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Theo Whittaker

Ensign Gervan Bollore -- BACKSIM: I've been driving all night, my hand's on a holodeck wheel

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 ((Hong Kong subdistrict, SB118, some time between Final Examination and reporting to the Columbia)

 
When Gervan's friends steered him toward SB118's Hong Kong District, he began looking forward to the evening. Before going to the Academy, Gervan could count the number of times he had been to Earth on one hand (perhaps that was an exaggeration. But not by much). All his pre-Academy technical training had been off Earth, and even when he had been at the Starfleet Technical Services Academy, the only time he left Mars for Earth was on a two day visit to Rennes, mainly because his family back on Lemnos would have never forgiven him if he had failed to visit Bro Gozh ma Zadoù.

The Academy had given Gervan a chance to see more of Earth, but even if Gervan had not had his academic obligations to the Academy, four years would not have been enough time to see all that was Earth. The place was huge, both in size and diversity.

So when Gervan's friends told him they were going to SB118's Hong Kong District to celebrate the collective passing of their final examinations, Gervan was thinking they were going to the The Fragrant Lotus Tea House., the one place in that district he had heard of. Gervan had only a passing knowledge of Cantonese culture and cuisine, though there was a restaurant type called a cha chaan teng he had been told about that sounded interesting. Maybe this Tea House was one of those type of restaurants. Gervan didn't know, but he was looking forward to finding out.

Instead, Gervan's friends took him to something called a malt shop and sock hop, which was supposed to be a duplication and/or reminiscent of mid-twentieth century North American culture.

Gervan sighed when his friends excitedly showed him where they were going to be spending at least part of their evening, not only to celebrate their first assignments but also the successful publication of "Redeye Love," the holonovel the four of them had collaborated on.

Gervan had first met Nilevaar, Ishilaon and Targigg in Application of Creative Design in Holodecks. The four had been assigned as a work group at the beginning of the term, to complete a holodeck novel that would incorporate everything that they would learn in the class.

Gervan had internally groaned at the prospect, for several reasons. First, he had no imagination. Well, he had no imagination except when it came to solving technical problems. But when it came to artistic creativity? His limericks were appreciatively bawdy, but that was about it.

Second, he was assigned to a team with an Orion, an Andorian and a Tellarite. If the four of them walked into a bar, it would be a classic joke. What could four such disparate beings have in common?

As it turned out, all three of his teammates were aficionados of some aspect of mid-century North American culture. Nilevaar was a fan of something called the noir detective, or the detective nor, or something like that. Ishilaon enjoyed the dramatic presentation of the popular culture, Targigg the food of the era, and both had a disturbingly intimated knowledge of the transportation phenomena known as "muscular cars." And all three knew the music of the period.

There is nothing quite like hearing an Andorian and a Tellarite singing "Greased Lightning."

Gervan, on the other hand, had grown up on a colony that had been "lost" to the rest of humanity for two centuries, and even though Lemnos had "rejoined" the Federation before his birth, Earth culture was just as exotic to the humans of Lemnos as the culture of any other Federation member. The only ancient pop culture icon that Gervan knew was the protagonist of a late twentieth-century entertainment series who modified available items into unique configuration to solve dilemmas in a nonviolent manner. And he only knew that  individual cause his Vulcan mentor had introduced him to it. Apparently, that particular ancient Earth entertainment series had a "cult" following on Vulcan.

So the rest of the team had wanted to do a holonovel set in their favorite Earth era. Except none could agree on exactly what should be in it. And they expected Gervan to be the "tiebreaker," even though he knew absolutely nothing about that time period.

And thus Redeye Love was born. The holodeck novel starts with the playable protagonist driving a muscle car across a seemingly endless desert highway with music blaring from the speakers(there were two modes of driving, one realistic, the other not). The sun has just set, and the protagonist was required to retrieve someone at the airport, who was arriving at dawn. But before the protagonist could do so, they must recover a stolen statuette highly valued by the arriving passenger. This required the protagonist to solve a minor mystery, and create a minor device, in each chapter, that culminated in building a major device and then using it to solve a major mystery in the final chapter.

Redeye Love barely had consistent internal logic, with one chapter being in Los Angeles, then Malibu Beach the next. But Gervan did manage to incorporate all the diverse facets his new found friends loved about the era, which made them more enthusiastic about working on the project, which in turned made sure the technical aspects of their holonovel was beyond reproach. And since that was what the group was being primarily graded on, that was good enough for Gervan.

Who knew that people would actually like the thing? Or that one of their fellow cadets had an uncle who was a publicist? 

So with a little minor tweaking, Redeye Love was becoming a popular sensation just about the time the four cadets had gotten their first pip and their first assignment. So the other three Ensigns had decided to start the evening in a restaurant that celebrated their favorite era. One that didn't even serve beer, Gervan sadly noted.

Thankfully, they would only be starting the night there.

----

Ensign Gervan Bollore
Engineering Officer
USS Colombia
C239605GB0

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This was such a great read and it brought a huge to smile to my face. Kudos to you, Ensign Bollore!

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