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By Wisdom A House Built

Posted on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 @ 7:58am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Biynah

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: USS Vindex
Timeline: 2388

Akiva stirred from his sleep with his customary jolt. When he sat up in bed, his sheets were strewn to the floor. The window opposite his bed, intentionally arranged so that the stars and ship exterior were the first thing his eyes took in upon waking, was obstructed by Biynah.

"You're awake," she said. "I heard you talking from the other room. Despite your words and your movement, I deduced you were still asleep."

"I'm sorry, Biynah." Akiva pulled his bedding up around himself, then swung his feet to one side onto the floor. "Sleep has always been a chore for me."

Biynah did not immediately respond, but neither did she seem inactive. Undoubtedly her positronic mind was processing every possible nuance of his statement and interpolating multiple layers of meaning.

"Go back into the living room," he said at length. "I'll dress myself and join you momentarily."

Pressed and dressed in his Starfleet uniform, Akiva exited his bedroom and greeted Biynah with a smile and nod.

"Four minutes." Biynah smiled in return. "Did you miscalculate?"

"No," Akiva chuckled. "Syntax contains devices which are figurative approximations in their meaning. Such examples are metaphors, similes, idioms, and the like. When I said 'momentarily,' it allowed for variance outside of one minute."

Biynah squinted her eyes, furled her brows, and then pursed her lips, all in sequence, as if experimenting with the movements. "How am I to know a 'figurative' idiom from an exact statement?"

"That takes time," Akiva said, rubbing his eyes as he walked toward the replicator. Patience was not his virtue first thing in the morning. "And misunderstandings can happen quite easily. That's why relationships are so important, as the more we understand another person through experiential knowledge, then the less likely we are to mistake their meaning."

"This is why family is important," Biynah stated. "We learn from those closest to and most like ourselves, which prepares us for new relationships with different and unfamiliar people."

"That's right," Akiva said with more than a hint of proud fascination. He turned to the replicator. "Coffee. Black. 75 degrees."

"Coffee: a popular beverage known for its stimulating side effects." Biynah then quietly watched as Akiva took the cup, sipped from it, and savored the smell with his eyes closed.

Though he was pleased to be having a reasoned conversation without a hint of malfunction, Akiva savored the moment of golden silence nearly as much as the earthy aroma.

"Sleep is restful," Biynah said at length. "It is a time of inactivity for biological creatures to regenerate their strength. You drink coffee after you sleep in order to be stimulated. When you said that sleep is a 'chore,' you meant that sleep does not give you rest. Why is that, Father?"

"Because my mind is kept active by...things... that keep me from truly resting," he replied. His face turned vacant. "Memories. Fears. The universe in which we live can be a dangerous place. I had not given that as much thought as perhaps I should have before bringing you into it."

Biynah lowered her face at the tone in Akiva's voice, as though it spoke to her more than his words. When he finished speaking, she smiled brightly. "But now I am your family. I will learn from you, Father."

Her last sentence suddenly struck him odd. "Biynah, you keep calling me 'Father.' Before today, you always referred to me as 'Father-Creator.'"

"Did I offend?" Biynah asked, her face turning curious. It was getting harder and harder for Akiva to tell between feigned emotional displays and sincere feeling.

"No, no, not at all," Akiva said. "I programmed your base code to recognize me as your creator, but I always intended for you to become your own person, so the phrase just sort of came together and I never corrected it. You haven't bootstrapped yourself so soon, have you?"

Biynah was programmed to periodically enter a dormant cycle--a "sleep mode"--where her software would upgrade itself by way of converting the flash memory from her most recent runtimes into strings of code that would gradually enhance her programming. But she had not been activated for an entire day yet. It was very unlikely that her positronic system required bootstrapping, as Akiva had come to call it, in order to continue her cognitive development and function.

"No." Biynah's face lit up with a bright grin. The mention of upgrading her programming with her experiences always elicited a cheerful response. "I just realized that, with the body you've given me and the experiences it brings, I have entered into a relationship with you which did not exist before. I had intelligence, but no understanding."

"Oh?" Akiva set his coffee down and turned toward Biynah, eager to pursue this revelation. "What do you understand now that you did not before?"

"That I am your daughter," Biynah said, her smile returning. "After reading the family genealogy you provided last night, I made a simple observation: Fathers do not create Daughters."

Akiva returned her smile at that. "Come here," he said with his arms outstretched. Flashes of past disputes with his father and peers alike about philosophical ethics regarding androids...golem... melted away the moment Biynah embraced him. His mind simply could not think of her as unlike himself. She even felt warm.

"That is a wonderful thing to understand," Akiva said. He knew most others would not. Even he was surprised by the turn his project had taken. What began as a scientific experiment to vindicate himself from the cultural and religious censure he had left behind at home had grown and blossomed into so much more.

"Father, I love your hugs."

Akiva choked back a sob. What was love? It was a word that implied a connection as well as a commitment to that connection. The love shared within his family was complicated--equal parts obligation, tradition, and cordiality. His parents and siblings were committed to each other due to those connections, even at times in spite of them. As Akiva re-examined his paternal feelings for Biynah for what seemed the hundredth time, he could not deny his connection to her as the personification of his labor, hopes, and dreams. If that was not love, then he knew not what love was.

"I love you," he whispered into her black hair.

When Biynah pulled away and stared up at him with her warm brown eyes, Akiva knew that despite the fact she was classified as a machine, if it came down to it, he would give his life to save hers.
The question struck him of whether or not his own father had felt the same way. No answer came to mind, just conflicting memories that brought more questions.

"I know." Biynah smiled again. "That's what fathers do."

Akiva held her by the shoulders and stared at her with awe mixed with adoration. "Only a day old, and already you have me wrapped around your finger."

As she assessed his words, she wiggled her pinky finger and raised an eyebrow. "Metaphor. Your love endows me with significant influence and favor with you similar to my own manual dexterity." A look of mischief passed over her face.

"HaShem, what have I unleashed on the galaxy," Akiva chuckled. "Now, I must soon report for duty. The replicator has been programmed to suit you should your receptors indicate the need. You need only speak your name to it. I am also sealing the door with my personal code, so it will not open until I return. Continue your studies, and we can continue our discussions tonight. Perhaps tomorrow I will take you on a tour of the ship." He stooped down to look her face to face. "Will you be all right on your own?"

Biynah nodded. "I will, Father."

"All right, then." Akiva smiled and turned on his heel to go. "I will see you this evening. Shalom."

Just before he made it to the door, Akiva heard Biynah call out.


Akiva turned around to give her one last look. "Yes, Biynah?"

"Ani ohevet otcha," she said. I love you.

"I know," Akiva replied with a smirk.


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