Archive for July, 2010

Jing-Ling Kao:  That’s a very interesting point, Commandant.  I’d like to change the subject now and ask one final question.

Commandant Chapin:  The Academy is an open book, as I like to say.  We owe that much to Federation citizens.

JLK:  I want to ask you about a recent…malfunction of the Academy’s transporters…

QC:  [Chokes as he sips a glass of water]

JLK:  I think you know the one I mean…for our viewers…

QC:  I really don’t think…was this one of the questions you submitted to my staff?

JLK:  For several days last week, the transporters here were changing the sex of anyone who used them—male to female and vice versa, or more complicated transformations in non-bi-gendered species.  The effect was reversed when travelers left again.  I believe that for several hours before beaming back to orbit, Commandant, you yourself were a woman…in your case, the transporter even exchanged your uniform for a yellow sundress, correct?  I think we even have some photos…

QC:  I…what?  I’m not sure any of this is appropriate.  Not that I think there’s anything wrong with being a woman, of course.  I mean, I’m not one, obviously, but, well…I…ah…what exactly is your question Miss Kao?

JLK:  I talked with several experts, including Dr. Bendagorapliastoric at the Daystrom Institute, and they were uniformly struck by the technical ability of whoever perpetrated this prank, particularly in the case of changes in Andorian genders…

QC:  Prank?  It was a malfunction, pure and simple.  Where did you hear this was a prank?

JLK:  The transporter reassembly routines were redirected though the Academy’s central computer core, were they not?  The buffers were substantially modified to accommodate changes in mass.  And some of the superficial safety protocols were bypassed…

QC:  Those modifications violated no less than 10 of the guidelines established by the McCoy Institute for Transporter Safety, you should know.

JLK:  None of this couldn’t happen by accident, could it?

QC:  Well, we don’t know yet.  This is a topic of an ongoing investigation…we haven’t totally ruled out espionage.

JLK:  I understand, Commandant.  But if this were done by a cadet—and as far as I know, there was no lasting harm…

QC: [Mumbles] Aside from those damned photos…

JLK:  …and so it shows all the hallmarks of an innocent prank—then it suggests a considerable degree of technical skill, not to mention quite an imagination, yes?

QC:  Perhaps.

JLK:  Do you have any idea who did this?  You must be all too aware, with new threats to the Federation from every direction, that we are in need of talented, creative Starfleet officers now more than ever.

QC:  As I said Miss Kao, there is an ongoing investigation.  And I agree with your point, but this… “prank,” as you call it, was not the sort of thing we want to encourage in our cadets.  This was an invasion of individuals’ self-determination, not a harmless stunt…

JLK:  I can see you’re quite upset about this, Commandant.  I’m sorry to bring it up…

QC:  And if this was the work of one of our cadets, I can assure you that they would be properly disciplined.  When I took this post, I vowed to uphold order and decorum in the Academy.  And despite a few incidents, attributable to a handful of individuals, I’ve succeeded.  Once I know for sure it was…well, once we discover who did this…er…if anyone did do this…it might still have been an accident…then, well…we’ll take appropriate steps.  Yes, appropriate steps…

JLK:  Well, once again, Commandant, thank you for your time.  I know I’ll be very curious to see the results of your investigation into this matter, as will many of our viewers.  In the meantime, for Federation Today, I’m Jing-Ling Kao.  Join us next time when we talk with Captain Lambert Lynch of Starfleet’s Advanced Tactics Division about the controversy over the Federation’s use of coaking technology.  Good night.


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Patrick Guinness Donal O’Kennedy (or, in the more Gaelic form he sometimes adopts, Paidraig Guinness Domhnall O’Cinneididh) was the child of Kathleen O’Kennedy, a descendant of the legendary Arthur Guinness and a chemist at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, and Timothy O’Kennedy, the director of the adjacent Guinness Institute for Advanced Study (GIAS), which was founded after World War III. (Synthahol was actually invented at the GIAS by accident. It is still regarded as a mistake there.)

Patrick entered Starfleet Academy somewhat later in life. He spent his early years traveling around Earth and throughout the solar system, often working odd jobs on shuttles and orbital rigs. For eighteen months, he also served as an engineering mate on the SS Death Star, an aging interstellar freighter.

While at the Academy, Patrick earned a reputation. Because of his personal charm and his air of self-confidence, he was sometimes compared him to a young James Kirk. True to the comparison, he also displayed what some instructors felt was a contempt for authority. As a teaching assistant in advanced engineering II, he instructed his students how to make beer with spare parts from the demonstration warp core, leading to a now-famous remark by the Academy commandant that a starship is not a brewery. Rumor also had it that he was responsible for a prank in which the Academy’s transporters began reversing the gender of everyone who used them.

Though many of his instructors also complained about his lack of effort, in the end, he excelled in both theoretical and practical work. When the USS Khun Bulom experienced a freak collision with a micro-singularity, Cadet O’Kennedy saved the ship from a warp core breach by increasing the matter-antimatter mix ration to 2:1, clogging the injectors with particle build up—a practice that he learned aboard the Death Star called “flash freezing.”

After leaving the Academy, Patrick was assigned to the USS Kilkee.  He is now in command of the USS Ardent.

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