Position: Chief Engineering Officer
Place of Activation: Daystrom Institute
Reserved, preferring to be approached in social settings rather than actively engage, Hal is an observer content to study his surroundings in order to predict the needs of those around him. A trait that earned him the nickname "Guardian" at the Academy (although used diminutively by classmates) as he seemed to appear with the necessary tools and solutions for the task at hand. Beyond this, Hal is quite determined and task-oriented, valuing efficiency.
Hal represents the next generation for contingent holographic crew members within Starfleet. Originally developed at the Daystrom Institute under the Holographic Augmented Logistics and Operations (HALO) program, testing the boundaries of emergency holograms under conditions subject to manning and expertise shortages. The HALO initiative aimed to broaden the scope of the specialized holograms through the use of extensible, modular holographic matrices--each holographic module providing an array of services based upon immediate operational needs. At the discretion of an authorized member of the command staff, the deployed program is capable of switching between operations, engineering, command, security, medical, science, intelligence, tactical combat, or even variations therein (with certain limitations and provided the required modules) in order to enable the command staff versatility in otherwise limited operating conditions.
Early in testing the HALO project aimed to provide duplicative instances of the same holographic interface, effectively multiplying a single hologram into a networked array of holograms for such purposes as small construction crews or security teams. However, programmatic and engineering complications prevented successful deployment due to exponential recursive errors across each subsequent instance of the hologram. This limitation meant that for each copy in operation, the "time to live" reduced by half until the program forcefully reinitialized to prevent destabilization. Further, in combat testing it was discovered that what happened to one copy occurred across all copies--an unfavorable actualization that one military strategists called, "perfectly ineffectual for combat, unless you aim to confuse the enemy. A single modulated phaser shot to one knocks the whole squad on their backs."
Conscious of the highly-adaptive nature of the program's ability to assume any and all functions, Starfleet mandated that no HALO program be allowed too much power, for fear of mutiny or tampering. Thusly, fail-safe purge mechanisms were to be written into the base sequence code preventing the hologram from ever obtaining, holding, or being given command-level access to any system that requires two-factor authentication (such as the self-destruct mechanism).
After two years in development Hal (as he came to prefer) spent his early life at Jupiter Station undergoing field testing for resiliency. With satisfactory marks across all criterion, Starfleet began the second phase by admitting the program into Starfleet Academy for social development and interaction testing. It was a failure.
Phase 2 ended before the end of Hal's second semester. The study found that cadets could not acclimate to a holographic interface (no matter how personable) outside of a professional environment. Psychologists interviewed classmates to determine the root of the problem with no conclusive findings, citing "although jealousy or fear are in the realm of the possible, it has yet to be seen. It seems as if there lies a gulf between man and the manmade. In the military setting, it is infinitely easier to use a human-inspired computer interface as just that; ignoring philosophical implications and existentialism. Perhaps variable group dynamics and esprit de corps cannot adequately be translated through simulated human interactions."
- Daystrom Institute - 2377-2379
- Jupiter Station - 2379-2386
- Starfleet Academy - 2386-2387
- Dr. James Felman - Engineer/Creator
- Lieutenant Grace Mox - Database and Matrices Developer
- Ensign Thomas Horton - Artificial Intelligence