Elonat laughed softly and slowed her long, loping pace to allow the le-matya to catch up to her, “So you can go beyond what they consider normal.” She commented to the large creature, amusement flowing off of her in waves. She swished her tail as she dropped back to him, “What would you like to talk about, Arev?” She asked, purring his name smoothly, tasting it on her tongue.
Spock watched Kobi in the mean time, “You are all right?” He questioned, “Is it uncomfortable for him to pull so far away from you?” He asked, less curious and more concerned than he normally was about such matters. He folded his hands carefully behind his back as he continued to walk, much like Kobi had done seconds sooner without realizing that it was a motion that he did normally and had done since he was quite young. It was a habit that he had employed to hide trembling hands from his mother at one time. Later it became a standard stance within his Starfleet career because of its similarity to parade rest.
"I believe there may yet be more tragedy in this life before there will be rest to be found." He commented, his gaze becoming far away for a brief moment. He had spoken to his counterpart and while he would not give specifics, there had been enough of a hint to suggest that there would be times of further drastic measures and change.
"Kirk would likely be the one to wager on overcoming the odds should such an occurrence come to pass." He agreed slowly, considering his own words even as he spoke them, "He is a formidable man with a fascinating thought process." He added and then considered the question of the test, "There were incarnations of the test that did fail. The original that I attempted to implement tore itself to pieces, so to speak. It required a build from nearly what humans tend to call square one. There is a chance for all things to fail but that does not necessarily mean that they are not an experience to learn from."
"Instead of allowing the update to run within the test itself alone, I have always piggy-backed, for lack of a better understandable phrase, the update on top of a live version of the test that is isolated from the new information. That way there is the ability to draw from the base coding and the live run but the update cannot ‘break’ the code should something catastrophic occur. The current test is also secured in multiple places as well. I have a copy stored here on the Enterprise, actually.” He explained. He had not considered the possibility of losing the data, it was merely habit to retain the original copy of his work and he found himself selfishly glad of that at times of weakness because it meant that no one could claim it as theirs other than his.
"I can." Arev responded with a happy swish of his tail. "Kobi doesn’t much like it but it doesn’t really hurt her so she lets me. If it bothered her I’d go back." he informed her. The le-matya, despite all his protectiveness, was very childlike in nature. He, like Kobi, were only technically a few years old. Though Kobi developed maturity and understanding very quickly the le-matya tended to keep his childlike air. He chose it. "Do you know what Kobi is?" he asked, tail continuing to swish. "I think you might."
"Ah- yes." she responded honestly. "It’s taxing when he’s this far away but it’s not like-" not like a normal person would feel. "It’s not like it’s causing much harm and he’s with Elonat so he’s happy. I won’t complain. If it keeps him from prowling around and looking for danger I’ll gladly deal with the headache it causes." she wanted her Daemon to be happier, since he spent so much time basically acting as her mom and her child at the same time.
"Oh." she was set a little off balance at the thought of her programming existing in multitude around the galaxy since she felt so connected to the one at Starfleet Academy. It hadn’t even occurred to her that it wasn’t the only one. "I… wouldn’t want the test to fail. It’s been a key point in my research since I was, uh, stationed at the school." she intoned. "I guess I have always had an interest in operations at the academy, since I was practically raised by the admirality." she joked. "I’m sure your test runs will go fantastically though. You’re a brilliant man."
He huffed out a laughing sigh, looking at her with an amused stare. “I am sure he did.” The captain was always like that, whether he would admit that out loud or not. ”You feel connected to it, does the distance from the academy change how strong the connection is? Time away from the academy?” There were so many questions that this brought up. If she could feel someone taking the test, did it affect her as a person too?
"Not really?" she wasn’t sure how to explain it. "It’s like a constant thrumming in the back of my skull. I can feel it but it’s always the same. Distance or time hasn’t changed that. I’m afraid if the test is changed or shut down I’ll die. That’s how connected I feel."
"Many were not on Earth when the entire disaster happened. It was was fortunate if only because it preserved enough of Starfleet that we are still able to hold together. With one of the founding species of the Federation on the endangered list, it has caused many to be wary of joining. If we had lost much more it is quite possible that there would no longer be a Federation at all." He commented, curious about the growl that came from the other daemon but not questioning it, it was not his business to ask.
Elonat glanced over her shoulder at them and then with a flick of her tail disappeared down a corridor at random. Apparently she was bored and wandering beyond them was her way of dealing with that. He felt the tug as she slid past the normal distance between humanoid and daemon, as he always did. If only because it was a habit to gauge the normal limit against theirs. It was the only reason he even felt anything when she moved beyond normal limits, because he had trained himself to feel the distance.
"I worked on it following Kirk’s change. There was never a chance to apply the update. It was quite a substantial update, actually." He told her, "It has become an idle hobby, an activity to do while I wait on experiments to finish. Captain Kirk has looked over it, actually, and told me that he believes even with help he likely would not be able to circumvent it in the same manner as he had before. Which is both a good thing and somewhat worrying if I am honest." Normally he would not have expressed such an emotion but there was no other manner in which to react to his Captain at times.
Kobi’s eyes snapped up as Arev tore down the hall after Elonat playfully. Her hand came up, pressing to her forehead as the le-matya ran past the normal distance he kept. It was uncomfortable but nothing she couldn’t handle. Her heart was pounding heavily in her chest and her head was throbbing uncomfortably but she wouldn’t comment so long as Arev was happy. Arev tried to catch up after Elonat, calling playfully. “Hey, slow down! I wanna talk!” he cheered, tail swishing back and forth in mirth.
"I thank whatever deities may exist that the tragedy that happened was a lot more scaled back then it could have been. We lost a lot of people and I never want to see or hear about that kind of tragedy ever again." she murmured and bit her lip. Kobi turned to him, small smile spreading across her face to become a large grin. "I expect Captain Kirk seeing that he can’t circumvent those new codes will just prompt him to attempt to find new and more creative ways to do so."
Her hands clasped behind her back as she ignored the uncomfortable tug in the back of her head. She was used to being connected to something a far distance away, she still felt connected to the test back at Starfleet Academy, but it didn’t make Arev’s distance any more pleasant. She couldn’t voice her fear about the test though, secret needing to stay in place. “You’re not worried about the programming failing? I mean… testing it can only go so far before you make it active. I’m sorry I don’t know technical terms.”
He paused, smiling a bit fondly at he outburst. “Thank you. You as well” Though he could not say what she has done…in this newer form, the test she represents has been apart of the Starfleet curriculum for a long time. This realization gave him pause. “So…What will Starfleet do with their own no win scenario test suddenly turning human-like? Is there a new test being done?”
"The test still exists." she tried to explain. "I feel connected to it. I know when someone is taking the test. I can feel it. It’s funny because I had a stronger connection right off the bat and… when I hadn’t fully developed this body I was still a consciousness inside the test… and I enjoyed messing with the students trying to hack the test. Captain Kirk opened up a new path for students to take… and they all failed miserably."
"Like what? Ya wanna know what th’ place’s like? ‘R m’ family? I dunno… ‘T’s really different from here. Everythin’ here goes by so fast. T’s all so loud and excitable. Back home’s a lot lazier. ‘T’s like night an day, really."
He found himself pulling out books and cracking the spines. The pages fluttered satisfyingly as he flipped through them. Ink passed by in a blur and while he didn’t ingest any of the information within, there was still the knowledge that whole worlds lay in those tomes. “‘T’s a nice place. An’ I miss ‘t… But, ‘t ain’t where I need t’ b’ right now.”
"Well, tell me a bit about your family." she gently took the book from him, stroking the spine before slipping it back into place. "Try this one." she offered a very old copy of Grey’s Anatomy. "This is a second edition. I think maybe you’d like to take a look at it." she grinned, shifting slightly. She wanted to impress him, wanted him to like her. She wasn’t the greatest with making friends.
It seemed as if she experienced the things Khan had experienced before, and it meant that her whole body would become weak with every passing minute. Maybe the ones who had kidnapped them had hoped that Khan would be dead as soon as she woke up, maybe they had given him a higher amount of drug so he had experienced all those things before her. But now it seemed as if his body somehow managed it to fight against the drug, and hers didn’t, and so he needed to find a solution for this problem. He hoped he would be alright soon. “I’ll lead you, just take my hand and follow me. I will make sure that you won’t crash into a wall.” he offered Kobi his hand, watched her carefully.
She stepped forward, taking his hand and nodding. She leaned against him to keep herself upright as the pain rocketed through her. “Thank you.” she said, trying to keep her voice firm and her focus strong. She was too dizzy to keep one hundred percent focus but she wasn’t stumbling. She’d keep strong. “We’re going to get out of here. I swear we are.”
He took in what she had said with a wary glance and a supportive decision to not push her further on the subject. Instead he merely tilted his head to the side in deep thought. “The Enterprise. Quite busy. We are always flying around in which ever direction the captain deems adventurous. The crew stays together and are pretty loyal to one another. It is quite a good place to stay. Sometimes chaotic. Most times Chaotic. We get a lot of scientific research done.” The Vulcan smiled fondly.
"That sounds lovely." she nodded in agreement. "Even chaos can be fun." she nodded and turned to face him. "Commander… I just wanted to say that I appreciate you. What you did for me whether you know it or not and what you’ve done for Starfleet as a whole."
When she agreed to use his name he found that he did not mind the sound of it coming from her. Normally it took time for him to become acclimatised to others speaking his name without use of a title but found that this time was different. Of course he had not met anyone else quite like the woman he was walking with at the moment. Certainly no one he had met had a daemon that Elonat found acceptable to interact with. Nor a daemon that was a Vulcan creature that was willing to interact with her, either. Of course that was because most Vulcans were unwilling to allow their daemons close to her as they kept their distance from him because of his heritage.
Elonat followed Arev’s stalk, her tail twitching as she continued her amusement flowing across the bond she shared with Spock, “Very intimidating.” She hummed lowly, her tongue flickering over her fangs as she flitted down the corridor, sliding around Spock to prowl her way ahead of them, purposely brushing her lean body against him as she did so and feeling his slight twinge of annoyance as she pushed him off balance.
"The Kobiyashi Maru was a program that began before I was part of Starfleet. The test was flawed, however. It was clear what was beginning to come together but there had been too many minds working on it and it was a patchwork of different pieces. I offered, once I had graduated to rework the test. To give it a solid base program and directive to build upon. After that I continued to be the sole programmer on the project." He explained, "The incarnation that the Captain circumvented was the fourth incarnation that I had reworked. Two years worth of work and code changes. Not constant work, of course, I did have other objectives in that time. The total amount of time put into the test was likely months, however. The effort in the test was quite substantial. It was meant to be challenging, meant to show the potential of cadets in the most dire of situations." He explained, considering the amount of thought he had put into that particular project.
It had been one he had not expected to find as enticing as it had been. He had reworked it after Jim had broken it and had regretted, on some level, that it had never been implemented because he had taken his post aboard the Enterprise.
"Patchwork." she gave a low laugh, one that bubbled to her lips before she could control it. "Sounds about right." she watched curiously as the sehlat rubbed against Spock, a mischievousness sparkle in Kobi’s eyes as she appraised the interaction. "A lot of things are patchwork around Starfleet nowadays anyways." she commented. "The admirality was in shambles and half the senior cadet class was wiped out in one fell swoop. If I would have been there at the time… but I was off planet working on a base with, well…" she stopped talking and Arev gave a low warning growl.
It was as if he was trying to keep her from revealing too much. She’d already stopped the words though, choking the truth in her throat before it had a chance to become live. And it would, like a round in a chamber. The truth wouldn’t set her free. It would condemn her aboard this ship. She’d helped build the Vengeance with Marcus. She’d been the cause of so many lives lost… and she hadn’t even had a choice in the matter. Hadn’t known what she was doing. The growl her daemon gave was to protect her from herself. From the desire she held to tell him the truth.
"I have some intimate knowledge of the programming myself. They allowed me to take a look at it. It’s brilliant work too. I think an update may be a plus but not a necessity." she was afraid of what would happen. Afraid of what she’d become if someone changed the test. She operated separately from it but she could still feel and sense the test even as they spoke. It unnerved Admiral Marcus. He’d had so many different tests done to her that he felt a little safer around her in the end but she was still afraid.