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Topic: Day 05 [1700 Hours] - Mud, Blood and Holograms. (Read 97 times) previous topic - next topic
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Day 05 [1700 Hours] - Mud, Blood and Holograms.

[Lt Rhys Williams| Holodeck 6| Deck 21/Vector3|USS Theurgy] attn: @stardust

The doors to the holodeck clunked open. As Rhys stepped through, he was for a moment only half aware of Stellan being next to him. Out in front of them was the stuff of nightmares. He knew that many of those who had believed in certain faiths on Earth had imagined hell as a fiery abyss. This in his view if such a place was closer to the truth. Mud and filth befouled everything stumps of trees poked out of the ground in places like cocktail sticks in unappetising food.

In the distance was the remains of what Rhys knew had been a sleepy little village atop a ridge. It would have been tough to recognise otherwise. Every building had been smashed to bits. As he stepped forward, he stepped into the beginning of a network of trenches that he knew ultimately stretched from the English Channel to Switzerland. Water pooled at the bottom with the rotting wooden ‘duck’ boards only just emerging from the puddles and mini rivers. It was eerily quiet. No bird song, nothing.

Rhys straightened his tunic. It was khaki rather than blue. The rank insignia were on the sleeves. It marked him out as 1st Lieutenant of the British Royal Engineers. He sighed and wondered if this was a good idea or if he was letting his history obsession blind him. He had envisaged this as a kind of research session. The crew had struggled with so many calamities recently as had the counselling department. The First World War was the event that really began to bring ideas of psychological stresses to the fore in peoples minds. Shell shock, and battle fatigue precursors to diagnoses of PTSD, stress and many others had emerged. Rhys really hoped there was something they could study and learn from this programme.  He had worked for days to create as authentic a replica of the Battle of Messines as he could manage.

The British Army were involved in the battle and he knew that on top of everything else, there were so many recorded examples of different reactions to the stresses of combat. Some soldiers had written poems often as a way of giving voice to their pain. Curiously some responded with dark humour. ‘The Wipers Times’ was an infamous pseudo newspaper produced by British soldiers infamous for its dark sharp satirical humour. Rhys just hoped Stellan did not think he was stupid for this or indulging just in his historical fascinations.

Rhys coughed and then spoke as firmly as he could. “Welcome to the Battle of Messines June 1917, during the First World War.” He sighed “What many humans considered to be the first and last cataclysmic wars in Earth’s history, which it was… for twenty years.” He turned to look at Stellan. “What do you think?” He said as the afternoon sun beat down on the devastated land they stood before.

[OOC- Posting order Juzzie then Stardust]

Re: Day 05 [1700 Hours] - Mud, Blood and Holograms.

Reply #1
[ Lt. Foster | Holodeck 6 | Deck 21 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Juzzie

John McRae once wrote: In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky, the larks, still bravely singing, fly, scarce heard amid the guns below.
A lover of archaic non-fiction, Stellan slowly started to absorb the reality of the poetic words, as the slimy muck did his boots with every step. Field mice filtering through the cracks beneath the withering planks, like children scurrying through poppy fields. They had no business with this war that was brewing, neither did the crows circling above. A planet rotating onwards on its axis, unphased by the self-destructive machinations of its apex species. A silent herald of a different future.

When Rhys had invited him to join in some holo-fun, even after slipping into the mildly coarse and ill-fitting cloths – compared to Starfleet spandex – he had still held out hope for a somewhat romantic story arc somewhere in the picturesque countryside in the lull of the war. He had not been able to ascertain any entertainment value from the thick of the battle, but as the faux adrenaline placated any sense of protection from the holodeck’s safety systems, he could understand the appeal of challenging their complacency with eras of considerable peace. For even in the thick of the Dominion War, battle was still a somewhat detached notion for those in the fleet, pushing buttons and giving commands that made things go boom on a viewscreen. It lacked the visceral grime of the trenches, the maw of desperation, when all standing between you and death was your own guile.

Naturally, the two had left all remnants of their old lives behind. Tricorders, comm batches, phasers … all but a Webley Mk VI in a holster and a short bayonet at their hips, a P14 rifle across their backs. None of which he could be sure would work in the first place. Even though the holograms were designed not to react in shock to future technology, for the sake of realism they had opted to cast off all space-age luxuries. He did however momentarily regret putting on the linen underwear which was currently riding his butt-crack like a saw blade.

An instinctive convulsion brough Stellan’s head down beneath the periphery of the trenches as distant explosions struck. Cursing himself for the pusillanimous notion, yet at the same time celebrating the instant measure of involvement in Rhys’ expertly crafted world war epic. Filtering the man’s words from the ruckus, the Betazoid reveled in the momentary numbness of his telepathic ability, with none of the holograms around him even registering, and his mind solely focused on the blonde and his own reflexes.

“Yeah, you’d think after the 2nd or 3rd time they’d stop entertaining such foolish predictions.” he replied, his voice rising above the scene like wafting sulfur. All while shaking off a rather sticky clump of clay, or trying to, ultimately opting for a beam of the embankment to aid in his quest of ridding an additional pound of dead weight. “I think it’s ... quaint.” He added, coming to stand close to Rhys, in order to preserve his instrument a little. Also, it felt a little bit safer, close to the orchestrator of this whole thing. Placing his hands to the thick belt around his hips, obsidian eyes followed a foeward leaning notion to survey the next few bends of the maze they were in.

“Let me guess, you programmed a little bistro table with candles and spaghetti carbonara into one of these hideouts.”

Re: Day 05 [1700 Hours] - Mud, Blood and Holograms.

Reply #2
[Lt Rhys Williams| Holodeck 6| Deck 21/Vector3|USS Theurgy] attn @stardust

Rhys not for the first time, nor indeed the last time wondered if he had made the right choice. He lifted his peaked cap off his head for a moment and scratched his heat thoughtfully. These clothes weren’t the most comfy and he half wondered if the computer in a misguided attempt at accuracy had created lice.

He could see that whatever revelations Stellan had about this he had a least got into the spirit of the accuracy of the thing. He even had a 1914 Pattern Lee-Enfield rifle at his back, and a Webley revolver. It was amazing how in the space of a little over one hundred years humans went from smooth bore muskets to rifles like the Lee-Enfield and machine guns. The rate of change from the early part of the Victorian period to the end of the war was in Rhys’ view the fastest rate of change in human history till warp drive anyway.

Across the water in Britain a people only just used to human flight were having to deal with bombs dropped by zeppelins. The First World War stood at the confluence of history. Empires crumbled and the world lost the last ties to its medieval understanding.

When Stellan commented on foolish predictions, Rhys shrugged. “For the people of Europe this was the most traumatic thing they had ever experienced. The idea that there could be anything like this again was inconceivable.” He said looking out over the nightmarish landscape.

Rhys looked at Stellan as he joked about it being ‘quaint’ and then he felt the man step closer. Rhys felt he was starting to get a handle on how Stellan expressed himself. He felt he could detect fear in Stellan’s movements and voice. It was only a simulation but then he also wondered if Stellan had ever been in combat. Rhys had on his former ship interactions with the Borg. He shivered momentarily.

As Stellan asked if Rhys had programmed a Bistro table, he now felt that his concern about this being the wrong choice was justified. Maybe Stellan was had been expecting a romantic date, maybe taking part in a holo-game set in the period. Rhys smiled awkwardly. “Would you be upset if I said no?” For Rhys the history was fascinating enough on its own, and he had wondered if they could learn something about mental illness. Rhys clearly needed more interesting hobbies.

Rhys slapped Stellan’s back firmly and smiled at him as he moved ahead and into the trenches. His boots squelching in the mud dampening his faux cheeriness. Maybe if he just pushed on Stellan would not have time to think about his reservations. He would just have to come up with something more pleasurable for Stellan later. He immediately blushed as that thought entered his head. ‘Not like that’ he said to himself.

“1917 is a bad year for the allies. The French are demoralised, and Russia is already in political turmoil.” They walked past up to a small hollow cut into the side of the trench. Inside it was a private sleeping leaning on his rifle. Ignoring him Rhys spotted and picked up what looked like an old style newspaper. Its pages were rumpled and torn as if it had passed through many hands before coming into the possession of this sleeping solider. “The Wipers times.” Rhys said with a dark chuckle. “The Brits pronounced Ypres as Wipers. It’s literally a joke newspaper produced by some of the soldiers themselves. Here we have people in such a dark time and yet they find time to make jokes.” He showed Stellan what was clearly a fake advertisement.  It declared in bold text:

‘Has your boy a Mechanical turn of mind? Yes! Then buy him a FLAMMENWERFER. Instructive amusing, both young and old enjoy this natty little toy. Guaranteed Absolutely Harmless. Thousands have been Sold. Drop a postcard to Messrs. Army, Research and CO., when a handsome catalogue will be sent to you.’ (OOC - link to image of this here )

Rhys shook his head. “A joke advertisement for a flamethrower, a weapon that had killed and maimed who knows how many British troops by this point. Its amazing.” He thought on the crew and the prolonged miseries they had endured and wondered if this kind of darkness would help.

Re: Day 05 [1700 Hours] - Mud, Blood and Holograms.

Reply #3


Unbeknownst to the two men, beyond the metal surface obscured by the photons of the running program, an EPS conduit was fizzling - the heat rising by the minute since the program had been initiated.

The damage to the conduit was well within the internal sensor envelope, but with it being such a minor malfunction, it was far down on the list of priorities for the crew to repair. Only the removal of the panel followed by a visual inspection would reveal the hazard, in how the placement of the closest omnidirectional holographic diodes compromised the integrity of the entire holodeck. The diodes enabled the holographic projections, but they were also powered by holodeck reactors. Those also powered the replicator technology, which allowed for matter and energy to be interchangeable, but in that regard, a cascade failure through the diodes could affect the output of the hologrid.

This was, unfortunately, what happened that day. After continual use of the holodeck, exacerbating the leak of the course of weeks, the temperature rose to a point where the EPS conduit ruptured. The energy released resulted in an explosion not far from where the two men were standing - interjecting itself into the program in a manner that may have been interpreted as part of the wartime program runtime. The difference between the holographic setting and the sudden detonation, however, was that it made the lights of the entire deck flicker into darkness. The holo reactors compensated, re-establishing the program and the view around the two men, but the momentary failure had spread to the interior arch control - disrupting the parameters of the simulation.

Holodecks were equipped with safety protocols to prevent serious injury during their use, yet the cascade failure short-circuited the  protocols. The battle had thus become real, and all holographic features held the inherent dangers of reality. The bullets that whisked past them, shot by unnamed soldiers, were intended to hit their mark. No more did they pass safely through the visitors, ricocheting off stone and splattering mud far and wide.

Three consecutive rounds hit Stellan Foster, making him spin on his heel and fall down at Rhys William's feet - the blood of a ruptured aorta spattering his face.

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