As a fan of Star Trek (all flavours, though Voyager isn’t a must watch), I was entranced by Data. The first android to be allowed into Star Fleet, there were several episodes that dealt with identity and what it means to be human. As much as the Enterprise‘s mission was to seek out new life, it was frequently argue that Data himself was a new form of life.
There are two episodes in particular that highlight, for me, Data’s budding humanity. In The Naked Now, Data’s friendship with Tasha Yar is put under the spotlight. With Tasha infected by an alien virus, he attempt to seduce Data, resulting in what is probably a famous statement from Data – that is he fully functional. Though the doors are shut on what happens next, the assumption is that he is indeed and that he and Tasha are intimate.
The second episode I love is Déjà Q, in which the troublesome omnipotent being is stripped of his power and strikes up an odd friendship with the android. When Q is restored to the Continuum, he repays Data’s saving his life by gifting him with being able to laugh.
Later episodes develop Data’s humanity further, showing him picking up hobbies such a painting and playing the violin, as well as acquiring a cat he names “Spot”.
I apologize for the lateness of this post. I’ve been pretty crazed recently…well, more crazed than usual :D…and this morning, having woke up late and I was desperately trying to get ready to go to the EDJ, the reminder about it being my day to post here popped up. Anyone who knows me will have a fairly good idea of what kinds of words were uttered, and I promised myself I’d post when I got home, so here I go!
I think for me the attraction of cyborgs and androids and robots is finding out how they differ from and are the same as we mere humans. I’d love to sit down with the Terminator (as long as he’s not seeing me as a target, thank you very much!) or C-3PO and grill them unmercifully. What are the perimeters of your knowledge? How do you temper your strength when necessary? Do you think, or just react to what happens around you? Do you have forethought (I’d say yes, really) and how do you forecast future events? I guess, as a writer, I’m all about the hows and whys. It’s the equivalent, I suppose, of people watching–and yes, when given the chance I’ll grill people too…it’s just the way I am.
But if I’m gonna have to pick one robotic type character to come visit, hands down it’ll be Data.
I think everyone already knows I’m a big Trekker, and TNG is my favorite. Data is one of those characters whose arc just got better and better as the seasons progressed. We already knew from very early he was anatomically correct and programmed for sex, but as time went by we also began to see that he was, in every sense of the word, the thinking woman’s android. He paints, loves Sherlock Holmes and has a cat. He fights to be accepted the way all the other sentient beings on the ship are and wants to discover what it means to be human. And he’s looking for love. In short, while he’s male and an android, he was given the kind of arc a woman might have in a story set in a different time period.
I’d like to put that hypothesis to him, and hear what he has to say about it. He would be the kind of guest you stay up all night with, chatting and laughing (well, I’d be laughing. Data may just humor me) and trying to set the worlds to rights. Yes, worlds in the plural. After all, if I’m talking with Data, it means we’ve contacted all those other worlds out there…
I can hardly wait!