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[Round 7] Henk: Real Beauty Seen By The Unreal

FltCapt. Sidney Riley

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::Henk monitored the facial changes on both children. From his vantage

point perched on Marcus' shoulder it was difficult to get a full reading of

his face but even the side-on profile offered a wealth of information. The

subtle changes as he pronounced the word gramma were of interest. When he

described the rice and the vegetables Henk could detect signs of the

emotional state referred to commonly as nostalgia.::

::The Bajoran girl Dioron seemed confused at the notion of hot noodles.

Henk queried his cultural database and could not see a reason why. He

added it to his list of fringe cases, a set of unexpected emotional

responses to stimuli or vocalizations. It was like a long tail of

diminishing probabilities that never quite reached zero. Tell a Terran male

a story and there was a finite probability that he would punch the teller.

Of course that probability was lower than the probability that he might

smile. Indeed there were some Terran cultures whose members would be more

wont to thank the teller. For these cultures to be told a story was a


((OOC: In case anybody's interested, have a look through Jill Jepson's

recent book "Writing as a Sacred Path." for where that little tidbit from

Henk comes from :) ))


::When they finally reached the holodeck Marcus requested the program he

affectionately called "Gramma." "Please turn it on."::

::When the computer requested a password Henk detected a slight change in

bloodflow beneath his feet, an emotional descent marked by further shifts in

Marcus' facial muscles and underlying frame, and then a rallying climb.::

::None of these things apparently registered with the Bajoran/human hybrid

who said simply,::

Dioron: What does that mean?

::accompanying the question with a more or less textbook suite of facial and

bodily movements.::

Henk: Um... You do know the password right?

::Henk knew already that the boy had the password. His body had yelled that

enough into Henk's sensors over the last few seconds.::

Marcus: No worries, I know the password. Computer.. Password is Poodles.

::Poodles? Henk's emotional simulation engine registered laughter. He kept

it suppressed as he reasoned that perhaps the reference to the miniature

hyperdomesticated Terran canine might somehow be sentimental.::

::The doors opened to reveal a landscape dotted with ornate structures. In

the horizon mountains jutted into the sky. The computer presented a

description of the scenery, Henk once again taking notes as it did so in a

Chinese accent. It was yet another fascinating thing to note the

connections sentient humanoids made between natural settings and poetic

language. The mountains, the computer noted, were dreamlike. Henk knew

that his analytical subroutines would be unable to grasp the connection

between thought processes during sleep and geological formations. He was

glad that Dr. Fengjian had programmed him to out-do the Vulcans in their

obsession with logic by giving him an emotional model as well.

Bridging the gap between reason and passion, his central bus connected the

two systems so they resided together not as single entity but rather as

something akin to a multi-province nation state, each land containing its

own distinct cultural heritage and dialect. His serial processor, usually

outside of his conscious awareness, maintained the physics engine and the

control suite that allowed him to keep his grip on Aaron's shoulder, while

inside the theater of consciousness played out the emotional state matrix,

queries to the serial processor, and linguistic processing directives.

The land was beautiful, winds at approximately seven kilometres per hour.

The five holy mountains ascended the skies, human observers being unable to

produce linguistic expressions of their emotional responses to them. The

Yangtze stretched out across the landscape, Marcus excitedly directing

everyone's attention to it. He pointed out other things as well, each

gesture cuing the computer to speak on the object indicated. Finally, he

pointed out the temple in which his grandmother lived.::

Dioron: This is beautiful. The plants and the trees and the river...

Marcus: Yeah, it reminds me of home...

::More subtle gestures: He missed his grandmother, he looked forward to

seeing her again, he liked it here.::

::Dioron was somewhat surprised to hear that Marcus' grandmother lived in a

temple. "Yep," Marcus responded, "that one over there. Up the path and

across the bridge."::

::Henk directed his eight eyes toward the temple itself. The railing along

the path on which they stood cast shadows containing bright circles that

invited them toward the building. A surge in the columns of his emotional

matrix and a call into his lexicon directed him to say,::

Henk: That is a beautiful temple!

Dioron: How does one get to live in a temple?

::Henk could tell Dioron was delighted with it as well. Marcus explained

the martial art his grandmother practiced and taught.::

::"This is amazing," Dioron said, Henk registering more facial expressions.

He found the increases and decreases in bloodflow to the nasal ridges an

interesting part of the Bajoran emotional expression system. It hearkened

back to the staggered folds in the designs of Bajoran priestly garments.

"And it's all real." It was real. The emotions, the scenery, the winds.

They were all real. And yet.::

Marcus: Well....it is sort of real.

::What was real? Henk was not one to philosophize but he knew that an

element of this entire experience was fake: The robot Henk. He himself was

an artificial implementation of a set of experiences and moods and states

which for millions of years had been a given in so many naturally evolved

species. Gramma was cooking. It punctured the reverie of the emotional

matrix, philosophy flowing still like a river somewhere else outside the

periphery of Henk's conscious awareness.::

Marcus: I bet she is cooking the cabbage too... I can not wait to get there.

::Henk detected the odor of the cooking plant wafting about him.::

Henk: Smells good!

::Dioron seemed unsure of what to do. Indeed, Henk could understand her

confusion. The building seemed to emphasize beauty over function. To be

sure, there was a door and a stairway toward it, yet Henk knew the eye was

meant to be drawn into the intricate lattice of designs on the panels and

walkways that girdled it.::

Marcus: Follow me up this path, and after we cross the bridge we will be on

the temple grounds.

Henk: I'll hold on.

::Dioron remarked that she had never met a "grandmom" before.::

Marcus: You will love her....you can call her gramma too, she responds to

that in here, no matter who says it.

::They headed toward the temple, Marcus telling them of more things.::

::As they entered the grounds Henk almost lost his grip on Marcus' shoulder

as the boy ran toward an elderly woman, a bounce in his frame conveying

levity. He caught glimpses of rows of boys who looked exactly like Marcus

practicing what appeared to be kata forms.::

Marcus: GRAMMA!

::Henk scanned the face of the elderly woman. Her eyes showed no fear, a

reaction to which Henk's sensors were growing steadily more accustomed. The

elderly face could at times pose problems for older models of emotion

registration systems, but Henk's had been programmed with algorithms and

filters that more accurately mimicked the human system of filters. He could

unconsciously drop data on the wrinkles and folds and tease out the woman's

emotional state just as easily as he could with the children.::

Henk: ::To Gramma:: Hey, how ya doin?

Gramma: Response?

Dioron: Response

Marcus: OVER HERE DIORON... :: feeling his shoulder:: you still there Henk?

::The boy's hand brushed over Henk's hairy abdomen and legs.::

Henk: Yep, I'm here.

Dioron: Response?

Gramma: Responses?



Henk the Robotic Spider

and Computational Psychology

Probing Instrument

as simmed by

Lt. Kevin Breeman

Chief of Science

USS Independence-A

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