Literary Challenges : The Library Computer
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Join Date: Dec 2007
06-24-2011, 03:48 AM
Title: Definitions (pt2)
“Shortly after the time reflected in that record you hold I went off and got hurt. Hurt bad. I am talking the sort of hurt that you don’t normally come back from. Never mind how. Let’s just say that a reckless young man who thinks he knows everything, who is frustrated and angry and has access to a micro-hopper is a dangerous combination. You might know a thing or two about that. Minus the micro-hopper of course.”
Guktak bristled at the implied insult. The Admiral was clearly caught up in his story and continued.
“You have heard of an EMH of course. Well, my body was so badly damaged that by the time I would be able to return to duty, the Academy year would have ended and I would have to repeat a whole year. Faced with that, I was ready to quit. But apparently one of the instructors had an idea and offered to arrange me a loaner body in the form of hologram. They would slave it to my mind via some technical link while my real body recovered. Sel’el and Dysane convinced me to try it out and truth be told I was looking forward to my temporary indestructible holographic body.”
“The reality was not what I expected at all. We all think of holograms as strong, resilient and being without mortal limits like being able to breathe. I got nothing like that. The link between my mind and the hologram was unreliable. The hologram was glitchy. Sometimes I was solid. At other times I was soft light. Usually I was somewhere in between and invariably I was slower and weaker than my real body. I never quite knew when I would lose solidity. It was frustrating. It was annoying and to top it all off I was an even bigger freak than before.
“Sel’el and Dysane helped where they could but the turning point for me was a shy young Bolian man who was studying engineering and was named Ordtin. One day my hologram turned unexpectedly weak. They tell me it was solar interference to the link. It was all I could do to carry my PADD and instruments but I dropped them and couldn’t pick them up. The hologram glitch left me there. Sel’el and Dysane were in other classes and here I was in a corridor unable to pick up all my equipment. Ordtin came over to me and he said “Do you need help?” I was stunned and he asked again, “Are you alright? Do you need help? You just have to ask.” It seems silly now, decades later but that last part struck me like a bolt of lightning: You just have to ask. A complete stranger was willing to help and if he did, it effectively made me stronger.
“That was the start of a life changing friendship. It made me realise that Sel’el and Dysane were right. I didn’t think I needed anyone and therefore I didn’t treat them right. This was why I was shunned. I didn’t care for people and I didn’t see value in anyone but myself. In hindsight it makes sense that only a Vulcan and a Betazoid could tolerate that type of treatment – for completely different reasons, of course. Anyway with that one revelation I started to rethink and redefine myself and my interactions with others. In the months I was using that hologram I turned my life around. There was even a party for me when I got my real body out of the hospital. People even turned up.”
The Admiral leaned over again and keyed the PADD. “Let me open the successive academic history for you”. Guktak quickly digested it and noticed a marked improvement – still a long way from an honour student but clearly someone passing on all fronts: perhaps excelling in a few.
“So Cadet Guktak, that is what made me the person I am today. I learned to accept my limitations and accept that synergy exists. The whole exceeds the sum of the parts. Now let’s consider you for a moment. It might surprise you that Commander Disok thinks very highly of your potential. He pushes you very hard because he wants to see that potential realised and not wasted. He also understands that the whole exceeds the sum of the parts. That is why he is not pressing charges for the swing you threw at him today. Pressing charges would squander your potential and Starfleet would lose what he considers to be a valuable opportunity. However, we are coming to a close. Commander Disok will not end your career. You will need to decide for yourself what defines you and whether you will embrace this career or reject it. Disok has considered this carefully against his honour and views. He is a Commander in Starfleet because he both takes and gives help and he considers how things contribute to become something greater than they can be than if they were alone.
“You have one question and then you are dismissed for 12 hours Cadet. What is your question?”
Guktak’s mind was reeling. An idea was dawning in him that he did not yet understand or have words to express. He wanted time to think it through: to see where it might lead him; to see if it might come to define him. Because of this, he could not ask that question now. Instead he looked the Admiral in the eye and asked, “Sir, if Commander Disok nor Commander Vulkrath recommended me for this rotation, may I ask who did?”
“A fair question. It was Chief Engineer Emetiz. I have no idea how you came to his attention but I do know he is in the lounge at the moment. Since he is a Betazoid, he is not only a good judge of character but he is also open to talk. Cadet, you are dismissed under your own reconnaissance. Think carefully. Use your time well. I expect you back here with your thoughts in twelve hours.”
Guktak rose and saluted, “Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir”.
As the young Klingon left, the Admiral already knew that he had just successfully planted seeds that what bloom into a fine Starfleet officer. All that remained now was time for the planted seeds to grow.