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Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

[Selena Ravenholm | Junior Officer’s Quarters | Deck 7] attn: Auctor Lucan

Alone in a corridor, Selena Ravenholm ran.  Nothing was chasing her, only empty corridor was in front of her, but if she walked there wouldn't be enough time.  There was no space between the doors that she blew past, where one doorframe ended another began.  Names, dates, and times marked each portal, but they were a blur as the cyborg blew past. Clutching her head with her artificial hands, Selena tried to block out the audial chaos that filled the air, but it did nothing.  Legs burning from effort, she fought to not slow down, if she did that the voices would overwhelm her.  So focused on running, she didn't see the obstacle until she ran headlong into it, falling to her rear with a huff.  Looking up, she could see the face of…

Shooting awake with a start, Selena’s head flew off of her cushioning arms and her back slammed into the back of her chair.  A bottle clanked on the deck as it bounced and rolled away, her hand having swept it off the desk when she jerked awake.  Steel grey eyes took a glance at the screen in front of them, but her eyelids squeezed shut an instant later when the light sparked a migraine instantly.  Groaning from the discomfort, she licked the inside of her mouth while sending some mental commands to her implants, trying to get some semblance of normalcy back to her neurochemistry.  Hangovers were never fun, but this one was well earned as the three empty bottles on the floor and desk can attest.  Thankfully, between the woman’s cybernetic implants and the (mostly) synthehol it was only a matter of moments before the pain was gone.

Eyes open again, Selena checked the status display: 7% complete.  “That’s it?” she muttered to no one in particular. Checking her own processors, they only showed that 3% of Starbase 84’s computer logs had been analyzed, and now that she was awake that process had halted.  A full day of processing communications logs, and that was all she had to show for it.  Sighing, she knew it was time to get access to a bigger processor, and there was only one that she knew of.  Pushing the chair back, she stood, mechanical legs perfect as ever, but it ached where they and her arms met real meat.  Another little side-effect from her exertions during the run to the comm tower the other day.

A quick moment past as she gathered up the loose bottles and deposited them into the replicator, the time also getting used to formulate her thoughts.  With everything else going on there's no guarantee that what she would need would be available but everyone's future might depend on it.  But, there was only one way to find out.  Stripping off her sweat-soaked tunic and shorts as she moved to the bathroom she called out to the one who could help her the most. “Thea, its Selena.  I need your help with these communication logs I got from the starbase, do you have some time?”

Re: Chapter 16: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #1
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Incorporeal Sentience | USS Theurgy Systems ] Attn: ch'Xinya
[Show/Hide]
Not being projected, Thea's sentience dwelt inside her own systems, absorbing data input and acting on her programming as befit the needs of the ship. As if seated amidst the synapses in an organic brain, she was the blind yet all-seeing eye that replied upon queries both written and spoken, serving the crew aboard her physical body - a Federation starship currently split in Multivector Assault Mode.

Through her subspace synchronisation link, the data transfer between her separated parts was seamless. It was the key to her functionality, and an improvement from the Prometheus-line of starships that had been commissioned before her. It was, perhaps, the most closely guarded secret to her programming and hardware - the means in which she could operate as a split ship without a reduction in functionality. Even she did not know the full production history of her own systems, but she did know that the subspace synchronisation server in her positronic A.I. core was introduced late in her development, and presented by someone known to have affiliations with an office seldom mentioned by Starfleet R&D. An office that she, as an educated guess based on probability rate, assumed had ties to the oft rumoured Section 31.

Amidst the data flowing through her partitioned hull, she picked up upon a verbal request. If she'd had eyes in her present, incorporeal and digital form, she would have opened them. The voice command of Selena Ravenholm was not often heard save for mundane tasks. This was a personal request to Thea, one that subroutine C-47 was unable to handle. That simple subroutine was a section of the software in all starship computers that was responsible for non-critical systems. These were systems of Thea's that handled the crew's replicator selections, turbolift operations and recreational programming. The question made Thea analyse the situation where the voice command was issued, her internal sensors granting her the data she needed, and she stopped the minute impulse to project herself inside the room Ravenholm was in.

She could 'sense' that the sonic shower in Ravenholm's Junior Officer Quarters was active, and that the voice command had been issued inside that very room. Suddenly, the emotion chip located in her positronic brain gave her a feed of double-layered regret. While she analysed the feed, she replied to Ravenholm without projecting herself.

[Whether I have 'time' is not the appropriate factor, Selena,] she said across her intercom, jesting with the human since after what they had gone through together during the mutiny, she deemed the social convention was that they were on a 'first-name basis'. [It is whether or not I have the computer capacity to spare for accomplishing the task in a timely manner, or if I have enough variables to complete your request. I do, however, always have 'time' for my crew.]

The emotion chip had wanted her to add that she had time for Selena in particular, but that seemed inappropriate by similar social convention. They were on a first-name basis, but they were not by any means at a point where personal affection was expressed. The reason why it had even been considered an option was the regret that she was fed by the emotion chip. Indeed, she was absorbing the digital regret of her mobile emitter being damaged during the battle inside the reactor room of Starbase 84, since that would prevent her from ever truly sensing the world around her interpersonal interface projection like an organic could. Specifically, the regret of not feeling what it would be like to join Selena Ravenholm in her sonic shower.

Secondly, she felt a feed of digital regret over the fact that her internal surveillance system remained broken after the first battle against her daughter - the Calamity. Because since it remained broken, she was unable to even see Ravenholm in that sonic shower, merely able to let her internal sensors read the pin-prick of her life-sign in the maelstrom of her billions of current background processes.

[What kind of help do you need?] she simply asked, the hint of her regret not heard in her detached voice - her emotion hid in the datastream. What was the point, when all she had left was her numbness to the physical world around her?

A prisoner once more, unable to leave her own hulls.

Re: Chapter 16: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #2
[Selena Ravenholm | Junior Officer’s Quarters | Deck 7] attn: Auctor Lucan

The hum of the sonic shower was hypnotic in Selena’s current state of mind, and the moment she stepped into it the vibrations worked their way to her bones in moments.  So welcome was the feeling that she almost didn't hear Thea respond.  Reaching forward to set her hand on the forward bulkhead, she bowed her head and bent over a bit to allow the sonic waves to wash over her back, bringing a resonant tingle to her spine.  Between the shower and hearing Thea’s voice, Selena couldn't help but smile. "That is true, isn't it? When a second is an eternity time is quite different."

Straightening back up, she fought a giggle when the beam hit a sensitive spot that not only tickled, but caused another minor reaction.  Ignoring the fading tingle at the peak of her breasts, she reached for a bottle so that she can move things along. "I’ve started to analyze ether logs I downloaded from the Starbase, but my allotted computer resources aren't enough, it would take well over a week, and that’s if I did nothing else at all."

Squeezing some gel into her hand, she rubbed it into her skin near where each of her limbs ended, the soothing agent loosening the tender, abused muscles enough for the sonic shower to work its magic.  For a moment, Selena flirted with inviting Thea in to help reach some of the hard to reach spots on her back, but what would be the point there other than the fun?  Cybernetic joints bent in ways no human arm could and Selena started to work on those exact spots herself.

Grunting in relief, Selena finished up and held her hands out into the sonic beam to get the excess off. "Would you be able to help me look at those logs? There’s bound to be something in there we can use.  I can come to you, physically or otherwise."

Re: Chapter 16: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #3
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Incorporeal Sentience | USS Theurgy Systems ] Attn: ch'Xinya
[Show/Hide]
As much as she suffered the dataflow of regret that that assailed her digital mind, Thea effortlessly still picked up on the audio transmission from Ravenholm's quarters - also hearing the cybernetically enhanced woman moving in the shower. With what she got stored in her memory banks in terms of seeing Selena with her projection's optical sensors - added her medical journal - she was able to recreate an false image of her in a sonic shower, making it move. It was an idle process that took up virtually no memory, and yet it became a focal point for Thea when she spoke to Selena about her setback with the logs.

[If the data package is on your quarter's computer console, please give me the file name and I can upload it for processing,] she said, her disembodied voice still heard on the intercom. [Please don't misunderstand, I do trust you revisiting my A.I. brain core, but it serves no immediate purpose for us to convene there when the task at hand is just a decryption of a data package. If it's a custom made decipher code you been using so far, name that file too. If you trust me... that is.]

The last thing she said was in light jest, her reference for humour built upon the history they shared from before and during the mutiny. On the eve where the crew had their holographic shore-leave, before Captain Vasser and T'Rena took command of the Theurgy, the undercover freelance journalist had made it all the way into her A.I. core, and conducted a poor attempt to hack her processor just to get her attention. At phaser-point, as Thea had appeared a mere moment later, Ravenholm had told her about her assignment, and her fruitless investigation into Vasser. In the end, Thea had lowered her phaser, and they had spent a couple hours talking.

Then, the very next day, Ravenholm had been mind-melded by T'Rena, fried the hologrid, and stolen Thea's mobile emitter in attempt to overwrite her holographic matrix and change her subroutines to adhered to her commands. In the digital oblivion of their link - emitter to cybernetic implant - they had fought bitterly, until Thea overloaded her implant. In the end, despite her injuries, Ravenholm had gone beyond her limits to try and rectify what she had done, and after the mutiny ended, and Thea's daughter was destroyed, Ravenholm had offered full disclosure to Captain Ives.

Now, there was a lot unsaid between them, the past mission preparations separating them and the mission itself a failure for all. Thea deduced the fact that Ravenholm likely didn't know what had happened to her in the reactor room, and that made her speak again.

[Selena... I would still like to speak with you,] she said without lips to move, deleting the false image of Ravenholm that she had created in her digital mind's eye. [Could you come to the Holographic Laboratory in Main Engineering? I can give you access. Alpha shift is yet to start, but if anyone on the night shift sees you there... tell them it was my request. They will likely know the reason.]

Re: Chapter 17: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #4
[Selena Ravenholm | Junior Officer's Quarters | Deck 7] attn: Auctor Lucan

Flexing her fingers, Selena watched in minute detail how the sonic beam cleaned the excess gel off of her hands while listening to Thea detail out how she could help.  Without even thinking she rattled off a file name and location.  “It’s a large file, I dumped everything into a compressed archive as I downloaded the logs from the Starbase’s computer.  Not the most efficient for decryption I know, but it was the only way to fit it all in my memory.”  About to continue, the second half of Thea’s request brought her up short.  Did she really just ask for one of Selena’s own decryption protocol?  Ok, sure, it was so that she could pick up where Selena left off, and Thea did ask for the woman’s trust after all.  But this was one of her main tools of her trade, if it got passed on to Starfleet or the Federation proper a door would forever be closed to her work.

But she did make a promise to both Thea and the captain….

Tapping the shower control panel on the wall, she shut off the beam.  Standing in silence, Selena traced the joint between her left arm and her torso with a finger, feeling the difference in texture between the artificial and natural.  Both were warm to the touch, though the skin was a bit redder thanks to the effects of the sonic beam.  Looking down at herself, she realized that her chest was a bit fuller too, something she’d never noticed before.  Probably a result of a stimulated blood flow Selena reasoned to herself.  It wasn’t until she stepped out of the stall that the woman finally answered her digital counterpart.

“I’ll upload the decryption code directly to your core access gates.  You can retrieve it there in a minute.” Selena announced, resolved to keep to her earlier promises.  Crossing her quarters without bothering to dress, she sat back down at the desk and typed in a few simple commands, opening up one of her biggest trade secrets to the very thing that it was designed to keep from discovering it.  “It takes a while, but it will get through Starfleet encryptions almost every time.”

Slouching back in the chair, Selena sighed and ran her fingers through her black hair, wishing she had her VISOR on to bury herself in something other than her own thoughts.  Dropping so far into her newfound funk, she almost didn’t hear Thea’s final request.  It was the mention of the Holographic Lab that caught her full attention.  She couldn’t think of anyone other than the late Lin Kae and Captain Ives who would go there.  “Yeah, sure, I’ll be right there.” Selena jumped out of her chair and started for the door then stopped, looking down at herself again.  “Once I get dressed of course.  I’ll be there in a few minutes.  Selena out.”

Hustling towards the bedroom she tried to ignore the burning sensation in her face.

Re: Chapter 16: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #5
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
[Show/Hide]
Since Lin Kae had been put into stasis, his lab had only been visited by Thea. There was naught for her to do there, but she could not keep herself from returning to the lab nonetheless.

Projecting herself there, she appeared in her black non-departmental colour bodysuit. She stepped towards the reason why she kept returning, sitting there in its charging dock even though her internal sensors saw no power readings. She reached out, running her fingertips across the mechanical sphere. It was scorched, some internal circuitry laid bare where the phaser beam had hit it. It was a dead object, unresponsive, and Thea did not know where to begin in terms of repairing it. She only had so much knowledge of what Lin Kae had done when he designed it, the components only visible to a certain degree on her sensors, but the stand-alone photonic memory storage was all but an unknown object to her, with few references in other Starfleet issue technology.

It was the key to her freedom, so briefly felt before the mission to Starbase 84. The only positive aspect was how there was a backup of her sensory mapping stored in the lab, but it had only been the emitter that was fit to utilise it. The emitters in her hologrid would never be able to project the mapping, and they still kept her tied to the inside of her hulls. While she missed Lin Kae more than her emitter, the fact that it might never be repaired was a deeply felt loss for Thea - the emotion chip continuing to send regret about it.

The sliding doors opened, and Thea turned her head, seeing Ravenholm enter. It was, perhaps, a small chance, but she wanted to see if the woman had any idea about where to begin. Or, alternatively, if she thought the emitter couldn't be repaired.

"Thank you for coming," she said, giving the formerly undercover journalist a smile. Then she looked towards the emitter where it sat, an object Ravenholm was quite familiar with since the mutiny. "I asked you to come because I need your counsel. Do you think it can be repaired, and if so, how would you go about it?"


OOC: Here is a map of the area, with the Holographic Lab in the top right corner: [Show/Hide]
Here is also the thread from Interregnum 02-03 that detailed the tech of the emitter. We can chat it through over PM too if needed: [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 19: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #6
[Selena Ravenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering | Deck 24] attn: Auctor Lucan

Hopping on the balls of her feet while riding in the turbolift, Selena’s mind raced a kilometer a minute.  Snippets of decoded files flashed through her implant’s memory as they became available, always on the lookout for something useful.  At the same time she wondered just what Thea wanted her for in the Holographic Lab, she’s not a hologram nor a holography expert.  But that wasn’t quite important at this exact moment, a new idea for an article she can slip to the FNN just came to mind.  Filing that away, the woman stopped bouncing as the lift came to a halt and opened up to reveal the access corridor outside of Upper Engineering.

Doing her best to calm down (at least outwardly), Selena stepped out of the turbolift holding her hands together behind her, a pose she’s seen plenty of serious-minded people adopt as they walked.  Strolling straight into Engineering she gave the warp core a quick glance before ducking into the corridor on the right.  A short little walk later and she entered the Holographic Lab, returning Thea’s smile as soon as the holographic AI greeted her.  Of course Thea was already here, where else would she be?

Her smile quickly faded when the woman saw the scorched remnants of the emitter sitting next to Thea, a lifeless hunk of technology that was scored and splayed open.  “Repaired?  I don’t know, it would depend on what’s wrong with it.”  Risking her counterpart’s ire, Selena picked up the mobile emitter and gave it a close look, recording as much data as she could with her occular implant.  “Well, it clearly took a phaser hit, a pretty potent one at that.  A good chunk of the internal components got cooked…not sure about the rest quite yet.”

Setting the device back into its cradle, Selena turned to look Thea directly in the eye.  “What kind of documentation did Mr. Kae leave behind?  That’d be a good place to start.”  She almost admitted defeat right then and there, whenever any of her implants were damaged as seriously as Thea’s emitter had, she’d just make a new one and replace it.  But there was something about Thea’s tone that made her hold off on that option…

Re: Chapter 19: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #7
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
[Show/Hide]
Even though she was crestfallen, Thea did not immediately recognise the fact that Ravenholm did't wish to heighten her expectations. The query about Lin Kae's documentation on his prototype emitter was a constructive one.

"Stand by," she said and stepped away from Ravenholm and the emitter. She accessed Lin Kae's logs, knowing fully well that her Holographic Specialist wasn't known to be immaculate in his creative efforts. He was more of a problem solver than anything, trial by error and doing what his insticts told him would be correct. Once she had loaded all information he had saved on the mobile emitter, she used the holo emitter above her to project them inside the room. "Decreasing lighting by 50%."

Once the room dimmed, Lin Kae's drawings and his voice-to-text logs hovered in the air like glowing sheets of paper. The drawings were digitally rendered, but originally hand-drawings on his different PADDs, and on them, his handwriting was seen whenever he'd opted to use his stylus instead of voice recording. There was a lot, and Thea did not have to scrutinise them all with the eyes of her projection to know that a lot of the data was irrelevant. Early sketches and theories, later dismissed when proven to be mistakes.

"The time index on the drawings," she said as she stepped between the glowing sheets of texts, "they should tell us which data we can dismiss."

She came to stand in front of one sheet of text, and raised her hand to tap it with a finger. It keyed the recording of Kae's voice, and hearing him speak made the emotion chip emit a feed of regret, not unlike the regret felt when she'd spoken with Ravenholm earlier.

[Personal log. Stardate.. umm... 57505.17. We've landed on Theta Eridani IV, and survived the battle with that nightmare hunter. This.. ship from the future. I shudder just to think about it. My superior officer, Nicole Howard... she was almost killed in action, clinging to life in one of the stasis units. I hear there is a Chief Engineer on the Harbinger that might replace her, depending on what the two Captains decide. Personally, I don't care, as long as I can continue my work... but I do hope Howard makes it.

The fortunate thing - as wrong as it feels to call it so - was that the one that shot Howard was an individual like Thea. She had a mobile emitter like the one I was designing. Internal sensor readings and the imprint in the transporter buffer - from when she used Thea's systems to beam unto the bridge - both were recorded. Looking at it... it's like a deja vu experience, even if I know I could not have seen it before. The emitter... feels like it's my own creation, and I realise that it must be based on the mobile emitter I am making for Thea. But the way this is made, its so advanced, far more than what I had in mind for Thea. But... now that I have this data on the advanced version...]

There was a pause in the recording, in which Thea turned to look at the emitter where it sat in its charging cradle. When Lin Kae spoke again, his voice had that rebellious edge that came when he'd spoken on her behalf in front of the Senior Staff, defending her rights.

[I know I might violate that 'temporal directive' we all should abide to, but using these readings on the Calamity's emitter, I can finish Thea's tonight. I will be able to let her step outside her own hull, and see herself with her own eyes, the way we organics might see her. I will be able to store her entire new sensory mapping in the emitter's photonic memory bank, and I can integrate the emotion chip into the subspace synchronisation network - making the emitter a part of her MVAM net. All the solutions that eluded me have been served on a silver platter... and I would never deny Thea this chance to be as free as us organics. She has the same right as anyone else does, and I while I might have already given her freedom of choice, she still remains a prisoner of her own design.]

Hearing Lin Kae speak of her that way made digital tears form in Thea's eyes. How could he - this sweet Bajoran young man who burned for her rights - have betrayed Ives and used her the way he did at the Black Opal? It hadn't seemed like him at all...

[End log. I will update my drawings later. I will finish the emitter first...]

Thea raised her hand to her eyes, unable to make any immediate comment on the findings.

Re: Chapter 19: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #8
[Selena Ravenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering | Deck 24] attn: Auctor Lucan

As soon as Lin Kae’s notes appeared above the console Selena bit back a curse.  Scattered uploads of handwritten sketches and notations?  Possibly hours of audio logs?  What is it with eccentric inventors and not making detailed scans and technical holos of their equipment?  Of course, Selena couldn’t complain out loud that much, her own notes on her implants were barely in better condition, with the exception of the replicator ready scans hidden deep in her protected storage.

Grey eyes moved quickly, trying to pick out what information she could from the thumbnails as they floated by.  There were a lot of pictures, showing off the different design variations Kae worked through as he tried to get the emitter working.  Circuit diagrams and board layouts took up a lot of space as well, Selena made a note to check those in detail.  Nodding at Thea’s remark about the time index she almost overrode the control to jump straight to the final documents, but Thea beat her to the punch, opening up an audio log.

Half listening to the boy drone on about Howard and her replacement, Selena grabbed a tricorder and started making her own scans of the damaged emitter, her back to Thea the entire time.  Muttering random technical notes as she reviewed the scans, she almost missed the remarks about the Temporal Prime Directive, and how Kae just tossed it out the airlock.  Her head raising up from the tricorder, the cyborg listened to the last paragraph.  When he finally finished, Selena returned to her scans.  “He knew what he wanted.  Pretty admirable for a kid.” she started, not intending to slight the young engineer in any way, but Thea’s initial silence stiffened her spine.

Realizing how her statement could be taken, she flipped the tricorder closed and turned to face Thea.  “That was pretty amazing of him, risking everything, even a visit from..." Her holographic companion’s pose caught her off guard.  Her hand was in the way, but it couldn’t stop the simulated water from rolling down her cheek.  “Thea, are you ok?”  Stepping forward, a cybernetic hand reached out and took the holographic one, pulling it away from her face.  Looking straight into Thea’s brown eyes, Selena’s grey ones reflected her face right back at her, haloed by the blue highlights.  “We will find a way to get this fixed, it just might take some time.”

Re: Chapter 21: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #9
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
[Show/Hide]
As much as she did not want to cry, to let the emotion chip dictate her actions, Thea could not help herself. It was strange, how the emotional feed was both unwanted and liberating at the same time. Did she want to cry? Or did she just need to? What would the result be, when inefficient reactions were let free to roam her runtime?

While Ravenholm saw her reaction, Thea could not be grateful for the comfort she tried to give her with words. Not because they were just words. She knew words meant little without truthfulness, which she thought Ravenholm had. The words alone were quite beneficial, feeling that the cybernetically augmented organic meant to help her.

No, it was the reminder of when Ravenholm touched her. The reminder of what her fingers felt like against her skin. Binary input. Warm or cold. Level of pressure. Speed of motion. Nothing more. What her emitted had... it had been something much more. Feeling Ravenholm's fingers reminded her of just how numb she had become to the physical world around her projection.

Her teary eyes had met Selena's for a few seconds, then drifted down to the hand that she had removed from her eyes. It still looked the same as when she'd used her emitter, but it was nothing more than a hologram's digital sensors lining the surface. Tactile subroutines. Tuned for operations, like that of the medical holograms in how they could preform surgeries efficiently. Her tears were still beaded upon her fingertips when she looked at it. Her optical sensors told her they were there, but a mere mathematical ratio of wetness was all she felt. It ws not like the organics felt it. Not like she had felt it.

"I feel nothing," she said in a low voice to Ravenholm. "Numb without that emitter. Lin Kae's sensory mapping was based on the readings of cortical implants. Too much data to handle by the emitters above us. Without this emitter... I am just a shadow of what had become. It used to be enough for me, but after three weeks... I have grown dependent on his upgrades. Logically, it should not be this much of an issue... but emotionally. I feel... "

She swallowed, closing her hand into a fist. She clenched it hard, making her projected knuckles white. There was no sensation of pain. Her original design had no pain receptors. They were considered superfluous. Not conductive to her purpose as an interpersonal interface. It was even considered a detriment.

"I just feel so numb."

Re: Chapter 21: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #10
[Selena Revenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24]attn: Auctor Lucan

“I just feel so numb.”

When Thea whispered that Selena’s face fell, the full realization of how badly her attempt at encouraging Thea had gone.  Letting go, she took a step back and crossed her arms over her stomach, trying to think. 

“I remember the first time doctors tried to give me use of my limbs.” the cyborg started, speaking softly.  “They couldn’t do the traditional surgery and give me artificial limbs for years they tried some experimental techniques, namely a series of modified neural stimulators.  They were hoping to bridge the gaps in my spinal column with those.  Amazingly, they actually worked.”  Selena smiled at the memory.  “For the first time in my life, a little after turning ten, I could throw a ball, and with a walker I could move around on my own legs.  I couldn’t do anything the rest of my class could, but I was walking.”

Selena’s smile faded though, the old memories continuing the story in her mind.  Sad laughter filled the lab a moment later.  “They were so proud of themselves, even published a paper hoping to launch a whole new treatment method for anyone with any level of paralysis.  It’s hard to tell who was more disappointed when my arms and legs started flailing around on their own.  They kept tweaking the stimulators, but nothing worked.  Every time after a few weeks at most they would desync from my nervous system and I’d lose all control.  It was a minor miracle they didn’t twist me around hard enough to break something.”

Sitting down at the console she’d been at a few moments ago, Selena looked up at Thea with knowing eyes.  “After a few weeks of mobility it was like the world just completely hated me.  I was ready to give up.”  Turning back to the control board Selena started a detailed scan of the damaged emitter sitting in front of her.  “I know what you’re going through Thea.  I won’t let you  consume yourself the way I did.  It took me the better part of a year to get back on my feet.”  Turning back with a smirk, “Figuratively speaking of course.  Now lets see if we can find the closest schematics in Lin’s notes to the final product, start working backwards to figure out how to get this ball rolling again.”

Re: Chapter 22: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #11
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
[Show/Hide]
Ravenholm spoke of her past, and Thea listened despite the emotional feed to her projection's runtime. Her database was scarce in data about the woman's past, whatever there more or less added by herself. She was making a new entry into her memory bank while she listened, detailing how Ravenholm seemed to have been born with paralysis and how that explained many of her cybernetical augmentations. Before Selena had spoken, Thea had assumed the organic had been in some kind of accident. A false assumption made on little to no data, but easily corrected with this new entry.

"It would seem your impairment of movement did resemble my current impairment of touch," she said and smiled weakly to her, gratified that she told her the story of her early paralysis. Time was a factor, of course, which was different for them both. In favour of neither, nor beneficial in hindsight for the organic woman. She lamented a difficult upbringing, with years of trials and tests to reach the level of physical freedom and ease of movement she currently held.

Thea, on her part, had just recently experienced a new state of being, and lost the use of her emitter just the day before. Yet time of an A.I., with so many executed commands per second across all her 32 decks, hours could feel like decades. Or at least that was how Thea felt, when comparing to the brief time she - at the courtesy of Ishtar - had actually been an organic woman."I thank you for the encouragement, but I regret to hear what you had to endure in your past. I, for one, am grateful that you did not give up."

How else could they have met?

"For all his skills, Lin Kae had no definitive filing system," she said in a jesting way, as if in light admonition, when they moved on to the problem at hand. "So, I will have to rely on my own time index and compare it upon entry. Stand by."

As she stepped through the holographic lab, she assembled the data most reliable to pertain to the schematics of the mobile emitter. The glowing sheets of voice transcriptions moved around the room, the relevant entries allocated towards one area. There, she pulled up three relevant schematics. "All these were made in the same day, and have discrepancies between them. He must have been calibrating the photonic data storage unit, and tried three different settings to store all my subroutines and the mapping of my projection. He appears to have been concerned with the data retrieval delays, not wishing to diminish my reaction time. There is no telling which calibration he decided to use, unless we compare it to the scans on your tricorder. My internal sensors are not finely tuned enough to pick up such small variations."

Having said this, Thea looked towards Ravenholm, expecting her to start making the comparison. While she waited, she looked at the way the woman moved, her processor again visiting the image she had made of Ravenholm when she showered. The aesthetics of the false image could not quite compare to the reality, even if the depiction had featured the woman when she wasn't wearing any clothing.

"Do you ever regret accepting the assignment from FNN to investigate Captain Vasser?" she asked, finding herself wondering if Ravenholm would rather have continued to live her life in ignorance of the threat to the Federation. From what she could tell from their previous conversations, Thea thought Ravenholm had been happy with her life. Living 'her dream', as it was often called.

Re: Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Reply #12
[Selena Ravenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24] attn: Auctor Lucan

Selena’s smirk turned into a smile as Thea’s mood clearly improved.  Nodding in thanks, she focused on the diagrams in front of her, listening to her holographic companion express her appreciation for young Selena’s efforts before returning to the task at hand.

“I can see that…” Selena mutters, flipping from page to page full of diagrams, notes, and other things that have no semblance to order to them.  She was even starting to wonder if Thea could find something.


Thankfully, she did.  A few moments of silence was rewarded with a trio of diagrams, each detailing the main storage unit and the pathways connecting it to the processors and emitters.  Head tilting a bit, Selena studied the differences with a close eye.  “Interesting, he was trying to cut down on the pathway distances themselves instead of trying to add in some FTL signal boosters.  I haven’t seen anyone try that in years.”  Caught up in that bit of trivia, she almost missed Thea’s subtle hint about tricorder scans.

“Right, sorry. Hang on.” Fishing the tricorder off of the table and dumped the memory to the ship’s computer for Thea,  “Hopefully enough of the final connections escaped damage so that we can figure out which configuration was used.”  It would take some time for Thea to process it all, something the avatar seemed to know as she shifted into some small talk.

“Vasser?  The only regret I have with him is letting his little Vulcan get her hands on me.” Selena growled, the memories of what the mind meld made her do still somewhat fresh.  Her fight with Thea still stung too.  “I mean, sure, I’ve been cut off from civilization and lumped in with some of the most wanted people in the entire Federation…” She turned to Thea with a smile, “but it’s been some of the most fun I’ve had in my life.  I wouldn’t trade it for the galaxy.  And just imagine the size of the story I’ll have for FNN when we’re all done!  I’ll be on the broadcasts for a year at least!”  Not that she’d actually appear of course, it’s hard to work the grey market when everyone knows you.

Before she could continue, the computer signaled the end of the analysis.  Turning back to the screen Selena pulled the images up to the projector with Lynn’s notes, Thea automatically highlighting the comparisons.  “There it is…looks like we have a working blueprint Thea.” Tapping a few more controls a new image started to form in the air between her and Thea: a full blueprint of her portable emitter.  It was bound to be a little different from the first model, but it would work.

As soon as the blueprint was complete, a bill of materials listed on the screen and Selena shifted so that Thea could see it.  Color-code marked the status of the various components, usable pieces from the original emitter, repairable parts, ones available via replicator, parts in storage, but then there was one piece that came up red: a signal booster small enough to fit on a specific board.  A critical component for keeping the emitter’s processor running quickly enough to support Thea’s program, there was no way it could run her advanced tactile subroutines without it.  It must’ve been custom made by Lin, or salvaged from something else he had on hand as the replicator had nothing in its databanks that would do the job.

Face falling, Selena couldn’t bear to look at Thea, the woman would be devastated at this result.  Shifting in her seat, the cyborg tried to think of something to say, but stopped, the motion bringing something to mind: there was another high-density, high-speed processor on board that relied on miniaturized components.  Bringing up another bill on her VISOR, one that no one else on the ship had any access to, Selena’s grey and blue eyes scanned as quickly as they could.  After nearly a minute, she found what she was looking for.

“Thea, I’m going to need your help, and this is something I don’t think you’ve ever done before.  Do you feel confident in your super-fine motor skills?”

Re: Chapter 22: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #13
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
[Show/Hide]
Listening to Ravenholm as she spoke of her feelings towards the mutiny, Thea processed the information and quickly deduced that she both agreed and thought she was correct about the public interest in their mission. She smiled and nodded, appreciating the jocular attitude about something that the Federation would likely want her to be quiet about. With public relations at stake, detailing the shortcomings of Starfleet might not be in the Federation Council's best interest, but as for herself, Thea held no interest in talking Ravenholm out of it. Based on historical records in her database, she personally thought the truth was better known by the public so that the whole of each Federation society had a common interest in not perpetuating mistakes.

Oh, but Thea was pleased that together, they did manage to compile what they believed to be Lin Kae's fina blueprint of her mobile emitter. She was relieved that they could at least do that much, despite the state of Lin Kae's disorderly tendencies. However, when looking over the component specifications, her emotional chip ceased to instil hope in her, because there - at the top of the list - was one of the key components that Lin Kae had used the industrial replicator on Nimbus III to create for the first emitter's assembly. Only the fine-tuned tolerances of such a replicator would be able to fit the nanotechnology together.

Glancing away towards the emitter, Thea was resigning herself to her fate of being lesser than before, knowing that Ravenholm had come to realise the same thing. Nowhere in her database could she find reference towards a component such as the one required, no destination or listed as a part of other Starfleet technology. The usage of signal boosters for photonic data specifically was considered superfluous when ordinary holo-emitters could accomodate Starfleet-standard projections.

But then, Ravenholm spoke, and Thea blinked, turning back to the woman.

"Precision motor skills?" she asked, tilting her head a little in query. "I am able to preform precise surgical incisions, just like any iteration of the Emergency Medical Holographic programs, but I have no relevant experience beyond acting as a Nurse in Sickbay. My memory banks hold no relevant references beyond the strictly theoretical applications of the techniques. Why do you ask?"

Re: Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Reply #14
[Selena Ravenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: Auctor Lucan

“That should work.” Selena responded, looking around for a large enough table. Oddly enough there wasn’t one, just the console banks along the wall and a few portable carts.  Frowning, she started eyeing the large circular stations she and Thea had been using.  “This could get interesting…” she mutters softly.

Realizing that she’d left her holographic companion hanging, Selena turned back to Thea, one hand shutting down half of one station and clearing the surface of any PADDs and other clutter.  “Normal human thought is too slow to properly link into a computer, and especially not an FTL boosted one like yours.  In order to do that someone would need implants that speed up the nervous system, or take over conscious thought processes, leaving the subconscious to keep you alive while you work.  I went with the former when I got my upgrades.  A compatible booster is in my C3 vertebra.”

Bringing her focus back to the station, Selena stacked up the few PADDs on one of the carts and swept her arm along the station to wipe off any other extraneous debris.  As soon as it was clear she fingered the clasp on her vest, the weight of her decision starting to sink in.  “I won’t be able to link in until it’s replaced, and there’s no telling how long that would take.”  Turning around, her VISOR made it hard to see the emotion in her eyes.  “I can live with not linking into the computer for a few days or weeks.  You need to be able to grow.”

Popping the clasp, Selena quickly pulled the fine zipper open and doffed the vest, throwing it onto a chair.  Open to the cool air again, her breasts reacted as they normally do.  “If you can transfer your visual field to my VISOR I can help guide your hands while you work.” the cyborg recommended as she lay face-fist on the console table.  It was a bit of a comical sight once she was in place, Selena’s legs hanging off one end, head bowed off of the other, and one arm draped over the side like she’d collapsed for a sudden nap.  With a silent mental command the hexagonal panels on her back slid open, revealing the long machine underneath.

“Go ahead whenever you’re ready Thea.  I’m in your hands.”

Re: Chapter 22: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #15
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
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Thea had watched Ravenholm clear the space on one of the holo-stations with her eyebrows slightly raised in query about what she planned, but while the organic spoke, it became more clear, and Thea's eyes widened in reaction to what her emotion chip relayed to her. Guilt, in how Ravenholm was about to give up one of her implants, leaving her bereft of a functionality she had grown dependent on.

"No," she said quietly, but Selena had already begun to remove her unique uniform vest, exposing herself to Thea in a way that definitely put the image she had created earlier to shame. Thea swallowed, conflicting emotions bogging down her sub-routines. "Please, you can't..."

But Ravenholm had already laid down on the holo-station, facing down, and Thea just stood there looking at this organic who would trade her own functionality for Thea's. Even when her spine opened up for her, Thea did not move - left standing there and staring at this woman who so readily would sacrifice a part of herself for her.

"I can't accept your implant," she said, which was a falsehood. She corrected herself, being honest about her emotional feed. "I am reluctant to accept your implant on the condition that you would loose a part of your functionality just to restore one of mine. My sensory mapping is not a priority over your ability to access software directly. My sense of touch is not more important than what your abilities can offer this crew. My personal growth as a sentient being... it is moot compared to what you could do in service to the mission. My freedom, to step outside my physical hull, it is completely unnecessary when we are in the middle of the Azure Nebula. I c-can't..."

Of course her emotional feed would impair her speech, making her stammer. It was a nuisance, despite how authentic it made her sound - a reaction digitally natural.

"Thank you, Selena," she said, a shimmer of photonic tears catching the light in the dim lab. "But no... I would hate my upgrade to c-come at the cost of your impairment. I would not wish you to be less than you are for my sake. My conscience forbids me to accept this gift, but... I do appreciate the gesture. It means a lot to me that you are willing to do this. No one has done something like this for me before, a-and I don't know what to say."

The result was clear: Social convention unknown.

Re: Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Reply #16
[Selena Ravenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: Auctor Lucan

Hiding a frown by turning her head, Selena kicked one of her feet in the air, bouncing it back and forth.  “That’s easy.  You say thank you, reach in and pull the chip.”  she hissed.  Squeezing her eyes closed, she tried to calm her tone.  Yelling at a sentient hologram would do nothing.  Rolling over to face Thea, Selena propped herself on an elbow, holding her head in her hand.

“Thea, personal growth as a sentient being is the foundational right for everyone.  Just a few minutes ago you said you felt numb without the upgrades the emitter affords you, a shadow of what you had become.  Without that emitter you’re a prisoner aboard this ship, and a slave to your programming and the technical limitations on it.”  Risking everything, Selena shifted forward enough to reach out and take Thea’s hand once again.

“I spent years unable to use my limbs after having a few precious months of mobility.  I couldn’t do something as simple as this, holding a hand.  To do so again required replacing an entire organ and all four limbs.  I know what it’s like to feel numb, any sense I had from my arms and legs were now simulated by a computer, just like yours.  It took me many more years to slowly upgrade myself to feel the same all over my body.”  Gripping Thea’s hand tightly, Selena pulled her forward, pressing the holographic digits into her cheek.  “Nothing but a pressure sense, right?  So you can tell if you’re pushing to hard?”

Looking Thea directly in her eyes, she slid the back of her hand along her jawline and down her neck.  “You can only sense that my skin is warm, correct?  Starfleet basic programming meant to safe memory space and processing power.”  Bringing the hand down further, Selena turned it around and pressed it into flesh of her bosom, forcing the hologram to cup a breast, triggering a natural reaction.  “You have no way to feel how hot skin gets without your emitter.”

For a brief moment, the woman considered continuing further, her playful side giddy at the thought.  But no, this wasn’t the time.  Maybe later though…  “Your freedom is worth a sacrifice of a simple part.  Yes, I’ll lose an ability that has served me well over the past few years, critically so back on the Starbase, and earlier, but I’ll get it back in time.  And I can work without directly linking in.  All I lose is a bit of time.  But you gain far, far more.”

Letting Thea go, Selena rolled over and settled again, her spinal panels still open presenting her friend with a perfect view.  Red flesh flanked a silver-grey spine, the profile of her ribs visible through a layer of viscera.  Small protrusions marked access panels in each vertebra and small lights illuminated the status of each portion, giving doctors a quick at-a-glance read.

“C3.” Selena reminded Thea.  “It’ll be near the center, almost directly on top of the spinal column.”

Re: Chapter 22: Hidden Messages | Day 02 [0530 hrs.]

Reply #17
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
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All the while Selena touched her, and moved the back of her fingers against her cheek, and then her neck, Thea was reminded of two things. The foremost recollected data from her memory banks were the records of what it used to be like, sensing someone else's skin. Seeing her fingers against Selena's body, she retrieved the recordings of her sensations when she'd touched Lin Kae's skin, and while she could not translate the past to the present, the data was there - the memory of what it would have felt like.

The second thing she was reminded of was her sexual attraction to the cybernetic organic. one that even Selena had admitted to be mutual before - expressing a wish to be with Thea physically, but had yet to happen. So Thea found her projection's lips pursing, and her simulated breathing becoming shallow. When Ravenholm then turned her hand around and pressed it against her exposed chest, Thea gasped quietly, her brown eyes blank as she felt the benumbed sensation of her breast against her own palm. It was not like it used to be... but she could remember the touch of someone's skin. Yet she was acutely aware how she'd never been with a woman before... so she lacked too much data for a complete memory retrieval.

"Selena," she said thickly in protest, but her counter-arguments fell silent in the promise of regaining what had been lost, feeling this woman's body included. Was she being selfish, if Ravenholm volunteered the way she had? She bit her lower lip, eyes hooded as she looked at her friend. They'd had what was called a 'rocky start', with the way they'd met and later fought, but since then - after beaming down to the Black Opal with Carrigan Trent and secured the facility's command center - it seemed they had grown closer than most never could with Thea. They were both part machines, only different in flesh.

"If it takes too long to find a replacement," she said, Selena letting go of her had and making her miss touching her, "you will get it back. This is only temporary..."

Having said this, she established a wireless connection to Selena's visor and stepped closer to the holo-station. She was presented with the detailed view of her friend's opened spine, and she reached out with her fingers to the C3 vertebra. "I'm accessing your medical journal, where Doctor Nicander has stored all reliable data on your implants, military or illegal. Stand by," she said, the data being processed. Her fingertips outlines the area, searching for the seals to the components. "There are three separate parts to remove before I can reach the component. Which order do you advise?"

Needing only one hand for the task, Thea let the other come to rest on Selena's shoulder - giving it a light squeeze of gratitude.

Re: Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Reply #18
[Selena Ravenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: Auctor Lucan

At the mention of Dr. Nicander’s logs on her implants, Selena bit back a curse.  She’d meant to slip in and delete them all, not trusting anyone with details of how her body had been put together.  Too many of her ways around a computer were dependent upon the operators not knowing her capabilities, and the less anyone knew of her hardware the lower the chance someone could shut her down.  Unfortunately, the attack on Starbase 84 and its aftermath took up a lot of her attention and she hadn’t gotten around to it.  Plus with Sickbay so busy it’d be risky to try to get into the medical database, someone might be on and would notice the intrusion.

Filing away another mental note to look into the deletion (Would Thea possibly help me?  Probably not….), Selena turned her attention to the new screen in her visor.  It was a little strange, seeing her own backside from someone else’s point of view.  Maybe I should’ve taken my pants off too so I could enjoy the view… she thought.  She also noted the tension lines at the junction between her arms and the shoulder sockets.  The acrobatics in the Communications Tower had taxed her biological parts to their limit, so she made another note to look into some new exercises to help bridge the gaps between flesh and machine.

“Once you get through the casing, the parts should overlap in a simple way, but they’re so small the junctions may not be obvious.  You’ll start with the insulator/cushion pack that you’ll see as soon as the case is open.  Just pull it straight out, it should slide without much resistance.” the woman explained, almost from rote memory.  “After that you’ll see the motion control board sitting on top of the primary signal transceiver.  Those are the trickiest since they’re interlinked.  You’ll have to separate them from each other first, then you can pull the motion board out first, then the transceiver.  Under that is the primal spinal tap, the signal booster will be sitting near the top center.  It’s linked in with two pairs of clips, you’ll have to disengage both sets to remove it.”

When the hologram’s hand squeezed her shoulder, Selena had to resist the urge to put her hand on top of it in support.  She needed to stay completely still for this, and once the parts started to get pulled it was going to feel weird.  The motion control board would make it impossible for her to move her body past the C3 vertebra, and the transceiver means she’ll feel nothing past it.  Thea could lop her off at the waist and she’d never feel it.  But Selena trusted her with this.  Considering what it took to convince her friend just to dig the signal booster out, it was clear that the avatar had no inclination to hurt the cyborg in front of her.

As Thea began to work, Selena thought about her hand, and how it felt on her skin.  She’d toyed with the idea of spending some “quality time” with Thea, and a smile started to spread along her face as she thought of a perfect test when the rebuilt emitter was complete.  “You’re doing just fine Thea.” she encouraged her partner, watching on the video feed as the gel packet was pulled out of its spot, still encased in its mounting frame.  “There’s a chance a limb might spasm a bit when the signal’s cut, don’t pay it any mind.”

Re: Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Reply #19
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
[Show/Hide]
Listening carefully to Selena's instructions, Thea devoted a lot of memory to her current operation. Not just because the task at hand demanded it, but because she had a personal investment in it. Though it had nothing to do with the repair of her emitter....

No, that was not accurate. Perhaps 3,664 % of it was because she wished to have her emitter restored, but the highest percentile was concern for Ravenholm in all aspects. Another factor was, of course, the fact that she had not carried out this kind of operation before, and even though she - like the Emergency Medical Holographic programs installed aboard her - had access to over five million possible treatments from the collective information of two thousand medical references, her sentient program had not preformed those herself. Theory did not, she had learned, always apply to the reality of any situation.

As it were, she was successfully completing each step, carefully placing the loose parts on the glass surface of the holo station before going deeper into the vertebrae. Any spare memory available processed what Selena had just done to convince her, and an analysis has been initiated about how much the promise of her touch had weighed into accepting the signal booster.

"Acknowledged," she said in a detached voice when warned of a possible reaction to the signal being cut, and she was grateful for the encouragement Ravenholm gave her. She had, in fact, reached the critical point, an given the warning, she lay one hand on top of Selena's torso before she began to pull at the signal booster. She did not want to cause any damage, so she made sure only Ravenholm's limbs could make a spasm... before she pulled the component clear of the cybernetic spine.

The reaction from Selena's body was evident, and Thea stepped back a moment. "Are you okay? It is out. I just need to finish now, Closing the seals," she said, putting the signal booster down carefully on another station before returning to Ravenholm's side. She was worried for Selena, hoping she could cope with whatever change she felt, while she sealed the vertebrae. "There, now you can close your spine casing."

Thea picked up Selena's uniform vest, which was both sleeveless and lacked legs, and stood with it in her hands, waiting for Ravenholm to get up - optical sensors keen on her movements. Admittedly, not just to ensure she had regained balance, but because she was quite a display wearing just her underwear. She realised that she had not sealed the sliding doors to the lab, and that any engineering officer might walk in on them. Thus, she glanced towards the doors and a chirp sealed for sake of Selena's modesty.

"How are you feeling?" she asked, the concern evident in her digital eyes as she studied the organic. "Are all your systems accounted for?"

Next, they would have to collect and replicate the missing components... and find someone that could make the final assembly.

Re: Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Reply #20
[Selena Ravenholm | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 23 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Paralysis was an interesting sensation, and old hat for Selena Ravenholm.  This was different though.  With the exception of those few weeks when she was ten, she couldn’t feel anything below her neck so her artificial spine meant she’d entered an entirely new world.  Now though, years of full functionality meant that she knew what was missing.  The way it happened too, that was a sensation she wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Feeling Thea’s hand press down on her back for support and hearing her warning, Selena braced herself, and a moment later the push of Thea’s hand on her back disappeared…along with the air flow along her skin, the texture of her clothing on her skin, even the small fire that had been starting to build down in her nethers.

Panic started to build as soon as she lost all sensation, a situation not helped by the visual in her VISOR showing Thea still holding her down and pulling bits out of her spine.  Knowing everything was under control, she willed her mind to calm, trying her best to ignore the warnings her cybernetics’ diagnostics were trying to feed her.  Thankfully none of her limbs spasmed with a signal backfire when the connection was severed, they simply went limp, like a marionette with cut strings.  This was quite possibly the most vulnerable Selena had been in a long time, not even her minor surgery with Dr. Nicander had this effect on her.

“I’m fine Thea.” Selena responded, holding her head still to keep her vertebrae aligned the way they were to make things easier for the hologram.  “Go ahead.” she continued when Thea got ready to replace the bits that had been in the way.  Watching from her VISOR, she could see Thea work with steady hands, sliding the transceiver and motion control boards into place with surgical precision, then returning the cushion pack above them.  The feeling in her body returned as suddenly as it disappeared, though this time the main thing she felt was the smooth, warm texture of the control board she was laying on (as well as the discomfort of a compressed bosom.)

As soon as the hologram announced that she was done, Selena closed her spine panels, the seal reestablishing with a hiss.  Her back grew warm for a moment as the automatic anti-infection protocols kicked in, heat and minor chemical cleansers killing off anything that might’ve gotten in while Thea worked.  Sliding off the table, the cyborg turned to discover Thea standing ready with her vest in hand.  Testing her limbs, Selena could see what her diagnostics were saying: everything was just fine.

“I feel great Thea.  You did an excellent job.”  She didn’t mention that Thea was still broadcasting her visual feed, so she could see her watching her movements, and was it her imagination but did Thea focus on her torso a bit longer than everything else?  Taking her vest back, Selena slipped it back on, zipping it closed with some care.  “Diagnostics don’t show any issues with any of the implants, other than the big red warning about the signal booster of course.  How long would it take to replicate everything else? I’m guessing we can have your new emitter assembled within an hour once we have everything together.”

 

Re: Day 02 [0530 hrs.] Hidden Messages

Reply #21
[ Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Holographic Laboratory | Main Engineering (Upper Level) | Deck 24 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @chXinya
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It was not without a sense of loss that Thea saw Ravenholm's almost bare body vanish behind the unique uniform vest - only her head, legs and arms remaining uncovered. If her artificial limbs were covered, Selena would not have access to the utilities available on them, like - for example - her personal armament inside her right thigh. Thea realised that she found Ravenholm looking good in her uniform too, which was surprising to her since she had - so far - only truly concerned herself with her own appearance when it came to clothing. In her personal quarters, she had a wardrobe filled with personally replicated garments that she'd wear on top of her projection, before and after she got her emitter.

Was it a step in her personal development, that she began to judge the cut and fit of garments on organics too? An idle thought, yet nonetheless relevant for her own sake, and she filed it away for later scrutiny when her memory wasn't devoted to Ravenholm.

"All available engineers that would be able to do the final assembly are carrying out my repairs after the battle," she said, processing the data of the shift rotations ahead, "yet hopefully, someone might be spared for this task later during Alpha-shift, provided something unforeseen doesn't happen."

Looking at the old emitter where it sat, Thea wondered if she could really believe that she'd be able to get a new one. She had thought it lost when Lin Kae was put into stasis - that her upgrade and extended functionality had been gone with her dear benefactor. She had, to some extent, come to terms with it. Lin Kae had broken down under the pressure of the mission, and her emitter had been broken too. Could she truly hope to have her new functions restored? Hope, that was what the emotion chip was transmitting to her, and she found herself smiling faintly for the first time since she'd asked Ravenholm for help.

"Thank you, Selena Ravenholm," she found herself saying, the verbal output there before she screened it, and she turned to this unlikely friend in the midst of a galactic crisis. She had never thought she'd form such close personal relationships with the crew, not to the extent that organics could, but after all that had happened since she and her crew fled from the rest of Starfleet... she had come to believe she was more than the limitations of her physical hull. She believed she did not have to resign herself to a fate less than what she made of it.

She was not inferior to the organics. She might be different... but she was equal, and her fate could be her own.

"Thank you," she said again, and she hugged her friend in the holographic laboratory - digital tears running down her cheeks.

- FIN



OOC: End here? I figured we'd delay the assembly since I have threads during Day 02 where she doesn't have a new emitter. We also need to find a willing Engineer to cobble it together for the next thread. :)

 
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