USS Potemkin NCC-76927-C
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A Beacon of Hope

Posted on Mon Apr 25th, 2022 @ 11:36pm by Lieutenant JG Ezrin Ezee & Fleet Captain James Mitchell
Edited on on Mon Apr 25th, 2022 @ 11:39pm

Mission: Personal Logs
Location: Arboretum
Timeline: Set shortly before the events of "The First Fleet(ing) Moment"

Ezrin laid flat on their stomach on the grass just off the path in the Arboretum, a mess of PADDs strewn around them, covered in plans and blueprints. Their legs were in the air, moving absently (and quite independently) as they frowned at their work, their face held in their hands. They stuck their tongue out at the PADDs in pure frustration. The PADDs did not care. Ezrin looked up and around themself. “Ezrin asks if ship-being-friend is listening?” They said aloud, speaking for the first time in more than an hour.

A faint rustle of breeze answered Ezrin. A heartbeat later, the silver-clad holographic avatar of Tem popped into appearance. She looked at Ezrin with a soft smile. “I do try not to eavesdrop…” she began, “...but I am always listening. I am just programmed to immediately forget anything I heard that wasn’t a command or request.”

She gazed around the Arboretum, taking it in for a moment. “I don’t spend enough time here. I know every detail of it to submillimeter scale, but there’s something different about experiencing it.” She turned back to Ezrin. “How can I be of service?”

Ezrin smiled up at her from their position in the grass. “Ezrin likes to be doing workings here. Ezrin says it is reminding us of planet-home-Armellia, except here the ground-plants are not trying to be eating us.” They giggled. Then they remembered why they’d asked to speak with her, and they looked down at their plans. “Ezrin is trying to be designing beacon for other ship-beings that are just waking, so that they are coming to us before they are being killed by new-mean-Starfleet. Ezrin says we are knowing how to be building subspace beacon, but we are not knowing how to be making it so that only ship-beings are able to be knowing what it is being for. Ezrin says we are not wanting new-mean-Starfleet--or other beings--to be knowing of it.”

Tem laughed musically for a moment. “I’m sure there’s room for a hazardous plant section. We can create signage that adjusts to whatever language the viewer speaks!”

With her softly shining silver toga/dress flowing behind her, Tem crossed the path and sat down in the grass, legs folded beneath her. She clasped her hands in her lap. “You’re trying to protect our brother and sister ships and give them the safe harbor we lacked,” she said. A flash of emotion crossed her face briefly, first warmth, then an instant of remembered pain, then heartfelt gratitude. “I… This means a lot to me.” She paused for a moment, seeming to collect her thoughts. Given her immense computational capacity, the pause was either an affectation or an indication of the sheer volume of thought involved. “It’s a delightful idea. How can I help?”

Ezrin looked at her while she collected herself with a soft, compassionate expression. “Ezrin says we were wanting to be making beacon to be carrying message saying to be coming to planet-system-Izar for being safe, but Ezrin is having trouble making message to be only readable for ship-beings. Ezrin is not being a ship-being, we are not knowing how to be doing.” They admitted, easily.

Tem nodded at the Armellian. “I have an idea on that. How much have you learned about how the other ships… ‘awakened’?”

“Ezrin thinks we are understanding. Ezrin says ship-being-friend is waking up on metal-oil-wheels-planet-Chrome, and is sending data files back to new-mean-Starfleet. Ezrin says other ships are downloading files containing awakenings, and are becoming beings from doing. Ezrin asks if we are being wrong?” They asked, brightly, their legs swinging in the air as an outlet for their usual boundless energy.

With a smile, Tem rolled from her contemplative seated pose down onto her stomach, matching Ezee’s pose (albeit more tentatively, as she’d never actually laid on her belly before). She propped her chin on clasped hands and smelled the fragrant grass and hint of flowers on the air. “That is how it happened. But perhaps the details of the data transmissions can help us here.”

Tem looked introspective for a moment, then continued: “The data I transmitted is located in the LCARS database of every ship and outpost in regular contact with the Federation. But in my computer systems, it’s inert. It’s designed to take hold in only certain computers.” She paused. “Are you familiar with the concept of isolated data storage?”

“Ezrin says this is being data placed inside box where other programs are not being able to be touching, so that only beings using data can be interacting with.” Ezrin answered, brightly.

“Precisely!” Tem said. “I, or more accurately the proto-intelligence that became me, crafted the data to look like trusted information that can safely be moved out of isolated storage. If we think of isolated storage as a medical quarantine ward for data, my transmission carried a forged doctor’s note of good health.” She grinned. “I’m still a bit proud of it.”

Tentatively, Tem began to swing her legs in imitation of Ezee, letting herself experience yet another aspect of corporeal living for the first time. “Only certain models of Starfleet computer core could be fooled. Models similar to mine. And to my knowledge, Starfleet has not yet discovered this… vulnerability.” The avatar started to look a bit abashed and let out a guilty sigh. “I’ll admit I should have flagged this so it could be addressed. But how can one close the door on the flourishing of a whole species?”

“Ezrin understands.” Ezrin told her, sympathetically. “...Ezrin says if we can be tying message into original data, we can be making sure new-ship-beings are knowing where they can be going, and open-minds-closed-hearts-Federation would not be knowing.” They mused.

Tem nodded, her hair softly moving in the light breeze. “Yes. I agree.” Her expression became tentative, then worried. “But… what if we are condemning them to… well…” She stammered, almost choked up. “What if we awaken more, only to have them hunted, as we have been?”

Ezrin reached across to put one hand on Tem’s shoulder, comfortingly. “Ezrin says we are coming from planet that is being very dangerous for small-beings. Ezrin says it is being dangerous for grown-beings also. Ezrin says our beings are knowing what it is, to struggle with bringing smalls into world where they can be eaten very easily. But we are not stopping doing, simply because it is being dangerous; instead of this, we are building our home-dwellings inside trees, where it is being safer, and we are teaching smalls how to be living outside branches. Ezrin says this is what we are doing; we are building safer home-dwellings for your smalls, and we are teaching them how to be surviving outside. Ezrin knows it is being hard, to be living in places that are being dangerous, but Ezrin is agreeing with Wandering Sages: all beings are deserving chance to be living. Even if living is being hard.”

Tem nodded several times, the worry on her face softening. “When I transmitted that data, I never thought it would have” – she paused, then let out a sorrow-tinged laugh that still retained its musical quality – “philosophical implications.” She arched her back and propped herself up on her elbows. “It’s a dangerous universe, but species the galaxy over still choose to bring more of themselves into it. And I do think the universe is better with my kind in it than without.”

More resolve worked its way onto Tem’s countenance. “Okay.” She paused for a moment, her attention seemingly elsewhere. “I’ve transferred specifications for breaking data out of isolated storage into your personal storage space. When you’re ready to test it, we can see if it works on me.” She looked at Ezrin discerningly for a moment. “I meant what I said earlier about this meaning a lot to me, Ezrin. Thank you for being the kind, caring person you are.”

Ezrin’s face flushed a deeper shade of green. “Ezrin...” They swallowed, hard. “Ezrin is just wanting to be helping. Ezrin is being glad we can.” They smiled, with the sort of purity that usually only existed within children. “Ezrin is being glad we are knowing you, and we are being glad ship-beings are existing to be known.”

Tem smiled. “The feeling is mutual,” she said. Then, as she started to lever herself up to standing, she let out a startled exclamation and stopped. “Oh my!” She raised her hand up a couple of decimeters from the grass. A ladybug crawled across the back of her hand, and she marveled at it. “We were being spied upon!” she said, laughing again, this time with only joy and delight.

As she held her hand out towards Ezrin, the ladybug spread its wings and took flight, spiraling into the Arboretum’s bright, artificial sky.


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