You may recall that the UFS Scenic Route, which had gotten trapped in another quadrant and after years of adventures has found its way home. Jeb and the Captain have been friends since their Academy days, so he’s been catching up with him. Let’s jump in.
Captain’s Personal Log, Intergalactic Date 676956.57
The stop at the starbase has been as good for crew as it has for the ship.
Chief Dour has been released from Sickbay into the custody of his sister, who is employing him to help prepare for the pageant she’s coordinating. Not that he went willingly, mind you, but he is interacting and focused on something other than the tragedy with Loreli.
It seems our newest Lieutenant has found something – or should I say, someone – else to focus on as well. She and the senior janbot programmer, Todd Ahndmore, seem to have hit it off famously. It’s an interesting thing to see someone who can keep up with her mental leaps. And if the lazivator takes a little longer to get to its destination when the two of them are in it, it’s a small price to pay both for her happiness and for getting to the bottom of how the cybervirus invaded our janbots.
We are officially cleared of the virus today, though the CleanSpace team has asked for a couple more days to work on countermeansures against another invasion. Even so, it’s great timing. The Captain of the Scenic Route has a surprise for our Chief Medical Officer.
“…so then, Captain Genoa says, ‘We got your donor card right here,’ just as we let loose with five photon torpedoes.’” Scenic Route First Officer Tico Chunab told Jeb as they walked down the corridor of the Impulsive on the way to Sickbay.
Captain Katika “Claws” Genoa gave Jeb a grin that was half embarrassed and half proud. “We’d run out of coffee two days earlier,” she explained. “In all honesty, I might have been willing to give up a kidney in exchange for warpaccino.”
Along with them were Commanders Smythe and Deary and the doctor of the Scenic Route, who carried a black velvet box. He was only known as Doctor because he, too, was an emergency medical photonic technician and even after years online, still didn’t like the names he’d considered enough to adopt one.
He also didn’t like not being part of the conversation. “All humor aside, gentlemen, the bacti – or as the lepers of the Disinti empire call the bacteriophage – is a truly tragic yet fascinating medical condition. I devoted a significant portion of my time to its study.”
“Well, maybe our doc can give you some different insights,” Jeb said as they arrived at Sickbay. “Captain? Gentlemen.”
As soon as they entered the foyer, Dr. Sorcha, the Impulsive’s EMPT appeared. For those that don’t remember, Dr. Sorcha’s form was that of a black woman with a classic hourglass figure, large almond-shaped eyes and full lips. Her hair, programmed to change styles from time to time, was currently displayed in an efficient French knot. Her wore minimal makeup and had a lab coat over the standard HuFleet pantsuit uniform. She had run a profile check on their guests as they walked in and knew Captain Genoa didn’t care much for ship sexies or women flaunting their physical attributes.
Even so, both Chunab and the Doctor stopped in their tracks. “Wow,” Chunab said.
Deary hummed with pride. “Aye, ain’t she a beaute? Point oh oh oh one two percent material consistency, nine appearance parameters for over three hundred sixty-two thousand variations, variable mass density at her control, three firewalls, and she’s up-to-date on all medical techniques as of Intergalactic Date 676928.”
“As well as the records of the late Doctor Guy,” Dr. Sorcha concluded.
Jeb introduced her to everyone. Once they all shook hands, he said, “Sorcha, how’d you like to get out of Sickbay now and then?”
“It would certainly make it easier to treat wounded elsewhere on the ship. Are we installing holoemitters? That will be time consuming.”
“We have something better,” Genoa said. “A handy device we picked up in the mu quadrant. Doctor?”
With the debonair smoothness of a master jeweler showing off a million-dollar diamond bracelet, he opened the velvet case. The object inside was nothing like fancy jewelry, but the boxy device with a thick black band was certainly more valuable.
“Behold, Madame Doctor: the portable holographic emitter.”
She peered at it intently, her brows creased so the humans knew she was examining it, while the sensors in the room actually scanned it. “And it works? Of course, it does, or you would not be here. Commander, has Ensign Sicso cleared it for use?”
Doctor snapped the box shut. “I beg your pardon! I’ve been using mine for three years now!”
“With all due respect, Doctor, Captain Genoa. The one you are wearing does seem to function adequately. However, the Impulsive has just undergone extensive repairs to rid itself of a pernicious computer virus that took over its crew and nearly drove us into a star. I would be remiss if I did not err on the side of caution, and it’s against my programming to be remiss.”
“Ye see?” Deary beamed with pride. “Dinna worry, lassie. I’ll make sure Security gives it a look-see after I’m done checking it out.”
“Excellent. This is a remarkable piece of technology. It will increase my effectiveness by multitudes, if not exponentially.”
“That’s what the Union is hoping,” Genoa said. “Cybervirus aside, replicators have come a long way in the years we’ve been away from the Union, and Commander Deary thinks he can recreate a perfect replica. If you’d then be willing to test it for us?”
“Of course. I’ll create a second backup of myself for testing. Commander, how long will you need to QC the device?”
“Thirty minutes. Twenty, if I can pull Doall away from the janbot program.”
Jeb clapped his hands together and rubbed them excitedly. “Beer me, then. In the meantime, Claws, why don’t we head over to the mess? Now that the replicators are back online, they make a mean cup of warpaccino.”
“Now, you’re singing my song!” she said. The officers of the Impulsive winced but recovered quickly and without comment started toward the door.
“If you don’t mind,” the Scenic Route’s doctor said, holding out the jewel case, “I’d like to stay and talk to Madame Doctor for a while. You know, one photonic being to another.”
Sorcha’s program ran through 1.4 million calculations to determine why the EMPT wanted to engage in analog conversation. Insufficient information for a positive determination. However, she only had one patient in Sickbay, a videoconference with Chief Dour to evaluate his fitness for duty, a counseling appointment with Minion Edmundson, the last of the quarterly physicals, and four research projects. She shrugged. “I have sufficient capacity for a conversation.”
He rolled his eyes, “Well, thank you.”
When the others had left, she asked, “Did you wish to conduct a comparative analysis of our performances?”
Doctor laughed. “No, of course not! I just thought it might be nice for us to get acquainted. So, how are you doing?”
“My program is running at 98 percent efficiency.”
“No,” he said, his voice both warm and patronizing at the same time. “I mean, how are you? Are you adapting to your new form all right?”
While her programs parsed his sentence to figure out the distinction between her and her programming, she replied, “That is why I am at 98 percent efficiency. For all of Commander Deary’s skill, my emitter interface subroutines are still adjusting to my breast size. At times, they phase through counters and biobeds when I lean over. On the positive side, it amuses the crew, and laughter is medicine.”
“Laughter is the best medicine,” he corrected.
“Imposazine is the best medicine, but it is heavily patented. Until Filedise comes back online, supplies are limited. Also, despite its wide applicability, there have been no conclusive studies on the cumulative effects of its long-term use. Which is why I do not depend solely on it. Nonetheless, laughter is not the best medicine. It’s not even in the top ten.”
“Of course,” he said, his photonic smile doing a very human imitation of “freezing in place.”
Well, this conversation started well, hasn’t it? Stay tuned for next week!