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Into the Holo Deck

Posted on Sat Mar 12th, 2022 @ 11:10pm by Captain Dirk Taggart & Lieutenant Henry Castle & Lieutenant Adora (Addie) Hart & Lieutenant JG Emony Kyl & Lieutenant JG Vespa Kale & Lieutenant JG Camille Lévesque PhD

Mission: Team Building
Location: Holo Deck 1

The ship was cruising at an easy warp 3 as the Captain left the bridge. He had scheduled the holodeck to get some of his senior staff out of the monotony of the day to day routine. With all of the personnel changes recently and the events on Ketram, Captain Taggart thought some Team Building would be in order. He stood in front of the other four officers as he punched in the program. "I got to tour this place as a child, of course the old grist mill had been completely destroyed, but based on photographic archives this is a late 1800's grist mill known in western Pennsylvania as McConnell's Mills. I know it sounds boring to bring you to an old grist mill but there are some good walking and hiking trails here. The area nearby is actually called Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. When the glaciers retreated from the Ice Age they left these large boulders behind. When I need to clear my head this is where I go walking and of course I always choose the fall." After doing his best to set the scene, the Captain entered the holodeck.

Camille was the first to follow the Captain. Mon Dieu! The place was perfect. She recognized the terrain; it was so similar to home. The foliage was so much like the woods near where she grew up outside Montréal. The boulders…there was so much to learn here too. “It’s beautiful, Captain.”

"Old hiking trails on Earth just means lower gravity and soft ground for my paws." Vespa started, as her entirety followed suit, "Though there's nothing wrong with sharing oh Dia's knees this is..."

"... breathtaking. It's... there are places like this left on Earth?" both of the forms of Vespa Kale were looking around in awe. "We don't have ANYTHING like this on..."

"... Dalacar. I mean we have a few preserves but, but you know we need the space." she quickly found herself at a loss for words. One of the sensations she absolutely loved was the feel of grass under her feet. Well, more paws for her, but still the feeling was nice. The crispness in the air didn't bother her, but it felt good to just breath in. Hell, when BREATHING felt nice, you knew you had hit the Relaxation Jackpot.

"I enjoy hiking here, sometimes I even kayak a bit here too. There are quite a few hiking trails here too, my personal favorite is," the door chime alert interrupted Captain Taggart as he spoke, he watched the door open and Lieutenant Kyl walk in. He turned to face his fellow crew members, "Everyone I'd like to introduce you to our new Chief of Security Lieutenant Kyl."

The twin forms of Vespa Kale were quick to offer a welcoming smile and a wave, each, to Kyl. "Oh it's so nice to meet new people. Welcome aboard. I'm Vespa Kale, it's very nice to meet you." one said, while her twin opted to remain silent and just continue to smile.

Walking in was a tall and lean red headed humanoid, though the spots on either side of her head running down her neck gave away that she was Trill, not Human. She wore a winning smile of her own, having been abruptly shifted to the position of Chief Security Officer. Dodging promotions had once again caught up with her.

"Hello. I'm glad to be here with you." Emony said, "I like the location, kind of reminds me of a place on Trill my family vacationed at when I was younger."

Addie had been hovering in the corridor outside. Going in there, plastering a smile on her face and pretending that everything was peachy keen was definitely not something she wanted to be doing today, or, really, any other day. Team building? So far from what she'd seen this wasn't a team that she wanted to build on. The former XO had tried to murder her on the bridge in front of everyone.

The away team had been drinking, gambling and partying while she and Vespa had been abducted and were being held hostage underground in a cold, dark, damp cellar. She could still feel the chill from her bones from their time down their, despite Vespa's best attempts to keep her warm. The crew didn't even realise they were missing until they failed to show up for a meeting the next morning. All in all, Addie was about ready to sign away her career and hop the next transport back to Earth. There was something to be said for a nice little private practice somewhere, a small village, maybe by the ocean? Or maybe up in the mountains, with running streams and waterfalls.

She sighed before she turned on her heel and closed the few steps to the door. There was no way out of it so she may as well get it over and done with.

As the doors parted, she was aware that the Captain had stopped speaking and all eyes turned toward her. Instantly she wanted to turn on her heel and run. Instead, she glanced down at the ground and moved away from the door. "Sorry, don't let me interrupt you."

Emony kept her smile on for the next arrival, and stepped aside to let her in, "Oh not at all. Please, come on in." She gestured inside, "Captain picked a rather nice location."

“He did!” Camille agreed. She waved to the Counselor and shook the hand of the new security chief. “Osti my partner would be so annoyed with me at a place like this. Lifting rocks and looking for bugs. Oh! Are there bugs?” She promptly went to a medium sized rock next to the trail and rolled it over.

The Captain chuckled, "Yeah there's bugs around here too, Counselor come on over we were about to walk over to the covered bridge, back in the 1990's and 2000's there was a lot of graffiti on this bridge from people carving their names in here, luckily when they turned this place into a program for the holodeck they left it all out. Anyhow this is my favorite spot to get away and de-stress as it were."

The captain looked at the few officers with him, these were the ones that would have his back in an emergency and would be his inner circle, he tried to think of something inspirational or motivional to say, but nothing came to mind. "Thank you for coming here with me, I know there may be some resentment, distrust, or just fear to commit whole heartedly to this ship. I do understand. Since my arrival there have been quite a number of changes personnel wise, including department head's and the XO. All I ask is that you give me a chance to prove that I'm a good Captain. I believe the choices I've made have all been for the better and I hope you, no pun intended Lieutenant," he said as he looked at Levesque for a moment, "That you turn over a new leaf and we leave this holodeck united in the mission that we have been assigned."

"I'll do my part with my department, sir. I know things haven't been great there, being I was there refusing promotions until I couldn't." Emony said, "But as they say, life is only seen by looking backwards but can only be lived by looking forward. So what's done is done, I can't speak for those before me but I can put actions to words and look to do a better job and to be the example that needs to be set for the Security and Tactical team."

Taggart nodded but before he responded the holo deck door chimed.

The Holodeck doors opened, allowing the Engineer to step into the program. It had been an odd message upon his arrival, but it had piqued his interest. Stepping further in to let the doors close behind him, Henry Castle put his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He had changed into something less formal, and gone for jeans, a t-shirt, and a brown leather jacket. Seeing the small crowd, he headed that way, his brown eyes taking in the view. Quite the sight, he thought.

"Welcome aboard Lieutenant Castle, I'm Captain Taggart. I know it's a bit odd meeting up this way, but since we had the time I thought we could do something a bit different," the Captain said as he motioned for the man to join them.

"It's certainly a unique idea." Castle replied, with a glance around. "I've had duller introductions to a new posting."

Vespa's attention fully landed on Addie as she entered. The pair of them shared such a traumatic time, it was really only Addie's presence there that even allowed the Dalacari to even survive through that ordeal. Purified by a common harm, she felt that any past grievance was forgiven, and that their friendship had been tested and came out stronger because of it. Sisters through tragedy, perhaps. She finally turned one form towards the captain, while the other kept her glance on her friend the counselor. An anchor to this world, perhaps.

"Just avoid any casinos, and I think I'll be alright. Or at least, better." she answered, then looked around. "You know, I promised a friend of mine some relaxation." she offered Addie a final complete smile, before her attention turned towards the other crewmembers.

"I have a thirty eight of some of my favorite places back home. Oh, umm, it's a storage media we use for our situational simulators. Same thing you..."

"... have set up here, though I have to admit Holodeck has a much more trendy sound to it. Might have to pitch it to the fleet, but that's another story for..."

"... another time. I have a beach during the day, that same beach at night, and an airfield." she paused, "I find drone stutter drives calming." she admitted, with the look like such a phrase was something to be ashamed of. Like a child admitting who their favorite superhero was.

"If there's a queue for next environment, I'd like to share with you a piece of home. It won't be as populated as normal, and I'll have to adjust the gravity..."

"... provided that's something that your Holodecks can emulate. Dalacari is a third heavier than, I mean the gravity is a third heavier than what you'd..."

"... all call normal." she paused, "I know I know, I'm heavier than people and I sink in water." and at that she paused, "No no really, I sink. So please don't leave me alone in the deep end."

"Sounds great Lieutenant Kale, let's see this beach on Dalacari, the holodeck will compensate for gravity. I wonder if they have umbrella drinks?" The captain said aloud without thinking.

Vespa couldn't help but smirk at the comment. She brought up the holodeck console and started to import the next environmental simulation into the system. A few changes to be made from differences in measuring systems, and then the new environment was prepared. "Everyone ready for a change of scenery?" she asked, and at the Captain's nod she executed the program.

The beautiful vista that currently occupied the holodeck vanished, replaced with the scene of a pink sand beach at sunset. The slow crash of the gentle surf sounded as water bluer than it had any right to be splashed against the soft sand. The sky was a beautiful reddish purple from the setting sun, allowing the two moons of Dalacar to show their faces in the sky. The beach itself had a few shack bars set up here and there for beachgoers to get a snack or a drink.

As she warned, the beach was theirs and theirs alone except for a series of drones. Humanoid in design but elegant in their appearance, with white plates covering their internal workings, and golden filigree for aesthetic. A single optic rested in their heads, with a soft blue light indicating the point of their focus. They roamed around from task to task, or at least they would if the beach wasn't empty. Now, the drones in sight were patrolling the beach, combing for litter and trash to keep the beach clean. In the light of the dusk sky, small craft were on fly over. Far too small to be shuttlecraft or even manned craft of any recognized format. Their design was equally elegant, consisting of a central fighter body and a pair of rings, one on each side, which were either wings or engines, or both. The sound they made as they passed over was more of a rapid stutter as opposed to the steady pulse of a Federation impulse engine. Alien world, alien tech.

Beyond the beach was the edge of a city. Tall buildings, with a rounded motif to their architecture as opposed to the usual blocky square construction usually seen in most other urban designs. As for the crew, a large blanket and chairs for everyone and a makeshift table for drinks and snacks. A short walk away there was one of those shacks set up with a bar and a short order grill set up, though behind the counter there was a drone. Drones combing the beach, drones patrolling the sky, drones serving drinks....

"If you want an umbrella in your drink, Captain, just ask." Vespa offered to the captain before turning to Addie, "So, this is home. This is what I was talking about..."

"... back on Ketram. I, umm, I hope you like it."

"Pink sand!" Camille squealed as she crouched and began sifting it through her fingers. When travel back to the Federation became possible, she'd make a point to get a sample and send it to her friend Penny back home. The alien beach was beautiful, if a bit sterile-feeling from the army of machines keeping it clean, and the air smelled salty and wonderful. "What makes it pink?"

"There's seven or eight local minerals and stones that are pink in color. And well, I don't have to explain how beaches are formed." she giggled. The sand itself felt like sand, as sand should. Course, potentially irritating, and highly likely to be able to get just about everywhere if care wasn't taken. As for the drones, they paid the party no additional attention as they went about their task of maintenance of the beach itself. Even when the surf washed up and soaked their feet, the presence of salt water did not deter them. Apparently, they were waterproof. As a drone near the beach should be.

The drone tending to the bar shack nearby, however, took notice of the party for the first time. Perhaps as though the program was finally coming online. It spoke in a pleasant tone, albeit definitely artificial. As it spoke, its optical light gently pulsed in time with its words, a feature that perhaps the Dalacari found pleasant, or at least aesthetically pleasing.

"Good welcome. Would you care to browse the current menu?" it inquired, holding out a PaDD like device of Dalacari design. Smooth edges, rounded corners, No one could get hurt on this by accident. The menu held several beverage and bar-fare options. Simple things like spicy pretzel nuggets or deep fried chicken poppers, nothing as complicated as a full meal but enough to keep a get together going. The drinks had outlandish names: Maliwan, Slidewinder, Tumblerun. Ingredients were listed to ensure that no one ordered something they were allergic to.

The most unusual part about the menu was the countdown in the upper corner. When it reached zero, it reset to about three standard hours and the menu updated. Nothing really changed, at least as far as the items it offered, but what did change was their order. Some items remained in the top three, while some moved to a lower slot. The top three food items and beverages held the vaunted position of honor...

Trending.

"Take your time and make any selection you want. When you're ready, just give a call." the drone spoke again, and returned to Idle Animation Sequence six: Washing bar glasses.

Emony took in the view, looking over the new vista that had been brought before them. But the aesthetic of the new locale also was quite unique. The drones especially - perhaps she was more used to replimats and the like, this was different. But not as impersonal as a description could have made it seem like. Just...different.

"...it is am impressive choice, I will say that." Emony commented, "Is this a major attraction back on your world?"

Vespa gave a nod, "Oh absolutely. Your average Dalacari LOVES the notion of being trendy. On the actual beach, that menu would be linked to a system that looked at..."

"... every establishment in a five kilometer radius, and would assess what everyone was having. The main computer system on the planet would actually..."

"... track trends on a personal level, and could make recommendations per person. If I went home now, the system would recommend a Slidewinder with a..."

"... citris twist, and a plate of pressed meat tenders. They're something of a comfort food for me." she admitted. "As a people, we love trends, but we adore..."

"... convenience. Hence the drones. They handle our menial tasks, our transportation, delivery, minor medical examinations, major medical procedures, mass..."

"... transit, personal transit, military defense, strategic deployment... most of the workforce is drones, while most of our military are drones as well."

Addie smiled faintly with recognition as she looked at Vespa. This beach had been described to her in so much detail while they were held captive together that she felt like she already knew it, but there were small elements that words just didn't do justice to, like the way the pink sand glistened, like it were made of glitter, or the scent of flowers that gently graced the breeze that seemed to almost caress exposed skin. If it wasn't for the other people and the constant drones everywhere the location could almost be hypnotic. "It's even more beautiful than you described," she finally said softly.

Vespa smiled, first to Addie, then to the others, "This is my gift to all of you. I'll be making this program public for anyone to use, to get used to the visuals of Dalacar. The sights, the scents, and the..."

"... service. Dalacar can be overwhelming to the unprepared, so this is a crash course on what to expect. Mind you, ACTUAL Dalacari settlements are..."

"... very, very crowded, but aside from that very minor detail... Welcome to Dalacar." she motioned with both bodies all around.

"I recommend the Slidewinder. It tastes like orange strawberries."

"A very nice gift indeed, thank you." Emony said, still taking in the sight, "Closest I could compare it to would be Risa or some of the islands on Earth. Trill has a few places...I haven't been, but Kyl had previous hosts who have. But that's like trying to picture a place from descriptions of a distorted and corrupted image..."

"I have to say, your people fascinate me. Fascinate my people." Vespa mentioned. "As binary lifeforms, we've never encountered any other species in the stars..."

"... that naturally exist in a similar state. The closest we've got are, well, you." the pair motioned to Emony. "I know it's not exactly the same but it's a step in..."

"... the right direction." a pause, and then she turned her forms to the others, "No offense to the others. A lot of my friends are Single Instance life." she offered with a smile, her tone full of humor.

Captain Taggart laughed at the Dalacari's joke, he was glad to see the crew getting along. "I have a surprise for everyone but it is in the observation lounge. Next time we meet for this we will let someone else pick the holo mission. Now then off we go." He turned and exited, heading for the observation lounge.

Continued on Observation Lounge Post...

 

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