- "I chose to believe that I was a person, that I had the potential to become more than a collection of circuits and subprocessors." (TNG: "Rightful Heir")
Lieutenant Commander Data was a Soong-type android, the first and only such being to ever enter Starfleet. Data was created sometime during the 2330s and died in 2379, sacrificing himself to save the 800 men and women aboard the Enterprise.
Data was composed of 24.6 kilograms of tripolymer composites, 11.8 kilograms of molybdenum-cobalt alloys and 1.3 kilograms of bioplast sheeting. (TNG: "The Most Toys") All told, he weighed approximately 100 kilograms. (TNG: "Inheritance") Data's upper spinal support was a polyalloy designed for extreme stress. His skull was composed of cortenide and duranium. (TNG: "The Chase") His legs were exactly 87.2 centimeters in length. (Star Trek: Insurrection) Data was built with an ultimate storage capacity of eight hundred quadrillion bits (approximately 90,949.5 terabytes or 88 petabytes) and a total linear computational speed rated at sixty trillion operations per second. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")
Soong-type androids were incapable of alcohol intoxication, yet components in its processing systems are susceptible to disruption by polywater intoxication. (TNG: "The Outrageous Okona", "The Naked Now")
Data had an aging program designed to simulate the external effects of aging in his physical appearance. The blinking of his eyes was governed by a Fourier series, to simulate randomness. (TNG: "Inheritance") In 2369, Dr. Julian Bashir further expressed his fascination for all the trouble Dr. Soong took to make Data seem "Human." He was especially surprised on how "personable" Data was. He also questioned Data about whether his hair grew, and observed that Data was "breathing" and had a "pulse." Together, Bashir and Data investigated an alien device. The device emitted a plasma shock that overloaded Data's positronic net, activating a series of previously dormant circuits that subsequently gave Data the ability to dream. (TNG: "Birthright, Part I")
Data appears to be left-handed, or at least, he seems to favor his left hand for tasks such as painting (TNG: "11001001"), using a pen (TNG: "Time's Arrow"), gun tricks (TNG: "A Fistful of Datas"), and more.
Data always sought to become more Human in his behavior, often with unfortunate results. His attempts at humor were not successful, nor were his attempts at romance and love. He maintained a relationship with Jenna D'Sora, but it did not last long. (TNG: "In Theory") Besides humor and romance, Data also had trouble using contractions in regular speech, although this was part of his programming by Dr. Soong.
- Data's comment to the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact regarding how long it had been since he was last intimate with a woman would seem to indicate he was referring to Tasha Yar. This suggests that Jenna and Data were never intimate during the course of their relationship.
During his stay aboard the Enterprise-D, Data kept a cat as his pet, whom he named Spot. Spot was quite fickle in her relationships: besides Data, she only enjoyed the company of Reginald Barclay. In 2371, Spot survived the destruction of the Enterprise. Data, newly with emotions as a result of his emotion chip, cried tears of joy over Spot's survival. (Star Trek Generations)
He began using this emotion chip in 2371, one year after he acquired it from his brother Lore. (TNG: "Brothers", "Descent, Part II"; Star Trek Generations) At first, he had some difficulties adjusting to the onslaught of emotions, as simple things as scanning for lifeforms on a planet caused him great pleasure. He eventually learned to control the feelings. After the initial adjustment period, he was able to turn the chip on and off, and later to remove it completely. (Star Trek Generations; Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek: Insurrection)
Creation and early life
Data was the third of six known androids designed by Dr. Noonien Soong. He was built on the planet Omicron Theta in ca. 2336, after Lore was deactivated, and over the protests of Soong's wife Juliana. Soong claimed he built Data to perfect his design of his andriods, and when Data was perfected, apply his improvements to Lore.
In his earliest existence, Data was much like a baby, struggling with motor control and sensory input. Over time, he learned about himself and his world, and his programming was refined by Dr. Soong, who attempted to eliminate certain undesirable behaviors. Problems included a disregard for social niceties (courtesies like "please" and "thank you"), and a lack of appreciation for clothing (Data did not see any necessity since he "didn't suffer from the elements"). In regards to the latter issue, the Soongs had to write a "modesty subroutine", because the colonists objected to an anatomically accurate android being unclothed.
Eventually they decided to program Data with the logs and journals of the colonists, while simultaneously wiping his memory of his early existence. Unfortunately, the Crystalline Entity attacked before Data was reactivated.
Juliana had come to view Data as her beloved son, but always feared that he would fail like the early androids, or become dangerous, like Lore, and would have to be dismantled. This fear motivated her to lie to her husband when they fled, forcing him to leave Data behind, inactive. (TNG: "Inheritance")
Discovery and early career
Data was found and reactivated on the planet Omicron Theta by the USS Tripoli on February 2nd, 2338, after the Crystalline Entity destroyed the entire colony on the planet. (TNG: "Datalore") His connection with Starfleet resulted in his choice to enter Starfleet Academy. (TNG: "Brothers") Upon applying to the Academy, he met with some resistance from Bruce Maddox; the only member of the evaluation committee to oppose Data's entrance on "the grounds that [he] was not a sentient being". Eventually Data was admitted to the Academy in 2341, and spent four years there. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "The Measure Of A Man")
During this time Data did extremely well scholastically, but his lack of understanding often created social obstacles. He fell victim to several practical jokes and had difficulty with social gatherings. (TNG: "The Game") Nonetheless, in 2345, Data graduated with honors in exobiology and probability mechanics. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "The Measure Of A Man")
One of Data's first assignments out of Starfleet Academy was aboard the USS Trieste. (TNG: "Clues") He spent three years as an ensign and twelve as a lieutenant before being promoted to lieutenant commander in 2360. (TNG: "Datalore") In 2364 he was assigned to the USS Enterprise-D as its second officer.
By 2365, Data had earned the Starfleet Command Decoration for Gallantry, Medal of Honor with clusters, Legion of Honor, and the Star Cross. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man") By early 2368, Data had encountered 1,754 non-Human races during his tenure with Starfleet. (TNG: "Darmok")
Aboard the Enterprise
Data served as operations officer and second officer on board the USS Enterprise-D from 2364 until the vessel's destruction in 2371. (Star Trek Generations) Since he did not require sleep, he routinely stood night watch on the bridge. His quarters were located on deck 2, room 3653. (TNG: "A Matter of Time") He frequently participated in many of the away missions undertaken. His speed of thought and great strength made him an important asset to the ship, and the fact that he was unaffected by disease, radiation or mind control was vital on more than one occasion.
Shortly after the Farpoint mission, the Enterprise crew was infected with a polywater intoxication which caused the crew members and even Data to act irrationally, as if mentally unstable. Fortunately, Dr. Crusher found an antidote, and with Data's help the cured crew was able to retain control of the ship. (TNG: "The Naked Now")
During the Enterprise's first year of active service, it passed along the former colony of Omicron Theta, and stopped to investigate the site of Data's discovery. The crew of the Enterprise encountered another android in an underground facility which named itself Lore upon assembly and activation aboard the Enterprise. Pretending to be Data, Lore attempted to take control of the ship, but was prevented from doing so by Data. Lore was transported off the ship, into space. (TNG: "Datalore")
Later that year, Data took overall command of the Enterprise when a holodeck virus incapacitated the entire crew while in orbit around Angel I. Although the ship had been ordered to the Romulan Neutral Zone, Data's interpretation of the orders allowed the Enterprise to remain in orbit long enough to rescue the away team members stranded on the planet. (TNG: "Angel One")
Data was a major influence in the quest to recognize the sentience of androids. In 2365, Data was ordered by Commander Bruce Maddox to submit to an untested procedure that Maddox believed would grant him a greater understanding of the technology behind Data's positronic brain. Data studied Maddox's proposal and found it to be flawed, prompting Maddox to assert his authority and order Data to submit. Data refused and resigned from Starfleet, but Maddox challenged his right to do so, claiming that Data was property, not a sentient lifeform, a position supported by Captain Phillipa Louvois of the Judge Advocate General's office. Captain Jean-Luc Picard challenged this position, stating that Data currently represented an entire race and duplicating him for the purposes of enforced labor constituted slavery. Louvois ultimately ruled that Data was not the property of Starfleet and could choose whether to acquiesce to Maddox's requests. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man") Data, however, continued to communicate with Commander Maddox, assisting him in his work. (TNG: "Data's Day") Many agreed with Data that he was sentient, so much so that as of 2372, Data was considered the only sentient artificial lifeform in Federation society. (VOY: "Prototype")
- It is interesting to note that the actual ruling from Louvois was very narrow. It was only that Data was not the property of Starfleet under Starfleet rules and regulations. The legal question thus remained open whether Data was "sentient" under Federation law - which is not coextensive with Starfleet regulations. Any legal determinations as to that question have not been presented in the episodes or movies. However, in many ways this plot was carried over with The Doctor's fight for equality.
In late-2366, Data was captured by one Kivas Fajo who added him to his collection of rare items, which, now besides Data, included a Lapling, a Roger Maris Baseball card, and a Varon-T disruptor. Fortunately, Data, with the assistance of Fajo's partner Varria, was able to escape the Jovis upon which Fajo was arrested. (TNG: "The Most Toys")
When later that year, Captain Picard was captured and assimilated as Locutus by the Borg, Data was instrumental in not only rescuing Picard from the Borg, but also in finding a way to destroy the Borg cube approaching Earth by "put[ting] them all to sleep." (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
One year later, in early 2367, Data, under the control of Dr. Soong, took control of the Enterprise and commandeered it to the planet of Terlina III. Unfortunately, the same program had activated in Lore's brain, and brought him to Soong's lab as well. Soong explained he had brought Data because he had created an emotion chip for him, and that he had thought Lore to be dead. Lore incapacitated Data, and Soong mistakenly implanted the chip in him instead. After finding out, Lore attacked Soong and escaped. Soong died shortly afterwards. (TNG: "Brothers")
Data once more took command of the ship later that year when, with the Enterprise trapped in a Tyken's Rift, the crew began to suffer from lack of REM sleep, causing loss of concentration and hallucinations. The brainwaves of the crew were being affected by a ship trapped on the other side of the rift, whose crew was attempting to communicate with the Enterprise. Along with Counselor Troi, he freed the ship by releasing hydrogen which when combined with a substance carried by the other ship released enough energy to collapse the rift. (TNG: "Night Terrors")
During the blockade of the Klingon-Romulan border during the Klingon Civil War in 2368, Data was placed in command of the USS Sutherland. Despite the first officer being hostile to his android nature, the Sutherland managed to detect the cloaked Romulan ships attempting to supply the forces of Duras. Data himself recommended he be disciplined for disobeying an order to fall back, but was instead praised by Captain Picard. (TNG: "Redemption II")
Later that year, alien entities took over the minds of Data, Deanna Troi and Miles O'Brien. The three insisted the Enterprise conducted a systematic survey of the polar region of a moon – a notion Captain Picard, Commander Riker and the rest of the crew considered absurd. When Riker questioned their reasons, the three staged a violent revolt and took command of the ship. It was later found out the three were controlled by the spirits of deceased criminals from Ux-Mal, and eventually the spirits left the Enterprise for their banishment on the moon. Though Data had no control over his actions while under the control of the Ux-Mal criminal, he nonetheless apologized for his behavior toward his fellow officers (TNG: "Power Play").
In early-2369, the Enterprise crew was summoned to San Francisco to evaluate a discovery of extra-terrestrial life on Earth that dated back to the late-19th century. They were shocked to find out Data's head, old, dusty and dead, had been found among the ruins of some 19th century artifacts. When La Forge concluded that the only species capable of time travel and of assuming Human form existed solely on the planet Devidia II, the Enterprise set course for the planetoid.
- Data's head would have been about 475 years old when it was finally re-attached to his body in 2368.
Arriving at Devidia II, Troi sensed lifeforms, but none were physically present. Since Data was the only hope for manipulating the distortion in timing, he beamed down and soon disappeared, reappearing in the San Francisco of the late 1800s. He quickly adapted to his surroundings and set out to build a communication device to get back in touch with the Enterprise. Shortly thereafter, he incidentally met Guinan, who was hiding out from her father on Earth at the time.
Hoping to save Data's life, the senior staff transported to 19th century San Francisco to find him. In a local morgue, Riker and Crusher realized the aliens from Devidia II, disguised as Humans, were slowly killing off the population by stealing their neural energy and sending it to the 24th century to feed their own people. They were soon able to find and stop the Devidia II aliens. (TNG: "Time's Arrow", "Time's Arrow, Part II")
Later that year, La Forge and Data proposed to connect Data to the ship's systems so he might act as an emergency backup system in case of a ship-wide systems failure. As a result of the experiment, however, Lt. Worf, his son Alexander, and Counselor Troi were trapped in an Old West holodeck program where every other character looked like Data. (TNG: "A Fistful of Datas")
Captain Edward Jellico briefly took command of the Enterprise while Captain Picard participated in a covert mission in Cardassian space. Jellico came into conflict with Commander Riker and eventually relieved Riker of duty. Data took the position of first officer until Captain Picard's return. (TNG: "Chain of Command, Part II")
In early-2370, Data was among the away team that beamed down to the Ohniaka III outpost to whose distress call the Enterprise had responded. On the surface, Data experienced his first emotion while fighting off a Borg drone, violently beating the drone against the wall. With the captured drone Crosis, Data took a shuttlecraft and left the Enterprise. Picard and an away team tracked Data down and were shocked to find him under the influence of his brother Lore, who had directed the Borg's attacks as part of an attempt to win Data to his side. Lore modified the chip so that it could remotely instill anger and hatred in Data. Confused with his new emotions, and with his ethical program deactivated, Data betrayed the crew of the Enterprise, resulting in the capture of Picard, La Forge and Troi. Fortunately, La Forge was able to instruct Picard in modifying a Borg interlink transceiver to reset Data's ethical program with a kedion pulse, restoring his sense of right and wrong; he would still experience negative emotions, however, he could at least choose whether or not to act upon them. With Data's ethical program reactivated, and Riker and Worf leading a rescue attempt with the help of the drone Hugh, who had spent time aboard the Enterprise earlier that year, Picard and his team were able to reactivate Data's ethical program, and Data subsequently shot Lore, recovering the emotion chip from his remains. (TNG: "Descent", "Descent, Part II")
With Captain Picard presumed dead and Commander Riker missing in action later that year, Data assumed command of the Enterprise once more in an effort to find those responsible for Picard's apparent death and Riker's capture. Although he was lower in rank, Lieutenant Worf was appointed as acting first officer instead of Lieutenant Commander La Forge but he and Data came into a confrontation when Worf questioned his orders openly in front of the crew on several occasions. (TNG: "Gambit, Part I", "Gambit, Part II")
Later that year, after investigating a crashed probe, Data lost his memory and sought refuge with primitive villagers nearby. He was quickly assimilated into the village and given the name "Jayden." The radioactive material he was transporting, however, was a danger to them, and without his memory Data could not save them from it. In their ignorance, they killed "Jayden" and buried him. Data was later retrieved by Commander Riker and Dr. Crusher and his memory was restored aboard the Enterprise. (TNG: "Thine Own Self")
Shortly after the incident, La Forge found behavior nodes in Data's positronic net and he thought that an alien "archive" was using Data to create different people and that this transformation was still going on. Counselor Troi added that Data had the android equivalent of multiple personalities and that there was no telling how many would emerge. Picard later confronted Data, through whom the D'Arsay Sun God of Masaka now spoke, wearing the mask of Korgano. Masaka thought she was alone and did not have to share the sky with anyone when Korgano told her that without him she was not complete. Korgano soon convinced Masaka was getting tired to brighten the sky forever. Masaka replied Korgano should begin the hunt again, and at that moment Masaka fell asleep. When Picard asked Data whether he was all right, Data answered he was not entirely certain what happened and wondered if he had been dreaming again. (TNG: "Masks")
Return to the emotion chip
In 2371, at the ceremony honoring Worf's promotion to Lieutenant Commander, Data witnessed an incident where Worf was "accidentally" sent into the water in a holographic simulation of a ship at sea. Misinterpreting the laughter it evoked, he then spontaneously pushed Dr. Beverly Crusher overboard. He was disheartened to find out that it wasn't quite as amusing as he had assumed. The incident led him to believe that his development had reached an impasse. He decided to install the emotion chip he had taken from Lore at the beginning of the year.
The results were unpredictable, later attributed to the overload of new data on emotion. During an away mission with Geordi La Forge on board the Amargosa observatory, his recall of previous humorous incidents led to the emotion chip overloading, fusing into his neural net (Much to Geordi La Forge's annoyance) and rendering Data helpless as Tolian Soran sneaked on board and kidnapped La Forge. Unable to deal with the sudden onset of fear as a result, Data curled up in a corner as Soran beamed away with La Forge. As the Enterprise investigated, Data was overcome by yet another emotion: regret, over getting La Forge captured. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, himself trying to get over news of the death of his brother and nephew, helped Data get through his anguish, and the two managed to figure out where Soran was headed, and why.
Upon arrival at planet Veridian III, where Soran was planning to implode the Veridian sun with a trilithium missile so he could get to the Nexus, Data was finally able to experience relief as Geordi La Forge was returned to Enterprise unharmed. Data continued to work on controlling his emotions throughout the mission, Enterprise's battle with the Duras sisters, and the crash landing of the saucer section on Veridian III. By the end of the mission, when Starfleet came to recover the Enterprise crew and anything that could be salvaged from the saucer section, Data reckoned to have experienced 261 distinct emotional states. He learned one more emotion before leaving Veridian III: tears of joy, after finding Spot alive in an empty barrel. (Star Trek Generations)
Data transferred to the new USS Enterprise-E in 2372, along with most of the senior staff of the Enterprise-D. In 2373, the Enterprise took part in the Battle of Sector 001 against Starfleet orders. Thanks to the ship's intervention, the Borg cube was destroyed, but not before it launched a sphere which generated a temporal vortex and traveled to the year 2063. The Enterprise pursued, and destroyed the sphere before it was able to prevent the first flight of Zefram Cochrane aboard the Phoenix warp ship. Along with Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher, Data beamed down to the surface, to inspect any damage to the Phoenix. Upon suspecting Borg presence aboard the Enterprise, however, Picard and Data transported back to the ship. While fighting off the Borg near Main Engineering, Data was captured and brought before the Borg Queen. Instead of attempting to assimilate Data, she had him made more Human by attaching Human skin onto his android skeleton.
When it appeared impossible to hold off the Borg any longer, Picard was convinced to initiate the self-destruct of the Enterprise and ordered all remaining crew to evacuate. He himself went on to Engineering to find Data and to convince the Queen, whom he had encountered several years previously when he was Locutus, to release Data. Picard was even prepared to take Data's place at the Queen's side and become her equal. Data, however, claimed he did not wish to go, even after the Queen ordered him away. Thus, the Queen ordered Picard's assimilation, but not before witnessing the destruction of the Phoenix by Data.
The quantum torpedoes fired by Data missed by the smallest of margins, and quickly thereafter he ruptured a plasma coolant tank, releasing plasma coolant which would dissolve organic material on contact. The Queen (or at least one version of her) was killed, but Picard managed to survive. Helping Data standing up, Picard asked him if he was ever tempted to join the Borg's cause. Data replied that, for a fraction of a second, he was. He added that, for an android, that is almost like an eternity. (Star Trek: First Contact)
In 2375, while assigned to a Federation/Son'a duckblind operation on Ba'ku, Data discovered a cloaked holoship. The ship was intended as a means to relocate the Ba'ku people from their home-world without their knowledge, clearing the way for the mining of metaphasic radiation from the planet's rings. Because involvement in such an ordeal would be a clear violation of the Prime Directive, Data presumably objected and was attacked and hit by a Son'a weapon.
The attack damaged some of his memory engrams and caused his memory loss fail-safe system to activate. Data's ethical and moral sub-routines took over all his basic functions. Effectively, he entered a self-preservation mode in which all he knew was right and wrong. Before he was finally subdued by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Lieutenant Commander Worf, Data revealed the duckblind to the Ba'ku people and warned them that the Federation/Son'a presence was a threat.
The Enterprise crew was able to piece together what had happened and staged an insurrection against the Federation. Data joined some of his crew-mates as they defended the Ba'ku on the surface from aggressive Son'a abduction attempts. Later, Data attacked the Son'a flagship with a scoutship, firing tachyon bursts into the shield grid, and forcing the ship to rotate its shield harmonics. This allowed the transport of the Son'a ship's crew off their bridge and onto the cloaked holoship. After this, Data had little influence on the resolution of the crisis.
Battle with Shinzon
By 2379, Data was expected to replace Commander Riker as first officer following Riker's promotion to Captain of the USS Titan. But before Data could take the role, the Enterprise was ordered to Romulus where a new praetor had come to power. Shinzon's good intentions, however, were soon found to be false. In reality, he was discovered to be a clone of Captain Picard and, due to genetic degenerations, he was in need of the captain's DNA in order to restore his own. After Shinzon's vessel, the Scimitar, had almost destroyed the Enterprise, Picard was able to eliminate Shinzon aboard his own vessel. Data boarded the Scimitar just in time to prevent activation of its thalaron radiation weapon and the death of Picard. Firing at the weapon with a phaser, he sacrificed his own life to save the Enterprise from destruction. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Data was fond of Sherlock Holmes and enjoyed playing the great detective in a holodeck program, often accompanied by Geordi La Forge in the role of Dr. Watson. (TNG: "Elementary, Dear Data", "Ship in a Bottle")
Data has been known to play poker with people from other time periods, including Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton, out of interest as to how they would interact in such a situation. He called the exersize "most illuminating". (TNG: "Descent")
Data pursued many of the higher arts of Earth. He developed his painting skills, creating art of many styles and subjects. (TNG: "Birthright, Part I", et al.) He wrote poetry and performed in plays. (TNG: "Schisms", "The Defector", "Frame of Mind", "Emergence") He played the violin and performed on several occasions. (TNG: "Sarek", "Tin Man", et al.) He also played the acoustic guitar and the oboe. (TNG: "Silicon Avatar", "In Theory") He dabbled in singing, performing "Blue Skies" at the wedding of William Riker and Deanna Troi. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Data maintained good relationships with most of the Enterprise senior staff:
Data looked up to Picard as something of a father figure throughout his service under the captain asking for his advice on numerous occasions in his quest to become more Human. Picard always gave Data advice whenever he could.
- A similar relationship between a captain and an artificial member of the ship's crew was developed in Star Trek: Voyager between Captain Kathryn Janeway and The Doctor, Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram, who achieved sentience after he was forced to assume the permanent position of Voyager's doctor after the deaths of the original medical staff
Following Tasha Yar's death in 2364, Data was puzzled about her death, thinking not about Yar but rather how he would feel in her absence, thinking that he missed the purpose of her memorial but Picard assured him that he understood the purpose of the memorial perfectly. (TNG: "Skin of Evil")
In 2365, Data's existence was threatened when Commander Maddox wished to disassemble and study Data to gain a better understanding of how his positronic brain functioned. Data refused to submit to Maddox's procedure, finding his research flawed but Maddox claimed that Data was property of Starfleet and therefore not a sentient being and as a result had no choice other than to submit to the procedure. Captain Louvois supported Maddox's claim and Picard intervened by challenging their reasoning, saying that Data was indeed sentient and deserved the freedom to make his own decisions. He also said that Data represented an entire race and that forcing him to submit to Maddox's procedure was tantamount to slavery – strictly against Federation law. Ultimately, Louvois sided with Picard's standpoint and agreed that Data, android or not, was indeed sentient and entitled to the same rights as any other Starfleet officer. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")
In 2367, Picard's seemingly unbreakable trust in Data was tested when Data refused to fully co-operate in an investigation into a number of events that happened within a 24-hour time span although Data claimed that the time span was only thirty seconds. Data's intransigence threatened to end his Starfleet career and even his own existence but it was later revealed that Captain Picard was himself responsible for Data's unusual behavior after an encounter with the Paxans in a T-Tauri type star system. (TNG: "Clues")
During the Klingon Civil War from 2367-8, the Federation made an indirect intervention with a blockade of Starfleet vessels placed in formation to use the pioneering tachyon detection grid in an effort to expose Romulan support for the House of Duras. Picard assigned all of his senior officers positions on board other ships except for Data. Data questioned Picard about why he was not assigned command of a vessel considering that there was a severe lack of senior officers available for the mission, wondering if he felt that his being an android made him unsuitable for command. Picard, slightly embarrassed by Data's question, assigned Data command of the USS Sutherland. During the blockade Data disobeyed direct orders from Captain Picard and was able to expose the Romulan's involvement in the war. Data submitted himself for disciplinary action for disobeying a direct order from his superior officer but Picard praised Data for not following his orders as he believed that doing so was appropriate under the circumstances. (TNG: "Redemption II")
In 2369, Data refused to allow a group of exocomps to be sacrificed in order to save the lives of Captain Picard and Lieutenant Commander La Forge, who were trapped on board the Particle Fountain Project space station, believing that they were sentient and therefore capable of making their own decisions. After agreeing to a compromise suggested by Commander Riker, the exocomps were released and able to save the lives of Picard and La Forge. Picard understood the predicament that Data was faced with as he had defended Data's sentience just a few years previously but this time the exocomps had no advocate and Data felt compelled to act on their behalf. Picard considered Data's actions to be the most "Human" decision that he had ever made. (TNG: "The Quality of Life")
Later that year, following an accident in main engineering that activated a dormant program in his positronic brain, Data sought advice from several officers, including Captain Picard, on his "visions". Picard was curious why Data was studying thousands of different cultures to interpret his visions. Data said that he had no culture of his own but Picard told Data that he did have a culture – a culture of one and that its validity was no less than that of a billion. Picard suggested that Data should consider what the visions meant to him instead of what they meant to other people. (TNG: "Birthright, Part I")
After a malfunctioning emotion chip fused with Data's positronic net in 2371, Data felt guilty for not saving La Forge from capture by Tolian Soran on board the Amargosa observatory. Data was overwhelmed by emotions and requested being shut down until the chip could be removed. Although Picard felt sympathy for Data, he told him that part of having emotions was integrating them into your life and learning to live with them and denied Data his request. (Star Trek Generations)
In 2373 (when the Enterprise-E traveled back to the year 2063 on Earth), Picard and Data initially went down to the planet to observe the damage the Borg had done to Zefram Cochrane's missile complex in Montana. Down in the missile silo of the Phoenix, Picard, upon touching the missile that would make history by becoming the first Human starship traveling at warp, explained to Data that sometimes a touch can make objects more "real". Upon suspecting Borg presence aboard the Enterprise, Picard and Data transported back to the ship. Fighting off the Borg near main engineering, Data was soon captured and brought to the Borg Queen. Instead of attempting to assimilate Data, the Queen made him physically more Human by attaching Human skin onto his android skeleton.
When it appeared impossible to hold off the Borg any longer, Captain Picard was convinced to initiate the Enterprise's auto-destruct sequence and ordered all remaining crew to evacuate. He himself went on to engineering to find Data and to convince the Queen, who he had encountered several years previously, to let Data go. Picard was even prepared to take Data's place at the Queen's side, willingly, thus becoming her equal. Data, however, claimed he did not wish to go – even after the Queen ordered him away. Thus, the Queen ordered Picard's assimilation, but not before witnessing the destruction of the Phoenix by Data.
Data fired a spread of quantum torpedoes but they missed by the smallest of margins, and quickly thereafter he burst a plasma coolant tank, releasing plasma coolant, which would liquefy organic material on contact, killing the Borg. The Queen was killed, but Picard survived. While helping Data to his feet, Picard asked him if he was ever tempted to join the Borg's cause. Data, hinting at his kiss with the Queen, replied that for a fraction of a second (zero point six eight seconds), he was. He added that for an android, this brief moment was like an eternity. (Star Trek: First Contact)
Following the wedding of William Riker and Deanna Troi in 2379, Data was confused by Captain Picard's mixed feelings for the couple – although the captain was happy that Riker was due to accept promotion to the rank of Captain and take command of the USS Titan and that his new wife was to transfer over to the Titan and take position as the ship's counselor, Picard was somewhat saddened by their departure and tried to explain to Data that experiencing feelings of both happiness and sadness at the same time are common in these situations.
At the climax of the Battle of the Bassen Rift, Data jumped across the void of space from the Enterprise-E to the Scimitar, saving Picard by using a prototype emergency transport unit but he sacrificed his own life to save the crew of the Enterprise by firing at the thalaron radiation generator and so destroying the Scimitar. Following the battle, Captain Picard held a toast with the Enterprise-E's senior officers as a tribute to their fallen comrade. (Star Trek Nemesis)
- Interesting note: Picard honors Data after his death with a toast with his senior staff. "To absent friends" is the same toast Kirk gives in Spock's honor after his death. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek Nemesis)
William T. Riker
William Riker first met Data on the Enterprise holodeck in 2364. Data was trying to whistle "Pop Goes the Weasel," but could not finish the last few notes. Riker helped him finish, later giving Data the nickname "Pinocchio", in reference to Data's wish to become Human. At first, Riker was skeptical about Data's abilities as a machine, assuming that his rank of Lieutenant Commander was merely honorary. Despite Riker's misconception, Data had earned his rank, just as every other Starfleet officer of the same rank and above had done. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")
In 2365, Data's status as a sentient individual came into question. A hearing was held on Starbase 173, but the base lacked a complete legal staff. As first officer of the Enterprise, Riker was forced to act as counsel for Bruce Maddox and was given the task of convincing Judge Phillipa Louvois that as an android, Data was the property of Starfleet. Riker very nearly proved that Data was property by means of deactivating him. Picard's defense later made Louvois hold that Data was a machine, was not the property of Starfleet, and had the right to choose whether to comply with Maddox's requests to study him. Riker was distressed over the incident, and he felt terrible that he had nearly cost Data his rights. Data did not hold any ill will towards Riker or Maddox, and was actually grateful that Riker participated, essentially because if he did not the initial ruling being appealed would have remained in Maddox's favor. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")
Data sought Riker's help and advice on several occasions. One instance was when he asked for Riker's advice on friendship and betrayal, following a mission involving Ishara Yar in 2367. (TNG: "Legacy") Data also asked for Riker's help when Keiko Ishikawa temporarily called off her wedding to Miles O'Brien in 2367. (TNG: "Data's Day") He came to Riker once more for advice when he started to date Jenna D'Sora. (TNG: "In Theory")
Geordi La Forge
Data's closest friend during his time aboard the Enterprise was Geordi La Forge. As of 2367, Data considered La Forge to be his best friend. (TNG: "Data's Day") Their long-term friendship dated back to 2364, when both were assigned as bridge officers aboard the vessel. La Forge's promotion to chief engineer the next year reflected his expertise with machinery, though he experienced difficulties in establishing relationships with other people, especially women. These personality traits may have accounted for La Forge's ability to so easily maintain a relationship with a sentient machine such as Data.
Their friendship was tested in early 2370, during the Enterprise's encounter with the individualized Borg. Lore used the emotion chip stolen from Dr. Noonien Soong to influence Data, deactivating Data's ethical program and transmitting emotions to Data. While under Lore's influence, Data participated in a neurological experiment with La Forge as the primary subject. The experiment caused La Forge a great deal of pain and may have eventually resulted in La Forge's death. Fortunately, Captain Picard and others of the Enterprise crew were able to reactivate Data's ethical program. It was Data's friendship with La Forge that eventually allowed the android to overcome his brother's influence. (TNG: "Descent, Part II")
In 2371, following an incident on the holodeck in which Data pushed Dr. Crusher off a sailboat in the water, Data decided to finally have the emotion chip Dr. Soong gave him years earlier installed in his neural net. La Forge assisted Data by installing the chip after the latter made this life-changing decision, though La Forge would later react negatively to his friend's erratic behavior that accompanied the initial acquisition of emotions. When La Forge was later threatened by Dr. Soran aboard the Amargosa observatory, Data was afraid to intervene, but he later learned to live with his newly-acquired emotions. (Star Trek Generations)
Dr. Beverly Crusher and Data had a special relationship, with Data seeking advice from Crusher on subjects ranging from parenting (TNG: "The Offspring") to dancing. She taught Data to tap dance, not knowing that he had intended to learn how to dance for the wedding of Miles O'Brien and Keiko Ishikawa. (TNG: "Data's Day") Data also came to her for advice on whether or not to consider the exocomps alive, and she was present when Data learned they were indeed sentient. (TNG: "The Quality of Life")
As the ship's chief medical officer, Dr. Crusher had some knowledge of how to repair and "heal" Data, though mostly it was Geordi La Forge who filled that function, since Data was an artificial lifeform. (TNG: "Datalore", "The Game")
In 2369, Data incorporated a subroutine for small talk. At the recommendation of Captain Picard, he studied Commander Hutchinson while the Enterprise underwent a baryon sweep at Arkaria Base. Dr. Crusher was the first person Data tried to engage in small talk using his observations of Hutchinson, to her astonishment and delight. (TNG: "Starship Mine")
During Worf's promotion ceremony in 2371, Dr. Crusher tried to explain to Data the humor behind Worf being dunked after walking the plank on the holodeck recreation of the sailing ship Enterprise. Data did not completely understand and then pushed Crusher into the water, as an attempt at the same type of humor. However, Dr. Crusher and the rest of the senior staff did not find it nearly as amusing. La Forge later recommended that Data stay out of sickbay for a few days following the ceremony. (Star Trek Generations) In 2379, Dr. Crusher remarked that she thought Data had nicer eyes than his predecessor, B-4. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Data enjoyed a solid, if low-key, friendship with the cantankerous Klingon. They had two important things in common: both were rescued by the Federation after their homes were destroyed by enemy attacks, and both were (initially, in Worf's case) the lone representatives of their species in Starfleet. Although most of their time together was during duty hours (such as bridge duty and away missions), both were frequent participants in the senior staff's poker games, and were occasionally seen in other off-duty situations as well. Despite outranking Worf until the latter's promotion in 2371, Data didn't mind Worf referring to him directly by name instead of rank.
When Data's shuttlecraft exploded while returning to the Enterprise-D in 2366, all Worf could do was stare in shock at the viewscreen and mutter his friend's name; as it turned out, the explosion was staged in order to kidnap Data, and he was subsequently rescued. (TNG: "The Most Toys")
When Geordi La Forge and Ensign Ro Laren were presumed dead in a transporter accident in 2368, Data volunteered to arrange the memorial service, but he was unsure about what kind of ceremony to have and asked Worf for advice. Worf told him that for Klingons, an honorable death in the line of duty was a cause for celebration, not mourning. Data took his advice and arranged a very upbeat party. (TNG: "The Next Phase")
A year later, Data again sought Worf's guidance, this time in researching the "dreams" he was having. Worf, preoccupied with rumors that his father had survived the attack on Khitomer, gave Data some cryptic answers, but Data seemed to understand what he was saying and went on his way. (TNG: "Birthright, Part I")
Their friendship was severely tested in 2370 when Data, acting as commanding officer, admonished Worf for challenging his orders in front of the bridge crew. Afterwards, Data apologized to Worf if the dressing-down had ended their friendship, but Worf took the high road, saying that if the friendship was in jeopardy, it was his fault alone. After that exchange, their working and personal relationship quickly returned to normal. (TNG: "Gambit, Part II")
When Dr. Pulaski came aboard the Enterprise in 2365, she was not very kind toward Data, because of her discomfort with technology. She saw him as no more than a machine, pronouncing his name "DAH-ta" rather than "DAY-ta," and did not understand that he had a preference. (TNG: "The Child") She was also condescending towards Data and often spoke to him through other crewmembers. (TNG: "Where Silence Has Lease") She believed that Data's methodical way of looking at situations meant that he could never solve a traditional Sherlock Holmes mystery, which led to the creation of the program which brought about the sentient Professor Moriarty. (TNG: "Elementary, Dear Data")
Later during the year, however, she began to value Data and look upon him as an equal and as a sentient individual. The major turning point was during the crisis surrounding the Darwin Station children. Data stayed to support Pulaski for a long period of time after she had become infected, something for which she was very grateful. (TNG: "Unnatural Selection") Pulaski even challenged master Zakdorn strategist Sirna Kolrami to a game of Strategema, believing that Data could win. When Data was unsuccessful, he interpreted it as a possible weakness and relieved himself of duty. Dr. Pulaski talked to Data and made him realize that one letdown did not necessarily mean total failure, and encouraged him to return to duty, but with no success. Finally Captain Picard told Data that a loss can be had with no mistakes made and convinced him to return to duty. Data later forced Kolrami to a stalemate, much to Kolrami's chagrin. (TNG: "Peak Performance")
Data was programmed with multiple techniques and was "fully functional". Data had a sexual relationship with Natasha Yar during the influence of polywater intoxication (TNG: "The Naked Now") and attempted a romantic relationship with Jenna D'Sora in late 2367. (TNG: "In Theory") In 2373, the Borg Queen seduced him in order to convince Data to join the Borg's cause. (Star Trek: First Contact)
Data had a short sexual relationship with Natasha Yar in 2364. Yar was at least slightly attracted to Data and had sex with him while under the influence of polywater intoxication. She later told him that the incident "never happened". (TNG: "The Naked Now") Data, since he has perfect memory (he can remember everything that has ever happened to him like it just happened), still felt a special connection to Tasha. He kept a holographic image of Tasha to remember her. When Data's rights as a sentient being were called into question, his romantic encounter with Tasha was a strong influence for Judge Phillipa Louvois to rule that Data was in fact a sentient lifeform. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man") La Forge and Wesley Crusher found the holoimage when they visited Data's quarters after his apparent death in 2366. (TNG: "The Most Toys")
In late 2367, Lieutenant Jenna D'Sora found herself in love with Data. After she expressed her affection for him by kissing him on the lips, Data asked his friends for advice on what to do, and decided to pursue the relationship. Since he had no real emotions or feelings, Data created a special program to guide him through the intricacies of love. However, as his relationship with Jenna progressed, Data discovered that in romance, the logical course is not always the most appropriate.
Later that year, they decided to end their relationship. D'Sora explained that her previous boyfriend had been unemotional, and felt that her choice of Data, an android completely incapable of emotion, indicated a pattern. Without a second thought, Data, seeing the validity of her point, agreed to discontinue his program. (TNG: "In Theory")
- Data's comment to the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact regarding how long it had been since he was last intimate with a woman would seem to indicate he was referring to Tasha Yar. This suggests that Jenna and Data were never intimate during the course of their relationship.
In 2063, during the Borg attack on the Enterprise-E, which had arrived from the year 2373, Data was abducted by a Borg drone. Unable to be assimilated, the Borg Queen attempted to bribe Data into subservience by offering him live flesh instead of his polymer. Data played along, having sexual relations with the Borg Queen, who wanted him as a partner. Data ultimately betrayed the Borg Queen, killing her with warp engine coolant, which also removed the new flesh she had grafted onto him. (Star Trek: First Contact)
Alternate realities and timelines
In 2366, the USS Enterprise-C emerged from a temporal rift. Its disappearance from the year 2344 caused an altered timeline, where the Federation was losing a war against the Klingons. Data was still the ship's operations officer. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise")
Lieutenant Worf encountered a quantum fissure which caused him to begin shifting between quantum realities in 2370. In several universes, Data was still the Enterprise's operations officer, and attended a surprise birthday party for Worf. In at least one of these realities, Data's eyes were blue instead of their characteristic yellow. All the events following Worf's encounter were erased from the timeline once the fissure was sealed. (TNG: "Parallels")
In an unknown, alternate future timeframe, Data was a professor (the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics) at Cambridge University and lived at Isaac Newton's house with a housekeeper and several cats. Apparently in this future, he had grasped the concept of humor, stating that his housekeeper made him laugh. In addition, his everyday speech had much more nuance and inflection, and he appeared to have finally mastered the use of contractions. He had also dyed part of his hair grey. (TNG: "All Good Things...")
- ca. 2336
- Built by Dr. Noonien Soong and his wife Juliana on Omicron Theta.
- Discovered by the crew of the USS Tripoli.
- Permitted to enter Starfleet Academy.
- Graduated from Starfleet Academy.
- Served aboard the USS Trieste.
- Assigned as operations officer aboard the USS Enterprise-D.
- Discovered his first brother, Lore, on Omicron Theta.
- Constructed his own daughter, Lal, aboard the Enterprise.
- Reassigned as operations officer aboard the USS Enterprise-E.
- Discovered his second brother, B-4, on Kolarus III; destroyed in the destruction of the Reman warbird Scimitar.
|Operations officers of the starships Enterprise|
|USS Enterprise-D:||Crusher • Data • Giusti • Gleason • Lavelle • Mandel • Sito • T'Su • Wallace • Worf|
|USS Enterprise-E:||Armstrong • Data • Perim|
|First officers of the starships Enterprise|
|Enterprise NX-01:||Tucker • T'Pol • Sato|
|USS Enterprise:||Number One • Spock • Decker • Saavik (as a trainee) • Thelin|
|USS Enterprise-D:||Riker • Shelby • Data • Worf|
|ISS Enterprise NX-01:||Archer|
|ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701):||Spock|
|USS Enterprise (alternate reality):||Spock • Kirk|
|Science officers of the starships Enterprise|
|USS Enterprise:||Spock • Chekov • Kyle • Sonak • Decker • Saavik|
|USS Enterprise-D:||Data • Swenson|
|ISS Enterprise NX-01:||T'Pol|
|ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701):||Spock|
|USS Enterprise (alternate reality):||Spock|
Data was played by actor Brent Spiner in all of the character's television and film appearances. The character of Data appeared in all episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with the exception of season four's "Family". He also appeared in all four TNG-era Star Trek films, where he has been the focus of the major plotlines. Finally, in 2005, Spiner recorded a brief, voice-only cameo as Data for the finale episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, ""These Are the Voyages..."": Data was heard speaking to Deanna Troi over a com-link (for which Spiner was not credited). Spiner had previously played Arik Soong, an ancestor of Data's creator, in a fall 2004 story arc on Enterprise.
When Roddenberry cast Spiner into the part of Data, the android's appearance was something not yet determined. Spiner went through 36 makeup tests, as makeup genius Michael Westmore painted him every color in the rainbow, including bubblegum pink and battleship gray. They finally settled upon bright gold, with yellow irised contacts. Spiner was opposed to the idea of wearing makeup for his character at first. "My argument with Gene was, 'If you could make a creature that moves like this and looks like this and thinks like this, why can't you do the skin?' And Gene's response was, 'What makes you think what you have isn't better than skin?' And that's very difficult to argue with." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
Data's character was inspired from two previous sources. First was a movie created for television by Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon during the 1970s, entitled The Questor Tapes. It featured Robert Foxworth as the title character (as well as Majel Barrett and Walter Koenig) and was intended as the pilot for a series which would have detailed the adventures of an android with a childlike personality. In the movie, Questor was to have experimented with sexuality, making love to a female character. Network censors did not allow this scene to be used in the film, but a decade later, more relaxed standards allowed an "intimate relationship" to occur between Data and Natasha Yar in "The Naked Now". Data's assurance that he is a "fully functional" human male is a quote from the telemovie. A scene from "The Royale" wherein Data repairs loaded dice is also from The Questor Tapes. The second source was the aborted 1978 series, Star Trek II, where Data's desire to understand humans and their emotions corresponded to that of the Vulcan character Xon. (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
In his portrayal of Data, Spiner drew his inspiration from two different sources. The first was taken from Riker's reference to Data as Pinocchio in the "Encounter at Farpoint", a comparison which he used in his portrayal. "He's a machine who'd love to be human, and is fascinated by humans. I suppose in his journey he'll get closer and closer to being one." The second was the Blade Runner character Roy Batty, as according to Spiner, "I like to think of myself as the Rutger Hauer of this show," adding, "but then I like to think of myself as Rutger Hauer in real life: strikingly handsome, irresistible to women, an intergalactic enigma." (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
The March 1987 TNG Writers/Directors Guide provided a backstory for Data that was jettisoned rather quickly during the series. In that version he had been manufactured by highly advanced (but never seen) aliens who placed into him all the memories of a doomed "Earth-Asian" space colony to preserve their existence. His personality would thus have been influenced by the colonists. This backstory made it into David Gerrold's novelization of "Encounter at Farpoint", and elements (Data retaining the colonists' memories) survive in the "Datalore" version.
The ending for Star Trek Nemesis gave slight suggestion that B-4 may become a replacement for Data, thus possibly becoming Data in the process and mirroring Spock's rebirth and the cryptic suggestions alluding to it at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. However, Brent Spiner has noted that he has visibly aged out of the role and that it would be implausible for him to continue playing an android whose appearance should not change with time (though the seventh-season episode "Inheritance" established that Data has an aging program that ages his appearance, and "All Good Things..." shows an appearance-aged Data). Hence, B-4's presence (and suggestion that he has a copy of Data's memories stored) was most likely meant to have been a tease.
Other than in alternate realities, Data has always appeared as a lieutenant commander, throughout the entire run of TNG and the subsequent movies. Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher are the only other characters to remain at the rank they started with. He was one of the few non-Vulcans to master the Vulcan nerve pinch, as seen in "Unification II" and Star Trek Nemesis.
On 9 April 2008, the character of Data was inducted into Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame. Attending the ceremony on the android's behalf was Star Trek actor and Carnegie Mellon alumnus Zachary Quinto. 
Academy Graduation Inconsistency
In "Encounter at Farpoint", Data said that he had graduated with the Starfleet Academy Class of '78, despite the fact that the episode took place in 2364 and Data was assembled in 2335. It was established later on that Data had graduated in 2345.
Use of Contractions
Data's tendency to avoid the use of verbal contractions in ordinary speech was remarked upon in TNG: "Datalore". While episodes preceding "Datalore" routinely showed his use of contractions, this rule was adhered to for most of the remainder of the series with some notable exceptions. These can be categorized in one of three broad ways: as a single instance not commented upon during the episode, as part of portraying a new character or persona, or to denote some future change or enhancement to his original programming.
- At the end of "Datalore" he tells Wesley Crusher that "I'm fine", and in TNG: "We'll Always Have Paris" makes the remark that, "It's me".
- In the Star Trek Movie "Insurrection", he remarks to a child that "You'll be safer". This is said in rushed seemingly emotional tone.
- In TNG: "The Big Goodbye" Data appears to be able to use contractions with ease on several occasions while participating "in character" during the Dixon Hill simulation on the holodeck.
- During TNG: "In Theory" while creating a new program for use during a romantic relationship, Data utilizes the phrases "Honey, I'm home!", "I'll join you", and "You're not my mother!" When questioned about the last's apparent angry nature, Data reverts to a more characteristic response of "You are not my mother."
- For the alternate future timeline version in TNG: "All Good Things..." and for all of the TNG films, Data is shown using contractions.
In fact, "Datalore" did not explicitly assert that Data was incapable of using contractions, merely that he generally did not use them, and that his tendency was to "use language... formally." In "The Offspring," Lal's ability to use contractions was depicted as an advancement beyond Data's abilities, but Data's actual words were that he had not "mastered" their use. Given the above instances, it is clear that Data is capable of using contractions as an affectation. Perhaps what he had not "mastered" was the ability to use them spontaneously in everyday speech.
Further evidence that Data can use contractions: he participated in Beverly Crusher's productions of Shakespeare plays, which involve many archaic contractions that are difficult even for contemporary humans to use properly.
The comic book series Star Trek: Countdown, a tie-in to the 2009 Star Trek film, depicts Data as alive in 2387, having successfully imprinted his neural nets onto B-4's programming. In the comic, Data had become captain of the Enterprise-E.