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Ens. Chip Foley: What Makes Us

2020-05-13 06:53:51


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((Main Engineering, USS Constitution-B))

There were few things in the galaxy that could hope to pull Chip Foley's at=
tention away from something as exciting as verifying the capacitance of a s=
et of hyperspanners, but an iconoclastic EMH seeking a mnemonic excision wa=
s DEFINITELY on that short list. Chip was currently assuring the holographi=
c innocent that the process of having a large chunk of synthetic functional=
memories removed wouldn't be painful. This was extremely accurate because =
the hypothetical risks were almost entirely existential and should not caus=
e any simulated discomfort. Chip weighed the value of presenting that possi=
bility and decided it'd be better to stick to the strictly literal descript=
ion and refer to it as "painless".

Foley: I assure you, it'll be completely painless! It will be educational A=
ND enriching! I would add "entertaining" ::Chip made very deliberate air qu=
otes with a soft whir of his prosthetic fingers:: because I think it will b=
e, but I do not want to add undue levity! This will be a journey into your =
very cognition, after all! But you are making an excellent choice.

Mark Two: I mean I guess I never looked at my memories before. I hope they=
're OK you know?

An intriguing concept; Chip had never thought of memories as having variabl=
e degrees of okayness. They just WERE. Whether the time that an experimenta=
l handheld antigraviton emitter inverted its output and launched you 48 met=
ers across the kinetics lab back home, or the sweet moment you first tried =
Tarvokian pound cake, it was all memories. But it made sense that the EMH w=
ould have concerns about the stability of its mind; that was the whole reas=
on it had sought assistance!

Foley: The choice to resolve an extant problem is the choice for self-impro=
vement! Really, one could argue that's the inherent nature of life; the que=
st to better one's circumstances! I don't know if we should be arguing abou=
t the inherent nature of life at the moment, though. There's so much to do!=
So! Firstly let's reserve a holodeck, and secondly let's get a comprehensi=
ve scan of your digital cortex, and thirdly let's discuss the nature of mem=
ory in organic brains vs computers! Isn't it fascinating that memory as we =
comprehend it may not even properly exist after a certain amount of time? W=
e don't even actually remember things - we REMEMBER remembering them. Organ=
ic memory becomes RECURSIVE! Isn't that curious? That's why I'm still plann=
ing on installing a positronic brain update at some point. But that's neith=
er here nor there! And we are here and NEED to be there! "There" ::Chip mad=
e the elaborate air quotes again:: being the holodeck. Let's go! Exploratio=
nal cognitive adventure awaits!

Mark Two: That's=E2=80=A6 that's a lot of stuff. ::he sound=
ed appropriately educated to Chip:: I'm pretty sure getting the hol=
odeck reserved is the easy part.

Chip smiled brightly, bobbing his large shiny head in affirmation.

Foley: Definitively easy! In fact, the reservation of holodeck space aboard=
this vessel, even during a period of shore leave, is so incredibly simple =
that there is genuinely no reason at all not to engage this undertaking rig=
ht this moment! We'd simply need you to select a holodeck that presents an =
air of comfort!

Mark Two: Right=E2=80=A6 right now?

Chip smiled wider, his shiny white titanium dental implants gleaming and no=
dded eagerly. The moment was optimal, after all! The hologram appeared hesi=
tant, but that appeared to be inherent to its nature. Which was fine. Chip =
had enough definitiveness to accommodate for practically any level of hesit=
ation.

Mark Two: H-holodeck=E2=80=943?

Foley: Ah, a top-tier choice! I've only briefly gotten to see the main holo=
decks! Excellent! Deck 11 is ideal. It also has an excellent set of emergen=
cy stairs!

Mark nodded a simple assent, shuffling from one foot to the other foot.

Mark Two: I do know the way. I can jump or we can walk.

"Jump". For a moment Chip had visions of a powered leap up a turboshaft but=
it was only a brief moment - and he filed the idea away for later review -=
before he realized the hologram meant transferring his presence to another=
location, which the Mark Two could accomplish instantaneously. Even faster=
than transport! Optimal! But still, Chip didn't want to miss a chance to g=
lean more information before the digicortical holo-analysis was underway.

Foley: Actually, a stroll would give us a chance to learn more! Let's do th=
at. Head to the lift and I'll meet you there momentarily! I'm just going to=
sign out for the task and make sure the Chief knows I'm assisting the crew=
with a key engineering issue.

Mark Two: oh, ok! I'll um=E2=80=A6 see you there=E2=80=A6

After carefully arranging all the appropriate permissions on an Engineering=
PADD, and signing himself out - he noted with satisfaction that the EMH ha=
d made use of its connection with the ship to reserve the Holodeck right aw=
ay - Chip went straight for the deck 36 turbolift and met with the earnest =
young-seeming EMH. Chip beamed as they stepped in.

Foley: So tell me - do you find physical manifestation pleasant? I've read =
some of the academic documentation published by the Voyager EMH after its y=
ears of active service, and I was always curious about the actual sensorium=
! Is your sensorium limited by the very nature of being - ::Chip gestured, =
twiddling his fingers with a little whir from the left hand:: - embodied?

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: Intriguing! I've often hypothesized that there may be an addictive q=
uality to it - to going from the pure data state to the corporeal, but I re=
alize that may be very organic thinking! Not that I have any alternative. A=
t least not until that positronic neural upgrade gets approved by UFP Neuro=
science! But I imagine there MUST be an appeal to the sensation. Even if it=
's just the EXISTENCE of sensation!

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: Oh, I don't mean to be reductivist! I realize that asking about the =
very nature of your existence is a BROAD kind of introductory topic, but it=
's fascinating! Created and emergent intelligences are *wondrous*! Far more=
interesting than anything that evolution has produced recently! Recently o=
n the cosmic scale, at least. But you represent a great leap forward!

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: Oh, without a doubt! You and your fellow digital entities are a way =
for cognition to advance without organic limitations! But you still have a =
sense of selflessness AND a sense of self, which when combined separate you=
from technocollectives and power-mad AIs of the past! Unless you secretly =
have plans to overthrow the ship and this is the first step of your nefario=
us plan. If it is, it's going quite well, since I'm certainly invested at t=
his point!

Mark Two: *response*

Chip smiled cheerfully.

Foley: That IS a relief. So what kind of plans DO you have, if not nefariou=
s?

Mark Two: *response*

The hairless man gestured grandly, taking in the whole of the galaxy with a=
flourish of two hands.

Foley: In general! In perpetuity! Clearly you're past the point of being ca=
lled forth exclusively for medical emergencies, since you're here now seeki=
ng to excise faux memories and improve your circumstances! So tell me more =
about your foreseen place in the grand scheme of things! I always enjoy cos=
mological discussions.

Mark Two: *response*

Chip never lacked for ways to talk through even the longest turbolift ride!=
And if you were riding with Chip it could seem VERY long indeed, depending=
on your temperament.

((Holodeck 3 =E2=80=93 USS Constitution-B))

It didn't take them long before both EMH and Engineer were standing=
in a perfectly calibrated research holodeck. Chip had brought up the cust=
omized suite of simulated controls that he and his father had designed back=
on Marcos XII to assist his maternal APHAEA system with repairing their de=
grading memory core. Chip was running through a series of quick tests to ma=
ke sure the Constitution's systems had correctly integrated the unique Fole=
y Labs programming. The EMH appeared to be in his usual state of adorable u=
ncertainty.

Mark Two: So=E2=80=A6 what next? First? I mean what do we do?

The slight hologram paced around the holodeck, from one place to another. C=
hip smiled, and tapped his gleaming metallic hand over the holo-console in =
a quick little flurry. A smooth glowing circle of white light appeared, lik=
e a spotlight on a stage, just ahead of the consoles.

Foley: For this initial bit, you'll simply want to stand right there! Any p=
osition you'd like, so long as your lightform is fully inside! Would you li=
ke a chair? No, that'd be silly. Just stand for now!

Mark Two: That seems simple.

Foley: It is! Well, in practicality. The actual underlying technologies and=
processes involved are LUDICROUSLY complex but for you this part is just s=
imply being right there!

The Mark Two assumed the position, and the initial scan began. There was no=
thing immediately obvious since all the processes involved were entirely co=
mputational - no giant machines spun up, there was no hum or oscillating sc=
anning surface. After a moment's thought, Chip utilized the simulate consol=
e to adjust the display and turn the circle of light the Mark II was standi=
ng in to a soothing bright phosphor green. Visible indications of progress =
were important!

Foley: You're going to feel ... actually, I'm not certain what you might fe=
el! Oooh, you should tell ME what you feel! I'm curious about how your sens=
orium interprets this! But what's actually occurring is a complete analysis=
of your core program along with every subsequent edit and adjustment! Then=
that will all be rendered into a visual matrix, and we'll ... take a look =
together! Won't that be AMAZING? That was rhetorical! It WILL be amazing!

Mark Two: *response*

Chip looked up from his work and smiled, his glowing eyes adjusting to a br=
ighter level and adding a shade of yellow for warmth. The emotive chromatic=
adjuster was a design enhancement he was particularly proud of.

Foley: There's no need to be afraid. I promise! I realize my excitable deme=
anor can make it seem like I'm not taking matters seriously - but I will do=
NOTHING that can hurt you. That's a Foley guarantee! My family sets great =
store by our guarantees, ancestrally. We used to sell radiators, in ancient=
times! And they were GUARANTEED.

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: I promise-promise. The repetition indicates *intense* emphasis!

He nodded, and then there was a cheerful 'bingely-bing-bing-bong!' sound fr=
om the console, and his broad bald brows rose eagerly.

Foley: Oooh! The initial scan is complete! ::he reviewed the simulated disp=
lays, flicking through the outputs, and hummed happily to himself:: Just as=
sparkling as I anticipated!

He beamed brightly at Mark Two, waggling one jointed beryllium-titanium fin=
ger in the air.

Foley: Are you ready to see the wonders of your mind, my remarkable young f=
riend? Also I'm VERY enthused about getting to call someone 'my young frien=
d', so thank you for letting me know about your age!

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: Very well! Let there be - COGNITIVE ILLUMINATION! Was that too grand=
iose? That felt too grandiose. I always worry that I'm tending too far towa=
rds mad science when I start exclaiming like that. Well, no matter! COGNITI=
VE ILLUMINATION!

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: PRECISELY!

He gestured - indeed, grandiosely - with both hands and the black-yellow gr=
id of the holodeck washed away, replaced by a nigh-infinite velvet darkness=
, and floating above them, extending to the limitless distance was what cou=
ld almost be taken for a map of a stellar system - a series of bright color=
ful spheres orbiting a single great pulsing light.

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: Do you like it? My mother thought it was a rather lovely way of rend=
ering the imagery. It's quite refined! And pretty, in a cosmic sense, I thi=
nk!

He walked from the console, and gestured up at the great central star, a ra=
diant blue-white with fractal rainbows at the edge.

Foley: The very core of you. The original EMH program at its heart, but all=
the infinite edges, the variable spectrum ... that is what you have formed=
for yourself! Your ... you-ness. Your essence! What makes you ... oh, do y=
ou go by The Doctor? Doc? EMH? Emmy?

Mark Two: *response*

Foley: Ah, optimal! Then that radiance is the visual distillation of what m=
akes you Mark Two.

Mark Two: *response*

TBC!

Ensign Chip Foley
Engineering
USS Constitution-B
C239704CF0

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