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.
Starfinder- Patronus Inocuus
The transporter beam materialized the forms of four individuals on the edge of a cliff.
Lightning squad. M.A.C.O.S (Military Assault Command Operations), special forces for Starfleet during wartime. Sergeant Charles Byrnes, Human male age 35; Corporal Naveera, Joined Trill female medic, (but raised on earth in Scotland), age 27. Corporal Hicks, Human male aged 31. And Corporal Hobbes, Caitian male.
Sergeant Byrnes gave the hand signal to drop from sight, as he spotted people in the distance.
He activated his anti-proton sniper rifle’s scope, and zoomed in to sweep the group. “Looks like humans, or close to being human. Four adult females, one female child about six or seven years old.”
Hobbes released a low growl of agitation as he lay prone behind rocks. He looked over to Naveera. She exchanged a look of concern over the situation with the Caitian.
“Byrnes to Drake. We are at the drop point, targets in sight. Awaiting your special orders.”
The comm badge chirped as Franklin Drake’s voice came through. “The target is the child. she must be eliminated. What you do not know is this was a classified mission, Sergeant. You and your squad have been sent back in time through a temporal transporter. We are communicating through special technology Starfleet Intelligence has “borrowed” from DTI”.
Byrnes raised a brow, as he and the squad members looked at one another with shock.
“Sir, why are we killing a child?” Byrnes asked. He didn’t like this one bit. He glanced at Naveera, the beautiful red haired Trill was his best friend. He trusted her more than anyone in Starfleet.
She did not look amused.
“That information is need to know, Sergeant. Carry out my orders.” Drake replied coldly.
Naveera lost it. She was raised in Scotland on earth, her father had died when she was little, and her mother had remarried a human. She adapted the renown Scottish fire the women were known for.
“You want us to do this? You better give us a damned good reason, Drake!” She barked.
“Fine. That child is the future Borg Queen. We have calculated taking her out before she is assimilated will reduce the casualty rate of Borg infiltrations into the Alpha quadrant by more than half. This time period is a few days before her assimilation, she was raised in the collective to maturity and groomed to become Queen.”
The Squad were silent a moment reflecting Drake’s words. They looked at one another, before Byrnes sighed. “Understood.” He looked at the others, who were disturbed. “We can’t do this Byrnes!” Naveera said angrily.
Byrnes nodded and aimed his sniper rifle, lining up his sight to target the little girl’s head. He could at least make it quick, and painless.
He hovered his finger over the trigger, hesitant.
Naveera looked at him sharply, anger and watery emotion filled eyes stared at him. She and Byrnes had a special bond, and she thought she knew him. If he did this, she would question everything her instincts tell her, instincts formed by several lifetimes of symbiont hosts.
“Byrnes..” She said softly.
Byrnes lowered the weapon and sighed. “Forget it Drake”. He said. “I refuse this order.”
Naveera sighed relief. Drake’s voice came over the channel. “You are relieved then, Byrnes. Hicks, you are now in charge. Carry out my orders. Eliminate the target.”
Hicks looked at Byrnes, then Naveera, then Hobbes. “Negative, sir. Lightning squad doesn’t kill children. Wer’e better than this.”
Drake sounded less than happy. “End program”. The planet around them shifted to the walls of a holodeck as the simulation came to an end. Franklin Drake entered through the doors arms resting behind his back.
“Soldiers are supposed to follow orders without question, Lightning squad. I am very disappointed. I had hopes to..recruit you..into a special unit.”
Byrnes stood up and at attention, as did the rest of Lightning squad. “Then court martial us, sir. We follow LAWFUL orders, we don’t assassinate children. Get a Romulan to do that, if you must.”
Drake shook his head. “The nature of this exercise, was to make you understand some decisions and orders are not made for lack of morality. The greater good. Had you taken out this target, millions of lives would be spared from assimilation.”
Naveera spoke up, angrily. “With respect, sir..the Borg would have just created a queen out of someone else. We would have possibly delayed their advance, but it would have still happened. And we would have had to live with knowing we made a small difference at the cost of our conscience’s.”
Drake sighed and shook his head again. “Lightning squad, you are dismissed. You are being reassigned to Starfinder.”
Byrnes raised a brow. “Starfinder? Major Shepard must have requested us to rejoin him after his transfer. Nice.” He smiled as he led the squad out of the holodeck.
Drake tapped his communicator. “Drake to Yolanda. No go. Lightning squad aren’t recruitable to Section 31. We’ll have to settle for the one agent we have on board now.”
A voice came through his comm badge. “Understood. One is better than none.”
Franklin Drake sighed once more as he turned and exited the holodeck.
Sergeant Byrnes was drunk. He sat in the chamber that held the torpedo casket that contained Major Shepard’s corpse, draped over by the flag of the UFP.
He had been off duty for an hour, and had not bothered changing from his fatigues. He held a flask of Algerion whiskey in his hand, taking shots from it at random.
He had been crying. He had just gotten off the comm with Major Shepard’s widow, back on New Australia, after getting the Captain’s permission to be the one to break the news to her.
It broke his heart to have to inform a heavily pregnant woman with another small child, that her husband would be returning home…to be buried.
The doors to the chamber opened suddenly and Byrnes saw it was the first officer, Commander Vaihuu, who was accompanied by another woman..a young female Vulcan that Byrnes recognized as Deputy Security chief Valor. He quickly jumped to his feet, dropping the flask which spilled some whiskey on the deck. He stood at attention, embarrassed to be caught drinking here.
“Oh..it’s Sergeant Byrnes.” Vaihuu stated, realizing who the unauthorized person detected by security scanners had read in here with Major Shepard. Vaihuu looked down at the spilled flask.
“Care to explain, Sergeant?” she asked, hands on her hips right eyebrow raised. The other woman had her hands rested behind her her phaser in her belt and uniform made Byrnes recognize she was with ship’s security. “I uh..was off duty ma’am..and I..had just gotten off the comm with Major Shepard’s wife. And uh..” Vaihuu raised her hand up to stop him.
“I understand Sergeant. Go get some rest, I’ll pretend this never happened.” Byrnes looked down shamefully, cleared his throat and then back up to meet the Romulan woman’s eyes.
“I’d like to stay here with the Major a little longer, ma’am if it’s all right with you?” Vaihuu nodded slowly. “Just make sure you clean that off the deck, Sergeant. If you need someone to talk to, come to my quarters, okay?” She said sympathetically.
She had not known Major Shepard long, but she recognized the intense loyalty and camaraderie the Macos had for each other.
“Thank you, Commander. Will do.” He replied, as Vai walked out, the young Vulcan woman remained, looking at Byrnes without any discernible emotional expression, typical Vulcan. But what Byrnes could not help noticing was how strikingly beautiful she was. He had met her when he came upon her being helped by Jem’Hadar freeing her from debris during the attack by the Tholians. “Well, this was embarrassing”. He said to Valor, as he pulled a hand cloth from his fatigues cargo pocket, wiping up the spilled drink from the deck plating.
“There is no need to be embarrassed, Sergeant. From what you described, it is logical for you to still be grieving the loss of your commanding officer. And friend, from what I noted.”
Byrnes sat back on the seat he was on originally, taking a swig from his flask, only some had spilled. He looked at Valor, still standing where she was, arms rested behind her back.
He raised his flask in a gesture to offer her some. “I must decline” she said politely. “I am still on duty.” Byrnes nodded and took another swig, sighing. “You don’t have to stay. I’m sure you have other things to do while on duty.” He said to her.
Valor looked at the casket, then to Byrnes before walking to sit next to him, straightening her short uniform skirt, an option that Byrnes was not unhappy the Vulcan had chosen for her uniform bottoms, as he found her legs stunning as the rest of her.
“I have lost friends and family as well. Vulcans are trained to control our emotions through mental disciplines. But we also have a gland in our brains that evolved naturally after practicing this, and it gives us a natural advantage at doing so.” Byrnes chuckled as he took another drink. “I’m Irish, for me it’s the opposite”. Valor raised a brow. “Irish..a culture from earth originating in the country of Ireland. I fail to see how that is a disadvantage?”
Byrnes laughed, and looked back to her. God her eyes were amazing. “It just means my people are extra emotional. I suppose that makes me the opposite of you.”Valor held his gaze for a moment before she slowly stood and adjusted her skirt again.
“They say opposites attract.” she muttered before turning to walk off. “Wait what did you say?” Byrnes asked, not quite sure if he heard her correctly.
Valor turned at the door and looked at him. “Nothing, Sergeant Byrnes. I must be going. If you need someone to talk to, the ship’s counselor is quite qualified. But should he be unavailable, I offer to..lend an ear, as they say. I hope you feel better soon, good evening.”
She walked out and Byrnes raised his brow questioning what just happened. The doors opened once again, this time Corporal Naveera, Corporal Hobbes, and Corporal Hicks strolled in, with drinks of their own. “What’s this?” Byrnes asked looking surprised.
Hicks laughed and sat next to Byrnes handing him a new bottle. “Commander Vaihuu contacted us. She suggested you might need some friends.” Naveera smiled and raised her drink, as did Hobbes and Hicks. “To Major Shepard. To Lightning squad!” she toasted. Byrnes choked back tears as he joined them in raising his drink. Naveera looked at him and smiled. “You are one of us, Byrnes. You are never alone.”
The sounds of laughter and clanking drinks echoed.
They appeared out of nowhere. Not like a cloaked ship, but more like “shadows” that came to life. Starfinder had been studying mysteriously unusual pockets of Dark Matter in a very unusual nebula.
The bridge tilted back and forth rocking to the impact of weapon fire from the alien ships.
A small explosion sent a young Bolian Ensign to his death, as his console at Ops was the unfortunate energy backlash outlet from the strike.
Vaihuu was on duty in the Captain’s chair when the attack began. They had not been able to raise shields before the first missile struck.
Captain A.N.N-D instantly materialized on the bridge, after all he was an AI and the bridge holo emitters allowed for instant bridge relocation.
“Report!” He barked to his first officer, as a medic confirmed the death of the young operations officer who was on duty at the time.
“Shield’s are up, but took a couple of hits before we could raise them, sir.” JJ reported from the tactical station. “Whoever they are the missiles are composed of dark matter instead of antimatter. Very sophisticated weapon engineering..i’d be impressed if we weren’t on the receiving end of them!”
“lock phasers and return fire mister Abrins!” The captain ordered. “Firing phasers!” Jj responded, as Starfinder unleashed a powerful beam of phaser power at the Alien starship attacking them. “What the? The dark clouds of dark matter shielding, I guess it is, surrounding the alien ship has completely absorbed our phaser fire. No damage or weakening in the shields..but i’m not even sure if they ARE shields as we know them, sir!”
Starfinder rocked as two dark matter missiles fired from the alien aggressor, striking the shields. “Shield’s have large gaps in the areas the missiles struck sir!” JJ reported confused and quite shocked at the technology being unleashed upon them, unlike anything he had experienced.
“The dark matter energy is acting like “wounds” in our shields..the emitters can’t close the gaps where they struck us! They can target our hull if they can shoot through the gaps!”
“Scorpio crew launch and engage the enemy!” The captain ordered. The escort docked in the aft of Starfinder launched and cleared her shields by matching frequencies.
Scorpio was a highly maneuverable ship, Commander Austin engaged the alien vessel’s flank, firing phaser cannons and quantum torpedoes to no avail. “No damage sir, our weapon fire is ineffective!” Austin reported.
Vaihuu looked at A.N.N. D and she raised her brow. “What are your thoughts, commander?” The captain asked as the ship barely avoided direct hits as Penn expertly navigated evasive maneuvers.
“Area of effect, sir. Direct fire can’t penetrate the cloud, but the phasers and torpedoes never actually had a chance to damage them. It’s like the cloud acts as a portal and they shoot into somewhere else.” The captain smiled, Impressed with his first officer’s skills of observation and quick thinking tactical sense.
He looked to JJ as the ship was hit several more times. “Larger gaps in our shields, 20% exposure to direct fire now on our port shield perimeter!” JJ reported.
“JJ, deploy anti proton cluster mines, beam them around the enemy ship, once they beam in, set them to detonate immediately!” The captain ordered. JJ nodded and quickly deployed the mines in a formation that beamed the mines all around the alien ship at once, as they materialized they detonated a powerful series of anti proton explosions.
“Heavy damage to the alien ship, her cloud cover has vanished, she has hull breaches and weapons have been disabled.”. JJ reported with a sigh of relief and a slight smirk.
Vaihuu looked at the screen. With the cloud gone, the alien ship looked remarkably similar in basic design, to a Tholian Widow class fighter, except the hull was pitch black and seemed modified with alien technology. “Tholians? They must have acquired alien technology in the outback and learned to use it.” Vaihuu theorized out loud.
“They are hailing us, captain.” JJ reported. “On screen” A.N.N.-D replied.
The screen depicted an obsidian black material Tholian..at least it bore a resemblance to a Tholian save the obsidian color and texture of it’s skin, and the surrounding environment was cloudy mist not unlike the cloud of dark matter that shielded them.
“This is..” but before the captain could finish, the alien voice, a very eerie voice, talked over him.
“We are the Wrathen. We dominate this region of space in the name of our masters. You are now recorded as enemy to the Wrathen. Your death will come soon. We do not surrender. Death is welcome, we die with honor and our brethren will avenge us.”
Suddenly the ship “imploded”. The screen showed the hull crush in on itself as it’s dark matter based reactor self destructed them shredding the ship apart.
The crew looked stunned, at one another, trying to ascertain what just happened.
“If I didn’t know better i’d guess they are some offshoot distant relative of the Tholians.” Vaihuu suggested.
“Offshoot is one word for it. They sounded like they have been in the outback quite some time..we need to investigate who these “Wrathen” are, and soon.” The captain remarked.
“Let’s get repairs underway people, I have a report to make to Starfleet.”