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Of Holograms and Sickbays

Posted on Fri Nov 6th, 2020 @ 9:07pm by Lieutenant J'remar Menun

Location: Sickbay
Timeline: November 15th, 2398

Lieutenant J'remar Menun walked down the corridor towards Sickbay, slightly annoyed that he'd been reminded by his schedule for that day that he needed to go in for his routine examination by the medical staff. Of all the things he could be doing, being scanned and prodded by doctors was not very high on the list.

With a resigned sigh he stepped forward to the Sickbay doors, which slid apart with a slight rush of air. He stepped inside and the doors closed behind him as he looked around the room.

There wasn't anyone here. No nurses, no doctors, nothing. Most of the equipment such as biobeds and operating equipment was there, but there was no one to use them. He sighed as he realized he needed to activate the Emergency Medical Hologram. He wasn't too fond of the EMHs, but he acknowledged they were, in some ways, superior to biological doctors.

"Computer, activate the EMH," J'remar said clearly.

Within nanoseconds of the computer processing the command, 2 million teraquads of medical data, personality matrices, and analytical subroutines were taken out of the USS Falchion's bioneural circuitry and placed into the holoemitters around sickbay. Force field emitters began carving a shape, as if shaping clay into a pot. Trillions upon trillions of photons began bombarding the forcefield, and the Emergency Medical Hologram finally took shape.

The minute the vocal subroutines were loaded, it began speaking "Please state the nature of- ", before analytical subroutines and visual processors finally kicked in. The EMH looked around at the sickbay - there was nobody except an Operations division Lieutenant, standing in the middle of sickbay.

The last thing the EMH remembered was being configured by an engineering crew, yet they had clearly not finished their job. The automatic activation sequence was still unprogrammed, there was still a missing data file in its memory concerning tonsillitis, and the rest of the medical crew had not arrived. His analytical subroutines came to a single conclusion: that the Orion stood before them is an engineer, here to continue diagnostic work.

"I assume you are here to finalise setting me up?", the EMH disseminated.

"Unfortunately, no," J'remar said. He frowned slightly as he realized the EMH hadn't been completed by now. Of course, a third of the crew was still en route, but there were enough already on board to have completed the EMH. He'd have to bring this up with the Commander or the Chief Engineer.

"My line of work is tactical and security, not circuits and holograms," He continued. "The engineering team assigned to you must not have arrived on the Falchion yet." He tilted his head and looked the hologram up and down.

"I had hoped you'd be ready to give a physical, but if you're incomplete I can come back at another time." He was almost hoping the EMH would send him on his way. He disliked doing physicals in general, and especially if he had tactical assessments that needed, uh, assessing.

“According to Starfleet medical guidelines, I am qualified to give you a physical in my current state, so do not worry.” The EMH was clearly oblivious to the Lieutenant’s desire to continue with other duties - apparently a few emotion recognition subroutines had yet to be integrated.
With a swiftness and efficiency that would put most human doctors to shame, the EMH grabbed a medical tricorder and began scanning.

“So, is this your first experience with a Mark VII EMH?”, the hologram asked, having selected this question from its “small talk” file.

“With a Mark VII, yes,” J’remar replied, sighing internally that he actually had to go through with the examination. “The first starship I was assigned to had a Mark V, then the second one had a Mark V as well, though we upgraded to a VI a few months after I came aboard.”

J’remar looked at the hologram more closely. “You don’t seem to have chosen a specific gender for your physical appearance. Is that a side effect of the incomplete programming or just something you chose to do?”

The EMH made a slight smile - it had no need to smile, but its social skills algorithm felt it was the right expression to make - before explaining, “Actually, neither of those. It was a deliberate choice made by the designers, to allow for me to easily modify my own appearance. I can choose to keep this appearance, or modify it to fit into a specific gender, or even modify my appearance to reflect a different species.”

The hologram paused for a second, then continued - “Of course, earlier EMHs came with personalities out of the box, and an appearance that matches those personalities. I am more of a blank slate, as it were, with the idea being that my personality develops over time.”

At that point, the hologram closed the medical tricorder, having finished its scans. “Well, it would appear that you are as fit as a fiddle, to use a human proverb. You’re free to return to your duties whenever.”

J’remar was rather intrigued by what the EMH had told him about his programming and, as the hologram had said, how it was a ‘blank slate.’ It actually made a lot of sense for the program to be able to develop and adapt as time progresses.

He turned to leave sickbay, before turning back around and speaking to the EMH. “Thank you.” Then he left the room and walked back up the corridor, ready to start with those assessments.

The Emergency Medical Hologram stood in sickbay, alone, and smiled. “Computer, deactivate EMH”, and disappeared into nothing.


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