade with the Hadeen."

"You can't blame them for wanting to advance the technology. Like I said, Federation always tries to advance the medical and technological fields as we continue to explore new areas of space. If we don't grow, we don't advance in life. But just like history has shown us, everything can be used for good, and used for bad. So its up to us to chose what we can do with such advancements. And to be honest, if it helps you or other holographic people, then its done a good thing in our lives as yours," David countered with a nod in a way to physically agree with himself.

Emmah nodded in agreement, feeling a bit of relief, "I hope those who will be in control of these technology see things the same as you do." she said. "It is good to know you still strongly believe in my personhood." she smiled. "And you do not fear me becoming my brother."

"Not in the least," David smiled. Deep down, he was more concerned about himself ever turning into the horrible monster that M'Gann had shown him. The road that had taken this other Hawkins wasn't to far off from where he was and what had tipped the scale was very seeable. But it was the difference between all out destruction or the hard road of doing something more... better for all. To help others was to better himself and to heal his wounds.

She tipped her head and watched him for a moment. She noticed a flicker in his eyes after he had made that statement. "Do you have doubts that one day, when I no longer have you that my life will direct me down a path to become such as Elian?" She asked softly, more speaking her own fear, but wondering if she was mirroring his own thoughts.

He looked at her and sighed as he finally opened up. "Emmah, you were a program when we first met. I won't lie. But when you chose to fight and defeat Elian, your own kind for the betterment of the rest of us, that was when we saw you as an equal and truly alive. Even when he was trying to alter your program, you fought it, like a flesh and blood being brain washed, that fought against their new thought process. Tali, for instance, knew what she was trained to do and taught to believe. Yet, she chose against all of her mental alarms, to do what was right and the betterment of others, me especially. People like you and Tali are people that I chose to fight for a second chance and to back them no matter what. Why? Because we all make mistakes or manipulated and yet we know its not right. It may not be right in others eyes, but we sure as hell deserve to have a chance for the true life and whether we it was our faults or not. So don't think for an instant that we aren't going to give up on one another," David explained. "Now we are called misfits or even questionable people that cause for alarm for others. But that makes us more capable than them. Yes, we could go down that path, but we are the ones choosing to do better and prevent others from taking that walk."

Emmah considered his words, and she ran her fingers over the tops of her legs, adopting behaviors she'd witnessed. "What if doing what you believe is right, is wrong in anothers eyes? How do you ensure you always stay on the side of what is truly right?" she asked. "Do you think that Elian believed he was doing good?" she wondered. "Or even the other you that m'Gann witnessed? Do you think he believed he was in the right"

"It all comes down to selfishness. Elian and General Hawkins are two very different instances. Elian was reprogrammed and, possibly, remote controlled. So if he wasn't remote controlled, he was being selfish wanting power. General Hawkins... is in pain and wants to make others feel pain. He doesn't care about anyone anymore. Hell, if he is killed, he wouldn't care, but until then, he is on a rampage to place the pain and heartache of his loss and the multiple back stabbings to the man. Neither one has morals in their actions, only power and selfish desires.

"You will know what is right and wrong when its not selfish, but selfless. If it helps others and doesn't destroy, unless it requires ending what is causing pain. Does all this make since?" David paused feeling as though he wasn't explaining himself completely or his thought process.

Emmah nodded, "I believe I do. Always ensure I am serving the selfless and good and I will never be on the wrong side." she said. "Have you ever looked back to where you were before, and wonder who you got to where you are now?"

"Who or how?" he countered unsure if she misused her words. But then shrugged as he leaned back in his chair and sighed. "I think about it from time to time, but in the end, its the here and now that matters. Holding on to past issues or experiences are what drives us to make the right or wrong decisions. At least it does for me. As for who, sometimes you can lean on others to help you through some hard times, but then again, there are times when you can't trust anyone at all and need to do it yourself. Either case, there are perks to either."

"I meant how, but I appreciate the perspective." she said. "I dread a day that those of you so important in my life will pass. Part of me wishes that I could effectively program a growing old and dying, like any other lifeform." she said.

"Oh really?" David questioned as he looked at her with a slight questionable look. "Most people would jump to the idea of living forever in this life. Not trying to pull in that in our conversation. But hey, you did start it."

Emmah chuckled, "Well, I have form bonds in my young age, and I've already seen transitions of life in each of you. I've seen loss, and the pain of loss, I've seen the joy of family and love. Some things I may never be able to have in truth, but i've considered the idea that you would one day no longer be here, nor chkoro, or Kavi... and I realized you are all my family, and to live so long beyond your years, I don't know how it will effect me." she said.

"Mortality is a reality for every one... and yet not for me, and it is strange. I did read several stories of people who lived for hundreds if not thousands of years due to magic. Many of them lived in suffering because of how much they had lost, and how bad things had become. Others turned evil, some knew that the pain of loving and losing over and over would hurt so badly they become isolated, and that is no life either." Emmah said.

All David could do was nod in agreement. He could see where she was coming from and how life without those that she knew and grew up with would change her. Her concerns were true and showed that she was truly growing as a person. This was the main reason as to why he felt and saw her as a real person. No programmer could tell him or any of his crew otherwise about Emmah. If anyone even tried, they would see a massive fight against them. Especially if they tried to treat her any less than a real person. Hell... she was a real person to him and anyone that even gave her a chance at all.

Looking her over, he could tell that, even though she was a fully grown person, physically, deep down, Emmah as their child. It was a weird feeling of seeing her that way, but in the end, it was true. They had brought her into this life and to say anything less than that, it was a lie. They were proud of her and the life that she was fighting for now. He could feel the same feeling of protective father figure as he knew that Captain Picard had once felt for Commander Data and B-4. This was no different. David was determined to do that very same thing by protecting her and her dreams to be an equal.

Still, he saw the argument from the other side when it came to other holographic programs. They were as they were programmed to be. Elian was a horrible truth to their argument against Emmah and others like her. He was a hologram that did a massive amount of damage only to found out to be remotely controlled to destroy and torture those around him. It was sick to even think anything less. When his name was brought up at her last fight for rights, it was a wound that was ripped wide open for everyone to see. David hated that feeling, but knew all to well where they were going with it. Still, it held no ground when they countered when it came to those that had been controlled by the bridge technology that was now in use in the black market and underground groups making them mind slaves, to say the least.

"Perhaps this is a subject I should approach Counselor Caldera regarding." Emmah said seeing she'd brought him to silence. It was a deep consideration after all. She took a deep breath, "I should leave you in peace now. If you do find out any thing about their intent with the AI, i would hope you will share with me." she said standing up.

"Of course," David countered as he finally broke from his deep thought. "You do know you are fine to bother me at any time, right?"

Emmah smiled, "Yes sir." she said softly before she moved for the door. "Rest well." she bid him before she left his quarters.


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