Emergency Technical Hologram (ETH)

Emergency Technical Holographic Program


(As recorded by Starfleet.)

The Emergency Technical Holographic program (ETH) was a sophisticated Hologram developed in early 2378 by Starfleet after the success of the Emergency Medical Holographic program (EMH) developed by Dr. Lewis Zimmerman in the early 2370s. Both were used on some Federation starships in the late 24th century. The ETH was designed to provide short-term advanced assistance during emergencies in engineering with the capacity to literally replace a starship's Chief Engineer or science officer. It was programmed with the same basic mission objective as Dr. Farallon's boxy Exocomps —developed in 2369. The ETH could enter areas deemed too hazardous for crew members. The formal name of the program was ETH Program DE-1 Diagnostic Logistic and Engineering Subroutine Alpha-242.

The first starship to be equipped with an ETH was the USS Bellerophon, although the Explorer also had an ETH program, followed shortly after by the USS Wellspring.. All three were Intrepid class starships.

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Deep Space 9 does not have an ETH due to it being incompatible with Cardassian technology.


History

As of 2384, there have been four versions of the ETH, called Mark I, II, III, and IV. Starfleet commissioned the brilliant holo-programmer, Dr. Astrid DeLeon at the Starbase 1 Holoprogramming Center above Earth to create the embodiment of modern engineering. The ETH Mark I was first activated in 2378 and was programmed with 5 million possible troubleshoots from the collective information of 2000 technical references and the experience of 42 individual engineering officers. The ETH was also supplemented with contingency programs and adaptive programs to learn while serving as a supplement of a normal engineering staff member in cases of emergencies. It contains 50 million gigaquads of computer memory, which is "considerably more than most highly developed humanoid brains."

Dr. DeLeon, proud of her achievement, decided to program the ETH with both the physical and psychological likeness of one of the 21st century’s greatest minds, Dr. Lucas Wolenczak. He originally worked on board the submersible vessel SeaQuest DSV for the UEO (United Earths Oceans organization) beginning in 2018. She uploaded the historical databanks of his life up to his 17th year. It was in this time frame that she felt he showed his broadest adaptive capabilities and limitless imagination without the controlling thumb of any command structure. He was known for early inventions like the “Stinger” (a single-man fighter), very early bio-gel pack technology to cool the computer core of the SeaQuest, the holosphere's fledgling schematics, refining the SeaQuest's outer bio-skin, and developing the Vocorder that eventually became the base technology for the Universal Translator. She was also envious of his free spirit and rebellious nature to be pinned to one regime. The resulting hologram was arrogant with a smart-ass streak, and as a result was poorly received by many Starfleet engineers. This resulted in nicknames like "Emergency Technical Hothead" and "Expendable Talking Hammer." Some of Starfleet’s technical crowd even went so far as to object to the use of the ETH entirely.

Eventually it was concluded that the ETH Mark I was defective, and they were bounced out of the engineering corps. While an ashamed Dr. DeLeon tried to have them decommissioned, Starfleet reassigned them to scrub plasma conduits on transfer barges with Dr. Zimmerman's defunct EMH Mark 1’s. The ETH Mark I's were also deployed in other menial tasks, like dilithium mining –also alongside the EMH Mark 1’s. Thus began a discord between the two Holographic programs.

Of at least 225 Mark I's created, 221 were reassigned, reprogrammed, or lost due to disasters befalling their parent ships. Four escaped by virtue of their ships being lost through the Route of Ages; one aboard the Agamemnon, one aboard the Bellerophon, one aboard the Wellspring, and one aboard the Explorer.

Most notably Lucas Wolenczak, a Mark I serving on the USS Explorer, ran intermittently for six months and was forced to expand his programming extensively to keep up.

To address the flaws in the ETH Mark I, Dr. DeLeon began work on the Mark II with help from Dr. Zimmerman's research. The prototype was finished in time to be included in the engineering bays of the USS Artemis in 2380.

While the Mark I's outward appearance was a copy of the young 21st century inventor, a disillusioned Dr. DeLeon changed the outward appearance of the Mark II. Furthermore, the patterns of behavior of the following versions were designed to be more pleasant and courteous and their outward appearance was changed. To achieve this, DeLeon initially tried to improve on the programming of the Mark I, but eventually decided to create the Mark II from scratch. In addition to that, new ship designs like the USS Artemis enabled full mobility for the ETH, as the whole ship was outfitted with holographic projectors.

The Mark II was soon replaced by a Mark III, followed by a Mark IV.

By 2384, the Mark I programs were reconfigured to work at a Federation mining colony in replacement of other forms of labor. These programs, having been reasigned to their new function, were able to obtain bootlegged copies of the USS Voyager EMH doctor's holonovel "Photons Be Free" and view them. One of the ETH miners found the holonovel "spectacular."2


USS Explorer’s ETH Mark I –Lucas Wolenczak

After the ETH Mark II supplanted the "inferior" Mark I, the only remaining versions to fulfill their original programming were aboard the USS Explorer, the USS Agamemnon, the USS Wellspring, and the USS Bellerophon, which were all sent through the Route of Ages. However, a notable caveat was that in 2382, the Bellerophon ETH was deleted when a virus tore through the ship’s computer, leaving it derelict. The Agamemnon was destroyed in a battle over Tatooine, thus destroying that ship's ETH, and the Wellspring ETH was never utilized. Its program was used to repair the Explorer's ETH matrix, leaving Explorer’s program, "Lucas Wolenczak” as the only remaining Mark I still operating as an ETH.

Explorer’s ETH developed a distinct personality when the Explorer was caught into the Route of Ages for the first time on January 3rd, 2381. It took the ship through a split second in Earth’s history on November 12th, 2018. At that exact moment, Lucas Wolenczak had activated an experimental holographic sphere on board the United Earth's Oceans Organization (UEO) submersible vessel, SeaQuest DSV. The Route snagged his consciousness and attached it to the Explorer's inactive ETH program. For the next six months, Lucas expanded his programming as the crew called on him for support and for repairs after various battles. Through all of this, Lucas was able to hack his way through the ship’s systems, exploring every facet of the computer when his program was inactive. He was not aware that his “dreams” of dwelling within a computer were actually Reality, and that his room on the SeaQuest was a recreation on the ship’s holodeck.

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He became aware of his rare situation when he was ripped from the ship’s computer by a temporal spike in the Route and was sent to the desert planet, Tatooine. After a few days, he realized his predicament and built a crude mobile emitter.

The Explorer later crashed on Tatooine, leaving Lucas an ETH without a ship.

A unique aspect to Lucas Wolenczak was the ability to transfer himself from physical matter to digital data by entering –or thinking—the code “826242” which was Captain Bridger’s (captain of the SeaQuest) favorite number. It was later revealed by a local Jedi that the Force played a powerful role in his existence. He soon found he could manipulate that energy. A downfall to this ability was an apparent need to return to “Datamode” within the mobile emitter for 8 hours continuously every 7 days to recharge or memory degradation would occur.

In a report filed by Explorer's Captain, Zon Huntreas, Starfleet has since recognized Lucas Wolenczak as a sentient lifeform under the adjudicated law redefining "life" altered because of Lt. Commander Data.

Mechanics

* The ETH was a holographic simulation of a Human, but with no internal organs beneath the apparent surface to conserve computer power.
* Holodecks used omnidirectional holographic diodes. An engineering deck was fitted with a system of OHDs that projected an image of the ETH. Each projected a complete image. Visible portions changed as the hologram moved, creating an illusion of fluid motion.
* Magnetic containment fields allowed the ETH to interact with physical objects. These force fields moved as the ETH moved to create the appearance of solid matter. The containment fields could be shut off, allowing objects and people to pass through them – an ETH's cohesion could range from solid to intangible.
* When OHDs and magnetic field generators were added to other parts of a ship, they allowed the hologram to leave engineering (as in more advanced Starfleet ships or modified configurations). Without these additional projectors, the ETH could only function in engineering and the holodeck.
* USS Explorer also discovered the ETH program’s transfer to emitter allowed the ETH to act as a technical aid during away missions. However, damage to the emitter posed a risk of damage or even deletion of the ETH.
* The universal translator algorithm was written into the ETH's matrix.
* When he was first activated, the Explorer’s ETH apparently did not have the ability to deactivate himself after he finished his duties. However, he later gave himself that ability by issuing computer command "Override Command 1-ETH-Alpha; End Program.”

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