[WARNING: Wide character in print at board.cgi line 1302. ] Starfleet Academy Lounge: Helping the Professor
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Helping the Professor

Starfleet Academy Lounge


by Cadet Chester Nogura & Professor Arliss Trumbull Ph.D.
[Stardate ]

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Greetings Cadet Nogura!

I have a matter that I would like to discuss with you. Please schedule a time during my office hours or you may just drop in.


                                                                                                    Cordially,
                                                                                                    Arliss S. Trumbull Ph.D.

Chet got the note on his PADD and , seeing that it was between classes and the time for the evening meal, he headed over to the Professor's office, stopping off just long enough to pick up some wagashi, some of the sweet snacks from his homeland to tide them over till they could go eat in the Academy's Mess Hall.

Once he got to the office, he rang the door chime." Professor Trumbull, you wished to see me?"

"Chester! Please come in and have a seat." Trumbull called out in a muffled tone.


When Chet entered, he saw why the professor's voice had sounded so odd. The older man was seated and bent over with his entire head inside of a large bin. He was rooting through the contents and every so often he would pause and toss something on the floor. After a few minutes of searching and not finding he sat up. "Alas, I'm afraid I've lost it. And I wanted to show it to you! I hate moving and moving across half the galaxy is the absolute worst." Trumbull frowned as he massaged his lower back. His eyes brightened when he saw Chet's snack and he craned his neck in the cadet's direction looking interested in the confections. "Are those perchance ichigo daifuku?" He asked.

Chet grinned and extended the large bag of sweets to the Professor with both hands and a respectful bow. "I was hoping that you'd like them, sir. There's more than just the Ichigo Daifuku in there, since I was not certain of your tastes." More was an understatement and then some, there were slices of Kasutera, Kompeito balls, Sata andagi, Monaka, Nerikiri, Sakura-mochi, Botamochi, Manju, Kushi-dango skewers, Rakugan, Okoshi, Boro and Chimaki to go along with the Ichigo Daifuku. There was also a canister of powdered green Matcha tea and another canister of Gyokuro tea to the sides of the bag, arranged so that they would not tilt over and crush the delicate wagashi.

Trumbull rubbed his palms together and then reached in plucking out the desired treat. He delicately bit down into his selection. "Mmmmmmmm....delicious!    Arigato!" The professor gushed as he popped the remaining half into his mouth, seemingly savoring it.    When he was done, the removed a small handtowel from his desk, wiped his fingers and mouth and executed a perfect underhanded pitch into the recycler 2/3 of the way across the office.    "Cadet Nogura, have a seat! How are you enjoying the survival class so far?

Chet bowed to the professor as he gushed his thanks." Dō Itashimashite, Professor." The cadet nodded when told to take a seat and sat down, almost at attention. "I'm liking the class very well, sir. It's interesting and filling in gaps that I'm not used to thinking about when I'm preparing for one of the SCA events or Wars. I've been usually been going in persona as a samurai, so I need to pack fairly light for travel but be prepared for battle at any moment. Now that I'm also helping Minerva with everything SCA-wise, I'm being doubly careful of what I need to pack and weighing the bulk against the need for each item. And NightWind is even better than I am for traveling light. So, what would you need me to help you with?"

"So young and so full of boundless energy!" Trumbull made a clucking sound with his tongue. "Asked you here because during the introduction a few weeks back, you spoke as though you were an expert in Japanese styles of sword wielding. And by your own account just now, you dress and perform as a samurai. I would like you to host a class on that topic and do a demonstration in front of the class." As he let his request sink in, he stuck his hand back in the bag of confections and withdrew a different type. "Mmmmm, monaka, crunchy!" He munched it as Chet pondered.

    
"I'd have to get some friends involved to give a proper demonstration to show the different forms, even within the Nipponese fighting traditions. Then we'd have to compare the Oriental forms against the European styles and that's not even getting into the Klingon, Vulcan and Andorian forms. We MIGHT get Kobor and Soan to help out though Barak could possibly fill in there for the Vulcan forms and that's to say nothing of the Orion Pen fighting that Melli knows or the Sivaoan styles from NightWind." Chet was already thinking what might be involved. "We could also have a class on how to make a bow out of plastic tubing that might be found in case of a shuttle crash and then use some of the straight metal tubing for arrows. The problem there would be in finding enough straight lengths that could be cut to uniform size and having the people well enough practiced that they could use those to hunt with if necessary." Chet knew that one style alone usually was not a guarantee for survival and if they knew more than one, being able to confuse an enemy by switching fighting techniques on them was a definite advantage.

"Such ardor! Such passion!" Trumbull exclaimed. "When I saw that fire burning in your eyes, I knew you were the one!"    Abruptly the professor stopped. "NOW I remember!" He sprang up and rushed to an elaborately decorated bookcase. The shelves were largely empty but a compact box sat on one of the lower shelves, He picked it up, hurried back and placed it on his desk between the two. He opened the container carefully and extracted a dormant holocube. Trumbull tapped it lightly and the cube came to life. There was a strange wistfulness in his eyes as he stared at the photo show as the scenes flashed by. At least five minutes elapsed before he touched the cube again and the scene he stopped on was projected in the air and came to life.


Chester saw a man who looked a lot like Professor Trumbull sitting amidst a very rustic looking campsite on a greyish landscape. He lifted his mug in acknowledgement of the videographer but didn't speak. Off camera a light female voice teased him. "Stop being a pill Arli, say something for our records! Don't make me get tough!" Her laughter made him smile but he didn't reply, "Playing hard to film again? Don't say I didn't warn you!"    The camera angle shifted and a young Asian woman sauntered into the frame. "Honestly Arli you need to work on your documentation skills. What if your friend over there decides to erupt unexpectedly and we're all." She make a slicing motion across her throat. "Your recordings might be the only information the rest of the galaxy has about the volcanic activity on the planet." Her pleas didn't seem to sway him and she ducked into the tent nearest him. She returned almost immediately with a tri-cornered hat that she put on his head, "If you won't talk, I'll tell everyone all about the mysterious Arliss Trumbull.."    The video clip ended there.


The professor pushed the cube over to Chet. "Do you recognize that woman?" He asked.

"She looks familiar, sir, though I can't place her. Was she your wife?" Chet asked gently, hoping that he didn't conjure up any bad memories for the Professor.

"Wife? Oh, no, KoKo was a fellow scientist and a dear friend."    He looked sad and tired. "She may look familiar because Tsukiko was your grandaunt, the youngest sister of your mother's mother. She was a brilliant archaeologist and a shining example of merging what you love to do with the skills to do it well. Her loss was tragic. And it was what sparked my interest in survival techniques beyond what most universities were teaching students. Many seemed to operate on the assumption that in 99% of incidents, a quick beam out would prevent problems and that the other 1% would work out with the abilities to make a fire and purify water until help arrived. I decided to challenge that after I...we..lost KoKo and her team."    



He touched the cube again and the projection disappeared. Then he opened a desk drawer and put the cube inside.


"That was enough diversion for one meeting." Trumbull made a show of cleaning the lenses of his glasses. "Back to your ideas. You obviously have much to offer, but for your first class demonstration, we might want to scale back some. Perhaps a brief overview of the style of sword fighting about which you will demonstrate, followed by mock battle that you've arranged and showing the entire class how to handle a sword.. We will have time in a future class or classes to cover the rest."


He stopped and waited.

Chet was thoughtful as he took in all the professor told him. Aunt Tsukiko's story was a favorite in the family among the younger generation and her loss was a good object lesson to all the rest of the more adventurous youngsters as to why preparedness was such a good idea. He dragged his thoughts back to the present and the demo he was to be in charge of as he nodded to the Professor. "I was already thinking of having several classes in dealing with the contrasts of the various styles. It would be an entire weekend's worth of work if we did it all at once and they might not get the full impact of the need to understand the nuances involved in dealing with multiple forms. The Dean is going to have a cow as it is about having the Rattan, foam and duct tape mockups of the weapons the SCA uses for the demo out and on display, to say nothing of the actual arms that would be used if the combat were real and not simulated, the way the SCA does. I know she has her reasons BUT..." He paused for a moment to check his thoughts before he really got in trouble. "Permission to speak freely?"

At the Professor's nod, he continued. "Does she expect Security to be so thick everywhere on campus it's to the point that you can't step out of your quarters before tripping over one? They had a saying once 'When Immediate help is needed, the police are minutes away.' True, it might be a shorter time period around here till they get there, but we'd still need ways to protect ourselves till then and sometimes hand to hand won't cut it. It might not be a bad idea to have a class on improvised weaponry from the at hand materials. Who knows when a thrown flower pot could save your life?"

I am quite happy to find you are so invested in our class. The weekend "seminar" idea could be both instructional and enjoyable! I will review the idea with the dean. As far as the tightening of the reins in regard to weaponry...." Trumbull fell silent and his demeanor changed. He seemed despondent, like the had in the last class. "I'm afraid that it is partially due to my actions. I'm more than a bit worried that the dean will terminate my contract for being so reckless." He perked up some. "But I won't let the what-ifs keep me from moving forward. So, if you recall, our entire classroom is a holodeck. You won't need to resort to mock-ups because safety protocols will be in place. What I'd like you to come up with is a way that we can give participants a clear idea of how being hit with say, a blow from a wakizashi, feels, without having them sustain any real or lasting damage. I've never been strong at programming scenarios or developing this sort of unique type of equipment. Feel free to find someone to assist you. That Cadet Rel seems to be technologically adept, perhaps he could be of assistance. All I ask is that you are sure than no one can really be injured and that for our first foray into this type of endeavor, be centered on one style of combat from one culture and time period, The holodeck can even be programmed to reflect a historically correct representation,    Until we are all more familiar with how this works, I believe this sort of laser focus would be best. "


Chet nodded. He heard the stories of how, over the years, no one actually had been KILLED for real during the practices, events and Wars the SCA had held during all the years of their existence. Injuries, there had been plenty and some severe enough to require Surgery, but those who fought accepted the risks of that and fought on the honor system that if they felt the blow was hard enough to incapacitate, they would stop using that limb or fall down or otherwise acknowledge that the shot was "Good enough" for torso and head hits to leave them either seriously wounded or dead on the field if it had been for real. The Vikings would have seen SCA as their version of Valhalla- fight all day, die, and come back for more fighting before partying all night with good food and beautiful women there to admire a man's prowess. True, there were almost as many Women fighters as men but that didn't seem to matter either. They all abided by the Rules of the List that the Marshals were in charge of for the safety of all, fighters and spectators alike, and the Armor Inspection was run before every practice, event or war to make sure that the minimum standards were maintained for the safety of the combatants. The SCA was proud of its safety record and rightfully so and they were more than ready to kick a fighter off the field if he endangered anyone willfully and possibly call a Court of Chivalry and possible banishment on him if the infraction was bad enough. "I was thinking of having some of the Marshals go over some of the Rules of the List before the demo and have samples of the armor and arms, both the SCA Mocks and the real thing, on display for people to examine. I know that the Barony here has an armory of all sorts of loaner gear that can be tried out and many of the fighters can double as Marshals if the cadets want to try it out on their own if we do it outside. Holodecks do have their advantages, but for this, it might almost be a DISadvantage for the ones that would be helping out." Chet was looking at all sides of the issue to find a workable balance for everyone, and, yes, he would be talking to Rel about working on the programs for it.

Trumbull had appeared to be listening but to Chet it seemed as though an hour, rather than a minute, had elapsed since he had explained his idea in detail.


"I greatly admire how dedicated you seem to be for historical perfection, Chester, but I'd worry that if we make the scenario to complex at the outset, we may bore some of the students Then there's the fallout from the mess with Cadets Hatfield and Shandari, I'm positive that the dean wouldn't allow anything which would invite the possibility of a repeat. But, since the last thing I want to do is dampen your enthusiasm for this side project Chester, I have an idea.

Let's find a way to use the holodeck as we discussed for demonstration, instruction and practice over a weekend. A safe way that also provides enough to give the class a good idea of the background, proper technique and ways to use the style of sword-fighting with which you are familiar.

Once your classmates have been given a taste, I'm willing to wager that some will want to know more. At that point, we can organize a "field trip" to your Barony...where we can learn more...much more...

Chet was thinking about who all he could get that would be comfortable enough to handle the Holodeck route for the demo. At minimum, two other fighters from the Barony would be needed. One to Marshal, or Referee, and the other as his opponent and they could switch out as needed on the roles. The Holodeck safety protocols WOULD be able to simulate wounds as needed while keeping everyone safe and he knew that HE'd be able to adapt to its use. He just didn't know about how well Seiya-san and Hikaru-san could adapt to the Holodeck generated weaponry, IF he could get them to help him out on the project. He was also thinking of calling his Grandfather, the Admiral, to help out but he was also afraid that the cadets AND Faculty might either be scared off by having an Admiral in so close proximity or thinking that he was trying to brown-nose with the top echelons by pulling in his family connections. "We could try it. I'll have to get in touch with a couple of the SCA Stick Jocks that also play Samurai for the Holodeck demo to pull it off but I think we can work it that way and then have everyone at an event to see how they interact with the European, Islamic and Mongol fighting styles. OR... we could see about hosting an event here and get even wider exposure for both groups. The SCA kids see more about Starfleet and our classes and the Cadets find out more on the historical aspects across the board."

"I like the way you're going with this. And I believe that once we have successfully held a "safe" demonstration using the holodeck, getting the authorization for an off campus excursion or an on campus event will be easier to pitch. I'm not saying we'll be able to work it out with the dean, but the exposure for the Academy and the opportunity for learning might be selling points. I will need you to get me the names and contact info for anyone that you plan to have assist you in the holodeck, They will of course need to pass a security check."

Chet grinned even more mischievously than before. "I don't think that there would be any problem on the Security score, sir. It's just if they will be available or not. Seiya-san is also known as Lt. Commander Theodore Trumbull over in HQ Security and Hikaru-san is Lt. Buntaro Iyesu from over in the Engineering School." He handed over a PADD with the easiest ways to get in touch with about a dozen of the Samurai contingent in the local SCA group.

"Well, look at that, another Trumbull! The galaxy gets smaller and smaller everyday! He's probably a third cousin twice removed or some such." The professor laughed. "Thank you Chester, after the weekend, I'll see what the dean thinks of our little plan. Do one thing for me please. Do try to look at the weapons interdiction from the Den's point of view. She's responsible for a campus teeming with young people from many worlds and many species. Protecting the students is something she can never, ever compromise on and she's in charge so she is within her rights to make the rules that she believes will keep us all safe." He smiled "See you at the Costume Ball tomorrow...or perhaps you won't see me...at least you won't KNOW unless you guess! I've got to run."


The professor waved and quite literally sprinted out of the door.    


END
   
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