Side-Sim: Sharing the Stars

Posted Oct. 29, 2020, 12:39 a.m. by Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharah Fayth (Chief Science Officer) (Jennifer Ward)

Posted by Ensign Matthew Riley (Science Officer) in Side-Sim: Sharing the Stars

Riley passed the door to the science labs again. He didn’t even pause this time; he knew it took three minutes to circuit the corridors around this section, and he’d still had nine minute to go when he passed last time. He know how long it took because he’d been pacing the hallway for more than half an hour. He hated that he knew both those things.

It’ll be fine, he told himself. It’s a good idea, and shows your interest in the ship and crew. That didn’t set his mind at ease.

It’s also a huge undertaking, he reminded himself. It’s more than what just one person could do - which is why you’re going to her.

He pulled at the collar of his uniform, allowing some air down his neck to cool him. He was in front of the doors again, and he stopped, squeezing the medallion in his pocket before he entered. Three minutes left.

“Oh, hey Riley,” he heard as he walked in. He spotted a civilian scientist approaching with a PADD. “Just who I was looking for. These readings of the Galimas cluster look weird, and I was hoping you could take a look at them.”

Riley paused, looking at the large windows to the chief’s office. She was seated at her desk, and he hoped he had sent the appointment request correctly. He’d gotten the confirmation, anyway. He looked back to the scientist, taking the PADD. He frowned at the data display, and swiped through a couple of screens.

“Yeah, that is strange.” He pointed. “Look at that pattern in the gamma range.” He swiped to another screen. “It’s not on cluster 12, just 13.” He paused, staring at the wall. “Aim sensor cluster 12 at the PSR J0102 pulsar and run a calibration diagnostic. I think that one has a frequent enough periodicity to get everything smoothed back out. Thanks, Dr. Jenkins.” He handed the PADD back to the man, and climbed the stairs up to the chief’s office.

One minute. He tugged his shirt, took a breath, and pressed the chime, then waved through the large windows.

  • Ensign Riley, Science

Fayth had received his request and was waiting for Riley when he arrived. She waved him in through the glass, “Come in, Riley.” Her office was now much different than the mess it was their first meeting. The flower bed by the window had small seedlings beginning to show and the lab area to the right seemed to have the beginnings of a basic genetics experiment set up. As well as samples that she was running a DNA analysis of. She stood up waving him towards a chair. “Do you want anything from the replicator?”
Lt jg Fayth, CSO

Riley glanced around the office, taking in the various changes as he sat. “No, thank you,” he responded as he squinted at the genetics experiment from across the room. He couldn’t make out the readings though.

“Actually,” he said, looking back to her, “a glass of water would be great.”

Sharah moved over to the replicator and got two glasses of ice water. By now most everyone knew the only thing Sharah drank was water. She’d had tea one morning, after a very long night, and someone in the department had started calling her the energizer bunny after the caffeine got into her system from the tea. She brings the glasses over and hands one to Riley.

“Looks like you’re settling in well,” he said, scooting the chair closer to the desk and setting his PADD on it. He aligned the edge of the device with the edge of the desk as he waited, rubbing his thumb up and down the sides of both to ensure it was even.

She wondered if the lining up was a nervous habit or simply a personality quirk. “I’m trying to. It’s a bit of an adjustment. I’ve heard that you are making quite an impression down in astrometrics. The other officers, and the enlisted ones too, are quite impressed with your work. Are you settling on alright? Anything you need down there?”

“I know you’re busy,” he continued as he waited, “so I’ll try not to take up too much of your time.”

  • Ensign Riley, Science

Sharah waved that away. “I am here to help you in anyway I can. You can’t take up too much time. As for busy, it’s just schedules. And those don’t change too much, so I have plenty of time.”
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

Riley nodded as he accepted the water and took a sip, the coolness spreading through his chest and calming him some. Almost instantly he then felt flush with warmth at the compliment, and took a deep breath in the hopes it would keep the embarrassment from staining his cheeks. “They’ve been great, the officers, the civilians; everyone enjoys what they do and they excel at it. What more could I ask for?” He chuckled, still trying to push the nervous energy down. He took another sip of water and then set it on the desk.

“So, I had an idea a few nights ago, as I was looking for something to do after my shift. I’d like to develop an educational and recreational program that is targeted to the civilian population of the ship, something that can really help demonstrate the awe-inspiring magnitude of space, and the stars we’re lucky enough to travel; and something more targeted than a holodeck.” His voice was firming now.

“It’s what inspired me to delve into the sciences, and contributed to that same awe that I feel every time we aim a sensor array. I mean, we’re examining stars.” His smile and the sparkle in his eyes clearly showed the passion was feeling. “But no one can really see that. The labs are off-limits to most civilians, stellar cartography is beautiful, but designed for work. But what if we could bring the stars to them?”

He tapped the PADD and the display lit up with a map of the Ark Angel, and he zoomed in on the additional entertainment module the ship was equipped with. He tapped one of the unlabeled spaces.

“Lieutenant… can we build a planetarium?”

  • Ensign Riley, Science

As he talked, Sharah listened intently. His mention of targeting the civilian crew was right in line with what she had been hoping to do with the arboretum. Allow the school children to help design a project and take ownership of it. They were the future officers of Star Fleet. And so much of the ship was off limits to them. Then he asked for the planetarium. She smiled as she sat back. “That’s quite the undertaking, Riley. You’ll need engineers to build it, and I’m assuming you would head up the programs offered in this Planetarium?”

She looked at the layout of the entertainment module. She was no engineer. “Alright, I have to approve this through the captain, BUT I want a full proposal. I want to know what kind of programs you intend to offer, how you are going to staff it. This will be your baby, so you will be in charge of scheduling, planning, and maintaining it. I want you to get with engineering and work up a proposal to build it and where it would work in the entertainment module. And a couple of different areas for it. Get me a preliminary in a couple of days, and you and I will take it to the captain.”
Lt jg Fayth, CSO

Riley blinked. “That… that was quicker than I anticipated,” he admitted, relief flooding through him. Then he grinned and eyed Fayth. “I actually thought this would be harder sell, so I actually do have some of that prepared.” He tapped the PADD again and the empty space he had pointed out was diagrammed off into two distinct sections.

“This,” he pointed at the larger of the two sections, “would be the planetarium. A small lobby-slash-greeting area in the front…” He zoomed on the diagram showing the entrance area, flat against the corridor and curving against an inner wall, with one desk centrally located and two doors in the curving wall. He panned across the diagram. “… and a maintenance area in the rear, housing access to the primary equipment. The main area…”

He zoomed out again, showing a round empty space between the two previous areas. “Would be a large dome structure, designed similar to the holodecks, for full spatial holography.” He chuckled. “I’ve taken to calling it the Holodome in my notes.”

“Holodome? I like that. It’s accurate as well. The only problem I see, so far, is the the entertainment module is removable from the ship. Depending on our mission depends on what module is in place. I don’t know about you, Riley, but I’d rather this be more permanent. I’d look for another site, maybe in the recreation area or another general purpose area. Check both of those areas for more permanent sites.”

Riley’s eyes widened. “I figured the module would have more unreserved space - but of course I’d love this to be a permanent addition.” He tapped a note out on the PADD. “I’ll see what space I can find.”

He swiped and tapped a few times and pointed to a figure. “Because the system will not be designed with full holographic needs - no interaction detectors to trigger replication of food, water, interactable items, so no transporter-based technologies - the energy consumption and computer requirements are drastically lower.”

He leaned back, crossing his ankle over his knee. “It would be entirely possible to have it work on an automated mode most days - scheduled shows with appropriate programming occurring periodically. Special programs with a host could be done by reservation.”

Sharah considered this, “Maybe. But remember we are deep space vessel, and that means families. Children have TONS of questions. A real person to answer their questions would be better than a computer. They get computers all day. Maybe there are some civilian scientists that would want to help. Ask at the school too. Some of the older high school children could maybe use some credits?”

He gave a small laugh. “I have spoken with a few of the civilian scientists about the idea of educational outreach, and have some who have expressed interest. The stellar cartography tech, Matheson, was ecstatic when I mentioned holographic stellar displays to her.”

He paused and this time did blush, pulling out an isolinear chip. “I have already started creating some programs.” He slipped the chip on the table. “That contains a program to display the sky around the Ark Angel, fully interactive with automatic highlights of unique items of interest - it cross references the Daystrom Institute’s Youth Astrosciences Program database for those.”

She took the chip and plugged it into the computer and took the time to read over the programs Riley had already created, very carefully and with great thought. “Okay so computer programming is not in my skill set and I wouldn’t have any way to make the programming better. But the content in this is absolutely excellent.”

He scratched his knee, and now waves of discomfort poured from him. “If… you have read my file, you might know that I am very familiar with recreational holotechnology. I became quite skilled at writing programs.”

He pulled at a thread in his uniform pants. “This feels like a far better use of that.”

  • Ensign Riley, Science

Sharah could see and feel the discomfort. She wasn’t sure why he felt that way. The work he’d done since he came on board was excellent and McMorran had given him great reviews. She wouldn’t have graduated him if not. “Well this is certainly high quality work. And if you like working with recreational holotechnology there is room for that in your life too. Always make time for what you find fun, Riley. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Find something that brings you joy and enjoy it.” She took a sip of her water…wow where had that come from? “Now with that said, go find another location, adjust your proposal with the specs accordingly and then bring it back and we’ll go see the Captain, okay?”
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

Riley grimaced internally. “I wouldn’t quite put it that way, but I hope this will be fun, Lieutenant.” He stood and finished the water then walked it to the replicator for recycling before returning and picking up his PADD.

“Thank you for your time,” he said, finally fully relaxing and letting the excitement build back up within him. “Expect to hear from me again in about…” he looked to the side and cocked his head. “… say a week.” He started to to turn but paused. “Do you have any other questions for me?”

  • Ensign Riley, Science

Fayth shook her head. “I do not. This is your project and what you have here is an excellent start. I’m sure the final result will be outstanding. Of course I can’t promise the captain will say yes, but she’s always willing to listen. So I will see you in a week.” Fayth stood and walked him to the door. She hadn’t looked into his medical file. She wondered if she should. If there was a problem that she needed to be aware of. She wasn’t a doctor anymore though. And that thought made her some what melancholy.
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

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