Tuesday, August 17, 2010

[USS Charon] SD 241008.16 JL | "In Passing" | CEO & COps/2XO | Ens. Landon Neyes, Savant

=/\= Holodeck, Quantum Fury =/\=
Landon's blood coursed through his veins like a fierce and unstoppable
river. Flooded with doubt and confusion, a tumultuous crash of feelings
pressed the young man to run further and further. A heartbeat was often
the measure of his life, as he had learned to accept. Being Trill was so
much more than just being a linked species, and since the last seven
centuries had seemed to blink past there was nothing he valued more than
a true moment of reflection and appreciation of the plainly beautiful.
This holodeck simulation was hardly the real and genuine article, but it
was marvelous to view none the less. He could feel the heat of his skin
clash against the sweat running down his face, his chest and the small
of his back. His sleeveless workout shirt clung to his body, and the
trickle of salty water made his defined shape shimmer in the cascading
beams of light that flicked across him. The tingling and slight burn of
his muscles called to his mind as his feet pounded the ground. The twigs
and leaves of the forest he sped through broke under his footfalls and
were the sole keepers of any sound in the maze of wooden pillars. In the
frame of the scenery, he was the only thing not at peace.

Each huff of breath he cast out was a silent and angry shout of emotion.
In favor of something productive, the new engineer had chosen to put the
recent events with Robert behind him and run though his favorite cardio
environment. A good run had never led him wrong in the past, and he
definitely needed a distraction. With trees and beauty in every
direction, it was difficult for him not to relax just at the shear
magnificence around him.

"Eight kilometers." The computer chimed.

Landon mentally pulled the reigns and let his feet hit hard against the
forest floor, bringing himself to a slow walk to cool down.

If Rob wasn't going to be accepting of the fact that he had friends who
cared about him, then Landon was just going to have to wait it out. Or
something. He still couldn't wrap his head around the most delicate way
to handle the situation. It would be wrong for him to push, but at the
same time Neyes was desperate to learn about the past 6 months in
Lansine's world. He'd been kept awake every other night all during that
time, haunted by what might be happening to his best friend. Now that
they were together, safe and assigned to the same vessel, it was
suddenly awkward and unfriendly. He'd always been a firm believer that
you say what you mean unless you're one mean son of a bitch. In this
instance, he knew Rob was just covering himself in a shell. Landon knew
it must have been hard, and he was willing to wait.

Part of him was afraid that it might be too late by then, though.

Having been entranced in his train of thought, Landon was more than
startled to have his private party interrupted. The holo programs he
used to run in were completely void of anything other than landscapes
and birds, and certainly did not contain floating brunettes. His yelp of
surprise was high, and carried through the trunks into the misty sunlit
forest. He spun around to face his visitor, and cursed silently in his
mind as he calmed his wide eyes. It was none other than his favorite
fake person, Savant. What in the galaxy made her think she could just
barge into private holodeck programs unannounced, he didn't know, but he
was about to correct the problem.

Catching his breath, he held a hand to his chest in an attempt to bring
down his heart rate, "Wha... WHAT are you doing in here?"

The damn hologram's expression was quizzical, but pleasant - was the
thing ever actually upset? No doubt it was all a carefully calculated
show to evoke reactions from her audience. He resolved to ignore
whatever impulses he might get from her body language. Or did it
calculate that as well? The hologram had a calm tone, "I'm sorry, Sir, I
didn't realize that you had booked the holodeck for a private function.
You've chosen a very pretty program."

An eyebrow shot up sceptically. He knew that this program was advanced,
but it continued to sound more and more like it was somehow created to
monitor the crew. "Computer delete the Savant avatar."

An error chime clanged back. "Unable to comply, specified program is

Now she pursed her lips in a dubious fashion, adding touches of
petulance and disappointment to her otherwise placid face. "If I weren't
more careful, I'd make the assumption that you didn't like me, Sir," she
pouted, "You could ask me to leave if you'd prefer."

"I'm just." He brought a hand up to wipe the sweat from his face. "I'm
exercising. We do that, us corporeal creatures. Otherwise we get all
squishy and lose our specious survivability. I can only assume you're
familiar with survival of the fittest?" Landon could tell she was
prying. No doubt she was calculating his slightest bodily function in
order to ascertain his mood and disposition. Even with as much as he
wanted someone to confide in about Lansine, he couldn't bring himself to
lower his guard around the avatar. She was interesting, and maybe under
normal circumstances he would be excited to befriend someone... or
something... like her. This wasn't exactly a normal circumstance for him
though, and she seemed to be around every corner.

"Evolutionary law applies to me as well. I may not have to jog, but the
entities in a computer network can be downright vicious, Sir." She
smiled sympathetically, "Though perhaps I am not as familiar with 'red
in tooth and claw' as a living being such as yourself."

"Considering my age, just consider me an expert on the subject." Landon

"Oh, Sir, you've done very well for yourself, if I may say," she
complimented, "many your age barely bother to keep fit at all, and much
less to the level you maintain. I hope that you're quite proud of your
accomplishment; you deserve to be."

Savant could, however, tell that the flattery meant little to him - it
seemed to perhaps have a slight negative effect. She ran a checksum on
those calculations to be sure, and sure enough he appeared to be
unimpressed. Savant raised her impression of him by several percentage
points as a result - those who passed the Surface Flattery test were
generally of deep mind and far more interesting conversation partners,
as well as several other attributes she approved of. Which, in a strange
way, would likely engender more compliments. It was a complex formula,
but it had brought her great results.

She had detected faint traces of curiosity in him, however, despite it
being coupled with a rather large up swell in animosity as well. Would he
do for a subject to add to her personality modeling tree? Only one way
to find out. "You *can* ask me to leave if you'd like, Sir. I won't be

Landon sighed a little, and his gaze drifted off the side for a moment 
as he considered his options. She was here, and he was a little bored. 
To some small extent she was interesting to interact with. He could ask 
her to beat it, but it wouldn't earn him any long term victory. She'd 
likely continue to pelt him with unsuspected visits at any given time of 
the day, no matter what he said.

"First of all," Landon started, "stop calling me 'Sir'. I'm 26 years old 
as far as you're concerned, so it's weird." He made a sour face at her. 
He considered his real age to be something that allowed him to consider 
the world in alternate viewpoints. Viewpoints only someone with a great 
deal of experience could afford.

"Secondly, I know you're going to do what you want, so stop pretending 
like my opinion of what you should do is factoring into your… decisions. 
If you'd like to stay, I can think of something else to pass the time." 
A little grin showed on his face.

She raised an eyebrow at his innuendo, her smile widening. An entirely 
new layer of personality came into being - Savant pulled in some default 
Trill templates and began to integrate them, ensuring that her model 
would predict that sort of low-level comment. "I assure you, Landon, I 
weigh your requests quite seriously in my decisions. *Very* seriously," 
she said with a smirk, trading him innuendo for innuendo, just to see 
where it would lead.

"Okay? Good. What are you able to do besides your duties, Sub-routine 
wise?" Landon's eyes widened a little in annoyance as he realized she 
apparently thought he was making some kind of sexual joke at her 
expense. Since she was a hologram, and he preferred someone less 
intrusive, he had no reason to hit on her… and certainly wasn't doing so 
now. He let it pass without making more of a issue of it, however.

Landon took a moment to lean back against a nearby tree. He was still 
trying to cool down from his run.

Savant had apparently perched herself upon a great boulder that he 
hadn't recalled from the program previously - Savant must have implanted 
it as something to sit upon. Even so, she floated perhaps an inch above 
it, a uniformed Buddha. "I'm an explorer. I'm trying to learn everything 
I can about the universe. A spaceship seems an excellent place to do 
that." Indeed it was in fact her primary goal - to learn the Way, the 
path, the road to enlightenment. When one was immortal, one could only 
have the grandest of goals if one wanted a challenge. The collection of 
all knowable things was what drove her onwards. Where else indeed would 
one expect to find her but on the leading edge of exploration?

Landon smiled a little despite himself, "I can appreciate that."

"And what about yourself? If you had wanted to run, there are plenty of 
planets to do that on. You must be up here for something else."

Neyes pulled a piece of bark from the tree supporting him, and began to 
pry it apart. His reason for running alone in a beautiful landscape was 
the same as anyone else's. An escape was the best way to try and take 
your mind off something that was bothering you. He needed some time 
without duties, and without other people to judge his mood. Landon 
simply needed time to reflect.

"Just exercising." He repeated, his cute smile wilted a little as he 
looked off past her. "That's all." The hologram merely nodded in reply, 
either understanding the volumes that his statement said, or not 
considering the comment interesting enough to follow up.

"I had originally come in here to kill something. A particular species 
of something. I do that. I run battle-drill and combat simulations to 
keep sharp." Landon said. "I just decided to take it a little more 
mellow instead."

Again, the hologram nodded, "Violent programs are very popular with the 
crew, and with crews in general. I suppose I can understand that - 
stress reduction, production of adrenalines and corticoids, tribal 
dominance instinct. It conflicts with a certain moderate or greater 
pacifism, but overall it appears to be healthy." Despite the topic, she 
spoke simply and calmly, as if it were a breakfast table discussion 
about the weather. Savant saw little distinction between the vagaries of 
scientific knowledge and the day-to-day discernment of small talk.

"Combat is certainly interesting, but I must confess I enjoy the simple 
pleasures a little bit more. You've chosen a very tranquil place," she 
looked up at a bird, cheeping in the branches above them. Had she placed 
it there, for something to punctuate her sentence with, or was it all 
part of the program?

With a small motion Landon up off his tree and took a couple steps 
closer to the woman. As much as she seemed to be some mindless program 
that collated data and spat it out in context, he was compelled to 
continue the conversation.

"So." He looked up at her sitting on her rock like a queen, a subtle 
move to pronounce her authority. "You know everything that's happening 
on this ship, and then some. Your program measures the radiative 
energies of everything within scanning distance and whatever else you 
can monitor from the ship's sensors." He gave her a knowing look. "I 
know you knew I was in here. So what made you decide to drop by? Just to 
see if I'd kick you out?"

Her smile widened a little bit at his questions - direct and to the 
point, with little time for subtlety. The model in her database grew 
quickly. "I find you very interesting, Landon." She replied truthfully, 
"You're far from the first to have a negative reaction to me, but in you 
it appears to be coupled with a certain curiousity about me. That's 
unusual, and I have no idea how the two can co-exist in a coherent mind. 
I thought I would come here, in a place of your preference, to say hello 
and let you know that I'm perfectly willing to entertain your questions, 
and that you don't have to like me in order to get your answers."

"And if I had asked you to leave? Would you have?" He asked.

"Certainly, Sir." she repeated the formal surname to emphasize her 
subordinate state to him, "My decision making structure is primarily 
Bayesian, and weighted according to requests of those with permission 
sets to my system - such as you. It would do me no good to harass you if 
I wasn't needed, after all."

She looked upwards again, finding the sun beneath the boughs of the 
trees. "It can be a little lonely at times, too. I'm not sure if I can 
adequately describe. It little profits that an idle king, by this still 
hearth, amongst these barren crags, match'd with an aged wife, I mete 
and dole unequal laws unto a savage race that hoard, and sleep, and 
feed, and know not me." The quote was from one of her favorite poems, 
and described her situation well. What was more, if he knew the poem he 
would parse to the ending of it and see the connection with her own 
goals. Perhaps it would bring him a little more understanding.

Landon took in her words and recognized the poem from his days on Earth.

He finished it for her. "Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
He took a moment to think about why she'd chosen that particular poem,
a soft excerpt from Ulysses. When he opened his eyes to discuss it, she
was gone. Like a wisp in the woods, she vanished, leaving her rock

Landon put a hand on the stone and felt both bothered and interested at
how truly connected and intelligent this Savant program seemed. It was
entirely possible she was a sentient being, but the fact that there were
so many sets of her avatar made her seem omnipresent, and he wasn't ready
to accept that she was some kind of higher being.

With a little smile he laid down face up on the grass and stared into the
canopy of the rustling leaves. He felt the slight pull of sleep overtake
him, and he was all too willing to take the rest. Just before slipping
into unconsciousness, he heard the tiny chirps of a bird singing in the
distance. It's melody followed him as he let himself forget his worries.
They'd be at the Charon soon, and he wouldn't have time for anything
like this again for a very long while.

=/\= END LOG =/\=

Ens. Landon Neyes
Chief Engineer
Savant (Quantum Fury Avatar)
Chief of Operations / 2nd Officer