Wednesday, July 21, 2010

[USS Charon] SD 241007.20 | "Being Diplomatic" | Intro Log | Savant & Ens. Landon Neyes

=/\= Starbase Versailles =/\=

For a creature blessed with the wisdom of eleven lifetimes, Landon was
certainly leaving something to be desired. He'd spent the better part of
the last week in dark rooms with the usual Starfleet Internal
Investigations and Security lot. Something he wasn't all that foreign to
to begin with, but this time the endless meetings had reached deep into
his patience. There were very few things now that didn't irritate him.
After accidentally throwing his shuttle back across the vast reaches of
the universe, leaving his crew and home in a distant galaxy, Landon
Neyes was just a little off his game.

That being said, he was still on top of his newest assignment: Chief
Engineering Officer aboard the USS Charon. While as appealing as it may
have sounded, he was going to miss his steady postings as the Helm
officer on a starship. The romantic notions he carried with him about
being a pilot seemed as distant as the crew and ship he'd been forced to
leave behind. As a nomadic man by his very nature, Landon had no choice
but to accept his recent predicament with the grace and diligence of
spirit his family would have expected of him. There was certainly a
sense of worry as he wondered what would become of the Intrepid, and he
had once again found himself in a new place, with new people on a new
starship. Completely where he started off two years ago. He was even an
Ensign again. Which was humbling to be sure, and none too inappropriate
since he was really only 25 years old.

"Would you like another drink, sir?" The attractive waitress baited.
She'd been vying for a little conversation with him for the past hour,
but Landon hadn't even looked up from his PADD to notice. He'd taken up
a spot at the top of the station's multi-level lounge. The chairs were
comfortable, the music mellow, and the mood fit an environment suitable
for a little light reading.

"No thanks, I'm peachy." He smiled, but his gaze didn't budge from the
schematics of the Charon. His youthfully short hair masking his face from
her view. Landon normally kept it much shorter than that, but he'd
neglected to cut it since arriving back in the Alpha Quadrant.

The dark-haired waitress was not quite so easily discouraged this time
however. "Are you sure? We have a lovely Rigelian whiskey that just came
in, or if you don't want something quite so hard there's a coffee that
was just imported from Earth. Given the modifications that your
predecessor made to Charon's lateral sensor arrays," she pointed out in
the general direction of the document he was reading at the moment, "you
may need something to increase your attention. At least, I have noticed
a greater return on investment for those that do." She looked upwards
nd put a finger to the side of her cheek as a thoughtful gesture,
"though I suppose the alcohol would be very helpful. Still, it seems
traditional for those in similar roles."

Landon's deep-seeded thirst for good whiskey finally sparked an
interest. Although Landon himself hated most alcoholic drinks, he still
enjoyed indulging on fanciful memories from his past. In this case, the
distant past. Jazni was quite a few hundred years removed from the 25th
century. Something else was interesting to him though, he couldn't
remember hearing the woman's footsteps. In all his time as a joined
Trill, Landon had been able to distinctly base the identity of a person
based solely on their individual footsteps. It was something he'd
learned most of his people could do once joined, and quite handy.
His interest suddenly peaked, Neyes carefully peered away from his
reading material and looked up at the woman from the corner of his eye.
She was gorgeous, as most waitresses were. Better business that way,
everyone knew that. She was eerily calm though. Something about her
didn't settle right.

Completely out of the blue, Landon poked at the waitress with his PADD.
Poked her right in the stomach. His eyes widened and a furrow appeared
in his brow. His next statement was meant more as a statement than a
question, but he nevertheless sounded quizzical. "You're not a person?"

The waitress simply raised an eyebrow in response. She didn't seem like
she was going to dignify that with a reply. The answer seemed obvious
enough however. It was a hologram in front of him, though one which
apparently had enough of a sense of self to find his question a little
bit irritating. She seemed to have a waitress's ability to maintain a
smile in the face of adversity however.

"Then who are- or rather, what are you? And why are you trying to sell
me drinks?" He sat upright as he questioned her. "You've been at me
all afternoon."

"You don't want something to drink? Most people come to lounges to drink
and socialize, or at least to get some work done in a social setting.
Besides, they're a good way to break the ice don't you think?" Her eyes
were blue, the irises somewhat reflective, and were fixed upon him. For
being a computer program she was very aware of her double meaning.
Landon took a moment to look at the woman standing before him. Although
she was a hologram, and a gorgeous one at that, there was something
truly interesting about her demeanor. He got the feeling she was aware
of more than she was letting on, which was actually a little unsettling.
He'd had experience with complicated programs before, and this one
seemed like either it wasn't supposed to be here, or someone had spent a
pretty penny on bringing it.

"This whiskey," Landon started, "how do you know it's so good? Cuz' you
know I won't take just anyone's word on something like that." He let a
little smile slip as he put down his PADD and let his full attention
fall on her. It couldn't hurt to hear what she had to say, since she
obviously wanted something.

Hopefully you'd take the word of a major cross-section of Starfleet
personnel, in lieu of my own," she replied cheerily.

"Stochastically-driven statistical analysis of sales orders within the
lounges of twelve randomly-selected starbases place this particular
brand at the top." The holographic waitress ducked aside to the bar
quickly and returned with a bottle - apparently she was solid enough to
use her hands when the situation warranted. She also carried a glass,
which was promptly coloured with the liquor.

Landon took a small sip from the glass she handed him. "Rigelian you
say?" He took a moment to take another drink. Then clapped his knee with
his free hand and stood up. She didn't seem like some Ferengi-hired
assassin to take him out back, and this was probably the least likely
place it would happen. He shot her a surrendering look and started to
move across the room, abandoning his drink on a nearby table. "Alright!
Let's take a walk. I'll be damned if you actually work in this place, so
lose the get-up. And... you never answered my question, miss."

Her hair collapsed from her elaborate hairdo all at once, and her
server's uniform melted away into simple civilian clothing; he didn't
have to make any special requests to earn her compliance. She replied as
he followed beside him, "As soon as I encounter a proper definition of
"person", I will happily give you a complete reply. As it stands, the
word is simply too vague." And she smiled a Cheshire smile.

He smiled at her, and partly rolled his eyes. It was interesting, she 
took everything so literally. "I meant who are you...?"

Her grin remained. "Well, that's much easier. My name is Savant. I've 
come to help you with your transfer to Charon."

"I'm not due on the Charon for another week. I've been briefed by 
Starfleet, the Romulan embassy," he stopped, "which was a total joke by 
the way. I've never felt more unwelcome in my life. Even I'm not as 
arrogant as those green Jxo'an." The Trill word seemed more appropriate 
in a mostly human setting. They moved slowly down a corridor to the 
lower decks of the station. He ran a hand through his brown hair and 
nodded as they past a couple of engineers. It was true what he'd said, 
about the Romulans being quite unwelcoming to a new Starfleet officer 
working with their strangely tied crew on the Charon. Landon still 
couldn't exactly place how the dynamic was supposed to improve relations 
between their two governments. "Why does Starfleet always find it 
necessary to find friendship with people who are perfectly happy to 
watch mischievously from a distance?" He said, half jokingly. "The 
Romulans don't seem too prepared to just let us into their situation. So 
what makes them think we can be part of the solution..."

"There are a number of answers to that question of which I am aware," 
she replied seriously as they walked, gesturing in economical hand 
gestures. "Primarily, the Federation is dominated by extrovert-optimist 
cultures which believe in free trade and exchange of cultural values. 
This leads them to push for contact with cultures which have little 
interest in the contact. Frankly, I'm amazed that the Prime Directive 
survives the touch of Federation enthusiasm," she put a fingertip to her 
lip as if pondering the question, while far away, Bayesian probabilities 
oscillated, "though I suppose that the Prime Directive would be an 
excellent excuse for interfering in subtle ways that could not be 
justified otherwise."

She shrugged and continued casually, "Secondarily, I suspect that the 
conservative security minded elements within the Federation wish to 
maintain closer ties with Romulan activity simply to keep an eye on 
them. It's much easier to predict the actions of ones' rival if there is 
communication going on. But that's rather basic."

"In the end, I think it's just enthusiasm. The security motives are 
simply rationalizations of the Humanoid drive to explore."

Landon stopped them in front of double-doored entrance. Just beyond the 
slightly tinted glass he could see plants and flowers growing in the 
glow of partial sunlight. He tapped the control and as the doors opened 
he slipped inside to explore. "If it's one thing I love it's a good 
Arboretum. Politics is another matter entirely and I've had enough of it 
for a lifetime." He motioned for her to follow as he took to the paths 
in the serene landscape. The air in the room smelled like a sweet and 
organic wash of life, something all too refreshing for someone who lived 
in space. Aside from his short stint on Earth six months ago, after the 
Intrepid-D was destroyed, he'd been in space for far too long.

Once they were a little ways into the garden, he turned to face Savant. 
She looked as collected and ready to speak as she did when they first 
started talking. "So you work out of the station? Why doesn't the 
Personnel officer handle all the welcoming and orders?"

"Oh, she does. I had already been assigned here temporarily to make 
contact with another officer, however, so I volunteered to help. Many 
hands make light work, as is said. You'll be working with me aboard 
Charon as well; I am currently filling the role of Operations Manager."
"If you're the Charon's Ops Officer why are you here?" He found it odd 
that they'd actually have such an important position dictated to a 
hologram in the first place, but then to leave it to do such a menial 
task was just as unexpected.

She shrugged and lifted a hand to admire the shape of a drooping flower 
as she replied, "It is relatively simple to copy a register set and 
transfer it aboard the station. They had the processing power to spare, 
and I can give a better briefing than a flat report."
"So you're here... and there."

She glanced back at him, her hand still supporting the flowers' 
distended weight, "That's correct. I'm a distributed intelligence. 
Currently, I operate on roughly fifty ships and installations. The 
number fluctuates, however, and it can be hard to keep track of, what 
with the slowness of the subspace communications network."

Landon looked at the calculating computer program as it addressed him. 
It's holographic hands lightly caressed a wilting flower, and he 
suddenly felt uneasy. Savant... She... It... was basically a widespread 
intelligence that operated on a vast array of platforms across 
Federation space and probably beyond. Had he been a conspiracy theorist 
there would be no more need to hunt for clues, since the arms and mind 
of the beast would have been standing before him. She could be, and 
probably was, gathering data from each and every other avatar of herself 
in order to become more informed and intelligent.

"So... as a holographic Ops officer what sort of clearance do you have?" 
He eyed her questioningly.

Her response was pleasant, and calculatedly so - the local avatar was 
running a basic social interaction routine which Savant did not bother 
to modify. Her expression and tone grew slightly curious, but did not 
betray her. Savant simply watched the flower of neurochemicals and 
hormones flooding through the Trill's body. "Aboard Charon, I have basic 
Department Head level clearance. Frankly, I don't need more than that to 
do my job."

She was obviously far more rooted in the systems of the Charon that he'd 
previously thought, and he was supposed to compete with her consciousness
as the ship's Chief Engineer? Landon almost sighed in disbelief. If life 
had taught him anything, it was that situations like this never unfolded 
well. "And these other officers you were supposed to meet are stationed 
on the Charon? 

"They will be, yes. You'll meet them aboard the transfer 
ship, which will be arriving in two days." She gently let the flower 
take its own weight again, resuming her attentiveness on Landon. "It 
will be a week and a half journey to Charon, but I'm sure there will be 
plenty to do. I've uploaded a complete Engineering crew roster to you, 
as well as personality profiles and a projected work detail based on 
known personnel clashes."

"Oh joy." Landon pursed his lips. He continued to examine the hologram 
wearily, as he imagined what else it was doing right now amongst its 
hundreds of copies. The image in his head almost made him laugh. A room
full of Savants, all talking to one another about things they all knew
already, but still finding it all just as interesting...
His attention snapped back into focus as he found her staring at him. 
"Well it was very nice to meet you, miss. No." He paused as a boyish smile
crossed his face. "Savvy. That's what I'll call you. Be sure to let your
counterpart on the Charon know." He kept his smile.

She smirked and tossed off a flippant salute, "I'll pass it along to her."

=/\= END LOG =/\=
Chief Ops Officer
Ensign Landon Neyes
Chief Engineer

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