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Body & Soul: Project Golem Activation

Posted on Sun Jan 1st, 2017 @ 7:44pm by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Biynah & Captain Claudia Ainscow & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Lieutenant Elsa Johansson & Lieutenant Commander Cara O'Reilly MD & Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov

Mission: S1E3 - Operation Adrestia
Location: Function Room
Timeline: Mission Day 17 - 18:00

Akiva could scarcely believe the day had arrived at last. After all the effort and hard work put into creating perhaps one of the most advanced androids known to Starfleet, it seemed surreal to be planning a Simchat Bat, a candlelit ceremony held to welcome a newborn baby girl and introduce her to the world. But, if Biynah was to ever be an individual lifeform, he had to treat her as such before HaShem and the galaxy.

For all intents and purposes, Akiva was about to become a father.

He normally did not advertise his heritage, but this was a momentous occasion. Rather than wear his Starfleet uniform, he wore a simple black suit with a cloth gartel belt around his waist and a tallit shawl draped over his shoulders. The tzatzit strings dangling from the edges of the tallit were soothing in his sweaty palms. With the odd look that Jaya had shot him when she first entered the room, he was glad he had avoided the bulky and blocky tefillin traditionally strapped to his arm and forehead.

As he waited for everyone to arrive, he assessed the minimal decor he had arranged in the general use space reserved for formal occasions. The menorahs in each corner were lit on bronze stands, the banner with his family crest and motto hung fast on the wall, and Biynah herself laid at rest near a short table which bore the ceremony implements. All seemed in order, save for the ship counselor who would not stop sampling the food at the buffet table.

"Counselor Maera," Akiva scolded with mock chagrin, "please save some for the other guests."

Jaya's mouth curved in a coy grin around the baklava she had pushed into her mouth. "What other guests?" she asked, licking her finger clean.

Akiva had to admit the counselor had a point. There was nobody present except for the two of them. "Do you think they'll come?" His voice nearly quivered with anxiety. "I tried to keep this subtle. Believe me, on Hebron there would be a full choir and minstrels and..."

"I'm sure they're on their way," Jaya interrupted. She playfully tugged at his tallit. "You know it's not every day we get to see this side of you."

"Ah, well, yes." Akiva looked away in boyish embarrassment.

Jaya picked up on his distress and changed the subject. "Paul did an amazing job catering all this food, as always. Is all of this native Hebron cuisine?"

"In truth, almost none of it." Akiva chuckled. "Standard Mediterranean fare seemed to be the closest Chef Foster could manage. It will do though." His passing glance over the buffet table suggested that he feared it would not be.

"Trust me," Jaya said, plucking a sarma wrap from another platter, "it's all delicious."

Claudia arrived and made a bee-line for Akiva. She had been off duty since yesterday evening after being injured on the bridge - and she would be for the next couple of days - but she had no intentions of missing the activation of Biynah.

"Good evening Commander. I love your outfit - and the buffet" Claudia commented.

"Thank you, Captain, for everything." Akiva brushed his hands against his sides. "It means a lot that you're here."

Soren smiled and nodded, "Yes very interesting, indeed."

"Soren? I didn't see you come in," Akiva said, clapping the engineer on the shoulder. "Thank you as well."

Anastasia and Elsa walked in next, engaged in a quiet, if intense conversation. Both women looked up as they stepped into the room.

Elsa was the first to talk. "Commander, I appreciate the opportunity to witness your project's finale."

"Indeed," Anastasia added. "The potential duplication of Dr. Noonian Soong's work will be a historical moment."

"I'm glad you're here. Both of you," Akiva quickly added. "You're as much a part of this as anyone."

Will snuck into the room and offered Akiva a timorous handwave before making a dash for the buffet table.

Cara rushed through the door. "I hope I'm not too late," she said, apologetically. "I had a last minute emergency."

"Everyone else was just arriving too," Akiva said reassuringly. "Thank you for making time. It means a lot to me."

A small crowd had already gathered before Saalkan had entered, which made him frown. Punctuality was normally one of his strong suits, and although he was indeed on time, so far as the ship's computer had indicated, he was still among the last to arrive. He sniffed at his own irritation and attempted to be satisfactorily cordial.
"Greetings, Commander," he said before Akiva could turn around. "I am pleased to have assisted with your project."

Akiva turned around and couldn't help but smile at the surly Vulcan. "Not as pleased as me. Thank you for coming."

They exchanged knowing nods and then went their separate ways.

Jaya took her place among the assembled guests and quietly mingled until Akiva called them to order.

"I'd like to thank you all for being here," Akiva began. He swayed a little, jostling his tzatzit strings. "We're here to welcome a new creature into the world. And in order to give her some context and help process the inundation of new information and experiences, I've prepared this in the best way I know." He coughed into his hand. "So, please, bear with me here. And, as we proceed, I will be naming off each of you, so if you could step forward or otherwise indicate yourself at that time, it would be great." He turned toward the biobed and Biynah herself, then stopped and looked back toward everyone.
"Oh, and one more thing: she will almost definitely have a photographic memory. Do keep that in mind with first impressions." He swallowed the lump in his throat and added quietly, "HaShem knows I am."

Without further ado, Akiva moved to the head of the biobed and activated the control console. He had already performed a submicron matrix transfer from the old positronic matrix, so all that remained was to activate the quantum subprocessor and thereby awaken Biynah for the first time. This would be the moment of success or failure.

Claudia watched eagerly for the activation of Biynah - the android she had strongly supported the construction of and allowed Akiva to scan her neural pathways for the android. It felt like Biynah was a second daughter - and Claudia intended on being there for Biynah in the exact same way as she was for Grace.

Cara smiled. Biynah was beautiful. Akiva should be proud of what he accomplished. Hopefully her programming would make her an asset.

All eyes were on Biynah. The android did not move at first, though that was to be expected. She was not programmed to simulate breathing as is common with many androids. When at last her eyelids first fluttered and then opened, Akiva gasped.

"Hello, Biynah." His words were quiet and solemn. "How do you feel?" It seemed a stupid question, but he knew of no other.

"Father-Creator?" Biynah's face was expressionless. "I feel... what is 'feel'?"

"I have given you sensory perception akin to my own," Akiva explained. "We collectively refer to it and our internal responses as 'feelings.' Your new quantum positronic subprocessor should acclimate soon."

Biynah's face was transfixed on Akiva's every word. She assessed him and then everyone in the room. Her straight mouth broke into a bright smile. "I understand," she said. "Where am I? How did this come to be?" She paused for a moment, then looked back to Akiva with a serenely somber look. "And, Father-Creator, why?"

The flurry of questions was as nothing compared to the lucid stream of consciousness that Akiva witnessed. "I know you have many questions, Biynah, and I will answer them in a moment. Before I do, among my people there is a traditional litany that fathers speak over their daughters. I would like to recite it now:

Ye'simech Elohim ke-Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, ve-Leah.
Ye'varech'echa Adonai panav eilecha viy chuneka.
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha ve-yaseim lecha shalom.

Akiva cleared his throat. "It means--"

"Tav toda," Biynah said. "That sounded...beautiful."

Akiva blinked. "You... you understand Hebrew?"

"Slih'a, Father-Creator." Biynah furled her brow in mimicry of Akiva's expression. "Should I not?"

"No, of course!" Akiva laughed. "That is to be expected, I suppose. Just... I did not predict... so soon." He nodded amidst his stammering. "It's indeed to be expected."

Claudia smiled - she was pleased to see Biynah had successfully activated and was functioning well.

Akiva remembered himself and started again. "Now, in order to best explain your unprecedented metamorphosis from bodiless AI into the amazing...person..." Akiva found the word easier to say than he expected. "... you are today, I have prepared a brief midrash... um, homily... to commemorate as well as explain the entire process."

He turned to the small table near the biobed and lit the candle. Biynah sat up, jolting at the sight of her own arms as she did so, but quickly turned her attention back to Akiva.

"In the beginning, I had a bright idea," he said, looking away from the PADD he had taken up with a half smirk. "I thought, 'What if I could make an android unlike any other?' So I decided to make one like me. I went to the captain of my ship and asked permission to construct an android out of an artificial intelligence." He extended his hand toward Claudia, palm up and inviting.

Claudia smiled and walked up to Biynah and smiled before turning to face the assembled group. It had been a very interesting project but it hadn't taken long to get from the design stage to the finished product - a fully functioning android.

"This project has shown just how talented you all are and how proud I am of every single one of you. When I was approached by Mr ben-Avram about building an android I was almost as keen as he was to get it underway. I hope that together we can share Biynah's journey in the same way the crews of the Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E journeyed with Commander Data. If I'm honest Biynah feels like my daughter already - just as much as my daughter Grace. We are one big family and Biynah is the newest member of it" Claudia said.

Elsa's face remained passive, while Anastasia's eyes darted to different parts of the room.

Akiva nodded in agreement. "Actually, Captain Claudia Ainscow was so taken by the idea that she willingly volunteered her own neural scans as a template for your positronic brain." He smiled as Biynah and Claudia made direct eye contact for almost a minute. "You might think of her as your Mother."

Biynah turned her head from side to side as if seeing Claudia anew from each angle. "Mother-Creator," she said with a hint of finality. "Thank you."

Claudia smiled and looked directly at Biynah - she was beautiful - and being called Mother Creator was humbling. It was an honour and overall this was one of the proudest moments of her life.

"You're welcome Biynah. I'll be here for you - always" Claudia replied.

She then returned to the crowd but stood close by. Claudia had her eye on the buffet table - but that could wait until after the ceremony. She couldn't wait to introduce Grace to Biynah - Claudia knew that her daughter would adore the android who would technically be her sister.

"And there was evening and morning--the first day," Akiva said. "After that, I realized that in order to give you every advantage as a burgeoning sentience, you would require a subprocessor greater than any known model in existence." He pointed toward Soren. "Our chief engineer, Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel, oversees the warp core whose antimatter reaction chamber powers the entire vessel. I called upon him to assist me in devising and fabricating a suitable means to power your positronic processes."

Himmel bowed in respect, gratitude and humility, "The least I could do."

"Thank you, Soren Himmel."

Akiva smiled at their interaction. "And there was evening and morning--the second day." He resumed reading from his PADD. "Once your new hardware systems were prepared, I wanted to ensure the successful transfer of your code and subroutines to your new positronic matrix, and so I called upon Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov, an eminent mathematical wunderkind, and Counselor Jaya Maera, a wise old crone, to assist in the safe-handling of your nascent mind." He then indicated Anastasia and Jaya, though he winked at the counselor.

Anastasia's eyebrows furrowed in confusion, but she stepped forward and gave a curt nod to the android.

Jaya narrowed her eyes at Akiva, then returned his wink as if to promise future retribution when the impressionable young mind was not around. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Biynah." Jaya could not help but feel as though she were talking to an inanimate object; Biynah's mental and emotional processes were unknowable to her, if they even existed.

"There was a third who was present on the third day," Akiva continued. "A foreign dignitary, you might say, but he was unable to attend your activation. At any rate, there was evening and morning--the third day."

"Why could he not attend?" Biynah asked.

"He was created in a manner not unlike your own creation," Akiva said honestly and bluntly. "Perhaps your being stimulates personal cognitive dissonance for him."

Biynah quietly nodded.

"At any rate," Akiva went on to say, "I then moved on to your physical frame. I began with your endo-frame, which is comprised of polyalloy--a very strong metallic material, though not as strong as the duranium which encases your positronic brain." He looked up from his PADD and saw Biynah's adoring look as she processed everything he was telling her. He choked up a moment, which surprised him. An emotional expression from an android seemed out of turn--surely it was only an imitation, but nonetheless he found himself reciprocating.

"I enlisted a brilliant doctor to devise a suitable anatomical framework for you," Akiva continued, trying not to bite his lip, "and an imminently helpful fabricator to oversee the additive manufacturing of that framework." He pointed toward Cara and Will.

Cara smiled and nodded.

Will quickly stuffed the hors d'oeuvre in his mouth and smile guiltily.

"Doctor Cara O'Reilly and Lieutenant William Morgan were indispensable in constructing your form."

Biynah smiled at each one. "Thank you, Doctor O'Reilly" she said, "and you, William Morgan."

"And there was evening and morning--the fourth day." Akiva took a breath. This was certainly taking awhile, but then he would never have another opportunity like this. He pressed on.

"While your endo-frame was being developed, I was unsure of how to proceed with your exo-frame. I deliberated on several possibilities, and presented them to a new friend with a dual discipline in both the sciences and hands-on engineering." He pointed to Elsa.
"And so Lieutenant Elsa Johansson, our chief science officer, brought my theories of intermolecular generation of your skin and flesh to life."

Elsa gave a small bow to Biynah and Akiva

"And, as I am told," Akiva added, "Ensign Saalkan assisted her in the development of the bio-neural circuitry that connects your gel packs, nodes, and internal sensors."

Saalkan nodded in agreement, and at first did no more. Then Jaya casually and quietly slipped through the crowd and pointedly stepped on his foot. He raised an eyebrow at her before looking to Akiva and Biynah. He wordlessly raised his right hand and spread his fingers in salute.

"All of this is amazing," Biynah said. She held up her hands and spread her fingers apart, turning them one way and another. After a moment, she looked to Elsa and Saalkan. "Thank you, Elsa Johansson and Saalkan."

"And there was evening and morning--the fifth day." Akiva turned back to the small table and took up a small wafer.

"And, then, the time came to assemble all of the pieces together." Akiva offered Biynah the wafer. "In the secondary machine shop, I had your endo-frame outfitted with the intermolecular motors, power cells, and bio-neural components. Doctor O'Reilly and Lieutenant Morgan assisted me in monitoring the generation of your exo-frame flesh and skin that the others had developed. And there was evening and morning, the sixth day."

Biynah had held the wafer until Akiva was finished speaking. "What am I to do with this?" she asked.

"Oh, right," Akiva said, scratching his neck. "It is customary to eat during a celebration, and you are able to consume various silicone compounds and isotopes to repair your systems and skin. There was evening and morning on this seventh day, so we shall rest and rejuvenate ourselves." He smiled. "Silicone is toxic to us, so we'll just eat from the buffet table." Akiva turned to the crowd of antsy guests. "But, before we do, please indulge me in one last observance."

Akiva turned to Biynah. "You asked how I made you, and so I have answered at length. But you also asked why, and my answer is thus..." He resumed reading from his PADD.
"I name you Biynah, for it is the word of 'wisdom' and the sacred motto and virtue of my father's house. We bear it as a reminder of times and fathers past, and as an emblem for the future time and seed."

He looked up at Biynah whose face turned quizzical.

How to express... Akiva's face turned grave.

"You are my daughter, for I have wrought you. You are graven in my hand, for you are so much more than I dreamed, and so I can only offer this pledge." Akiva sobbed and made himself ignore the analytical side of his mind which questioned his emotional public display. "I promise to protect, guide, and teach you as I send you out into this vast universe. Learn, my child, and grow."

He looked down at his feet, feeling drained and naked. "And... that's all I have prepared."

Cara wasn't sure if applause was warranted but she did it anyway.

Anastasia joined the chief medical officer's applause, as she always found it the easiest course to follow the social cues of individuals more adept in social situations than she was.

Elsa hoped that hubris wouldn't end up being a more appropriate name than wisdom, but kept her features neutral as she joined the quiet clapping.

Biynah cocked her head to one side. "Father-Creator," she said. "I loved it." She pulled herself out of the biobed and stood her full stature of 160cm in front of Akiva. "How can I show you?"

"Affection is best expressed with an embrace." Akiva held his hands out. "Like this."

Biynah melted into his arms, and her likeness to a living being was uncanny. Akiva then knew that he may have accomplished his life's goal, and that rather than having lost meaning, it had given him a whole new one.

Soren, one to not get too emotional, looked around at the others before chiming in, admittedly probably ruining the moment, "Well does she drink? I think it's time to drink for Biynah and Ben-Avram!"

Claudia nodded. "Agreed. What's everyone having? Drinks are on me"

"Water will suffice," Saalkan said. He pointedly ignored any scoffs directed toward him.

"Manischewitz for me and polysiloxane for Biynah," Akiva said while still holding Biynah around the shoulders with one arm. When she looked up at him with a questioning look, he added, "You'll like it. I think."

"I'm still on duty," Cara said with a smile. "So I'm going to have to pass on the drink. In fact I need to get back to Sickbay. Akiva...excellent job. Biynah...welcome to your new life."

"Water as well," Anastasia answered. The junior science officer had discovered early on that interpretation of social cues were difficult enough as it was without the influence of intoxicants.

"A shot glass of aquavit, please," Elsa ordered.

Claudia made a note of the orders and sent them through to D15 who informed the Vindex's CO that their drinks would be there in five minutes or so. She then made a beeline for the buffet and helped herself to a fairly large plate of food.

Once the drinks arrived, Elsa made a point of appearing to sip her drink while not actually touching it. Instead, she watched the various attendants hit the buffet and engage in small talk. When she was her opportunity, Elsa intercepted Jaya while the Deltan was alone.

Elsa pretended to stumble a little, which caused her to lean against the Deltan. "Counselor, I need to speak to you in about thirty minutes. My office," she said in a terse whisper.

Jaya discreetly made the faintest of nods before pretending to laugh at Will's joke from behind her cocktail.

Elsa then leaned back. "My apologies, Counselor, sometimes my body doesn't quite process either alcohol or synthehol like it should," she said with the vaguest slur. "Commander Avram, my congratulations again, sir," Elsa said with a lift of her glass. Elsa spent a couple of minutes more mingling, before making her apologies and exiting the room.


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