USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Brain Eye

Posted on Wed Jun 29th, 2016 @ 7:37pm by Ensign Otoha Takahashi RN & Lieutenant T'Mia & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Noah Fields M.D. & Lieutenant Elijah "Eli" Dreznik & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant JG Tora Benjarvi
Edited on on Thu Jun 30th, 2016 @ 2:53pm

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: Shops & Labs, USS Vindex

[ON]

Nurse Takahashi poured full energy, both on duty and off duty, into the new medical diagnostic device. She opened a group project file and named it Brain Eye.

Research came first. Remembering her father's lesson, planning is 90% of implementation. The diagnostic design would be the easy part. EEG technology was 300 years old. Medical tricorders could do it, if the user knew how to read the scan results. Security for the device, she wasn't so sure about. She knew enough that hardware circuit designs were innately immune to software viruses and that optical circuits were not vulnerable to magnetics like electricals were. She also was aware that embedding such circuits in plexene armor thwarted nanites and microbots. Even so, tampering was always a problem, civilian and military.

Otoha researched monitoring devices that courts and law enforcement used on parolees and drug addicts. Those people were known for ingenious ways of compromising personal devices. Perhaps even more clever were the ways teens found to fool parental tracking. No matter how Vindex's domination detection would be implemented, two primary goals were essential. One was, abnormal brainwaves caused by external domination or hypnosis must be detected. The other, the device had to reliably signal an alert when it happened. Those being dominated would not likely be able to call for help themselves. The challenge for her part of the project would be false alarms. Devices would have to be custom designed for each user. Even then, natural variances of brain waves in special conditions might still cause false alarms. Subconscious dreams, athletic stress, much testing would be needed.

The nurse downloaded all the information that she could, filed them into the group project file, and then sought out experts in all aspects of design, security, science, and medicine to help complete a viable design. As soon as a gathering was possible, she laid out what she had found. "Everyone, I do not know what additional functionality that all of you want or how to keep them secure."

OBSERVATION LOUNGE
---------------------------

Those who were part of the "design team" of the new device were sitting in the observation lounge. Soren looked around and enjoyed the opportunity to gather with different people of backgrounds who have different questions and answers. Working with fellow engineers he can sometimes predict what their steps will be. With the combining of departments, there is a better chance of catching everything.

Soren had reviewed her plans and wasn't sure what the next step would be. He was curious about design. He addressed his question to Otoha, the mastermind behind their gathering, "Ensign, I'm unsure what kind of design the bracelet will take? Is this going to be like an old fashion watch or some thin piece of jewelry?" Hardly the most important question, but Himmel to get things started to be sure the hardware size would be feasible and that the bracelet would not become a nuisance when it came to work.

Captain Garlake let the PADD clatter to the table as he descended into the too-small seat, stretching as the Chief Engineer commented.

"Well, according to SFMCI 120 point 34G, jewelry and other items of adornment are not allowed on-duty," he said with a smirk. "In all seriousness, it's not only what form it will take but how it will interact with any other system. Are we simply looking to alert, say, Operations whenever there's an aberrant reading or actively deny access to ship systems or weapons?"

"Does it even need to be something wearable?" countered Eli. "Maybe an implantable device would be more resource-efficient...as well as keeping with all dress code guidelines. Just a question of making the needed device small enough and tough enough to withstand the rigors of an immune system."

Nurse Takahashi suggested, "Since the device will need to be calibrated for each individual, the actual form it takes can accommodate the user. Back-plate to a combadge, a transparent fingernail overlay, an antenna ring, it could be very subtle. It doesn't need to interact with any external systems, only signal a warning when domination brain symptoms happen. Of course, any of our ship's security devices could actively scan its integrity and functional status as part of a standard biometrics check."

"My only suggestions are that whatever form it takes, that it be visibly identifiable and have a uniform appearance," Akiva said. "It seems inefficient for everybody to have their own customized unit."

Otoha pushed a very small transparent case forward on the table. The contents appeared to be a tiny bead. "The integrated circuit will fit inside a protective bead just like this one. The bead can be mounted in a great variety of casings, depending upon whether people are in uniform, part of a prime-directive landing party, or especially suited for science and engineering tasks."

Storr eyed the bead as he listened to the other members give their inputs. The device seemed impossibly small for what it was that they were asking it to do, though he had no doubt that Nurse Takahashi and the science/engineering team could manage something like it. He saw the utility of it being customizable but also agreed that a standardized appearance would make it more observable to others. He took the transparent case and circled it on the table, watching the bead rapidly race around the internal circumference of its trappings.

"What of external inputs? I know that the device simply monitors but there's a saying in the Marines that I especially like: 'Man makey, man breaky'. Can it be hacked or be given inputs from an external source? Would it provide greater tracking? Could it be used to input a pulse or other interference to harm us? How could the enemy use it to their advantage?"

"Captain Garlake raises a very good point," said Eli, tapping a PADD stylus on the table. "There is only so much protection you can build into a micronized device. We would have to limit it to the most basic functionality to prevent it from being co-opted." He blinked twice rapidly. "No extra bells or whistles." He sighed. "But we need to decide what form it will take first. Maybe we could program the replicators to insert biodegradable nanosensors? Just a thought.

Nurse Takahashi returned a nod to Storr, "Sir, the only input that the circuit can receive is the brainwave sensor. It only reacts to patterns that indicate domination or severe brain injury. After that, it signals an alert. Because it is a hardware circuit with no software, it is physically incapable of any other functions." She then looked to Eli, "Implants are risky, Sir. Bodies react to the presence of foreign elements. Also, the natural biological electrical state reacts to anything that emits signals. This make implants even easier to detect with a medical scanner. I would instead recommend masking the device the same way Ferengi hide their industrial espionage devices. Have it integrate with personal communicators that everyone carries. In civilian communities, the alert signal could be piggyback subliminally on normal regular pings made to telephone towers. The device could send its alert symbols and give GPS location without attracting tactical attention."

Lt. Tora up until now had just been sitting back, observing the device that the Nurse had displayed on the table and also listening to the other comments. Then he began to study each of the beings gathered around the table. His first inclination was just incorporating it into his earring, but beyond him and the transporter officer, who was also Bajoran, most did not wear anything sort of jewelry. If it was going to monitor brain waves, it had to be close to the brain. Then he had an idea.

"I would have to vote against our combadges. History has shown that if we get ambushed, most people have learned to remove our combadges, and that would make their effectiveness decline. But", he said, looking at the people gathered around the table. He slowly reached up and took off his pips and put them on the table. "Hardly anyone ever messes with our rank insignias. They are all uniform... discreet and near our mellons for most of the day. I recommend that we fit the devices into our rank insignias."

Otoha suddenly became very quiet. She had words that she wished didn't need speaking. "I think... that the pip idea is a very good one. But... we have another problem. Any traitor or mentally dominated crewman would immediately compromise the device for everyone. I agree that the pip solution is good, but I also recommend that crewmen be allowed to conceal additional replicated ones in a manner of their own choosing. The extras needn't be registered anywhere."

Akiva nodded. "That sounds like a reasonable compromise. In fact, since the design is all hardware and micro-circuitry, I could reprogram the ship's replicators with the schematics to include the security devices into all future replicated pips and insignias. If the captain so ordered, we could keep the details restricted to senior staff only -- the rest of the crew need only that a safety measure was implemented."

Storr nodded slowly as he listened to the inks and discussion. The brainstorming session was going very well and he hoped that the Captain would agree with their conclusions. They still needed to get there, however, and to that end the Marine CO had an idea.

"What about simply having the replicator insert the device randomly in the regulation uniform? That way it's always with us, the exact location is not known so cannot be compromised, and is integrated into something we're nearly always wearing?"

Suppressing her flicker of a grin, Otoha pushed Victoria's Secret out of her mind put on her stoic face, "Some clothing not only contains functional circuitry, it is actually woven with functional circuitry. The clothing is the device, with redundancies to work around tears or wear spots. I also know of people who infuse their skins with nanometric circuit tattoos, but that might not end well if the enemy detected it."

"Either way." Akiva shrugged. "If I can program the replicator to recreate the proper taste of Manischewitz wine and matzo, I am confident I can program it to do anything."

Almost as an afterthought more to himself though, Benj muttered. "It would be great if that circuitry could disable consoles and weapons around them if it indicates their minds have been corrupted. It would have saved a bunch of lives on several ships out here."

The doors to the lab parted and Lieutenant T'Mia appeared, standing still in the light of the doorway. She took a few steps and entered the bay. Whilst she didn't agree with the task they had set themselves to, she had a duty to oversee the activities of her senior officers and the rest of the crew. "Report," she demanded in her typical, sultry way.

After glancing around to the others, Otoha spoke up, "Ma'am, I think that we have a general consensus on core design aspects. The medical device must have solid state design in order to be immune to hacking. It must have one function, to signal an alert when brain conditions are detected. Its design implementation must be variable to help protect against enemy detection and betrayal. And, because our brains are different, each one's diagnostic module will need to be configured individually. Complications could include false alarms, but I will try to minimize those with good calibrations. I can proceed with basic unit configuration, but engineering or science will need to replicate the different final manifestations."

"Nurse Takahashi and her team has been working really well, they have my confidence in their ability to get this done," Noah spoke. "I have been observing everything they've been planning Clau-er-Captain. It would take some prelim testing but I think it can work."

[OFF]



Lt. T'Mia
Lt. Elijah "Eli" Dreznik
Lt. Soren Himmel
Lt. Akiva ben-Avram
Lt. Noah Fields M.D.
Lt. Jg. Tora Benjarvi
Marine Capt. Storr Garlake
Nurse Otoha Takahashi

USS Vindex
Bravo Fleet

 

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