Redesigning Arms and Legs
Heart and Soul
Location: R&D Labs
In the R&D Design Lab, Mona had torn apart her design for Daycare One once more and was swapping in the parts of the Khallianen... as well as the spare arms for the mecha she had designed. They had run up against several barriers to completing the project and this was one of the few ways she could see of completing them. Rather than creating actual retractable landing struts, she reinforced the central belly of the ship to be able to hold the weight of the vessel and was looking for a way to make the arms retractable and reinforced as pseudo-legs to hold the craft steady.
It was an elegant solution and she was proud of her team for pitching in ideas that led to the design.
"The children are settled and taking a nap. Miss Kodria will inform me if that status changes." Stepping out from Mona's office looking down at a PaDD, Jaeih Dox walked over to her brilliantly plumed Miradonian daughter-in-law. "However, looking over the revised designs, we may have to adjust the height of the Khallianen down by... 18 centimeters to fit properly into the space currently being dismantled in our former break room. That material, however, can be used to reinforce the coupling joints for the rear stabilizers."
"And by opening up the interior to remove the main sleeping quarters, we can create more sleeping crèches for Minerva, Hermoine, and any more children that have been... affected by Hera's self-described 'aspect'."
"Hmmm..." Mona pursed her lips thoughtfully. "I'm not convinced that the chicks are affected by the energy fields she puts out. Their development has been as normal as can be expected of mixed species Miradonian births."
The brightly plumed mother then took in a deep breath and slowly let it out, finally admitting something that she had been worried about in the back of her mind, yet unwilling to share even across the bond she shared with the rest of her family. "Then again, most mixed race births always lose the runt. Plus, at the Aeries they soaked up not only Hera's energies but so many Moon Goddess energies... The whole place was awash brighter than I'd ever seen anywhere before."
"I'm sorry, it's just that I'm full of all these new emotions now since the birth and I think I got them from my Minay. They say that after the first birth all of your mindsets are shared, but now..." Mona closed her eyes and took another deep breath. "I don't think we have a proper word for anxiety and worry like this. I don't know how she deals with it."
"Well, Hera said the children had her blessing. What that means is anyone's guess" Jaeih said as she put an arm over Mona's shoulder and did her best to be supportive. "As for your anxiety, I... suppose I'm largely to blame for it in Mnhei'sahe, and you are now inheriting that less than desirable trait through your bond."
"But she seems to also be benefiting from your compassion and your adaptability. You both... make the other better, which is how it should be." Jaeih added, thinking on the subject a moment. "With her, I prefer her overworking to the combat training for management, though neither is particularly healthy in the long term. Perhaps it is a subject you can discuss with her to help?"
Mona nodded solemnly. "There was a time, even when I ran the Flight Control department, when I didn't take anything seriously or really take responsibility for the department. I just wanted to fly and help others fly. I just went through the motions of the paperwork and left the management to others. Now... I actually care and worry about other people..."
"That is good. There are things that must sometimes be said that a telepathic link might not properly communicate." Jaeih said as she looked at Mona with legitimate care in her eyes. "It is often said among our people that a word with only one meaning is a useless thing. Manipulation of that is a skill Mnhei'sahe is sometimes lacking in, which may be to her benefit, in truth. But still, when we choose our words, those choices say things we choose to leave otherwise unspoken. It will benefit you BOTH to speak of these troubles you are experiencing."
"And that feeling that is vexing you often gives Mnhei'sahe her strength." Jaeih concluded. "It has been a difficult lesson for me to accept as well here on the Hera, that caring about others is not always a liability."
"Yeah, I'll definitely have that talk with her," Mona replied with a smile, wrapping her own arm around Jaeih's waist and gave the matron a side hug. "Thank you, Nona. I don't know what I'd do without you. Now how about we see what we can do with these schematics for now?"
"You would flail about, blind to your own magnificent potential without my sage and august guidance, my dear." Jaeih replied, a warm but sarcastic smirk on her face as she called up the schematics on her padd. "I have... taken the liberty of setting up a construction schedule and filed it. I estimate that with these revisions, we can have Daycare 1 operational in 4 point 2 weeks."
"You've taken into account delays, better breaks, and accidents. My calculations were for two weeks if I put in overtime one day a week. You... You're better at managing people's time." Mona let her eyes lower just the slightest as realization came to her that she may have been overworking herself and her team just a bit. "I have a lot to learn still. I'm so lucky to have someone like you to learn from."
"However, the wiring you recommended for the gravity and life support with the secondary batteries?" Mona pulled up the specific schematics. "They take up too much room and generate too much heat. I propose a significantly reduced bank of batteries and a portable generator with output that can handle it. The generator has the peak output capacity, but it can't change output fast enough. The batteries can change output levels instantly, will only last a minute at most, but will recharge fast."
"It's a trick we use on small Miradonian ships to prevent power dips and I think it'll work well here."
"And an ingenious trick. As for before, I was in the Romulan Military since I was 19, Mona. I was a commander in command of my own ship for fifteen years. I am well trained in the intricacies of time and personnel management." Jaeih said, tilting her head and putting her hand on Mona's shoulder. "But the only way I could manage teams... deal with people... was in making them fear my reprisal. It is... a poor legacy Mnhei'sahe has inherited. But you... those two adore you. You inspire them to be better."
"Scheduling is easily learned. Inspiring... not so much, my love." the elder Romulan said, squeezing Mona's shoulder and she quickly brought the subject to Mona's more technical observations. "That said, your proposal is brilliant. ALSO well beyond the range of my own skills. That will reduce the heat, which will reduce the need for extra cooling, which means we can use that for structural reinforcing."
"If there's one thing my people are good at, it's designing systems related to flight and family. If people find me inspiring... Well... Then I'll have to keep doing what I'm doing." The colorful woman nodded solemnly and pulled up another schematic. "Like with the tertiary stress reducers of all grapplers on the mechas. Each one is structurally able to take seven times the weight of the entire craft for emergency landing purposes and for pushing something the size of the Hera without a tractor. I think that in particular is going to come in handy in this case."
Trying to calculate the kind of force that would require in her head and failing, Jaeih raised both eyebrows. "That is... beyond impressive. And when not in direct use, that power should be reroutable to shields and engines, I would imagine."
"The Khallianen's maximum speed with her retractable nacelles is, I believe, warp 8 with a cruising speed of warp 6." Jaeih said, a question coming from her tone, "However, I suspect you can improve that for Daycare 1."
"I was able to up the maximum to nine point two, but it wasn't the most stable or smooth," Mona confirmed as she pulled up the engine schematics. "With the power grid and structural integrity of the Daycare One, we should be able to push that to nine point five should we need to. We'd have to run some flight tests of course, but I'm fairly confident."
"Excellent," Jaeih said with a nod. "Then the primary remaining question comes in regards to the mentioned idea of the ship's... operating system. In an emergency scenario, there exists the possibility that I may not be... present when Daycare 1 is ejected with the children aboard or may become incapacitated. Which raises the question as to if Miss Kodria would be capable of being transferred to the ship in such an emergency scenario."
"I've already put in a request for my matrix to be transferred to the R&D holomatrix core on a more permanent basis," came the voice of the holographic future woman as she shimmered to life next to Jaeih. "The kids are all napping peacefully so I figured a little dual telepresence wouldn't hurt."
The elder Romulan former Tal'Shiar operative almost flinched at the sudden arrival of the unexpected holographic life form, but she contained any noticeable reaction of surprise and simply raised an eyebrow. Slightly embarrassed to have been caught off guard, Jaeih nodded towards Kodria with a light smile. "Thank you, Miss Kodria."
"Indeed, I've made sure our core is big enough to be able to handle all three of our holographic life forms plus some, if the need should arise," replied Mona, squinting at Kodria as she tried to focus on what she saw as a ghostly image. It was hard enough focusing on her engineering holograms when she wasn't using her modified emitters - the humanoid designed holographics were even worse for her eyes since those she could see right through.
"That is wise. I have had concerns regarding this issue." Jaeih said in a straightforward fashion. "However, I was of the impression that the data core that contains JUST Maica took up part of an entire deck of the ship. Have you improved the storage capacity that much that Daycare 1's core could contain all three programs intact?"
"That's actually just a rumor she likes to spread," Mona replied with a grin. "Her actual core is about half the size of a person and is tapped into the data and power grid under one of Enalia's couches. She doesn't even have any of her own emitters. In fact, from what I can tell, just about half of her hardware is dedicated to security and survivability, including a neutronium inner casing."
Kodria then interjected, crossing her arms in the process. "She may act like the most advanced of the three and her subroutines may be almost biological, but storage wise? She's constantly tapping into the databases for recipes, schedules, and general data. She doesn't keep any of that in her own memory. I do that to an extent, but I at least mimic biological short and long term memory for what I've seen directly. She only stores personal memories. Non-localized data she stores elsewhere."
"I detect a note of conceit in your voice, Miss Kodria." Jaeih said with the lightest of smirks.
Mona continued, pulling up the storage space comparison that all three took up. Maica's bar was only a quarter of Kodria's and Kodria's was a tenth of the Doctor's. "And then there's Doc Power. He stores everything. He's not fully designed for continuous operation so he stores everything. Every incision, every medical journal, every smiling face - he can recall them in perfect clarity. He's the one we've had to cater for. His matrix in sickbay is the size of a desk."
"I may have assisted in the improvement of the current system..." Kodria muttered under her breath. "So please don't tell anyone."
The brightly plumed Miradonian eyed the holographic woman for a moment. "Yes... Somehow, our R&D core now has four point seven times the capacity it did yesterday. I wonder how that could have happened."
"Well, as a woman for whom secrets have been a stock-in-trade, I can assure you that yours is safe with me, Miss Kodria." Jaeih said plainly. "And as a point of fact, the children under our care are... exceedingly precious to me. So The more resources we have that can ensure their safety, the better. And as Commander Paris has made their guidance and protection my task, I wholeheartedly approve."
"Now... If I may ask a possibly personal question Miss Kodria, as Daycare One will be an autonomous spacefaring vessel with said precious cargo, what are your qualification for flying her... in an emergency?" Jaeih asked, pointedly with a strange and somewhat inscrutable expression. "After all, as I understand it, one of your mentors growing up in your original timeline was my Daughter, so I have a high standard for this metric."
"Or... to put my question more plainly...Did Mnhei'sahe teach you how to fly in your timeline, or is that something that needs to happen in the now?"
"Ah... Yes... I suppose it's not a blatant violation of any directives to say that she was one of my flight instructors," Kodria replied somewhat sheepishly. "Or that I trained with a particularly rambunctious Miradonian with red and black plumage. However, to conserve space and because I wasn't expected to be piloting anything, most of that data wasn't copied over from the original me."
Looking at the slightly embarrassed looking hologram of a Vulcanoid Android from the future with a faintly amused expression, Jaeih raised an eyebrow and pulled up her PaDD and started typing as she talked. "Well... then you shall need to re-learn, my dear. And I'm sure that Lieutenant Commander Dox will be happy to fit flight training for you into her schedule. I shall move a copy of our schematics to a simulation file for the holodeck."
"As for my Hlai'vana. She will simply have to wait a bit and catch up, I'm afraid." The elder Romulan said with a straight face but there was that hint of pride just under the surface that Mona, in particular, could pick up on.
"I look forward to the lessons then," Kodria replied with a bright smile and a nod. This had been something she was worried about but now it seemed she no longer had a need to worry about it.
"I'll be assessing your skills as well, of course," Mona added, wondering just how good of a pilot she had gotten to be before she was tossed through time. "To both offer advice and to tweak the interface to your skills."
"A wise precaution," Jaeih commented before tilting her head slightly. Checking her PaDD, the stern Romulan looked back up at Mona and Kodria. "My apologies. It is time for the children's lunch."
"Today on the agenda with their meal is a selection of literature I have assembled to read for the children. 'The First Flight', a Miradonian text. 'The Quiet Voice', a Romulan poem I read to Mnh... Lieutenant Commander Dox... as a child. And something Commander Paris recommended called... 'The Cat in... the Hat'. Curious."
"As always, readings in multiple languages after the children have eaten. Then some play time. My afternoon is... quite well set." Jaeih concluded. "But if you have any further questions, you know where I shall be."
Kodria spoke up again, almost sheepishly. "Ah... If I may recommend a book as well? The Trill book 'I've got a friend in me.' It's not just for explaining the joining apparently. My mother read it to me and it helped me learn how to love myself."
"That sounds like a lovely book," Mona replied with a smile and a squint towards Kodria as she tried to focus her eyes on the holographic life form. "What do you think, Nona?"
Making note of the suggestion in her PaDD, Jaeih began replying, her eyes still down as she typed. "I think..."
Then, her eyes went up to the holographic representation of Kodria. "...you shall be as instrumental in caring for these children as I, Miss Kodira. When I raised my own daughter, one of the few elements that I can look back on and say that I did right was to teach her of other cultures. She learned not just of her own people and of our Vulcan ancestors, but of Klingon and Ferengi culture and as many that I could inform her of. It was my wish that she be free of the xenophobia that has plagued our people for millenia."
"As such, considering how frequently my goddaughter will be in attendance, Trill culture is all but a must." Jaeih added, speaking of the Captain's daughter, Moira, who in point of fact, would own day come to become Kodria's OWN mother and create the original, young android. "Thank you for the suggestion. I... will admit that Trill is a tongue I do not speak, but would welcome you to come read as needed as well. I believe language skills are vital to crafting young minds that are open, as is the task laid before me."
"Trill is a very... Diplomatic language. Easy to pick up the basics but difficult to master as the finer points are contextual," Kodria explained, her brows furrowing. "There are reasons Ferengi won't sign a contract written in it."
"When you can interpret a contract one of three ways based on the mood of the writer, I would assume so," interjected the brightly plumed avian, nodding knowingly. "The books on poetry I borrowed from the captain are some of the most confusing yet most enlightening I've ever read and after reading those books I'm not convinced that's not the same emotion to a Trill."
"Interesting. You may consider me thoroughly intrigued. After all, context and interpretation are... key traits to communicating with any Romulan in any tongue. I shall be paying close attention to these lessons myself." Jaeih said, folding her arms behind her back as she replied. "After all, I am not so old as to not be open to learning new things, myself."
In truth, while the elder Romulan was 75, that was only a third of her potential lifespan, making her still quite young among her own people. She did, in point of fact, look older than she really was and seemed to enjoy allowing the misconception to ride.
"Then I'll teach you everything my mom taught me," Kodria replied with a bright and innocent smile. "I hope you enjoy the game."
"I look forward to the challenge, Miss Kodria." Jaeih said with a nod before turning back to Mona. "Lieutenant. You know where I shall be and I'll call you if the children have one of their somewhat endearing needs for your attention that often occurs after lunch. Thank you."
"You'll know where to find me," Mona replied with her usual cheeriness. "I'm just glad we're not like the mammals aboard and produce milk. I can't imagine having to feed chicks like that." With a shudder, all of her feathers ruffled and stood on end for a moment before settling back down.
It was a question of Miradonian anatomy that Jaeih had never thought to ask about, especially considering how pronounced her daughter-in-law's chest was and that when she changed the children, she noted their own lack of the same anatomical features that mammals use in such scenarios. That, in turn, had the Romulan matriarch pondering unpleasant questions about her own daughter's sex life, which she immediately put out of her mind with a slight shrug. In truth, if Jaeih had feathers, they might have ruffled a bit in the moment as well.
"Indeed. Thankfully, we procured considerably more ingredients while on your homeworld to provide their nutrition. Thank you." Jaeih said, as she stepped away, to check on the children.
"I think that's my cue to finish up work on this baby," Mona said, nodding towards the holo-display with the diagrams of Daycare One strewn about. "I should be able to finalize these plans in the next hour or two and we can start assembly tomorrow once they're approved by command."
"And I need to start reviewing what data I have on piloting so I at least have a starting point," Kodria replied. "If you'll excuse me."
As the holographic Vulcanoid woman shimmered away, Mona leaned forward and got back to work on the blueprints, adjusting things here and there and tweaking what she could to load balance the ship, but leaving as many assemblies that were already whole in one piece when she could.
"This might take more than two hours..." she muttered under her breath, wondering if she should break for a meal soon herself.