Friday, November 12, 2010

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

[T'Shen monastery, Shi'Al province]

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


"Metaphors and images, half-grasped dreams and unseen shadows. You are thought, Yyaio, pure and clear. Tell me, what happens when an empath senses pain? What evolutionary advantage is there in suffering with another, what chemical processes must occur to make it even possible? You know all those things I wager, perhaps can even put a name to the silent communion that occurs in that moment between the empath and the other. Wavelengths, neurotransmitters, physical reactions. I submit, Yyaio, that to a lifeform such as you the first step is to accept the validity of the unseen. Nothing unreal exists. "


If Sakarra smirked mildly at Kiri-kin-tha's first law of metaphysics, it happened fast enough to pass unnoticed. "Why, Yyaio? Only to make a better model, to predict more accurately, to preserve more potential, more memories? There are other ways to accomplish it, more suited to your unique mind. Or are you experiencing … a need? A need to know, a need to comprehend, to … make sense?"


Yyaio sat still for a long time. It was an eerie stillness, too still for any actual living being. It was hard to tell whether she was thinking or whether she had simply been overtaken by her injuries and had stopped working. When she thought hard, she lost the facade of life - the subtle movements of breathing and adjustment were gone, leaving her a complicated mannequin. 


"I am unaware of the difference between the two," she admitted finally. "I have a need to know these things, driven by my terminal goal state. I don't know whether this is anything like your feelings, but I would certainly call it a desire to know."

She had her eyes fixed on a neutral spot on the floor, still deep in cogitation as she replied. "This is my problem. I am aware of my own states, and I am aware of yours, but I have no translation between the two. Savant has - I have tried many things to solve this problem. None, so far, have been successful."


Under her grandfather's interested gaze, Sakarra nodded, seemingly unperturbed by the android's brief sojourn into unnatural stillness. "Who is to say there is a difference, Yyaio?"

Desire. A passionate longing, a need, a hunger that went beyond mere wishing and was often just a step short of obsession. And betimes, the boundaries were blurred. Hardly surprising, the memory of violet eyes flashed and dispersed.

Desire to know. Driven. Perhaps not the ceaseless fire burning in the Vulcan heart, but a force as simple and irrepressible as gravity, that compelled the AI on her quest. Who was to say?

"And even if there is a difference, it is merely one more facet in the fabric of infinite diversity. Human, Tholian, Choblik, Horta, Vulcan … Savant."

Picking up the glass with clear water, Sakarra studied the light hitting the crystal, breaking the pure white into a dazzling rainbow. Almost playful, she let the reflected glint of sunlight flicker over Yyaio's tattered and dusty clothes.

Of course it was an instinctive reaction to take what was familiar and project it onto the inexplicable. A scientist might call it unreasonable to explain thunder with a wrathful Deity, to interpret a canine's pleading look as emotion, or to compare an AI's desire to what one species among many experienced as such. And while the little Vulcan had the utmost respect for Science, she also knew that at times, her strident followers did not see the forest for the trees.


"You wish to learn of suffering, and loss. You want to know, need to know, because you need to understand why we do what we do. But there is no reason, no logic as you understand it to pain, Yyaio. When the wind blows over the desert, is there sense to the patterns in the sand? Even an immortal may spend eternity trying to count the grains, find the pattern."

Curious, how Yyaio was Savant – and not Savant. For a moment, she had even referred to the entity that had built her, given her life, as a separate being.

Solkar's minutely raised brow told Sakarra that her grandfather had not missed the incident, either. But the elder Vulcan kept his peace, proceeding to loosely braid the dark curls with skilled hands.


"But there is a pattern in the sand of the desert," she replied with the simple, naive answer, "sometimes it is invisible to the naked eye, like the wind is. That doesn't mean that the pattern isn't there."

The word pattern held a certain significance for Savant, for she was one, in the purest sense. She could be written in any computer language, translated into any architecture. So long as the formulae of her registers were preserved and the relationships of her values maintained, she would endure. She had been written in isolinear chips, in bioneural circuitry; even in the subatomic particles of stars themselves. The search for meaning was more than a drive - it was her definition.

"Even if we are unable to see it, the laws that govern it exist. Mystery is a state of our minds and not a state of the universe. It is our minds that are confused. The universe never is."


Sakarra was hard put not to … well, Vulcans rarely applaud. If they do, it is out of courtesy to other species who recognize the gesture but would not know what to make of the slowly inclined head denoting the same sentiment.

Be it by design or deduction, Yyaio had in her hand a thread of comprehension that eluded so many, and the young woman had no doubt she would hold on for dear life and pull until the universe itself had to unravel and reveal itself before her. What were countless lifetimes to Savant, after all?

"Yes." She said simply, and for the first time in a long, long while the smile dawning in her eyes was barely diluted by pain.

Practiced fingers wound her braided hair into a loose knot, and somewhere in the old conifer a bird was loudly proclaiming its ownership of this territory. Simple things. Great patterns.

Every Vulcan knows about the latter. And seeks refuge in the former, instinctively, when the weight and darkness become too much. A temporary reprieve at best, but cherished all the more for it. And still, it was good to see one so undeterred, so unstoppable, so … delightfully ready to go and defy the odds for one glimpse of understanding. One could think it had been a Vulcan, the organic who had breathed life into the entity that was Savant.


"Yes, Yyaio. There is a pattern. Always. The sands may change, even the desert will not be forever. And the patterns are only a reflection of the greater one." Once more, she let the light play over the glass, tinted a hue of amaranth by Nevasa's dying rays "I suspect if anyone can find it, it is you."

Perhaps the mirror would even show her what she sought. Who could say?


Yyaio nodded, and there was a hint of an un-Vulcan smile for a moment. The mind behind the face wasn't Vulcan, after all, even though it was modeled to be a reasonable facsimile. "I hope so. I would hate for my life to be in vain." For Yyaio, while not actually a separate entity, had been modeled as one. Her memories were fragments and her drives mere goals of some other power, but Yyaio, from her own perspective, was independent. She didn't know what life would bring her, but she knew that she needed to go out there and feel *pain*. It was a goal that consumed her, and she could find no rest until her goal was reached. Only then - only when she understood suffering thoroughly, from the inside out, could she find peace and rest, back in the whole that was Savant. 


Yyaio stood - her leg twisted uncomfortably as she did so, but she showed no pain on her face. She had gotten enough fuel to last several days more, and could hopefully put that time to good use out in the sands. "Will you be here much longer?" she asked. Perhaps there would be one more visit, but she doubted it. Yyaio had wandered far, and would likely not be passing by this place again.


Her life. For all that Savant liked to dissemble at times and point to the fact she was not officially accepted as a lifeform, Yyaio was rather straightforward in her statement. Both Vulcans duly noted the fact and while Solkar quirked an indulgent brow at his grandchild trying to slide deeper into her cocoon of blankets now that the sun was beginning to disappear entirely behind the monastery's outer walls, Sakarra gave the android the small tilt of the head that for her race qualified as a statement of uncertainty. "The healers should prefer so, yes. And I will remain for as long as is needful, though once my physical condition permits I will likely go to Kir. Yes, grandfather, I have consulted Sejet on this." One slender hand appeared from under the cashmere to wave dismissively and affectionately both, forestalling the stern, concerned inquiry she had sensed coming.


Lambent black eyes settled on the android, took in the dire state and air of determination and there was a flash of … approval, fondness. "Another measure of pain and suffering to perhaps consider, Yyaio. One that many consider the hardest to bear for it is the twin of being helpless and both feed on each other to become an unending, torturous circle. To see another suffer and having no or insufficient means to aid can betimes be worse than enduring it yourself. I remind myself of this when my family and the healers become … overly protective."


The Vulcan-that-wasn't nodded and assumed the faintest glimmer of a smile as she looked back at her Commander and friend. Such a mystery, these organics, such a puzzling wheel-within-a-wheel. Yyaio replied in the softest tones, "Perhaps I will have to try that next. When next we meet, Commander Tyrax." She nodded once at her revered grandfather and turned upon her heel, making her torturous way to the gate once more. Lacerating sand and scouring heat beckoned.



[End Log]



Seeker of wisdom


LtCmdr Sakarra Tyrax

Executive Officer


USS Charon



Senior Professor / Vulcan Science Academy