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Geek Chic Part II

Posted on Mon Aug 14th, 2023 @ 3:14pm by Lieutenant Junior Grade Sheldon Leonard PhD & Ensign Connor Turner
Edited on on Tue Aug 15th, 2023 @ 12:08am

0 words; about a 1 minute read

Mission: Episode 14 - The Poseidon Adventure
Location: Science Lab 6 - Deck 6 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD 14 1330

Last Time On Geek Chic Part I

n a blur of motion, the hologram sped out the door, which barely had time to open. "His job is to watch the corridor for intruders," Sheldon explained.

"Intruders? On a Starfleet vessel?" Connor asked incredulously. Unfortunately, he also had to admit that Sheldon had a point. His program worked in two places and not in the lab where they originated. He gave a slightly disturbed "Hmmm" before stating, "It appears that we have to head back to your lab and run some diagnostics. Based on this demonstration, I am forced to conclude that something may be amiss in your lab."

And Now The Conclusion...

Which was Sheldon's point to begin with, but he wasn't going to antagonize the one person who could fix it. "Very good."

He shut down his program, logged out of the computer, and nodded to the others. "As you were," he said to the scientists before leading Connor back to the lab.

Connor walked over to the science lab that they had started off in. At one level, it galled him that Sheldon was correct. At another, he relished the challenge of sorting out why the computer was not behaving appropriately. That was simply unacceptable. Upon arrival, he said, "Computer, would you please run a level one diagnostic on the computers in this science lab."

Sheldon rolled his eyes. He'd already done that, but he knew that this was standard procedure. To be honest, if the situation were reversed, he'd do the same thing.

When the diagnostic again said there was nothing wrong, Sheldon smirked but remained silent. It had nothing to do with Turner, but he wouldn't put it past the computer to find something this time just to spite him.

"Level 1 Diagnostic Complete," the computer dutifully reported. Connor then told Sheldon to put on his Flash program again. When it failed, Connor squinted his eyes and said, "Perhaps something more is required. Computer, let us skip the level 2 diagnostic and go to a level 3 diagnostic. How long would that take to run on the science lab's computers?"

"A level 3 diagnostic would take 15 minutes. Very well, please run that."
Connor then looked at Sheldon and asked, "What other things have you attempted to solve this problem?"

"Let's hope this one is more productive," Sheldon said. "I figured when the level one diagnostic failed, I should call in an expert." He gave Connor a brief smile. "Thank you for looking into this."

"It is my job," Connor acknowledged seriously. "I am a little vexed that this particular area is not being cooperative. Normally computers give me the benefit of the doubt."

"This one is being particularly obstreperous," Sheldon agreed. "I'm just glad there's an expert on board to fix it."

Connor thought about the word Sheldon used. "Obstreperous? Noisy and difficult to control?" He became more curious. "Was it louder than this at some point? It passed a level one diagnostic, so other than your program, it seemed to be working. Had I not seen it myself, I would have hardly believed it."

"The duck was loud," Sheldon countered. "Only one of the possible definitions of the word. I prefer resistant to control; unruly--which also fits the duck in question. But it also fits a computer that refuses to run a program that is perfectly acceptable on every other computer." He said the last to the computer itself.

"Computers only do what they are programmed to do, though, occasionally they become faulty. Of course, that is probably people's fault, as they were the individuals to create them and were faulty themselves," Connor ruminated. "Computers are much easier than people. We program them and we know what to expect, well, except when they become faulty, but that's less common than with people, who are generally unpredictable."

"And that is precisely why I created The Flash. He's predictable and reliable." Sheldon paused. "Or he was until this computer. I could ask my boss for another lab, but if you can work some sort of miracle on this one, it would be a lot easier. I haven't been here long enough to predict how she'd react to my request."

Connor tilted his head curiously. "She?" asked hesitantly. "That, um, yes, would be problematic. However, I have never met a computer that I cannot coax to work, so we will get this sorted."

"She. Commander Maren, the head of science." Sheldon shook his head. that wasn't as relevant as getting the computer fixed. He glared at the computer in question. "Although I wouldn't be surprised if that computer was a she. It has the temperament of one."

"Um...." Connor replied hesitantly just as the computer announced, "Diagnostic complete. Error found in sector 101101101, subsection 101000010001."

Connor breathed a sigh of relief. "Computer, please display that sector and subsection." A string of code sprung forth onto the screen in front of Connor." He then proudly showed it to Sheldon. "Do you see it?"

"I see the code, but I'm better at quantum physics than computer coding. To me, those are all a bunch of numbers." He smiled at Connor. "I leave that to experts like you." It was true. Most computer programming allowed for WYSIWYG adaptability and verbal commands so he didn't need to know the coding like Connor did. But give him wormhole theory and quantum non-locality and he could wax poetic.

Quantum physics was important as any engineer knew, but programming the universe to make it work for you was far more interesting and important. After all, why rely on physics to do things that people could create computers to do for them? Was not the holodeck the most amazing invention? You could immerse yourself in any experience whether the actual environment would let you do so. Who could ask for more? Exploring the universe from the safety of your own home.... "I appreciate that, however there is so much beauty in the numbers. Given enough coding, I could make this room into anything I wanted."

He then pointed to the section, to instruct Sheldon, whether he wanted it or not. "Now, see here. This string shows that this lab has a particular sensitivity to certain projection algorithms because of a user inserted code. I cannot tell you who inserted this particular code but it is not compatible with the rest of the Starfleet protocols. So, I'm going to first check to see if this has any viral or malware tendencies. If not, then I will delete the code and reprogram or just reroute everything so your Flash program shall have no further issues."

"Marvelous. I would suggest it was someone averse to the Justice League, but how would they know I was coming here?" Sheldon shook his head. "More likely it was someone who just didn't like holograms--or the EMH specifically. At least his evil deeds have been thwarted and justice will again rule the science department." He looked at Connor. "I shall make you an honorary member of my own League of Science Superheroes."

Connor looked at Sheldon blankly for a moment. How could a careless or negligent person really be doing anything to specifically thwart this person? He was clearly a bit touched. However, he realized that Sheldon was truly grateful and in his mind was bestowing a huge honor upon him. His British courtesy coming out, he gratefully accepted, "Thank you. I am pleased that you appreciate my work. Hopefully once I am done with this, you should have no further issues with this lab and your Flash program."

"Wonderful. I'll let Commander Maren know when you're finished so she can make sure this type of sabotage doesn't happen again." He still had no idea why anyone would want to modify a computer's ability to use holographic technology. Even if it wasn't for a superhero, a number of experiments used holographic displays and recreations to determine if an experiment would be viable. Maybe he should ask for a small generator to ensure there was enough power for his needs.

Connor wanted to try and explain to Sheldon that this was not some sabotage but more likely the act of someone unskilled in computers. However, he realized that arguing with Sheldon was likely going to be fruitless. He set about his work and repaired the error. "Well, let us see if that fixed the problem. Would you like to try your Flash program, now?"

"I would. Thank you." Sheldon logged in and activated the program. A moment later, a masked man wearing a red costume with a gold lightning bolt appeared in the room. Sheldon smiled. "Flash, guard." The hologram turned and raced out of the room, the door barely opening in time.

Sheldon turned back to Connor. "Perfect. You, sir, are a genius and I thank you."

Connor was not about to argue the point of being a genius. When it came to computers, he definitely had an affinity. Get him around women, though, and it all fell apart, well, until yesterday, but Marjani was likely an exception. "You are welcome," Connor replied graciously. "Do not hesitate to contact me if you experience any further issues."

"Oh, I will. Thank you." Sheldon smiled again and turned to his computer. Now that it was fixed, he had work to do.

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Junior Grade Sheldon Leonard
Astrophysicist, USS Pioneer

Ensign Connor Turner
Computer Systems Specialist, USS Pioneer


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