Literary Challenges : The Library Computer
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Join Date: Dec 2007
07-25-2011, 11:37 PM
In advanced, I'd like to apologize for going over the character limit. I haven't even started writing yet, but if you've kept up with my past works...I have a tendency to rant.
USS Normandy, en-route to Deep Space 12
Standard Earth Date: July 26th, 2411
Shipboard time: 0332
A weird whirring sound awoke Arachnidus. He sat up in his bed, looking to his left to see if his his bed-mate was responsible, but there, Lieutenant Kate Lawson lay, sound asleep under the covers. As he looked around the dim quarters, illuminated only faintly by the light of a nearby nebula, he saw what the disturbance was.
"Commander, we need to talk. Now."
Woken up by the voice, Lieutenant Lawson sat up in the bed.
"Richard, what-" she stopped herself upon seeing the intruder, and lifted the blankets to cover herself. Arachnidus got out of bed, wearing nothing but his shorts and walked over to the balding, aged, holographic figure that appeared in his room.
"Doctor Zimmerman, I don't mean to be rude, but
what the hell are you doing in my quarters?
". The doctor looked over to the bed and saw the captain's companion, quickly pulling herself off the bed, blankets included, towards the bathroom, and smirked.
"Sorry to intrude, commander, but I have to talk to you about installing these holographic emitters on all the de-". Before he could finish, Arachnidus lifted his hand to his holographic mouth and spoke.
"Doctor Zimmerman, let me be clear. I have the utmost respect for you and your work, and I will conduct myself as any Starfleet officer should. But right now, it would be best for you to go back to your quarters and stay there. Or go to the holodeck. Somewhere. Anywhere that isn't here or another one of my officer's quarters. Understood?" he said. This was not the first time Arachnidus was interrupted during the night during the trip from Jupiter Station to Deep Space 12 on the border of the Alpha and Beta quadrants. The trip wasn't long, only a day or so at maximum warp, but due to warp drive upgrades, the
was stuck at Warp 6 and without any slipstream capabilities.
Part of this was because Doctor Louis Zimmerman, the father of modern holography, revolutionary computer designer and notorious pain in the neck, or analogue for species without, had come aboard to upgrade the
holodecks and central computer, leaving them running on secondary command processors for the entire mission; only the bioneural gel processors in the ship kept the vessel going.
Normally, this would be just a nuisance, but Doctor Zimmerman was a peculiar man. He was responsible for the EMH in the sickbay, which had, on several occasions, helped CMO Narinaya and her medical staff keep the crew alive in some particularly vicious battles both on the
and Arachnidus' previous command, the
. However, that did not make up for his rudeness, which was only bolstered by his god complex.
Doctor Zimmerman was diagnosed with a fatal illness resembling that of the Vidiian Phage in 2376, but cured by the EMH Mark I from
. However, several years later, he had succumbed to the illness, which had resurfaced and was unresponsive to treatment due to it's genetic nature. Death, though, was not enough to take Zimmerman from the world, and he'd devised an ingenius method of transferring his consciousness into a holomatrix. For some reason, this method had not worked on anybody else, and only the good doctor, but the results spoke for themselves. Now in a holographic body, he was constrained to the same physical dimensions of every other hologram. Not satisfied with that, he reverse engineered the mobile emitter used by
EMH for himself, and he was now free to travel just as he did in life- except for when the battery died every few months or so. To prevent that, when on board a ship, he existed much as any EMH; in the confines of a holoemitter equipped room.
Unfortunately for Commander Arachnidus 'Vadam and the crew of the
, that included all of Engineering, the Bridge, Sick Bay, the holodecks, the Shuttle Bay and most crew quarters; all the places that a medical emergency could conceivably happen. Which led to tonight's event.
"Yes, captain. Goodbye!". The holographic image of the doctor faded away. The door of the bathroom slid open and Lieutenant Lawson appeared, dressed in a Starfleet t-shirt belonging to Arachnidus that read Class of 2399, and shorts.
"Richard, I don't care if I have to protest formally as second officer, but that man needs to seriously learn some manners. Mark's been saying that the entire crew is complaining, he's worse than the EMH". Her use of Arachnidus' name translated into English, as usual, did little to comfort the Commander. He always felt on edge when a VIP was on board; more so when that VIP was a hologram who happened to pop into his room while he slept next to one of his fellow officers. No matter how happy he was with her, and no matter that there were no regulations against it, he was still a little uncomfortable with the arrangement while on board the ship.
"Well, that makes sense. He did create them, after all. He'll be gone in a few days" Arachnidus said, while dressing in his standard Red-Black Command uniform. While he put on his pants, Kate walked to the replicator.
"Two Raktajinos, one sweet". She lifted the two mugs and handed the sweet one to Arachnidus. After taking a sip of the artificially created and warmed Klingon "coffee" (Ensign Bagh, the resident Klingon on
, once told him that Klingons had no need for coffee- they simply enjoyed the taste), he looked at Kate and spoke.
"You know, your duty shift's in two hours. You don't need to come now, go back to sleep."
"Are you telling me that as my boyfriend, or as the captain?" she asked flirtatiously.
"A little bit of both, I suppose" he said, as he set down the drink and embraced her. After a slightly more than PG-13 kiss, he let go of her hand and walked towards the door, picking up the mug of Raktajino on the way out. "I'll be on the bridge. Good...morning, I guess, lover". She blew him a kiss and he walked off towards the turbolift. His best friend and XO, Mark Parker, had the bridge. He had been suffering from a bout of insomnia and needed the command experience, especially considering the entire crew was going to be reviewed in a few weeks as a precursor to the wholesale promotion of the crew. It seemed Starfleet had finally found it odd that they put a Commander in charge of a ship of the line. Getting back on track, Arachnidus tapped his combadge with his free hand and spoke low, not wanting to disturb any crew members that might be asleep, even knowing the walls were soundproofed.
"Commander 'Vadam to the bridge. I'm on my way up". The heads up was immediately responded to by Lieutenant Commander Parker.
After a brief turbolift ride, Arachnidus stepped out from the port alcove and walked onto the bridge. The setup was like a mix between the
classes, with a large arch behind the Captain, XO and adviser chairs, and two independent consoles flanking them for Ops and Engineering. To the front of the ship, by the view screen, were two conns; one for Navigation and the other for Flight Control. To aft of the Command Seats, were three sciences stations, each serving a variety of purposes. Starfleet finally had the sense to put seats at each station; every one of them equipped with seatbelts, considering the odd amount of ramming and crash landings of the past fifty years.
As he walked to the seats and past the tactical arch, Lieutenant Commander Parker stood up.
"Captain on the bridge." As he spoke, the other officers looked up at attention.
"As you were." Arachnidus walked to his chair as Lt. Cdr. Parker arose and moved to the right to his own.
"Sir, there's a full report on your console."
"Thank you, commander. Anything interesting?" Arachnidus desperately wanted a distraction from the tedium of dealing with Doctor Zimmerman.
"Not much. Just the usual; reports from paranoid Deep Space captains about possible Undine incursions, more Borg sightings, a battle with the Klingons, gaseous anomalies...and about twenty complaints and six requests for a meeting from Doctor Zimmerman" the XO spoke. "Looks like you've got a busy day, Richard."
"Don't remind me. Might as well get started" Arachnidus responded. He pressed the comms button on his console and spoke. "Bridge to Doctor Zimmerman. This is the captain, I'll be in my ready room if you'd like to talk."
Immediately, a response came through. Not verbally, but right in front of his eyes. For the second time in twenty minutes, Doctor Louis Zimmerman appeared before his eyes in a shimmer of photons and forcefields.
"Finally. Well?" he said. Arachnidus looked at Mark and stood.
"Commander Parker, you have the bridge" he said as he walked off to his ready room door located at the starboard-aft side of the bridge, past the science stations. The pair walked in. "Please, sit, doctor".
As the two sat down, Arachnidus could sense this meeting was going to be interesting, to say the least.
"You wanted to talk, doctor?"
"Yes, captain. The upgrades are coming along adequately, but your chief engineer and his staff are being ridiculously stubborn! And on top of that, your ship's holoemitters are out of alignment! Do you know what it feels like to be materialized inside a bulkhead? It's oddly comforting, but that's not the point!" Zimmerman protested angrily.
"I'm sorry, doctor. But Lieutenant Bramner briefed me on the situation. You want to download your holomatrix into our main computer and rewrite the code manually, yes?" the captain spoke diplomatically.
"Yes, it would greatly speed up the process."
"But aren't there a variety of problems with that?". Arachnidus would allow it, but after being told of the possible catastrophic consequences, he agreed with his Chief's assessment and denial.
"Oh, they're not that bad" the doctor said, flailing his arms in the air to get the point across, as if he were waving the concerns away. Arachnidus' eyes widened.
"...Doctor Zimmerman, I've been told that the code subsection you're working on is the one that manages the computer's interface with the exotic matter containment for the slipstream drive. And that if something goes wrong and that containment fails, Main Engineering could become the epicenter of a black hole. That's what I'd qualify as that bad" Arachnidus said. Though he was tired from being up at such an early hour, this was actually fairly amusing. He enjoyed these arguments with one of his inspirations. "Can't you just interface with a console and do it through one of them?".