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Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

She was prepared. She was super prepared. Over-prepared. She’d been ready to go an hour ago. Her PADD full of questions was on the console, another PADD with the benamite reclamation system schematics beneath that, and another PADD with Chamber’s ideas for increasing power to the drive beneath that, and on the bottom the entire Starfleet database on the slipstream drive was cued up on the console. Azrin had gotten six days with the QSD now, so she had to be more prepared than back when she’d had about two hours. Right? Right. Having invited - requested? Begged? - the Savi engineer Decatria Corgin to speak with her again, Azrin had done her very best to prepare. During their last encounter, she’d gotten the impression that the Savi thought Starfleet was full of idiots. Not to make it a contest or anything, but that had seemed like an insult to the Federation’s best and brightest, and Azrin wanted to make them proud. She also thought that Corgin would be more willing to answer questions if Azrin seemed more up to speed. And it was good to have a rationale that had nothing to do with her ego.

The problem was, she’d gotten ready too early. Left waiting with an hour to kill and an inability to sit still, Azrin had started fiddling. The reclamation unit was wide open, a panel on the bottom of the graviton particle actuator was gone, and she’d even pulled some floor panels up to get a look at the power couplings leading to the drive. Her constant companion - a thermos of coffee, had reappeared from where she’d hidden it while preparing and was now in easy reach beneath the console. None of this was abnormal by any means, she had spent her entire life pulling off panels to take a look inside and coffee was the only thing keeping her awake this week. But she’d meant for the place to look pristine when Corgin showed up. If she showed up. No one had been quite clear on that. No one on board seemed to really like the Savi, though most people hadn’t ever spoken to one.

Oh - speaking of those people! “Hey Thea!” she called up, not at all expecting an answer beyond a normal computer function. “Open a new audio file and get ready to start recording on my signal. Hopefully Corgin will be willing, any info she has to offer will be good for my team too, then no one will go around asking her repeat questions later.”

“Is it time yet?” Mainly talking to herself now, Azrin pulled the PADD off the top of her pile, hoping for a few minutes to clean up after herself, only to watch as the 29 faded into 30. “Nope, too late.”

Maybe the Savi would be in a better mood this time.

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #1
[ Decatria Corgin | Somewhere Close to Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae  
Being deeply immersed into calculations that would aid the war effort against the Scion High Council, Corgin blinked when seeing the notification - flashing teal on the data tablet on her wrist. Azrin Ryn... she thought, vaguely recognising the name. With a deep breath, she utilised one of her memory exercises in order to recall the name - soon remembering where she had heard that name before. One of the Trill primates... but not the one that had accessed the drive without authorisation.

Remaining standing there in front of her calculations in the underwhelming Starfleet lab - with the numbers and data projected in front of her in layers upon layers of probability and contingencies - Corgin wondered if her people had anything to gain by acquiescing the request of the female Trill. Surely, the Voice and his war council had better use of her input than having her entertain the whims of the Theurgy crew? She was about to dismiss the notification and resume her calculations when she recalled the actions of the other Trill. If she did not agree to speak with Ryn, then perhaps the Theurgy engineers would compromise the integrity of the slipstream drive, and not only kill the entire Savi delegation aboard, but the very asset upon which the alliance with the primates rested?

"<Cack...>" she swore, and tapped her wrist tablet, making all the projected calculations vanish. She took a deep breath, her artificial lungs filling with the putrid air of the ship, and turned on her heel. She strode out of the lab with her head raised, and folded her pale hands behind her back. With her shoulders squared, she made her way down the corridor to Main Engineering, blinking against the sharp light of the overhead illumination - making spectres whisk across her form-fitting body suit.

Soon enough, Decataria Corgin emerged through the sliding doors, hearing the Ship A.I. answer some request that the awaiting Trill had made.

[Current time is 1030 hrs. Stardate 57684.38.] Thea - as the A.I. was named, made a quick addendum. [Do you require my presence, Lieutenant Ryn?]

As she approached, Corgin's black eyes fell on the curious number of data tablets that the Trill had gathered around herself, and the Decataria couldn't help how a faint smile touched her thin lips. Primates and their tools, she thought, thinking about the records in the Archive about the early development stages of the many Federation species. The centuries pass, and in their inadequacy, they still rely on sticks and stones where their feeble minds fail them. Even the Savi children of old, who - in their adolescent antics - abducted these species noted how they were only able to evolve because of their tools.

She supposed those LCARS tablets were marginally better than papyrus and ink, but it was telling how the Trill seemed so reliant upon them rather than what her memory could retain. Was it a sign of preparation for the meeting? Corgin was genuinely intrigued... in the manner in which you suspected an animal had learned to preform a trick. Or a child wishing to show a drawing they made.

Stopping in front of Ryn, Corgin folded her long arms underneath her chest and looked down at the Trill.

"You requested my attention?"

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #2
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

“I-I mean - I don’t require your presence,” Azrin stammered, immediately thrown off her game as the computer answered her question, then continued on in a manner that was very life-like. She’d known there was an experimental AI on board. She’d always known that from the beginning of her posting here, though back then she’d put off actually meeting Thea, too busy learning every hum and tick of every warp core until she could tell each one’s mood by the vibrations through the hull. “But you’re welcome to come if you want to? I mean, the slipstream drive is in you - that sounds weird - it’s part of you? - now it sounds like we’re making borg… It’s just, if you want to know exactly how it works, or you have any questions, or suggestions, now would be the time.” On her first day back in engineering, Lieutenant Arnold had told her how Thea had evolved, and Azrin had harbored a desire to meet her ever since. If there was anything that could turn her into a nervous rambling mess, it was getting to talk to a sentient artificial lifeform.

Great Bird of the Galaxy, she loved this ship. Warp core, x3. Slipstream drive. Thea. V-Nine. That Albert-bird-thing Scruffy had told her about. It was a shame that everything going on in the quadrant was so terrible right now, because this ship was basically Azrin’s wet dream come to life.

Realizing far too late that she was gaping at the ceiling and falling prey to that weird instinct to talk to someone invisible like they were floating above, Azrin jerked her head back down and snapped her jaw shut. Only to see Corgin heading her way. Shit. She’d had a whole intro planned, which had vanished the moment she’d gotten the opportunity to talk to Thea. Actual Thea, the sentient part, since she talked to the computer continuously and never got responses like that back. For a second, Azrin entertained the idea that Corgin was actually quite nice, and it was her own preconceptions that made the Savi look intimidating and condescending. Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, all the creepy stories about abductions and experiments she'd heard in the past week didn't work with that theory. Those massive black eyes paired with the flat little mouth actually made her shiver a little bit. It had been much more reassuring having Asra here with her last time, like the two Trills were backing each other up. “Actually, Thea, on second thought, um, help?”

Hopefully Corgin didn’t hear that, arriving a few seconds after Azrin’s plea. The Savi didn’t have ears as far as she could tell, so who knew how sensitive their hearing was. Maybe the lack of ears was what made them look so creepy. She hadn’t registered that difference until now. At Corgin’s question, some part of her earlier preparation kicked in, and her mouth did the work while her brain played catch up. “Yes! Hello! Like I said before, I’ve done my homework on the drive now, and I have more questions for you. And I took a collection of questions from some of the other engineers, so you don’t have other people bothering you.” The last part was unlikely, given that a lot of them hadn’t spoken to a Savi at all, but it sounded good. “Before I ask anything though, do you mind if I record our conversation? Just to add to our files, completely sealed, never leaving the ship. It would make it easier to train the rest of the new engineering staff on how this beauty works.” And she wouldn’t have to take notes like a schoolkid.

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #3
[ Decatria Corgin | Somewhere Close to Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae  
While the plea for help, directed towards the A.I. aboard the ship, had been noted, Corgin placed little value or interest in the interaction or protocol between the Federation crew and their ship computer. In fact, having the artificial lifeform present could be far more intellectually stimulating than merely having to answer the questions of the Trill primate. Thea's personality matrix has been sequenced into the Synthesis Code and then added to the Archive, so the A.I. had no intrinsic value to her people any more, but she remained a... curiosity.

So, while Azrin Ryn began to address Corgin, there was a shimmer in the air next to her, and the holographic interface projection materialised. She was wearing the golden version of the form-fitting chameleon bodysuit that Corgin had observed her wearing before, and an errant thought was devoted to wondering why the primate programmers had opted to sexualise the hologram to the extent where that photonic garment left nothing to the imagination. Unlike organic species, the A.I. would never reproduce in a fashion where such signalling had any value. Had the programmers at the Daystrom Institute designed her to tempt and vex organics with that outfit? The motivations for it escaped Corgin, so she dismissed it was a part of their primal urges and answered the Trill's question.

"Are you being facetious?" she said evenly, not moving a hair. "Forgive me if I do not laugh, but given how the Theurgy could be infiltrated by a Klingon terrorist that could detonate a bomb aboard quite recently, I don't find the premise of your request amusing. The integrity of your security arrangements are a travesty, and the mere idea that any data you store would be... 'secure'... a joke. I would prefer you rely on your memory and your note-taking, lest the we may be forced to scour the Computer Cores aboard for evidence about our presence when we leave."

Thea, whom stood idle by Ryn's side, seemed to take Corgin's rejection in stride. "A simple 'no' would have sufficed, Decataria" she said with a small smile. "I am certain that between Lieutenant Ryn and I, we will be able to retain the data without a direct recording."

No doubt, Corgin thought, since the A.I. had eidetic memory, digitally stored in her positronic brain's memory banks.

"I will answer to the extent that I am allowed and willing in accordance with the Old Code and the terms of our alliance," she said aloud, however, and turned her black eyes from the A.I. to the Trill, her arms remaining folded under her chest. "The functionality and the maintenance of the Quantum Slipstream Drive may be imparted on you to the level of comprehensiveness in which you can use it, but not to the extent in which you may replicate it. That is the limit to the accord between my people and this crew."

Foreseeing the questions that may come, Corgin sighed and made an immediate addendum - speaking out of experience from having tutored hundreds of young Savi and suffering their curiosity. "Like your Prime Directive, the Old Code forbids us to uplift a lesser species beyond their abilities, and this unprecedented exemption, granted by the Voice in the form of this singular drive, is a consequence from unique needs of our war with the Scions."

Though she didn't say as much in words, she hoped that her tone would impart her opinion about just how extraordinary the arrangement was, and how little she would stray from the Code for their benefit.

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #4
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

As Thea materialized next to her, Azrin’s whole face lit up with delight. Arguably, it didn’t look different than a normal holomatrix forming, holoprojectors around the room activating and specks of light dancing into place as the humanoid shaped force field was created and light projected inside. But this wasn’t someone running a program. This was a program running itself.

Some abstract part in the back of her brain did register that Thea’s interface was beautiful - by Trill standards anyway, she couldn’t speak for others - and that the interface was clothed in a way that left nothing to the imagination - though technically there was nothing underneath but light, so it was all imagination. However, as a string of former lovers could attest to, Azrin had always prioritized tech over sexual attraction. So she was far more interested in how Thea thought of the interface, rather than her silly organic body’s reaction to it. Was this the exact same interface as originally programmed, or had it been modified to Thea’s tastes? Did Thea even have tastes? Why waste the time making the interface at all when she was the ship? She had speakers for talking. Sensors for seeing. Consoles for interacting. Was this another code artifact to make the crew comfortable, or a deliberate choice?

Excited as she was, Azrin had quite forgotten that Corgin was there for a moment, focused entirely on Thea. When the Savi barged her way back into the conversation, lordly and contentious as ever, the engineer didn’t truly register who was talking. Thankfully, Corgin continued on before Azrin could respond to her first question, a blithe unthinking ‘No’ dying on her lips. Humorous as she often was, today really wasn’t the day for it. To top it all off, she desperately wanted to ask if the Savi even possessed the ability to laugh, spending the whole rest of Corgin’s tirade imagining that little mouth thrown as wide as possible for a small chuckle to escape. It was a discriminatory thought, something that seemed to happen a lot when the Savi were concerned, and it elicited a feeling of guilt that firmly planted Azrin back in the present. Rude as they were, it didn’t give her permission to let her imagination respond in kind.

Having Thea here, the person on the ship she’d been the most desperate to meet, had done wonders for Azrin’s mood. The AI backup made her feel like she could build her own slipstream drive from scratch - but she wasn’t about to tell Corgin that.

“Ok,” she replied, doing her best to take the vehement rejection in stride. It didn’t make much sense to her, since there was already information on the drive system in their computers - there had to be for it to function. And Thea would remember all of this in perfect detail, though maybe they trusted the protections on the AI’s dedicated memory banks more than the auxiliary cores where the crew stored information. Either way, it wasn’t a point worth arguing.

“It’s not about learning how to build a new one. We’re not allowed to do that, I get it. I’m not trying to.” Despite how much she desperately wanted to. “We can’t do that anyway, even if I understand the theory behind how it works perfectly. I’ve been poking around inside, and there are components that we couldn’t even begin to fabricate. But the thing is, putting an extensive new system like this in a starship is always a touchy process. And it’s downright dangerous if I don’t know how it works. A starship is a delicate ecosyst-” Azrin stopped abruptly, grinning at Thea as inspiration struck, “No, it’s like anatomy!” The ship was her body, after all. “Every system has to be balanced, to keep it all in - oh what’s that word, Dezra loved using it - homeostasis. I need to understand how the slipstream drive works, so I can predict how it can affect every system we’ve tied it into. Or how other systems affect it. When there’s damage to the warp core, I know where to look for indicators of cascading effects.”

Azrin stopped before she went too far with her metaphor and took a breath, remembering her earlier resolution to be polite. “Can I ask some questions now, please? We’ve already been working on our end to make the QSD smoother. There has to be some balance that adheres to your rules and keeps Thea safe.”

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #5
[ Decatria Corgin | Somewhere Close to Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae  
Suppressing a loud sigh, and refraining to voice her regret about not spending her precious time conducting research for the war effort instead, Corgin acquiesced to the situation she faced - in which she would be indulging the primates. Helping them understand something that was entirely beyond their comprehension. And exercise in futility, one might think, but she did take pride in her ability to teach, since she had been the most esteemed Decataria aboard the Erudite before the war. She'd taught the young Savi in many fields, making them understand the scientific method to which they all would abide. What she regretted about those years were that her teachings in the doctrines of the Code had all been false - built upon the Scion Directive's corrupted version.

That was the reason why she had stepped forth when the war began. She had spread the lies of the Scions, warped the minds of so many Antecedents, and now was her time to undo all the harm she had done. Yet now, instead of aiding the frontlines with possible contingencies and deliberate, calculated strikes against weak points in the Flotilla... she was going to teach the primates how to to roll the wheel they had been given without hurting their feet.

"Very well," she said evenly, blinking slowly - patiently - before putting her hands on her hips and raising her chin. "Under the conditions which I have stated, ask your questions."

Instead of the Trill posing the first question, the A.I. spoke up, eyebrows raised in query. "Currently, in order for my crew to use the drive, I have to be assembled in my Standard Operation Mode. Correct?"

"Yes," Corgin said as patiently as she could. If this was the level of intelligence shown by an artificial being with 47 million data channels and running 575 trillion calculations by the second, she could but guess how asinine the questions from the organic Trill would be. "The substandard power output of all three warp cores aboard are required in order to utilise the drive. A ZPE reactor of Savi design would have been ideal in order to let the drive run optimally, but that technology is not a part of the terms of our alliance. Therefore, the power profile of this drive has been modified in order to use what the three warp cores can generate. I am surprised you have to ask this question. You should already be familiar with this information."

"Aye, I am," Thea said with a lopsided smile, remaining standing next to the Trill with her arms crossed. "Yet you just said 'ideally'. Does this mean that if my saucer section was decoupled from my other two hulls, would the drive automatically compensate for the drop in power output from the loss of one warp core?"

"Yes," Corgin said, wishing that she had an graviton pistol so that she might shoot herself in the head and end her misery. "As I said, your slipstream drive was calibrated to utilise lower than required power output, and it would have been a poor solution to not make it adaptive considering the errant power fluctuation inherent to your archaic technology. If one warp core would fail, for some reason, the drive will compensate by lowering the possible graviton projection time - severely limiting the distance travelled relative to available power. Compared to a Savi ship, your graviton projection time is already low, and the required cool-down cycle will be higher. Moreover, the integrity of the benamite crystals would be further compromised by such low power levels."

"I understand," Thea said, tilting her head a little, "but with this in mind, I suppose the limiting factor of using the drive with only Vectors 2 and 3 is that the slipstream initiators are mounted on my saucer section?"

"Yes, you will still need to be fully assembled in order to use merely two drives, inadvisable as it is." Corgin shook her head, not the least impressed with how the line of questioning was going, since it seemed even the A.I. wanted to test the limits of the systems. "Furthermore, using only one warp core would hardly generate any graviton projection time, and the complete loss of the installed benamite crystals would be guaranteed."

Thea then looked towards the Trill next to her. "Perhaps it might be a good idea to mount additional initiators on my secondary hull? This, in case of emergency use of the drive when my saucer section has either been damaged, or been decoupled from the rest of me."

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #6
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Unfortunately for Corgin, Azrin was not one to accept that something was beyond her comprehension. Sure, they hadn’t figured out the mysteries behind this drive system yet – but that was merely a challenge. If people simply accepted something was impossible, then they would never accomplish anything.

She beamed at the Savi as the Decatria reluctantly gave permission for questions, letting her own excitement makeup for Corgin’s obvious lack of it. Azrin hoped that her words had moved her, at least a little bit. A tiny, infinitesimal… Corgin was probably just bowing to the inevitable, but Azrin liked the fairy tale better. Her silent expressions of gratitude turned into something more akin to surprise when Thea spoke up first, turning her head to look at the AI.

Personally, Azrin was delighted – and fascinated – that Thea had her own questions. Professionally, she did not like the idea of running the slipstream drive without all three vectors together. Apparently she and Corgin finally agreed on something, which felt ironic to the Trill. It was a concept that Azrin had considered a few days ago when she’d first started getting acquainted with the slipstream drive. However, upon realizing the extent of its power draw, she’d spent the following days working to get more power to the drive instead. She was already slated to spend the afternoon crawling through another section of jefferies tubes to work on the EPS grid, part of her and Lieutenant Chamber’s plans to wring every speck of power they could out of the ship. “That’ll wreck our benamite,” Azrin commented, just as Corgin brought it up too. “The cool-down issue is more a question of time and strategy, but those crystals are rare. We’ve been working on ways to preserve them for longer.”

Saying it out loud seemed to spur her into motion, the redhead moving to the drive and pointing them towards an obvious Starfleet designed add-on covering where the crystals were housed. “Reclamation and recrystalization, gathering up the particles as they break off and putting them back together.” The real details and a scientific explanation of the process was on one of the PADDs – separating usable benamite from the waste molecules, power consumption, studies on benamite’s crystalline structure – but Azrin didn’t think lecturing Corgin would achieve anything but further annoying the Savi. If she was as smart as she seemed to think she was, then she’d figure out what they were attempting. “We’ve also considered dropping out of slipstream early, instead of pushing it to the last second, since the benamite decay is worse at the end. We won’t go as far, but the cool down time will be shortened too. And we’ll get more jumps out of a crystal. Hopefully.”

“Long story short, I don’t suppose you have any ideas on how to preserve the crystals better? Technically, since your power output means you don’t even have a benamite problem, helping us out won’t be giving away any Savi tech secrets?” Azrin tacked the last bit on hopefully, a smile peeking back out as she found this little loophole. Rather than look at Corgin’s glare as the Savi surely said no, Azrin turned back to Thea instead.

“We can put initiators on the other hulls,” Azrin nodded towards Thea in acceptance of the AI’s idea, mentally running through a list of what that would entail. Install, adding them into the already defined programs that would activate and deactivate them based on the ship’s configuration, and they’d probably want to stress test the hulls too. Every vector had been built to travel at warp independently, which was a good sign, but slipstream velocity was a different kind of stress. She’d ask Lieutenant Arnold to look into it. It would be really embarrassing if the ship got crushed while a structural engineer was the chief.

“I’d really rather not use the drive that way though.” And not just for the crystals. Thea was way too calm about leaving parts of the ship - of herself - behind. Azrin found the idea of leaving anyone behind distressing.

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #7
[ Decatria Corgin | Somewhere Close to Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae  
When the Trill specimen asked her if she knew of ways to preserve benamite crystals, Corgin had to acquiesce the fact that the engineer was putting effort and attention towards tasks that were actually beneficial for the suboptimal conditions of the ship's drive systems. She inclined her head slowly, catching herself using a gesture that she'd adopted when teaching the young of the Savi when they had preformed beyond expectations. While her students had learned what it meant, she doubted that thee A.I. or the Trill would have recognised the idle nod as a sign of approval. Corgin knew that her mannerisms had become second nature after having served as Decataria on the Erudite for such a long time, but it surprised her that she had fallen into the role again even when dealing with primates. And a construct of said primates, she added in her thoughts before answering.

"Given that the power output of our ZPE drives render the need for recrystallisation efforts more or less redundant, it is not a priority field or research for us," she said, not in dismissal but frustrated patience at the fact that she had to explain something she believed obvious, "and the access to such material is even less of a concern given the alacrity at which we can move across the Galaxy and gather materials we need. Furthermore, your universal translator render yet another clue as to why crystal reclamation isn't a priority. The syllables of our word 'Savi' are two words, that when translated means 'the Savant' or 'the Vigilant of Sa' in your language. We have studied and catalogued the Galaxy for fourteen thousand years, so it should be of little surprise to you that we know where to collect benamite whenever we need to replenish the storages of the Flotilla."

Corgin sighed, however, and knew that the mining locations of Benamite crystals were not a part of the agreement with the Theurgy, so she supposed she could give the Starfleet contraption on the QSD drive a closer look beyond the initial scans her Savi delegation had made. The add-on device had been deemed safe to the drive tech, but Corgin hadn't looked at the machine herself. So, with serene steps, she approached the reclamation unit and raised her arm to scan it with her wrist-mounted data tablet. With a couple of taps on the display, the holographic readings hovered in the air in front of her.

"Crude," she said, shaking her head as if looking at a toy cobbled together with wood and steel wires, "but as effective as can be expected, given the means at your disposal and the time constraints of your mission. No redundancies, which is a laudable trait given the straight-forward purpose. To an extent, you have kept in mind the basics... but you have failed to optimise the result to the extent which you should be able. Recrystallization always involve dissolving the solute - the benamite in this case - to be purified in an appropriate hot solvent. As the solvent cools, the solution becomes saturated with the solute and the solute crystallizes out. Food for thought, Trill. Is the heating solvent appropriate for the material? You have better options at your disposal."

She lowered her data tablet and said naught further, however, since it was better if the primate learned how to improve upon the device herself rather than being hand-fed the answers. If she were to consider the Trill a student, even in passing, then she would give her the opportunity to think for herself and grow. Corgin turned to face the two women again - even though one of them only had the appearance of one.

"If you are to install slipstream initiators on the secondary hull of this ship," she said, addressing the idea that the A.I. had put forth, with a derisive tone, "the Trill speaks the truth. Your crystals will deteriorate by the lacking power output of two warp drives. My people are at war, and I am very familiar with the tactical benefits of emergency usage, but it should be considered a final option. As for shorter jumps, Lieutenant Ryn..."

Corgin turned her black eyes in the Trill's direction again. "The factors you are not considering is frequency and the effects of initiation. You will find that frequent usage also amount to benamite deterioration, regardless duration. Simply put, non-utilised crystals last longer than such that are utilised. This ship has yet to use its QSD drive to the extent which effects on the crystals can be measured long-term, but I am confident that you will find that it is not so simple as to make shorter flights. Your notion, that it would not amount to crystal deterioration because of shorter flight duration is perhaps not inane... but a result of wishful thinking. If I were to venture a guess, your excitement about this technology might be overshadowing your critical thinking. Your lack of objectiveness might one day put this crew, and my Savi delegation, in peril. So, I advise you to pace yourself, for all our sakes."

Corgin realised, when she fell quiet, that her chastisement had been rendered in less of an abrasive tone than she had intended. Why wasn't she promising to report the Trill to her superior officers for a lack of professionalism? Why not call her out on her well-intended but dangerous propositions? Why was she actually rendering advise?

I have been on this ship for far too long, she realised bitterly, seeing these primates as promising students rather than the animals they are.

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #8
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

With a sinking feeling in her heart, Azrin couldn’t help a small sigh escaping her lips as Corgin explained what they all already knew — the Savi didn’t share the Theurgy’s benamite problem. And while Mathiz Ryn might have found the lesson on Savi vocabulary interesting, the current Trill host was left to bemoan the fact that they clearly didn’t have a word for ‘loophole.’ And Azrin had been so excited to find one too. “I know you guys don’t have this problem. Your benamite lasts longer, you can easily find more, etc etc.” Azrin shot Thea a look that clearly asked for help explaining. “So if you have any ideas, based on your knowledge of benamite and how it would be affected by a slipstream drive with a lower power draw, you wouldn’t be giving away any technological secrets. Just putting a big brain to work helping out an ally.” She had meant it as a compliment, then abruptly realized it might be misconstrued as an insult, given the proportions of Corgin’s head to the rest of her body. That was followed by a moment of mental abstract geometry, because maybe it was the lack of hair that made her head look bigger, or the eyes, or… she was doing it again wasn’t she? After promising herself she’d be more open minded towards the Savi too.

Thankfully, Corgin was heading towards the drive instead, leaving Azrin to follow along hopefully, more like an overeager puppy than anything. She wasn’t even made when Corgin insulted the reclamation system, because at least she was scanning it. And she couldn’t give a straight forward answer, because that would be too helpful, but Azrin would take what she could get. “Better solvent,” she mused, her tone making it evident that she was talking to herself. The engineer had a few guesses, but she wasn’t a chemist. However, she knew where she could find a whole room full of them. After they’d removed the old fractured crystals from the slipstream drive, Azrin had kept them safe in containment units, waiting for a plan before doling them out to the science teams. This seemed like a good time for it. “I know a bunch of chemists upstairs,” she did not know a single chemist on this ship at the moment, but Azrin wasn’t about to let that dull her growing enthusiasm, “who will be all over this challenge.” A hot solvent. Shouldn’t take too long to narrow that down. Hopefully the chemists already knew how not forthcoming the Savi were when it came to this stuff.

She swore that Corgin could tell whenever Azrin was mildly excited, because her next words seemed designed to take the wind out of the Trill’s sails yet again. Killjoy. And Scruffy was going to be so sad when he heard that his carefully calculated model wasn’t right either. Azrin could have lived with that. Considering the pathetically small sample size of slipstream jumps they were pulling from — two wasn’t even a party — she wasn’t even surprised by it. But when Corgin continued on to accuse her of endangering the ship, the redhead recoiled as though the Savi had reached out and slapped her. That wasn’t— how could she— “Then what am I supposed to do?” All of her careful planning for this meeting was instantly thrown out the airlock, the words released with every bit of pain that came from waking up after six months of stasis and discovering most everyone she knew was dead. Maybe some other departments had faired better, but engineering had been like a revolving door. And sure, the slipstream drive was a beautiful and wondrous piece of technology and she preferred to think of it that way. But there was also that place in her mind where she’d rather not look, a plain wall covered in the names of the dead, an icy touch that had kept her awake from days on end now. Azrin was an engineer. The only thing she could do to protect her new friends was ensure the ship worked. That included the new drive system that let them run faster than ever before.

“You guys won’t tell us anything, so we have to make assumptions based off the few times we’ve been able to use it. My original plan was to have multiple test flights, but obviously we can’t do that because we don’t have enough benamite. Not using the crystals will make them last longer- sure! But ships are meant to fly, not sit around in bottles looking pretty. I said that there’s a higher rate of benamite decay near the end of a jump, not that all the decay happens there. The crystals worked for two jumps last time. We go fifty light years instead of sixty each time and avoid the exponential decay at the end. If we get a third jump that’s only twenty-five light years, then that’s five more than we were able to go before. It’s not like we can test it and there’s still the cool-down time to consider, but if it works at least we’ll have options! We're trying to find a way to make it last longer, not forever.”

“I am not endangering the ship,” she finished quietly, almost daring Corgin to disagree. “That’s why we run ideas by you first.”

OOC: Sacrificing an opportunity to impress Corgin because I know @Elyria wants to play. It would have been short lived due to the following emotional outburst anyway. If only Azrin knew how close to being a promising student she was lol

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #9
[ Decatria Corgin | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae  
The silence that followed the Trill's outburst lay thick over Main Engineering, and some officers in the background had paused to look at the three figures close to the QSD. Corgin did not glance their way, instead staring at the spotted primate in front of her with unblinking black eyes. The A.I. projection remained steadfast as well, staring back at Corgin just as defiantly as the Trill had been when she let her guard down and spoke her mind. When Corgin spoke, she had lowered her voice to make her point undermine the emotional barrage - as if pointing out how she was out of line - but when she heard her own words...

...she realised that she held some empathy for the needs of the Theurgy crew.

"Listen to yourself, Lieutenant Ryn," she said, her chin raised and having folded her hands behind her back. "You say ships are meant to fly, and not sit around. Tell me, how did your species leave your planet? How did the Federation expand to where it is today? How did the Theurgy reach the Azure Nebula, prior to encountering my species? You used a method of propulsion. Warp technology, which served as the the primary means of flight. Your ships were custom built to support that means of faster-than-light propulsion, and warp technology still remains the primary means of long-distance travel for the Theurgy. As much as you admire our technology..."

Corgin indicated the quantum slipstream drive next to them with a subtle gesture. "...the Theurgy was not built to sustain it to the degree you want her to."

Had she just given the A.I. construct a female pronoun? No, it was the Federation translation that feminised starships. That was all.

"You are implying that the QSD ought to be a last resort," that A.I. said, folding her arms underneath her chest, "and that my warp flight should still be the primary means of propulsion. So you are advising to be conservative about the usage, even when I am fully assembled?"

"Yes," Corgin said, looking between the A.I. projection and the Trill while she continued, telling them something they mightn't know. "The Savi of the Old Code realised that the threat to this ship was higher unless you were able to match the propulsion speeds of the opposing side of the Flotilla, led by the Scion High Council. Our enemy are yours, the Scions in power being Infested, but the simulations were run prior to offering this technology to you. Your best rate of survival was estimated to restricted usage of this technology, and allowing the Voice and our rebel forces to act as both a barricade and a distraction to keep the hostile half of the Flotilla away from you. The simulations told us that as reckless as your behaviour was observed to be, and given the limitations of your warp drives, we were to restrain you, and warn you about meddling with technology that isn't yours. So, consider yourselves warned."

Thea was silent for just two seconds, before pursing her lips and giving a retort. "Based on my observations, having run the analysis... I think the Savi may be underestimating my crew. Surprises usually come from misjudging people for being less than they appear."

Corgin was curious about that answer, but she held greater faith in her own people's simulations. She began to walk away. "By definition, risk takers often fail. With no grasp on what the risks are, morons do the same." They had reached an impasse, one for which she saw no compromise, and she had higher priority duties to attend to. "In practice, it's difficult to sort them apart, rendering it a moot exercise. Failure is eventually guaranteed. One can only mitigate the damage by being pre-emptive about what tools you give them."

She would leave then, unless the Trill halted her steps.

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #10
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

The silence that followed was heavy and horribly awkward, but the worst of all was Corgin’s black eyes. Expressionless, the Savi had stared at Azrin for far longer than necessary. As much as she would have preferred to remain steadfast and defiant, the trill found herself fidgeting under that intense scrutiny, alarms going off in her head at the belated realization that she’d gone too far this time. Like she’d ever get anything besides a negative response to an emotional outburst. When Corgin did finally speak, her words were every bit as condescending as Azrin had dreaded, still treating the Theurgy engineers like a group of schoolchildren punching above their weight. For her part, Azrin had an irrational urge to hide behind Thea. Or dissolve into the deck plating.

Thankfully for the ship’s reputation, the AI didn’t seem in the least bit cowed. For the life of her, Azrin couldn’t seem to find any words, her tongue weighted in her mouth as though it had been suddenly replaced with lead. So she let Thea do the talking instead. She’d expected the conversation to be something technical, or at least more quantitative, given the natures of the two speakers. Therefore, she was surprised to hear Thea stand up for the crew in a very heartwarming fashion. Corgin didn’t take it to heart, but Azrin certainly did, completely forgetting the Savi for a moment to turn wide, appreciative eyes on Thea. It was more than enough to make her feel brave again. She liked the idea that there was observational analysis somewhere that could prove exactly why the Savi were wrong about them.

“Well, we could always be worse.” Azrin called after the retreating Savi, pitching her voice up sightly to be heard. Everyone down here was already listening anyway. “We could reach a technological plateau, so assured in our superior technology that we never push any limits again. If that was the case, we would have died out years ago, meandering along at warp one.” Then she set off after Corgin, because she couldn’t call Azrin, Starfleet, and basically their entire culture morons and get to just walk away afterwards. “Or better yet, sublight engines! Or those massive combustion rockets that civilizations normally start with to break orbit.”

“I am listening to myself. You’re the one who’s not listening.” Despite her words, her movements weren’t at all assertive, a scramble to get in front of Corgin to keep her from completing her exit. Her pulse was racing and she could feel beads of sweat on the back of her neck, but Azrin had found her voice again. She didn't dare stop and give Corgin time to break her argument down again. “Sure, warp is the standard of propulsion for the Federation and we’re still going to use it most of the time. But it’s not fast enough anymore. You guys proved that when you decided it was necessary to give us something faster. It’s not like that’s a new, shocking idea either. Starfleet has spent years looking for something faster. I’m trying to be conservative about the usage, but once we make it to the last resort technology, the ship typically isn’t running at optimal levels! When you’re being chased by people who are bigger, faster, and more powerful, you have to take a risk, or death is guaranteed. Testing the limits of any system is what gives us the best chance of survival, because then we have options on how to use it.”

Azrin crossed her arms under her chest, an unconscious mimic of Thea’s earlier movement. “We don’t blindly trust simulations — yours or ours. We test them. You can either help us test them and possibly prove yourselves right, or don’t help and walk away. Then one day we’ll be backed into a corner and out of options, so we’ll try some untested idea out anyway, because a small chance of success is better than nothing. If we die due to a problem you could have easily solved, I hope it at least weighs on your conscious a little bit.”

Then she stepped out of Savi’s way. “Now you can leave, if you want.” Azrin felt her heart sink even as she offered the ultimatum, because she knew Corgin was going to take it. It wasn’t like any of her words had made an impact before, why would now be any different?

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #11
[ USS Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ][/b] Attn: @rae  
Watching Azrin Ryn stand up for herself and her fellow crew, Thea found herself smiling where she stood - observing the Trill as she did from her vantage point next to the quantum slipstream drive. The engineer had caught up to the Savi and faced her, and hearing the ultimatum, Thea covered her mouth in amusement - foreseeing that the ploy might actually have its intended effect. Then again, judging by her calculations of probability, the Decataria would either not accept the premise, or aid in the manner she ought to given that it was in the best interest for her people.

"Your theory has already been tested, Lieutenant," Corgyn said, reverting to the key argument in how she and Scruffy thought that shortening the duration of QSD use would wear less on the crystals. "Theory provides the maps that turn an uncoordinated set of experiments or computer simulations into a cumulative exploration. You propose exploration of technology which you don't understand well enough, but the Savi does, and have drawn a false conclusion that there are improvements to make in the end period of QSD usage. Meanwhile, your diagnostics have failed to detect that it is the initiation of the drive that wears the most on the crystals, in the phase where the drive is activated, and secondary to that, the duration of use does indeed cause benamite decay."

With a few taps on her wrist tablet, Corgyn activated a graph, showing the benamite decay as per Savi calculations. [Show/Hide]
"The data  is clear, your warp drives allow for safe usage, but not for the kind of durations that Savi ZPE drives does. The simulations and the exploration of theoretical application were conducted prior to installation aboard this ship, yet you still wish to challenge those, even when your knowledge is inferior. Without replacing your warp cores for something else, you cannot prevent benamite decay if you elevate use frequency. Be happy with what you've got, Lieutenant, because frankly, it is more than what you primates deserve."

The Savi woman folded her long-fingered hands behind her back and raised her chin at the Trill. "And if either of you tamper with the drive in a manner beyond our specific instructions, and thus endanger the intel asset and my delegation, I promise this. I will report it to the Voice, and recommend this brittle alliance ends. I don't have to tell you why you do not want us as your enemy again." Corgyn turned off the holographic graph above her wrist and started walking again. "If you will excuse me, I have a war effort to support, which also - by keeping them on the defensive - includes protecting this ship from the Scion High Council."

Thea cleared her throat a little from where she stood, beckoning for Ryn's attention, and walked towards the Lieutenant.

"Well, that wasn't very surprising, based on my observations, but it needed to be said." Thea put her hands on her hips and looked at the drive. "I do believe I detected a hint of praise towards the efforts of recrystalising benamite, as far as praise ever goes with the Savi. My recommendation would be to focus efforts on making sure we have crystals to support the mission, including means to recycle such that have been used once. If an ideal solvent can be found, perhaps there are means to increase usage ratio?"

Looking back at the Trill, Thea gave her a warm smile. "Well done in standing up for me and your fellow crew."

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #12
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Azrin had to fight back a groan the moment Corgin started talking, the very tone of which made it apparent that her gambit hadn’t paid off. She had a number of responses on the tip of her tongue, starting with questioning how they were supposed to understand a technology if they didn’t get to experiment with it, but she was distracted by the graph presented to them. Even though it was meant to shoot them down, they had somehow stumbled onto a helpful piece of information. Rude as she was being about it, Corgin was correct, the graph didn’t match what the Starfleet sensors had reported. Though she didn’t seem inclined to share the graph, so Azrin did her best to memorize it in the few moments she had it in sight.

Then the insults, always back to the insults. Azrin did her best to emulate Mathiz’s ability to stand in a bubble of serenity while a political opponent hurled accusations at him, but Ryn’s former host was long since dead and frankly, she was about as different from him as it was possible to be. Instead, she looked – and felt – more like a chastened teenager, standing in abject misery during a lecture after she’d been caught messing with the warp core again.

Any arguments she might have had died in her throat as Corgin offered her own ultimatum. A far more effective one, which left the engineer shock still and wide eyed. The Savi would take their drive and leave, just for the crime of asking questions? For looking for alternative ways to use it? The threat hanging tangibly in the air between them, Azrin stepped back again, letting Corgin leave without another word in protest. Like a good little primate.

Thea, who was truly living up to Azrin’s mental image of her as the greatest AI ever, seemed to be doing her best to cheer the trill back up. Azrin managed a weak smile in response as she trudged back over to the slipstream drive, but it didn’t banish the worry in her eyes. “I know, I know. I never said I wasn’t going to do that, but I really do need Asra or a chemist to pitch in. I’d never even seen benamite until a week ago, I don’t know it like I know dilithium. Yet.” Azrin was confident in her ability to build anything, but she was an engineer, not a chemist. They didn’t have enough benamite to spare for all the trial and error it would take her on her own. Once they had the solvent she could work it into the reclamation system, but finding it was going to take a trip upstairs.

At the moment, she wasn’t feeling warmly enough towards Corgin to acknowledge the momentary praise she may or may not have received. Once she’d started talking, it was easier for her frustrations to burst out. “Reduce the decay. Reduce! I never said anything about preventing it entirely! Or using the drive for as long as the Savi do – which would be awesome but obviously we can’t do that.” Azrin sighed, shifting through her little stack of PADDs until she found the one detailing the reclamation system.

“Scruffy is going to be so sad when I explain that graph to him. I was hoping to get multiple options out of this. At least multiple starting points for experiments. But I wrecked it!” She dared look over at Thea then, blue eyes peaking out beneath red brows, certain she was going to see confirmation of her statement on the holographic avatar’s face. “They’re going to take it away if we do anything to it at all!”

Corgin had accused her of it earlier, but… “I think I really did put the ship in more danger now.”

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #13
[ USS Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ][/b] Attn: @rae  
Though while Azrin may have thought she'd get confirmation to her statement about having wrecked things, Thea's warm smile remained and she took a couple of steps closer, putting her hand on the engineers shoulder.

"Hey, hey, don't fret," she said, basing her own opinion on her experiences with the Savi. The delegation had been aboard the Theurgy since the middle of the Aldea refit, so she was fairly confident in her behavioural analysis of the delegation members and the Savi rebels in general. "It is not Decataria Corgin that decides whether or not the alliance between the Theurgy crew and the Savi continues or not, so while she may have little patience with us and wants to devote her time to their war efforts rather than indulging our curiosity, it doesn't mean you've actually endangered the crew. She simply doesn't trust us to improve upon technology that we don't understand, and while she may have a fair point in that, the Savi rebels now follow the Old Code."

Given that Lieutenant Ryn was recently out of stasis, Thea made the assumption that she hadn't had time to study the available facts of the different iterations of the Savi Code, so she gestured towards the door. "Shall we take a little walk?"

Leading the way out of Engineering and out of eyeshot of Ryn's subordinates in Main Engineering, Thea folded her hands behind her back and began to explain why the Lieutenant's fears were - perhaps not unfounded - but wildly exaggerated given the unknown context of the Savi Civil War. "As you may have read in the mission logs, a number of Theurgy crewmembers were abducted by the Savi prior to the battle in the Azure Nebula. The abductees, with the help from a Savi named Echtand qi Versant - also known as the Voice - managed to escape their labs aboard the Versant and helped the Voice mutiny against the Scion Admiral that was in command of the ship. The Scions, similar to the Augments in how they were enhanced, were the ruling caste of the Savi, and with their extended lifespan, they manipulated the original Savi - also called the Antecedents - into becoming the equivalent of ignorant slaves by making them follow gradually changing Savi laws - called the Code. The Voice, with the help from the Theurgy abductees, learned what the Scions had done to the Code, and therefore ignited the mutiny on the Versant and rebellion of the Antecedents in the entire Savi Flotilla. There are some Antecendents whom still believe in the altered Code instead of the Old Code, but those we are in alliance with do not."

Next, Thea went on to explain the significance between the two versions of the Code, and she did so while they walked the corridor. "The altered Code supplement the Scion Directive, which prioritises the implementation of the Scion genes in their population. While all Savi have been devoted to scientific pursuits, and studied other species long before most galactic factions knew about extra terrestrial civilisations, the Scion Directive and the gradual changes to the Code made them loose their moral compass, and they began to abduct other species for their experiments. The Savi that obey the Scion High Council still follow that altered Code." Turning an intersection, Thea shifted the focal point of her explanation to the other iteration of the Savi legislation.

"The Old Code is - from my observations and the data collected on our allies - far more humane in its core principles. They even have a form of Prime Directive, in that they are not to involve themselves in the affairs of other species, the exception being the current civil war they are having, pushing them to the desperate measures in which they need the intel Doctor Nicander can give them on the Savi High Council's plans. As... ahem, arrogant as the Decataria might seem, the Voice lead Savi that are more benevolent, devoted to science still, but not in the ruthless manner that the altered Code enforced. So, why am I saying this?"

Thea came to a stop and turned to Ryn, her smile returning as she looked at the engineer. "Her threat of telling the Voice might be real, but based on what I have observed - being one of the abductees that helped him aboard the Versant - I do not think Echtand qi Versant will try to destroy the Theurgy just because we are curious. We might, however, want to keep the Decataria happy and not try to improve upon the Savi technology that they've helped install, and which we know too little about to second-guess their engineers. More importantly, I think we need to know better how to maintain the systems without their direct aid."

Looking back in the direction from whence they'd come, Thea sighed, not seeing many options. "As for the benamite erosion rate graph... it tells us the drive is best fit for infrequent usage, and until your reclamation system is optimised, strictly for when we have benamite crystals to spare."

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #14
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

She’d expected to see a lot of things on the AI’s face. Pity, shame, even anger. All the emotions Azrin was currently using to beat herself up with, she’d expected to see reflected back at her. Therefore, she was surprised to see Thea smiling, and by the time the hand came to rest on her shoulder, she had the trill’s full attention. The weight of the hand felt delightfully real. Though completely normal for holograms these days, at the moment Azrin was wildly fascinated with that fact.

“They perfected it for their ships.” There was still a hint of defiance left in her, though it was directed at the now absent Corgin. “All they did for ours was run a few simulations.” The argument had long run it’s course though, Azrin finally losing steam after that final grumble. With a last, wistful look towards the slipsteam drive, the nodded and followed Thea out of the room. She actively avoided any kind of sulking, so any offered lifeline was welcome.

Once they were in the corridor, Azrin listened quietly to the short, recent history of the Savi. She had not read those mission logs, having instead decided to delve into the deep details of six months of engineering logs. Though belatedly, she was realizing that it might have been a good idea to study Corgin’s people, instead of the technology they’d provided. She mostly knew the rumors. Kidnappings and experiments, the kind of stories that went along with tall tales of children disappearing from their beds in the dead of night.

Sometime during the walk, Azrin’s hand wandered into her pocket, pulling out a stembolt. It was old and broken, yanked out during a morning repair, but her fingers always found their way into trouble without something to fiddle with. At the moment, the stembolt fit the bill, absently rolling it between her fingers.

“I had questions on how to maintain the systems,” she admitted once Thea was finished speaking. “But I never got to ask them. Maybe I should have asked those first.”  Her sigh mirrored the other woman’s. Azrin looked down, noticing the stembolt for the first time. She dropped it back in her pocket, crossing her arms under her chest in an attempt to keep them still. “We had theories based on the limited data we have. And I knew that wasn’t enough to go on. That’s why I asked! It’s not that we were wrong, but I didn’t think she’d be so against us having ideas at all.”

“It’s not that I’m planning on using the drive all the time – ok, I’d actually love to use the drive all the time – but I know that it’s not practical. It’s not like we gave up on impulse when we invented warp. Everything has its purpose. But at the same time, what Starfleet engineer hasn’t made some insane modification to the warp drive that its absolutely one hundred percent not spec’ed for as a last-ditch effort? It’s not even about improving on their stuff. We’d have to dismantle and rebuild the entire ship to-“ Azrin stopped talking abruptly, remembering who she was talking to and staring at Thea with her mouth open for a moment before blurting out, “Would that hurt? You. Dismantling… you.”

It took her a few minutes to gather her thoughts back up after that. “Having alternative ways to use a system isn’t a better way to use it, it’s just different. Coming up with theories – like using the drive without all three vectors – and asking about them now, actually keeps us safer. That’s a terribly inefficient way to use the system. But now I don’t have to pull a solution out of my ass if we get stuck without the top of the ship… which would be your head… this is a disgusting metaphor.” She was starting to giggle anyway. If the top was Thea’s head, then the bottom, the area that Azrin basically lived in, would be Thea’s…

“I just get really excited about things!” She said finally, completely changing the subject without warning, because maybe she did still have a few complaints left after all.

Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #15
[ USS Theurgy "Thea" NX-79854 | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ][/b] Attn: @rae  
At the sudden and impromptu question about whether or not it would 'hurt' to dismantle her, Thea couldn't help the sudden prompt from her emotion chip to laugh a little. It wouldn't be the first time she got that kind of question, but it had been so surprising that she could contain her reaction.

"No, it wouldn't," she said and folded her arms underneath her chest, cocking a hip while she explained. "See, my positronic brain in the main computer core is a stand-alone component that - while deeply integrated into the ship's systems when online - can be extracted. The Savi abducted me, like I said, tearing my brain out of the computer core and taking it aboard the Versant, which forced the crew to rely on the auxiliary Federation computers."

Thea gestured towards the corridor in general with one hand while she continued to explain. "As you likely know, each Vector has a stand-alone system that act as an extension of my master program, and should I be compromised - like at the aforementioned time - all three Vectors can still continue to operate without me. It wouldn't be safe for the crew to have to rely on a singular computer solution, and with that explanation, it may come to little surprise that I do not physically 'feel' damages done upon my hulls in the way your own nervous system might react to lesions. The three hulls are an extension of me, but they are not 'me' in the way your arm is a part of you. It's rather semantical than factual when I refer to the ship as 'me', when essentially... my identity is better allocated to my personality matrix than the platform that hosts it."

Nodding towards Ryn, referring to her body when she spoke, she continued with a timely comparison. "I know that the same cannot be said for organics, since your brains are deeply connected to the well-being of your bodies, so I understand why you asked me if I felt pain through my hulls. While my positronic brain operate all subservient systems aboard, an organic brain and your mood is sensitive to everything ranging from the chemical imbalances in your gut flora to the input from your hormonal systems. Your level of physical fitness and bodily health improve upon your state-of-mind in a way that would be dangerous to the crew if it worked the same way for me. Taken to the extreme, imagine if a hull breach or a an EPS overload would affect my functionality like a phaser wound or a stroke would affect yours?"

It was refreshing, the excitement that Ryn described, and it was rather contagious as well - making Thea chuckle.

"I think," she said after running a couple of simulations in her background processes, "the best you can do at this point is to write all of it down in a report to Lieutenant Arnold, so that he is made aware of the development with the Decataria and the misunderstandings that led to this situation. Given Corgin's attitude and unwillingness to cooperate, it might serve everyone better if the diplomatic relations were handled between Captain Ives and the Voice, whom have an established rapport already. I am sure that if the Voice tells her to lend more assistance with maintenance and drive upkeep, she will comply, and once we know how to maintain the drive ourselves, we will likely be at a point of elevated understanding that can help us make Federation tech-specific improvements and calibrations. If any improvements can be made, those could go through Ives and the Voice as well, leading to Corgin having to assist if so required."

With her suggestion made, Thea hoped she'd been able to improve the Lieutenant's mood a bit.

OOC: Thank you for your patience during this trying work-time of mine.


Re: Day 12 [1030 hrs.] A Study of Slips and Streams

Reply #16
[ Lt. JG Azrin Ryn | Main Engineering | Deck 25 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy ] Attn:
“I can imagine it,” Azrin replied earnestly. “That’s why I asked. It’s bad enough when the ship is damaged, but I’d feel really guilty if it hurt you too.” She hadn’t even considered the potential liability of Thea feeling pain and being overwhelmed by it. That probably should have been an engineer’s first concern, but it was hard to stay in a truly technical mindset when Thea’s avatar was standing right in front of her. A machine, but also wonderfully alive. Laughing even. The combination was clearly short circuiting Azrin’s brain. How delightful was that?

At the same time, she also wondered what else Thea couldn’t feel. Freed from pain, but how many other sensations was she deprived of as well? And what should the fact that they could remove her core from the Theurgy have to do with it? In Azrin’s mind, that made Thea like a trill symbiont, a separate lifeform that became part of the whole. Azrin was a host, and when she died Ryn would be transferred to another. But while they were joined, the symbiont felt everything she felt.

She was trying to think of a way to explain this to Thea without inadvertently insulting the AI. Azrin talked a lot, but she’d never considered herself to be elegant. Before she could figure out the words, Thea changed the subject back to the real problem at hand. Nothing like the mention of Corgin to sour what could be a great conversation about artificial intelligence and the meaning of life.

Thea’s solution was calm, logical, and by the book of Starfleet regulations. It was not as satisfying as talking Corgin around to being a helpful team player, but it also wasn’t as frightening as losing the slipstream drive entirely. It still felt like failure. Lieutenant Arnold had assigned her the slipstream drive, and part of that was dealing with the Savi who had created it. Passing the responsibility up – to the captain no less! – meant that she hadn’t done her job. “Even if we can’t make alterations to it with Starfleet tech, we still need to know enough for routine maintenance and repairs.” That was still nonnegotiable for Azrin. She’d fight Corgin forever on that. “What if it’s damaged and the Savi aren’t here to tell us how to fix it? It’s tied into all the warp cores, Utopia Planitia would have a fit if they knew how much power we were routing into one system. We would lose the whole ship if something goes wrong and we aren’t prepared to fix it!”

Her voice was getting louder again, and Azrin very noticeably stopped then, closing her eyes and taking a deep, measured breath. In. Out. In. Out.

“Sorry Thea. I should really stop complaining to you about this, writing a report and talking to Lieutenant Arnold is a much better idea. Should I already be doing that? What is Corgin is already talking to that Voice guy and he’s already talking to the Captain and—” The momentary calm was gone, her normal level of excess energy returned in full force, shifting her weight back and forth from one foot to another, fingers slipping back into her pocket for something else to fiddle with, and eyes shifting from Thea’s face to the door back to engineering.

“Yeah, I’m going to do that now,” she decided before Thea had a chance to respond. “Thanks for all the help, you should come every time I talk to Corgin – if she ever talks to me again.” Impulsively, Azrin hugged Thea, wrapping her arms around the hologram for a quick squeeze. A second later she was moving, heading back down the hallway to engineering. “You can come talk to Frank too if you want!”

Then she was through the door. The only sound that followed was another soft laugh from the AI, before Thea’s hologram disappeared.


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