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Posted on Sat Jun 2nd, 2012 @ 11:05pm by Corporal David Carpenter (Cypher) & Wren Tyron [PNPC Carpenter] & Lieutenant Commander Kristina Mason
Edited on on Sat Jun 2nd, 2012 @ 11:06pm

Mission: Countdown
Location: Promenade

"The Neverending Sacrifice? Really?" Wren asked, staring flatly at his roommate's selected reading material.

He flipped over another book, while David stood with his arms crossed looking entirely displeased at the invasion of his privacy. "Shoggoth? Eternal Stranger, Paean to Kunderah, Solar Winds..." he exclaimed again, reading off the titles of David's considerable collection of cardassian Enigma tales.

"Yes." David's reply was monosyllabic as usual, but his tone was laced with irritation as he reached forward and plucked Solar Winds out of Wren's hands.

"You'd really rather hang out here and read dull cardassian books instead of hangin' out with your friends?" Wren asked, as if the concept was a novelty he couldn't entertain.

"I do not have friends," David pointed out bluntly.

Wren shrugged good-naturedly. "Well, feel free to come on down if you change your mind," he told David with a smile. He grabbed a towel and retreated into their shared bathroom. David knew he would have to make an appearance at Wren's later on with the rangers, but he was really not looking forward to it. Loud music, loud people, loud Wren. He was making plans to minimize the amount of time he had to spend at Tyron's.

Wren eventually made his way out of their quarters, leaving David alone for the first time all day. The computer programmer sat down at his console and stretched his fingers a little before beginning an inventory of his system's functions. He had a job to do, it was best to get started right away.


The hours ticked by slowly and he stood up once more and closed the top of his console. He needed to think. Fortunately the wall he'd hit wasn't technical so much as it was brute. Combinations upon combinations. Sliding locks and keys, turning to fit into one another. It was a process. The tholian mathematical system was complex, but he'd already figured it out enough to code a basic server and several packets.

David sighed a little and exited his quarters. Wandering the station was good for his thoughts, he was discovering. Staring out into space, watching people as they passed by. He was high up on the promenade, the area cleared out as evening fell and people took their dinners inside one of the establishments or in their quarters.

He didn't, however, spot Kristina Mason until it was too late. He bumped right into her, jarring his fuzzy disconnected separation from everything around his environment and sending the PADDs he was studying flying, and him to the ground. David looked around, startled, and frowned. "Ma'am," he said up at her, gathering his PADDs and pulling himself up to his feet. He offered her a salute. "Apologies."

At his full height, he was instead looking down at her. He handed her a PADD that had dropped which wasn't his at all, his eyes unblinking.

She turned the PADD the correct way briefly checking its contents for a moment before tilting her head upward. "Not to worry," she found herself smiling. "No harm done," she paused fidgeting with the PADD slightly. "Something on your mind?" she questioned. "I tend to stare out like you were when I can't figure something out. Beside you can learn a lot by people watching."

David was silent, watching her with his deliberate strangeness. His thoughts were roiling. About the subjective quality of measuring intelligence, how that would apply in an alien culture while attempting to comprehend alien neurology. Of course, he simply expressed that in a brief nod. The corporal looked down at his PADD, tracing it with his fingertips. "These people are not Tholians." He gave a little shrug, before glancing back toward her again.

"No, I would hope not," Mason glanced over the rail momentarily before turning back to face the Corporal wondering what had caused him to answer in that manner. "You have something against the Tholians or another race?"

David stared at her owlishly, as if the question didn't compute, and he shook his head. "I cannot learn a lot about tholians from observing people who are not tholians," he explained with a mild shrug. It explained the subject of his thoughts, for some part.

The tholian mathematical system was very ... abrupt, and geometrical. It made understanding how to crack tholian security much more complex than it had any right to be. From a tholian, it might be improbable. From an outright alien, it was looking more than grim.

Numbers had to be inferred, systems were organized in a hierarchical manner. "Like bees," David suddenly realized, arching his eyebrows. He remembered what Erienne Tosca had mentioned regarding the tholian's insect-like mannerisms. At the time he had disagreed, likening them more to crabs (and almost cautioning not to wave a hand in their direction, like most crab-species, it was ultimately offensive...), but now he was reexamining his position.

David began tapping at the PADD he held, almost oblivious to Mason's presence. "Queen, nest-seeker, food-gatherer, intellect port...." Tap. Tap. Tap. "Thrill-seeker... synesthesia... personality." Tap. David held the PADD up. Eureka. The number systems were self-determining their own charted course of behavior!

Of course, none of this internal understanding made sense to any casual observer. "Thank you, ma'am," David told the commander - noticing her appearance beyond his dissociation by briefly meeting her eyes - as if she had somehow prompted the fast track in his brain. Maybe she had. He worked in odd ways. Right now it appeared he was stuck in one of his thinking loops. The outside world was a shadow on the edge of his consciousness, his brain working in a glob of thought and sensation and perception without filter. It gave most people the impression he was psychotic, or delusional.

But in the end, it would get the job done. He once more seemed to realize that someone outside of his mind existed, and asked at random, "Are you injured?" He looked to the ground, recalling their collision.

She watched him throughout his thinking process trying not to frown as he spoke his scattered thoughts out loud. She'd never seen someone look so awestruck with a thought train than she, then again she hadn't really interacted with higher intellects, they had always found a way to make her look incredibly stupid and surplus.

Though a little lost by what had just happened Mason forced her lips to turn slightly: "No, I'm fine thank you. I'm glad you've solved your conundrum."

David tapped his chin a little, and nodded, not wanting to show disrespect to the executive officer. "I was attempting to explain the discrepancies in my understanding of tholian mathematics," he explained after taking a moment to order his thoughts. He clasped his hands behind his back, staring a little at a point near her shoulder.

Mason nodded, 'Yep, feeling dumb right now, time to leave,' she thought privately. "Well, best wishes with the maths. Good day Corporeal."

David realized she was walking away as he came out of his own reverie once again, and appeared puzzled for a brief moment before turning and staring back outside the viewport, thinking on his next move. If he couldn't come up with the system himself, he would need to create something that would... in the edges of his mind, briefly, he wondered if he had accidentally alienated Commander Mason. The thought made him cross his arms.





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