A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

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After the incidents with the extra-dimensional snakes, the Potemkin moved on toward its next destination. The crew milled about to their standard duty stations, nothing unusual to report. Suddenly, the internal communications system sprang to life; someone in holodeck one was trying to call the bridge. The person identified himself as "Crewman Smith" and asked that Warp, Prax, and Bom come to the holodeck immediately. Warp and Prax didn't recognize the name or voice, but agreed to meet in the holodeck anyway.

Before they could even get off the bridge however, a transporter beam scooped them up and deposited them, along with Bom, in the holodeck! The rest of the crew, confused by the sudden disappearance of the CO and XO, tried to find out what happened. The computer confirmed Warp and Prax's position, but all communications were down. Sensors and the computer showed that a program was running, but no one could quite figure out which. Meanwhile, down in the grid covered room, Bom confessed confusion about the identity of "Crewman Smith;" however it was suddenly resolved when Smith appeared in front of them - it was none other than the sentient hologram HIRAM!

The hologram, unapologetic, stated that he had brought the three of them there to help with a potentially fatal problem. However, first, he took care of an old debt by punching Prax squarely in the jaw. This did nothing to help endear himself to Warp, who instantly began working at the a control panel to get himself out of the holodeck. HIRAM brought up a program of Starfleet Headquarters to slow him down and began trying to explain. He claimed that the Wotal had somehow gotten a virus into the computer system; he had tried to stop it himself, but it had only resulted in the holodeck malfunctions that the crew had been experiencing. On the outside, ship wide power began to fluctuate. The warp core stumbled and the Potemkin fell out of warp. Hara and Fuller were sent to holodeck to investigate, but were halted by a series of forcefields. And then, even worse, the oxygen levels around the ship began to drop slowly.

After finally getting the trust of Bom and Prax, HIRAM conjured up a Master Systems Display to get to work. There was a good deal of initial tension between the three as the hologram was still harboring a grudge for his prior treatment at the hands of the crew. In the rest of the ship, things were quickly deteriorating. Oxygen levels were dropping, but all the safeguards and alarms were mysteriously disabled. Arkin, encountering and overcoming some argument, evacuated the bridge crew to the battle bridge. Unfortunately, the turbolift they were in suddenly stopped between decks. Power started fluctuating in engineering while the engineers could not figure out what was happening. Fuller and Hara were having marginal success; they managed to take down one forcefield, but excess power began to flow into their position. A giant tendril suddenly lashed out, just nearly missing Fuller!

HIRAM, Prax, and Bom got to work finally and started analyzing their prey. Taking the measures that HIRAM had already devised, they decided to box the virus in between two firewalls. Behind HIRAM's back, the two engineers decided to box it into Data Block 17 - Holo-programming. The bridge crew slowly crawled out of their stranded turbolift and then made the arduous climb to the next deck to get to a Jeffrie's tube. Fuller and Hara were able to make it pass the next forcefield, as power drains were taking down the generators. However, they hit a major block when the holodeck doors refused to open. To make matters worse, the artificial gravity began to drop slightly. Thanks to the actions of those in the holodeck, engineering was able to restore some systems, but everything was sluggish.

While frantically working, HIRAM admitted his mistakes in the past and that he had hoped to eventually apologize to the crew for what he had done. Realizing that they may had made a huge mistake, Prax and Bom suddenly tried to change to Data Block 10. Initially confused, HIRAM agreed to the switch and they eventually managed to isolate the virus and begin a eradicating swipe of the data block. This sudden victory allowed Micheal in engineer to get key systems back in order and deliver some power to battle bridge. Fuller and Hara, meanwhile, managed to wedge up the doors to the holodeck slightly.

Everything was looking up, but HIRAM then revealed that he had over extended himself in fighting the virus and that a good chunk of his programming was in Data Block 10 as well. The wipe would mostly likely take him out as well. His programming beginning to fluctuate, he wished the crew well and apologized once again for his actions. Then he unceremoniously vanished as the wipe finished eradicating the virus. Engineering was finally able to get all key systems up and running again, but Bom and Prax were unable to retrieve HIRAM's programming.

However, HIRAM unexpectedly flickered back to life proclaiming that one should always back up important data!

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