Starfinder – Spark of Life
By George Silsby aka Chooch99
Starbase 39, Alpha Centauri sector block.
Captain Seleya lay in a special bio bed in a science lab, wearing a medical patient’s gown with several leads attached to a device resembling a metal skull cap on her head.
She had volunteered to take part in a special experiment that was classified, and had the potential to save so many lives.
All she had to do was share her life. Literally. She had to be willing to allow a device to map out and copy her memories and experiences, and let them be uploaded into a complex computer program to add to the matrix of an Artificial Intelligence.
The technology being used was not standard Starfleet, it had been crafted with help from the Bynars, and with reverse engineering of captured Borg technology.
As she lay in a deep hypo induced sleep, her memories were stimulated by the device as it mapped out her neural interface algorithms, which would allow a data stream conversion to the A.I. Her dream shifted to the day she gave birth to her daughter, Valor. Over forty years ago on Sarek four, the colony she, her husband Xon, who was her Captain and she his first officer aboard the U.S.S. Pandora, came from.
“She is remarkable. And beautiful, like her mother.” Xon remarked as he proudly took his newborn child into his arms and looked upon her with pride.
Seleya was half Betazed. Her life had been challenging, having the emotional connections her natural empathic abilities gave her, and trying to discipline them not to affect her, with her Vulcan training. “You know, for a highly respected Vulcan captain, you wear your heart on your sleeve, husband.” She said with a slight smile. Xon had come to accept that his mate was who she was, when she would give in to her emotions.
“Only you would know, my wife.” He replied. It was true. Had anyone watched, his expressions would remain the same as any Vulcan, always in control. But his eyes–that was the easiest way to understand. That and the fact she was empathic and already had a mating telepathic bond with him.
The device continued harvesting the memories from the Vulcan woman. Flashes of time brought her to the middle of the Dominion war now. The smashed bridge of the Pandora, the smoke, the flames and sparks. Pandora had just barely survived the battle of Chin’toka. They had helped achieve a victory , and they had. But at this moment, it seemed more a Pyrrhic victory.
Dying in her arms from injuries sustained from the bridge explosions, Xon looked up to his beautiful mate, who was not controlling her emotions well. Tears streamed down her face. He struggled to speak as his life slowly began fading. “Not the end, Seleya. Not yet. One last voyage to make..I would share the voyage with you..” he reached up and placed his fingers on her temple, making a telepathic bridge between them. “Remember”. His final word before his body became, as the Klingons call it “an empty shell”.
Seleya had carried her husband’s Katra, his living spirit, back to Sarek four where it was transferred into a Katric Ark. Her young daughter struggling to accept her father’s death.
“I don’t understand, mother.” The little girl said looking up at her at the funeral. “What is a Katric Ark?”. Seleya sighed. She needed control now. Looking down at her child she maintained it and answered.
“A repository. A transference device to bring Katra’s to Vulcan, to be deposited into the “Hall of ancient thought”. Only the most respected and revered Vulcans are selected to be allowed such an honor. Your father was such a man. “
Twenty years later. Seleya was Captain of Pandora, she was an old ship by now. Magellan class, refit from the Nebula class. Seleya had taken a new mate, a Klingon Starfleet officer named Kurk. His colony had broken away from the Klingon Empire at the end of the war and joined the Federation as an independent state. Kurk had been named after a famous Starfleet captain, a tradition that began as a symbolism of their new allegiance back then.
Some would say they made for an odd couple. But they complemented one another. She had years of training controlling powerful emotions, and he as a Starfleet Klingon, had an incredible challenge controlling the powerful instincts of his blood. She calmed him. He “reminded” her of the need for control. Kurk was her first officer. But in private, off duty, she let him be in control.
Kurk had also undergone the memory transfer for this experiment. He was reluctant at first, but his wife and captain had a way of convincing him. He stood vigil watching his wife through the monitor room glass, with Dr. Gaius Aldrich, the half Deltan/Human scientist who was engineering this project.
“I think this A.I. will greatly benefit from the shared experiences of a couple such as you, Commander Kurk”. He said matter of factly. “If you think about it, you are an example of two worlds finding mutual acceptance.That is poetic in my eyes. If you don’t mind me asking.. who courted whom?”
Kurk managed to laugh. He found the Doctor’s question amusing. “I did, Doctor. A woman like Seleya needs not seek out a mate. She simply chooses one. “
“vay’ DaneHbogh yIchargh. “Conquer what you desire.”
Dr. Aldrich pressed some controls. “Okay it’s done. Neural networking conversion underway. You may go wake her if you wish, Commander.”
One hour later, Seleya was dressed and recovering. The device had affected her neural pathways, a side effect. She was sitting with her husband and first officer in the lab waiting room, as Dr. Aldrich came back in, her empathic abilities could feel his sense of pride and success.
“The process was a success. The two of you were the last donors I needed to formulate a successful personality algorithm into his matrix.” Commander Kurk raised a brow. “I still do not understand, Doctor. How can this..thing..use our memories to be anything but a mimic? You make it sound as if it will be a unique life form.”
Dr. Aldrich smiled. He actually enjoyed having someone not quite understand his work, it gave him an excuse to sound brilliant. His wife, a Deltan, certainly “humored” him, but she was Deltan. They were bored easily, and usually required a constant emotional reminder of worth to keep happy.
“Any child, of any species, Commander, is the sum of it’s parents and relatives. Genetic traits, randomly mixing it up, some have argued those include memory cells that explain why a son may have the same habits as a father even if they never met. Our life experiences form our personalities from raw basic starting points. Every experience and memory we have, forms new memory cells and stimulates neural activity in the brain.
The A.I. is an enlarged “synthetic brain”. Over ten million artificial synapses, rate of thought ten thousand times faster than a normal being. Superior to the Positronic brain model in Dr. Noonian Soong’s Androids. Though I get a lot of debate on that at the Daystrom Institute..
The circuit itself consists of highly-aligned carbon nanotubes It mimics an actual synapse insofar as the waveforms that are sent to it, and then successfully output from it, resemble biological waveforms in shape, relative amplitudes and durations. In other words, it can take in the type of impulses generated by real neurons, and send them on in a form that could be further processed by other neurons – it can even vary the strength of those impulses, much as real synapses do in a biological process that is thought to facilitate learning.”
Seleya nodded, her strength slowly returning as she stood and adjusted her hair and uniform.
“Good luck, Doctor. We must be going. Pandora is nearly done with her refit installing the Aegis systems.” She held up her hand in a Vulcan salute. “Live long, and prosper”. Dr. Aldrich returned the salute, having perfected it years ago to impress a Vulcan colleague who was a lover for a time. “Thank you for your help, both of you. Good day.”
One week later.
He had finished rendering the personality matrix into the data core. If all went as planned, this life form would come to life in holographic representation, having believed to have led a full virtually programmed life, a simulated life background had been calculated and rendered into his matrix based on all the data input. From the point of view of the A.I., Dr. Aldrich would be a father who raised him and taught him well, his mother would be represented by Admiral T’Nae, who had taken part in the development of the process. There was one last thing he had put into the personality matrix that was his “final touch”.
Several years back, Captain Jean Luc Picard had on stardate 45944.1, been affected by an alien probe from a long extinct species from a world called “Kataan”. The probe had flashed the stored memories of a man from that world, and Picard had re experienced the life of that man in mere minutes.
The study findings from the probe had been taken to the Daystrom institute for further analysis. Some of the flash memory technology used to build this A.I. stemmed from that research.
As the synthetic brain came to life, a holographic man whose likeness was chosen from a famous captain “Andrews” from the 23rd century, appeared. He was holding an acoustic guitar, dressed in a Starfleet uniform.
“Hello son”. Dr Aldrich said, sitting in his chair near the hologram, waiting for a sign that all of this had not been in vain.
“Hello, dad. I have this new tune I came up with, not sure where it came from, but tell me what you think.”
He began strumming his guitar, and the music sounded familiar. Where had he heard it before?
Oh, yes. The “Inner Light”, a melody famous for being created by Captain Picard with his flute, from the artificial experiences of his life on Kataan.
He listened as the A.I. man played a beautiful acoustic guitar rendering of the tune.
It was a moment he would cherish for the rest of his life.
A spark of life was born this day.