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Changing of the Guards

Posted on Sat Aug 11th, 2018 @ 7:28pm by David Hawkins & Lieutenant Commander Mel Torma

Mission: Whispers of the Past
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: Backpost

/// ON ///

This was a conversation that Mel dreaded, but one that technically had to happen. She wasn't a diplomat, but she was polite. She wasn't a soldier, but she wasn't a wallflower either. So, she queried the computer to locate Hawkins, and made her way to him with a purpose in her stride and a PaDD under one of her arms. She psyched herself up the entire way there, because she really had to be on her best.

She stopped in front of the door, took a final deep breath, and rang the announcer chime.

"Enter!" David called out as he walked through the captain's quarters taking it in. He knew all to well that the quarters were now his, but deep down, he knew all to well that he was in 'Admiral' Stele's quarters. The idea that she had made it all the way to that rank and through what seemed to have been a hell of an uncontrollable end to all that they knew and loved. He tooked a deep breath as he turned to find a seat behind the small desk in the living quarters.

Mel strode into the Ready Room, and gave the captain a pair of friendly smiles. No teeth, just cheerful Dalacari positivity. "Captain, I know this is probably a conversation that we'll have again later, but I at least want to bring it up to you so that it's on the back burner, as the human expression goes." she paused before handing the PaDD in her clutches over to him. The image displayed was the tactical, and structural schematic for the Thinking Engine currently installed on the Resolute. It was handling background information requests, and cataloging patterns to help improve efficiency in the main computer core.

"As you know, Tee Eee Thirty Seventy Five is currently installed here on the Resolute. It's operating in the background, helping to route incoming traffic and track patterns..."

"... which, in essence, was it's intended purpose to a point. Without a drone army to lead, it's essentially a secondary computer, albeit a powerful quantum computer." she paused for emphasis there.

"During my time on the Gladiator while everyone else was in stasis, I constructed a primitive Thinking Engine, Delta Eighty Six. For comparison's sake, I'd need a hundred of..."

"... eighty six to equal Thirty Seventy Five, while idle. So, I'll get to the point. I think we should switch the units out. Put Eighty Six on the Resolute before we leave, and install Thirty..."

"... Seventy Five on the Gladiator. I feel that the Thinking Engine could help with the calculations for the Slipstream Drive and help maximize our chances of getting home." there was a heavy pause after this. "Though, that being said, there's the hynoria in the room. To best maximize our chances, the Thinking Engine would need to essentially know how to communicate with the drive."

"Which means the Federation would essentially gain access to advanced knowledge of the workings of the Thinking Engine, and by proxy, the Dalacari would gain knowledge..."

"... of the Quantum Slipstream Drive. Not that I'd be going anywhere with it, or immediately calling home to tell them my infiltration mission was a success, mind you." at that, the pair smirked. "I just want to have full disclosure on this touchy subject. This is, in all purposes, a technological exchange that benefits us both. I just want to hear your opinion on this."

She was silent for a moment, almost to the point where it seemed she was done and had turned the floor over. Though, after that lengthy pause, she started up again, "If you'd rather not have the Thinking Engine involved, that's perfectly acceptable. We can leave Eighty Six active in the labs to help boost computing power there and ..."

"... be done with it. But, I feel that switching the installed Engines is a good idea, and having it assist in the calculations and pattern recognition would maximize our chances." and at that, she promptly shut up.

"I would have to agree," David nodded as he looked over the schematics for a moment before peaking up from the padd to smirk and wave at them. "Will you sit down? You make me nervous as is. You don't need to be so formal. It's past duty hours anyway.

"I make you nervous?" she asked, then realized that whole bit about humans evolving from omnivore stock, rather than purely predatory stock, and she promptly sat down. "Oh, umm, sorry about that David. It just feels a little weird to essentially call your boss by their first name sometimes." she admitted, but had a smile on her faces. No teeth, though.

"What would happen to you if your people found out that you illegally used your technology without your supervision authorizing it... no matter what the circumstances were?" the man asked as he looked her over taking in the idea of what to expect once they were back home.

"Well, that's the million eBit question. Thinking Engines operate without direct supervision all the time, so there's no real harm there. The real question is the direction it took." she paused, before her twin took over, "See, our oldest and strongest allies, the Ts'usugi Empire, have a few provisions in the defense accord that limit the directions we can really research. We don't view it as..."

"... some form of tyrannical limitation or some form of social control. They honestly have the best interests of all parties at heart, and one of those limits is we cannot research Artificial..."

"... Intelligence, and should one of our systems approach Self Aware status, we deactivate it and report it for inquiry. I'm certain you can understand the fear of a system that controls..."

"... our military forces suddenly waking up. I seem to recall there being a series of human movies regarding that very subject." she said with a giggle.

"Now, let's say that the moment we get back home, there's a Dalacari scout waiting for us and that they find out about the Engine here. The inquiry will want to know why the Engine..."

"... calculated that it was to protect the remains of the Dalacari crew. What series of calculations came to that arrangement, and why for so long. As I wasn't involved with Tee Eee..."

"... Thirty Seventy Five until the very end, my involvement in the inquiry would probably just be three or four questions. There'd be no true punishment, if that's your concern." she paused, to let that sink in. "The one on the block would be, oddly enough, Tee Eee Thirty Seventy Five itself. If found dangerously cognizant it would be deactivated. If not, it would be recommended by..."

"... the board of inquiry that it be subjected to an immediate pruning. That's the process by which old and out dated calculations are erased to essentially ease the burden on the..."

"... Engine. Since they require outside interaction to be pruned, Tee Eee Thirty Seventy Five is probably going on at least fifty some odd years of calculations. The manufacturer..."

"... suggests a pruning around every four. Five tops." she remarked. "So, if it's not aware by now, and I don't think it is, it's at least a little crazy. Well as crazy as it can be."

She took a breath, "But you or me? No danger. Worst that happens is that the Ts'usugi portion of the inquiry board scowls at you for not travelling back from the future sooner or on a more..."

"... rigid schedule. Though, forgive them if they do, they're a people of protocol."

"Well that will not be necessary," David stated as he looked at the twin forms. "I don't plan on anyone knowing the specific details on how we get back. And if we fix the timeline, we may be seeing our future retirement in Star Fleet. But if it saves billions, I'll be fine handing in my resignation. But I will not allow you and the others go down, if it comes to that."

Mel gave a pair of nods, "I really, really appreciate that." and she paused to let that sit in. "I've just gotten used to all the antics of the Federation. I'd hate to be asked to retire prematurely."

"Although, if the retirement package included a Calus-Class shuttle, oh that'd be tempting." she practically had stars in her eyes. Though, she quickly returned to the here and now, with a clearing of her throats, "I mean, my loyalty can't be bought David." she said with a pair of giggles.

"Though seriously, thank you for your support. Though, if it does come to an inquiry, which I highly doubt it will, just let it happen. The inspection is more interested in key..."

"... points about the Engine, rather than us." a pause, "And if you're going to tell Starfleet that the Gladiator has a Thinking Engine, the Dalacari Republic would be very interested..."

"... in an inquiry. Again, no harm to any of the crew. We Dalacari are harmless." and she smiled, this time making it a point to show off those chompers.

"Hey whatever works for you, I guess. I just know it is going to be a field day for them if we make it back. And to be honest, a lot more spot light for you and the Dalacari people. Are you really ready for such a future?" he asked as he leaned back and sat the padd on the desk before waving for her to sit.

Mel took the second invitation to sit as one of 'sit and relax' and so, she did. Her whole posture, on both forms, slumped and just seemed more casual, more relaxed. She took a breath, held it, and just released all that stress in one breath. Well technically two, but...

"Am I ready for a future where one of the largest exploratory and scientific confederacies in the galaxy wants to meet and talk with the Republic?" she asked, enthused, but then enthusiasm wore off quickly.

"To be honest, I'd rather it happen a little more naturally, a little more organic. Rather than being thrust together like putting two people in a closet and not letting them..."

"... out until they're friends, know what I mean?" She paused again to think, "It's going to be interesting, no matter what happens. I just want you to know where I stand."

"You don't have to hide anything if you don't want to, or can't. It's weird, you wonder everyday what it'll be like to meet another race from the stars, and then when you do..."

"... you wonder about their paperwork." and at that, she giggled. "Humans are so weird, but I have to admit, you *do* tend to make things around you a lot more exciting."

"I wouldn't call this, exciting, to say the least. But If you are referring to Hayter. It sounds like you been hanging around him a little to much. People are going to start asking questions. Not that I wouldn't approve. But still," He admitted.

"Hayter's a marvelous friend, but in regards to asking questions, no." Mel shook her heads, "He's Single. It... wouldn't even be possible. I mean, dinner and fun sure, but anything past..."

"... that would be impossible." she paused for a second, "That sounded a lot harsher, and a little more speciesist, than I expected. Sorry about that."

A chuckle escaped from David's lips as he nodded. "Hey, no reason to reason to apologize. So have you been able to settle into your room on the Resolute?"

She gave a pair of smirks, "Oh they're dreadful. No one consulted the Dalacari when they built this ship, did they? Not one consultation." she said, as though airing a grievance. "I have one bed, David. ONE BED." as one talked, the other gestured.

"I've gotta get that changed if I want to get anything remotely resembling sleep."

"Well, how about we set your room up with bunk bed. Dalacaris have bunk beds right?" he paused as he noticed the pair of eye brows raised. "You know... bed frames connected vertically, beds on top of one another to allow two people to lay in a minimal enclosed areas of space?"

She shifted a bit, one of her forms even rubbing an arm idly. "Promise not to laugh?" she paused, "Bunk beds kinda freak me out BUT... if it's what we have, it's what we have. I'll take it."

"Though, I'd *prefer* two separate beds, on the same level. If that can't easily happen for the short term, bunk beds will have to do."

"Bunk beds freak you out?" David perked up from that s he he looked at the two forms. "Mind if I ask why?"

"Dalacari kinda... know... where we are." she motioned between her two forms, "Just on an instinctive level. A sense, if you would. Call it a holdover from our time as swarm predators but..."

"... to a certain degree, I know exactly where I am. Stretch that thin, and I start to get a little jittery, a little nervous. So, bunk beds." she took a breath. "Me on the bottom, I know where..."

"... I am, but when I look up, I don't see anything. Me on the top, I know where I am, but when I look around, I'm all alone." she explained. "I know it sounds childish, but it's just..."

"... something that's weird to explain to someone who, no offense, biologically can't feel the same feeling. Just another quirk of being me." she mentioned, now with a pair of smirks. "Bet you never..."

"... thought you'd meet someone who could stare science in the face without blinking, but hesitated when offered a bunk bed?"

"No, I honestly can't say that I never thought I would meet someone like that, and I never thought I would meet a species like yours. But now that we have, I can't see not having you around. I wouldn't change it for anything," David admitted. "But don't worry, we can get something set up, even if its smaller twin beds with a nightstand in between. If I remember correctly, you can't touch yourself. Another one of your species' pet peeves."

"Oh that setup would actually be *perfect*." the pair mentioned in unison, before calming down, "And, thank you. It means a lot to be accepted, and welcomed." one said, but both wore a smile. "And yes, we..."

"... really don't like coming into contact with ourselves. I mean, sure it happens. A bump, a nudge, something but anything more or anything more conscious and it just..."

"... really feels weird. It's a taboo, yes, but mostly because of the sensation. It's a tactile feedback loop if that makes sense. A constant sensation that builds in intensity. It's not..."

"... as fun as it sounds, and after a moment it actually gets painful. It's hard to really break out, because it's hard to immediately know which part of you to move in which direction."

"Fascinating species, to say the least," David smirked as he nodded and took in the information. "Well, get with Kavi, if you aren't sure on who to get that quarters set up, and let me know when you have changed up the engines. If you need any help, get any assistance you need. Sound good?"

"Sounds perfect. thank you." she said, in unison. It was something that really only happened when she said something she felt strongly about. The Dalacari equivilant of extra emphasis.

"As for the Thinking Engines, without a team of drones that already know the procedure, things are a little slow moving BUT... I'd rather it take a little longer and we preserve everything..."

"... than risk damaging the units by making haste." she paused, and gave a series of nods, "I'll keep you posted, about anything. And thank you again."

"Sounds like a plan," he nodded as he stood up from his chair. "I'll make sure to have that room arrangement sent your way."

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