SIM:- Real Beauty Seen by the Unreal

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Henk the Spider, Dioron, Belleau, Marcus Shalls


Henk visits Marcus' recreation of his grandmother's shaolin temple in China on the holodeck.



::Henk monitored the facial changes on both children. From his vantage point perched on Marcus' shoulder it was difficult to get a full reading of his face but even the side-on profile offered a wealth of information. The subtle changes as he pronounced the word gramma were of interest. When he described the rice and the vegetables Henk could detect signs of the emotional state referred to commonly as nostalgia.::

::The Bajoran girl Dioron seemed confused at the notion of hot noodles. Henk queried his cultural database and could not see a reason why. He added it to his list of fringe cases, a set of unexpected emotional responses to stimuli or vocalizations. It was like a long tail of diminishing probabilities that never quite reached zero. Tell a Terran male a story and there was a finite probability that he would punch the teller. Of course that probability was lower than the probability that he might smile. Indeed there were some Terran cultures whose members would be more wont to thank the teller. For these cultures to be told a story was a gift.::

((OOC: In case anybody's interested, have a look through Jill Jepson's recent book "Writing as a Sacred Path." for where that little tidbit from Henk comes from ))

((Holodeck)) ::When they finally reached the holodeck Marcus requested the program he affectionately called "Gramma." "Please turn it on."::

::When the computer requested a password Henk detected a slight change in bloodflow beneath his feet, an emotional descent marked by further shifts in Marcus' facial muscles and underlying frame, and then a rallying climb.::

::None of these things apparently registered with the Bajoran/human hybrid who said simply,::

Dioron: What does that mean?

::accompanying the question with a more or less textbook suite of facial and bodily movements.::

Henk: Um... You do know the password right?

::Henk knew already that the boy had the password. His body had yelled that enough into Henk's sensors over the last few seconds.::

Marcus: No worries, I know the password. Computer.. Password is Poodles.

::Poodles? Henk's emotional simulation engine registered laughter. He kept it suppressed as he reasoned that perhaps the reference to the miniature hyperdomesticated Terran canine might somehow be sentimental.::

::The doors opened to reveal a landscape dotted with ornate structures. In the horizon mountains jutted into the sky. The computer presented a description of the scenery, Henk once again taking notes as it did so in a Chinese accent. It was yet another fascinating thing to note the connections sentient humanoids made between natural settings and poetic language. The mountains, the computer noted, were dreamlike. Henk knew that his analytical subroutines would be unable to grasp the connection between thought processes during sleep and geological formations. He was glad that Dr. Fengjian had programmed him to out-do the Vulcans in their obsession with logic by giving him an emotional model as well.

Bridging the gap between reason and passion, his central bus connected the two systems so they resided together not as single entity but rather as something akin to a multi-province nation state, each land containing its own distinct cultural heritage and dialect. His serial processor, usually outside of his conscious awareness, maintained the physics engine and the control suite that allowed him to keep his grip on Aaron's shoulder, while inside the theater of consciousness played out the emotional state matrix, queries to the serial processor, and linguistic processing directives.

The land was beautiful, winds at approximately seven kilometres per hour. The five holy mountains ascended the skies, human observers being unable to produce linguistic expressions of their emotional responses to them. The Yangtze stretched out across the landscape, Marcus excitedly directing everyone's attention to it. He pointed out other things as well, each gesture cuing the computer to speak on the object indicated. Finally, he pointed out the temple in which his grandmother lived.::

Dioron: This is beautiful. The plants and the trees and the river...

Marcus: Yeah, it reminds me of home...

::More subtle gestures: He missed his grandmother, he looked forward to seeing her again, he liked it here.::

::Dioron was somewhat surprised to hear that Marcus' grandmother lived in a temple. "Yep," Marcus responded, "that one over there. Up the path and across the bridge."::

::Henk directed his eight eyes toward the temple itself. The railing along the path on which they stood cast shadows containing bright circles that invited them toward the building. A surge in the columns of his emotional matrix and a call into his lexicon directed him to say,::

Henk: That is a beautiful temple!

Dioron: How does one get to live in a temple?

::Henk could tell Dioron was delighted with it as well. Marcus explained the martial art his grandmother practiced and taught.::

::"This is amazing," Dioron said, Henk registering more facial expressions. He found the increases and decreases in bloodflow to the nasal ridges an interesting part of the Bajoran emotional expression system. It hearkened back to the staggered folds in the designs of Bajoran priestly garments. "And it's all real." It was real. The emotions, the scenery, the winds. They were all real. And yet.::

Marcus: is sort of real.

::What was real? Henk was not one to philosophize but he knew that an element of this entire experience was fake: The robot Henk. He himself was an artificial implementation of a set of experiences and moods and states which for millions of years had been a given in so many naturally evolved species. Gramma was cooking. It punctured the reverie of the emotional matrix, philosophy flowing still like a river somewhere else outside the periphery of Henk's conscious awareness.::

Marcus: I bet she is cooking the cabbage too... I can not wait to get there.

::Henk detected the odor of the cooking plant wafting about him.::

Henk: Smells good!

::Dioron seemed unsure of what to do. Indeed, Henk could understand her confusion. The building seemed to emphasize beauty over function. To be sure, there was a door and a stairway toward it, yet Henk knew the eye was meant to be drawn into the intricate lattice of designs on the panels and walkways that girdled it.::

Marcus: Follow me up this path, and after we cross the bridge we will be on the temple grounds.

Henk: I'll hold on.

::Dioron remarked that she had never met a "grandmom" before.::

Marcus: You will love can call her gramma too, she responds to that in here, no matter who says it.

::They headed toward the temple, Marcus telling them of more things.::

::As they entered the grounds Henk almost lost his grip on Marcus' shoulder as the boy ran toward an elderly woman, a bounce in his frame conveying levity. He caught glimpses of rows of boys who looked exactly like Marcus practicing what appeared to be kata forms.::

Marcus: GRAMMA!

::Henk scanned the face of the elderly woman. Her eyes showed no fear, a reaction to which Henk's sensors were growing steadily more accustomed. The elderly face could at times pose problems for older models of emotion registration systems, but Henk's had been programmed with algorithms and filters that more accurately mimicked the human system of filters. He could unconsciously drop data on the wrinkles and folds and tease out the woman's emotional state just as easily as he could with the children.::

Henk: ::To Gramma:: Hey, how ya doin?

Gramma: Response?

Dioron: Response

Marcus: OVER HERE DIORON... :: feeling his shoulder:: you still there Henk?

::The boy's hand brushed over Henk's hairy abdomen and legs.::

Henk: Yep, I'm here.

Dioron: Response?

Gramma: Responses?

Henk the Robotic Spider

and Computational Psychology

Probing Instrument

as simmed by

Lt. Kevin Breeman

Chief of Science

USS Independence-A


A good exploration of perspectives on a virtual world. Henk also helps to flesh out the details of emotional expression and to touch on Bajoran facial expressions in this sim.

Back to Kevin Breeman's Sim Archive
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