Friday, November 12, 2010

[USS Charon] SD241011.12 || Joint Log "Mirrors" Part IV || Capt Savant, LtCmdr Sakarra Tyrax, Solkar

[T'Shen monastery, Shi'Al province]

19th Day in the month of et'Khior, YS 9022



"Returning myself to - health - would act at cross-purposes with my goals at present. I hope to be able to effect repairs to my person at a later date, when my task is complete." Yyaio spoke matter-of-factly, as if her fractured hip were a matter of filing a report instead of a serious debilitation. He was right, though, Yyaio was *broken*. Lash wounds scoured her body, back and front, from the tender administrations of Hanaj on Endless Sky, and her hip and leg were fractured both. Were she actually Vulcan instead of a simulation, she would have been immobilized with pain. She was not.


Solkar raised a querulous brow at her reply, "I fail to imagine a task that one would better accomplish while injured." Even though he knew that she could feel no pain and would only be inconvenienced by the inefficiency of her broken body, repairing that damage still seemed to him to be the most logical course of action, regardless of the task.


Yyaio replied to both of them at the same time. "I understand your confusion. During our time on Endless Sky, I was witness to all of the virtues and vices of the Rihanha, in front of my own eyes." She spoke as if the android's eyes were actually her own, as if she had actually experienced some sort of a first-person trauma over the event.

"I saw these proud Vulcans, maintaining themselves in front of great hardship and suffering, and dying all the same as those who cracked beneath the strain. I saw their Romulan brothers, some filled with hate and an anguish all their own, others filled with sympathy. And I saw you; and you ran the spectrum from one end to the other."


Ah. So much for hoping there might have been at least a few things Savant/Yyaio had not noticed. One end to the other indeed.

She could have explained it all, having sensed the others dying, sensed their agony. Those who had found that place of peace within, swaying in the raging storm, bending while their very core remained unchanged, unassailable. Those who had tried to stem against it and failed, their Katras crying silently until the end. Could have explained that there was a difference, though in the grand scheme of things it mattered as much as a pebble sliding into the sea on a nameless planet.

Her eyes fixed on the copper dome of sky, streaked with the first hues of lavender as Nevasa touched the shores of Voroth, Sakarra felt the loss as keenly as a void in her own heart. She knew their names, every one of them etched into memory. It was all she needed to know, and enough to grasp at fragments of who they had been. Enough to hurt.

She could have explained it, the madness gripping her, the fever. The ancient call pulling at her like T'Khut commands the tide, the rising darkness that was also blinding light. And it had merely been the end of it. Had merely been a spark of the blood fever, induced by a machine which had been operated by unskilled hands.

Could have explained it all, if only there were words, and if she would not have choked on them.


"And I was missing something," Yyaio continued evenly, "something important. My predictions were poorly calibrated, and I was unable to adjust effectively to changes in the environment. I was underneath Hanaj's knives when I realized that I should be *feeling* something at that particular moment. That the holes in my predictions might be caused by a lack of deep comprehension."


She paused to drink some of her broth, and her voice was somewhat clearer when she spoke again. "I am not exactly sure how I came to be out in the borderlands of The Forge. Many of my memories have been erased - I don't recall any specific events from before Endless Sky, and I only have limited information of places outside of Vulcan. Nor do I currently have contact with the rest of - myself." Again, a strange pause, as if she considered the concept of being disembodied somewhat odd - which was somewhat odd indeed.


She shrugged off the brief silence. "I am here to be a student of the desert. If there is anything that suffering can teach me - if I can learn what the feeling of loss is like - I would like to learn it."


"Humans say 'be careful what you wish for', Yyaio. Most of us know what it is to suffer since before we ever see the universe with our open eyes and even so we struggle. To seek its meaning when you do not know its nature … I cannot fault a search for knowledge." A wry smile, come and gone in the blink of an eye as the elder Vulcan adjusted the blankets over his grandchild "However, I cannot help but debate the wisdom of your quest."


"I am afraid that I haven't the luxury of comfort, Sir," she nodded her head in deference to his opinion, which was likely valid. "Had I been able to better predict the outcome of this situation, I may have been able to save a life, or perhaps more than one. That in and of itself is of greater importance than whatever pain I may be forced to endure."


Her deadpan, perfect-Vulcan expression cracked slightly, or perhaps softened is a better description. "I am told that it is important to deeply understand those one lives with, in order to understand ones' self. Many have gone into the desert to find wisdom in the past. Perhaps there is still a little wisdom left in the sand for me."


Once more Solkar nodded, patiently, thoughtful. It was a worthy endeavor, undertaken for a noble reason and approached with the logic of a unique being. Who could say whether she might not find what she sought?

"The desert holds no wisdom, Yyaio, only silence. If we seek this silence, the simplicity of life and death side by side and all other fading, it is only so we may hear that which is already within."

Like he had done when she was but a babe squirming in his lap, the Vulcan gently undid Sakarra's braid and began to brush the long, silken strands. Methodical, even strokes, each suffused with silent tenderness. And like she had as a child, she bore it with grace and patience, even relaxed under the familiar ritual.

"It lends itself to thought, yes. Shows you beauty in its purest, sternest form. But the only wisdom the sands reflect is the one you bring with you. It is a mirror, Yyaio, nothing more."

The bright and the dark, both clear and unforgiving, forcing you to see things as they were without the fog of self-deception, if you dared look. For a creature that was as pure thought as Savant, one could think it was a natural state of being. Or perhaps even an immortal needed time … to reflect. To assemble the puzzle, to tie together seemingly chaotic threads until an image emerged.


Savant was a singular entity, far different from the organics which had created her and which now surrounded her. Things they found difficult or impossible she could accomplish with the greatest of ease - acquiring an entirely new sense was a trivial affair for her, whereas these wise Vulcans simply could not accomplish the task. She could span great distances, adjust her memories and skills to suit a situation - she could even completely re-write herself and come through on the other side without harm.


But for all these powers, Savant could be fouled by things which an organic might find trivial, or even instinctual. The ability to sense pain or to suffer was something which any organic took for granted, but to Savant it was an incomprehensible mystery. It could be argued that the ability to think at all was beyond her - there were no guarantees that Savant was even conscious or alive. Indeed, many amongst the Federation computing science labs considered Savant to be a clever automaton and nothing more, as independent as a ship's computer. The meager processors within Yyaio churned in the attempt to draw meaning out from Solkar's words.


"I hope that mirror can cast a reflection for someone like myself." she finished after a long pause. Could it? Yyaio had her doubts that she would determine anything out there in the sands - all she predicted was a slow breakdown of her autonomic functions, and an eventual recovery of her parts and processes by a watchful Savant. But her predictions were weak, and there was a lot of uncertainty. With enough data and time, she might indeed be able to discover the mystery.


Letting the waterfall of sable curls run through his fingers, Solkar deftly untangled a stubborn knot and noted with satisfaction how tension seemed to drain from the young woman. Oh, she was listening, and he could fair see the thoughts churning behind the deep, dark eyes, but for now Sakarra seemed content to keep her counsel.

And a conundrum it was, that Yyaio was faced with. The professor did not presume even a Vulcan mind could ever fully comprehend a creature as vast and complex as Savant, but for all her understanding and knowledge, she almost appeared … lost. Unable to grasp a simple concept she took the reasonable action of treating it as a gap that required filling, research that needed to be undertaken so that in the end the mystery would no longer be one but simply another matter to be understood, filed, and stored for further reference.

It was enough to make even a Vulcan smile. Invisibly, and silently. But smile all the same.



[To be continued …]



Seeker of wisdom


LtCmdr Sakarra Tyrax

Executive Officer


USS Charon



Senior Professor / Vulcan Science Academy