S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Talking to a Ghost

Posted on Thursday April 15th, 2021 @ 18:30 hours by Mayterial Droz & Kala Marika

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Cargo bay 2, Deck 3, S.S. Fawkes
2095 words - 4.2 OF Standard Post Measure

Mayterial cautiously stepped into the cargo bay, looking to see if Kala was already inside, talking to the artificial intelligence like they had discussed earlier. She needed to know where they stood with that and whether they would be needing to hide her or find a way to offload her before the authorities had a chance to do a deep scan of all of their contents, "Miss Marika, are you there?" She called into the empty cargobay, the box in the middle, humming with activity, the top slightly opened allowing the device to project light out of it.

Kala was in the bay, just staying quiet as she watched the box, lost in thought, a small bottle in hand. It took her a minute to realize the voice she'd been hearing was May's, her captains. "I'm here yes. Sorry Captain." she said as Mayterial came closer, "Just trying to decide the best way to protect her." she said, motioning to the box. "Funny, I'd never have thought I'd be contemplating how to break the law to protect a sentient being from an immoral law. I joined Starfleet to seek out new life, now here I am faced with one, and the law says I have to hand her over to be killed, deleted like some unwanted file."

It didn't take Mayterial long to spot the bottle in Kala's hand, "Well, even the mighty Federation fucks up some times," she came closer and motioned for the bottle, "did you consider asking her? She might have some ideas from her time with Hirral, as he was bound to have her hidden from prying eyes from time to time as well.

Kala handed May the bottle, "I was going to get to that Captain, once I'd screwed up my courage to confront her about the fate that may await her. Telling somebody that they may only have hours to live is the job of a doctor or counsellor, not some random engineer on a freighter." She looked at May, "I signed up to handle cargo and maybe somebody run a warp core, not counsel a hologram."

Mayterial took a swig from the drink, she could immediately tell it wasn't amazing quality, "Once we get back to warp out of this backwater, hit me up for some good stuff," she took another sip before giving it back to Kala, "I know you didn't sign up for this, but sometimes we got to play the hand that was dealt to us, and Lo and yourself said that she seems to trust you," She looked at the Bajoran engineer taking another swig from the bottle, "So, have enough liquid courage in you to talk to this girl?" She wanted to make sure before throwing her new engineer off the deep end.

"No I did not. But I suppose it could be worse." She took the bottle back from May, placing it on a nearby cargo pallet. "I'd love to be able to just download her program into our computer, but I'm unsure if we have the storage capacity, and without holo emitters she'd be trapped in the computer." Kala went over to Liliah's box. "Let's talk to our freind." She tapped a few commands into the box. When Liliah materialized in the bay, she plastered the closest thing she could to a smile. "Liliah? Could we talk for a bit? We need your help."

Liliah looked around for a moment, back in her green dress and bare feet, the dark spots on her face-framing her caramel skin, "Of course, I'd love to help." She looked at Mayterial and frowned, taking a step back a bit, "I don't know you."

Mayterial shook her head, "No, you don't. I'm Mayterial Droz, the Captain of this vessel," she tried to stay neutral, trying to avoid the AI from freaking out, "I've had a talk with your father."

That sent a bit of a shock through Liliah's features, "Oh," She hung her head and started to get an idea of where this was headed, "I understand."

"I don't have a lot of time to explain everything because there's a sensor probe heading this way from Betazed," Mayterial added, to build up the pressure a bit, then looked at Kala, "Miss Marika over here has an idea to keep you undetected by the authorities." She looked over at the Bajoran engineer to spring the information on her.

Kala nodded, "What I'm hoping to do Liliah is to download you into the ship's computer system, and place your box in a place near the core where the subspace distortions will mask the signature of a dormant neural net. There's a lot I don't know, if you can fit, what will happen to you if you go dormant, if we can restore you later. I need to hide you, but if I can't download you, if hiding your box where I want to will damage the neural net enough, I can't promise you'll come out of this alive Liliah. And despite what your creator did to you, I don't want to kill you, the version standing before me."

"Oh. Hey. Is there maybe another way?" Liliah was immediately distressed, she backed away from the two, even though she knew they were near her neural net, "I mean, I might be more than just ones and zeros." She really seemed apprehensive about being uploaded to a 100-year-old Cardassian computer core.

Mayterial ran a hand through her hair, she wasn't all too eager about this plan either, but she also knew that the restrictions in place by the UFP would mean the neural net would get confiscated, and nobody knew what happened to those once they were stored at the Daystrom Institute, "I mean, ehm." She looked over at the engineer, clearly not at ease, "perhaps there's a way to store you in a transporter buffer?" She remembered way back when she was still on the Gemini that in a pinch once she had stored some of her wares in a transporter buffer. Sure those were illegal substances, but still.

Kala frowned, "Liliah, you are more then ones and zero's. Whatever we do, place you in the computer, hide you in a transporter buffer, I'm weighing the risks same as I would for a flesh and blood being." She looked to Mayterial, "I've never tried to store anything in a pattern buffer longer then a few minutes. I know how Capt. Scott did it years ago, and it sounds like you've done it before as well Captain. If you think that's going to work then let's do it, as long as Liliah understands the risks and agrees."

Liliah looked between the two women, the second plan seemed a lot less frightening. Transporters were used all the time to transport conscious beings from one place to the next, it wouldn't be different for her, even if she were just a neural net, "would you suspend my entire being, physical presence and all?"

Mayterial looked over at the box that held the neural net, they'd have to transport all of it, just like you would any other sentient being, "Yes, the whole shebang." She stepped closer to the thing, including the faraday cage the former engineer had built around it, "shouldn't bee too much of a problem."

"I'd find that more acceptable than being integrated with the aging computer systems of a Cardassian freighter," Liliah admitted, looking apologetic at Kala.

"Whatever we do there'll be risk Liliah, but I trust the Captain knows her stuff, and we'll see you again when you are safe. Okay?" She nodded to Mayterial, "Let's get this show going Captain, never hidden contraband in a transporter buffer before."

"First time for everything," Mayterial pulled her communicator from her sleeve and slapped it on the side of the metal box, "who said you couldn't learn new things outside of Starfleet, huh?" She had always liked the eagerness of some of the Fleeters to learn new stuff. The explore new worlds propaganda was well ingrained with all of them, including herself. It was something she had used to her advantage a lot when she was still pulling those types of stunts. Now she saw it as an asset in her crew, because people that wanted to learn for no other reason than to improve themselves could be trusted to always try their utmost, "I think we'll have to use the cargo transporter on deck 9, it's nice and central, lots of electrical interference. Like you said, it'll just read as background noise," she already started to walk in the direction of the exit, there was no time to waste, "if we do this right, that is."

Kala nodded, "That it is." She got in step with the captain as Mayterial headed for the exit. Deck 9 was a few decks below which meant a bit of a climb through the ship. She'd been used to climbing through jefferies tubes and this ship's internals had been no exception. As they were climbing down a deck Kala remarked to the captain. "So we mask the signature using the interference on Deck 9 to mask the energy signature in the buffer. I guess we hope they assume it's just residual matter in the buffer we've just not cleaned?"

"Happens a lot in the civilian trade," Mayterial continued her path down the tubes, it was by far the fastest way down to deck nine, "They slap us on the wrist, we tell them we'll do better next time." She hurried downward, the probe was on its way and there was really no time to lose, "we need to make sure the energy levels are held steady though, transporters don't like being buffered for extended periods of time."

"Civilian ship's aren't as fastidious about keep their buffer's clean between transports you mean?" She'd never thought that was an issue, Starfleet vessels always purged the buffers between groups of transports, then again Starfleet did a lot to the Nth degree the civilian trade didn't. She knew that, she'd grown up in the shipping business, but stuff like transporters she'd assumed they were as careful as well. She kept climbing down behind Mayterial. "We could stabilize the pattern somewhat if we were running diagnostics. Would the excuse I was troubleshooting a transporter issue before we made dock, so running diagnostics cover us in this situation?"

"Oh," Mayterial seemed pleasantly surprised at the addition, "that's actually pretty clever," she had to admit that it was a good additional bit of subterfuge, might even get them out from the slap on the wrist, "One more deck," She was trying to mentally count down the time they had left to beat the approaching probe.

"Trying to think outside the box, and not letting rules and regulations get in the way." She remarked as they climbed down the last deck. "About earlier Captain, the drink I was consuming? I'm not one to normally drink on duty."

Mayterial had so many thoughts shoot through her head, she knew what it was like to grasp for a flask in the middle of a day. Ever since waking up with Alexandria in her bed she had tried to dial it down, but the stresses from running the ship and approaching Betazed was making that a difficult struggle, "Good to hear, let's not make it a habit, alright Miss Marika?" She pulled herself from the Jeffries tube and onto the ninth deck, then turning to help Kala out a bit more comfortably, it was always easier if there was a hand to hold on to.

"Yes Ma'am," Kala remarked, pulling herself from the jefferies tube. Narrower then starfleet issue, the cardassian design no doubt, she was glad for her slimmer build, and wondered how her predecessor, all 7ft+ made it around the ship at all, let alone into tight spaces to make repairs. "We better hurry, probes due any minute."

One of the first exits in the corridor granted them access to the cargo transporter, Mayterial took position behind the console and pointed at the access panel at the base of the pad, "You're going to need to disrupt the feedback flow at the source, otherwise the computer will compensate and just rematerialise instantly." She started to set up a couple of things herself on the console and locked in on her communication device that she had stuck on Liliah's processing unit. She realised that there was a risk here, but the risk was much lower than if the Federation got their hands on the neural net.

 

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