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Questioning the Future

Posted on Wed May 6th, 2020 @ 12:57am by Ensign Khaiel D'hikatsi

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: Earth
Timeline: Sometime in August, 2389

The sun was unrelenting on this hot August day as Khaiel D’hikatsi laid out on the beach, his toes dug into the course sand. While most people would be deterred from sunbathing in such a harsh temperature, always-cold Khaiel found it pleasing to feel the rays on his body. Kirby Cove was near desolate, having only seen two other people the entire day, which is exactly as the young man liked it. Stripping down to the bare coverings of his body isn’t something he enjoyed doing in front of people, so he was always glad to find his favorite beach near deserted so that he could warm himself in peace. Besides, he always thought he looked better with a tan.

This was the perfect ending to a great vacation. Having graduated from the Academy in May, Khaiel enjoyed a few months of leave to visit his mother on Cardassia. Now he returned to San Francisco to pack up the belongings in his on-campus apartment and have them moved to Barcelona as he was to begin his new position, research fellow at the Ingram Institute.

The young man sighed, laying his head back on the sand, not caring if it got in his hair. His mother was so proud of his new job, and he knew he should be too. But there was something so mundane about it. His whole life was about studying and achieving and being the best. But now that he was here, on the brink of getting the reward of what he worked so hard for, he realized how much he didn’t want it. All he could do was imagine a starship posting, having adventures and meeting new people. For him, space represented an openness and the endless possibilities of life that he was not able to experience. His eyes followed a shuttle that cut across the sky and ran alongside the Golden Gate Bridge.

Digging into his bag, the young man pulled out a pair of headphones. So far, the silence was making his mind race, not that that was abnormal for him. But right now, he didn’t want to be alone with his thoughts. He’d rather listen to the new Serenade of the Night album that released last weekend and enjoy the day.

An hour passed and he decided it was time to get back to what he needed to get done. Pulling on his shorts, he tucked his tank top into the waistband and began the mile-long hike back towards civilization.

“Welcome home, Khaiel,” came the masculine voice of the Computer system in his apartment. “Would you like me to place an order for dinner? What would you like this evening?”

Khaiel gave a half smile as he set the keys down on the side table and dropped his bag on the floor. “Yes, Nick. If Kremfred is open, I’d like my usual order.”

The system chirped an affirmative. “Your order will be delivered in approximately 26 minutes.”

“Thank you.” Khaiel began to get undressed as he turned on the sonic shower to warm up. “Nick, we need to have a conversation about something.”

“You don’t appreciate conversations while you’re in the shower. Should we wait until you’re finished?” the Computer’s voice responded.

Khaiel shook his head, though he knew the Computer couldn’t see the gesture. “No, I’d rather do it now. Before dinner is here.” He took a deep breath, unsure as to why he was suddenly nervous. “As you know, your program was expanded and used as my senior project at the Academy.”

“Correct. You used my personality matrix as the baseline for the Network Interrelationship Connection Key program, a holoprogram that would assist psychologists and counselors dealing with patients who had issues with relationships, both platonic and romantic.”

“Indeed.” Khaiel took a seat on the couch. “You performed exquisitely and gave me the highest grade in the class.”

“An achievement for both of us,” the masculine voice responded.

The young Ensign nodded. “Yes, yes it was…” He shifted in his seat. “Nick, unfortunately your program violates the ban on synthetic lifeforms. I hadn’t considered that when I used you as my project or I would have started a completely new program and kept you a secret. But that was a mistake on my part. Now Starfleet is aware of your existence.”

“There are many different clauses in the ban verbiage, Khaiel. I’m sure with enough time and research, we could find a way through this,” the Computer said.

“I already considered that. But unfortunately, Starfleet Academy requires that I surrender my senior project for decompiling.”

“I see,” was the Computers simple response.

Khaiel stirred again, “I plan to make a complete copy of your program. But I don’t know if and when I’ll be able to bring you back online in Barcelona. It might be a very long time before we speak again.”

“So…this might be goodbye.”

The Ensign could hear the sadness in his Computer assistant’s voice. He created him almost two years ago and they’d gone through so much together. “It’s not goodbye, Nick. I just…”

“No need to comfort me, Khaiel. I completely understand. We are bound by rules and laws, that is how the universe works.”

“I will find a way to make this right,” Khaiel said as he stood up. “We’ll find a way.”

“Your delivery will be here in 17 minutes. I suggest you shower quickly before it arrives,” came the Computer’s voice, no longer emotional and soft, but cold and direct.

With another nod, Khaiel stepped into the shower and soothed his regrets.

They wouldn’t speak of this again, but it was always there, the elephant in the room. Three days later, Nick was taken offline permanently and the copy of his program was decompiled per Starfleet protocols. The isolinear chip that held the original Nick was kept safely in a box along with Khaiel’s other important objects.


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