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Leave Out All the Rest

Posted on Tue May 2nd, 2017 @ 2:32am by Biynah

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Stellar Cartography Lab
Timeline: MD 76; 0800

Stellar Cartography was huge. Biynah determined that was the accurate description for it. Most workspaces and computer terminals were made to be compact in order to be efficient, but in here, bigger was better. Though her fingers moved across the console from time to time, she had a direct uplink to the LCARS through her tactile interface.

Data transmission was slow, as it was not the goal. Through her synthetic fingers, Biynah was practicing the art of conversation with the computer. When the door opened, Biynah turned her head to greet the newcomer.

"Good morning." Biynah turned her head back to the console and smiled at something unspoken.

"Good morning, dear," Laena said, walking down the catwalk towards her console. "What's going on?"

"Today is the start of my temporary work study in the Science department," Biynah explained, her eyes still closed. She smiled again, then nodded subliminally before removing her hand from the LCARS readout.

"Sorry," she said as she turned to fully face Laena. "Yael was telling me about her subroutines in this lab. I didn't want to be rude to either of you."

"Yael?" Laena asked, looking over the girl's shoulder to the console.

"Yael is the computer," Biynah explained. "She remembers all of our names. It seemed wrong for her not to have one as well. She likes it well enough."

"The...Computer?" Laena looked at the little girl with confusion.

"Yes. Everybody calls her 'Computer,' but that seems so... impersonal." Biynah twisted her mouth in a playful grin. "Abba's grandmother's name was Yael, and she was very wise. It seemed a proper name for someone I would converse with on such a regular basis. And she seems to like it. Don't you, Yael?"

"Specify query," the computer responded.

Biynah grinned wider and looked back to Laena. "See?"

Laena adopted a sweet smile, placing her hand on the girl's shoulder. "I think that's a fitting name as well." She pulled up a second seat and sat down, looking over the console. "So tell me about these subroutines."

"Oh, you would just think of them as CHAP responses and query matches," Biynah said. "Yael has a memory for every single interaction she's ever made, even with temporary passengers and former crewmembers. She keeps records that she cross-references for every subsequent interaction. It's quite an amazing feat for an unaware processor. In many ways, my own subroutines are similar to hers, so one might say we speak the same language, even though some would consider me much more aware than she is."

Biynah slowly waved her hand back over the LCARS.

"Yael does not distinguish between audible queries and manual operations. They're all processed through the same network despite the different interfaces, whether vocal or manual." Biynah paused for a moment to study Laena's reaction to her explanation before continuing. "I'm practicing a synthesis between the interface methods -- the versatility of the verbal with the precision of the manual. I was unaware of my capacity for it... I stumbled upon it when I was trying to access your locked terminal."

"It's not proper to hack into people's consoles," Laena said, looking at what the girl was looking at.

"Don't be angry with Yael," Biynah said as she pulled her hand away and let the LCARS display return to its locked screen. "She cannot help what she shares with me. I promise to be good."

"I'm not angry with anyone," the Stellar Cartographer said with a smile, "Just giving you a friendly warning so as to avoid conflict. Some people are very uncomfortable with their privacy appearing to be invaded."

"Privacy is an illusion," Biynah noted. "Like many values, it is a pretense intended to promote social cohesion. I will observe it, though, because I value others and wish to learn from them."

Laena considered what the young girl said for a moment, "I hadn't considered that before," she said.

That made Biynah smile. "Then we are learning from each other." She stepped back from the console to allow Laena her place. "Now show me what you do, if you please."

"Alright," Laena said, slipping into her usual chair. "Well, at the moment, we're receiving a lot of data from Starfleet Command on the new area of space that's being explored in the Gamma Quadrant. So I've been poring over it to see if there's anything of interest to the ship."

"What sorts of things would be of interest?" Biynah asked. To her, everything was of potential interest.

"It really depends," Laena said. With a few taps at her console, the large screen was soon filled with a massive starchart. "Yesterday, I was looking at this sector, and I saw something that caught my eye." With a few more commands, she zoomed in on a specific area. "See that formation in the upper left-hand corner? Those planets are orbiting something, but there's nothing to orbit. No star."

"That's because your models are wrong." Biynah pointed at the screen, then used her other hand to remotely control the display through her newfound tactile interface capability.

"Gravity is still a mystery of the universe, according to the database." Biynah zoomed out of the screen and rotated the sector map 180 degrees before zooming back in.
"Consider that the galaxy behaves like a larger object, with its many star systems and nebulae serving as molecules. That would make stars like protons, which means interstellar activity would operate akin to electricity."
As she explained, she drew lines between the planets to indicate the cross sections of their orbits.

"When you have an inexplicable gravity silhouette with no 'well' to account for it, then change your model from gravimetric to electric. The electron path around an atomic nucleus is commensurate with its mass, thereby pinpointing its location."

The circular grid lit up once all of the points were connected.

"What you will find here, Ms Laena, are not planets orbiting a non-existent star, but small protostars coalesced from a nebula now locked into polar orbit within one another."

"And here I thought it was going to be a black hole at the center of those planets," Laena said. "I'm glad you found that out. I was going to start a paper on it."

Biynah shook her head in disagreement. "Perhaps, but planetary bodies around black holes do not have stable orbits. The projection I modeled would not account for decaying orbits. I suppose that will be our control test." She cast a shy grin at Laena. "Yael and I talked for awhile before you arrived."

"I'm aware that they wouldn't have stable orbits," Laena said, "But if you look at the map from the past three years, the orbits have gotten smaller by a fraction of a nanometer every year. That indicates a slightly decaying orbit."

"Or a change in mass, which would alter the electron path, or in the case of my analogy, the planetary orbit." Biynah scrunched her nose in imitation of Laena. "Another test occurred to me: a spectral analysis. It would require much closer proximity, but not several years of observation. Since light cannot escape a black hole, the spectral analysis would come back void."

"Unfortunately, we won't be passing close enough for such an analysis," Laena said, looking back at the console. She pressed a few buttons and the map zoomed out back to its normal view. "My analysis of that sector ended, though. So I will be moving on to the next sector."

"You seem to enjoy your role here," Biynah observed. "Now I understand why."

"I do," Laena said with a smile. "I enjoy working with Stellar Cartography and, without sounding too sure of myself, I seem to be decently good at it."

"Is that why you seldom go anywhere else on the ship?" Biynah asked. "Yael said you spend most of your time here."

"I..." Laena stopped and just looked at the girl. "I don't know what you mean," she said.

"You spend an inordinate amount of time at your workstation as compared to most crewmembers." Biynah studied Laena's every nuance for an updated assessment. "I would conclude that is due to your enjoyment and expertise. Is it not?"

"I am quite good at my job," Laena said, unsure of what to say. "To be honest, I don't think I ever realized that I spend most of my time here. I'm also attending the Academy through an online capacity, and I tend to do a lot of my school work here. That could also explain it."

Biynah looked back at the display screens. "Except when you visited with my father." She did turn her head away from the display screens, but she clearly watched Laena from her peripheral view. "One could conclude from the infrequency of your personal visits that you may hold special interest regarding him."

Laena's head whipped around to look at the girl, "Um..." Her cheeks began to turn a dark green with embarrassment. "I don't see the correlation."

"The correlation is that he is the only personal visit you have made in some time," Biynah said in a neutral, matter-of-fact tone. "And since it was while both of you were off duty, one could conclude it was of personal interest."

"I went to his quarters to discuss the future of my position aboard this vessel," Laena said, her voice getting quiet.

"Oh." Biynah seemed surprised. "Between the deviation in your routine, abba's change in disposition the morning after, and your body language when I inquired about it a moment ago, I came to a different conclusion. Please forgive me."

"His disposition changed?" Laena asked, a small smile creeping into her face.

Biynah slowly turned her body to face Laena. "Yes." Her voice was as measured as her stare was scrutinizing. "What happened that changed you both? Abba has not acted so since Amber invited him to dinner."

Suddenly, Laena's smile faltered a moment. "Amber...Zuzan?" she asked, her eyebrows furrowing a bit. "Why did they have dinner?"

"Because she asked him." Biynah's tone could have been answering a math sum. "I believe the social catalyst was when I tricked him into calling her pretty."

"Oh..." Laena turned back to her console. "So it was..." She stopped talking, her hands grasping at her console as she tried to focus on work. "Was it a date?" she asked, turning back towards Biynah.

"What's a date?" Biynah asked. "Is it when a man and woman spend the night together? If so, then no, it was not."

"A date is when two people spend time together with the idea of furthering their romantic feelings towards one another," Laena said, still not working.

"I see now, thank you." Biynah turned her head to one side and asked, "In that case, did you have a date with my father as well?"

"I did not," Laena said. "Was he and Amber on a date?"

Biynah shook her head. "Now I don't know. He acted the same this morning after dinner with Amber as he did the day before, after you met with him in our quarters."

"I think I should actually take a break, sweetie," Laena said, giving the young girl's shoulder a squeeze as she stood. "Feel free to stay as long as you'd like."

"If you'd like," Biynah parroted. Then she noticed Laena's glum disposition. "Wait, are you well?"

Taking a deep breath, Laena put on the best smile she could muster, "I'm doing great. Thank you for asking," she said.

Biynah smiled back. "Good. Perhaps you should go visit my father again. I like to see him happy."

Laena simply nodded as she walked away.


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