By: Maxine Lucinda Tapert, Computer Specialist, [PC]
Simon Zent, Chief Science Officer, [RNPC]
Stardate: 58209.27 1600
Simon Zent set down the PADD containing the data he was working on and rubbed his eyes. Tapping his combadge, he queried the computer, "Locate Maxine Tapert."
The computer chimed back, "Lieutenant Tappert is in the Lower Computer Core Access Chamber, Deck 8."
He picked up the PADD and headed out the door. A short walk down the center corridor of the saucer section, then left down the inner circular corridor -- just a short ways -- and he arrived at his destination.
The doors opened and he stepped in. Maxine was perched in front of the computer terminal, her fingers moved unconsciously over the key board and her eyes were glued to the lines of code displayed on the terminal in front of her. She didn't hear him enter. The holographic pixie was fluttering around Max's head, nattering and singing as she filled the computer expert's hair with tiny braids.
She paused briefly when Simon entered to flutter her wings as she turned to wave at him.
Maxine's fingers stopped in mid stroke and she turned around to look at him. She blinked to focus and then smiled. "Commander, What can I do for you?"
Zent studied Krystal for a moment, "Your avatar looks back to normal."
Maxine snorted softly as the hologram preened her wings and appeared to totally ignore them. "She still has a few issues," Max admitted. "Every once in a while she'll pop out with something that sounds like she's still confused with the EMH," she grinned. "At least she looks like herself again. For a while it was like having a hologram with a split personality."
"I need Freud," Krystal nodded out of the blue. She'd stopped preening and was now looking back and forth between them.
Maxine rolled her eyes. "No, y'don't. Y'fine. Y'just need more tweaking is all."
Zent looked perplexed. "What's a 'Freud'?" he asked.
"She's been in t'data archives again," Maxine explained. "Freud was a nineteenth century doctor on Earth who specialized in head cases."
"He was the founding father of psychoanalysis," Krystal clarified, sounding like she was parroting something she'd read. "I think I have an Oedipus Complex," she tells Simon conspiratorially.
"Oh, Crikey. Y'do not have a complex. Besides, y'don't even know what that is," Maxine tells her. "Y'have some code issues. That's all. Now be quiet," she shushes the pixie.
Zent chuckled. "She has quite the personality doesn't she?"
"A lot of complex intuitive coding," Maxine nodded her agreement. "She has t'most sophisticated AI that I could program," she admitted. "But m'sure y'didn't come down here t'talk about Krystal," she smiled.
Zent looked over Tappert's shoulder, "so where is the worm now?"
"Waldo," Maxine corrected.
"Waldo. It's name is Waldo."
"The worm..ohhh. Okay... so... Where's Waldo?"
Tapert fingers danced across the control pad of her display. Moments later the display began drawing computer and network nodes that criss-crossed and branched out in every direction until the screen area was nearly full.
Zent studied the output. "Impressive," said as he handed Tapert the PADD he carried, "Here are the specifications and time tables for the mission."
Maxine took the PADD and swiped its display to her main holographic console so both of them could review it.
"Intel has identified a Lieutenant James as the person responsible for coordinating the in-system shuttle traffic. She would be the one who will dispatch the shuttles for Red Squad. We'll need to monitor her activity to see when the shuttles will arrive.
"I don't think that should be a problem," Max responded. "We already have access to their communication system."
Zent agreed, as he tapped the display causing another view to appear. "We'll need to get our team inside the various facilities. Here are the timetables and credentials they will need."
Maxine nods. "What are y'plannin on doing with them after we get them all subdued?" she asked curiously.
"A cargo container." said Zent with a smile, "That's what Commander Wright said."
"I doubt they'll like that," Maxine chuckled. "Will they be conscious or unconscious?"
Zent stood up right and crossed his arms, "well, hopefully unconscious and remain that way. Maybe a little Neurozine will help," he added with smirk.
"Any way, We'll need to make sure that your virus propagates to the shuttles that are used to pick up red squad after we capture them."
Maxine looks a little thoughtful for a few moments before answering. "We could give our pilots isochips containing the virus that they could upload as soon as they were onboard," she suggests.
Zent nodded, "Good, good. We'll want to be able to monitor every event that happens to mitigate any deviations in the mission specifications."
"Once we get the virus onboard, we should be able t'add in some programming t'keep us informed of every event," Max assured him.
Zent nodded, "we're using the point to point FF-135 mode for communication, we can piggy back the data stream to signal carrier.
Lastly, we're going to need to produce some pretty authentic looking holographs of the prisoners," Zent smiled, "...and that seems right up your alley."
Maxine glanced over at Krystal, who stopped her antics to gaze at them. "I'm a hologram," the little pixie announced with a grin." Max snorted softly.
"I'm sure we can take care of that. I should be able to find enough images to program duplicate holograms."
"Hopefully, once our team is in the detention center we might be able to get scans. Otherwise, maybe we can expand our search in the Federation database to include medical records."
Zent stopped to reflect for a moment, "maybe it won't be that hard, in some cultures, executions are performed on prisoners who wear hoods. I'll check with Mason.
Maxine quirked a brow. "That would sure make it easier," she agreed.
"Indeed it would."
Zent paused and regarded the pixie as it resumed working on tiny braids.
"You know," he said, "I have an android in my lab that I've been working on. It belonged to a friend."
"You do?" Max's eyes lit up. "What have y'been doing with it? Is it functional? Do you know the production model? What kind of AI does it have?" It was pretty clear that he had hooked her interest.
Zent nodded, "He built it from scratch. All I know. I am having trouble getting the neural net to collate the subroutines and stay cohesive. All the algorithms load but after a few brief moments, everything is gone and I have to re-initialize it."
"Hmmm, We could take a look at it, if you'd like," Her tone was disgustingly hopeful.
"I wouldn't mind at all. It would be a nice tribute to a departed friend."
"Great!" Maxine and Krystal said in unison. Maxine glanced over at Krystal and then turned her gaze back to Zent. She smiled a bit shyly. "Whenever works for you will be good for us. Just let me know."
"Seriously," he said nodding, "I will plan to take you up on that offer." With that, Zent smiled and turned toward the door, "Well, I've got to keep going," he said turning back, "I'll see you later."
By: Doctor Zaius , Federation Research Scientist , [NPC]
Major Brent , Federation Minion , [NPC]
Dr. Paul Sparrow, Assistant Chief Sceince Officer, [NPC]
Sophia J. Livingston , Journalist , [NPC]
Stardate: 58209.27 2230
==/ Federation Detention Center ===========
The turbolift doors opened and a distinguished looking old man dressed in a white lab coat stepped out. His back was hunched slightly and his hair and goatee white from age. He addressed a woman who had been waiting pensively near-by.
"Ah, Major Brent, there you are." said the old man.
The Major reciprocated the greeting with a nod, "Hello Doctor,"
"I appreciate this you know," said the Doctor.
She nodded as they turned and started walking toward cellblock Omega.
"Well, you know it wasn't easy. Everyone's walking on needles and pins these days."
"I was hoping I would sleep better at night if I get this off my shoulders," said the doctor.
"You won't," said the Major, "this will only make it worse."
The Doctor's eyes drifted into empty space as he contemplated the Major's words.
She shifted her head to catch his gaze and said, "you won't find what you are looking for."
The Doctor started walking again, "I don't need her forgiveness, I just want her to know."
After just a few paces toward their destination, he stopped again and turned toward the Major.
"What?" she asked.
"I was just trying to remember," he said thoughtfully, "just when did we become the bad guys?"
Major scuffed loudly and took the old doctor's arm in hers and turned him back toward the cellblock door at the end of the hall.
"Talk like that will get you in the brig too."
"But it's true," said the old doctor shaking his head as they continued walking, "What we did was reprehensible and we can't even discuss moral principals without fear of reprisal. Not that it matters any more now." He paused again, "You know they shut down my program, yes?"
"You are lucky they didn't shut you down after the Birkhoff incident."
"Birkoff..." he said remembering and shaking his head in dismay.
"Now remember what I said," she cautioned as they reached the door.
She turned the doctor to face her and looked him sternly in the eyes, "if Red Squad is already there, then we are too late. There isn't anything I can do. We have to leave."
"I understand," he said with a solemn nod.
She placed her palm on a scanner pad next to the door and it opened.
Looking inside she saw only the usual detention staff. She nodded and motioned for him to enter.
The guards saluted the Major who saluted back as she approached the main security console.
"Can I help you Major?"
"We're here to see one of the prisoners," said the Major, "The Doctor here, has authorization to see his subject for one final exam."
The Major motioned for the guard to step aside. Tapping several commands into the LCARS console, the Major locked out the audio and video logging control for the prisoner they were there to see.
She turned and addressed the guard, "This interrogation is classified Lieutenant. See that we are not disturbed."
Upon seeing the Major and the man in the lab coat, Penny instinctively gasped and jumped onto her bed and cowered, "no! Please!"
The Doctor and the Major exchanged glances as they entered her cell.
Behind them the force field re-materialized, sealing them in.
"We're not here to hurt you," said the Major.
"I am certain you remember me, young lady," said the Doctor.
"Yes, you're Dr. Zaius." she answered cautiously.
He nodded and scanned her with a medical tricorder.
Meanwhile, the Major squatted down on her haunches so that she was eye level with the girl sitting on the bed. "How are you doing?"
Penny shook her head 'no' sharply.
"I understand," she said with a pause, "...and I know you understand what is going to happen to you right?"
Penny pulled her blanket up to her face and nodded yes.
The Major drew a breath. "I want you to know...." started the Major, who suddenly seemed lost for words.
Zaius sat down on the bed next to her and took over at the major.
"I think what the Major is trying to say is that, you are a very smart girl, and you deserve to know why this is happening to you."
Penny looked up at Major Brent and with her blanket wiped away the tears that were welling up.
"I've been in Star Fleet for 34 years. I have never..." the Major paused and cleared her throat. "Penny, look," she said starting over, "You are not here because you did anything wrong. The war sometimes makes good people do bad things."
As if by reflex, Penny's eyebrows furled and she retorted, "And bad people do bader things."
The Doctor glanced up at the Major. She had understood fully what Penny had said.
"I know," said the Major standing up, "I was just following orders."
"You're just a Nazi!" said Penny with a glare.
The doctor raised an eyebrow as the major folded her arms and turned around and paced toward the barrier a couple steps.
"What happened to you, should never have happened. It got out of hand," she confessed, turning to face Penny again.
Penny didn't respond, there was nothing she could say. There was nothing she wanted to say.
The Doctor took his turn, "And I'm sorry too Penny, I want you to know that I deeply regret what I've done."
The Doctor paused. When Penny didn't respond to him either, he continued anyway, "I knew your father. We served together at Star Fleet Science Academy years."
Penny rubbed her eyes and sighed in frustration.
"And I remember when you were just a baby..."
"And that's why you made me sick?"
"No... no, I had no choice... I was told I had to."
"Then you're just a Nazi too."
Penny pressed her face into her blanket.
"The serum you were given was a product of my latest research. It is designed to increase mental clarity. To unlock the human brain to its fullest potential. They hoped by combining truth-serum with mine, it would help you to remember more about where your father is and get you out of this situation."
"What about before? On Tantalus?"
"I'm so sorry Penny, we had nothing to do with that.. Someone approved them to use you in bio-genicidal research."
Penny's brows furled into a deep frown and she lost her breath, all she could do was mouth the word "what?"
"Then you came into my research," said the Doctor, "but I couldn't protect you more than I did."
The Major piped in, "You're lucky you survived, his other subjects didn't."
The Doctor glared at the Major, "They were Star Fleet volunteers," he said in his defense.
"No," said the Major softly folding her arms, "they were under orders. My orders."
"I'm lucky to be alive? So I can die?"
Penny threw her pillow at the Major who dodged it with just a slight tilt of her head.
The young girl was now sobbing profusely into her blanket, she looked up,
"Just kill me now?" she said with a begging sob, "I hate waiting."
The doctor's face was contorted, as if in pain.
It was too much for Penny, she buried her face in her blanket and curled up into a fetal position and started crying.
The doctor reached out to touch her, but the Major intercepted his arm and gently pulled the doctor to his feet.
"Penny," said the Major, "the Doctor and I are leaving now."
She did not respond.
The Major gestured the Doctor toward the barrier, and tapped her com-badge, Security, open Cell 5 please."
The two visitors stepped out into the corridor and the force field re-materialized, sealing Penny in.
The Doctor shook his head ruefully, "I think that made it much worse," he said in a whisper.
"I told you it would," responded the Major.
They were walking toward the exit when the Doctor stopped abruptly and looked into the adjacent cell. Inside a young, fair skinned woman was staring at him. The Major stopped and rested her hand on the casement, over the large number 3 that designated the cell number.
Zaius leaned forward slightly and cleared his throat, "Miss Livingston, I presume?"
Sophia stood as tall as her petite frame would allow and kept her head held high. "Indeed. You seem to know who I am Doctor." She'd watched as they'd gone down to Penny's cell.
"Of course, ahem, my name is Doctor Zaius. I've read your article," he said nodding as he took a step back.
"Ah, then you know why I'm here. Mustn't speak out against the regime, you know," she seemed to smile a little, although it failed to reach her riveting Nordic blue eyes. "How'd you like the pictures that accompanied the article? Especially the one of the children that the Germans doctors were experimenting on? Trusting little faces, weren't they?"
"These are difficult times, young lady, do you think your stories make it any easier to pass judgement as to what is right or wrong?"
"It's not so hard to tell right from wrong, doctor," Sophia answered. "What's hard is standing up for what you believe. A wise man once said that 'the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing'. That's very true, don't you think?" she asked. But before he could answer she continued, "Torturing children is wrong. I've seen the marks on Penny's body. I'm sure the German doctors were able, on some level, to rationalize what they did. After all, they were only doing what they were told."
Zaius became slightly agitated, Major Brent tugged at his arm which he wrenched free.
"Edmund Burke said that. Yes. Ironically he also said, 'Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.'"
The Doctor drew him self up and shook his finger at the historian, "But If you think for a minute that I would beat a child like that, you are wrong. I didn't intend any harm to come to her." He softened his posture a little and sighed shaking his head.
"We should go." said the Major.
"Wait," he said turning back to Livingstone, "I'm an old man. Truth be told, if today I could trade my life for Penny's I would."
"Doctor!" exclaimed the Major trying to quiet him down.
"Better listen to the Major, doctor," Sophia warned. "You'd be quite a prize for the regime to show off before they put you to death. Just like the Admiral over there," she nodded towards Riker's cell. "Besides, I highly doubt they'd 'trade' her for you. They'd just take you too. More intimidation factor to keep the masses in line." Sophia didn't show much sympathy for the doctor whether she felt any or not.
Zaius turned and looked over his shoulder toward Riker. "As far as I'm concerned," he said as he waved his arm, "save for you and Miss Sparrow, all the others here are combatants and understand the consequences as they engaged them. As for you," he said leaning in slightly, "did you think you could stir up such strong words and not also suffer the wrath you have?"
Sophia mimicked the doctor and leaned towards him as far as the field would allow. "Oh no, doctor," her words were softly spoken. "I knew exactly what I was doing and what the likely consequences would be," she admitted.
"Did you truly?" asked Zaius.
She continued, "But somebody has to speak up. Somebody has to shine the light so that people are no longer kept in the dark with only a steady diet of the regime's pabulum. We are not sheep, doctor. To follow blindly where Star Fleet and the Federation would lead us. What happened to freedom and democracy? What happened to being able to follow our moral compass and speak out when we see wrong doing without fear of reciprocity from a tyrannical government?" she asked quietly, but her voice held a wealth of feeling.
"I've often wondered the same Miss Livingston," he said looking toward the Major who rolled her eyes with a feigned look of disgust. Zaius shifted his gaze back to Livingston, "But you are wrong about one thing.... People are sheep. Sheep who gave up their freedom and liberty in exchange for the promise of security the New Federation offered.
The Doctor was not really sure what else to say to one who was about to die at the hands of Red Squad, "Well, good-bye, Miss Livingston."
Sophia bit her lip and hesitated for a second. "Doctor, wait..." she called quietly.
Zauis looked up, "Hmm...?"
"Is there any way you can get Penny out of here?" she asked, genuinely concerned about the young girl and more than willing to swallow her pride and ask. "Do you have that kind of influence?"
"There is not." said the old Doctor. "There are motives and agendas at work here that go beyond anything rational." He shook his head, "I sent word up that she was part of a special research project and I needed her. Instead, they cancelled my project. I'm afraid Luci's fate... is sealed."
"Why am I not surprised?" Sophia sighed and nodded. "It was worth asking," she shrugged in resignation. "Goodbye then." she nodded to them both. "Oh, and doctor.. If my story reached even one person, it was worth it," she added. "I'd do it again even knowing my fate ahead of time."
"Your conviction is admirable, Miss Livingston, Farewell."
The Doctor and the Major continued down the short corridor until reached the barrier at the end of the corridor, the Major turned to the Doctor, "What became of the Germans?"
The Doctor cleared his throat, "They lost."
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