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Ensign Theo Whittaker: The Babysitter


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(( Arboretum | Deck 10 | U.S.S. Columbia ))


:: Theo stood at a distance from Providence's hologram as she walked into between the many flowerbeds on the main floor of Columbia's arboretum. She ran her hands across the large petals of a large purple flower and while she showed no outward show of emotion thanks to the primitive hologram that she had constructed- Theo was in doubt that the girl at the heart of the A.I. was excited. From the little he knew of Piktar II and Outpost Alpha- he surmised that flowers were in short supply on the barren world and he could not imagine such immoral scientists having any time for such things. With a pang of sadness, the young engineer that he was probably exposing Providence to flowers for the first time ::


:: The holographic girl moved out of Theo's sight for a moment, alarming him. Although she was now only hooked into Columbia's holography systems and she likely couldn't penetrate any further into the computer if Tatash and Silveira had finished inside the main core- he didn't want to let her out of his sight. Even with the appearance of an adorable seven year old, Theo simply could not forget that she was an integral part of a weapons delivery and tactical strike system that made the Genesis device look like a toy. While he hoped that Providence was learning to trust Columbia's crew, he was filled with dread in case she ever did manage to 'complete the circle' and find Mercy. ::


:: As he caught up with her a second later, a sense of relief washed over him as he found her examining another flower. She clearly heard his footfalls and turned around and looked up at him with her big, expressionless eyes ::


Providence: "I like this flower. It reminds me of my mother".


:: Theo was intrigued. In the half an hour so since she had materialised in the main computer core, Providence had volunteered very little information about herself aside from her programming- which Theo was still unsure how she perceived. He sat on the floor next to her and motioned for her to do the same by patting the ground next to him She did so and he turned his head to look at her ::


Whittaker: "What makes you say that Providence?" :: he was improvising as he went, but he was certain if that the girl felt she could confide in someone, she would come to trust them more. He had hoped for a counsellor, but instead it fell to him ::


Providence: "I remember seeing them in her bedroom"


Whittaker: "Where is she now?"


Providence: "I don't know. She took me to school one day and then never came for me".


:: The engineer felt a surge of emotion. She had not been dealt a fair hand in life. Seemingly abandoned by her mother and then slaved into a computer system in a horrific experiment. He took her by the hand, if nothing else to comfort her. ::


Whittaker: "What about your father?"


Providence: "He went to a place where bad people go when they get caught".


Whittaker: :: he fought to keep his voice even, as sadness threatened to overwhelm him :: "Oh, Providence. I'm so sorry". :: he smiled sadly at her, but of course, she remained seemingly unmoved. A thought came to him :: "Do you know how you ended up on Piktar?"


:: Providence shook her head ::


Providence: "I just woke up there. A Vulcan lady told me I had been in an accident and that she was going to help me get better".


:: Theo balked at the idea of a Vulcan being involved in such a project. They always seemed so... logical and to the engineer, this entire fiasco was as far away from logical as you could get. ::


Whittaker: "Do you know what the Vulcan lady was called Providence?"


:: Again, she shook her head ::


Providence: "She didn't speak very much and when she did she didn't make sense".


:: Theo reasoned that the scientists didn't really have much to say to a small girl they simply considered an experiment. She had spent twenty years being integrated into a computer system. Who knew what condition her body was in. ::


Whittaker: "Well not everyone is like that lady, Providence". :: he squeezed her holographic hand slightly :: "My friends and I just want to help you" :: saying that, he felt hollow. Although they had not said so in front of the girl, Theo was certain that Silveira and Tatash were already working on ways to neutralise the threat that Providence posed. Placing that particularly unpleasant thought to the back of his mind, he forced a smile on his face :: "Will you let us?"


:: Providence nodded once and then got up. Theo followed suit and kept an eye on her. His thoughts returned to Silveira, Tatash and Ambassador MacLaren and how they were progressing with Captain Livingston. Even though he hoped they could find a peaceful way out of the situation they now faced, in reality he knew that there would be no happy ending for the little girl at the centre of it ::


Ensign Theo Whittaker

Engineering Officer

USS Columbia

NCC-85279

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