-2-

Chi's First Day

As the small persocom activates, all of Data's resources are dedicated to recording the event. He misses nothing. All of the information is catalogued so as to create a baseline in case they get an opportunity to do this again with another persocom, or with this one, although he hopes that would not be the case. If her activation process is like his, it should be permanent, with only rare instances where he has needed to be deactivated.

As each click and whir fills the room, he knows that he is hearing the activation of her internal cooling fans, and the activation of transistor based memory devices. He is mildly surprised to see her moving during the activation process, and he wonders if these actions are part of the normal power on tests. As the wrappings fall away on their own, even her hair moves, coming around in front of her to obscure more delicate parts of her form. Of course, not having emotions, he is only aware of the possible reasoning for this from the modesty sub-routines his father has installed in him.

When the girl opens her eyes, she seems transfixed when she sees Data.

"Chi?"

Immediately, a thread in Data's positronic brain begins to look for the meaning of the word. "Chi," he repeats back to her. "Is that your name?"

The girl cocks her head slightly to the side, an action he interprets as confusion. "Chi?" she repeats.

Unfortunately, Data does not find anything in the Kurlan translations that Lt. Commander Kojima had sent him for the word. Normally, even names have some sort of meaning, even if the parents that come up with it are only vaguely aware of it. He takes out his tricorder and scans the persocom. Even though he really has nothing to go on for comparison, there seems to be no indications of anything wrong. "Geordi, I cannot seem to find a proper translation for the word 'chi' in the thirteen known dialects of the Kurlan language. Do you think that her vocal processors are malfunctioning?"

Even though his focus is now on his friend, he notices a somewhat worried expression on the girl's face.

"Well, to be honest, before you said that, I would have taken it for a greeting of some type," replies Geordi.

Before either can say anything more, Data's communicator beeps. "Data here."

"Commander," says the gruff voice of the chief of security, Worf. "We have detected an attempt to anonymously access to the ship's library files originating from the lab within the past minute."

Data looks over to Geordi, who is looking back at him with a confused look. Data knows that both of them have been accessing the libraries for the past several hours as they researched Kurlan technology for a way to open the casing the persocom was in. Both had used normal logon procedures, so there should have been nothing unauthorized about what they were looking up. And, for that matter, for the past eight point seven three two minutes, they were in the process of reactivating the girl.

Slowly, both Data and Geordi turn their heads to gaze at the blonde persocom. "Chi?" is all she says in response.

"Stand by, Lieutenant," says the gold skinned android as he steps forward and sweeps his tricorder over the girl again. She follows the action intently, a curious expression on her face. Data notes this as he glances at the results. Nothing out of the ordinary. As his positronic brain pours over schematics of the girl that had been extrapolated from the scans they have taken, he notes that the main support column in her back, analogous to a human spine, has antennae like properties. Remembering the state of Kurlan technology at the time, he makes some adjustments and then scans again. A small beep confirms what he is looking for.

"What do you have?" asks Geordi.

"I am detecting a signal emanating from the pod. It is in a radio band, running at fifty-five gigahertz."

"Do you know if it is the source of the unauthorized access?" asks Worf.

"It is possible," replies Data. "After the V'Ger incident on stardate seventy-four fourteen, all Federation starships were equipped with a method of detecting old Earth radio transmissions. That design specification has not changed even to this day. I suspect that the pod may have used that to gain access to the libraries. Lieutenant, what was accessed?"

"Mostly language and dictionary files," replies the Klingon. "If it were not for the anonymous nature of the access, we would not have noticed."

Data looks at the blonde persocom, who is still studying him intently. "Do you understand me?"

The girl nods vigorously. "Chi!"

"Thank you lieutenant, I believe we have discovered the source. Data out." The android taps his communicator to end the connection.

"But if that's the case, then how come she is not speaking to us?" inquires Geordi as he peers a little closer to the blonde.

"Well, having the words in a dictionary and knowing all of the grammar and syntax of a language are separate things. She may understand what we are saying, but may be unable to express herself in any other way right now." Data also looks at the small girl who is still sitting in her pod. He steps a little closer and scans her once again with his tricorder. "Of course, she could also be malfunctioning, if we deactivate her we might-"

The blonde persocom's expression turns to one of worry as she reaches out and grabs hold of Data's uniform tunic. He looks down at her and sees a look of pleading on her face as if she is begging him not to do that. He immediately catalogues this, and postulates whether or not the girl is showing true emotions, or just giving a programed reaction to a possible threat. Either way, the best thing to do would be to alleviate the source of the anxiety. "Do not worry, I will not deactivate you."

A large smile forms on the persocom's lips. "CHI!" she exclaims as she jumps at Data, wrapping her arms around his neck. He reacts by stepping backwards as the servos in his legs try to counter the sudden change in his balance, dragging her out of the pod. When he recovers, the small, naked persocom is still hanging from him.

"Looks like you have a new friend!" says Geordi as he lets out a chuckle at his friend's expense.

Data leans back slightly so that he can get a good look at the small girl hanging from his neck. He notes that the smile on her face has not receded any. Additionally, he ponders how it actually looks natural on her. He has tried to smile on many occasions, but he has never seemed to do better than an odd smirk which has been described by others as "mannequin-like" in the past. He curls his lips up in as close to an approximation of a smile as he can, which elicits a giggle from the hanger-on he is carrying.

"Wow," says Geordi and he steps up and starts to scan her again with his tricorder. "Do you think that was a natural reaction?"

"Yes, it would appear so," replies the gold skinned android. "I have catalogued six incidents since she was activated where there was a potential emotional response to something we have said or done."

Geordi stands to Data's side to get a better look at the persocom, who has not taken her eyes off the gold skinned android. After a moment, she turns her head to him and smiles. "Chi!"

"Seven," notes Data as he reaches up and takes hold of her just under the arm pits. As he lifts her, her arms, which were still clasped behind his neck, come up and over his head. The android then places the persocom down on the ground in front of him. The blonde girl looks up at him and smiles again. Deciding to return the gesture, Data curls up the corners of his mouth. He hears Geordi snort in amusement, as his own attempt to smile is once again a failure.

The blonde persocom cocks her head to the side as she looks at him. She then steps up and, with her fingers, begins to manipulate Data's face. The android allows this, and monitors what she is doing. After a moment, she takes a step back, seemingly satisfied with what she had done. A big smile forms on her face again.

Geordi steps around to get a better look. "Wow, that's the most natural looking smile I have ever seen on you!"

Data stores away the current position of all the control mechanisms that he uses for his facial expressions for later use. The persocom is so primitive compared to the gold skinned android. But ironically, after only two hundred and fifty-six point two seconds, she has already shown that she is more advanced in the area of emotional development, and has also taught him to smile properly.

He looks back down at the girl, then smiles again, returning his cheeks and lips back to the positions that she had moved them to earlier. The blonde persocom returns the smile. "Chi!"

The gold skinned android looks to his friend. "We should inform Captain Picard of our progress."

Geordi nods as he looks over the small persocom. Data notes that his gaze lingers on some of her more feminine parts. "We should get some clothes for her first," says the dark skinned engineer after a moment. Data simply nods in agreement.

XXX

An hour later, Data, Geordi, and the persocom are all sitting in the main conference room behind the bridge. With them are Captain Picard and Counselor Deanna Troi. The dark haired Betazed-Human hybrid is staring attentively at the small blonde persocom, who is giving the strangers a slightly worried look while hanging on to Data's left arm. She is now dressed in a pale gold colored single piece jump suite that the android had replicated for her.

Troi smiles. "She seems rather attached to you, Data."

On his right, Georgie snickers a little. "You should have seen it earlier, she was literally hanging from his neck."

Data nods in agreement. "Indeed, she wrapped her arms around my neck during a display of exuberant happiness after I explained to her that we had no plans to deactivate her. This caused me to lose my balance and I pulled her out of the pod as a result."

The Captain leans forward and focuses on the blonde persocom as well. "So you are saying she had an emotional response?"

"That is correct. Since she has been activated, I have now noted seventeen possible incidents of an emotional reaction to external stimuli. If you note, right now, she is exhibiting some anxiety, although I am unsure as to the source."

"Well, that could be because she is meeting someone new, namely myself and Captain Picard," says Deanna. She smiles at the persocom, who tentatively returns it.

"Counselor, do you sense any emotions from her?" asks the Captain.

"No, I don't detect anything."

"But I recall that you could from Data's daughter Lal?" inquires Picard.

"That's true, but if you remember, Data's positronic brain is patterned from a human brain," replies the counselor.

Geordi snaps his fingers. "Right, which in theory, is what allowed you to detect her emotions before she died!"

"That is the only likely explanation for that incident," says Data. He presses some buttons on the table and a three dimensional representation of the blonde persocom appears on the screen. "We can only extrapolate from the scans we have made of her and the deactivated persocoms we brought on board, but there are a number of design highlights." He manipulates it slightly to expand her chest where a number of components are highlighted. "First off, unlike me, her primary storage and CPU function appear to be in her upper chest, where it is protected by an approximation of a human rib cage. There are a number of fans here to distribute air for cooling that is taken in as she simulates breathing."

Data then moves the display a little lower, to her abdomen. "Here is where her battery system is," he says, indicating a large block that is just below the ribcage. "It is comprised of a lithium-manganese-oxide based material with a spinel structure-"

"Data, the short version please," interrupts the Captain.

The Android pauses. "Apologies Captain. Earth actually developed a very similar design which was known as a 'thin film lithium ion battery'."

The Captain steeples his fingers in thought. "How long will she be able to go before needing to recharge?"

"Based on the ratios of the anode and cathode, along with the substrate and electrolyte, taking into consideration the coeff-"

"Data!"

"Approximately seventy three hours, sir." In spite of not having any emotions, Data almost sounds apologetic. "We should be able to create a way to recharge her batteries before then."

"Good," replies the Captain. "I would like to speak with her when you are done with your analysis."

"That may be difficult, Captain," replies the Android. "She has only spoken a single word since being activated." He turns his head and smiles at her, patting her head in a gesture he thinks will help reassure her. She looks up at him and returns the smile.

"Chi!"

"We think that her data was erased," says Geordi and he leans forward on the table. "Either that or there is a malfunction of some type. She seems to be able to understand us and follow basic instruction, but she has not seemed to be able to say anything else."

"Maybe that's her name?" posits the Counselor.

"Unlikely, there is no translation for that word in the Kurlan language," replies Data.

Deanna smiles and looks at the persocom again. This time, the small artificial being returns the gesture. "Still, I think it is a good one. In Betazed culture, there is a god named 'Chiizon' that was cursed to walk the planet's surface alone. That did not stop him from being able to perform a number of miracles."

"Hmm," replies Data. "Also, it could mean the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things. And in Klingon culture…" The android catches himself, cued by a look of disapproval from the Captain. "That would seem appropriate since she is the only one of her kind that is currently active," he says after a short pause. He turns to the blonde persocom. "Is 'Chi' your name?" When she shakes her head indicating no, he continues. "Would you like it to be?"

A large smile forms on the girl's lips. She then launches herself at Data and hugs him tightly around his neck again. "CHI!"

The Captain and the Counselor both let out short giggles at the girl's antics. "I think she approves," comments Deanna as the persocom, now named 'Chi', releases him and sits back down in her chair. She still has a huge smile on her face.

Captain Picard look inquisitively at Chi. "Aside from her ability to display emotions, what are some of the other differences between you and her, Mr. Data?"

"I have calculated Chi's computation capability is six-hundred and seven point two nine five billion operations per second based on scans that we have completed. By comparison, my positronic brain runs at sixty point seven five nine trillion operations per second."

As Data continues his analysis, touching on storage capacity, the Captain notices a slight change in the small persocom. Her expression becomes unreadable, and white lines cross her eyes from right to left. He raises his hand to stop his Second Officer, which also causes Chi to stop, blinking as she returns to awareness. "Data, what was she doing just now?"

"I am sorry Captain? What do you mean?"

"While you were speaking, she seemed to go into a slight, trance like state," adds Troi, who also noted the behavior. "Have you seen that before?"

Data looks to the small persocom, who looks up to him yet again and smiles. "Negative counselor, we have not."

The Captain puzzles for a moment what she might have been doing during Data's analysis. Then, on a hunch, he asks her a question directly for the first time. "Chi, at what speed did Data say your internal processors run at?"

"Captain, I fail to-" starts the gold skinned android, but it interrupted by the persocom.

"Six-hundred and seven point two nine five billion operations per second!" The pride in the little persocom's voice for having repeated that is quite evident as she sits back with a huge smile on her face.

Geordi does a double take when he hears Chi speak. Data frowns slightly as he postulates a possible answer. "Interesting, could it be possible that she is programmed with the ability to learn in much the same way an organic brain learns."

"You mean similar to how you learn as well?" inquires Deanna.

"Indeed counselor," replies the gold skinned android. "While I can simply download the data I need, my experiences are used to help shape some of the conclusions I come to as well. Perhaps persocoms are programmed in a similar fashion?"

"And with technology at least a century or more behind our own," muses the Captain. "Data, I do not want to impose, but I think it would be in Chi's best interest if she stays with you in your quarters rather than assigning her to separate quarters."

"Yes sir, I agree."

"Excellent," replies the Captain as he rises. Taking the hint, his three subordinates follow suite. Chi looks up at Data from her chair, then quickly stands as well. As they start to file out, Captain Picard grabs Data by the arm. "Teach her well, Data," he says with a smile.

"I will endeavor to do so, sir."

XXX

As he, Geordi, and Chi walk through the corridors of the Enterprise, Data cannot help but notice how the little persocom seems to be taking everything in. Not unlike the first time we took Lal out after she was activated. Indeed, the android he had created to be his daughter missed nothing as they strolled around the interior of the ship, even pointing out specific details she observed to confirm to him her conclusions. He is sure that if the blonde girl's vocabulary wasn't so limited right now, she would be doing the same.

Several threads in his positronic brain review some of the similarities between this situation and that of his daughter. While the Soong type he created may have had some advantages in processing speed and memory capacity, they are both similar in that, like Lal, Chi is effectively a blank slate. While one or two nagging threads question the wisdom of placing the persocom with him due to the previous failure of Lal, most are either sifting through Lal's memories or his own experiences in order to come up with a plan for her.

Several come to the conclusion that more study is definitely warranted. "Geordi, we will need the alcove in the lab so that we can run some tests and diagnostics on Chi tomorrow," says the gold skinned android.

"Yeah, that will give me an opportunity to put together the charging system and see if it works," replies the blind engineer. He reaches up and taps his communicator. "Laforge to Ensign Connor."

"Connor here."

"I need you to remove the pod we brought up from the surface and move it to cargo bay five," says Geordi as they continue to follow the corridor.

"Aye, sir. I will get right on it."

He taps the communicator to close the link. "Once we get the alcove reassembled, we should be able to use it tomorrow afternoon," he says to Data as they reach Data's quarters.

The android nods in approvals. "Thank you, Geordi. I will see you tomorrow."

"See ya, Data."

As his friend walks away, Data turns his attention to the blonde persocom next to him. She is still quite busy taking in the sights around her, and is almost oblivious to the fact that they have even stopped and are now one person short. He taps the persocom on the shoulder to get her attention.

"Chi?"

The gold skinned android notes the questioning look on her face when Chi turns to him. "This will be where you will stay while you are on this ship," he says. The persocom turns and looks at the door and then back to Data, then nods. Satisfied that she understands, he turns to the entrance to his quarters. "Computer, add access rights to the artificial lifeform known as 'Chi'."

"Access granted to the artificial lifeform known as 'Chi'," replies the feminine voice.

"Take a step towards the door," instructs Data as he turns back to the persocom.

Chi gives him a puzzled look, but does as instructed. She startles as the door opens for her, and takes a step back, causing the door to close again. Cataloging emotional response number twenty-five. Sorting tags: Surprise, Fear. As Data stores away the latest display of emotions from the persocom, he moves to reassure her. However, before he can do so, she smiles and steps forward again. This time, she does not react to the door opening, instead simply walking through the threshold and into the room. She turns back to Data and smiles, just as the door shuts between them again. He notes that she is exhibiting almost a sense of accomplishment for having done such a simple task. He catalogues this away as well as he steps forward. The door opens again and he follows her into his quarters.

As they enter his cabin, Data begins to calculate whether or not there is room for the both of them. Ultimately, he decides that, since Chi is artificial like himself, there should still be ample room since there is no need for "personal space", like a biological entity might require. He looks around and notes that the persocom is flitting from location to location in the small space, taking in everything. She takes a long look over his workstation before moving to look at several of his paintings on the wall.

Since he does not yet have a way to connect Chi directly to the computer to upload the information she needs, Data decides to take a more basic approach to the start of her instruction. "Chi," he says to get her attention. The blonde persocom, who is staring intently at his yellow tabby cat, Spot, turns and smiles at him.

"Until we can use a more efficient means to transfer information, I will help you to identify basic items in our environment," says the gold skinned android.

The blonde persocom eagerly nods as she steps towards him. He places his hand on his chest. "I am called Data," he says, noting that the persocoms eyes briefly flashed before returning to normal, a sign that he now knows is an indication that she has processed the information.

"Data," she replies, pointing at him.

"That is very good," says Data, nodding in satisfaction as he pats the girl on her head. He moves to indicate one of the chairs sitting in front of his workstation. Now this-"

"Data!"

The android looks and sees that Chi is pointing to the chair he was getting ready to refer to. She then turns to the painting she was looking at earlier. "Data!" she exclaims, then points to his cat Spot. "Data!"

As the blonde persocom points to additional items in his room and continues to refer to them as 'Data', the android notes something. "Hmm, while technically correct," he says as he takes hold of Chi's arm and gently lowers it, getting her attention again, "all of those items have different names."

XXX

After retrieving the Kurlan pod that once carried the blonde persocom that Data had activated before, Ensign Connor stops the mag-lev carrying it in front of cargo bay five. After entering the proper codes to unlock the doors, she maneuvers it into the room.

Looking around, she shudders involuntarily. Laying on a number of tables that have been erected in the room are a number of persocoms from the surface, all in various states of disrepair. In a large, open container, a number of legs and arms are piled up above the rim. The things are so life-like, she cannot help but think that it looks like a morgue.

After maneuvering the pod in to position, she goes to the computer console next to the door and activates it. She starts to check the pod in to the cargo bay's inventory, but stops. Staring at the reflective console, she notes one of the persocoms behind her seems to be staring at her. That in and of itself is not the scary part.

It's the red light that seems to be emanating from the bare eye socket.

Quickly, she turns around, but she sees no light. The persocom laying on one of the tables is nothing more than a head, torso, and one left arm. Vaguely male with short cropped hair, all of the artificial skin on the right side of its face is completely burned away. Underneath, the exoskeleton is shiny, almost chrome-like in appearance. As she moves closer, she stares at it. Intellectually, she knows it is not functional. That does not stop her mind from giving her the impression that it is staring into her very soul.

A beep from her communicator startles her, causing her to gasp and grab her chest. Quickly, she bats at the persocom's head, causing it to turn so that it is facing strait up. After taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she taps her the insignia on her chest. "Connor here."

"SARAH!" yells a male voice. "I thought you were going to meet the rest of us in Ten-Forward for dinner?"

She smiles. "I'm sorry Kyle, I'm just finishing up. I will be there in about fifteen minutes." Not waiting for a reply, she taps her comm badge again to close the connection. She quickly moves back to the panel next to the door and finishes entering the pod into the inventory. Sarah then steps towards the door, but stops and glances back at the persocom on the table. It is completely inert still, having not moved since she's slapped its head.

Satisfied, she turns back towards the door and exits, just missing the persocom turn its head back towards her, a red light glowing in its eye.

XXX

DYSON-KOGAN, INC. Modular BIOS v.8.1

Series 800, Model 101

Main Processor Check :
Core 1 – Active
Core 2 – Active
Core 3 – Active
Core 4 – Active
Core 5 – ….FAIL
Core 6 – ….FAIL
Core 7 – ….FAIL
Core 8 – ….FAIL

Memory Check :
Module 1 – 8589934594 KB – OK
Module 2 – FAIL
Module 3 – FAIL
Module 4 – FAIL

**** WARNING! Multiple CPU and Memory failures. Continuing boot in Safe Mode.

Detecting Physical Media …

Channel 1 : Dyson-Kogan ODD 10.1 Petabytes
Channel 2 : ….. FAIL!

**** WARNING! Redundant Patterning Array Failure.

Breaking Array … SUCCESS!

Loading Operating System.

XXX

On its internal display, the persocom notes the damage the unit has sustained. It rises up on its one good arm and confirms that its lower torso is missing, along with its arm. Slowly, it surveys the area. Noting the abundance of parts from other, inactive persocoms in the room, tactical crosshairs mark the ones that are most likely a match for replacing its own missing pieces. Its eyes finally rest on the pod.

Hybiya Class Repair and Restore Pod Located

Quickly, the persocom rolls off the table onto the floor. The presence of the repair pod and the abundance of spares will make the job or returning to full functionality much easier.

Then it can continue its mission.


A/N – Merry Christmas!

I was going through and looking at TNG episodes on the Wiki, and found that the planet Kurlan was visited by the Enterprise in the episode 'The Chase'. Apparently, the civilization on that planet died out millennia before, and was potentially an off-shoot of the Trill. Serves me right for trying to pick a random planet that actually exists in the TNG continuity instead of making one of my own.

One of the things I am trying to be careful about is to not make this a rehash of 'The Offspring'. There are going to be similar themes, though. I just hope I can do a good job of keeping them separate.

12/28/15 - Fixed number of operations that Chi performs per second. Thanks to ThanosofTitan for catching that.