Saturday, June 19, 2010

[USS Charon] EDITED: SD241006.18 || Joint Log, "Good Council", Lt Jilani and Savant

Syed <> wrote to

(OOC: Sorry All. We missed a couple of transition paragraphs in the
previous posting. Here is the complete post.)

With white sands and sapphire blue water, the beach was beautiful. It
a beauty interrupted, however. Waqas Jilani lay back on a beach
chaise, square screens of green streaming data hovering in the hair
before him. His dark eyes flickered lazily from one screen to the
next, and occasionally moved his hands, sending files from one screen
to another or dismissing them entirely. It was not entirely the
standard work environment Starfleet imagined for it officers, but it
served Waqas well. It was amazing to him that with the holodeck
affording one the ability to work in any vista, people would still
choose a desk in a bland office.

Currently, Jilani was sorting through the crew manifest and reviewing
the psychological profiles of the patients under his care. It was a
tedious task. He had put it off long enough, however, that it had
become pressing.

The counselor had begun to sort his patients into priority lists,
deciding which of them required the most attention, for example, and
which of them needed attention the quickest. There was also a list of
the women on the ship Waqas judged attractive, but that
was...medicinal, as it were.

The entire exercise had provided little distraction, until Jilani came
across an odd name.


The word hung before Jilani, blinking bright green. It posed an
interesting dilemma for the counselor. He was, after all, in charge
of the emotional and mental health of the crew. Certainly, it
appeared that the computer program by the name of Savant was
considered a part of the crew. However, it had neither a mind nor,
Waqas supposed, any emotions. Besides, cheering up a computer seemed
like a task to be more properly undertaken by someone wielding a

With a slight frown, Jilani moved the name to the top of his
"attention required" priority list with a quick flick of his fingers….

[Two Hours Later]

Waqas was still working away, admittedly a little lazily, under the
warm Singapore sky. The orange blaze of the sun had started to
dissolve into the ocean, spilling its brilliant rays like scattered
droplets across the rocking surf. He had moved on to reading detailed
biographies between his overview report and drowsing in the heat.

He didn't immediately notice the bikini-clad woman approaching, but he
did notice when she set the marguerita glass on the table beside him.
The server smiled politely as his eyes lifted from his levitating
displays; her voice was composed of tuning fork hums and the melody of
sonograms. "I'm sorry to disturb you, Sir. I thought I should let you
know that there is a group of Engineers who wish to book this Holodeck
in an hour for a competition of some manner - I believe they called it
'Murder-ball'. Your booked time is technically over now, but I can
extend it for a further hour if you would like."

He was a touch confused for a moment - normally the computer would
have simply informed him when his time was up and given him five
minutes before ending the program. There weren't any characters in
this program, how did this one show up? He sized up the black-haired
woman, noting that her bikini bore a Starfleet Academy logo
(Graduating class of 2346). He looked at her face, at her reflective
blue irises - Savant?

"I didn't realize Starfleet had standard issue bikinis," Waqas joked
with a smirk, "Perhaps there is hope for them after all."

"You talk as if you didn't wear the uniform yourself." She smiled.

"Unfortunately, I do. Much to my discredit. Please have a seat,"
Waqas replied, waving at the empty air next to him, taking it for
granted that the computer program could create a holographic seat for
itself. It in fact did so, just as he predicted. She settled on a
white wooden beach chair, apparently not quite ready to get a full
recliner as he had - apparently she was still at least a little bit on
duty. Savant paid attention as he spoke. "This might be a good time
for you psyche
evaluation. In fact, all psyche evaluations should be in swimwear
from now on. It will make them bearable for me."

"I was wondering about you earlier, Commander. You have some kind of
emotional matrix, I presume? Something that allows you to feel?"

"No." she answered simply, with a paradoxical smile on her face. "Not
as such. I have very sophisticated models of humanoid psychology and
behavior in my databases, and have learned what emotional
presentations are appropriate to given situations. For example, the
facial expression I'm currently using is pattern class 12, and my body
language is pattern H."

She crossed her legs and set her hands upon her knee, looking calm and
composed, "That said, I do have emotional-analogues. I am composed of
a number of registers, which I'm told loosely correlate to emotional
states. They just don't map to the humanoid emotions of anger, love,
despair, hope, and what-have-you. I think." Her smile widened and she
asked sincerely, "To be honest, I really don't know if I have emotions
or not. I've never heard a very good definition of them. Can you tell
me what emotions are? Perhaps then I would be able to answer your
question more clearly."

Jilani nodded thoughtfully and feel silent for a moment…though whether
it was to think of answer or to simply let his gaze wander the lovely,
barely covered curves of her current form was impossible to state.
Finally, the human counselor replied, "I am sure you are aware of
every definition of emotion that has been drafted for psychology
texts…and indeed beyond. Everything anyone has written about them,
everything in our databases at least, is available to you. I can't do
a better job of defining them than others have done."

Waqas rose to his feet, finally looking away from her and studied the
sea before them. "It is a little like trying to define the ocean to
someone who has never seen it, I suppose. What I can do that perhaps
you have not had done for you before is to personalize those
definitions for you a little."

"Emotion is an intelligence," he continued, starting to pace, his
hands moving in concert with his words as if to add meaning to them.
"You are an AI, correct? An Artificial Intelligence."

"Of course."

"However, that is a misnomer. Or, should you decide you are incapable
of emotion, it is. You are an Artificial Rational Intelligence in
that case." Jilani smiled a little and Savant could not help compare
his manner to that of prominent professors who enjoyed giving lectures
to students. "If human beings were androids or computers, they would
be running two separate, sometimes contradictory programs, in order to
process stimuli. One is the rational mind. The other is emotion.
Every stimulus is processed by both programs, each reaching a
conclusion of how the individual should react, and one overrides the
other. Which process prevails depends on a variety of factors, of
course, but considering that would get to complex right now." With a
grin, Jilani nodded to her and added, "For me. I am sorry, Commander,
I usually don't talk this much but you ask a complex question."

Savant only smiled in reply - a carefully calculated smile, engineered
to display interest and positive attention, to encourage him to
continue. He indulged her.

"Think of the two programs as interrelated. One causing the results
of the other to be altered. So…when a warrior looks at his fallen
enemy, vanquished and bloody and on the ground, he knows he is
victorious. This knowledge is the stimulus. Victory should,
logically actually, be greeted with emotions of joy. If the rational
mind alone were to prevail, that is what the warrior would feel and
other emotional responses would be overwhelmed. However, the same
stimulus can result in sorrow and grief and sympathy. The warrior may
take that knowledge and instead focus on the loss of a worthy
opponent, perhaps the death of the same, a realization of his own
mortality, on the cost of the victory to himself. The rational mind's
dictate is overruled by the emotional mind."

Sitting back down, Jilani leaned forward and formed a steeple with his
fingers, his elbows resting on his thighs. "Perhaps the best concept
to illustrate this tension is the Romulan concept of Mnhei'sahe.
However, I suppose the most important aspect of this is the fact that
the processes are simultaneous. You noted that you are able to decide
what emotion to affect. That is not emotion at all. That is the fact
of a mimic, a politician, a charlatan, a yes man or a liar. No
offense intended, of course."

"None taken," she replied smoothly, "I only do it in order to blend
more effectively."

"So the question is, Savant, have you ever been victorious and had
that victory taste like ash in your mouth? Have you felt a lightness
in your own being at seeing the joy of others and the laughter of
children? Have you ever experienced a moment where your logic tells
you one thing and you decide to do another? You take the form of an
attractive woman. You must have been courted by some technophile.
Ever have a date where you felt, against all reason, that you had
known a stranger forever? Ever had a kiss that felt like it would
singe the fabric of the universe, one that made it seem like only you
and you partner were alive in the entire universe? When you make
love, do you arch your back, moan out load, whisper a name, because
you chose to, or does it unabashedly spring from you like water from a
desert, lava from a mountain?" His dark eyes sparked with her
electric blue ones. "In other words, Commander, are you capable of

Savant, at this point, was leaning back a little into her seat and had
adopted a flush to her cheeks; she fanned herself with all of the
symptoms of amused embarrassment. "Sir," she exclaimed, "if I am, you
may have just struck my heart to the quick!" The question of whether
it was simply a surface affectation remained unanswered for the
moment, however, as she sat in contemplation for awhile, mirroring his
quiet gaze of a few moments before.

"I have been courted, and kissed, and I have made love, and I've done
the things you ask," she started slowly, without any accompanying
shyness or hesitation - only a slow thoughtfulness. Processors
struggled to compute the answer to his question. "I am aware of the
equations that resulted in me crying his name, or the ones that ended
the life of a sentient. I have no sub-conscious that I am aware of -
my processes are as plain and precise as quantum disentanglement."

"But it's more complex than that. You say the human mind is two
warring entities, together resolving to form a solution. I like this,
it's a good metaphor. I'm not two entities."

She lifted a hand and above it formed the familiar holographic image
of Charon. It was translucent, her hull crystal clear and showing the
ODN lines faintly. Pulsing blue stars formed a constellation within
the glass ship, each one a processing element. There were hundreds.
"I'm much more than two. Each of my registers forms an answer, and
often they vary - my state is their weighted sum. They don't feel
love, or hate, or victory. They aren't even sentient, and their
actions are perfectly quantifiable. Much like a neuron."

Savant put her hand back to her lap, and the image disappeared back to
where it came from. "I don't have words to describe my mental state. I
wish that I did, I would find great comfort in knowing that we had at
least one commonality. The distance between my world and yours has
driven me to despair, more than a few times. If it could be said that
I despair."

"Maybe there is some solace in the fact that you are no more than one
entity than I am." Waqas replied, "The processes inside us, however
many they may be, do not change that the fact that, in the end, we
unify them and give them sentience. In that, at least, we are not
divided. We are the same. Indeed, maybe the difference between us is
simply that you are more aware of your registers than I am of mine and
you lack the inability to be unaware of them."

With a trademark shrug, Jilani sat down on his chaise again. "Humanity
struggles with self-awareness, this awareness of our own drives. Our
ability to grasp it, however, is the essence of civilization. Without
possessing this awareness of yours," he said with an expansive wave of
his hand that was somehow dismissive as well, "None of this would be
possible. Which makes your existence, and your existence from human
hands, so much of a remarkable thing. It makes you a special being."
He stopped to think for a second and smiled, "My extra hour is almost
up, isn't it?" She just grinned widely in response.

"You had a countdown going on in the back of your head somewhere,
didn't you?" Jilani teased.

"It's hard not to count the nanoseconds when you live in a computer,"
she quipped just as teasingly.

"Well," Waqas replied with a sigh, "This evaluation is over. I have
decided I have no interest in being the counselor assigned to you.
Well...that isn't true. I am too interested. So I will be asking one
of my staff to take over your official care. I don't want you to be
my patient." He paused briefly - very briefly for he knew that there
were probably a million impressions she could form in the shortest of
times, "I do want you to have dinner with me soon. Wearing a little
more than a bikini. Though hopefully not too much more. We can see
if perhaps you might be interested someday in crying out my name as
well. Even if you eventually find you are not, at least the company
will be excellent."

She smirked, apparently liking the Councilor's laissez-faire attitude.
He didn't seem to have the emotional-social disconnect that so many of
them struggled with. Savant chose her words very carefully, but when
they came out of her lips they were sure and supple. "How could I say
no to an invitation like that, and with me having no concept of
modesty to speak of? It's unfair, Sir."

The hologram rose from her chair, the furniture dissipating as she did
so. "I'd be delighted. In the dinner. The rest will have to wait." She
grinned wider as she bobbed up a few inches into the air, suddenly the
slightest bit buoyant, and translucent. It broke the spell almost
immediately - this was no living woman but a clever simulation of one.
Did she choose that moment to pull back the veil specifically, and for
what reason? The hologram didn't give any clue to an answer. "I like
surprises, and I think I'll be pleasantly surprised. Let me know when
and I'll be ready."

"I don't doubt you will. I'll find you." With a grimace he called
for an arch and the holodeck complied, "Unfortunately, I have to do
some terrible right things now. You shouldn't listen in. You may
want not want to keep our date afterwards. Or perhaps you should and
discover my true quality." His charming smile returned and he nodded
to her once, "I'll see you soon, Savant."

Lieutenant Waqas Jilani
Chief Councilor, USS Charon

Chief MS Office Paperclippy, USS Charon