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[Round 3] "Emotions & Technology"


Chen
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((Holodeck 1))

::With Commander Frazier's blessing, Tallis had left the anniversary gathering with Lieutenant Lawn to continue working on the EOSA simulation. The trip through the ship had been quiet, and other than small talk he hadn't conversed much with Jesse on the turbolift ride down to the holodeck. As soon as the doors whirred shut behind them, Tallis got the simulation up and running.::

Tallis: Computer, open EOSA simulation along with operating parameter file.

::An acknowledging chime heralded the arrival of a change of surroundings, and a compact bridge with consoles that closely resembled those found on an old NX-class ship could be seen.::

Lawn: ::enthusiastically:: Wow! Just look at this bridge.

Tallis: Don't get excited yet, none of these things work! ::He patted one of them as if it were a pet.:: They may look nice, but shuffling the bridge controls around was the easy part.:: Come take a look at this. ::He indicated the helm console.::

Lawn: Not the largest work station, is it?

Tallis: It's a bit more cramped than the Challenger but it's... a functional design. It seems like the Captain was the only one who got any leg room on these ships.

Lawn: ::jokingly:: Always gotta’ take care of the skipper. :: taking a closer look at the details of the simulation :: You,ve really done great job here, lieutenant. It appears as though there are still a few features that are not fully programmed in yet, but the overall program is remarkable.

Tallis: Yeah, we still have a way to go. I think Helm will be relatively easy, I've written holoprograms for things as early as 20th century aircraft before. It's things like their scanners, main computer and power grid that will be tricky. It's tough to get the right balance without making everything unrealistically useless. ::He indicated the Science console, which had a visual interface a little like a microscope.:: This, for example, has been annoying me since we started.

Lawn: ::trying not to look overly perplexed:: What is it, exactly?

Tallis: It's the telescope attachment, or whatever the hell they called it back then. I don't understand why the Science Officer didn't get a normal display like everyone else. Plus there's the fact that it's so compact. This was a battleship, there wasn't much need for a Science station, so they just made it tiny.

Lawn: Perhaps we should bring in one of our current science officers to give us some insight. I’m sure they would have a more thorough knowledge of this type of interface than either you or I.

Tallis: Not a bad plan, I'll see if Lieutenant Ethelwin or Commander Dickens can help out tomorrow.

Lawn: Great. So where would you like me to get started, LT?

Tallis: OK, why don't you see how much of the armoury console you can hook up? You can get the specs from the computer.

Lawn: No problem, I’m on it. ::Jesse retrieved his hand held computer pad from inside his jacket pocket. He dutifully began to enter commands into the device as he walked over to the armoury console::

::Tallis hadn't really calmed down any, and was hoping his all-business approach was masking it somewhat. He hoped his friend wouldn't be able to tell.::

Tallis: I'll get started on the Comm station. You would have thought they'd route it through Ops like us, but they have all sorts on it. Bio-scanners, back-up Science displays... you name it.

::He got to work, disappearing under an open panel at the bottom of the console.::

Lawn: ::in jest:: How’s your claustrophobic working environment suit you? ::hearing a bunch of clunking and muttered curses:: Everything alright down there?

::It was difficult to see the intricacies of the console's mechanisms in shadow, but there was no way to remove any more of the panel without physically sawing it off. While trying to recouple one of the power coils Tallis soon found that removing it wouldn't be easy.::

Tallis: [...] thing... no wonder these ships ended up floating adrift when they made them so hard to fix...

::Squirming around, trying to pull out the component it must have looked like he was trying to escape a Ceti Eel or having a violent muscular spasm.::

Lawn: ::chuckling:: Tallis, you need a hand?

Tallis: ::Faintly hearing Lawn chuckling.:: It's fine! I think I've got it... I just need to...

::Sparks flew out from underneath the console, followed by black smoke, which poured in thick billows from the thin gaps in the metal casing. Coughing and spluttering, the Bajoran pushed his way out of his crawlspace and sat a little too quickly, violently banging his forehead on the opening. He didn't cry out, but he did rise to his feet, his face set into a tight snarl. Raising his arms above his head, he brought both fists down onto the console hard, cracking the plexiglass that covered the display. Lawn looked a little shocked, but not overly so.::

Lawn: ::trying not laugh:: LT…you seem a bit flustered. :: taking a more serious tone:: I know rigging that console is a frustrating chore, but are you sure there’s not something else bothering you? I wouldn’t press you to talk about something you really don’t want to…but you don’t typically throw your work station a beatin’ .

Tallis: I do when it's this [...] frustrating... ::aggressively:: I only wish I had a hyper-spanner so I could clobber it a bit more.

Lawn: You seemed a little out of sorts at the party too. I’m concerned about you, that’s all. If you want to talk…

Tallis: ::Whirling round a bit faster than he meant to.:: It's Tel-ar, and his god-daughter. Let me give you a piece of advice. Don't dance with anyone at a party, not even if you see it as innocent, because otherwise you just end up in over your head.

Lawn: ::crossing his arms and leaning back against the nearest console:: Ahhhhhh…I see.

Tallis: ::Taking a deep breath, aware he was berating Jesse for something that wasn't his fault.:: Sorry, this is just so... annoying. Computer, repair damage to communications console.

::The computer added a conciliatory beep to the situation before repairing the glass. Tallis leaned back on the console and rubbed his forehead, smearing holographic soot over it without realising.::

Tallis: Ordinarily if I had a problem with someone I'd just march right up to their quarters, hammer the door chime until they answered and thrash it out there and then. It's not pretty, but it works, and it's never once failed to get whatever problem I was having to a resolution one way or another. And by resolution I mean either things ended up back to normal or me and whoever it was just stopped speaking.

Lawn: Well, that’s certainly one way to manage conflict.

Tallis: I guess it's not the best way, but it works for me. Last night I would have loved to march up to Tel-ar's quarters and do the same, but it's just not that easy.

Lawn: ::rubbing his beard thoughtfully:: So, you want to tell the Commander what’s on your mind, but you’re concerned that he’ll get bent and that potential conflict will affect your recently upgraded professional situation…right?

Tallis: For one thing, yes. I worked hard to get where I am, and I don't think Commander Frazier's one to give out promotions without people earning them. The ironic thing is I know that as my department head Commander Tel-ar will have had a hand in it too. That makes me feel ungrateful. But d'you want to know the worst part about it?

Lawn: Tell me.

::Tallis became aware that he hadn't exactly explained what "it" was...::

Tallis: It's that I know he didn't even do it on purpose. So here I am, ready to pop like overripe kava fruit, and I don't have any way of letting off steam.

Lawn: Your response sounds to me like this is a female issue, not a Tal-ar issue. You want to start at the beginning?

Tallis: He came into the Ops office yesterday, right before I started working on the simulation. He said that Annie had taken an interest in "things Bajoran", and I was a little apprehensive. We talked about what exactly he meant, and he kept giving me advice on how to handle women. It's the most open I've seen him since I joined the crew, which in a way was good because if nothing else it shows we've built up a decent working relationship. The moral of the story was that I mentioned I was worried about how young Annie is, and that I didn't want her to get the wrong idea.

Lawn: ::nodding:: Uh-huh. She’s only like 15 or 16 right?

Tallis: Exactly. She's not even old enough to get into the Academy yet. I know we're on a ship where there are wide and varied cultures, but back on Bajor people would be asking questions, believe me.

Lawn: ::with a serious tone:: On Earth too my friend.

Tallis: That evening, as I'm leaving the Holodeck, Annie marches up to me, grabs me and kisses me. ::He was gesticulating wildly now, his annoyance building again.:: Apparently it was supposed to prove how mature she is. When I realised what was going on I pushed her away, and then got a lecture about how I should seize the day before she went back to her quarters, utterly humiliated. And despite how angry I am about the whole thing, I felt sorry for her.

Lawn: Well, I can totally understand why you would be out of sorts. You’ve been placed in a difficult situation. You’re a good guy, so it stands to reason that you’d be concerned about her feelings…but you did the right thing. She’s probably a wonderful person and she’s certainly a lovely young lady, but your discomfort with the age difference, not to mention the customs of your people, simply preclude the feasibility of that match. I can understand that you are experiencing some frustration, but why are you angry? Why are you upset at Tal?

Tallis: Well, if Tel-ar hadn't said anything then we could have at least talked about it without her getting so up tight and feeling like she had to prove something.

Lawn: ::smiling and patting Tallis on the arm:: She probably gave you the “lecture” as a defensive response. It sounds to me like she was justifying the whole thing to herself, not just to you. Her feelings were hurt. Don’t take that personal. She was just doing the best she could in a difficult moment. As for Tal, I really don’t think he meant for this to be such a traumatic experience for you. Rhul, Andorian’s are betrothed to their lifemates as children. They are introduced to their union as teens. Perhaps Tal didn’t stop to think that it’s very different for Bajorans.

Tallis: ::Rubbing the back of his head.:: You're right, I shouldn't blame him. It's not like he walked in with the intention of putting me and his god-daughter in a position like the one we're in.

Lawn: Perhaps not. However, If I were you, I’d take it as a compliment on two fronts…a beautiful young woman showed a romantic interest in you, and the First Officer of the flag ship had no objections to a man of your character spending time with his god-daughter.

Tallis: Well, when you put it like that I guess I am taking quite the pessimistic view. I just can't believe that things were going so well and now I can't walk the corridors without second guessing myself.

Lawn: Don’t worry. It will cool off. Honestly, I’d just give her some space. I don’t think there really needs to be a lot more discussion. Rejection is a rough thing. Believe me, I know! I wasn’t always happily married ya’ know. :: frowns, but quickly cracks a smile:: If Tal asks, tell him what’s on your mind…but you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. No one has. You don’t need to explain anything, justify anything, or confront anyone.

::Tallis walked round to the other side of the console, considering what Jesse had said and scratching the top of his head. He turned around before answering, and leaned forward on the recently repaired console, supporting his weight with both hands.::

Tallis: You know, it would have been really helpful if someone like you had been around on Bajor. Probably would have stopped me from getting into so many fights as a teenager. ::He looked down at the console and shook his head.:: I guess I have a bit of a tendency to get hot under the collar at times.

Lawn: Hey, if you need to blow off some steam, we could start your C.Q.C. (close quartes combatives, aka: hand-to-hand) training. Kicking the [...] out of something always makes me feel better!

Tallis: Now that does have its appeal. Though I don't think attacking an injured man would be looked upon kindly by the Prophets...

Lawn: Injured man! ::laughs and jokingly taps Tallis on the arm:: I’ve just got battle scars. Are you worried?

Tallis: Well, let's just say that I think I've given Nurse Tel-ar enough reason to be mad at me for the time being.

Lawn: No worries LT. The offers always open. What do ya’ say we get some work done here, and then we’ll talk about combat training. You think you’re up for engaging this antique? ::snickering:: I promise, it won’t try to kiss you, though, there were sparks!

Tallis: I'm glad to hear it! I don't like the sound of a mouthful of computer chips... but yeah, let's give it a try.

::Walking around the front of the console he stooped down to finish the job.::

Tallis: You might want to have a medkit on standby. That or an engineering kit for the console...

TBC

A joint post brought to you by

Lieutenant Tallis Rhul

Chief of Operations

USS Challenger

NCC-12886-A

and

Lieutenant (j.g.) Jesse Lawn

HCO/Investigator

USS Challenger

NCC-12886-A

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