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Author Topic: Holodeck Safety Protocols?
Starbuck
"Replicate some marmalade, Commander - helm control is toast!"
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Okay, here's a weird idea for you... it came up while I was discussing "The Killing Game" with some friends, and grew rapidly when we realised just how lethal the lack of holodeck safety protocols could be!

So, here are a few posers:

1. In "The Killing Game", if the Hirogen had run the Battle of Wolf 359 holoprogram with the safeties off, what would happen to anyone unfortunate enough to be assimilated? Would they become permanently Borg?

2. If the shuttle test flight holoprogram from "Threshold" was run with the safeties off, what would have happened to Tom Paris when the shuttle broke up? Can a holodeck inflict explosive decompression?

3. Given everything we know about the holodeck and the way it works, how come Riker was able to bounce a stone off the wall in "Encounter at Farpoint"? (I know, it's not a safety thing but it bugs me )

4. If the safeties are on and a player suffers an injury (explosive decompression, assimilation, suborbital skydiving accident etc.), what occurs from the player's point of view, and from the point of view of others in the program?

5. The holographic attack on the Nazi building in "The Killing Game" caused significant damage to Voyager's internal structure. What would happen if a simulated starship suffered a warp core breach and the safeties were off?

And finally...

6. Another non-safety question, but...
A holodeck has a finite size. If two crewmembers stand in the middle of the holodeck and walk towards the walls with a suitable program running (one which gives a larger virtual space than is physically available), what happens? Do they appear to move apart through the use of "force-field treadmills" and holoimaging, or do they bump into the walls?
And can you fit more real people into a large virtual space than you can fit in a deactivated holodeck?

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WARNING: Storing semtex in the microwave
may be hazardous to your health!


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Timo
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Well, the holodeck is only a machine. And even with the safeties off, it cannot perfectly reproduce reality. What I think would happen:

1) The Borg drones would punch nasty holes in the necks of the players, but no nanoprobes would be injected since the computer wouldn't be smart enough and the replicators not high-resolution enough to recreate them. At most, some sort of ersatz solution would be injected that might look like nanoprobe fluid.

2) Yes, Paris probably would suffer decompression. Forcefields that can support a man's weight or simulate the throwing of a punch or the flight of a tommy-gun bullet ought to be strong enough to do this. The experience might not beperfectly realistic but would be lethal enough.

3) Now that was the holodeck *before* the Bynars got a chance to mess with it in "11001001". Apparently, it wasn't very realistic at that point and could be easily fooled. Note how Riker seems amazed at the quality of the simulation in "11001001" even though the TV viewer notices nothing different from the earlier holodeck episodes. Perhaps the simulations originally had fake sounds, fake-feeling forcefields, jerky cuts in the action (synched with the cuts of the episode so that the TV viewers never noticed), annoying delays...

4) Perhaps the simulation freezes partially or completely. For example, if somebody jumps off a cliff, others see him falling but he himself gets an unrealistic deceleration at the end and lands softly on his feet. Or then he gets rudely returned to his starting point, with flaming letters appearing in mid-air in front of him: "Do not do that again!"...

5) The holodeck would probably lack the resources to simulate a core breach, and would only produce a moderately big explosion by using the forcefields. If "Killing Game" is any indication, some bulkheads would be bent and sparks would fly.

6) The two players would get the full treadmill treatment, plus holographic illusion of moving away from each other. The players would be individually surrounded by holographic "bubbles" or "booths" to achieve this effect. When they came close to each other again, the "booths" would merge.

And yes, you can fit more people on an activated holodeck than on a deactivated one, unless the program has a safety feature that prevents the computer from stacking people atop each other! On a standard E-D holodeck, three people could stand atop each other, supported by forcefields, and thus tripling the available floor space...

Timo Saloniemi


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Nim
The Aardvark asked for a dagger
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What would happen if the whole crew of voyager would go into the same holodeck to celebrate something, only to experience a massive power-surge? "splort!!" Hee Hee

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TSN
I'm... from Earth.
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I agree w/ Timo's evaluation, but I have a couple things to add. First, on the core breach question, I think that, as far as the people inside the holodeck were concerned, the explosion would be real enough, but it would end at the walls of the holodeck, so it wouldn't affect the rest of the ship in any way. And, on the question of how many people can fit in the holodeck, I agree that they can be on top of one another, but, once the entire volume of the room is filled, no more people can fit. Remember: the holodeck can make it look like two people standing right next to each other are far away from each other, but, in actuality, they still are right next to each other. Once the room is totally filled, no matter what the computer makes it look like, there is no more physical space for anyone else to occupy.

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Dax
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I always wondered how the baseball game in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" could really work. How could all the (real) players on the field seem to stand so far apart in the tiny holosuite? Where would they each be standing in the room if the program ended? It just messes with my head.

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"Forgive me if I don't share your euphoria!" (Weyoun to Dukat, Tears of the Prophets)
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Sol System
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I imagine it's probably common practice for people to gather together before deactivating the holodeck, to avoid any such disorienting shifts in apparent position.

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Aban Rune
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Yeah "Holodeck etiquette" is probably engrained into Starfleet culture by now.

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Masao
doesn't like you either
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To play a baseball game you might use 2 or more linked holodecks. Maybe the infielders are in one holodeck and the outfielders are in another. As a ball leaves the infield, it becomes only an image on the wall of the infield holodeck, then materializes from an image to an object in the outfield holodeck. I don't what would happen if the ball would to drop into short centerfield. Maybe people in one holodeck would interact with holograms or whatever of people in the other holodeck.

At the ends of innings, may be there's some way to transport between holodecks so everyone's back in the dugout waiting to hit or put out in the field. Who knows?

It seems to me if the holodeck is like a rear-view mirror -- "objects are closer than they appear" -- it could be pretty dangerous. If you think you're meters away but are actually fairly close to a batter, you could get your head bashed in or be run over.

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Sol System
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Well, you couldn't get hit in the head by the bat because, in all likelyhood, the bat doesn't really exist. As for running into people, there's a whole section in the TNG tech. manual describing how the holodeck avoids such things.

Ok, ok, so the bat could very possibly be replicated. But my point stands! I think.

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Starbuck
"Replicate some marmalade, Commander - helm control is toast!"
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So if the holodeck is so non-lethal, how come the explosion in "The Killing Game" did so much damage?
And why is Chakotay so concerned about B'Elanna's skydiving in "Extreme Risk"?
I reckon that without the safeties in place, the events simulated would be very real, if not 100% identical to the actual event.

Next thought: Since the Voyager computer contains so much info on the Borg, and their nanoprobes have been extensively analysed by the Doctor, could a Voyager holodeck with the safeties off theoretically make holo-nanoprobes to assimilate the crew??

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Sol System
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Where exactly did I say the holodeck can never hurt anyone? It just isn't designed to. (When used with proper adult supervision.)

As for holographic nanoprobes, wasn't that already answered further up the thread?

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Masao
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Holodecks don't kill people, people kill people.

If I were to bring a gun (or a baseball bat or a Bat'leth (sp?) into a holodeck and attempt to kill you, is there anything that the holodeck could do to stop me? Maybe there's a safety against objects above a certain size travelling above a certain velocity?

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TSN
I'm... from Earth.
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Well, the computer probably doesn't pay attention to whether the things you bring in w/ you are weapons or not, so it wouldn't do anything on its own. However, if somebody snuck into your Klingon calisthenics program w/ a real bat'leth and tried to kill you w/ it, you could probably (assuming you can fend off your assassim for long enough) order the computer to dematerialize their weapon. Of course, this leads to the possibility of turning off the safeties and then dematerializing other people. Handy if someone attacks you on the holodeck. Not-so-handy if the attacker figures out how to do it to you...

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"Alright, so it's impossible. How long will it take?"
-Commander Adams, Forbidden Planet


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Starbuck
"Replicate some marmalade, Commander - helm control is toast!"
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I *know* the holonanoprobe issue has been discussed... but the Voyager computer probably has more data on Borg technology than any other Starfleet vessel does, so I raised it again.
It seems safe to assume that the more information the computer has on a given topic, the more accurate its recreation will be...

If the holodeck can dematerialise and rematerialise matter, I wonder what happens if you shoot someone with a holographic Klingon disruptor set to "disintegrate"?

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Sol System
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It doesn't matter how much data the computer has an a certain subject. Trek computers contain, for instance, full biomedical profiles for hundreds of species. That doesn't mean the holodeck can create them. It's a matter of resolution.

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"And if we weren't good to you, Dave, you shouldn't take it all the way to your grave."
--
Will Rigby


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