Jump to content

Check out the 2024 Awards Ceremony and be sure to claim your nominator badge!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

[2008: MAY-JUN] Welcome to Hospitality


Recommended Posts

'Welcome to Hospitality'

By Jophry Calhan

„Welcome to Hospitality, a place where all is welcome”, she announced in the soft voice of lovely singer Ginger Kincaide, but with glitch at the end.

She was perfect. Jesper, holoengineer first class assigned to project Hospitality, thought of her as the best thing that ever came from his hand. She had the looks, she had the style. That was algorithms, that’s right. And so what? She wasn’t real? What was? The headache after a night of terrible booze with the guys from maintenance? A rat nested in his small apartment which didn’t let him sleep? A worn holopicture of him as a child with his nun in the orphanage, a merciful old lady who wanted to have her own child and had him as a replacement? All he met that others called ‘real’ was like a punch in the face. Including gorgeous ladies at ‘Tank Yard’ who’d never even thrown one look at him. No blame. Mother Nature wasn’t generous with little Jesper. Short, thin, flat lips, nose like an umbrella. A terrible voice too. That’s why he’d gone into holoengineering. It’s needed, you aren’t obliged to talk with people all that much and you got plenty interaction with whomever you like. Presidents of the Planets? Easy as pie. Actress from last night’s movie? In a blink. Whoever. And nice to you. Cause if they’re not, you blow up their circuits.

He’d done tinkering with Ginger and punched play button again.

“Welcome to Hospitality, a place where all is welcome”, she repeated, without the glitch this time.

“Are”, somebody said from down the aisle.

Jesper almost fell down the ladder. Clinging to the rails he looked over to that horribly handsome Marcus Tack, a full fledged technician on top of the project.

“That’s are welcome. Plural form”, Tack repeated.

“Don’t sneak like that. You startle me”, Jesper complained.

“Come down here. Boss wants to talk with you.”

“What about?” A pang of concern gripped Jesper by the chest. He and Mr. Blecker didn’t talk too much. They probably didn’t get too well.

“Your sleeping, I guess. There comes a time”, Tack stopped, turned around and walked out of Jesper’s view without finishing. With a blatant sigh Jesper moved down the ladder, preparing for an ordeal he knew would happen one day.


Without turning the lights Jesper climbed on a ramp placed around a chamber the team worked with. The great premiere was scheduled tomorrow. Everything was ready, they’ve only been putting some patches before brass came for quick visit.

Jesper shouldn’t be here. They were putting him off, now that he’s done his job. Blecker said he was making rouble spending nights at the site, scaring caretakers. The Hologram was ready, he admitted foolishly when asked. Jesper’s done. Jesper can go. That’s what happened. Always. One assignment after another. No admiration, no kind word, no perspectives for the quirky holoengineer. Yes, they played nice to him, poor handicapped child. They’ve fed him, they’ve clothed him, they let him try holoengineering and soon found the misplaced youngling had a talent. So they encouraged him to try. And then they used him. Shoved him from one place to another. Jesper do this. Jesper do that. Jesper can go.

No. No this time, he wouldn’t. Not without having time with Ginger. His perfect creation. Now he wanted to see her in full, not the bits he’s been tampering with for months. Quietly as to not rouse any guards looping outside Jesper beelined to the control array. After brushing several padds only a small lever was left to go. He closed his frail hand over its cold polished handle and ceased. For less than quarter of a minute he was locked in terrible conflict. Because Jesper was a simple man, his imagination used an image seen long time ago in a holonovel as a template to the struggle.

A battle raged. Waves crumbled over a cliff, threatening a small castle on its edge to collapse. Would the building fail or would it stand. On and on the water formed into a powerful tide and all logic suggested the structure beneath should dwindle under the clash. But it stood. The image repeated itself in Jesper’s mind on and on. Like a metaphor. If he were a more refined man, he’d understand that he was the castle and the wave was the consequences. Maybe then he would abandon his plan. But he was just a simple holoengineer and so he pulled on the lever to the image’s end.


“Project Hospitality was started roughly six months ago as a spin-off from concept originated in Starfleet Diplomatic Corps. It’s goal is to provide our ambassadors staff with a comprehensive and interactive database of scenarios for the indulgement of any foreign representative, possibly even an unknown species to increase their skill.” Mr. Blecker gave a quick fill in for an entourage of three admirals whose task was to inspect the facility.

“We are familiar with the purpose of this place, Lieutenant Becker”, Vice Admiral T’Mal responded, while folding her hands at the back and standing by a thick glass window. “We want a demonstration.”

“Certainly” Blecker was a little grimy. When he came to work at 0800, the maintenance team had found out the lock on Hospitality room frozen. Even the blinds were shut tight, so they couldn’t get a peek inside. Tack had been trying to override the safety on the door, but was unsuccessful up to a slim minute before his and admirals' arrival. They haven’t checked what’s been tampered inside. Blecker was praying nothing changed and it was only a last minute bug of some kind.

Blecker put in a code and the doors popped out of the wall with a hissing sound. He’d like to stalk the admirals and go in first, but that was unthinkable. With a phony smile papered on the lips he offered passage for Vice Admiral T’Mal. She accepted with a nod of the head. Her and the other two echelons passed through the opening. But when he was about to follow, his blood clotted to a sound of doors moving and shutting tightly to a lock down.


Vice Admiral T’Mal was disapproving of the erratic responses from her colleagues. Yes, the door to Hospitality room have closed very abruptly suggesting a malfunction of some manner, however they were not in any immediate danger. To her awareness air ducts were regularly dispatched over the walls and nothing of threat was implemented into the space they occupied. It should be matter of a short time for engineering crews of the station to solve their mistake. Negative points scored will not be afflicted by the duration of imprisonment.

She looked around the very room. She’d known Hospitality was equipped with a very expensive hologrid, designed to meet the needs of any occupant. Apart from that there were only few chairs, a metal table with flowers of questionable freshness and a carpet of mild red. The blinds were shut, purposed to provide solitude from outside world. Logo of Starfleet decorated one of the walls.

In the far end of the room, by the set of controls stood an oddly shaped Terran. T’Mal wasn’t taken aback by his somewhat grotesque appearance, but she was startled by his very presence. She was informed that Lt. Blecker would personally tour the inspection party. A last minute change? She didn’t like changes in schedule. Negative points would follow.

“Which of you is the biggest shot?” grotesque man asked. His voice was fitted his stature.

“What is this? You know who you’re talking to?” Commodore Galden shouted hotheadedly. He was always too brash, T’Mal noted.

“Stand down, Commodore”, although Vulcan was speaking calmly, Galden retreated. Vice Admiral had an intimidating quality when she was giving her orders. “I believe your reference applies to me”, she walked two steps forward, addressing the individual holding controls. “What’s your name and place in this project? What is the meaning of this?”

“I am Jesper”, the deformed man said. “Your friends are not invited.”

From the curves of his pants Jesper protruded a personal phaser mark II and fired two quick shots of surprising accuracy. Commodores Galden and Doan fell down to the floor. T’Mal knelt besides each and confirmed her preliminary suspicions. They were dead. Standing up she proclaimed in a loud voice:

“This is an act of treason! Lay down your weapon and subject yourself to security.”

“I won’t” the killer simply declared.

“Then I will subjugate you”, T’Mal approached him sternly.

“Stand back. I have no desire to kill you.”

“Your actions are inconsequent. You have already killed two people,” she said while closing on the armed man. Now she was approximately 5,3 yards from her target and prepared to execute a leap towards the weapon.

“I can’t let you do this”, Jesper said.

His words rang a childish naivety. Yet he had a plan devised. Punching a switch on the console he had Ginger activated behind admiral’s back.

“Welcome to Hospitality, a place where all is welcome”, holographic Ginger Kincaide exclaimed. T’Mal made a mistake. She was distracted. The correct path of action was to perform the jump and disarm the murderer. But she hesitated. Before she realized her mistake, the hologram closed her in a forceful grip and put forcibly into a chair. Fierce duranium alloy enveloped admiral’s wrists, rendering her mobility.

“Release me. This is a violation of seventeen articles...”

“Meet Ginger, my perfect creation,” Jesper cut into the middle of her sentence.

T’Mal reevaluated the situation and decided to let grotesque man speak. She was buying the time. Blecker and other people outside were working to override the locks. Soon they will get inside to rescue her and take Jesper into detention.

“Ginger is the Hospitality host. I have implemented several interesting protocols in her, just for your fun.”

The Hologram was standing in near distance, moving her head into different angles and staring at T’Mal inquisitively. Jesper abandoned his station and walked way nearer. Both were too far from the range of her legs though. Her options were limited to talking.

“Why have you killed Commodores Galden and Doan?” she asked, hoping Lt. Blecker and his teams were close to opening the door.

“They were not important. You are the big shot. My message is to you”, grotesque man provided some enlightening.

“What is your message?”

Jesper looked right into the admiral’s eyes. Several times he reduced them to slips and reopened. Violet-steel irises glistened with madness. T’Mal understood in how far danger she was. There was no integrity in those eyes. She was at mercy of a lunatic. First hints of emotion were floating in her conscious mind and despite her intensive training she wasn’t able to repel them. That of course only worsened the situation. She was beginning to feel fear. Blecker’s initiative became of even more weight. Will he make it before she loses her grip?

“My name is Jesper, holoengineer first class,” Jesper began. “I had been part of many projects, did many things and I was thrown out. Every time. I was never given possibility to spend time with my own creations. People laughed me because the way I look. Nobody respected me. Especially people like you!”

“I don’t even know you, Mr. Jesper”, to her absolute horror T’Mal heard an imbalance in her own voice.

From outside a loud screetch of laser against metal commenced. Blecker hired a torch to cut through the door. Given the durability of material it would take about three minutes thirty seconds to finish that task, admiral calculated. Jesper ran his equations too.

“I’m sorry admiral, I wanted to give you a sip of my special hospitality, but Mr. Blecker is winding down our party. Ginger, do the honors.”

The holographic girl straightened her head, still smiling charmingly. Jesper went back to the controls. The construct vanished, although reappeared later, an unrefined circular saw in her hand, reminiscent of ancient Terran doctor’s toolkit. Part of T’Mal pitied how limited Jesper’s imagination was. Other part, quickly gaining on the first, was terrorized. Particularly when the saw started to whizz. The sound was growing from behind. T’Mal couldn’t even see the holographic oppressor, less tackle Ginger with free legs. She could only see the evil and mad grin on Jesper’s face and hear the saw whizzling. Noises of laser cutter faded quickly into the background, like hope that was taken over by fear. Fear that had a beautiful girl’s voice:

“Welcome to Hospitality, a place where all is welcome.”

Edited by Jophry
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.