S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Decision time

Posted on Monday February 1st, 2021 @ 15:59 hours by Mayterial Droz & Alexandria Farron & Lozen Nachtnebel & Kala Marika
Edited on on Monday February 1st, 2021 @ 15:59 hours

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Captain's Office
1555 words - 3.1 OF Standard Post Measure

Lo paused for a moment before stepping up to the office door. She heard the chime through the metal and she tried to calm herself. Truth was, she did not know May well enough yet to have a feel for how the older woman would take news of an illegal hologram being aboard. And Lo found that she really did worry about what might happen to Liliah. Whatever else, Lo knew that the true mission of Starfleet was to seek out new life, not ban and destroy it; Liliah deserved the chance to live, to be free of Hirral and the tendrils of a paranoid Starfleet. Would May see it that way, with her ship and livelihood at risk?

Mayterial looked up from her console, where she was preparing some of her contacts back on Betazed. It was always painful to return there, and she would've loved to avoid it, or just stay on one of the orbitals. She only really had one errand to run planetside, perhaps she'd just leave it at that. "Enter."

Lo entered at the call, the doors parting then closing behind her automatically. "Captain, I need to report something, um... that you might not like."

Taking in a deep breath Mayterial had to consciously force herself to not sigh loudly, "out with it then." With that she got up from her seat, pointed at the couch wanting Lozen to take a seat, taking a seat herself on the other end to make it a bit more comfortable for the both of them.

Lo told everything, as far as she knew it, standing at attention in the way she'd learned at the Academy. In a way, it felt like being home. "...and I don't know what level of sentience we're talking about for certain, but if she's modeled off of a real neural map then it could be the real deal." Lo hesitated for a moment, then said, "I asked Kala and Keith to join us."

"Alright... well, let's sit down then, as we wait for them, before you strain something." Mayterial motioned for the couch once more, "in the mean time, can I get you a drink?" She strode across the room to the only replicator outside of the messhall.

"I--" Lo sat, a little perplexed by the captain's carefree attitude. "Sure. A drink's fine." Not in Starfleet anymore, she reminded herself. It occurred to her that, perhaps, this wasn't news at all. She'd failed to consider this earlier, but what if May actually knew about Hirral's cargo, knew exactly what they were transporting. The thought brought a chill to Lo's heart. Maybe things around here are even more illegal than I'd thought.


Kala wasn't to far behind, she'd had to finish up a last minute systems check of one of the environmental control units in a cargo bay, and hadn't had time to change into a cleaner uniform. She'd at least not gotten too dirty, a few spots of dirt and her hair was in a ponytail but a bit messy. "Sorry I'm late. Environmental control unit was throwing an alarm in Bay 6."

"Another one?" Lo made a mental note to add additional replacement regulator chips to her order at their next stop, then had to pause as she reminded herself she might not even have a job by the time they reached their next stop. A lot rode on the coming discussion with their captain.

Alexandria followed Kala through the doorway, just squeezing through before the door fully closed behind the other woman. She lurked there in the background, unsure of whether or not to announce herself. She had a matter of critical importance to discuss with the captain, but with all the others already there it seemed she'd have to wait in line. Plus she didn't really want to discuss it in front of everyone. She wanted to ask... possibly beg for a pay advance. Privacy might be for the best, if the discussion didn't go her way.

For a moment the navigator went unnoticed. She could be quite sneaky and easy to miss even when she didn't mean to be, plus her sneakers made for quiet footsteps compared to the hard-soled boots some of the other crew wore. But then she saw it.... the deck plate. The one with the creaky corner. Alexandria couldn't resist the urge to prod at it with the toe of her sneaker.

"Alright then," Mayterial sighed, looking around the three women in front of her. Meghan would've laughed at the harem she seemed to be forming, "we have ourselves a problem in the cargobay," She faced Kala, "I hear you've been getting to know this Laylah a lot better, in your professional opinion, does she constitute a complex holographic interface or is it more likely that the technology is a neural net and this is an actual person we're talking to?"

Kala frowned. She understood the implications of her answer, perhaps more than most having studied the various types of AI and laws surrounding them, especially in recent years. "It is my opinion Captain, that she is a complex neural net, but not a soong type android and therefore under Federation Law she is a person. She meets the criteria of intelligence and self-awareness, she understood what she was, she understood who we were, but most importantly captain, she expressed fear, fear that her creator would destroy her, as he had done numerous times before in pursuit of his desire to make her a perfect copy of his deceased relative. She was afraid he would kill her if he found out."

Mayterial had been afraid that this was going to be the answer Kala would give, she turned to Alexandria, "how long until Betazed?" She had been dreading arriving there but if there was an illegal intelligence on board it was even worse than she had imagined, and somehow the answer Kala gave on the matter didn't truly ease her mind as to the fact that this Laylah was actually not an illegal AI under the new laws banning synths.

Alexandria wasn't surprised to hear about the problem in the cargo bay. There was always a problem in the cargo bay. But unfortunately her job wasn't to decide on what cargo to transport. Her job was to get them from A to B before the cargo could screw everything up. At least in this case, she may have succeeded.

"We're there. Sort of." Alexandria said, looking around shiftily, as if only now realizing there were things going on, and deciding whether she wanted to know about them. "Ten minutes until we drop out of warp. But there's a delay in logging new arrivals. Might be a couple of hours before we're allowed to proceed into the inner system." From what the navigator understood, the delay was due to increased inbound traffic due to FantasyCon and a handful of other popular events, combined with the usual tourist season.

"So who's Laylah?" Alexandria asked afterwards, having missed some of the discussion through mentally rehearsing her reason for being there.

"Laylah is an artificial intelligence that was brought along as part of the cargo. She is as best as I can tell, a sentient, self-aware, individual."

To Mayterial this was clear, even though the synthetic life ban probably wouldn't terminate the life of the Artificial Intelligence in their cargo, there had been stories of some of the more well-known examples in the Federation being taken into protective custody, "we need to make this box disappear from our cargo manifest," she looked at Lozen as she said that, "and I need us to take excruciatingly long to clear our customs check-in Betazed space," she looked at Alexandria as she said that. She finally turned to Kala, "this box, it needs to be kept in check, not kick up any shit."

She looked around the group hoping her orders had been clear to them, "meanwhile, I'll go talk to Hirral and convince him to simply step away from his life's work," she shrugged, "should be easy enough." That last statement dripping with sarcasm.

Alexandria did not look thrilled. She'd come looking for some extra funds for shoreleave, but she was getting extra work instead. Shady work... as if there were any other kind to be had on a ship like the Fawkes. This was not the first time Captain May had instructed her to engage in unlawful activity. This was assuming that obstructing and/or lying to customs officials was considered unlawful on Betazed. Was it even possible to lie to a Betazoid, even over short-range comms? Either way, the customs check would take excruciatingly long, because if the officials didn't believe her, the ship was going to get searched.

"Uh... okay." The navigator muttered in a disinterested tone before scurrying away. So far Captain May had had them hauling hallucinogenic drugs, stolen artifacts and cats. Sentient holograms was really not a surprising addition to that list.

Mayterial looked at Alexandria seemed to disappear from the room with very low energy and enthusiasm. It was clear that she needed to address that before they docked, she needed the navigator for their cargo runs after Betazed, and despite everything else Alex was a very capable navigator, "No time to waste people!"


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