Literary Challenge #36 : The Haunting of Deck 13
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Mayhem on Deck 13
01-10-2013, 06:59 PM
Ensign Maria Hernandez was preparing for a nice evening with her unofficial boyfriend. She was in the middle of changing her earrings when the red alert klaxon sounded. "Intruder alert. Repeat, intruder alert. Security teams prepare for immediate deployment."
Immediately Lieutenant Commander Hillel's voice filled her bedroom. "Security team Delta, thirty seconds to transport to deck 13. The Odyssey detects four unknown beings. Teams Alpha and Gamma, report to the forward and aft turbolifts on deck 13. Gamma team, standby for orders. Hillel out."
Maria felt something unusual on her left hand and realized that she'd stabbed herself with the earring. Now she had twenty-something seconds left to wire away the blood, change the skirt for pants, find some boots, and await transport to deck 13.
Lieutenant Gordoninejad was transported to deck 13 five seconds before his team per standard protocol. He checked his phaser and watched as Hernandez, Smith, and ra'Chang materialized in front of him.
The plan is to sweep forward to aft. "Hernandez, you are with me on the starboard side. Smith and ra'Chang, take the port side. Try and take the intruders alive if possible." With that, he turned towards the starboard hallway and examined his tricorder. "Nice shirt Ensign," he muttered under his breath.
Maria looked down at the blood streak going across her white blouse.
At least the pants and boots are regulation.
"You can't be serious. We have five Doctor Herrington's onboard?" Captain Carter swept his hand over his bald head again, which was his usual nervous habit. This was shaping up to be the most confusing senior staff meeting in recent history.
Security chief Hillel smiled and calmly responded. "Preliminary scans confirm that all five of them are genetically identical. Unfortunately they are not all mentally stable or morally balanced. Gamma team tore the entire deck apart and found the body of a sixth Herrington, along with Commander Perry. Perry was a mathematician, in case you didn't know."
Carter ignored the comment.
Of course I know my crew, he thought.
"So we're still back to the first question - where did these replicates come from?"
Chief Engineer Jarvis spoke up. "As you all know, Herrington was our resident technology expert and a pretty well-known theoretical physicist. While you all were speculating I was reading his list of projects, and I think I've figured it out.
"His project called
Optimizing Transporter Buffers
seems pretty benign. Everyone has dreamed of the day when a matter transporter that fits in your hand can transport a runabout. Or at least that's what I'm hoping for. But I'd bet you that Herrington has been working on another breakthrough - the ability to clone living beings."
Counselor sh'Raul spoke up. "Are you serious? Can you imagine the ethical issues that arise if you or me can be transported and re-materialized twice? We'd have clones everywhere. And who knows if they'd be identical - after all, I'm pretty sure that some of my best research proposals have been wiped from my memory by the transporter process."
Jarvis stood up and straightened his uniform. "Transporters have been around for a long time, but we still can't duplicate life forms very well. There are all sorts of laws against even trying to do that, but more importantly, the problem is rooted in memory storage. Life-forms have ridiculously complex patterns. Our computers store the pattern and then re-materialize the pattern as soon as possible. That works fine because the pattern is never copied or transferred.
"We copy files all the time on the main computer, but staff logs and classified intelligence reports are child's play compared to the pattern of a life form. Closely-guarded research has shown that even a small copy error can lead to some serious problems. Simple plants that are energized and then re-materialized into ten copies usually end up with two or three copies that don't resemble anything besides Ferengi pond scum. But Herrington seems to have made a technological breakthrough."
Carter chimed in. "Ok, we have a working hypothesis that seems to match the evidence. I want to gather what additional evidence we can and put in a request for a court martial."
First officer T'Panna smiled and asked, "which Doctor Herrington are we going to charge with murder?"
"All of them," Jarvis replied. It makes sense that the original Herrington cloned himself, and the clone turned out to be mentally unstable. After murdering the original Herrington and Commander Perry, he continued to clone himself until Odyssey's sensors figured out something was wrong and sounded the intruder alert. One of them is a murderer, and the rest are probably just as insane."
"I share your sentiment, but our laws don't work that way," Carter sighed.
Four days later
Captain Carter was in his quarters, enjoying some quality time after dinner with his first officer and secret lover, Commander T'Panna. They were just about ready to retreat to his bedroom when the door chime sounded...and sounded again...and again.
Carter threw on a shirt and went to the door. Jarvis? "It's eleven at night. What is the matter?"
Jarvis handed Carter a padd. "I thought you'd want to know that Herrington spent some time in Transporter Room Two four months ago when we stopped at Deep Space K-7. What's troubling is that Room One was out for maintenance, so all personnel beamed to and from K-7 from Room Two. It's highly likely that Herrington stored the patterns for everyone on board, including you, sir."
"I'd ask you to come in, but I was just about ready to hit the bed. K-7 was before Section 31 hijacked the ship. Do you think that they could have got their hands on Herrington's research?"
It's highly likely sir. I still haven't been able to remove all of their backdoors into our systems, even after four months. If they can thoroughly reprogram
's computers, it's safe to assume that they have Herrington's research - and the ability to clone anyone on board this ship."
Last edited by superhombre777; 01-10-2013 at