Trojan Horse #38-41 - "HAL 9000"


It was Fixing Party at the lounge. Kathleen Black was hard at work with her tools, taking apart parts of the lounge's main replicator. She'd handed Evans a bunch of tools and the computer-generated schematic for building the power convertor, and people were wandering in and out with torpedo batteries as O'Driscoll was doing her job down in the torpedo bay. She took a moment to lean back and uncrick her neck.

At that moment, the doors wooshed open, and a certain Romulan exchange officer wandered in. "Ah, finally! Here it is... This ship isn't that big, but it all looks the same in here. Oh, this place is in reasonable shape, compared to the rest. What happened? Or rather, what didn't happen? There were sparks flying all over the place, a few hours ago... That was pretty scary... You guys okay? I'm fine..." came a flood of words from the chubby sublieutenant.

"Oh good," Kitty said. She was tired and couldn't resist. "Then you can come over here and take over testing these leads.. mark which ones are hot and which are cold." She rose and stretched, wandering over to Evans' work area. "You get to decide how to test them."

Nalash rubbed her head at the sudden waterfall of words, a spark immediately flew from the open replicator she was working her. Shocking her but not hurting her severely. She hated being disturbed while she was working... especially by blabber mouth Romulans. "Why don't you put them in a phaser and shoot it at him? if he drops to the floor we know the battery is working" she stated sarcastically.

"Aye!" Evans responded, while raising his hand.

"Hey.." Whether that was a mild warning on behalf of the maligned Romulan or a greeting to Evans, it was hard to tell. Kitty sounded tired. "How's that convertor coming? We've got enough batteries to load it up and try it out now." She squinted suspiciously at the computer-generated blueprint again.

"Well, I'm starting to find out how this design is supposed to work, while building it. Looks like the direct current from the batteries are turned into a high frequency signal, which is transformed to the right tension, and divided back to the proper frequency... It's really basic actually, but there's a high level of integration. There's not a single assembly doing a single thing... Sheer brilliance, really..." Evans responded, not noticing he was babbling just like Letek right now...

Even to Nalash Evans was not making any sense and she was supposed to be the scientist with all the specializations and technobabble "So is it actually going to work?" she asked, trying to figure out everything he had just said

"...I hope so..." Evans just answered. "From what I can see, it should..."

"Yeah..." Kitty said, frowning. "Looks like an awfully good design. Awfully good......" She sighed. "I guess it does no good to worry. How soon will we be ready to test it?"

"Right abou..." Evans said, as he soldered the last part onto the assembly. "...t now..."

"Ah great..." Nalash responded, putting some things back into the replicator and making sure all the wires were connected to the right parts "...I think I'm ready here as well..." she looked over her shoulder at the two Lieutenants and the Romulan "...I think..." she stood up from the lotus position she was in on the ground and walking a bit back "Knock yourselves out"

"Very likely, if this doesn't work." Kitty crouched down a bit, checking the connections, nodding with satisfaction." Here goes..." and she tapped a couple of commands, bringing the replicator online. The sudden faint power hum lifted her spirits immediately. She started to tap in commands, then paused, looking up at the nearby terminal. "Yeah, I know, I know-...." and then she blinked in confusion. The terminal was displaying a picture of a white rose. She frowned, tapping in the rest of her commands, and an identical white rose appeared inside the replicator. She lifted it out, looking suspiciously at the terminal, which was now innocently displaying lists of parts and components.

"...Cute..." Evans responded, at the white rose, distracted from the confused look on Kitty's face.

"...Nice..." Letek said in the same way.

Nalash looked at the flower and then at the Lieutenant "I don't think now would be a good time to ask who made those scematics?" she asked, having asked it before but not having gotten a clear answer then. It seemed that whoever, or whatever made the scematics wanted a flower... a white rose to be exact.

"Er... I made the rose, I promised I would. I don't know how the computer terminal was intelligent enough to 'remember' that for me. It came up with the schematic all by itself, too. I don't like this..." Kitty blinked and glanced over at Letek, then smiled.

"Don't like what, Lieutenant .. " A voice sounded. Petrova wandered in, looking tired. She yawned and stretched a bit, making her way over to the group. "How's the replicator coming ?" the russian woman asked. "I could do with a drink."

"By itself? You do realize Federation Computers are not capable of Artificial Intelligence..." Nalash frowned, ignoring the XO for now. "...if the computer Did come up with scematics something is Wrong..."

"Oh!" Kitty straightened up, suddenly rather conscious that she was standing there in a borrowed tank top and shorts, barefoot. "Oh, this is for you." She offered Petrova the white rose. "We just got this group working, I think. At least, this one works. But yeah, the computer's been acting a bit... weird."

"Well, that's not exactly true, there have been instances of extreme intelligence displayed by computers, recorded in history. The M5 computer, that almost destroyed Kirk's Enterprise, a few holo-characters that went out of their way, and of course, the Voyager's doctor..." Evans added as his two cents.

"I mean the main computers... M5 was programmed to be intelligent and all other cases came from outside interference" Nalash countered Evans "Why didn't you guys notify Science about this?" she was getting a bit confused, angry and felt being left out. "This is something we need to know..." she shook her head a bit and forgot about it walking closer to the second replicator they wanted to repair.

Kristiana blinked, and looked puzzled. " .. A rose ? .. .. .. Oh my, Lieutenant .. " Petrova mock-blushed as she took the rose from Kitty. "I didn't know you felt this way .. But what would Evans say ? Mmmm .. You ARE cute, though." The redhead added with a wink, before turning serious. "And .. What's this talk about computers and intelligence ?"

"Uh... nononononono...." Kitty blinked and turned confused. "Ryylar told me to give that to you, it's from him. And the computer only just started being weird. It gave us the schematic for the power convertor and it reminded me about the rose just now. That's kind of odd behavior, for a dumb terminal.

"The computer is being a bit more helpful than we're used to, Ma'am..." Evans added, feeling a slight shiver of discomfort up his spine.

"Something is fishy..." Nalash responded after having sat down in front of the replicator again "...and we weren't notified..." she worked on the replicator making it ready for the battery Letek had just fixed and tested.

".. You're not making much sense." The Russian woman replied, tucking the flower behind an ear, frowning a bit. "Tell me what happened, when it began .." The Lt Cmdr added.

Kitty frowned at that. "I didn't know for sure that anything was strange enough to merit a notification until just now," she told Nalash. Then she turned to Petrova. "It brought up a schematic for the power convertor. A good one. Better than the one I knew how to build. I thought it was a prank, or I'd managed to tap in enough information to get the result.. I thought it was a little funny, but I didn't panic or anything. And just now when I was about to test the replicator, it showed me a white rose.. it was reminding me of the promise I made to Ryylar in Sickbay. That's... put together.. kind of weird."

"Waaait a second..." Letek said, very suspicious. "The reason I got lost again, searching for the lounge... I could swear the computer just sent me the wrong way..."

Waitaminit, the computer MISDIRECTED you?" Kitty was startled. "Why didn't you tell anyone?" was her automatic follow-up.

"That happens a lot around here..." Nalash responded under her breath, not taking her eyes off the replicator.

"I just thought it was me!... You know me and directions..." Letek answered defensively

Kristiana frowned a bit, looking concerned, but not yet alarmed. "Lieutenant Black, I'll want you to run a full diagnostic on the computer .. I want to know what's going on. Just a diagnostic, please. So far, whatever is happening seems to be helping us."

"Hey!..." Letek said, when Kris' remark finally sunk in.

Kitty smothered a snicker and nodded, going to the terminal and punching in the commands for a full diagnostic. "I'll initiate it in here, sir.. Main Engineering is still without power. At least we've got a couple replicators now.. but I'd recommend we watch out what we use them for. Those batteries won't last forever."

".. Sir ?" Kristiana smirked a bit. "That rose you gave me is beginning to make more sense now."

"What?" Kitty blinked in tired confusion. She honestly didn't even remember what she'd just said.

"You called her Sir..." Nalash responded before standing up again " can put the battery in this one as well" she stated.

"One battery, coming up..." Letek said, carrying the unit that almost fried his fingers.

"Oh.." groaned Kitty, turning back to face Petrova, the diagnostic having started. "I'm sorry, I forgot about the name thing." She shook her head slightly and absently rubbed at her temple a bit.

".. Are you ok, Lieutenant ? .. You've been working hardest of all of us." The russian woman spoke. "Take 30 minutes break. That's an order. Get something to drink." Before adding with a 'sweet' smile. "I'd like a tall glass of coke, please, two icecubes."

"Aye aye." Kitty punched the order into the first working replicator and offered Petrova the glass. Then she stretched out her back a little and wandered over to the corner of the lounge. "I'll just sit a moment and rest my brain, don't mind me."

<Working the hardest of us all... sheesh> Nalash responded in thought <...of course the enlisted people never got any credit in the past, why should it be different in the future> she walked into a dark corner of the room, extracting herself from the officers their conversation, they didn't need a CPO to tell them what she thought.

".. That goes for all of you." Petrova spoke, as she watched Nalash try to sneak off, stage right. She sighed softly, rubbing her temples a bit, managing a soft smile as her fingers found the rose again .. Taking a sip of her drink.

"Yes ma'am!" Evans responded, eagerly. He stepped up to the replicator. "Coffee... Black... Extra str... What the..." he said, as the beverage already materialised, before he was ready with his order.

He carefully took a sip of the mug that just appeared before him. "Hmmm, Mocha..."

Nalash frowned at that walking closer slowly and looking closely at the replicator "I so didn't do that..." she freed herself of blame, because she was the one who worked with the replicators "...Computer... the Regular..." she asked, knowing that a regular replicator wouldn't give her anything.

Silence for a moment, then the soft blue glow and the quiet hummm were seen and heard again, and a steaming mug of hot coco appeared, with a generous topping of whipped cream and a cookie.

Nalash blinked blinked "ok that is slightly scary..." she said picking up the cup from the replicator and taking a sip from it "...well, whatever it is, it sure knows how to make hot chocolate..." she smiled

There was nothing from the far corner of the Lounge now except a very faint, soft sound like a cello bow being slowly and repeatedly drawn across the highest string. Kathleen Black had fallen asleep sitting up.

Kristiana furrowed her brows at Nalash's drink, then at the sound of Kathleen Black, half snoring. She quickly finished her drink, and pushed off of the wall she'd been leaning against. ".. Good work. All of you." Giving a special nod to Nalash. "The Lantree is about six hours away .. Then we'll have spare parts to get the rest of the ship working with." as she turned to head out. "Oh .. Before I forget .. LaBrie wants shields and weapons online, before the Lantreee gets here. Just to be on the safe side, in case this universe turns out Not to be our own."

Evans once again felt the usual feeling of dread again. The feeling of being stuck with an impossible job... "Yes ma'am..." he just answered. "Not a problem..." He was used to performing the impossible by now. It just usually takes a bit longer...

"Ohw... does he want fries with that?" Nalash added sarcastically to Evans his response, not knowing if it was even remotely possible to do that with the resources they had.

At that moment the console beeped, spitting out another one of its special things... plans, schematics and power management blueprints. "Or we could use our magic eight ball..." she said while walking towards the terminal.

Kristiana nodded, and exited the lounge. She'd gotten her drink. Time to head back into the fray. At least now she had Ryylar's rose with her, and it gave her strength.


Getting things back together:

Lt Cmdr Kristiana Petrova Executive Officer USS Pegasus "I tried snorting coke, the icecubes got stuck up my nose"

CPO2 Nalash (NPC) Scientist's Mate USS Pegasus "We don't have intelligent computers... just people programming them to think they are intelligent" (NPC by Caelen LaBrie)

Lieutenant Jg. Ronald Evans Chief Opps Officer USS Pegasus "...Mocha..."

Sublieutenant Letek Assistant Ops Officer Attached to USS Pegasus "WHAT way?!..." (NPC played by Ronald Evans)

LT. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus