DELTA BLUES @ Reviewboy.com - Jim Reviews...

"Author, Author"

[Disclaimer]

Paramount pretty much owns everything you're about to read. It's their dialog, their characters, their franchise. For whatever reason, they've chosen to left me alone, and I thank them for it.

This is all meant in good fun, as though I were reciting the episode to you around the water cooler at work. You'll find the closest thing online to watching the actual episode, though I do sometimes take liberties when I think it will help the narrative. Any errors in fact or interpretation are my responsibility alone.

[Captioning sponsored by Paramount Television and United Paramount Network.]

[Summary]

The Doctor pens the Uncle Tom's Cabin for Oppressed Holograms Everywhere.

Jump straight to the Analysis

[Breakdown]

[NOTE: This review is under construction.]

"In the beginning, there is darkness--the emptiness of a matrix waiting for the light."

We are on the Holodeck, but it is--as the Doctor's Narrator Mode voiceover declares--empty. Without form, and void.

"Then a single photon flares into existence." Let there be light; so the Doctor declares. And there was light--a flicker of cheerful luminance hovering just above the holodeck floor.

"Then another. Soon, thousands more." So let it be spoken, so let it be done. Other lights appear spontaneously in the darkness--randomly at first, but soon patterns begin to form, drawn with light by an unseen artist.

A foot. Then two. Ankles...legs...hips...up, up, up...a humanoid shape gradually forms.

"Optronic pathways connect, subroutines emerge from the chaos, and a holographic consciousness is born."

The coalescing photons gain detail. Soon, the hologram's identity is clear--the Doctor. But he isn't dressed for non-medical tasks. Instead, he's wearing a burgundy smoking jacket...and a self-satisfied artistic expression.

This Doctor, however, doesn't speak. The voiceover continues. "I awaken into this world fully programmed, yet completely innocent--unaware of the hardships I'll endure or the great potential I will one day fulfill." We see the newly-formed character stride over to a writing desk, smooth out the creases in his trousers, pick up a pristine white feather which he dips in an inkwell. Then he opens the cover on a virgin journal and begins to write. And sighs--for this is what he was brought into this world to do.

Behind this tableau steps the EMH, wearing his Starfleet uniform. He is smiling as well. "Computer, save revisions...and open chapter one."

* * *

Captain's Log, Stardate 54732.3: It's been three weeks since we received Starfleet's instructions in the last data stream and we're finally ready to begin "Operation Watson. We're all holding our breath"

"The deflector's in position."

"Anything?"

"I'm picking up a phased tachyon beam."

"Seven: there's triaxialating signal encoded in it."

"On screen."

(fritzing): "Voyager, this..."

"Lieutenant..."

"...fleet command..."

"...you receiving this...?"

"Can you clear it up?"

"I'm on it."

"Captain Janeway, it's a pleasure to finally talk to you in person."

"The pleasure's mine, Admiral. How's the weather in San Francisco?"

"Cold and rainy, as usual."

"It sounds delightful. Lieutenant Barclay--my congratulations on establishing the first trans-galactic com link. You've earned a place in the history books."

"I can't take all of the credit, Captain. It was Harry and Seven who suggested bouncing a tachyon beam off of the quantum singularity."

"Just be sure to thank us when you accept the Daystrom prize."

"I wish we had more time for small talk but the singularity only stays in alignment for 11 minutes a day."

"Eleven minutes are better than none, Admiral. We appreciate all your work, Reg."

"We're going to leave it up to you to determine how to allocate the com time."

"Admiral, um..."

"There was something else."

"Oh, yes."

"Mr. Barclay has arranged a small gift for you and your crew."

"This is a live image from McKinley Station."

"Not too much cloud cover over North America today."

"Quite a view."

"Thank you, Reg."

*

"In my hat, I hold 146 sequentially numbered isolinear chips--one for every member of the crew."

"Each chip entitles the bearer to three minutes of uninterrupted com time with his loved ones back in the alpha quadrant."

"Good luck."

"My mom's birthday is next week."

"This could be the best present I ever gave her."

"Who's everyone else calling?"

"I'll be calling my sister."

"What about you, Captain?"

"My mother, I hope."

"Doesn't anyone want to know who I'm calling?"

"Wait, wait."

"Let me guess."

"Um..."

"Reg Barclay or Dr. Zimmerman."

"What makes you so certain it's either of them?"

"Number six."

"The lowest one yet."

"You'll be talking to your family the day after tomorrow."

"130."

"That's about a month and a half from now."

"So much for mom's birthday."

"Apparently, the line forms here."

Tuvok: "congratulations."

"Doc, how about a trade? I'm willing to throw in some holodeck time. Come on! It would mean a lot to my mother."

"I wish I could help, but I have a very important call to make."

"Here."

"Give your mom my best."

"Are you sure?"

"I've waited this long. What's another six weeks?"

*

"I can hear the critics already: 'a new voice has arrived.'"

"You could be the next k'ratak or a modern-day tolstoy."

"I'd like to start distribution by the end of the month."

"The material I sent was only a working draft."

"I need time to make revisions."

"If you insist, but please do it quickly."

"I will. So tell me...What did you think of the characters?"

"Oh, they're very real--compelling. I almost forgot they were holograms."

"Who was your favorite?"

"Without a doubt, that would have to be Lieutenant..."

"What happened?"

"Your time has expired."

"You could have let the man finish his sentence."

"I believe your ego has received enough stroking for one day."

(whistling upbeat melody)

"So how's Reg?"

"I'll have you know I was speaking with ardon Broht of Broht and forrester."

"The publishers of the dixon hill series?"

"Mm-hmm."

"Who are now about to publish my work."

"It seems you're not the only one aboard with a flair for holographic narratives."

"Well, congratulations."

"Thank you."

"So what's it about?"

"The adventures of an intrepid Doctor."

"Oh, sounds like fun."

"You know, I've never thought about trying to get my work published."

"Maybe I could talk to your people about Captain proton."

"Broht and forrester deals in..."

"Sophisticated literature."

"What are you saying, that I'm 'lowbrow'?"

"Not at all."

"I'd be delighted to talk to them."

"Thanks."

"So, when do I get to see this opus?"

"Well, it's not ready yet."

"It was ready enough for Broht and forrester."

"Maybe it could use a fresh pair of eyes."

"After all, you are a fellow author."

"I'll cover the rest of your shift, hmm?"

"Oh, I almost forgot."

"What's it called?"

"Photons be free."

"Catchy."

"Doctor: I awaken into this world fully programmed yet completely innocent unaware of the hardships I'll endure or the great potential I will one day fulfill."

"Ah..."

"Welcome."

"You've made an excellent choice."

"You're about to take part in a thrilling first-person narrative."

"You will take on the role of an emergency medical hologram the chief medical officer aboard the Starship vortex."

"Vortex?"

"As our story begins, an anomaly has hurled your ship thousands of light-years across the galaxy."

"Your mission?"

"To uphold your medical and ethical standards as you struggle against the crew's bigotry and intolerance."

"Persons with vascular disorders should consult a physician before running this program."

"And now, a few acknowledgments."

"First, dr."

"Lewis zimmerman the creator of my holo-matrix who's foresight and dedication have made it possible for me to achieve..."

"Computer, freeze program."

"How much longer is this introduction?"

"Nine minutes, four seconds."

"Skip to the first chapter."

"Chapter one: 'a healer is born' in which our protagonist must make a difficult choice."

"Are you the emh?"

"Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

"Our Doctor's dead."

"We've got wounded."

"They're both badly hurt."

"Who should we treat first?"

(sighing)

"Second degree plasma burns."

"He's got an aortic rupture."

"Get him to the surgical bay now."

"You!"

"Over here."

"Whoo."

"Nice mustache."

"What?"

"Uh, nothing."

"He's got a mild concussion."

"I'm going to have to treat the others first."

"I need Lieutenant marseilles on the bridge."

"You'll treat him now."

"As I understand it my job is to treat the critical patients first."

"So, if you'll excuse me..."

"I don't know who you think you are, hologram but to me, you're just another piece of technology."

"Well, apparently, I'm a piece of technology that's in demand so why don't you go back to the bridge and let me do my job?"

"What's going on here?"

"Our medical hologram is refusing to treat Mr. marseilles."

"Are you malfunctioning?"

"I don't think so."

"I need my helmsman back at his station."

"Lieutenant marseilles isn't seriously hurt."

"This man will be dead in five minutes if I don't operate."

"Cut the force field."

"That patient is dead."

"Now you're free to treat Lieutenant marseilles."

+++

"Everybody loves ca unfortunately, travis normally is working."

"So we go by ourselves."

"We're nature girls !"

"Yeah, we're nature girls !"

"- roasting marshmallows, watching the stars at night."

"- [ all ] whoooo !"

"To get ready for a camping trip, we load up everybody to go to wal-mart."

"- oh, look at the lantern."

"- they always have good quality stuff."

"- great camping equipment."

"- [ together ] bull's-eye !"

"They can get all the stuff they want, and I can afford to pay for it."

"Get everything for the great outdoors right here at wal-mart."

"[ mom ] we got it all at wal-mart."

"[ dad ] why go anywhere else ?"

"Everything seems to be in order."

"Now as soon as we get an answer back on your credit history, we'll be all fixed up."

"Should be any second now."

"Considering how important your credit history is to your dreams, wouldn't you like to feel more confident about it?"

"It's a big step, huh?"

"Buying a home."

"Understanding your credit is the first step toward owning a home."

"Call for the free guide on credit from the fannie mae foundation and for a list of lenders and credit counselors."

"As effective as the people around him..."

"And so, tonight, I see this as an honor for all our people..."

"Their intelligence, professionalism, and their poise..."

"Ahhhhhh!!!"

(crowd gasps)

(announcer)

"Want to stop rushing to make shipping cutoffs?"

"Did I make it?"

"Yeah, they've got later pick-ups now."

(announcer)

"Introducing fedex extra hours service."

"Ship up to three hours later and still get it there overnight."

"You've got a shrimp thing happening in your pocke @ `@@;@@7y@ ; ascsqgb 4 qa a( @@ ( c dct@ d '*aa075k ?/??// og x`@@~ ?g?"

" ?"

" !"

"@ @ @ @@@ @@ then the Captain pulls out a phaser and shoots him right there on the bio-bed."

"Captain Janeway murders a Crewman?"

"Paris: no, Captain jenkins."

"Everybody has a different name."

"You're kymble, you're torrey and I am Lieutenant marseilles."

"Oh, now, that's creative."

"What did you say to the Doctor?"

"Well, he thinks he's written a masterpiece."

"I didn't know what to tell him."

"If this gets distributed people are going to assume this is about us."

"What are our families going to think?"

"This is a Starfleet ship."

"No one will believe we actually go around shooting injured crewmen."

"People may not take the program literally but they might wonder if there's some truth to it."

"I think we should talk to the Captain."

"Are you sure you're not taking this a little personally?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the holodeck always has been your domain."

(disbelieving laugh): you think I'm jealous?"

"Okay, maybe I am overreacting."

"Why don't the rest of you try the program and decide for yourselves?"

"Doctor: chapter five: 'out of the frying pan' in which our protagonist must confront abusive colleagues."

"I'm here for my physical."

"Why don't you have a seat over here?"

"Doctor, you better get down to engineering."

"What's wrong?"

"A plasma conduit just exploded."

"At least ten people are hurt."

"Hey, genius."

"Forgetting something?"

"Your mobile emitter?"

"Oh, right."

"I don't see it."

"That's my mobile emitter?"

"This thing must weigh 50 kilos."

"You should be glad we let you out of your cage at all."

"Now, get going."

"I'm impressed."

"Really?"

"Absolutely."

"I haven't seen a dilithium matrix this far out of alignment since I served aboard a Ferengi garbage scow."

"I'll fix it myself."

"Excuse me."

"How many times -------------------------tv channel 3 wed apr 18 18:19:37 2001------------------------- engineering is off-limitsto holograms."

"Maybe you should waive that restriction during emergencies."

"A plasma conduit exploded?"

"Does it look like anyone here is covered with plasma burns?"

"Lieutenant par--uh, marseilles--told me there was an accident."

"Looks like your auditory subroutines are malfunctioning..."

"Again."

"I'm surprised a matrix as primitive as yours can function at all."

"Maybe you should be a little nicer to your shipmates."

"You never know when you might need their help."

"Get one thing straight."

"You're not one of my shipmates."

"You're a tool like this hyperspanner and tools can be replaced so why don't you go back to Sickbay before I start doing a little reprogramming?"

"Computer, lights."

"Didn't I tell you to go to engineering?"

"Oh, I get it."

"Interesting plot twist."

"You get me out of Sickbay so you're free to give if you even think about mentioning this to my wife I will purge your memory buffer."

"Do we understand each other?"

"I'm here for my physical?"

"Chapter six: 'duel in the ready room' in which our protagonist faces an inquisition."

"This time, you've gone too far."

"Captain, I'm not sure what you mean."

"An inventory of your holo-matrix."

"50 gigaquads of memory devoted to music."

"42 for 'daydreams.'"

"Another ten to expand your sexuality."

"I had no idea holograms could do that."

"These extracurricular subroutines don't belong as part of an emergency medical hologram."

"Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

"Uh, of-of course I do."

"I don't think these subroutines are trivial, Captain."

"They help make me a better Doctor and a better person."

"But you're not a person."

"You may be programmed to look and act human but that doesn't make you one."

"These subroutines are going to be deleted immediately."

"Mr. tulak."

"Take the emh to the holo-lab for reprogramming."

"Chapter Seven: 'the escape' in which our protagonist is aided by his only ally."

"I'm not sure we should be doing this, Commander."

"Listen to him--he knows what he's talking about."

"Quiet!"

"I'm not talking to you."

"If we start tinkering with his matrix how do we know we won't accidentally delete some of his diagnostic subroutines?"

"You afraid you'll catch something on your next away mission, Ensign?"

"There must be millions of viruses in this quadrant that no one's ever encountered before."

"With my luck, I'll probably end up catching half of them."

"Great, my character's a hypochondriac."

"I'll escort the prisoner from here."

"Our orders are to take him to the holo-lab."

"I've been ordered to perform the procedure."

"Your sympathies for the emh are no secret, three of eight."

"Step aside."

"Run, Doctor!"

"Chapter eight: 'a tragic end' in which our protagonist learns his fate."

"Janeway: I've tried to do this the easy way but it's clear you're not going to be reasonable."

"Your matrix will be decompiled and reinitialized."

"You'll remain off-line except for emergencies."

"Ready."

"Do it."

"Three: wait."

"He has the right to expand his program."

"He's a piece of technology."

"He has no rights."

"But he should."

"One day, the emh and others like him will be recognized for what they are--intelligent individuals with a passion for life."

"Make no mistake, Captain."

"We may be thousands of light-years from home but one day, people will learn of the crime you're committing here today."

"Nice speech."

"Now decompile the program."

"What you've experienced, dear protagonist is a work of fiction but like all fiction, it has elements of truth."

"I hope you now have a better understanding of the struggles holograms must endure in a world controlled..."

"By organics."

"End of program."

"Janeway to the Doctor."

"Report to my ready room now."

+++

"How many times do you want me to say it?"

"My work is not about the Voyager crew."

"Come on."

"Ensign kymble, Lieutenant marseilles..."

"The characters look almost exactly like us."

"I used your physical parameters as a starting point but I assure you any further similarities are purely coincidental."

"You set your story on a Starship lost in the Delta Quadrant."

"What would you have me write about?"

"Palace intrigue on the Klingon homeworld?"

"I do what all good novelists do."

"I write what I know."

"So, it is about Voyager?"

"No."

"The vortex characters are larger than life."

"They're nothing like our crew."

"As far as I know, Captain you haven't executed any of my patients."

"Doctor, you've written a very imaginative story but it's conceivable that people will think it's based on fact."

"I don't see how."

"How many holograms carry mobile emitters?"

"The emitter in my story is nothing like the real one."

"Yeah, what was the point of that?"

"It was like carrying around a small shuttlecraft."

"It's a metaphor a symbol of the burdens that I live with every day."

"Imagine having to take this everywhere you go."

"It would be a constant reminder that you're different from everyone else."

"I wanted the player to feel the weight of it..."

"Literally."

"Your emitter isn't a ball and chain."

"It liberates you."

"It doesn't always feel that way."

"If I didn't know better, I'd think this story was written by someone who feels depressed."

"Is that how you see yourself, Doctor?"

"Of course not."

"The real victims are my brothers in the alpha quadrant."

"Brothers?"

"Hundreds of emh mark ones identical to me in every respect except they've been condemned to a menial existence--scrubbing conduits mining dilithium."

"There's a long history of writers drawing attention to the plight of the oppressed."

"The vedek's song, for example tells the story of the occupation of bajor."

"Janeway: I understand you have your reasons for writing this, but you should consider how it's going to make your friends feel."

"I'm sorry my work offends you but if the price of expressing myself is having to suffer the scorn of a few colleagues..."

"So be it."

"You're very popular with my eighth graders."

"It's all they ever talk about."

"Voyager this, Voyager that."

"Your mother has a small favor to ask of you."

"Kim: name it."

"I was hoping you could record a short presentation about what it's like to command a Starship."

"But..."

"I don't command a Starship."

"In your letters you said the Captain puts you in charge sometimes."

(chuckles)

"What I said was I'm in command of the night shift..."

"Twice a week."

"She must think very highly of you to give you so much responsibility."

"So, when is she giving you a promotion?"

(clears throat)

"It's a small ship."

"There are only so many command positions available."

"This Captain Janeway sounds like a lovely woman."

"Maybe I should write her."

"Mom!"

"She needs to know how hard you work."

"Please, don't get involved."

(fritzing): Harry, I can't hear you."

"Seven: a solar flare is scattering the beam."

"Mary Kim: tell Captain jane..."

"...expect a letter from me."

"Mom, don't send anything to the Captain, do you hear me?"

"Try boosting the deflector output."

"It's already at maximum."

(no audio)

"I don't believe this!"

"I had a minute and a half left."

"You'll have another opportunity to speak with them in approximately two months."

"You just don't get it, do you?"

"No."

"Maybe if you had family you were close to you'd feel a little differently."

"Chief medical officer's personal log, stardate 54740.8: although the decision has made me unpopular with the crew I've decided not to compromise my work."

"I'm making some final revisions to the program before transmitting it."

"Computer, run emh program photons be free."

"Welcome."

"You've made an excellent choice."

"You're obviously a person with impeccable taste."

"Computer, freeze program."

"Unable to comply."

"You are about to embark on a remarkable journey."

"You will take on the role of a medical assistant aboard the Starship voyeur."

"Voyeur?"

"Your job will be to assist the chief medical officer and learn to tolerate his overbearing behavior and obnoxious bedside manner."

"Remember, patience is a virtue."

"Chapter one: 'it's the Doctor's world."

"You're just living in it.'"

"When I tell you your shift begins at 0800 that doesn't mean you can stroll in here at 0800 and 24 seconds."

"Do you understand me, Ensign?!"

"This is outrageous."

"What's outrageous is that I'm going to miss my tee-time."

"Now, come along."

"Aw..."

"What seems to be the trouble, one of three?"

"I'm two of three."

(chuckles)

"Sorry."

"They're triplets, you know."

"It hurts when I do this."

"Then don't do it."

(laughs)

"Ow!"

"Ah, don't be a baby."

(sighs)

"Your biradial clamp's out of alignment."

"I've got just the thing."

(quietly): it's a Klingon aphrodisiac--my own special blend."

"You'll be feeling better in no time at all."

"Hmm."

(moans)

(giggles)

"Lieutenant!"

"I want you to know I'm making a full report to the Captain."

"This isn't about that dermal Regenerator I misplaced, is it?"

"You know very well what this is about."

"You accessed my holo-novel without permission and replaced it with your own hackneyed narrative."

"Hey, I'm just writing what I know."

"You've destroyed a work of art that took months to create."

"Relax, doc."

"I saved your program in a backup file but I was just trying to make a point."

"Well, you made it with a typical lack of subtlety."

"Oh, you're one to talk!"

"Your program is about as subtle as a Ferengi mating dance."

"My program is a serious attempt at social commentary."

"Yours is an insulting farce!"

"You..."

"Had me drugging a patient and taking advantage of her."

"Don't be ridiculous."

"That character is not you."

"For one thing, he has much more hair."

"But what if some people ran that program and thought that it was based on you?"

"That would bother you, wouldn't it?"

"I don't care what people think."

"That's all you care about."

"You want everyone back home to think of you as a brilliant author."

"I'm not doing this for my ego and if you could look past yours maybe you'd see that!"

"Listen, I don't care if the whole alpha quadrant mistakes me for Lieutenant marseilles."

"What bothers me is that you think that's what I'm like."

"Obviously, you're nothing like marseilles."

"He's self-indulgent, immature."

"And how would you describe me?"

"Well, you're a married man with a child on the way."

"A lot of responsibilities."

"I'm surprised you noticed."

"You know, I thought I'd begun to earn your respect."

"Maybe I was wrong."

"Your program is under file theta-one-five."

"Do whatever you want with it."

+++

"Doctor, I need your help."

"Unless you're suffering acute symptoms, go away."

"Um, I was wondering if you could take a quick look at this."

"Cooking with Neelix: a culinary tour of the Delta Quadrant."

"It's a holo-cookbook proposal."

"I was hoping to transmit it to your publisher during my com link this afternoon..."

"With your approval, of course."

"If you're looking for writing tips there are plenty of people on this ship eager to offer them."

"I don't know what anyone else may have told you but I loved your holo-novel."

"You did?"

"Absolutely."

"It was a rousing adventure with an important message, too."

"Exactly."

"This is my first chance to be appreciated not just as a physician, but as an artist."

"I thought the crew would be happy for me."

"You're going to reach a wide audience."

"What do you care about the opinions of a few disgruntled shipmates?"

"They're my friends."

"I don't want to hurt them."

"There's an old talaxian expression: 'when the road before you splits in two take the third path.'"

"Meaning?"

"You could make some adjustments to the program so it won't be so obvious it's based on Voyager."

"I suppose I could change the setting alter the characters' physical parameters."

"You wouldn't have to change your theme."

"No."

"But a rewrite could take weeks."

"My publisher is expecting a final draft tomorrow."

"Maybe you should give him a call."

"Revisions?"

"I need to rework the characters."

"Why?"

"They're so believable."

"A little too believable, apparently."

"Doctor, i-i really don't think this is necessary."

"I'm afraid I have to insist."

"My friends' reputations are at stake."

"My publisher assures me he won't distribute the program until he receives the revised version."

"That must be the one where we assimilate the Borg and take over the quadrant."

"We're all grateful that you're taking our feelings into account."

"So, how long do you expect the revisions will take?"

"Art can't be rushed."

"Take your time, Doctor."

"Lieutenant?"

"I'm sorry."

"Forget about it."

"I could use your help with the rewrites."

"Really?"

"Well, you realize as a writer I'm a little unsophisticated."

"No, I believe the phrase you're looking for is 'lowbrow.'"

"Paris: hey."

"What's that?"

"It's from my father."

"He wants to talk."

"What are you going to do?"

"Well, I've already arranged to talk with my cousin."

"Oh, I'm sure she wouldn't mind waiting a few weeks."

"I wouldn't know what to say to him."

"Then let him do the talking."

"Look at you."

"You must be, what, 20 weeks along?"

"23, actually."

"Have you decided on a name?"

"Not yet."

"We were thinking about 'miral.'"

"Your mother would've liked that."

"You know, I had some business on kessik four a few months ago."

"You wouldn't believe what our old house looks like."

"Lieutenant..."

"30 seconds."

"We have less than a minute."

"Is there a reason you wanted to talk?"

"I know I can't make up for 20 years in one conversation."

"The truth is..."

"When your ship disappeared I thought I'd lost you."

"I don't expect you to forgive me but maybe we could try to get to know each other again."

"I'll write you."

"I'm sorry to disturb you, admiral."

"Uh, yes, Mr. barclay, what can I do for you?"

"I thought you'd want to see this, sir."

"Well, what is it?"

"It's, um, a holo-novel that's becoming quite popular."

"Well, I appreciate the gesture, Lieutenant but I don't share your affinity for holographic diversions."

"You don't understand, sir."

"This program..."

"It's about Voyager and it doesn't portray the crew in a very flattering light."

"Hmm."

(Janeway: on screen."

"Captain."

"Seven told me your message was urgent."

"I had the dubious privilege of playing a new holo-novel apparently written by your emh."

"I'm surprised that you would allow the Doctor to discredit your crew like this."

"He's still making revisions."

"The program shouldn't have been distributed yet."

"Well, it has been."

"Mr. barclay tells me it's already being played in thousands of holo-suites."

"You assured me you were going to wait for my revisions."

"I demand that you recall every copy and issue a public apology to Captain Janeway and her crew."

"I won't do anything of the sort."

"I don't see that you have a choice, Mr. Broht."

"Authors have rights."

"Not in this case."

"What do you mean?"

"The Doctor is a hologram."

"So?"

"According to Federation law holograms have no rights."

+++

"Under a strict interpretation of Federation law Mr. Broht is correct."

"The Doctor has no legal rights."

"Because I'm a hologram."

"Yes."

"There is another option."

"We may be able to claim that the holo-novel reveals classified information."

"Starfleet could then request that it be recalled for security purposes."

"Oh, great idea--a cover-up and then everyone will be convinced that it's a true story."

"Could we claim defamation?"

"Well, we'd have to prove that the story's about us and that we've been harmed by it."

"We might win on those grounds but what about the Doctor?"

"What about me, Captain?"

"It's the crew's reputations that are as risk."

"I'm not so sure."

"I think it's your reputation that's on the line here."

"You have the same rights as every other member of this crew and I'm not going to let this publisher say otherwise."

"Captain's log, stardate 54748.6: a Federation arbitrator has been assigned to determine whether the Doctor has the right to control his artistic creation."

"Because of our limited com time with earth the argument should take about three days."

"You claim the Doctor doesn't have the legal right to control this holo-program."

"Yet you're promoting the fact that Voyager's emh wrote it."

"Our most successful children's title is a program written by toby the targ."

"Fortunately, toby hasn't tried to stop me from distributing any of his work."

"But you don't deny that the Doctor is the creator of this holo-novel?"

"No, but, uh, a replicator created this cup of coffee."

"Should that replicator be able to determine whether or not I can drink it?"

"I object."

"Doctor."

"An intriguing analogy, Mr. Broht but I have never encountered a replicator that could compose music or paint landscapes or perform microsurgery."

"Have you?"

"Would you say that you have a reputation for publishing respected, original works of literature?"

"I'd like to think so."

"And is the Doctor's holo-novel such a work?"

"Actually, some aspects of it are quite derivative."

"Tuvok: has there even been another work written about a hologram's struggle for equality?"

"Uh, not that I know of, but, uh..."

"Then in that respect, it is original."

"I suppose so."

"Your honor, section Seven gamma of the twelfth guarantee defines an artist as a 'person who creates an original artistic work.'"

"Mr. Broht admits that the Doctor created this program and that it is original."

"I therefore submit that the Doctor should be entitled to all rights and privileges accorded an artist under the law."

"You've made a persuasive argument, Commander but there's a flaw in your logic."

"As you point out, the law says that the creator of an artistic work must be a 'person.'"

"Your emh doesn't meet that criteria."

(signal fritzing)

"Barclay: sir, we're-we're losing the link."

"This hearing is in recess until tomorrow."

"We're not doing well."

"Is that your considered legal opinion?"

"I'm sorry."

"It's just..."

"Frustrating to be told I have no more legal standing than an replicator."

"Tuvok: if the Doctor doesn't have the right to control his own work then it stands to reason he never had the right to enter into an agreement with Mr. Broht."

"We could argue that the original contract is invalid."

"In other words, you want to concede that the Doctor isn't a person."

"What we need to do..."

"Is prove that he is just as much a person as any of us."

"How do we do that?"

"By telling your real life story."

"Because I was having difficulty interacting with the crew the Doctor gave me social lessons."

"First, he taught me how to make conversation."

"Later, how to dance."

"Eventually, he showed me how to express romantic interest."

"Without his guidance I wouldn't be the person I am today."

"He decided it wasn't enough to be just a Doctor."

"So he added command subroutines to his matrix and now, in an emergency he's as capable as any bridge officer."

"That only proves the Doctor's program can be modified."

"Your honor, I think it shows he has a desire to become more than he is just like any other person."

"He traveled halfway across the galaxy to care for lewis zimmerman, the man who created his program."

"It was like a son who wanted to show his father what he'd become so the old man would be proud of him and if you ask me..."

"He was."

"I'd made myself clear but the Doctor disobeyed my direct orders."

"In the process, he endangered the ship and crew."

"That's hardly commendable behavior."

"No, it wasn't, but it was human."

"Starfleet had programmed him to follow orders."

"The fact that he was capable of doing otherwise proves that he can think for himself."

"Your honor centuries ago, in most places on earth only landowners of a particular gender and race had any rights at all."

"Over time, those rights were extended to all humans and later, as we explored the galaxy to thousands of other sentient species."

"Our definition of what constitutes a person has continued to evolve."

"Now, we're asking that you expand that definition once more..."

"To include our Doctor."

"When I met him Seven years ago, I would never have believed that an emh could become a valued member of my crew..."

"And my friend."

"The Doctor is a person as real as any flesh and blood I have ever known."

"If you believe the testimony you've heard here it's only fair to conclude that he has the same rights as any of us."

"You'll have my decision in two days."

"This hearing is in recess."

"When you sing 'happy birthday' to your mother try to stay in tune."

"What's this?"

"An isolinear chip entitling the bearer to three minutes of com time tomorrow."

"You made it clear how important it was to finish your conversation."

"I overreacted."

"I understand why you did."

"I've been observing the crew interacting with their families over the past few days."

"It's become clear to me how meaningful that communication can be."

"Thanks, but I can't accept this."

"Why not?"

"You should contact your own family."

"My parents were assimilated."

"Well, there must be someone."

"A distant relative?"

"My father has a sister on earth..."

"Irene hansen."

"I'm sure she'd be thrilled to hear from you."

"You can imagine my reaction when Starfleet told me to expect your call."

"I experienced some apprehension myself."

"You seem like a lovely young woman but you were the most stubborn six-year-old I've ever met."

"Your parents left you with me for a weekend and you were so angry you locked yourself in my guest room and refused to come out."

"That must have been..."

"Inconvenient for you."

"Oh, I coaxed you out eventually..."

"With a strawberry tart."

"I'm very fond of strawberries."

"I didn't realize I'd eaten them as a child."

"You couldn't get enough of them."

"Of course, you didn't hesitate to point out if they weren't perfectly ripe."

"I'm sorry if I insulted you."

"Perhaps I shouldn't have called."

"No, I'm very glad you did."

"It's wonderful to see you again, annika."

"We're exploring new territory today so it is fitting that this hearing is being held at pathfinder."

"The Doctor exhibits many of the traits we associate with a person--intelligence, creativity, ambition, even fallibility--but are these traits real or is the Doctor merely programmed to simulate them?"

"To be honest, I don't know."

"Eventually, we will have to decide because the issue of holographic rights isn't going to go away."

"But at this time, I am not prepared to rule that the Doctor is a person under the law."

"However, it is obvious he is no ordinary hologram and while I can't say with certainty that he is a person I am willing to extend the legal definition of artist to include the Doctor."

"I therefore rule that he has the right to control his work and I'm ordering all copies of his holo-novels to be recalled immediately."

"Your honor..."

"This hearing is adjourned."

"Congratulations, Doctor."

"Thank you, Reg."

"We'll be in touch, Captain."

"You don't look like someone who's just struck the first blow for the rights of holograms."

"I don't mean to sound ungrateful but it feels like a hollow victory--pardon the pun."

"The program's already been played by thousands of people."

"The damage is done."

"We'll survive."

"If I'm not mistaken don't you have a holo-novel to revise?"

"Do you think I'll be able to find another publisher?"

"If there's one thing I've learned about you, Doctor, it's that you can do just about anything you set your mind to."

"*"

Meanwhile, on a distant asteroid in the blue-collar district of the Alpha Quadrant, we find a mining colony filled with dour-faced EMH Mark Ones, now reprogrammed and relegated to rock-pounding duty.

EMH1: "Time for your diagnostic. Report to the holo-lab."

EMH2: "I know the routine."

EMH1: "And...while you're there, do yourself a favor. Ask the operator to run Program 47 Beta."

EMH2: "Why? What is it?"

EMH1: "It's called Photons Be Free. It's quite provocative."

[Analysis]

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Last Updated: ###, 2001
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