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"The Dangers of Diplomacy "
== Holodeck ==
Ambassador Lamont eagerly activated the program of his choosing before stepping
inside the holodeck for some much needed exercise and relaxation. One of his
favorite hobbies and sports combined was the art and skill of fencing. It was a
refined sport requiring both strength and endurance in addition to tactics and
guile. It was something of a lost art in lieu of more popular games and sports
involving anti-gravity, machines, and holographic avatars. Centuries old the
sport remained a challenge in the age of holodecks and modern technology and few
people were able to fully master its many subtle nuances. Anyone could grab a
foil or sword and be dangerous yet those with skill and practice could outclass
and outmatch even the strongest soldier in close quarter combat.
Entering the black and yellow grid of the Charon's holodeck, Lamont called for a
selection of suitable foils which the computer promptly provided. Selecting a
weapon, Lamont attempted several mock parries and thrusts finally settling upon
a foil that met with his approval in length, weight, and balance. Bending the
tapered blade ever so slightly Lamont headed deeper into the holodeck.
The computer had his custom crafted weapon of choice which had won him dozens of
competitions, stored within its vast memory yet Lamont enjoyed the challenge of
mastering an unfamiliar weapon just as he enjoyed new and unfamiliar opponents.
Fully equipped in protective padding from head to toe, Lamont pondered a list of
potential opponents. A Klingon? No. Too aggressive, brutish, and without
finesse. An Andorian? Hmm. Bad temper and one always had to be careful of
those antennas which if hit could invoke a particularly unpleasant response.
Romulan? Meh. Bolian? Too affable and talkative. Gorn? No agility.
With a sigh, Lamont selected a standard human opponent. A human male would do
fine for a warm up. Later, if he felt adventurous then perhaps he would select
a more exotic opponent.
With a computer avatar shimmering into existence ready for combat, Lamont closed
the protective face mask and touched his foil to that of his opposite. After a
few seconds the word "Enguard" filled the room as the two clashed in combat.
His warm up progressed as expected and after increasing the skill level several
times Lamont found the workout and practice both invigorating and challenging.
Half an hour passed as the ambassador completed a final round almost out of
breath having upped the difficulty of his computerized opponent above his own
skill and well into territory of the finest swordsmen on record.
The match concluded with a loss for the ambassador. Despite the setback he was
practicing against facsimiles of some of the best fencing and swordsmen and was
able to hold his own; at least for a time. Satisfied of his performance, Lamont
smiled as the match came to an end. His opponent stepped back and froze in
place. Ian lowered his foil and removed his headgear taking a moment to wipe
his sweat slick face and hair with a damp towel.
As he was wiping the back of his neck the frozen computerized male suddenly
lunged forward and attacked. Lamont was only barely able to raise his guard to
deflect the powerful blow directed at his head.
"Computer, end program", Lamont shouted as the avatar continued a relentless
attack. No relief was forthcoming. "COMPUTER! RESPOND!"
Lamont parried a series of devastating blows which nearly knocked his foil from
his grasp as the renegade program continued to increase in speed, strength, and
voracity. "LAMONT TO ENGINEERING", the ambassador shouted now completely on the
defensive unable to match the speed or skill of the computer. There was no
response. "LAMONT TO BRIDGE!"
The sting of metal slicing through flesh burned against the ambassador's face as
the computer broke through his defense and landed a painful blow across his
cheek. Instantly a thin ribbon of blood began to drip from the open wound
spattering the amabsador's white attire with crimson stains. "COMPUTER", Lamont
shouted again in vain. The hologram was herding him into a corner and away from
the exit almost as if its intent was to prevent escape and potentially cause
either significant harm or death. The fresh wound upon his face was evidence the
computer's safety systems had failed or worse had been deliberately sabotaged.
Fearing for his safety, Lamont channeled his anxiety into his defense eventually
realizing the avatar was utilizing a specific set of static attack patterns
executed at random. If the current program had been tampered with it was
evident the person who had reprogrammed his training simulation was poorly
versed in the art of fencing.
With exhaustion setting in, Lamont had to act quickly less he fall victim to the
hologram gone amuck. Anticipating an attack, Lamont seized the opportunity to
for once go on the offensive and with several lightning fast thrusts caught the
hologram off guard. Shattering the flawed avatar's defense, Lamont sank his
foil into the soft underbelly of its virtual chest as deeply as it would
penetrate. Seconds later the hologram vanished in a swirl of photons leaving
the ambassador high on adrenaline and short of breath.
With the recent terror seemingly over, Lamont headed toward the exit but not
before excruciating pain radiated up his leg as something cold and hard
punctured the soft flesh of his leg. Ian fell to the ground with a cry as
another hologram withdrew its weapon from his leg its bloody tip only inches
from the ambassador's twisted face. Surprised from behind, Ian had not seen or
heard his silent attacker which had reappeared to finish the job it had started.
Scrambling backwards on his hands and elbows, Lamont deflected several vicious
attacks narrowly avoiding being further perforated. An ever expanding trail of
sticky blood leaking from his injured leg now coated the holodeck floor. A
nearby powerful attack which Lamont barely dodged shattered the ebony surface of
the floor. Yellow and white sparks exploded upwards into a fountain-like spray
as several holoemitters overloaded belching steady clouds of fumes and smoke.
Lamont scrambled to his feet during the brief respite as the room slowly became
obscured by a dark, acrid haze. Suddenly, his attacker appeared through the fog
his form warped and twisted due to the nearby damage. Lamont looked on in
horror as two more identical holograms appeared their heads down and their dark,
brooding eyes affixed on his person. The hologram's intention swimming in their
cold eyes was to kill. Lamont was for an instant amazed at the horrific
accuracy the computer was able to achieve with replicated humans.
In a last effort to escape, Lamont hurled his foil at the approaching gang of
holograms as he dashed toward the exit as quickly as possible grasping his
injured, throbbing leg. Approaching the door he did not wait to cross through
its threshold and instead hurled himself forward just as the tips of several
blades lashed out behind his back and head.
His body struck the ground of the corridor and rolled several times until he hit
the opposite wall which finally halted his forward momentum. Blood now stained
the carpet outside the holodeck doors where he had fallen and was also smeared
against the bulkhead wall where he had finally come to a stop.
Lifting his head, Ian looked toward the open holodeck doors where the murderous
holograms charged into the corridor unaware of the consequences. Each
individual upon leaving the confines of the holodeck instantly vaporized into
nothingness only a few feet from the frightened and injured ambassador who no
longer had the means to defend himself. A continuous stream of attackers poured
from the holodeck doors like lemmings hurling themselves off a cliff with the
single goal of killing the ambassador who was just barely out of reach.
The terrifying spectacle continued to play out until several passing crewmen
noticing the commotion attempted to shut down the malfunctioning holodeck.
Having no success, someone removed the protective bulkhead covering the holodeck
controls and within a few moments ended the terror by severing power to the room
by means of an emergency shutdown control.
Lamont only stared at the now empty doorway too traumatized to react in any
coherent way as several crewmen gathered around to assist. His head felt light
as his wounds took their toll and voices around him seemed to grow distant. A
sudden harsh slap in the face shook him from the dreamlike sensations as a
female lieutenant shouted at him to 'stay with her'. Where was he going in this
He felt a warm, inviting sensation envelop him and suddenly felt the urge to
simply sleep. Another harsh slap from the annoying woman now visibly shaking
and beating him senseless to keep him awake prevented any such rest from
occurring. Half conscious and aware his wounds were serious Lamont's thoughts
weren't on himself, nor did his life flash before him. He wondered who would
claim ownership of his ale and spirits collection should the worst befall him
and how terrible it would be if the captain managed to abscond with his
cherished possessions. He only hoped that he would be granted the task of
haunting her should he not survive this freakish incident in the holodeck.
Another slap across the face caused the ambassador to focus his laser green eyes
upon the woman determined to further assault and accost him. Seconds later the
telltale tingle of a transporter beam whisked him off to places unknown as the
holodeck door and the infuriating, slaphappy, crewman faded into a cloud of
shimmering silvers and blues. Thank heaven she was finally gone...
~ Fin ~
Ambassador Ian Lamont