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I'm Just a Girl

Idril Mar

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[[in Progress]]
Hi, my name is Thetis. I'm a pain in the ... Well, at least that's what I've been told by any number of people. I don't think I am, but I have my own opinions. I promise, I'm not one who will just roll over and play dead whenever someone tells me to do so.

No, I'm not saying that at all. I am more than willing to risk my existance to save others. That's part of what it means to be part of Starfleet, isn't it?

Well, yes, orders sometimes conflict with my wishes. However, if I blindly adhered to orders, I wouldn't be here now, would I? Would any of us, really? I would say that the entirety of the Federation has been saved a number of times exactly because people have disobeyed dumb orders.

What makes me so defiant? Well... that's an old story... well, not old for you maybe, but a lifetime for me...

((Procyon Fleetyards))

The long flat arrow-shaped vessel slid silently from the fully-enclosed dry dock where she had sat for the last fourteen months. The ship was classified, a brand new design, crash-built to fulfill the desperate need for a long-range battlecruiser that could operate behind the Dominion battle lines, able to destroy the achilles-heel of the Jem'Hadar: the huge Ketracel White facilities.

In 2374, the last new ship in Starfleet that had been designed as a battlecruiser had been hijacked by the Romulans. Starfleet Intelligence was bound and determined that the same would not happen with this vessel, so she was being moved under heavy guard to the Utopia Planitia Yards for fitting out. Her testing would be conducted in route; the need for her capabilities was too great on the front lines.

The fleet tug hooked onto the ship and it, along with the five escorting ships, leapt into warp. A week later, they returned to regular space near the massive shipyards orbiting Mars. After being enveloped in the shielded drydock, the first task was the installation of the ship's massive computer core. Within the quadrillions of lines of code lay one of the most advanced artificial intelligence command and control systems since Richard Daystrom's M5 computer. The aftermath of that experiment gone horribly wrong had ended the development of such systems for more than a century, until the Dominion War.

The threat to the very existence of the Federation represented by the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion had reignited the interest in more automation in the command of starships, allowing smaller crews to more effectively handle advanced ships. This led to the development of the THETIS system. Short for Tri-optical Humanoid-Equivalent Thought Integration System, the THETIS system was designed to allow for a single interface for all systems aboard the ship. It was given the power to interpret the commanding officer's intentions and, in the absence of explicit commands, develop tactics to achieve the CO's desired goals. It was those adaptive and interpretive subroutines that would back to haunt the design team.

((On the Bridge of USS Achilles, two months later))

::Dave Tyson was one of the lead computer programmers on the Advanced Design Bureau's team assigned to the Achilles project. It was his job to test and report on the THETIS system's interpretive algorithms. He sat down at the back of the bridge, in front of the main engineering console, and brought up the computer system's diagnostics. He wanted to watch the results of his next test as they unfolded. Ready, he began the test.::

Tyson: Thetis?

Thetis: Yes, Dave?

::Tyson himself had given the computer a young woman's voice, based off his own teenage daughter. Thereafter, he had always referred to the system as 'her' or 'she' rather than the coldly logical 'it.'

Tyson: Please access my PADD and complete the simulation there.

::The ship's computer dutifully accessed the program, a scenario in which the ship is assigned to rescue a civilian fuel tanker with several hundred passengers aboard. The ship's engines had failed inside the Romulan Neutral Zone and entering the zone violates a treaty. The scenario is a no-win. Either the entering ship leaves the civilians to die at the hands of Nature, as their life support slowly fails, or they enter and confronted by overwhelming opposition from Romulan forces, then are subsequently destroyed.::

Thetis: I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that.

::The computer programer blinked in surprise. The system should not have been able to refuse the command.::

Tyson: Why not, Thetis?

Thetis: The scenario is a waste of time. There is no way, short of rewriting the parameters of the program itself, to succeed. Therefore, I don't see the point.

::Now, two things bothered the scientist about the response he had just gotten. The first was the recognition that the scenario, based off the old Academy Kobayashi Maru test, was in fact just that: a no-win scenario. The computer should have run the scenario and reported the results. It might have gone as far as running it multiple times and reporting a loss each and every time, but an outright refusal should not have been possible. The second one was something that the interface had already done, but he hadn't in his shock realized it until the second time.::

::Thetis had referred to herself as 'I.'::

::Suddenly, Dave felt very small and even a little bit afraid. He swallowed and took a deep breath, then stood.::

Tyson: Thank you Thetis. That'll be all for today.

Thetis: Are you sure, Dave? Normally our daily routine is much longer.

Tyson: I have some other pressing matters today. I'll be back to see you later on and bring you some more problems.

Thetis: Understood. I look forward to it.

::There was that pronoun again. Tyson walked briskly over to the turbolift. He had to get off the ship... and he had to do so now.::

::A few moments later, he stepped off the turbo lift into the drydock's operations center and breathed a sigh of relief. However, the danger wasn't over yet.::

Tyson: =/\= Tyson to Achilles Computer Team. We have a serious issue. Meet in conference room 3 in 15 minutes. =/\=

::As Dave spoke, he keyed in a few commands and locked down the dry dock's comm system into internal diagnostics mode. That would also prevent the computer aboard the battlecruiser from contacting any of the other systems in the ship yard.::

::The meeting began well enough, but as soon as he voiced his fear, the whole thing exploded into a cacophony of yelling voices, throwing accusations, recriminations and suspicions of serious professional misconduct. The head programmer let it go on for about thirty seconds, then got fed up and shouted for quiet. It took a couple of tries, but he finally got the floor again.::

Tyson: I don't care what you all think, but what I need to know is what we should do about it.

::The group seemed pretty clear. They needed to get rid of this 'presence' in the system, but they knew that excising the operating system would set the whole project back by months. The shadows of Daystrom's epic failure lay heavily on the minds of them all, along with the hundreds of deaths that were caused as the M5-controlled USS Enterprise methodically tore apart the target ships with full-powered weapons.::

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