Log Entry 150222.137

So now I find myself trying to work out how to break into a secure Starfleet Academy building. Do you don a black catsuit, balaclava and a pair of soft soled shoes to sneak about the place like a burglar, or do you dress more casually, in dark clothing and stroll about as if you are supposed to be there and hope that no one challenges you?
Peter and I debated it at length and then opted for the latter. The cadet's uniform was dark grey anyway, and Peter would wear a pair of dark Academy overalls of the ilk the maintenance guys wore. Hopefully, we would blend into our surroundings while we broke into the Cybernetics Labs.
Peter arrived on site just before the end of the academic day. He easily merged in with everybody as he made his way to my room on the pretext of needing to fix something. He was late arriving though.
"Where the heck have you been?" I demanded when he finally came.
"Sorry. I got waylaid. I got hijacked by a student and had to fix a tap. Fortunately I'm quite adept at that sort of thing."
We then waited until the sun set and darkness fell. It seemed to take ages. Peter lay dozing on Lizzie's bed, quite unperturbed by what we were about to do. I, meanwhile, paced the floor nervously and kept looking out of the window to check how far night had fallen. Finally though, Peter rose, stretched and said, "Come on then. Let's go breaking and entering."
We walked as casually as we could, on opposite sides of the grounds and met at the side door. It wasn't locked so we slipped inside and proceeded down the corridor, listening and watching furtively all the while.
We came to another door but this one was locked. It only took a matter of seconds for Peter to open it.
"Um, so what is it you did aboard the Persephone?" I asked.
"Chief of Security," he grinned.
The next door was equally easy for him but the third slowed him down. This was the one that would get us into the Cybernetics section, but a little bit of tinkering and the door yielded. We slipped inside and into the dim corridor beyond.
We soon heard voices approaching and I found myself being pushed through a doorway—into the gent's toilets apparently. There was no sanctuary there though. The door to the bathroom opened and two men came in. Peter quickly shoved me into a cubicle, following behind me and shut the door.
As you will know, there's not a lot of room in those places so I had to climb onto the toilet seat, a hand on each wall to maintain my balance, hanging on for dear life as we heard Steven Firth's voice.
"Yes, I admit that in one respect I'm hoping that we lose the Lizzie characteristics entirely."
My heart leapt. We were right!
"Mind you, if we don't, it'll be absolute proof that we've achieved our objective."
"I just don't understand where we went wrong in the first place," replied his companion. "How do you end up with an entertainment android when you've programmed it with science and technology?"
The conversation continued as they washed their hands but I wasn't listening. My feet were starting to slip. I braced the wall harder and prayed. Fortunately, the men finished their ablutions and left the bathroom shortly afterwards. I heaved a sigh and relaxed. It was a mistake. Splosh! My left foot slipped into the bowl.
"Bugger!" I hissed.
Peter turned and looked at me, shaking his head.
"Do yourself a favour and avoid a career in security."
We left the cubicle, lingering in the bathroom while I took my boot off and wrung out my sock. Not that it helped much.
With my boot back on, Peter checked the corridor. The coast was clear so we stepped out. I recognised where I was now from my last visit, but Peter continued to lead the way, scowling at me from time to time as my foot squelched relentlessly.
Having bypassed the security on another two doors, we were finally in the heart of Cybernetics, in Steven Firth's laboratories: a suite of three large rooms. Each was typical of their type, with bits of androids lined up on shelves and in storage units, all looking just a little bit gruesome—especially the heads that were devoid of skin. They looked like horrible butchered creatures. Stupid I know, and I wondered if I was being over sensitive on account of Lizzie.
A horrible thought occurred to me.
"What if she's been partly disassembled?"
Peter looked at me, pained. He didn't want to consider that possibility.
We started in the first lab, at opposite ends of the room, a good twenty metres apart, and began our exploration being careful not to leave anything disturbed. Having cleared the first lab, we moved onto the second. When I heard Peter gasp, I knew he'd found her. I ran over to join him.
Peter had opened a cabinet, one that was rather like the sort you'd find in a morgue, and was staring at a pair of feet that poked out from beneath a white sheet.
"It's her," he whispered, distress riding in his voice.
I looked at the feet. The rest of the body was covered by the sheet.
"How do you know?" I asked, not entirely convinced, but Peter pointed to a little mole on her ankle.
"I'd know that mole anywhere."
It was tiny, so small that unless you got really close to it, you'd miss it. I was beginning to suspect that Peter hadn't been entirely honest with me about the nature of their relationship.
I pushed him aside and moved to the head end and pulled the sheet back.
Pale and lifeless ... it was Lizzy.

Log Entry 150216.136

Peter and I sat in a little cafe just off the main square, each of us nursing a lukewarm coffee. We had ordered them but weren't drinking them; we were both in too much shock.
"But she was so ... human," Peter said. His eyes were distant and filled with sadness. "She had such a wonderful, mischievous sense of humour too."
It struck me that we were already talking about Lizzy in the past tense.
"And she laughed so hard once that I saw her cry. Androids don't cry."
I couldn't really comment as I hadn't known her long at all, but I felt I should add something.
"I saw she was frightened when she mentioned Steven Firth's name."
Peter gave a small, hollow laugh.
"Of course! He's a cyberneticist. She was just an invention of his, an experiment."
Experiment ... the word kept going round and round inside my head.
Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.
I recalled all those little things that had made no sense, and everything began to slot into place: the girl without parents; the girl that got straight As in everything even though she never attended her classes.
"But she needed sleep," I suddenly protested. "And she ate food."
"Even androids need downtime. There's a Lieutenant Commander Data in Starfleet—he's an android."
"Yes, so I've heard, but he doesn't feel things the way Lizzy did."
"He did make an android that felt emotions, though. Lal."
"What happened to her?"
"She died."
"Died? How?"
"Her positronic brain couldn't handle the emotion, I think. Something about a cascade failure in her neural net. I'm not a cyberneticist so I don't really know."
Positronic. I'd heard Firth talk about that. What was it he had said?
"Maybe Lizzy suffered the same fate. Maybe her positronic brain couldn't handle it either. Perhaps that's why she played up. Perhaps she died too, or had to be shut down because her condition was terminal."
Nausea suddenly filled my stomach. I had remembered something.
"What day is it?" I demanded urgently.
Peter looked up and saw the dread in my face.
"Thursday. Why?"
"Aw! Cripes! Come on! We have to go while there's still time."
"Time? Time for what?"
"She's still alive."
"What? Lizzie? How do you know?"
"I heard Firth talking. He said something about—oh! What did he call her? Alpha-B9! That's what he called her! He said that they would ... transfer the data from Alpha-B9's positronic data storage unit into the backup unit. Then they were going to ... wipe it and do a full restore."
"But how do you know he was talking about Lizzy?"
"Because he said that if they were successful, it would retain its characteristics but if they failed, they'd just have a standard IT unit. They would be back to where they were before they animated it."
"That still doesn't mean they were talking about Lizzy."
"And the woman said, 'it just seems a little heartless. I quite liked Alpha-B9.'"
Peter frowned as he considered it.
"That sounds like what Commander Maddox wanted to do to Data."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. He wanted to download Data's memories from his positronic brain into a computer, then deactivate and disassemble Data and try to copy him."
"What happened?"
"Data argued it. He didn't believe that Maddox would be able to restore him."
Peter went on to tell me the whole history of the case. I was horrified that Starfleet would have contemplated such an experiment on a sentient being.
"And that was the big question," explained Peter. "Data had to prove his sentience. It was a similar thing with Lal. When Starfleet found out about her, they tried to take her from him. She became frightened and suffered cascade failure that resulted in her death."
"So what if Firth has successfully created a Soong-type android, but it won't dance to his tune. If he wipes it and restores her from backup and he loses all her characteristics, he can start again this time teaching her to be obedient. And if not, he'll have successfully backed-up, wiped and restored a positronic brain with all its complexities."
"That's one hell of an advance in cybernetic technology."
"Exactly. He's got nothing to lose!"
"Other than Lizzy."
"And he hates Lizzy."
"Cripes! But how long have we got?"
"He said he would do the transfer Friday."
"That's tomorrow!"
"Yes, so she's still alive. We have to act tonight!"

Log Entry 150208.135

It's been a long time since I played hooky, and I've never felt quite so furtive about it before. I slipped through the gates of the Academy just after my first lesson would have begun and met Peter. From there, we leapt on a tram and headed into the city centre. We got off and Peter led me to an office block with a classic brass plate at the door. On it was emblazoned the name 'Salamader Genetics & Zenobiology'.
Inside, the reception area was spacious and comfortable. The walls and floors were clad in white marble and two large, purple sofas dominated the area for guests to sit on. There was a reception desk on the far wall with a lady behind it and on the adjacent wall, two lift doors set into brushed chrome. The receptionist welcomed us warmly.
"Ah yes. Dr. Celex is expecting you. Please take a seat and I'll let him know that you have arrived."
We had barely sat down before a lift pinged, and the doors slid open. A young Denobulan man in a white coat emerged, his eyes immediately locking onto Peter.
"Peter!" he shouted warmly, holding his arms wide.
Peter stood up and met his friend, taking him in a hearty embrace. I saw his face crease with pain from the hug, but he said nothing.
"It's good to see you again. How's your recovery doing?"
"Very good, Celex, but that's not why I'm here, remember?"
"Indeed I do. And this must be Cadet Terran," he said, holding out his hand to me. I took it and we shook hands. His skin was warmer than I had anticipated, soft and smooth too.
"Come. I'll take you to one of the labs. Do you have the samples?" he asked.
I nodded.
On the way to the lab, the two men chatted but I didn't really listen. I was feeling too nervous about this whole thing.
"Here," Celex said, opening a door with a traditional handle. "Lab Three is free and has the right sort of equipment, and I can also access the DNA database from there."
The laboratory was particularly well equipped. I'm sure even Rosie would have envied some of the facilities there, purely because there was so much of it. On a starship, there is a limited amount of room, and this one lab was probably four times the size of the Earhart's sickbay.
Celex led us to a station.
"Now what have you got for me?" he asked, eagerly rubbing his hands together.
I handed him the hairbrush as he snapped on a pair of surgical gloves and donned a pair of magnifying goggles. Tilting his head to the light, he began to examine it.
"Hmm ... I see two donors here, I think."
"Oh! Yes. Sorry. That'll be me. After my brush was stolen, I didn't really have much choice but to use Lizzy's. Sorry. Shouldn't be a problem though, should it?"
"Not at all, but I'll need a sample of your hair for elimination purposes."
I leant forward so that he could take what he needed. He plucked three hairs and placed them carefully on a sample plate on the side. He then hooked his ankle around the leg of a nearby tall stool and dragged it over before perching on it. Huddling over the hairbrush with a pair of long nosed tweezers, he began pulling strands from it, isolating them into two piles. He began to scowl, one side of his mouth stretching amazingly wide across his face.
He hesitated from his work and looked up at us.
"Are you sure this is Lizzy's hairbrush?" he asked.
"Yes. Why? What is it? What's wrong?" I asked, but he ignored me.
He took the lighter hairs he had collected and placed them under a scanner and shut the lid. The three he had taken from my head, he placed on a similar device and pressed a few buttons. A large monitor burst into life on the wall with images of the two samples beside each other. He tapped at the control panel again and a DNA analysis displayed at the bottom.
"So those are all your hairs, Jenny," he said.
"So they must be Lizzy's." I pointed to the other pile.
"If you say so."
"What does that mean?"
Celex took one of the hair and twisted it between his thumb and forefinger. To my horror, he then put it between his lips and slid it through. He scowled even harder.
"I take it Lizzy wore a wig," he said.
I looked at Peter and Peter looked at me, both of us confused.
"No. Not that I know of, and I shared a room with her, so if she did, it was the best kept secret in the world. Why?"
"Because this hair isn't Human."
"Oh. I admit that I had always assumed she was Human, but she could be part Romulan or Vulcan or something, I suppose."
"No, you don't understand. It's not a natural fibre. This didn't come off any living thing. It's synthetic. It's very good, but it's definitely manmade."
He picked the brush up and examined it again, continually plucking individual strands from it and holding them up to the light.
"And you can tell that, what, by the taste?" Even I heard the mocking in my voice and chastised myself for it. It was rude and unnecessary, but Celex just laughed.
"And the texture but, here, let me show you."
Celex cleared one of the scanners, cleaned it down and placed samples of the synthetic hair onto the plate. He pointed to the new image on the monitor.
"The one on the left is yours Jenny—Human hair. Note how the cuticle—that's the outer layer, has growth patterns on it, whereas the artificial one on the right is smooth."
"Maybe she wore hair extensions?" I suggested.
"In which case I should be finding a mixture of both natural and manmade."
Celex then immersed himself back into the hairbrush pulling off strands one by one, examining them and discarding them. Peter and I backed off in the hope that with more space, he'd get better results.
Finally, after a good thirty minutes, he lay the tweezers onto the bench, looked at us both and shook his head. We stared at him not quite sure what to say.
"The toothbrush!" shouted Peter suddenly, startling us both.
With renewed hope, I dipped into my bag and produced it.
"And this one definitely won't have my DNA on it."
"Excellent," said Celex taking it from me.
He took a pair of small scissors, snipped off the bristles and prepared his samples.
"This should be very easy," he explained. "As a Starfleet cadet, her DNA will be in the database even if she's not in the civilian registers."
Having prepared his samples in little capped test tubes, he placed them in a little rack that was then drawn into another machine.
"Just a few moments now," he smiled, his mouth stretching into one of those wonderful, full Denobulan smiles.
My stomach churned with trepidation and I found myself biting down on my lip. The machine pipped and I jumped.
Celex grinned in amusement, then studied the results.
"Oh!" Celex exclaimed in disappointment.
"What?" cried Peter and I in unison.
Celex shook his head and scowled afresh.
"But ... I don't understand."
He scratched his head.
"What?" we demanded again.
"There's no DNA here."
"But that's impossible! It's Lizzy's toothbrush."
Celex's head suddenly jerked alert.
"That's odd," he said.
"What?" but he ignored us.
"What?" we demanded again.
"I have a chemical analysis though."
"Chemical. What sort of chemical?" asked Peter.
"Kazium? What's kazium?" I asked, turning to Peter. His face had drained to a deathly white. My stomach filled with dread.
"What?" I asked him.
He swallowed hard before he spoke. He was obviously shocked at what he knew.
"Kazium ... it's umm ... it's a complex combined lubricant and nutrient used in cybernetics to nourish and maintain robotic and android units."
My jaw dropped.
"You mean ..."
"Lizzy is an android," finished Celex.

Log Entry 150130.134

I didn't sleep well last night. Things kept going round and round inside my head.
Lizzy had said that Steven Firth was her guardian. She had also stated that she was scared of him and she wasn't lying. I could see it in her eyes when she told me that, but why—and where were her parents?
Urtok had said that she was no one's daughter. He had quickly amended that to no one of importance. Perhaps her parents were dead or otherwise absent. That would explain why she had a guardian, but if that was the case, why would Urtok have felt it necessary to change his statement.
Then there was her stuff in Firth's office. If she had gone home, wherever that was, she would have taken her things with her. Even if the Academy had finally had enough of her acting up and sent her home in disgrace, her personal possessions would have been forwarded to her by now, surely?
And the hairbrush ... that was a lot of fuss over one hairbrush. Talking of which, I still didn't have a brush because I'd left it in Firth's office when I'd swapped it for the datapad.
The datapad!
I bolted upright in bed.
The datapad! I'd forgotten all about that!
Eagerly, I fumbled for the light and grabbed it from the bedside table. How could I have forgotten it?
I switched it on and then ... ENTER PASSWORD.
Oh, bum!
I tried everything I could think of and then, when I did give up and go back to bed, I kept waking up with a new option to try, but nothing worked.