USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Project Golem Phase 3: Mortal Coil

Posted on Wed Dec 28th, 2016 @ 6:42pm by Lieutenant Commander Cara O'Reilly MD & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Will Morgan

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Machine Shop
Timeline: Mission Day 14

Akiva could not believe how much progress he had made in such a short time.

Biynah remained dormant in her positronic matrix, never knowing the future that awaited her. Thanks to the ever dependable old chief engineer, Akiva had had help designing a prototype quantum powered processor for her neural net that would allow her to be truly sentient. He had help with designing the actual interface to allow for a successful transfer and installation of Biynah's source code. He'd even had a volunteer provide their brain mapping for stable self-programming and bootstrapping of said source code. He'd had a suitable skeletal schematic on which to base her endo-frame provided by the best damn doctor he had seen in Starfleet.
He'd had another prototype developed which allowed for molecular motors that self-generate silicate faux-flesh, courtesy of the frighteningly brilliant mind running the Science division.

Now, as he stood in the auxiliary machine shop that he had appropriated for the final phase of his project, he needed to call in yet another set of favors. It was a lot of debt to incur. Akiva tried not to wonder how long it would take to pay everyone back.

Taking a breath, Akiva assessed the skeletal polyalloy endo-frame stretched out on a rack in front of him like a faulty engine or damaged power coupling. The servomotors in the joints and limbs seemed operational and fully synced to the internal power cells which sat in place of where the internal organs of most humanoids would be. Without skin or flesh, however, the endo-frame looked more like a technological horror than the makings of an artificial lifeform. Particularly with the dense duranium skull grinning like a death's head.

He noticed the new Chief of Ops stroll into the shop. "Shalom, Lieutenant," Akiva said. "Congratulations on the advancement."

Will nodded as he took in the sight before him. "Thank you Commander, it feels good to a Department Head again," Will admitted. "How can I help?" he offered.

OOC - Due to the change in management, Akiva is going through Morgan instead of Kaz as he borrows the auxiliary machine shop. The endo-frame skeleton was synthesized already and I'm going to pretend that Kaz oversaw that during the "Project Golem Phase 3: Raising the Temple" post which had Akiva in the Science Lab.

"I was hoping you would stop by. I'm expecting the good doctor any moment to assist me with directing the growth of silicate flesh of the exo-frame over the polyalloy skeleton, but I may need a second pair of hands and eyes to make sure the computer keeps the formula balanced while the magic happens."

Will moved over to another work station and logged himself in. "By all means, count me in," he confirmed as he started checking over the data. "What's the maximum variance to avoid and alert you to once the process is underway?"

"Honestly," Akiva said, "I will be happy with a successful completion. Any variance within that is acceptable to me."

Cara walked through the door, carrying a small computer chip. She looked at the AI's endo-frame laying on the frame. She shuddered at the creepy sight. She was reminded of the old horror films her Academy roommate used to watch late at night with the lights off. She walked over to Akiva and handed him the chip. "The formula," she said, simply. "The pigment will darken, naturally, as she ages and is exposed to sunlight. Just like the rest of us. She may even get freckles to go with her red hair," she said. "I used my own as a model."

"Very good," Akiva said approvingly. "Red is a color of royalty. It is said our ancient and great King David was of a ruddy color."

Will looked across at Dr. O'Reilly as she entered the room and provided the formula to Commander ben-Avram. He reminded himself to make sure that he checked in for that overdue physical after all of the recent activity on board. "Doctor," he said nodding his head.

"Thank you both for coming in your free time," Akiva began. "From what Lieutenant Johansson and I determined, this process should be generally self-sustaining. We'll just need to monitor the process with Doctor O'Reilly's recommendations and Mr. Morgan's adjustments." He chuckled and bit his lip. "I'm just a little jittery, so forgive me." He studied the chip in his hand with a faraway look. Then he popped it in the air and caught it. "Well, the molecular motors are already installed, so we might as well begin." He inserted the chip into the console which was connected to the endo-frame, then opened the valves to the pressurized containers of liquid silicon connected by hoses to the support frame's undercarriage.

"Let's take the growth process to approximately 30 to 40 percent to provide a strong, suitable seal over her endo-frame," Akiva explained to Morgan, "at which point I'd like to pause the process long enough to install these bio-neural gel packs across her limbs which will connect to the neural nodes embedded in her spine. We can then resume growth until approximately the 90 percent mark." He turned to Cara. "That will be when you come in to fine-tune the generation of her pseudo-skin--barring any unforeseen complications."

There was nothing to do but wait. Silicate began to disperse throughout the polyalloy frame, covering it at first with a murky film. After a quarter of an hour, the film began to expand into a polymer layer that partly obscured the skeletal frame.

Akiva checked his readout. "Twelve percent," he said.

Morgan nodded in agreement.

The gray took on a darker hue between charcoal and cobalt. A fleshly silhouette began to subdue the stark skeletal form.

"Twenty-five percent." Akiva began to sweat. "Preparing bio-neural gel packs."

He turned to his side table and took up several blue gel packs. The bio-neural circuitry would comprise Biynah's nervous system.

"Thirty-three percent." Akiva wiped his brow. "It's time. Lieutenant, pause molecular motors."

Morgan quietly worked his terminal. There was no obvious sign of change, though Will gave Akiva a nod to proceed.

Akiva anchored one gel pack near the sternum, and another one near the pelvis. Exterior nodes wired outward into the each extremity, hands and arms to the sternum, and feet and legs to the pelvis. Another gel pack fit securely at the base of the neck, which connected to the spine which contained a hardline neurofiber surrounded by polyalloy.

"Confirm network activity," Akiva said.

Will checked his console, ran diagnostics, and smirked. "Diagnostic complete. All green."

Akiva heaved a sigh of relief. The bio-neural circuitry was connected. Biynah's limbs would be able to sense one another and provided sense data to her positronic brain. It seemed almost too good to be true.

He almost forgot to order Will to continue the process. "Oh, right," Akiva said. "Resume molecular motors."

Cara stood out of the way and watched in awe.

After another quarter of an hour, the gel packs had been completely subsumed by the growing silicate flesh. Imitation musculature formed new contours, giving subtle curves of ambiguous youth to what would be Biynah's eternally young form. Akiva suddenly became concerned with how anatomically correct the outcome would be between Lieutenant Johansson's formula and Doctor O'Reilly's aesthetic blueprint.

"We're at 70 percent," Akiva noted aloud. "Mr. Morgan, would you be so good as to retrieve a blanket?" He cleared his throat to indicate it was not a request. "I seem to have neglected to bring one."

"Aye, sir." Will transferred functionality from his console to Akiva's, locked it, and then left the room.

Akiva looked back to Doctor O'Reilly. "This might sound strange, Doctor, but... what if she hates me? I have 3 sisters, and Father is only on speaking terms with one of them--two on holidays."

"I'm not an expert on parenting," Cara smiled, sympathetically. "But from what I have observed...once a Human girl becomes a teenager...it is normal for them to hate their parents....and love them at the same time. It's part of growing up. But you programmed her," she said nodding towards Biynah. "So if you programmed her not to hate you should be safe from her throwing a teenage temper tantrum."

"I did not account for personality in her programming, just self-learning, so that does not fill me with confidence." Akiva returned the doctor's expression with a wry smile.

He looked back at the readout. "88 percent," he said. "I had the replicator design suitable clothing for a young lady. I'll prepare them, Doctor, while you oversee to the final composition of her epidermal generation." He signed out of the terminal and offered it to Cara with an open hand. "I trust your formula will execute the generation of the dermal exoframe and facial features without any errors." His words were spoken as much to himself as to the doctor.

You and me both, Cara thought to herself as an image of a deformed creature appearing on the frame and sitting up...grinning a terrifying toothy grin. She stood at the terminal and looked from Biynah to the terminal screen then back again several times during the procedure. It was a slow process...starting with the feet and moving slowly up the body. Slow but fascinating as the skeleton was covered with what appeared to be muscular tissue then the three layers of skin.

This was it. Akiva unclenched his anxious fists and dry washed his hands in front of him. He had no idea what Biynah would look like. Doctor O'Reilly's composite design incorporated a bit of himself, Captain Ainscow, and even herself as a random factor of diversity intrinsic in any biological offspring. But, as with all synthesis, there was no predetermined outcome. Biynah would be as much of an individual as anyone born of man.

Akiva snapped from his reverie as Biynah's skin began to take on a warm flesh tone. The sight filled him with relief after the odd green blend of her subdermis which had mixed with her bluish-gray exo-frame. Before any delicate features could fully form, he placed a drop cloth over her body. He looked at Cara as he did so, a protective look in his eyes which perched over a bashful smirk. "It was true that I neglected to bring a blanket," he said. "And this could potentially suffocate her, were she oxygen dependent." The heavy canvas material billowed out and cascaded into roughshod piles at either side of the maintenance rack, leaving only Biynah's head and emerging face exposed.

Cara smiled. "I have a surprise for you," she said and picked up the small satchel she had carried in and set on the floor by her feet. She handed it to Akiva and said, "go ahead. Open it. I am pretty sure I got the sizes right."

"Oh!" Akiva blinked through a double take as he accepted the satchel. "Thank you."

Inside was a pair of pants...much like those worn by Oriental women..., a matching, flowing tunic and a pair of shoes.

"Would you like me to dress her?" Cara asked.

"Yes. I think that would be appropriate." Akiva's smile glowed with gratitude. "I think I pictured her much smaller in my mind." In truth, Biynah's approximate age would've been difficult for anyone to estimate.

Cara took the clothes and went over to the frame. As she gently, dressed Biynah she was amazed at how real the skin felt. It was hard to believe it was synthetic. More than synthetic. She had handled synthetic limbs during training. And touched AIs many times before. But none felt as real as this. When she was finished she stepped back and looked at Akiva, raising an eyebrow as a question of his approval for her choice of clothing.

"So far, so good?" Akiva asked, feeling hopeful.

Cara smiled. "She's beautiful, Akiva," she said.

"This was as good as I ever could've hoped for," Akiva said breathlessly. Biynah looked as if asleep. He reached down, caressed her face and stroked her hair. It did indeed have strong red highlights as Cara had predicted, though black seemed to still be its base color as per his own hair color. "Feels real," he said with surprise. "That's... well, I suppose I didn't know what to expect."

"When will you wake her up?" Cara asked.

"We have a big day tomorrow," Akiva said, "so I will probably wait until the following day. I'd like to hold a ceremony to commemorate her activation." He looked away as if hiding from his own diffidence. "Hebrons tend towards the ritualistic. I guess you can take the Yehudi out of the Masoret but... not...um, vice versa." He cleared his throat. "Barring unforeseen catastrophes, casualties, or utter defeat, do you think you could come?"

Cara nodded. "I will make it a priority," she said with a smile.

"Excellent." Akiva returned her smile.

At that moment, Will Morgan walked back into the room with a bundle of folded linens in arm. "I got your blanket," he said blandly, eyeing the fully clothed android.

Akiva and Cara turned to each other and laughed.


 

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