((Starbase 118 Ops - Science Division, Alora’s Office))
Alora looked up and called for the person to come in as soon as the chime rang. She smiled as the young El-Aurian entered and she motioned to one of the two chairs on the other side of her desk.
DeVeau: Hi Taelon! Please, sit down.
Taelon: Um, hello. Good morning.
DeVeau: Thank you for coming to see me.
Taelon: Um, no, no problem - is something the matter? I don’t think I’m, um, working on anything in your, uh, department...
DeVeau: Oh no, nothing bad! I’m just touching base with science officers, getting to know them a bit, finding out more about their goals, that sort of thing.
He blinked a few times, and it seemed he didn’t know what to make of that. He looked down at his hands for a second before he met her gaze again. Briefly. He was quick to divert his gaze elsewhere.
Taelon: Then, um, what do you want to know?
DeVeau: Well, basically, I’d like to know what you need from me.
He looked at her, uncertain.
Taelon: Do you mean, um, permissions wise? Or...
DeVeau: Well let’s start with this: What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish?
Taelon hadn’t thought of that in a long time. When he’d joined Starfleet his goals had been chaotic, uncertain, a regurgitation of the ads campaigns. See faraway places, change the world, discover new life and new civilizations - all that promising rhetoric they put in the holovids. Now? Now he wasn’t certain. Goals weren’t something he did.
Taelon: I, um…
He trained off - again - and sat silently. He’d been the chief of science here; how did you go from that to admitting he couldn’t think of anything?
Taelon: I’d like my daughter to have a good, um, childhood, but I’m not - I’m not sure what...what you mean by goals, exactly.
DeVeau: Your daughter?
That wasn't related to what Alora intended to talk about, but Taelin's anxiousness was palpable. Perhaps if they talked about things outside of work, he'd relax.
DeVeau: I'd love to know more about her.
At that, Taelon actually smiled, and seemed to brighten up.
Taelon: Cyri? She’s very smart for her age. She’s - well, she’s a bit new to Federation space, but, um, she’s taking to it very well. She likes the colors and the, um, fashions. I’ve looked into schools but I haven’t found - haven’t found one for her, yet…
DeVeau: How old is she?
Taelon: Just turned 15 - which is, um, older than she...well, older than she is, sort of?
DeVeau: I would love to meet her.
Taelon: O-oh. Why?
He balked, having said that - why wouldn’t she? He looked flustered for a moment but didn’t rush to correct himself.
DeVeau: I adore children.
Of course, Alora didn’t have any of her own.
DeVeau: Does she show any interest in science at all?
Taelon: Oh, yes. I’ve been teaching her since she could talk. She’s, um, very good at her work. She’s got a good sense of engineering and the like. Very, um, very talented. I’ve got her w-working on her own, um, project at the moment.
DeVeau: Oh really?
Alora leaned forward, resting her arms on her desk.
DeVeau: What’s the project?
Taelon’s speech increased in speed, the topic seemingly of a lot of interest to him.
Taelon: I’ve got her re-building her assistants. We had three, before, and I consolidated them to one unit, but now I’ve got her designing her own features and chassis and the like. She’s, um, wanting to make it more humanoid than I’d prefer, but…
DeVeau: Really? Wow...so...tell me about your assistants. I’ve seen the one...I’d like to learn more.
Taelon paused, considering. They were a fairly normal thing, for him, but a cultural aura of secrecy was hard to overcome. That, and an assistant bot was...well, mundane.
Taelon: I mean - they’re just that, assistants. They’re, um, bots designed to help with - whatever it is you’re doing. Hers has protection and offensive protocols, though, um, people aren’t so happy with that…
Alora wind which people. She could understand Taelon's desire to have protection for his daughter, especially after reading about certain past events.
DeVeau: What about the one she's currently working on?
Taelon raised his eyebrows for a moment.
Taelon: I’m, um, having her focus hers on helping her with more childlike s-stuff. You know, navigation, education, companionship. She, uh, wants to dress it up and make it cute, in her words.
DeVeau: I'd love to see it when she's finished.
Alora leaned back, the wheels in her brain turning. An idea began to percolate, but she wasn't going to say anything - that would be premature. This was something she needed to ruminate over.
DeVeau: So back to you, Taelon. Is education and development of these types of prototypes what you're most interested in? What would you like to see happen in the sciences?
Taelon: I mean, that’s not really my, um, my business….
DeVeau: I'd value your input.
Taelon looked torn, doubtful, but chose to answer honestly.
Taelon: M-mostly I’d like to see - like to see more acceptance for robotics and, um, cybernetics. People seem to be - seem to be scared of them, for some reason. I don’t - I don’t understand why.
DeVeau: I agree.
That wasn’t exactly what was on Alora’s mind, but Taelon had a point - and his admittance led to another idea, that sort of coincided with the original.
DeVeau: Would you be willing to help foster education and communication about cybernetics?
Taelon: Um...maybe? Yes? ::He looked apprehensive.:: I’m, um, not sure how, though...
DeVeau: So here’s what I’m thinking...my first idea, sparked by your daughter - a sort of intern program. Let’s get kids in here that are interested in the sciences. It doesn’t even have to be limited to science, but let’s just start here for now. Maybe we could do a trial thing - a special hour long class, see how it goes. If we have interest, we can turn it into something more consistent.
Taelon : So you want to, um, educate children? Just, um, the Starfleet children, or...
DeVeau: The other idea actually extends beyond our school age population to the general population. Perhaps we could put together a demonstration on cybernetics, their purpose, how they work, what they can do for us. I find that fear is often because people are frightened of what they don’t know.
The El-Aurian nodded, seeing her point. He sat for a moment.
Taelon: I could, um, brainstorm some things to show...if you’re interested...but I’m not sure what’s appropriate.
DeVeau: Well, why don’t you present them to just me. We can talk about it and decide what’s appropriate when you have an idea of what you’d like to present. I don’t know why something would be inappropriate, though.
Taelon: It’s just - what I, um, think is cool is, um...sometimes people get the wrong idea…
DeVeau: Would you mind giving me an example?
Taelon: Spinal reinforcements, um, vision improvement, built in scanners, holonet browsing, defensive improvements...substantial replacement of internal organs and structure...
Alora leaned back and tapped a finger on her chin.
DeVeau: All right, so like I said, write up some ideas for presentations and we’ll talk about it and just make sure it’s presented in a way people hopefully won’t get the wrong idea. Sound like a plan?
Taelon: S-sure. Um, when do you..want that?
DeVeau: Let’s say...by the end of this week? Is that enough time?
Taelon: I can - I can do that.
DeVeau: Good! Oh, I also have something for you.
Alora turned her chair. She twirled around twice before she stopped herself, that time her back to Taelon, facing the shelves of plants that hovered behind her. Standing up, she removed one from its perch, then swiveled around to place it before her. It sat there in a lovely lavender pot, medium green leaves all quilted, gently rippled at the edges. Flowers, like tiny half roses peeked out from among the leaves, the petals switching between pale and medium yellows.
DeVeau:I always think of sunshine when I see this particular variety. I hope it brings a little sunshine to you.
Taelon blinked in surprise, taking the offered pot.
Taelon: Um, thank you. ::Hesitant as his voice might have sounded, he smiled brightly, surprised and flattered. He held it delicately.:: Um...how do you take care of it?
DeVeau: I have an entire instruction file complete with programs for soil, plant food, and various sizes of pots so that you don’t have to think about anything, just implement. You’ll receive that in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
As she spoke, Alora had gone to her computer and began tapping upon it. With one last decisive strike, she leaned back in her chair, her smile turned into a grin.
DeVeau: There. And if you have any problems, just ask. You know where I live.
Taelon: W-will do.
DeVeau: And if you have anything you need to talk about, work related, life related, I wanna wring somebody’s neck related, I can be an ear too, okay?
He blinked, ducking his head slightly as if to hide his expression.
Taelon: Um, thanks. I’ll - I’ll do that.
DeVeau: Great. I’m really looking forward to what you bring me.
Starbase 118 OPs
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops