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Holograms and Plants (Part 1)

Posted on Fri Feb 28th, 2014 @ 9:13am by Lieutenant JG Joshua Hoss

Mission: Green Thumb
Location: Science Lab
Timeline: After Launch


Josh was irate. He had been told that the Science department wasn’t going to have to deal with holograms being a part of the staff, like the rest of the ship. Yet here he was, supposedly managing not one but two of them. Of course they didn’t work right, and of course they pretended not to notice their deficiency. Even the staff was getting annoyed with them, naming them Murphy (after Murphy’s Law) and Finagle (after Finagle’s Law of Dynamic Negatives) – meaning that anything that could go wrong with the holograms had gone wrong with the holograms.

So far the holograms had appeared as various forms, sizes, and most annoying places. Several times the staff had walked in on one or both of the holograms partially materialized in a wall, acting as if nothing was wrong. At first it had been funny, but now it was getting old. Luckily they had not appeared on top of or in a crewman yet, but Josh knew it was coming. He wasn’t even mad that they appeared in the walls/tables/chairs, jus that their annoying know-it all personalities kept them from realizing it. He tried his best to ignore them by placing them on simple, time occupied tasks such as watering the plants in hydroponics.

As far as Josh considered he had more important things to worry about than two malfunctioning holograms. Like what to do with Kala Meru. Kala, a member of the science staff assigned to the ship, appeared to be an extremely brilliant woman. But her people skills were severely lacking, causing her to avoid some of the work she should be doing. Her single projects were outstanding, Josh could find now fault with them. But whenever he tried to assign her to a job that required more than just her she would disappear, working on it alone and then dumping her part of the project on his desk. Josh had been up most of the night trying to think of a way of getting Kala to become a team player, and he thought he might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

“Kala, can I see you in my office?” Josh had been watching Kala in the main lab while she was working, alone, in a corner, as usual. Kala looked up at Josh with a look that told him she was not happy with being pulled away from whatever lonely assignment she was digging into.

Inside his office Josh made sure the door was shut before sitting down behind his desk. He hadn’t had much time to decorate his desk, but he had found time to put a few pictures as well as several interesting stress relieving toys on it. He noted that as soon as Kala sat down she removed one of the toys from his desk and began to fidget with it. “Kala, you need to help me out. I need you to become a team player.”

Kala didn’t look up at Josh as she responded. “I am a team player sir. Everything I do gets sent to you, and you make sure the rest of the department gets it.”

“That’s not what I meant Kala. And for the hundredth time, call me Josh in here. I’m trying to talk to you not only as your supervisor, but as a potential friend.” Josh wanted badly to yell at her to look at him as they talked. It was frustrating for him to try to help her and for her to act as if she was fine. He was going to have to try harder. “Kala, you are a brilliant scientist. Probably the best one I have. I really am happy that you are here. Most of your work is flawless.”

“Then why are we having this discussion sir?” Kala had stopped fidgeting with the toy and had finally looked at Josh. “If I am doing a good job then what does it matter if I am talking to the crew or not?”

Josh took a deep breath. “Because it is affecting the other part of your work. You know the part where I have asked you to work with other crewmembers? I can’t manage every project going on in this department Kala, that isn’t possible. So when I ask you and someone else to take care of a project I do not have the time to get our notes, send them to the other crewman, and work with that crewman on your behalf. You need to do that without including me and only call me when it is completed or if there is an issue.”

“I don’t want to work with other crewmen sir. I want to work alone.” Kala had looked down at the toy again.

“Kala, that isn’t an option.”

“It should be. Not everyone is comfortable working with other people. I’m not. “She had started to fidget with the toy again.

Josh smiled. It was almost as if he had set a trap and had her walk right into it. “Kala, I have an idea. You have a problem working with others. I have a problem in that I need you to not work alone. I think I have a solution that might work out for both of us, at least for a little bit.”

Kala had put down the toy again and looked at Josh. “What is it?” she said with interest.

“I’m going to put you on a team of two” Josh said, watching Kala’s face turn to disappointment. “But your teammate isn’t going to be a person.”

Kala leaned towards Josh. “Not a person? But then what?”

“A hologram.”

Kala almost jumped out of her chair. “You mean one of those malfunctioning things? Really?”

Josh laughed. “Yep. As I see it I need you to learn teamwork, and I need someone to keep an eye on those holograms and to document and report the problems. I can’t think of anyone better than you. It will teach you how to work with someone on a task before you actually have to do just that.” Josh had seen Kala’s initial reaction, but saw a change come over her face. He was pretty sure he had her, but he needed her to admit it. “So do you think it will work?”

Kala took a moment before responding. “I don’t really have a choice, do I?”

“No, but I need you to try. You can’t keep doing what you are doing, that isn’t working. I need effort, and I need to be able to see it. This is the only option on the table Kala, I think it is fair.”

Kala nodded. “I’ll make it work then.”

Josh smiled and stood up. “Perfect! I think I will have you work with Finagle. The taller, younger looking one. He should be in hydroponics tending to the new crossbreed plant. Help him monitor it and run some tests on it, and report back to me with your findings.”

“Understood, sir” Kala said as she got up to leave.


“Yes sir?”

“Good luck, have fun. Oh, and stop calling me sir” Josh said with a big smile.

“Yes sir-I mean Josh.” With that Kala exited his office.

Josh sat down and pulled up the pad with the day’s information. He had high hopes for his little experiment with Kala and the hologram. Hopefully Kala could fix at least one of them, and maybe they could help fix her. Hopefully they wouldn’t kill the crossbreed plant in the process. Josh couldn’t remember the name and typed into his pad. The diomedian-keela scarlet flower, that was it. Josh hoped the poor little plant was strong enough for what lay ahead.

(To be continued...)


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