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Monday, June 10

Technology: Holodecks

One of the most awe-inspiring technological marvels aboard the USS Enterprise, are the holodecks. These holodecks comprise 14 individual rooms located on deck 12 of the saucer. Each room generates holographic objects, characters, and environments, all of which can be used for entertainment, training, and presentations.

Contrary to popular belief, however, the objects, settings and characters simulated in these holodecks are not real – they cannot be touched, nor can they be physically interacted with. They have no substance, and are nothing more than sophisticated light projections. The projections are designed to appear as if they are solid, but if a holodeck user attempts to touch or interact with them, they will pass through the projection unhindered.

Since objects on the holodeck are nothing more than light projections, the physical confines of the holodeck remain valid. Three dimensional visualizations can appear on the walls, ceiling and floor, thereby expanding the perceived space to something larger than the room itself, however, users cannot move beyond the actual size of the room. Most programs have built-in visualizations to alert users of the functional space, without detracting from the realism of the program.

Holodecks can also project characters, creatures and animals, although, like everything else, these projections have no physical substance. They can be programmed to look, sound, and act like a real person or creature, however, they are still operated by the computer – and, as such, have no true emotions beyond their programmed responses.

Holodeck users are permitted to bring props into a holodeck to add physicality to a program, and costumes are always encouraged. Holodecks cannot simulate clothing on holodeck users. Storage rooms near each holodeck block offer some common props, and problems can be readily addressed to personnel working within nearby support offices.

All holodecks are available by reservation only, although, two holodecks are always kept on stand-by for use by the senior officers during mission operations.

Various laboratories throughout the ship also feature small holographic alcoves for programming use. These alcoves are not large enough for recreational simulations, but they can be used to simulate characters and other research-themed projections. In addition, most crew quarters contain at least one small, round holographic table. Common table-top projections include games, story simulations, mini-performer concerts, and historical presentations.

Galaxy and Nebula-class starships are the only Starfleet ships that feature holodecks at this time, although, most vessels have holographic programming alcoves and table-top projectors.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer