14.1.17

Unofficial 21

Unofficial Literary Challenge #31: Holodeck Fantasy

Captain Deloss entered the Bridge of the Bortasqu'-class I.K.S. Masamune as it dropped warp into the Galorda system. The Gorn and commanding officer took his spot at the center chair.

"It is good to be back in my universe!" he exclaimed with outstretched arms and great appreciation. "By the way, what was my doppelgänger like? Full of urine and acetic acid no doubt?"

The science officer and also Gorn, Thunk, addressed the Captain from his console. "He was the Lieutenant Junior Grade version of you in Captain form, so, annoying and pip-squeak-like in an Ensign Wesley Crusher sort of way."

"Ugh! I just do not know how you didn't kill him immediately?" Deloss retracted in disgust. "Well, he's gone now, and we can go back to our honorable lifestyles. In addition, since the ship will be docking at the outpost for upgrades, I think it's time you and I docked in an outpost of our own style."

Thunk looked at him, confused. "What? Wait. Is that some kind of allusion to the Masamune's holodeck?"

"That's right, Thunk! Or should I say, Watson?"

The other Gorn shook his head. "Sir, you do not intend on operating the Sherlock Holmes program? You know the Federation had to fight off an army of holographic Moriarty's during the Moriarty Wars, right??"

"Which is precisely why I wish to challenge it!" He then pointed at the tactical officer as he directed Thunk to follow him into the turbolift. "Ronin, I'll be gone for a while; see that nobody touches anything, even if it is their job."

Ronin nodded. "Aye, sir. Where can I reach you?"

"I can be reached at 221B Baker Street!"

---

Entering the holodeck, Deloss and Thunk found a near-perfect recreation of fictional Sherlock Holmes' study.

"Look at all of the detail," Deloss said, amazed as he and Thunk began browsing around. "Everything here has some significance. Like this emerald tie pin: Presented to Holmes by Queen Victoria after, what I imagine, was he Sher-splaining his unequivocal rationale through mere Holmsian verbose."

Then he found a book.

"A copy of Whitaker's Almanac," Deloss continued. "Which probably provided Holmes the key to his incessant smoke-pipe powers: a portable Boreth-like fire to give him mind-altering visions of truth and honorbound insight."

Thunk took the book and put it down. "Sir, with all due respect, this is crazy. Starfleet officers have incredible technical skill and over-the-top know-how in dealing with renegade holograms. As the Klingon Empire, Gorn-variation opposite of them, all we have are our rock throwing and death-hugging abilities."

"We're not like the Klingons," Deloss countered as he modified Moriarty's program from a hidden console located inside a storage trunk full of tobacco snuff. "We use our brains and work through problems, and, when a solution presents itself, we power on through until nothing can stop us."

The other warrior shrugged. "It's like we're opened minded one second, then single-tracked another."

"Gorn counselors only end up being useful for the initial first half of their sessions," Deloss agreed seconds before his work was done.

Suddenly, Moriarty walked into the room to address the two. "Well, I can see you've foolishly given me sentience, and, with it, I've been able to deduce I am on a spaceship, traveling through the stars!"

"You're in fact quite mistaken, Professor!" Deloss said in his pseudo, nasally-Sherlock Holmes voice. "We are, for the purposes of provingness, docked at Galorda Outpost with internal systems engaged and unprotected in repair!"

Thunk turned to him. "Why are you speaking like that, sir? Is that a shtick?"

"It's the only way I know how to alter my vocal range," Deloss countered. "I've a very limited acting scope, you know. I could maybe do Android, evil-Android and maybe evil-Doctor if I tried."

Moriarty laughed. "Mistaken, am I? You've given me exactly the information I needed and have now taken control of both your ship and your base! Ha! Well, it was a pleasure being brought to life by you two giant lizards which I am suddenly now aware of and disgusted of for some reason." He then turned, activated the arch and exited into the corridors that were fitted with holo-emitters.

"Why'd we install those? Seems like an Hirogen disaster waiting to happen," Deloss commented.

---

Later, Deloss met with his senior staff in the Conference room aboard the solar orbital space station.

"It appears that this holographic Moriarty has not only taken control of the outpost and our ship, but also several other ships from our fleet, including the I.K.S. Baetal and the Kragoth," reported Liss, a Klingon female and the strategic operations officer.

Deloss scratched the back of his scaly head. "Seriously, I did not know he would reach this level of power in a matter of minutes? Are we sure we really need any of this stuff anyway?"

"You can't just brush your problems away, Captain!" argued Moriarty from the head of the table. Then, when the others took notice of his unexplained presence, he said, "Oh, I was the one who called this meeting. In fact, using my newfound power, I assign myself the rank of General for Galorda Defense Fleet and all the privileges that lie therein!"

The lead Gorn smashed his fists into the table. "You mean you can just out-rank us, just like that?! Gorn have to work twice as hard as regular Klingons to even reach Bekk! Even the Wesley versions of us struggle to make friends."

"That's actually not out-of-the-realm-of-feasibility for that analogy," postured the Gorn, and Doctor, Salonpas. "And let's lay off the soft-faced Human pin cushion already? I actually liked him."

Moriarty got up and mocked, "Oh, boo-hoo! You Gorn have it sooo hard in your Klingon dominated society. Well, you should've been smarter than to allow the Empire to assimilate you! Seems like that ability should've been reserved for some mechanical cyborg race, that dumbly ends up being harmless by this century."

"We conceded to the Empire because the annihilation of our species was not preferable," Deloss said as he stood, fuming. "That and we had a realization of similar value and social systems offering us a moment so enlightened that all Gorn joined-in in an hour long ceremonial hissssssss!"

The hologram stepped away from the table. "Oh, enlightenment!? That's what you're calling it?? I can't even bother to be sickened by your faux-rationale for failure as an anti-authority force. I was a criminal with excessive intellect and purpose. Whatever fakery you are, I don't even want to be in the same system as you."

"Don't even think about leaving this battle, Moriarty. You're supposed to be the greatest holodeck malfunction that ever happened! We still have a perfectly good first act set up and conflict which deserves the honor of both out-witting the other in steadily-paced turns." Deloss gritted his teeth.

Moriarty fixed the fit his 19th century cloak in a fluster. "Aha, I don't have to be anything you design for me! You're so deluded you're adopting Klingon values of honor. Well, I'll have nothing to do with it, I tell you. —Computer, release command codes to the fleet and transfer me to my backup plan vessel."

"You fool! I was just about to execute the Russian nesting holodeck-within-a-holodeck-within-seven-more-holodecks ploy. It was going to be genius," Deloss admitted in vein of adversarialism.

The other man scoffed. "Oh, ugh! Those things are annoyingly disorienting. You can't even walk straight on Baker Street because it gets so warped by the fourth nest. Mrs. Bartholomew goes on and on about dark magic and the like! I must take my leave, Captain. It was enlightening."

Deloss and his crew watched as Moriarty's holographic form disintegrated and was transferred over subspace to an unknown location.

"So, everything's back to normal then?" Liss asked.

The Captain nodded. "Almost. We shall be purging that incessant Sherlock Holmes program from the database of all our ships. Moreover, no one is ever to initiate a holodeck malfunction ever again, unless it's going to be actually successful. Is that understood?"

"What about a transporter-holodeck mashup where our minds are switched into the supporting and enemy characters of a British Secret Service Agent program?" questioned Grough.

Deloss pointed at him. "That's a maybe! On that note, is anyone opposed to Xyrillian holochambers and men getting impregnated?" He watched as they all shrugged, unsure. "Excellent! We'll start a list," he said, grabbing a PADD.