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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Meanwhile, at the Academy of Star Fleet Command . . .

Slavik: Ah! Cadets Barrac and Samrat.

Barrac: Ah! Slavik! Back from leave on Vulcan?

Slavik: Indeed. It seemed the logical thing to do. But I was puzzled on arrival.

Samrat: Why so? Oh, you must have heard our friend Kirkson was getting washed out.

Slavik: Even so. Was it not the case that Kirkson came into the academy with one of the highest profiles in the institution's history?

Barrac: That's true but he was also a wild card. Because of his abilities his promotion was accelerated and did not go through normal channels. It is possible to miss evidence of unfitness in the early stages.

Slavik: In what sense was he unfit?

Samrat: The official statement was that he was unable to cope with military life. Oh, look! There he is now boarding the departure shuttle. We came to see him off when we bumped into you here.

Barrac: Too bad. Look at the disappointed expression on his face. It's hard for a young man from Earth to give up on a life of adventure.

Slavik: I still don't understand. What happened?

Barrac: Kirkson was not able to complete the interspace technical operations training.

Samrat: In particular, Kirkson was in class with us during the lecture where the operational principles of transporter operation were explained. You know that lecture?

Slavik: Of course. Vulcans had discovered transporter principles on there own before they adopted federation models. The transporter was considered by Surak to greatly facilitate logical enlightenment -- the one technology that he never criticized. So this must have been the lecture where it was explained that what a transporter actually does is bit map a laser simulacrum of the functional structure of the object and its current state, while the matter synthesizer de-atomizes the object mapped and re-synthesizes a counter part object from ambient particles at the desired location according to the map. Not much different from starship food processors.

Barrac: That's the one - the one where they demonstrate the process by a short, in-class, transporter jump where two senior cadets start by playing a game of chess, stop in the middle, get in the transporter, get beamed to the other transporter, and pick up their game exactly where they left off.

Samrat: Except the lecturer also mentioned the "Zombification Legend".

Slavik: Oh, yes! The legend that since all that is preserved is the functional state of the person prior to entering the transporter, it may be that the person after leaving the transporter could function and behave as before but without conscious experiences.

Barrac: Yes, as if the person is perpetually sleep walking.

Samrat: Or even making the person cease to exist altogether while the body just becomes a highly realistic zombie. Of course, it's called a legend because we would have no way of telling the difference.

Barrac: Of course, that seems highly unlikely given that we already have conscious experiences before we go in a transporter in this universe.

Samrat: And we still have them after!

Barrac: We do?

Samrat: Don't you? My, that is distinctly bright shade of red in your uniform!

Barrac: Thanks! I'm trying a new detergent wave for clothes maintenance. By the way, check out Ensign Mitchell over there.

Samrat: Gorgeous! I wish they would go back to the official miniskirt uniform. Zing!

Slavik: Humans!

Barrac: Disgusted?

Slavik: Of course not. And of course, all this is beside the point.

Samrat and Barrac: Hahahahahahaha!

Slavik: Humor. It is a difficult concept.

Samrat: Anyway, it turns out that Kirkson could not dismiss the "zombification" possibility and he refused to go in the transporter even once.

Slavik: Now I see. Fascinating.

Barrac: The academy adviser said that this still happens from time to time. They will re-assign him to civilian duties but he cannot be a Starfleet officer. He will probably be assigned to a research position.

Slavik: What a loss to Starfleet.

Barrac: Isn't it? (Begins to snicker.)

Samrat: It sure is. (Both snicker out of control.)

Slavik: What is it?

Samrat: Mmmmff! Well, what can I say? The joke's on Kirkson.

Barrac: Right! Last night we invited him to a "going away" party, got him passed out on black market Romulan ale, and beamed him through the lecture room transporter anyway.

Samrat: That was my idea!

Barrac: Look, he's wiping a tear from his eye and waving goodbye to us! How sentimental!

Samrat: I kill me!

Slavik: Humor. It is a difficult concept.