The Place of Skulls
Timeline: Mission Day 6 at 1600
The LMH sat across from Emni in the small shared office all of the Sickbay team members shared. His posture was perfect, a signal that he wasn't human though he strongly resembled one. He was the spitting image of Simon Tarses--a crewman from decades earlier that Emni had looked up after the LMH first mentioned the resemblance. It was the Romulan blood of Simon Tarses that had originally created the connection between the doctor and her holographic counterpart and she had been curious about how he came to be a model for a long term hologram.
"Do you have any questions?" Emni asked, leaning back in her chair behind the desk. "I know it's been a while, in real time, since we last spoke, but I imagine it feels quite recent to you."
The LMH smiled neutrally at her giving her a small nod. "The chronometer in my program does indicate a significant gap since our last meeting on Earth's moon." A small twitch across the LMH's features gave away the nature of that last conversation and the uncertainty that it involved. "I have no complaint, but I am curious why you waited so long to transfer my program."
The Romulan woman steepled her fingers. She had been preparing for this question since they had gotten the news that the Sojourner was en route to Risa. "We were placed on shore leave indefinitely," she began, "so at first there was no appropriate time to transfer your program." She frowned, "but also I confess I was nervous that you may be unhappy with the change of location once you were transferred on board." She looked down at her hands. "I should not have waited to activate you, though. And for that I apologize."
The LMH tilted his head to the side, a gesture perfectly resembling curiosity. "Thank you, Doctor t'Nai. An apology is unnecessary, but I appreciate your explanation." His head righted resuming his perfect posture before he scanned the room.
"Doctor?" The voice came from the general Sickbay as the doors swished open. Noah was walking gingerly inside, his head tilted up while his right nostril was a thick trickle of blood. It had caught his cadet pips with dapples of beaded red and stained his Operations gold collar. "Have you got a... tissue or s-something?"
Emni stood quickly, nodding to the LMH as she did, and exited the room. Seeing the blood she raised an eyebrow at Noah while quickly grabbing a sterile gauze pad and handing it to him.
"What happened Mr. Balsam?" she asked.
"Walked straight into the Computer Core's door to come here and it didn't open," Noah said. He fumbled the gauze, secured it and held it against his nose.
Emni nodded knowingly, "I see." She watched the insect-like young man apply the gauze and then added, "Tilt your chin back." She snagged a tricorder and ran it across Noah's nose with a quick sweep. "Looks fine, just irritated. It should stop on its own in a minute. Here,"
She snagged a single use damp cloth, pulling it from its wrapper before dabbing at the his pips and collar. Satisfied that she'd done as much as she could she stepped back. "Not perfect, but at least you don't look like you've freshly sprung a leak." Her eyes twinkled with a smile despite her neutral expression.
Doctor Kennedy Ryan Walsh stepped into Main Sickbay as Doctor Munro and him decided to take an hour recess during the autopsy. He saw his roommate being attended by Emni, "Everything alright, Doctor? Midshipman?"
Emni nodded, taking the pink stained cloth over to the replicator where it was dissolved into golden sprites in a reverse of the process of creation. "Just a nose bleed," she remarked, turning to the two men.
Noah's nod was more cautious while he stuffed the gauze up the offended nostril. He was mostly feeling stupid for walking into a door.
The LMH had stood when Emni hadn't returned immediately and made his way out of the office and into Sickbay proper, standing just back from the three-way exchange. Emni saw him first, moving to the side to create a space for him.
"Dr. Ryan Walsh, you remember our LMH," she commented. "LMH, you'll remember Mr. Balsam from our time on the Sol system."
"LMH," Kennedy nodded, "Pleasure to make your acquaintance. Again."
Noah smiled and gave his rainbow shape of a wave at the LMH. "LMH Mark Six Adelphi, n-nice to see you again," his voice slightly nasal now from the blockage.
Emni took in the three, turning to Noah as she did. "All crew need to have completed updated physicals," she began. "But neither Dr. Ryan Walsh or I are necessarily qualified to evaluate the LMH post-transfer. We're here to assist you, but will follow your lead."
Noah raised a shoulder that held his toolkit, "I-I came to operate," he grinned toothily despite the pinkish residue stain on his nose and upper lip. "Get it?" His brows furrowed. "Sorry, that was a s-stupid joke." He glanced at the LMH, "Ha-have you chosen a name for yourself yet, LMH Mark Six?" He asked. "Normally, I-I would give you a check up in the Holo-Lab so I can make sure your program is stable."
The LMH cocked his head to the side in a mimic of curiosity. "I have considered many names since being activated, but have not been able to decide on a single name. There are many names from numerous races to consider." His head returned to normal, his extremely correct posture standing out against the other three. "So far I have narrowed it down to Simon, Alidar, Salk, and..." The LMH then let out a series of clicks and screeches that the universal translator failed to pick up. "The last one may be difficult for patients to pronounce, though."
"Those are good names," Kennedy continued, "I always thought you looked like a Robert." Kennedy looked down and back up to the LMH, "Or a Simon, Simon works. But what's the name that is unpronounceable?"
Noah grinned at his roommate, "W-well his appearance is based on Doctor Simon Tarsus so... tha-that makes sense." His eyes narrowed in thought, "But it might confuse others. I wouldn't go with," And Noah repeated the click and screech with surprising- though imperfect- oral dexterity. "Some species won't be able to say it. And if you shorten it to," he clicked a few times, "That means egg thief in Xindi Insectoid."
Emni's eyebrow shot up as Noah traded clicks and screeches with the LMH, turning to look at Kennedy to see if he was as surprised as she was.
"Alidar is a Romulan name--the first name of a known defector who left the empire to avoid a civil war some decades ago. And I assume you are referring to Jonas Salk, famous for developing the inoculation for Earth's polio virus," she noted. "You don't have to decide now, but I'm sure everyone here would be happy to act as a sounding board until you decide."
Kennedy was reciprocal and returning a grin back to him. He looked over at Emni going over the background of the names, nodding, "Of course we will be happy to be a sounding board for you choosing your name."
Noah had meanwhile moved to a flat surface and laid his kit on it. With a quick check, he pulled the gauze plug up his nose to check the progress of his clotting- decided he wasn't done yet- and shoved it back in. He brought out a small dish plate-sized device in a dull gray. He set it on the floor where it immediately telescoped out into a ring. Its interior glowed a baby blue, almost periwinkle color. "LMH Mark VI Adelphi if you could please step into the diagnostic ring?"
The LMH looked from person to person the tiniest tic of an unknown expression flitting across his typically neutral expression. "Of course," he replied to Noah as he stepped into the ring falling into a perfect "at ease" position as he did.
"Thank you," Noah said. "This is a diagnostic and systems integrity monitoring ring. First, I am going to test your holo-field integrity and haptic responses, and I'll be recording them. But first, how do you feel?" Noah's dark eyes were smiling at the Infolife while he settled a band around his head, with a clear eyepiece. He tapped it on and the small screen illuminated in warm light. Small LCARS appeared on the screen before Noah flicked and he had a holographic interface in front of him.
"Feel?" the LMH inquired curiously. "I suppose I feel as though I am operating at optimal efficiency." The hologram's head tilted again slightly. "Is there something I should be feeling?"
Noah smiled again. "You are a sophisticated being with self-diagnostic capabilities. You can "feel." A-as biological life can sense- feel- something is wrong with them, you have the a-ability to detect if something doesn't feel right about your program. I-if it's been corrupted, something is lagging or non-functioning, or if it's using more resources than it should. So t-to help you begin your journey to more self-awareness, we need to b-begin to train you how to feel any differences in your system."
The LMH seemed to consider Noah's explanation. "I see," he said, "I will alert you if I am aware of anything that doesn't... feel... right."
Noah began to pace in front of the LMH, but was careful not to move behind him or not look up at him. At that moment, Kennedy Ryan Walsh's PADD chirped. Its black screen read: "Look moderately in pain."
"Ooooh! My shoulder!" Kennedy shouted as he held his arm wincingly.
"I'm s-seeing a small fluctuation in your Kinesics Subroutine, at node 6561-A. T-tell me, what facial emotion is Dr. Walsh displaying now?"
Kennedy put on a quick frown.
Emni bit back a chuckle, determined not to disrupt the test, but also amused by Kennedy's response.
The LMH turned his head to regard Kennedy, considering his expression just a tad longer than expressly comfortable. "He is frowning," he began, mimicking the facial expression as he did. "Also the tone of his voice just now would suggest that his shoulder is in pain. But..." the LMH seemed to consider, "I do not believe that he is actually experiencing the injury he claims."
Noah smiled into the crease of a cheek, "Tha-that's because Doctor Walsh is an excellent Doctor a-and, um, not an Actor." He teased gently. "Alright, w-what is my emotional state right now? Maybe a harder one without a prompt." Noah met eyes with the LMH and let him diagnose his emotional and physical state. As he spoke the ring about the LMH's feet began to rise and hover, turning with a slow, steady glide around the center of its diameter.
"Definitely not an actor," Kennedy smirked at Noah.
The LMH considered Noah carefully, eyes searching first his face and then sweeping down to take in his body language. "You are," he began, "amused." He paused, appearing to consider before adding. "And confident. Your body language suggests you are very comfortable with this diagnostic process."
"He's really great with holograms," Kennedy beamed proudly of his roommate.
With a smile exchanged with his roommate, Noah listened to the LMH's diagnosis. He smiled toothily with a hint of blush, "Alright your K-kinesics subroutines seem alright. But for the record, I'm sleep deprived too." Goodnaturedly Noah tapped at the corner of his eye for the clues there. He smiled at the LMH as the ring briefly passed between their line of vision. "N-now we're going to test your holo-matrix's ability to transfer your program across Sickbay's holo-emitters and then beyond. When I say a place, please deactivate your program and self-reactivate at that location. D-doctors you can help me here. This is a test of processing power."
"Are you ready?" Noah asked. "Oh um, y-you'll want an open channel for this," and Noah indicated for the LMH to tap his commbadge.
Emni nodded at Noah, understanding the test. She waited a moment for the LMH to indicate his readiness and tap the combadge on his chest before speaking. "Sickbay lab and records processing," she indicated, choosing an easy location to begin.
The LMH turned to her, meeting her eyes briefly, before disappearing. Emni turned, looking through the two doors in the office space to see the LMH standing within the space she indicated just next to one of the lab consoles. Smiling, she waved.
The LMH looked briefly around the room, a perplexed look on his face when he caught Emni's wave, before blinking out of existence and returning to the middle of the diagnostic ring.
Kennedy wanted to be creative but only the words, "Chief Medical Officer's Office!" came out in a rush.
The LMH looked at Kennedy, but didn't question the choice, blinking out of existence in the diagnostic ring and into existence a handful of yards from where Emni had just sent him. He looked across to them then, before returning to his earlier position.
Emni grinned despite herself, schooling her features as quickly as the expression came so as not to give Kennedy the wrong impression from her amusement. "Main Engineering," she said quietly.
The LMH nodded once, eyes meeting Emni's, and then disappeared.
Noah tapped his commbadge while he recorded the shift of the holo-matrix grid, showing where resources for the LMH were being diverted each time., "Balsam to LMH. Botany Lab."
Emni waited, watching Noah for a nod to confirm the LMH's movement. After a moment she tapped her own commbadge. "t'Nai to LMH. Debbie's Diner please." A grin flashed across her features at that. Debbie's customers were about to get a surprise.
Noah nodded when his tracking app confirmed that the LMH had arrived. "Oh-okay," Noah said after he tapped his commbadge. "Recall to Sickbay, please."
It was a short window between Noah's request and the return of the LMH who appeared out of thin air, once again standing in the midst of the diagnostic ring. His expression could have best been described as comical. "The computer memory banks indicate that I was just in a... 1950s Earth-style diner?" His inquiry was a question, but it wasn't entirely a clear one.
Emni nodded. "Yes, Debbie's is the crew lounge--where most of them go to eat or relax."
The LMH nodded, a small tic in his features making it clear that he didn't quite know how to place the context of that information. He turned back to Noah with a neutral smile.
Noah smiled back, "Access your Human behavior eh-evolutionary psychology subroutines, subsection 176. Nostalgia as a H-Human Comfort. W-we like places that feel like home, or someplace we connect to. Forests. Pubs. Diners. A childhood home. Makeout Points."
The LMH nodded, the information being called up even as Noah described the specific subroutine to assist with the question. "Makeout Points?" he inquired, before shaking his head. "Perhaps for another time."
Noah grinned toothily, "Umm, access your subroutine on adolescent Human rebellion and mating practices on... on that one." Meanwhile, the diagnostic ring had begun to hover lower, its inner light flipping EM bands as it tested the LMH's field integrity.
The LMH appeared to take a quick breath, his eyebrows shooting up. "I see..." he said to Noah, a touch of humor coloring his features. "...there aren't any... Makeout Points... on board the ship... correct?" he inquired neutrally, albeit with a bit of pause as he spoke.
Emni watched with interest, noting the exchange between the two and the way that accessing different elements of information was shifting the LMH from his neutral default to a more engaging interaction. She shot a look at Kennedy, curious if he was noting the same, before turning back to the conversation at hand.
Noah grinned toothily wide, "W-well, not that I know of..." He admitted. "Ih-it's still a really new ship."
Kennedy rose an eyebrow at the questioning to Emni as she glanced over to him. He felt out of place in this conversation.
Noah returned to his data for review, and finally reached up to turn off the eyepiece he'd dropped over his vision. "Your program is-is intact and it looks like you're well-integrated into the ship's systems. Your holo-matrix adjusts to different EM-bands well for a Mark VI so your reflexive defense subroutines should be able to, um, deal with any radiation or uh focus particle weaponry." He looked down at his information again, swiping through it with a finger. "I-I can p-put in a request from Lieutenant Chaali, to give you the resources found in a Mark IX. Umm. Wh-when it comes to image resolution, haptic sensitivity... if you want."
The LMH nodded, "I believe I would like that," he responded. "If we have completed this portion should I remain in the diagnostic ring?" He looked to Noah for confirmation and, receiving a nod, stepped out into the room.
Emni had been watching carefully throughout the process, making mental notes both of the LMH's interactivity and the way that his emotive reactions adjusted to the people around him. It was an interesting process to watch. Now, though, the diagnostic moved to the two doctors in the room.
"For the next portion we'll test your database recall and diagnostic logic," she said, a warm smile on her features. "To begin please call up case study Voyager-Alpha-Omicron-53 and Adelphi-Epsilon-Mu-14. Compare the two encounters and evaluate effectiveness of medical procedures described in the file from the Adelphi.
The LMH nodded then seemed to pause, holding still in the way that would alert anyone entering the room that he wasn't a carbon-based life form. After the slightest of pauses, he continued.
"Dr. Zimmerman of the USS Voyager utilized holographic technology to simulate lungs for a crew member during the vessel's first encounter with the Vidiian's. This saved the life of the afflicted patient, but required a very specific process to allow the patient to leave Sickbay stasis due to concerns about the alignment of the holographic component and the limits of the holographic emitters at the time."
He paused for only a moment, continuing at Emni's nod. "Several members of the crew of the USS Adelphi were captured, including yourself Doctor, by the Vidiians and held in camps for organ harvesting. Two crew members were lost, one was prepped for harvesting and experienced extreme post traumatic stress in the aftermath, and a fourth--Commander Lenek--lost several organs. She was retrieved and placed in medical stasis. Too many of her organs were completely missing to rely on stasis alone so you and I formulated a strategy for holographic components to be included. Commander Lenek was kept in a medically induced coma until the ship could return from the Delta Quadrant and was eventually transported to Starfleet Medical for emergency surgery."
Emni nodded again, "Please evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment."
The LMH looked at her, a flash of something resembling uncertainty crossing his features. "According the the records of the USS Sojourner, Commander Lenek is alive and well."
"Yes," Emni agreed, her tone careful so as not to lead his response. "But other factors play a role. Commander Lenek was the XO of the Adelphi. The Adelphi was heavily crippled with low power reserves."
The LMH seemed to consider before replying. "My core medical programming mandates that as a practitioner I should do no harm. The primary derivative of that directive determines that no harm should first come to the patient, but then considerations of other elements should be taken into effect. Keeping Commander Lenek alive required a significant power allocation at a time where power allocation was problematic. But, doing so was the right decision. To do less would be to violate the primary programming."
Eyes creasing as her smile widened Emni replied, "Good. Your core decision process and logic appears stable. Dr. Ryan Walsh would you care to present the LMH with a diagnostic scenario?"
"A patient, from Engineering experienced a life-threatening injury from falling down a Jeffries Tube ladder well with a compact vertebrae fracture, significant damage to the skull resulting in bone lodged into the brain with potential damage to the spinal column."
The LMH turned to face Kennedy, neutral features twitching slightly at the situation provided. "Patient should be stabilized on site before asking the transporter room to complete a site to site transport of the patient directly to Sickbay. Once in Sickbay, the patient should be placed in medical traction to ensure no movement while repairs are addressed. Assessment for internal bleeding should be considered and addressed followed by the brain injury, vertebrae fracture, and spinal column injuries in that order to ensure a clear view of what damage remains to the spinal column. Recommended the patient be placed in an induced coma for the procedures and near term healing."
Still watching Kennedy, the LMH twitched one eyebrow upward, a perfect replica of the telltale Vulcanoid emotional response. "Have I missed anything Doctor?"
Emni watched with interest as the LMH answered the question and then, as he finished, had to place hand to her mouth to keep from laughing.
"I think you've got everything covered," Kennedy replied. He looked over at Doctor t'Nai and tried to compose himself not to follow in suit of her laughter as he looked back to make eye contact with the Hologram.
"That should cover the basics," Emni remarked, looking from Noah, to Kennedy, and back to the LMH. "Thank you each," she noted. "I think we can officially say that all crew have had their physicals."
=/\= A Mission Post By =/\=
Lieutenant Emni t'Nai
Acting Executive Officer
Lieutenant JG Kennedy Ryan Walsh
Acting Chief Medical Officer
Midshipman Noah Balsam
Computer Systems Specialist
LMH Mark VI Adelphi
Long-term Medical Hologram
(Played by Beth)