SIM:Nicholotti Kalianna 2.0

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((Cody's Quarters, Starbase 118, Evening Hours))

::At his workstation, David's eyes hid behind shielded glasses as he welded the final connections to the space helmet, which now sported almost a dozen conduits from the upper back of the skull area. He turned off the hand welder and set it into its cradle before removing his glasses. He turned the helmet over and checked the electrode-like circles that now were installed into the cranial area, flashing a multitude of colors. Breathing deep, feeling a shiver run through his spine, David put on the helmet and raised the visor so he could see his terminal. ::

::Typing in another block of programming, David waited to see the results. The window zipped closed for an interface window to open, connecting with the holo-matrix design. He took another hundredth of a check on the Nicholotti holo-matrix currently offline and now waiting for the final upload. ::

::Hesitant, David linked the helmet interface into the holo-matrix. ::

Cody: Uplink established. Test only. Do not integrate.

::He felt a peculiar sensation all around his head, as if somehow someone had put a magnet nearby as a pleasant pulse tugged at his head. He closed his eyes, lost in the sensation, before shaking it off and killing the link.

::Dangerous, but really... in another life, some of his best work. David knew he would never come close to the genius of his father (and suddenly remembering there was a prototype small ship out there as proof to his old man's work yet to be found again...), but he did have his moments. Reviewing the results in the upload temporary unit, he found himself shaking his head at the millions of terrabytes that moved, just in the space of a moment. ::

Cody: Oh crap... but can it handle it?

::Reaching over, David pulled an old-style antique keyboard and plugged it into his workstation terminal. Opening several command line windows, he bounced between them and began verifying the matrix could assimilate what was going to be one the most massive uploads attempted. ::

::One by one, the windows flashed red before crashing out. ::

Cody: No.. no no no!

::He lost the last window and he hit the table. Blowing out a breath, he thought a moment, then shook a finger at the screen before returning to type again. ::

Cody: Which means we reset the parameters and run a set of bridge expansions.

::Returning to the keys, David reopened the windows and began retyping lines. ::

((Corridors, Enroute to Commander David Cody's Quarters))

Nicholotti: One more stop, then, maybe, things might calm down.

Daniels: Calm down, Captain? It sounds like things are just getting more complicated to me.

::She smiled slightly.::

Nicholotti: One can hope.

::And then she got quiet for the rest of the trip.::

::Her heart, and stomach, were skipping beats and flipping over themselves, admittedly, as she drew closer and closer to the door that had become her new next destination. Beside her, the guard she'd picked up earlier was still with her, though their conversation had died down considerably. The tension in the air between the two men, however, had not, but she had chosen to ignore it thus far. Besides, of all the things that she could have been doing that night, this was what she had looked forward to. Where the night would lead, only time would tell, but she would not be alone.::

::Finally, they arrived and she took a deep breath in an attempt to calm the fluttering in her chest. Glancing to her sides, she gestured to areas beside the door.::

Daniels: I'm guessing we're waiting outside again, Captain?

Nicholotti: I'll be back in a bit, if you insist on standing out here and waiting.

Daniels: Aye, Captain.

::She grinned slightly, knowing neither of them would leave, and watched them take their relative positions as she tapped the door chime and waited to hear his voice call out to her.::

((Cody's Quarters))

::Zipping up windows, David glanced at the door before checking the time.

Cody: Whoa. Is it really that late? ::at the door:: Enter!

::He stood, finishing the last bit of rewriting, before coming around the workspace area, which encompassed several diagnostic and hardware tools, from soldering boards, microscopic drafting, his programming modules, and a few silver Morgan Dollar coins under construction to become short range communication devices. The living room was separated. Beyond the living room lay the door to the bedroom. And off to the side of his workspace lay the kitchen. ::

::Keeping the smile she could feel coming on from her face, she let the men outside think this was all business as she stepped through the doors. As soon as they closed behind her, and her eyes found his, she practically ran to him and threw her arms around him. Instantly, the tension and the stress of the past few hours melted into nothing.::

:: He found himself in the threshold of a hug he couldn't even remember having in his life. But it didn't stop him from hugging her close, wrapping her into his arms, and getting lost just standing there in midst of his living room, just holding each other. It felt so... right. ::

Nicholotti: You have any idea how difficult it is to do anything with two massive people following your every single little tiny move?

::David chuckled, in spite of the seriousness. Although he really didn't want Jones on board, he didn't feel it was his place to say. Daniels on the other hand, although they had only met briefly, he felt better about and more confident. Or maybe it was because they both had been tactical officers... and probably other things. But... the one thing that grappled with his conscience was the idea of senior officers acting as bodyguards when their intelligence and their minds should be allowed to expand. ::

Cody: Probably slow, like spotting a constant shadow, and wondering when the day will end, I think.

::Grinning, she let her thoughts spill out into the open air. She didn't feel the need to shield things from him like she did everyone else, and besides, her mood was far better than it had been just a few minutes before.::

Nicholotti: There are more reasons than my shadows to want the day to end.

::David smiled and broke the hug, taking her hands in his as he led her over into the workspace. Rather odd, he supposed. But... he did like his side hobbies. He motioned to the seat. ::

Cody: Go ahead. I've been sitting down too much anyway.

::Allowing herself to be led, she followed what he told her and sat. Her eyes scanned the workstation, noting all sorts of things that seemed quite out of place for someone's quarters. A sort of wonder came over her and she tried to come up with exactly what else he had hidden up his sleeves.::

Nicholotti: What's all this for?

::She noted a strange helmet, among things, and thought that perhaps he was building something. A robot? Laughing to herself she simply sat and allowed him to work around her, happy to just be there and away from the chaos outside..::

::David took the helmet and set it aside. The relevance would come soon enough as he leaned over her and plugged into the antique keyboard, typing as his kissed her cheek. ::

Cody: I have a surprise for you.

::Raising her eyebrows, she let her eyes fall on him rather than the devices and pieces and parts that seemed to be all around. Surprises were good, at least in her head, as long as they didn't involve anymore loud noises or bright lights. She smiled and looked at him questioningly.::

Nicholotti: Do you now?

::But he didn't speak immediately. Something inside welled up with excitement she'd not felt for some time as she tried to look at the screen he was working with. It was another language to her though, so all she could do was watch and know that it would all be revealed soon enough.::

::Finishing the last of the line writing, David closed the window and exited out out of the command boxes. He hit the enter button. ::

::Just beyond the workstation area, a carbon copy of Kalianna Nicholotti formed, standing straight, and moved her head in their direction. ::

::David nodded. ::

Cody: Meet your holomatrix double.

::Kali had watched the...creature? person? whatever it was, form and stand up, but it took a full minute for it to process in her mind what she was looking at. And like peering into a mirror, she saw an exact duplicate of herself. Blinking for a moment, and then turning towards him with somewhat wide eyes, she once again spoke her mind. This time, however, the words seemed to be more elusive.::

Nicholotti: Wow.

::Very elusive. Her eyes moved back to the copy of herself and she looked it over more carefully. Everything seemed to be exactly her. It had her rather speechless, and quite amazed at the skills that the man next to her seemed to possess.::

Nicholotti: That's amazing.

::David watched from behind at the station, checking a few things with the design before he released the movement constraints, allowing the Nicholotti holo-matrix to move freely within the confines of the room. He did keep an eye on the emitter array. Really more of a final test, to make sure the masking filter that would hide the emitter system from scans was up and running. ::

Cody: Best I could do within eight hours.

::Unable to help herself, she stood and left the workstation behind in an attempt to move towards it and really look at it. Walking around one side, around the back, and then back to where she started, she whistled.::

Nicholotti: That's some work. ::She looked up at him.:: And you did this in between when I saw you last and now?

::David nodded, watching as the matrix moved to mimic her motions. At the end, despite the risks involved, he decided to do what Kevin did once with a nanite program and give the matrix a learning module. Infinitely more dangerous, because while it wasn't an AI... given enough time and experience, it could become one if left unchecked. ::

Cody: It took most of the day to design the matrix, and then I had to sneak your pattern buffer from the transporter system to define the shape. Once it finished forming, all I had to do was pack it up and take back here on a thumb drive.

::Amazement piled on top of amazement. Kali was no programmer, and no engineer, but she saw incredibility when it was there. And this....this was beyond anything she'd ever seen, even beyond some of the EMH's she'd had the pleasure, or displeasure, of working with over the years. This being, or whatever it was though, hadn't said anything to them yet. Kali returned to David and looked at him.::

Nicholotti: Can this thing fool my shadows?

::A somewhat impish grin appeared on her face as she asked it. The very last thing she wanted was for her armed guard to be outside the door of Commander Cody's quarters for the night.::

::He grinned back. ::

Cody: When we're done, it will. Once last thing needs to happen before she can fool your shadows, any potential assassins, and any number of useful things that can land me before a tribunal, so be careful with this.

::At that, she raised an eyebrow. It was amazing, but she was slowly putting things together in her head.::

Nicholotti: What one more thing?

:: David indicated the workstation, specifically, the helmet on the station.

Cody: The final step is that helmet. Right now it looks like you, it has some of your inherent behaviors, based on the information contained within the transporter buffers that does keep some of your cellular information on file so it can quickly locate any of the senior staff if they needed to be beamed out, or something of an extraordinary magnitude. But it doesn't have your personality, or your perspective, or your mindset or experience.

::All of which, would be required of it if it were to fool the men outside. Those two were two who happened to know her better than anyone really. The personality and perspective of this double would have to be nearly perfect to make them believe it was really her. But he had already thought about that, and the answer existed, she was learning, in that helmet thing. She glanced back to the double, which was now mimicking her facial expressions, before looking at the helmet.::

Nicholotti: Alright. So how's it work?

Cody: That helmet was modified to have an interface link with the Nicholotti matrix. Essentially, we're going to upload you, so that you can be you in two places at once. Then it will be able to fool even the best of us. And with that, comes a warning.

::Of course. She thought to herself all the trouble and havoc the double might cause in her place. It would have access to everything, and everyone.::

Nicholotti: I'll bet it does, especially if it will really be able to fool everyone.

::But Kali didn't realize that the rabbit hole went quite as deep with this as it did until he explained.::

Cody: This holo-matrix of you has a learning module. It's not a full AI. But, if we let her roam unchecked, she could easily become a full AI over time. That's kinda the trade off when you're aiming for realism. We can touch her, and feel skin. Her matrix allows her to bleed, to cry, to laugh, to feel hurt and pain, and pleasure. This is what we call an outside matrix, which means she's not going to be tied into a holodeck. I trust you understand the significance of that.

::Once more, she let the information sink in. The access and personality she was about to get could, if given the time and space, expand to be problematic. She nodded slowly.::

Nicholotti: Then we need to make sure that we don't let her roam unchecked.

She paused for a moment as another question formed.:: Do we have a way of

tracking her?

::David considered the question, although he was watching the matrix of her look around the room, taking in everything with a spark of brightness and keen curiosity. ::

Cody: Yes... I can track her, as long as she doesn't learn how I'm keeping tabs.

::Making a face, she let her eyes wander over the double again as an interesting thought came to mind. She shook her head and smirked.::

Nicholotti: How many rules are we breaking here? What would happen if....?

::Heh... if Command ever found out, David doubted he would have a future within Starfleet. He was, really, breaking every single rule that governed the use of holograms, the holomatrix, and creating not just anyone, but a Captain of Starfleet. The court-martial would only be a prelude to what they could charge. This little creation of his could undo the foundations of Starfleet. He absently glanced over at his terminal, and at a small, what the computer would discount as normal, subroutine. ::

::If this holomatrix found his kill switch, they would have a hellava time stopping her. ::

Cody: Oh, just the biggest pit they can find to shove me into, and that's after stripping me of any kind of rank. I'd be lucky to find a job as a janitor.

::It figured. Kali laughed slightly, nervously, before reading the look in his eyes and finally gesturing towards the helmet.::

Nicholotti: It's only for tonight. Tomorrow we leave on the Victory. Let's do it.

::Returning to the chair she'd been in a few minutes prior, she sat and got somewhat comfortable, trusting that he knew what he was doing and, in the most ingenious way, was offering the best possible way to shield her from the threat that roamed the station. Smiling up at him, she conveyed with her eyes that she was ready for anything, as long as he was there with her.::

::And with that, David nodded and breathed deep. ::

Cody: Okay. You're going to feel something of a pulse, but pretty pleasant.

Nicholotti: ::Nodding.:: Alright.

::Having already made up her mind, she could do little else other than sit and wait. It didn't take long before he was putting the helmet on her, which felt rather goofy in and of itself, and then stepping around her.::

::David took the helmet and gently strapped it onto Kalianna's head, making sure it was on before stepping around her to open the upload link. His blue gaze fell on the holo-matrix standing in his living room and regarding the art on his walls. This was going to be one hell of an upgrade. ::

::He hesitated a moment. Nothing like this had been attempted before. He might have mentioned that, although a strange sense took a hold of his spine and made the hairs of his head stand on end, thinking that he had seen something like this once before. He shook his head once and blinked, chasing away the thought. ::

Cody: Hang tight.

::The Enter button on the keyboard loomed. Glancing at the matrix once more, before checking in on Kalianna, he pressed it. ::

::The seconds ticked by and she waited for something to happen. It didn't immediately, but after what she expected was him making final checks, the pulse he spoke of seemed to wash over her. For the briefest of minutes, she felt almost suspended within nothingness. Her mind tingled ever so slightly as everything seemed to blink out and she was plunged into a mental sort of darkness.::

Nicholotti: Whoa...

::It felt eerily reminiscent of the nightmares she had suffered during her coma, which worried her at first, but then the images started playing out in a sort of fast forward flickering. At the onset, she barely recognized anything, but as the flickers continued, stronger memories appeared. There was a very young version of her mother, and her father. Hawk appeared soon after that, alive and well. The shock made her body rigid in the chair, and her knuckles turned white from how she gripped it.::

::But she wasn't aware of that. Her mind was lost in the depths of her childhood, of which images of her father seemed to be lacking. The realization didn't last long; her memories moved on to bigger and clearer pictures. There was the first flight she'd taken with Hawk, and the first time she'd sat in the front seat. Her old dog bounced by, chasing the toy plane she'd 'made' him as a kid. Her mother seemed to grow older, but the smile never faded. It only flickered by on a face that time had its effects on.::

::Things shifted and a whirl of her own blue, waist length hair spun around her in various places; fighting with her father, laughing with Hawk, and ultimately cutting it and allowing the natural black to return. Recalling that her helmet fit better without all of the hair, she felt the force of gravity push her back into the front seat of the Hornet the first time she'd left the ground without Hawk in the rear. The fear and adrenaline the moment had created within her stretched out despite the fact that the moment itself ran past her at light speed.::

::And suddenly, she was at the Academy. Classes, and friends scrolled through her mind, as did the many times she'd almost gotten into big trouble. The Marines, it seemed, had been good at that, regardless of if they had completed the course or not. The childish days faded fast though, quickly replaced by the moments of the Crucible and the ache that had stuck with her for the week following. Her graduation flickered next, with even older images of her mother, father, brother, and Hawk again, in which her father seemed quite upset. Kali recalled that he hadn't wanted her to join up and follow his example.::

::But she had and soon she was standing next to Makal and Eliaan, making their way aboard the shuttlecraft that was going to take them to their assignment, the USS Resolution. The Nova class ship flashed through her mind from various angles and her crew followed. Subconsciously, knowing full well what was coming next, Kali's hands gripped the chair even tighter as the glinting of the Hirogen blade was once more buried into her chest. She gasped for air for the shortest second before the memory passed and the images of her nightmares danced around in her mind instead.::

::Better memories followed soon after; of Makal and late nights with hot cocoa, the scottish terrier Agrippa, that Kali had come to love, and eventually of the planet known to the Federation as Duronis 2. She'd found Rowena there, but her stay in her life was short lived and though the girl flashed through her mind, she was soon gone.::

::Earth danced through her head next, and the argument she'd had with Makal. How lost she'd felt without him, and how different it was now. Except at this point, she couldn't exactly remember why....::

::Her next assignment was quick to appear; the USS Eagle and her commanding officer that towered over everyone. Admiral Rocar's voice was like a soft jolt through her memories as she could see the inside of the Eagle's sickbay and the Deltan medical officer who served as chief. Within a second, the Eagle was gone, replaced by the Victory and Jaxx. A strange space station flickered next, followed by the first time she'd met Tressa.::

::Images coalesced and moved as she recalled the broken EMH on the Victory, the horrible accident that had almost killed Tressa, finding out, later, that the Gideon was pregnant with twins...Jaxx's twins...and then rushing faster, and faster, as everything seemed to approach the current moment, the birth of those children, the loss of Jaxx, and then of Colt shortly thereafter, the feelings of being utterly alone, and finally, of David Cody compiled one on top of another like a freight train running away at ever increasing speeds.::

::And like a freight train hitting an immovable wall, her walk to David's quarters and the moment she first set eyes on the double in front of her were the last things she recalled as she was plunged back into an icy mental blackness.::

::Kali took a deep breath, thinking that it was over, but that had been a mistake. Mere seconds later, she felt the tug at her mind again as every single one of those memories began to play themselves again, only this time, in reverse.::

::By now, her hands were sore from the way they gripped the chair, but she was lost in the uplink to her mind and she wouldn't notice it until it was all said and done. Barely catching her breath, she relived it all again, watching this time as her mother, father, brother, and Hawk grew younger and younger, up to the point where the memories were vague and faded. Once again, she found herself plunged into darkness, though this time she expected the rush to come again.::

::When it didn't, she allowed herself to breathe, finally relaxing her hands and realizing just how much they ached. Her breathing was fast and she reached out for him, knowing he would be there, somewhere. Incredibly disoriented, the experience, and their prior discussion started to come back and she worked at getting her breathing under control as he removed the helmet.::

::David kept a hand on her shoulder throughout the whole time, as a reminder that she wasn't alone, and that he would be there no matter what happened (even if he was reduced back to civilian instead of his command rank... but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing). He watched the flows through the monitor, which also kept track of her heart rate, her anxiety, and any unusual spikes within her nervous system. What drew his attention was a short stop of her heart midway through, which sent a panic through him that forced him to consider what exactly he would say if Kalianna didn't make it through this. ::

::Yeah... he could easily see that Jones guy bringing a knife or a phaser.

::But, her heart started again during the procedure, and helped him to breathe again. He ran a fast scan on her, wondering what had caused her heart to stop abruptly, and staring, almost in shock, at his screen, looking on at what was clearly not the heart she had been born with. A number of curses leapt to mind, because had he known this, he might have scrapped the project. ::

::Instead, he lightly massaged her shoulders and kissed the top of her forehead. He didn't know what the after-effects would be, so he let her take her time. His gaze roamed over to the holo-matrix of Kalianna standing in his living room, who was frozen solid, wide-eyed, and staring off at what appeared to be nothing. ::

::Keeping an eye on the matrix, David leaned down and kissed Kalianna's cheek, then nuzzled her. ::

Cody: ::softly, whispering :: Are you okay?

::Still somewhat disoriented, Kali blinked and calmed at his touch, further bringing her breathing and quick beating heart under control.::

Nicholotti: I think so. ::Blinking and shaking her head.:: I will be.

::Kali was so busy trying to reorient herself, she never noticed her double moving towards them.::

::The matrix moved, seemingly of her own accord. David straightened up, watching as the holo-matrix of Kalianna left the living room moving fast on their position. He stepped between the two, not entire sure what was going on or about to happen, as a sudden lurch in his heart made him wonder if this was a duplicate Kalianna, or if he had suddenly made the same mistake scientists made back in the late 20th Century, early 21st Century, and had ended up creating a clone that would go on to form her own memories apart from the Captain. ::

::The holo-matrix stopped, breathing heavy, as if she had just ran a marathon and placed a hand over her heart, drinking in David's appearance to the point where he found himself taking a step back. ::

Cody: Identify yourself.

::Instead, the holo-matrix grabbed him, smashed David into a hug before landing a long, lingering, and mouth searching kiss that left him both surprised and somewhat alarmed. ::

::Now mostly coherent, Kali could only look on with wide eyes as a strong surge of jealousy coursed through her. She stood and forced her way between herself and the man she'd taken in her grasp.::

Nicholotti: Hey, hey!

::Physically between them, and still somewhat reeling, Kali narrowed her eyes at what appeared to be her mirror image.::

Matrix Nicholotti: Hey, what? ::Smirking and pausing.:: Hey, you look like you might make a decent RIO...

::Kali glared now and whirled around, wide eyed and looking at the man she'd put behind her.::

Nicholotti: This...::She pointed.:: was not what I expected!

::David stared, more in horror as it suddenly rained down that just because he figured out HOW to pull off another Nicholotti, didn't mean he should have. oO Occam's Razor... Oo What had he just done? His gaze betrayed him by glancing at the monitor, watching the matrix mask the emitters and emulate as a real person. It was, at this very moment, a real, breathing, identical twin at the moment she attained the memories and experience Kalianna carried with her. ::

::And worse, it dawned on him that from this point forward, they wouldn't have the same experiences. The Matrix really was a twin sister at this point. ::

Cody: ::after a long moment struggling with the revelations :: She's you... but rather, she's you up to the moment she became active. What she does from this point... better to think of her as a twin sister.

::The Matrix version stepped around to her side, still looking rather smug about things, and let her gaze wander back and forth between the two.::

Maxtrix Nicholotti: I don't see what you're so up in arms over. Just because I acted on what you were thinking.

::Something akin to a growl came from the real Kali now as she brought herself to her full height and stood, nose to nose, with her double.::

Nicholotti: First off, you are not here to *act* on anything but what you need to...

::She was so flustered she was tripping over words. But, despite her vocabulary malfunction, she continued.::

Nicholotti: Secondly, I am *never* a RIO and you are *not* to fly my plane.

::The matrix double only smirked back at her.::

Matrix Nicholotti: It's a shame really. ::She glanced towards Cody.:: About him I mean. Those feelings are pretty intense.

::And then it clicked in Kali's mind. They were the last and most powerful emotions she'd experienced before walking into this. It was logical to assume that they were the first things that the double picked up on. Still, she wasn't sure that she liked quite how this was playing out.::

Nicholotti: David, tell me that thing is safe to send out there...

::David felt the urge to initiate the kill switch. Stupidity gulled him into thinking that they could create a holographic version. This was something way beyond what he had set out to do, and he felt it as a sixth sense as the Matrix Nicholotti glanced at him, suddenly seeming very interested in what he said or did in these next moments. ::

Cody: are aware of who you are?

Matrix Nicholotti: ::Nodding and pointing towards Kali.:: A holo matrix double of your dear Captain here. Apparently someone wants her dead.

::The matrix double crossed her arms in front of her and watched Cody intently. Apparently she was suddenly interested in what happened next.::

Cody: What are your intentions here. Not regarding either me, or your sister here... but in general. Do you know what you want?

::A long moment passed as the woman seemed to really think about it, the smirk and smugness fading. Kali watched her carefully, but said nothing. Subconsciously, her hand reached out and found David, almost as if for support. Her mind was still reeling from all of this and she was hoping against anything that it wasn't going to be the mess that her imagination was playing out. Finally the holo double spoke.::

Matrix Nicholotti: ::Noting Kali's subtle gesture.:: I guess I can't want what she wants. ::A half-grin appeared on her face again.:: Something tells me that I have a higher purpose. Is that it?

::Higher purpose, or higher intent, David didn't know. Everything was screaming at him internally to initiate the kill switch, which would derez the matrix in her programming and completely destroy this new entity, this new twin sister of Kali they both had, inadvertently, given life to. And he was loathe to do it without giving her a chance to prove herself, as he would have with any crew member. And yet, he couldn't help the spidery, crawling sensations creeping into his subconscious that he stepped over a line, or had crossed a threshold that no one had dared... ::

::Because even if David realized that he died right here and now, and someone got a sample of his DNA, and could reclone him, he would not be the same person that came out of the process. He was mentally revising himself, wondering what the far reaching consequences were going to be because he held off destroying what was standing before them. ::

Cody: We have something we need you to do, yes...

::The matrix waved her hand to dismiss things and cut him off..::

Matrix Nicholotti: I have to go play you for a few hours. Keep the boys outside busy. Make sure no one tries to kill you. I get it.

::David felt an inkling to what his father, Barnes felt, after test flying the space fold ship prototype JTSC-03. He was stepping into unknown territory. His father did it with engine design. He inadvertently did it through program engineering. Like father.... like son. ::

Cody: Is that all?

::The holomatrix version seemed to think about things for a moment before turning towards Kali and, in a serious tone, addressed her without smirk or grin.::

Matrix Nicholotti: At the end of the day, I get the best of me from you. And you know that I'd gladly step in front of that blade to save anyone.

::She sighed and started to realize her place.::

Matrix Nicholotti: I get that you're pretty important to things here and it'd be best if you were alive beyond this night. ::With a glance to David.:: And there are ultimately some areas I won't be able to fill your shoes.

::The look on her face bore into the real Kali, who knew at that moment that she could trust her. It was the same core belief that Kali had for her crew and her friends and her family, and the same look in her eyes when she meant something.::

::The double reached out and Kali met her halfway. Their hands came together like a mirror in the middle of the air.::

Nicholotti: ::To both David and her double.:: I'm not sure if I'm crazy or not, but I believe that.

::David's hand was poised near the keyboard, because he was still struggling himself. An image of his father swam forward, just before he left Mars hopping onto a trading freighter, and the gruff, so much stubborn Scot who couldn't display emotion to David, but made his love known other ways while they tinkered in the garage and built an engine they said couldn't be made. He studied the Matrix Nicholotti. Physically, the same woman, with all the memories to go with it, but assessing her, his feelings toward the Matrix were more akin to what he felt about B'Sara, the daughter that wasn't his, but he inherited and loved. A softness relaxed his eyes. ::

Cody: Okay.

::The matrix version of herself looked over at him and smirked slightly before turning away and dropping her hand to her side.::

Matrix Nicholotti: I would be glad to be you for a day, Captain.

::She made a bit of a show of things and bowed ever so slightly.::

Nicholotti: Just....just one little thing.

::Raising an eyebrow, the Matrix version turned back towards her and held up a finger as Kali so often did when she was collecting her thoughts.::

Matrix Nicholotti: I know.

::She shot a look towards Cody for a moment to indicate that she understood what Kali was about to say before moving off towards the door. Though her memories and, perhaps, initial feelings were there, he was completely off limits to her.::

Matrix Nicholotti: You can't blame me though. It *was* the last thing that was injected into this mind of mine.

::She tapped the side of her head, which was also eerily reminiscent of Kali, before taking a deep breath and looking towards the door.::

Matrix Nicholotti: So. Can I get to work then?

::Kali glanced over towards David and gave him a questioning look.::

::David did then stop to call up the last command file lists he had modified, the ones that would let the matrix out to do what she did, and held off a moment to look at the matrix... or the woman... or maybe perhaps another daughter, in some sense, that stood before the two of them. ::

Cody: Before I do this, I need you to be aware of something.

Matrix Nicholotti: ::Watching him.:: Hmm?

Cody: ::working around his thoughts, and words:: I don't even know where this begins and ends. But I trust her. ::indicating Nicholotti:: Just remember, out there, you represent not just Kalianna, or myself... you represent the crew, and their strengths, their weaknesses, their hopes, their dreams, and yes, the flaws that define us. We don't know your flaws yet, and that's something I want you to think about when you're out there.

::It was a heavy line of thought, but from the look that appeared on her face, Kali could tell she was not just brushing it off. The woman, her twin, nodded.::

Matrix Nicholotti: I'll do that. ::She paused.:: Maybe I'll be able to outgrow my task here and make myself more than just useful tonight, eh?

::She smiled, more realistically than smugly this time. It was rewarded too.::

Cody: ::with a slight smile :: Maybe...

::Her own eyes moved to the double that looked so much like her and she nodded thoughtfully. There was danger, but, if the basic workings of her brain were based on the thoughts and morals and ethics and drive that Kali had, then she knew the woman would do the right thing.::

Nicholotti: I think she'll be alright.

::Without taking her eyes from the double, she nodded and smiled, a gesture that her new twin returned.::

Matrix Nicholotti: Don't worry. I'll take care of things. ::She paused for a moment and allowed the smirk to return.:: But let me ask. They aren't off limits too, are they?

::She was pointing towards the door and Kali got slightly wide eyed. Shaking her head, she narrowed her eyes.::

Nicholotti: Yes. They are my officers, and damn good ones. They will die for you, even as my double. I know you know what that means.

::A solemn look came over the double's face as she nodded, conceding the point, at least for that moment.::

::Kali removed her commbadge and tossed it to the woman, who replaced her own with it. Now she was truly the Captain.::

::Instead of hitting the kill switch, David hid it, and buried it far deep into general maintenance within the Ops platform so that if the Matrix considered the possibility, wouldn't be able to guess which area it was stored in. He'd live by his decision, and nodded at the Matrix Nicholotti.

Cody: Remember. You represent when you're outside the door. :: with an evil glean:: So if you end up kissing one of the senior officers, don't make a public spectacle of it.

::The smirk reappeared on her face. Somewhat exasperatedly, Kali looked at him and then just shook her head. Her double seemed pleased at the implications.::

Matrix Nicholotti: ::Nodding and winking.:: I will keep that in mind as well.

::Kali could already tell where her mind was as she turned and offered a salute to the real Captain. Shaking her head as the woman stepped through the doors that slid open as she approached them, Kali turned and looked over at David.::

Nicholotti: I hope we did the right thing.

::David, however, remained troubled, in spite of trusting his Captain's assessment, because there was something more about this than just the design and the events that just played out. A searing pain lashed out at his forehead as the Matrix walked out... feeling suddenly a surge of deja vu---

::Everything blacked out. ::

((Inside Another Research and Development Lab))

::He saw his hands more than he saw himself, working terminals that seemed so familiar and yet, so foreign. He wasn't even sure if he was who he was, or watching through the eyes of another. His hands worked of his own according, watching as a swirl of black dots forged themselves within a chamber not unlike the one he remembered designing the Nicholotti construct.

::A glean of some kind of silicon form hovered near him. Oo Yes... exactly like that. Remember, you have done this before. Oo. ::

::The form of a Robed Terran-like figure filled the chamber. It was a holo-matrix form, and a form he recognized, but couldn't quite place. And how could he possibly have known how to do such a thing? He ran the calculations again, making sure the form not only possessed the module, but in this case, was a full AI that was capable of acting when there weren't any around to make the decisions... as if somehow he knew the fate. ::

((Cody's Quarters))

::Snapping out of a strange displacement, David touched his forehead and leaned against his workstation for support, facing Kalianna. ::

Cody: I don't know why, but I think we did...

::Although even saying it disturbed him. The strongest sense that he had done this before swept over him as an imaged of a robed figure played in his thoughts. He shivered, banishing it. She gestured towards the consoles.::

Nicholotti: Just keep an eye on her if you can.

::Nodding, he agreed with her. From this point forward, he would know regardless of whether on the job, in the Hub, on the bridge, or wherever. ::

Cody: All the time.

::Nodding to herself, she looked back towards the door, finally realizing just how much her hands hurt from how hard she'd gripped the chair. Falling back into it, she considered what had just happened and how much her mind just needed a break.::


Captain Kalianna Nicholotti
Commanding Officer
Starbase 118 / USS Victory


Lt Commander David Cody
Second Officer/Chief of Operations
Starbase 118/USS Victory

Return to Kalianna Nicholotti.