USS Vesta

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Tending to the Sick (Bay)

Posted on Sat Sep 16th, 2023 @ 3:48pm by Commander Martin Sorenson & Lieutenant Njalia Sayffier

Mission: Shakedown Shake-Up
Location: Sick Bay
Timeline: MD3?
1714 words - 3.4 OF Standard Post Measure

A call out to the Sick Bay, that was rare, usually Medical sorting their own tech. "Doug, hold down the fort while I get this sorted."

"Yes, Lieutenant," replied the hologram.

Njalia settled her tool satchel over her shoulder and headed to the turbolift.

The medical bay was quiet, seemingly empty as the EMH did not even appear. Whether because the real CMO was present in his office or because it was in a snit over that CMO had dismissed it was anyone's guess. Martin did not particularly care. Having spent the last hour reviewing the Ensign's records and the log of the visit prior to his arrival, he had been going through the listing of medical holograms and making notes while he waited for Njalia.

Njalia entered and looked around. "Doctor?"

And there she was. "Lieutenant, thank you for coming so quickly," he said walking out, padd in hand. "I'm afraid I need to ask your help with some personality matrices."

"Ops is here to help," said Njalia with a smile. "Personality matrix?" she asked and then realization dawned. "A problem with an EMH, Doctor?" She pulled out her datapad.

"Yes." He nodded firmly. "The primary has a personality, but it needs a serious attitude adjustment. I came down here earlier to find a patient in state of extreme anxiety because of how it was behaving." The doctor handed her the padd with relevant notes, but carefully taken so as protect the Drei's confidentiality. "I cannot have that in my medbay."

"Oh, goodness," said Njalia skimming the notes. "That is . . . suboptimal. Let us get the EMH online and see what we can do." She picked up her datapad. "Computer, activate Emergency Medical Hologram 871A-4."

The EMH shimmered into holographic existence, stating, "Please state the nature of your medical needs." Then looked at the people present and straightened. "As I see no immediate medical need. I take it this about that neurotic telepath," it said sourly. "I was simply providing proper medical guidance as -"

"Proper?" Martin cut in sharply, scowling at the hologram. "If your programming allows you to think it 'proper' to discuss a patient like that, then it is even more in need of correction than I had imagined."

"Goodness," said Njalia. "Override authorization code Sayffier, Psi-Two-Seven-Sword-Epsilon, stop program Emergency Medical Hologram 871A-4." The EMH froze. Njalia struck its chest with her datapad and pulled, revealing a dense network of code displays. "What a mess. Do you want me to try resetting it to its baseline setting, it would lose a lot of experience or we can try some other options, I think I know where this one went wrong."

Martin pursed his lips, considering. All of the holograms here should have been newly installed. How much experience could it lose? On the other hand, would the baseline would be much better? "What are the options?"

"This programming originally belonged to an EMH used by Admiral Hookalk and was modified by his personal physical Doctor Javtoss," said Njalia. "It was ported over during the Admiral's inspection tour. I have not met either of them, have you, Doctor?"

"Only once; I know them more by reputation." Though that explains a lot... Martin didn't say it, though he did quietly thank whatever Deity might be out there for landing him with Yoshi. He couldn't imagine Yoshi ever becoming the sort of Admiral who'd require a personalized EMH, let alone being the sort to make someone think that porting that EMH to the ship he was inspecting would be a good idea. "Resetting to baseline would be preferable to that. Though I would prefer that patients get something less ...wooden... than the standard holographic personality here."

"I think the problem is, that this EMH only really has two people it is used to interacting with," said Njalia, reviewing the files, "so it expected you and the patience to react in very particular ways. I can run a set of simulations exposing it to more types of people and the feedback that results from that. And, with your permission, layer in a personality that is more . . . adaptable to working with people. Normally, I would be a bit uncomfortable doing that, but this EMH, well, I feel it has been mistreated and deserves a chance to develop outside of the framework it has been forced into. Worst case scenario, we can reset it."

Martin tipped his head a little, an eyebrow quirking slightly at the response. He was passingly familiar with the concept of training a quasi-AI and knew some 'personality' parameters were also programmed in (though that aspect was very much a black box for him), but it had never occurred to him to think of it in terms of one having been mistreated and deserving some sort of second chance. Of course, he knew Voyager's EMH had developed something like sentience, and that they'd encountered a society of AIs that had been holograms rather than androids, so thinking of them like people wasn't fantastical. However, despite being halfway across the galaxy when Mars was attacked, the event had left a mark; he could not be so sanguine about synthetic personalities treated as real. Moreover, the ethical implications... if it was unfair to reset hologram personalities, were half the holodeck programs out there some sort of inherent rights violations? Was altering characters or otherwise adapting a holonovel? Were the case study programs in Counseling Studies crippled and abused victims rather than, well, case studies?

No. That way lay madness. Still, it was a bit touching, if in his opinion overly anthropomorphic, how Njalia regarded these programs. And she was the expert. "You absolutely have my permission to do whatever is necessary to give the primary EMH some semblance of a decent bedside manner. Whether that's a reset or 'layering' plus training I leave to your best judgment, but it also has to depend on how much time you have to work on this. I know you've taken on a lot here."

Njalia smiled. "Oh, it is a long-running discussion on OpsNet how to best and safely improve the personalities of EMHs. It will be nice to give one a try. Most medical officers do not like Ops changing the parameters of medical devices but EMH are far from just that." She began typing on her datapad and the hologram flickered, its features changing slightly, then it flashed around the sick bay, appearing in a variety of places and apparent situations. "I did not expect that," said Njalia, "I am not sure what it is not running the simulations entirely via digital emulation." She tapped away at her datapad.

The doctor's head swiveled, surprised at the display, and confused as to the explanation. "Eh?"

"Oh, I see, the EMH system requires the hologram to be active, in other words projected, to form lasting memories," she said. "What an interesting programming choice."

"To say the least," Martin remarked. "Does this mean we have to force people to subject themselves to it so it can learn?"

"No," Njalia said, instinctively ducking as the hologram flicked in and out of existence next to her, "everything else is purely simulated. It should be over in . . . another five point six minutes. Should we move into your office until it is done?"

"Absolutely," Martin said, grateful for the opportunity to leave. There was something disturbing about watching the EMH flit about, appearing and disappearing seemingly erratically. He opened a hand in an ushering gesture for her to go ahead even as he began to head to his office. "Maybe we can look at updates to some of the other medical holograms. A doctor with an off-putting personality, or on personality, is one thing, but a nurse that comes across as cold and empty... well, I wouldn't want to leave patient under that care."

"My apologies, I had not anticipated the . . . bouncing doctor side effect," said Njalia. "Certainly," she nodded in reply to the comment about nurses. "Is there a particular personality type or fictional nurse you would like them to be modeled after? Or several personalities, there is no need for them to be identical." She had her datapad out again.

"No need for apologies. No one could have anticipated ...that." Martin grimaced slightly, then moved around the desk to take a seat and rubbed his chin, considering on her question. "I'd thought there might be a standard nurse personality, but if we're looking for a historical model, Chapel or Ogawa would generally considered Gold Standard for Starfleet nurses."

Njalia nods. "I would need your permission, Doctor. Operation regulations explicitly forbids us from programming personality matrices modeled after an actual person, living or dead, into independently acting hologram without their permission or authorization from Command after some unfortunate incidents . . ." She looked a little embarrassed.

"Oh. Um, yes, I can understand that. Representations of real people can be..." he said, eyes darting down and to the side, " ...problematic." He put the memory aside, looking back at Njalia as he focused on the business as hand. "I think taking elements of their personalities, and emphasizing compassion and commitment to patient care, would suffice."

Njalia nodded. "Just to avoid potential problems, Doctor, may I have an official authorization to that effect?" She looked apologetic. "Once I have that, I will get right on it. I must say, the Nelson has really letting me stretch my programming skills."

"Based on what you've done before, that's saying something," Martin chuckled, as he tapped his padd and then scrawled a signature. "There you go. So authorized."

She smiled. "Thank you. Anything else Ops can help with? We still have a few minutes before we can meet the new EMH."

"No. Other than to thank you for all you've done," he replied sincerely. "You helped keep a first XO assignment that was rapidly becoming overwhelming into something ...manageable."

Njalia's antenna quirked and curled slightly, which Martin might recognize as the Andorian equivalent of blushing. "Isi . . . I was just doing my job. Ops is here to support the ship and its crew. And, well, it was challenging, it seems I will never be bored as part of the Vesta's crew."

Martin laughed. "Based my experience thus far, dull moments are indeed a rarity."


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