Log Entry 150620.148

I lay on my bed feeling desperate and despondent. I had won, but the price had been high.
Lizzy didn't speak to me after the hearing. She had stood up and rushed out with Peter in hot pursuit as soon as she was able to. There were no tears of joys or celebrations for her though. She jut wanted to get out of there and as quickly as possible. Despite winning, she was distraught, her feelings hurt and the bitterness she felt towards me unmistakable. I felt awful.
I had remained in my seat while the room cleared, my eyes hot with tears and my heart heavy. The wounds I had inflicted upon Lizzy were terrible, and I felt ashamed at my spitefulness no matter how good the cause.
As T'Roc passed me, she laid a reassuring hand upon my shoulder. I looked up and she smiled down at me and said, "Sometimes victory can only be measured in acceptable losses".
There were wise words, but I felt no comfort in them.
It was all over, though, and Lizzy was free. She had won her right to be acknowledged as a sentient being. She could live her life as she wished, go where she pleased and do what she wanted, and I had to keep reminding myself of that. The way that I had achieved it was not kind or noble, but she now had everything she could possibly desire in life, and I had given it to her.
I didn't want a medal. I didn't even need a thank you. I just didn't want to feel so rotten about it, so I had to keep reminding myself of all those things, and I had to move on.

Log Entry 150603.147

"Is there anything else you wish to add?" asked the Dean.
Yes, there was, I just wasn't sure what.
I pouted as I thought, my eyes scanning the room for some miracle answer. They settled upon Peter who was sitting behind me, slightly off to my left. That's when it came to me—a desperate plan to prove the case, but could I do it? Should I? It was a cruel, monstrous plan, but if I was going to win this, I knew I had little choice.
I turned to the panel and stood, my spirit depressed under the burden of what I was about to do.
"Yes. I'd like to ask Lt Commander Peter Targo a couple of questions."
The room murmured.
"Objection," interjected Firth. "I fail to see what Lt Commander Targo could have to say that would have any bearing on this."
"Lt Commander Targo has known Lizzy socially, longer and better than any one of us. His insight is therefore most valuable."
"I concur," said the Dean. "Mr Targo, would you take a seat among us please?"
A chair was duly brought forward and placed to one side of the panel ensuring that everybody could see him. Peter stood up and took the seat, smiling at Lizzy as he passed by. I too rose and ambled into the centre of the proceedings and began to pace, my fingers tented over my mouth. After a suitable pause, I began.
"Peter, how long have you known Lizzy?"
"About a year."
"And can you tell me the circumstances surrounding your meeting?"
"Yes, I met Lizzy at Bejazzled one evening. I had been out walking and went into the club for a drink. She was there singing, and what was supposed to be a quick stop to quench my thirst ended up with me sitting there for the entire evening."
"Her performance was that good?"
"It was amazing, but not just because she can sing. To explain it, though, I have to go back and tell you why I was out walking.
"I was—I still am, on recuperative leave from the USS Persephone. I was injured in the line of duty and suffered extensive plasma and subnucleonic radiation burns. Most of my injuries—broken bones and bruises, healed well but the plasma burns and radiation have meant extended leave and treatment. Until a few months ago, I lived in constant pain. The doctors suggested that some of it may be psychosomatic, but I wasn't convinced at the time. I'm still not.
"Either way, while most of the time it's bearable with the help of painkillers and suchlike, at others, it really gets me down. That night, I couldn't sleep for it so I decided to take a walk. The cool night air is soothing. After a few hours, though, I was thirsty so I walked into Bejazzled for a drink. I ordered a cold lager and sat down just as Lizzy began to sing, and I found her performance really enjoyable."
"And so you went back the following evening?"
"Yes. I went back every night. You see, it was only after I left that I realised that I wasn't in so much pain. The pain was still there, but heavily muted. She had taken my mind off it. Apparently, it gave my head an opportunity to start to deal with it—so the doctors tell me, and since then, I've not looked back."
"So she has helped you significantly in your recuperation simply by singing?"
"Yes, but because I was there every night, Lizzy noticed me. I think she found my attention worrying—like I was some phantom stalker lurking in the shadows or something. She's plucky though. One night, after her performance, she came over, sat herself down at my table and asked me straight out. 'I'm surely not so fascinating as to warrant your attention every night'. Of course, I had to explain myself and so we got talking. We became friends, really good friends."
"And how did that develop into a romance?"
"Objection, there was no romance," stormed in Firth.
"Without allowing Mr Targo to answer the question, we don't know that," I retorted.
"You have a point, Ms Terran," said the Dean. "Please answer the question, Mr Targo."
"Firth—Doctor Firth," Peter quickly corrected himself, "is correct. There was no romance. I would quite happily have become more involved with Lizzy, but she made it quite clear that her life was too 'complicated' to entertain a romance. I tried, believe me, I tried to take the relationship to the next level and she was tempted—I could see that—"
"Objection, Mr Targo is speculating about something he couldn't possibly have knowledge of."
"On the contrary, she verbalised it," added Peter calmly. "She told me that she didn't anticipate being here for very long and that starting a long-term relationship would be a folly."
"And so you left it there?"
"Hmm, not really. As friends, we would go out for dinner. She loved to go to the park and feed the ducks, of all things. Over a period of time, I got to hold her hand and she would even let me put my arm around her when it was cold, but she refused to let the relationship develop beyond that. She said it wouldn't be fair on me; that she didn't want to break my heart."
"Did you not think that was odd? I mean, many Starfleet personnel maintain long-distance relationships."
"I thought it was very odd. I knew there was something more going on there. I just didn't know what. I was hoping that if we spent more time together, she would eventually relent."
"But she didn't."
"No, not until last week when all this blew up, and then we were married."
"Hmm," and I paused feigning thought. "Tell me, Mr Targo, have you been in a relationship with women before meeting Lizzy?"
He frowned, not sure where I was heading.
"Er, yes."
"Many women?"
He wasn't comfortable with this line of questioning.
"One or two."
"Just one or two?"
"Well, no, but I can't say I've counted over the years."
"So a dozen, more than a dozen?"
"Er, yes, I suppose so."
"And have these relationships been physical ones?"
He leaned back in his chair, retreating from me.
"Some, yes."
"And your relationship with Lizzy, is that a physical one?"
It was like setting off a firecracker in the room as people gasped. Even the panel baulked at the directness of the question. Firth was quick to respond.
"Objection! This has no relevance!"
"On the contrary, it's very relevant," I replied.
"How, for goodness sake, is it relevant?"
"It goes to the depth of the relationship between Lizzy and her husband. If Lizzy is nothing more than a sex toy—"
"It's not a sex toy!" exclaimed Firth indignantly, offended at the suggestion that his creation should be something so fickle. "It's a serious experiment in cybernetic technology."
"That you made anatomically correct."
"Of course it's anatomically correct! I could hardly pass it off as a living being if it wasn't so!"
"So your intention was that it could be sexually active."
"If it needs to sleep with the enemy, it will need to be able to pass as being Human."
"So you gave her a vagina?"
"But no tear ducts?"
Firth's mouth gaped open, a noise stuck in his throat before his mouth snapped shut.
"Dr Firth. Did you give Elizabeth Buffalo tear ducts?" I demanded more forcefully.
He sighed heavily.
"No," he coldly admitted.
"But you did give her a vagina and all the necessary anatomical equipment to have sex."
Another silence drew out.
"Well?" I pressed.
"Yes," he drawled angrily.
"So you felt that to pass as Human she should be able to engage in sex, but that the ability to cry was unnecessary."
"It was an oversight."
"An oversight? But you seemed to have thought about everything else in such detail: her emotions and her ability to behave Human. Did you not think that in the event she was questioned, her inability to shed a tear might rouse some suspicions? Or were you relying on her to simply leap into bed with her interrogators and seduce them?"
Firth pursed his lips into thin, hard lines and glared at me. I glared back; but he was not my quarry, Peter Targo was. So I turned back to him, intentionally avoiding eye contact with Lizzy because if I did, I might falter.
"So Mr Targo, I was asking you about your sexual relationship with Lizzy. Do you have a sexual relationship with her?"
He shuffled uncomfortably in his seat. His discomfort troubled me, but I had to remain stony faced.
"Well?" I demanded.
"Yes," he whispered quietly, almost shamefully.
"And how does she compare to a Human?" I tried to say as matter-of-factly as possible. Peter's brow creased in disbelief at the question. He was quite taken aback. "Did she perform well?"
Peter baulked, his head snapping up, his eyes boggling at me. His anger was starting to rise.
"Was she a pleasure to have sex with?" I demanded trying to look perplexed.
His mouth twisted with bitterness.
"Yes," he hissed.
"As good as a real woman?"
No answer. His brow was furrowed as he tried to figure out my angle.
"Or better?"
His lip twisted into a restrained snarl.
"Or worse? I suppose that depends upon the woman. Mind you, if she has been programmed in sexual techniques, which we assume she has, seeing as sexual activity is in her remit, she's probably better than any ... oh, now what do they call them on some worlds? Companions! Is she better than a companion?"
Peter's mouth moved, but no words escaped. He could find none, not that I wanted him to find any. In fact, I didn't want answers at all, especially from him. So I kept the questions coming thick and fast before the Dean could stop me.
"Of course, that's assuming that you've used the services of a companion to compare her to? Now there's a thought. It might be that you don't like women at all. It might be that your tastes are a little more ... unusual. Are they a little more unusual? Do you prefer sex with an android? Is that why you were so attracted to Lizzy, because she's NOT REAL!"
My voice rose ever higher, ever louder as I attacked him. Peter chewed on the inside of his mouth, desperately trying to hold his anger in check, but he was near his limit. He leaned forward and his mouth opened to say something. Damn him! He was about to answer me back. He mustn't. So I pushed my face into his and snarled.
"And how does she compare? Did you like it?" I hissed. "Did she respond to your touch? Did she make all the right noises?"
I could see he was confused and angry. He bit down on his bottom lip leaving white teeth marks imprinted upon them, and stared at me while I continued to rant.
"Perhaps you've slept with other sexdroids? I understand there are a number of cultures where such machines are prostituted. Perhaps you've experienced one of those? Perhaps that's what you like."
I heard a faint whimper behind me. It was Lizzy, I knew, but I couldn't look at her. My words were cutting into her, as surely as if I had taken a blade and was cutting out her heart, but I had to continue.
"Did you have one of the Persephone? Perhaps it was destroyed when the Persephone was damaged? Perhaps you need to replace it? Is Lizzy a replacement for your lost sexdroid? Perhaps they satisfy something in you that a real flesh and blood woman can't? Is it the detachment? Or the cold hardness of plastic and metal? Does a sexdroid do the job for you? Was she—"
"STOP IT!" Lizzy suddenly screamed, rising to her feet and her chair crashing to the floor behind her.
All eyes turned and instantly I knew that if she had any tears to shed, they would have been streaming down her face. I felt my stomach lurch at what I had done.
"STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!" she screeched hysterically, her fists hammering down onto the desk.
"That's horrible! You're making it sound dirty and disgusting and it wasn't like that!" she sobbed, tearlessly. "What Peter and I have is special! It's not sordid or degrading!" and she ran over to him, throwing herself onto her knees before him, taking his hands in hers and burying her face into them, kissing them.
She was terrified of losing him, terrified that what I was saying might be true. What had I done?
"He's a wonderful man," she cried, "and I won't let you rip him to pieces like this," and she looked up into his eyes. "He doesn't deserve that. This trial is about destroying me, not him."
And then she turned directly to me, her face stiffening with hatred.
"I thought you were my friend, Jenny Terran," she spat. "But if this is what you want, then destroy me and be done with it, but leave him alone!"
She buried her head into Peter's hands, sobbing in little, shattered gasps. Peter bent down and kissed her hair, whispering something into her ear that seemed to offer little comfort.
The room lay bathed in silence and I let it rest there for a moment. I felt ashamed, and my throat was swollen as I swallowed down my own desperate tears. I wanted to run over, tell her I didn't mean it. Tell her how sorry I was, but I couldn't. My job wasn't done yet. I took centre stage again.
"Ladies and gentleman," I said, making eye contact with everyone I could and speaking softly. "Love, spite, rebellion, exhilaration, hatred, wonder ... the desire to protect another ... and now self-sacrifice. Elizabeth Buffalo is prepared to throw her life away in defence of another being—the man she loves. She may be inferior in technical specification to Lt Commander Data, but Data feels none of these things. In that manner, she is superior to Mr Data. So if Data is sentient with his inferior emotions ... how can Lizzy Buffalo be deemed to be anything other than sentient?"