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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 552
# 4
03-05-2013, 07:33 PM
Literary Challenge #6 - "Not THAT guy ..."

Broccoli Did It

The Captain rubbed his forehead indignantly as he listened to the female voice, that normally belonged to a young lathe woman, come out of the mouth of a two meter tall Cardassian.
"I-I really didn't mean for this to happen, Sir."

"I have no doubt," the Captain shifted his weight, "but that doesn't change that it did happen."

"B-but I had the best intentions!" the voice meekly retorted as the large Cardassian began to unconsciously fiddle with his hair. The dumbfounded superior officer stretched his neck in an attempt to avoid letting his amusement show.

"You see, if I was following 'the Good Captain's Guidebook' right now is where I would make some kind of allegory about the road to hell and what it is paved with. However, I'm more interested in finding out just exactly why my bridge appears to be staffed by clones of the same three officers."

"It's not only those officers!" the voice announced with a slight edge of pride.

"So I've been told..."

"And it's not always three!" it added hopefully.

The Captain again sighed, leaned forwards, and rubbed the back of his neck. "Specialist Barclay, would you please just explain to me how this happened."

Amanda Barclay gave a bit of a nervous chuckle and shifted in her seat; therefore the Holographic image of Bridge Officer Gurren Torrok that was being displayed over her body did so as well.

"Y-you see... You know how there have been great strides in Photonic research as of late Captain?"

He nodded. Slowly.

"W-well, since holoemitters are now standard on the bridges of all Federation vessels there is a movement in the photonics field to attempt an emergency holographic officer system for operations. Like the standard EMH but for members of the bridge staff; in case the bridge is suddenly depressurized or is filled with a rapid acting nuerotoxin or the entire officer crew simultaneously develop a case of p-"

"I get the point, Specialist," the Captain interjected, while noting that the more excited her tone of voice the less stutter she gave.

"Yeah, well, it-t uh. It's been a private project of mine and I recently thought I had a breakthrough. So when I was doing the recalibration of the bridge holoemitters I kind'a... a-also... took the opportunity to test my preliminary program."

"Without notifying any of the senior staff or your supervising officer?"

"I u-uh, didn't want to bother them," the Cardassian face smiled nervously.

"So I'm guessing what happened isn't exactly what you had in mind for your test."

"No! Of course not! Changing the images of officers aboard the bridge was far from my original intention! I mean, what point is that? I was trying to formulate a way for programs to actively display and function on the bridge and even then I was only working on the Photonic aspect! The programing for the-"

"Specialist, focus."

"Oh! O-oh right. Sorry S-sir. W-where was I again?"

"You were about to explain to me what exactly your programing to the Holoemitters was intended to do."

"Oh, of course. Well... It was only supposed to test the emitter system using recorded images of the Bridge Officers and test if they would display in various locations around the bridge. But... it kind'a got away from me. I don't know why but instead it's-s merely displaying a few of the collected images over top of any officer that enters the bridge. W-with the exception of the Captain of course! I never even considered registering Captains into the system. I mean, if the captain was incapacitated to the point that an EH would be needed you'd expect the bridge staff to-" Catching the weary look of the Captain her tone slowed and returned to topic. "L-like I said Sir. I was simply trying to test the emitter system when the program began displaying the wrong images and rejecting my input. I don't know why but the program is now deeply engrained into the bridge systems. That wasn't something I programed."

The Captain, who by this time had risen to his feet and began pacing through his ready-room, recalled something, "Specialist Barclay, you mentioned a breakthrough you had."

"Right well it's pretty exciting! You see tha-"

"JUS-" He stopped and composed himself, "Err... Just the specifics if you please."

"O-of course, Captain. O-one of the biggest problems I had been dealing with getting a way for the small scale bridge emitters to process the advanced programing required fast enough to be effective. I f-found a new algorithm to use and I thought it would solve the problem. It obviously did though so it's a big succe-"

"Where, exactly, did you find this 'new algorithm' Specialist?"

"We-w-well," the image of the Cardassian began to look around the room as if for an escape, "Y-you know how w-we found that I-i-iconian ruin during the ship's last voyage in the Eridian Belt?" The Captain's breathing stopped and he stood like a statue in mid stride. "I took a look at some of th-the programs we c-collected from the data cache' recovered for inspiration," she said before coughing in an attempt to break her stutter. The look her Captain gave her as he turned around was... complex.

"You're telling me you used an Iconian virus, like the one that destroyed the U.S.S. Yamato and nearly destroyed the Enterprise-D, from a thousand year old data cache, that I expressly ordered to have sealed away from accessing any ship systems, as a template for a Holographic Program?"

"N--n--no," the Cardassian leaked like a kitten, "I j-just used some of it as inspiration."

The Captain flopped back down into his seat and again found his face resting in his palm. "Tell me, Specialist Barclay, have you ever read Mary Shelley; wrote a nice little horror story about a monster created from corpses?"

"I m-may have seen... a holonovel of it."

"So you know you've created a monster then?"

"Heh... heh... It's alive?" She hazarded meekly with a nervous grin. The fact it looked like an oversized Cardassian man was doing it made it a little more unnerving. The fearful stare continued as she tried to guess her Captain's next action. What he did when he finally stopped shaking his head was far from what she was expecting.

He laughed.

"Well I have to hand it to you, Amanda." Cardassian eyes blinked confoundedly. "I make no secret that I like to collect what other captains would call 'misfits' for my crew. It adds a certain variety and diversity as well as a break up from the conundrum of daily routine. So when I heard that the only daughter of the infamous Reggie Barclay was a Photonics Science Specialist and looking for a Duty Officer posting I had to jump on it. Before your father taught at the Academy he had what most would call an interesting carrier to say the least. You know they actually named a disease after the man?"

"Y-y-ye-es, I-I kn-n-now." Amanda's eyes faded as years of teasing and ridicule seemed to descend back upon her on mass. Even at the Academy the name nickname of "Broccoli" would sometimes loom after her. She always wondered how exactly her father's infamy spread so far when he never made it higher than Lieutenant.

"But he was a good man, and a good officer. He had a passion for his work that is seldom found and rarely utilized for good means. You obviously don't have nearly the social awkwardness that he started his carreer with and already your genius in the field of Photonics is showing. I just..." He chuckled again, "I was expecting interesting adversity from you and you did not not disappoint."

"But, Sir! It works!" The specialist rose to her feet in an inspired attempt at defiance. "S-sure we can't get it out of the system or shut it off but, you know, but it runs and takes less energy to run for a week than it takes to replicate a cup of coffee. And it only happens on the bridge! All it will take is some tweaking and a little more elbow-grease to get the kinks out. If someone is able to get this to work it could be a great thing for Starfleet!"

"Make no mistake I'm impressed. Even if you did it by accident your project has developed... great scale. And as far as your creativity Starfleet itself is having a hard time following your work."

"S-S-Starfleet, Sir?" The comment caught her ear. Why would Starfleet be interested in her debacle, let alone know about it already? The Captain took a breath, he still held what some might call a smile of pride on his face.

"You know the reason why the Iconian virus that the Enterprise and Yamato encountered was thought to be so dangerous?"

"S-something about it being adaptable and digging its' way into every ship system... or... something similar."

"Exactly that, in fact. Also its' infectability. All it took was a simple data transfer of a fraction of the coding for it to become ingrained into the Enterprise's system."

The specialist's eyes slowly began to widen as the pieces began to fall together.

"So naturally then, shortly after you attempted your test, when we sent a tight-beam transmission to Starfleet command..."

"The coding spread to the mainframe..." her fear and despair made way for shock and awe, "and was then disseminated to..."

"Every vessel in Starfleet."

Specialist Barclay fell back into her seat, the ramifications of her actions streaming across her eyes. As a result the Cardassian sitting in front of the Captain looked like a lost child.

"Also," the Captain added, "if Klingon Intelligence is as good as I'm inclined to believe it is than it's a safe bet to make that every I.K.S. and affiliate vessel has it as well."

"You mean...?"

"Yep." He said succinctly. "Every bridge aboard every serving starship is now populated by what appear to be bridge officer clones. Congratulations, you've inadvertently created the most infectious, yet benign, computer virus of the 25th century."

"Oh... m'god. I've created another Broccoli Plague." The thought made the precession through her brain like a funeral march.

The Captain sighed again, but still wore a smile. "Starfleet is opening a task group at the Academy to try and solve the problem. But considering the last Iconian virus could only be stopped by something akin to a full system reboot it will probably take some time to solve the issue. As both its' creator and the person with the most experience with the subject right now I have been asked to transfer you back to the Academy and have you put under the care of Lieutenant Ferra. He's in charge of the Duty Officer postings there."

"I understand, Sir."

The captain stood up and walked passed the bewildered and distant Photonic's Specialist on his way back towards the Bridge. As he did so he patted her on the shoulder.

"Disaster or not, I'm sure your father back at the Academy will be proud."

"I've got a name to live up to, Sir."

When the Captain re-entered from his ready room he surveyed the bridge. It was currently populated by various copies of the same three officers; at the moment his Chief Medical Officer, the Cardassian Ensign, and a Female Klingon Lieutenant Commander. Giving another chuckle and shaking his head he made his way to his seat.

"Which one of you is my acting ship's councilor?" he asked standing behind his Captain's chair. Two women raised their hands. He glared at them flatly before one began snickering.

"Sorry, Sir, couldn't resist," the deep voice of his Bolien Chief Engineer responded. "I'll just make my way back down to Engineering."

"You're the real one then?" the Captain asked with one eyebrow raised.

"I am, Sir. You'd like me to go and make sure Specialist Bro... Barclay is taking the news well?"

"I would." The real person smiled and nodded before leaving, and the Captain returned his attention to the front. He looked around one more time with a hand on his knee before he began to point around. "You three, who I will now call Ensign Torroks one, two, and four. If one of you would be so kind to contact Fleet Command and inform them we are on our way while the two others preform a full ships diagnostic on the vessel's Holoemitters?" They all grinned and nodded before setting about their tasks. "You there, Lt. Commander Shonorru on the left, if you would please plot course for Sol. Warp 7."

"Aye Captain," they smirked before engaging the warp drive.

Last edited by designationxr377; 03-05-2013 at 07:52 PM. Reason: Spelling and Formatting