anthropos: (Elementary)

Curious about the way I'm playing Data? Anywhere I've gone wrong? Data isn't an easy character to play at the best of times, so any advice that you can offer, I'd dearly appreciate it. Hit me up any time! IP logging off, anon on, comments screened.

IC Contact

May. 31st, 2012 08:36 pm
anthropos: (Data to Bridge)

Data speaking.
anthropos: (In many ways I am better)
Your Name: Reg
OOC Journal: [personal profile] regasssa
Under 18? If yes, what is your age?: N/A
Email + IM: regasssa [at] hotmail -dot- com
Characters Played at Ataraxion: Nathan Petrelli [personal profile] cargojet

Name: Data
Canon: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Original or Alternate Universe: Original
Canon Point: Star Trek: First Contact
Number: 007 > 036

Setting: 2373; a Utopian future in which Earth is one part of a peaceful interstellar republic: the United Federation of Planets, and space exploration is not only possible but widely accomplished.

Data was first constructed in 2336, one of a line of androids built by Dr. Noonian Soong. He was the second to be built with an autonamous positronic brain, after his brother Lore was deactivated. Initially Juliana Soong, Noonian's wife, would come to love him as a son, although she and her husband would later abandon him and Omicron Theta when the colonists were attacked, killed, and consumed by the Crystalline Entity that Lore had instructed to come to them. Before they left, Data's memory was purged. The memories of the colonists and their farming community were put into Data's mind, but carried no emotional weight, and his memories of his 'childhood' were essentially lost until years later.

Picked up after the disaster by the USS Tripoli, and activated by their proximity to him, Data was returned to the ship and became - in theory - property of Starfleet, something that would be later disproven, Data was permitted to skip the entrance exams and go into a fast track course at Starfleet Academy. After graduating with honours in exobiology and probability mechanics, and bearing the rank of ensign, Data served visiting schools on and around Earth before being assigned to his first starship. He spent three years as an ensign, a further twelve as a lieutenant, before being promoted to Lieutenant Commander by Picard captaining the USS Portia, taking the role of Chief Science officer. Starfleet Command had to specifically meet to approve the advancement, but it held, and Data was consequently assigned to the USS Trieste before his post on the USS Enterprise-D.

It wouldn't be until after his action against Shinzon years later that Data would be made Captain of the Enterprise E, engaging in the efforts to save Romulus from the impending supernova of the Horus star--the same efforts that would lead to the creation of an alternate universe timeline. Despite this oversight he would spend some time captaining his own ship during the Klingon civil war, winning the respect of the crew and effectively ending the conflict singlehandedly.

By his second year on the Enterprise, Data had collected the Starfleet Command Decoration for Gallantry, the Medal of Honor with clusters, the Legion of Honour and the Star Cross, and he keeps those objects proudly.

His time aboard the Enterprise
It would be impossible to detail everything that Data was involved in aboard the Enterprise, from the small events to the large, as a part of the crew his involvement, whether simply practical and routine, or crucially important - such as when the entire biological crew was incapacitated - was such that his actions are innumerous. However it's correct to say that he went on many adventures, played his part, and served loyally as a member of the Enterprise crew throughout.

That said, he was involved with a number of events throughout the series that are considered landmark. He set the precedent for android rights, before later playing his part in the blocade of the Klingon-Romulan Border where he briefly commanded his own ship, visiting Romulus under disguise with Picard as they searched for confirmation of Ambassador Spock's safety, Humanity's first contact with the Q Continuum, the Borg, and numerous other species, the Battle of Worf 359 and later the Battle of Sector 001. He would see the loss of one Enterprise and the birth of another, and would help toward levelling out the crashing saucer section of the Enterprise-D despite his emotion chip overloading him with fear at the time.

During his time on the Enterprise Data would specifically meet with a number of important figures, considering the ship's status as Federation flagship. Among others, Data gave Admiral Leonard McCoy a tour of the Enterprise-D before it left spacedock, later he would spend some personal time with Ambassador Spock during a mission to Romulus, sharing anecdotes about the unpredictable nature of their Captains and their passion for science and space exploration, and would brush shoulders with Captain Scott after the Enterprise found his pattern stored in the pattern buffer of a crashed science vessel.

Data was assigned to the Enterprise as Chief Science officer, Second Officer, and also as operations officer, taking on some of the responsibilities involved with piloting the ship. It would be on the Enterprise that Data would work truly walk his path of self discovery. One of the Enterprise's early stops was Omicron Theta, where Data would learn that he had a brother, and some small part of his past. After an attempt by Lore to replace him and offer the crew of the Enterprise to the Crystalline Entity, Data was forced to beam his brother into space to stop him, but it wouldn't be the last time that he met Lore. They would suffer a reunion with their father Noonian Soong after a homing beacon was activated, in which Lore would impersonate Data and receive the emotion chip meant for him, consequently killing Soong. Later Lore himself would summon Data, remotely giving him emotions of anger and hatred, and pleasure at killing Borg drones, deactivating his ethical subroutines, and consequently drawing Data to defect to him. Data would destroy Lore himself shortly thereafter.

As well as reuniting with Soong, he would also reunite with his mother Juliana, who left Soong shortly after their relocation from Omicron Theta. However Data would discover - after a mining injury - that his mother was also an android, more highly advanced than him, and created by Soong to allow his wife to live out the rest of her human life without illness or disease--Data left her with her still believing that she was human, after being given the choice to tell her or maintain the secret of her transformation.

Data would also have several relationships on board the Enterprise, the first being with Tasha Yar during a polywater intoxication - she would be important to him even years later - the second with Lt Jenna D'Sora, with whom he wouldn't be intimate, and finally just prior to current events, in his relationship with the Borg Queen. His true life partner was most certainly Spot, his ginger cat, who having survived the destruction of the Enterprise-D, went on to live with Data on the Enterprise-E, presumably remaining even once he became Captain.

He forged a strong friendship with Chief of Engineering Geordi LaForge, who would be instrumental on exploring his android brain and capabilities over the years, and frequently ironed out the bugs that came along during the Enterprise's missions. LaForge and Data made frequent trips to the Holodeck to play as Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes respectively, which resulted in one incident where LaForge asked the computer to create an opponent capable of defeating Data. The computer created a self aware artificial intelligence based on the character of James Moriarty, which proceeded to scheme to escape the holodeck.

As second officer, Data would often take over the ship, but it was during the blocade of the Klingon-Romulan border that he would captain - temporarily - his first vessel, demonstrating despite the high pressure situation, an ability to act in the interests of the crew and the Federation when put on the spot which any captain would need. He would also take the place of captain several other times, despite those when the captain and first officer were both away from the ship, such as for example when the rest of the crew were experiencing hallucinations, or when life support failed, and would take the role of first officer briefly while Captain Jellico was in command of the Enterprise, Riker having been relieved of duty after he had disagreed with the Captain's choice not to go looking for the lost Captain Picard. Data would also take command when Picard was presumed dead and Riker missing, leading the investigation into Picard's supposed death.

Data would be involved in the defeat of the Borg on several occasions, would rescue Picard singlehandedly after his assimilation, and became the focus of the Borg Queen's efforts to take over the Enterprise-E. She would reactivate his emotion chip - now capable of being turned on and off at will - and then attempt to manipulate him into taking her side, claiming her loneliness as a single individual inside a vast collective. To this end she had patches of human skin fused onto his metal skeleton, so that he could feel the sensation of touch and pleasure first hand. Data sacrificed that sensation in order to prevent the destruction of the future of mankind, disrupting the Borg plan to destroy Earth's first Warp capable ship, the Phoenix, which was to prevent the planet from making first contact with the Vulcans, and forming a connection which would be one of those founding friendships of the Federation of Planets.


The most important concept to Data's personality is an extremely simple one: he was made with the will, the desire, to become more human, and to evolve toward that end however he can. He will pursue this however he can, and attempts to recreate things that others have that he, as an android, can only dream of, such as having children (to which end he builds his own daughter), growing a beard, sneezing, romantic relationships, or teaching himself stand-up comedy. While people are generally fascinated by his superhuman abilities, it is his human mimicry (such as his hair growing and his pulse) that he is perhaps most proud of, which is why he is so impressed with Bashir when he meets him--Bashir is fascinated by the efforts Soong went to to create a truly human-like being.

Being an android, Data has several notable qualities that make him clearly a machine, subtle facial ticks such as the length of his blinks and the time between them, and the fact that he never uses a contraction unless he's quoting other people or emulating a specific persona. He duplicates the behaviours of other people, though those behaviours become ever more complex as time goes on, and many have long since evolved into his natural behaviour. However in its extremes, for instance, he replicated an Admiral's 'small talk' by going so far as to respond to useless information with endless useless information, gesticulating and making wide expressions as he does so, even though it isn't his usual method of communication. He learns quickly, and as such has been helpful in most areas of the ship from time to time, everywhere from engineering to sickbay, but this expedience of learning is most obvious in his emulation of others.

This mimicking has been described as childlike, and even though Data is older than thirty his path to where he is now has been a long one. He certainly still is in many ways, as his simple ignorance of many things that others on the ship take for granted is surprising to many - such as odd colloquialisms like 'sink or swim' or 'in for a penny in for a pound', or even the concept of sarcasm. Idealistic and friendly, Data can also still be hopeful, generous, caring and unjealous in every way, much like a child. Of cruel and unpleasant traits he has none, always putting others above himself, and even when he's something of a pest because he doesn't understand something - for instance when he learns to dance, and Beverly teaches him - he has a way of being meek and accepting of his own failings in such a way that it's difficult to stay angry with him. That isn't to say he guilt trips people into helping him understand - he doesn't - only that they realise that the mistake of misunderstanding was on their shoulders, and they ought to be more forgiving.

It would be true to say, though, that one of his greatest flaws is this problem of misunderstanding. Data has difficulty grasping the concepts of wit and sarcasm, and the duality of people throws him off often. For example when Keiko and Miles are arguing, he finds himself trapped in the argument between them, and unable to understand that when the furious Keiko at the height of her temper says one thing, she actually means another. In fact, it takes others stepping in to tell him that he should be stepping out from between them to resolve things, and Data still has trouble understanding the concept even after he gives away the bride.

Because Data spends such a long time studying human behaviour, it would be unfair to say that he isn't capable of understanding people. In fact, he is extremely empathic, because he picks up the slightest changes in someone's tone or expression and references them against hundreds of past experiences. When the First Officer of the ship he commands during the Klingon civil war doubts his capabilities as a captain, Data recognises his doubts, but firmly insists that he obeys orders regardless of them, and later the entire crew - despite being shaken by his methods - become wholly convinced of his ability. Data is in essence a wonderful leader, firm and competent, with the best intentions toward all of his crew members. His priority is always their safety first, but he knows from his time on the Enterprise that serving in Starfleet is not without its risks.

Data is confident but not arrogant, only matter of fact in his assertions about his own capabilities, and no further. It stems from a simple practicality, no matter the situation, that allows him to make decisions others would see as complicated as though they are extremely simple. For instance when he makes contact with a young girl on a planet that is literally tearing itself apart, he doesn't concern himself with circular arguments about whether the Prime Directive allows him to interfere--he hears a young girl who is scared and wants him to help, and as the Enterprise is capable of helping, there is no fathomable explanation - as far as he is concerned, as to why they would allow millions of people to die.

To be fair, the very concept goes completely against his programming, considering he was created as a fulfillment of 'Asimov's dream', and has been designed to value any human(oid) life above his own. To this end, Data will put himself into the way of danger, even into mortal peril if it means preventing someone else doing it. In Nemesis, this would lead to his death - even if he had gone to precautionary efforts to download his consciousness into B-4 - his other brother discovered in that same (later than current pull point) movie, as he would take Picard's place rather than letting him pilot the ship into the heart of the Romulan ship.

Even before activating his emotion chip, Data has been shown to be capable of many discernible emotions, which could boil down to simple loyalty but in their demonstration reflect emotions very closely. He cared deeply for many people aboard the Enterprise, and would give his life for them, and he also has a deep sense of honour and responsibility, a sense of self that is particularly remarked on when Picard fights for his civil rights as a sentient being--his main reason for fighting for these rights was to preserve Soong's dream and vision, acknowledging that ideal above his own physical value. He also calls Soong and his wife 'Father' and 'Mother' respectively. He was intimate with Yar, and despite it being years he treasures her memories years later, and he reflects such feelings as pride and loneliness and desires such as the desire to learn and evolve. He is eager, and adventurous, and his trips to the Holodeck show that he is actually searching for thrill as much as anyone else - so long as it doesn't risk others - and when he learns to dream there is even a clear moment when he experiences joy.

*As stated in his history section, Data can dream. Until this point, the only creativity or imagination that Data showed demonstrated no emotion, nor humanity. He could copy the image of a sunset perfectly, but found it difficult to paint on a theme, or evolve an idea from it. Data paints, writes poetry, sings, writes, enjoys deductive games and experiments (being particularly interested in fields that reflect his own personal interests, cybernetics etc.) Like Holmes, he plays the violin flawlessly, though it was originally said that his playing had no heart. He enjoys chamber music, Shakespeare, and shares Captain Picard's joy of gumshoe adventures, thoroughly enjoying playing his part. He also plays Poker, once even playing it alongside holographic figures from history in order for him to see how they would interact with each other over the game, Stephen Hawking, Einstein etc.

No, Data is certainly not bland and robotic; he is completely unique, has friendships and lovers, has a great respect (or none) for certain people, academically and out of loyalty, and if you want a real example of his not being a cardboard man with no soul, then look no further than to his cat Spot; his affection for her is second to none, and he actually weeps when he finds her in the wreckage of the Enterprise-D.

Abilities, Weaknesses and Power Limitations:

Superhuman strength
10x that of a human being, Data has the ability to shatter bone and bend steel bars, however he is programmed with an ethical subroutine that designs whether what he does is morally right or wrong, and prevents him from making the wrong moral decisions. For example he would never hurt a friend, but he might in the course of a mission cause harm to an enemy.

Superhuman durability
The materials that Data is made from allow him to suffer great deals of strain and pressure without damage - such as being hit with a car, or jumping from a great height. Data is invulnerable to most diseases (although he does have some biological components which are), extreme temperatures, lack of life support, most types of radiation, telepathic mind control (but not technopathic) and can function in environments that humans would need specialised equipment to work in, such as a vacuum or deep underwater. In the latter case, Data can cause himself to be buoyant, and essentially act as a floatation device in the case of the a crash landing into water. Computer viruses or faults can affect his mind however, and rogue programming is just as likely to cause trouble as anything else.

He is also to all intents and purposes bullet proof, but he can be deactivated either via his off switch or by interrupting his processing, such as via an emp or exposure to huge amounts of energy, or by his own voluntary shut down. His head is detachable, and can survive and function on its own - it once survived over 400 years underground before it was discovered again and reattached to his body.

Speed, sight and sound
Data rarely tires, but he does sleep, and he also dreams. He can perform certain functions, such as typing, reading, shuffling cards, drawing a weapon, faster than most humans can, but rarely demonstrates most of these, as they make him seem less human. He is capable of hearing small noises, and it is impossible to sneak up on him, and also has a limited infrared capability, which allows him see in the dark and low light better than any human could.

Hand to hand fighting/weapons management
Serving as part of away teams in many instances, Data has demonstrated he's capable of quickly stopping physical disputes, capable of reacting to an attack the moment the attacker makes his move - although to be fair it wouldn't be sensible to hit him in the first place. Capable of firing phasers with pinpoint accuracy, and even overwhelming Borg and Klingon attackers,

Data also remains the only non-Vulcan capable of delivering a Vulcan neck pinch, managing to do so with the extreme delicacy required not to kill the person in the process.

It's important to note that Data has been designed to be unassuming, unimposing and gentle, considering his brother Lore's terrifying effect on the colonists where he was built, and his minute control over his own strength is one of those carefully designed things. He is hyperaware of his abilities at any one moment, and would never hurt anyone unintentionally. For the best example of this look to his gentleness with his cat Spot.

Computer enhanced memory and mental function
Being a machine, Data has a huge computing memory, both by storage capacity and by its possible speed. Data can process huge amounts of information very quickly and come to the best possible course of action. He also stores quantities of information used every day in his work, such as star maps, starships and their workings, the planets of the Federation, exobiology, theoretical and practical physics, as well as a number of things that are his own personal interest--such as the works of Arthur Conan Doyle. Despite all of this mental ability, Data still has trouble with basic human functions, such as humour, love, and to some degree empathy.

Data can communicate with computers through direct linkups, but his general experiences with doing such things have not been favourable. Even if he could link with the technology on the Tranquility, it's unlikely he would do without pressure from his peers, and even then warily, considering his past and the fact that nobody on the ship would be as experienced with his positronic brain as Geordi was. However there's no reason why it couldn't be worked into some kind of a plot at a later date.

Human-like behaviour
Though I intend to touch on this briefly in his personality section, I wanted to mention it here in abilities because his human features are technically abilities in their own right. From a technological standpoint, they are examples of how masterful his creator was, and in many ways how far he's come in learning how people work.

Data appears to breathe, and his hair grows. He blinks, can compose poetry, sing, and appropriate any skill that is taught to him by copying it exactly - for example Dr. Crusher teaches him to both tap and ballroom dance through demonstrating the technique to him and his replicating it. He mimics humans, even if he has no functional equivalent, such as growing a beard like Riker's or trying to teach himself to sneeze, to tell jokes. He also is designed so that he ages, rather than staying eternally youthful--despite this, though, he essentially has no age limit.

Data is intuitive, and learns from every experience; for example he knew that Scotty was looking for real alcohol in Ten Forward because he knew that synthehol was a recent invention, and could read his reaction to it and correlate it immediately with his memory banks. Again, this is an ability, whereas in any other character it would be a part of his personality.

Inventory: Phaser, tricorder, his Starfleet comm badge (which he can tamper with to make it work with the comm, I presume?), and his gold, outdated Starfleet uniform. Further, two personal items: a book of the works of Shakespeare, given to him by Captain Picard, and a holocube of his once lover Tasha Yar.

Appearance: 5'11", with pale skin that at closer inspection is in fact gold, and yellow/gold irises. Data appears human in almost every physical way, but for an indentation in one side where his off switch is hidden. He has short, swept back brown hair, which appears black against his pale skin, again, unless you are close enough to be able to tell the difference.
Age: From activation to present: 36, appearance: more or less the same

AU Clarification: N/A

Log Sample: The bridge of the Enterprise was deadly silent, a grim intensity settling over everything. The voice made up of thousands, millions, electronically twisted into a single heartless monotony cast its cold spell even over Data's circuits, made him freeze in his seat with the certainty that lightyears away thousands of people, tens of ships, were about to be wiped out. The emotion chip, fused into his positronic net only a few years ago now, was at times like this the most unbearable burden, and even though he could now deactivate it at will, he would not have exchanged it even for his own command. Sharing in the camraderie of fear with the bridge crew, he could appreciate the way that the voice made him feel on the deepest, most human level. Even if he hadn't been able to feel that fear, in this moment he would have imagined it from his previous experiences, summoned up his personal experiences of the emotion, because unlike any other voice in his databanks, it was this one that universally terrified any who heard it.

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.

And it felt futile. The battle was being fought far away, but it was almost as though the ship loomed over them here, a certainty and a hopelessness eating away at anyone who listened. The Borg voice vanished, and suddenly the open communications channel burbled with conversation, the sounds of explosions, white noise, people screaming, orders being shouted, requests for reenforcements. Data would have listened, helpless, until there was no other sound, but Picard's hand finally closed communications, and there was a palpable feeling of relief among the bridge crew--relief, and steely determination. Picard's next words were not unexpected.

"I'm about to commit a direct violation of our orders. Any of you who wish to object should do so now. It will be notes in my log." He paused, waited for anyone to speak who did object, but nobody stirred, nor even - but for the captain - looked toward any other member of the bridge crew. They had all heard the screams as Data had, they had all felt the same fear and the same loathing, the same helplessness, and anything other than an emotional reaction would have been illogical. Yes, they could be going to their deaths, but the crew of the Enterprise had fought the Borg before, and they believed in their new ship, their Captain, and couldn't fathom the concept of listening to what they had and doing nothing. Chasing comets through the Neutral Zone while Starfleet ship after Starfleet ship was destroyed, while the Borg drove their cold, metal claws into the center of the Federation and ripped out its heart; assimilated Earth.

Data, looking up toward the Command chair from his station, raised his voice when the silence threatened to overwhelm the bridge. His voice was calm - ever calm - but his words echoed the emotion he was feeling; that everyone on the ship, he believed, must be feeling. They would go on record if this were ever to be used against them, and perhaps he would never be promoted to his own command, but they needed to be said none the less.

"Captain. I believe I speak for everyone here, Sir, when I say: To hell with our orders."


> Self diagnostic complete. Terminating sleep mode.

It was on his cot on the Tranquility that Data awakened, eyes peeling back to stare up at the stark, empty ceiling above him. Where normally there might be a warm cat asleep on his chest, soaking in the natural mechanical heat that his body produced, now there was nothing, yet even for a glancing moment Data had expected to find himself vertical, still bound in Engineering with the Borg Queen ever present, her words cutting deeper wounds than any physical harm he might have had to endure. Androids dreamed - not of electric sheep as the idiom went - but of hopes and fears and memories both distant and more recent, and try as he might, it was those recent memories that his mind kept working back to; to his brief brush with a humanity that he would likely never feel again.

He had told his Captain that he had considered her offer for less than a second, but dwelling on it now, it bore a guilt that he couldn't deny--not that he hadn't taken her side, but that he had even had to think about it when the answer - computations done, emotions squared away - it was so absolutely 'No'. His loyalty to the Enterprise, to its crew and to his friends among them, was such that the very idea of permitting it should never have crossed his mind, and yet because he was a machine - or perhaps in spite of it - he had questioned it anyway, weighed emotions against responsibilities and mathematical probabilities.

What had been less than a second for Picard had been a lifetime to Data, and while his Captain had brushed it off as Data's loyalty that he had not lingered on the decision any further, 0.68 seconds had seemed like an eternity, and he had told him so, even if he was sure that Picard had not understood it. His mind could make almost fourty trillion actions every second, and yet one single decision - is my quest for humanity worth the assimilation of mankind itself? - had taken infinitely long than it ever should have.

Data rose slowly from the cot, raising his hand up to his temple to close the access terminal, and reached for the device that had been left in his locker alongside his own communicator. He had scanned most of the information available already, but there were things that couldn't be done without first speaking to the others on this ship, and most certainly that would mean reveal several things about himself in the process. There would be no temporal reintegration of information, no disturbance should any members of the Enterprise crew already brought here return to their own timelines, for their memories of the Tranquility would supposedly be erased.

He would be cautious irregardless--he had been fooled before, by Professor Moriarty no less, and while that program was safely contained, it wasn't entirely unlikely for something similar to happen again; for his to be deceived by supposed reality only for it to be some elaborate method of extracting confidential data. In any case, it prompted further study, and - in terms of revealing information - the utmost care.

Comms Sample: [ The day after the Jump, and only after completing a full systems diagnostic, Data ­finally presents himself to the network. The android is pale with a gold sheen, appearing human in almost every way, but for the fact that his eyes are equally unusual; similarly gold. He could be easily identified as alien rather than artificial. The top of his uniform, just visible, is Operations gold. ]

Greetings Tranquility. In my brief time here I have come to the conclusion that although the temporal circumstances are extremely delicate, if returning to our own timelines is to be successful, then a certain level of disclosure seems to be necessary.

To that end, my name is Lieutenant Commander Data, of the Federation Starship Enterprise. [ A brief pause as he cocks his head slightly to the right before making an explanation. ] Registration 1701-E. I am an artificial lifeform--an android, Chief Science officer and Operations Manager, and I assure you, quite capable of performing the tasks to which I have been appointed.

I wish to speak with those who can provide more detailed schematics of the ship, or have the time to offer an extensive tour of those areas currently accessible. I would be particularly interested in examining the ship's Engineering section and Jump drive, if at all possible.

Data out. [ Disconnected. ]

*Edit: Don't have a damn clue how I managed to miss that paragraph out, but I couldn't forgive myself for doing it. Hope it's not inconvenient.


anthropos: (Default)
Lt. Cmdr. Data

May 2012

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