Day 4, 2100 hours
After hearing that Holo had been relieved of duty, Max decided to visit Holo after his shift had finished. Max thought that Holo had been treated very poorly by the crew, and the poor decision on Ezri's part merely served to confirm Max's view. However, Max was determined to change Ezri's mind and persuade her to reinstate Holo back to his duties. Outside of Holo's quarters, Max tapped the panel to chime the door.
“Come in,” came Holo’s weary voice from inside the quarters.
Max entered the room and saw Holo sitting down. Holo’s back was lowered and his elbows were upon the chair’s armrests while his hands were over the back of his neck. Max had not seen Holo look so depressed. “I came by to see you,” he said as he rested himself on a chair next to Holo. “Listen I'm going to talk to Dax, and try to revoke the decision to relieve you of duty.”
“Good luck...” said Holo moodily; not once was he looking at Max, instead his eyes were fixed upon some spot on the floor.
Max sought to reassure Holo. “I know it looks bad, but you have some friends. Nog has already spoken to Dax, unfortunately it amounted to nothing.”
At last Holo sat up and raised his head to look at Max. “Max, it's good you're doing this. But until you persuade the captain and the rest of the crew that I'm a sentient being, nothing will change.”
“Trust me, I know what to do to persuade her,” said Max and he stood up. “With any luck, you'll be back on duty in a few hours time.”
Max walked out the room, he stopped at the door to Holo’s quarters. “I'll see you later,” he added.
Holo did not say anything as Max left the room. Outside in the corridor, Max walked at a brisk pace heading for Ezri's quarters. He was absolutely determined to help Holo; it was awful for him to see how sad and hopeless Holo looked. Max realised that he wanted to help Holo, because Holo was his friend. This initially surprised him as he wasn't really aware of the friendship forming between himself and Holo.
Day 4, 2115 hours
Ezri was relaxing in her quarters after the end of a long day and she was resting on a soft-padded chair. One of her favorite activities was to read books, but not from a padd. She preferred an actual book; what she did was to order the replicator to construct a real book. The book of course had a proper cover, binding, paper and text. It was like a hobby for her, she had at least 150 books, they were mainly novels and philosophical books.
Right now Ezri was starting to get really into the book she was reading. It was a Vulcan book about logic and rationality. The sound of the door chime brought Ezri to her senses. “Enter,” she said.
Max entered Ezri’s quarters, and she straightened up. “What is it commander?”
Max came to a stop, a metre away from Ezri, and he was standing very rigidly. “It's about Holo; I think you've made a mistake in relieving him from duty.”
Inwardly Ezri groaned, reading about logic was hard enough. Explaining the logic of her decision concerning Holo was going to be a lot harder. “Nog said the same thing to me, but I'm sorry, my decision is final.”
Her words did not discourage Max, they seemed to embolden him instead. “Captain the main issue here is whether Holo is sentient or not. Do you think he is sentient?”
“To be honest I'm not sure,” replied Ezri and she wondered where Max was going with this.
“Come on now captain, Holo shows all the signs of sentience: he learns, he is self-aware, he has emotions and more importantly, he has a personality.”
Ezri though had found a flaw to Max’s argument. “What you think is a personality, which is merely generated by advanced programming.”
“That argument is flawed and you know it,” responded Max, and he sounded dismissive towards Ezri. “Who would have thought that electro-chemical reactions in a complex cell structure would create sentience?”
Such a question really taxed Ezri’s brain, though she was impressed by Max’s reasoning. “But's that different, our brains are made of a physical structure. Whereas with Holo his programming is in essence in cyberspace.”
“But what gives us that spark; a spark that generates self-awareness in us?”
“There is no answer to that question,” said Ezri. “Not yet anyway.”
“Precisely the same applies with Holo.”
“But how can you justify that statement?”
Max looked considerably angry; it was as if he could not believe why Ezri doubted his arguments. “You want evidence captain? Go to Holo's quarters and you will see him sitting there looking frustrated, despondent and hurt. It's as if someone has carried out a grave injustice against him. Imagine captain if you had unfairly dismissed a member of your crew, now how do you think that person would feel?”
Those words reverberated around Ezri's mind and she started to understand what Max was getting at. She was only now beginning to understand Holo. “That person would feel what Holo is feeling right now. I must admit that when I have spoken to Holo, it is like talking to another humanoid. If you didn't realize that he was a hologram, you would be convinced that he was human.”
Max nodded in agreement. “You have just said it yourself captain, there is no difference between talking to Holo and to talking to another person. Listen captain... Dax, given there is very good chance that Holo is sentient, can you really risk treating him like a machine?”
Max's question finally made Ezri realize that Holo was sentient. She could not violate Holo’s rights because Holo was a living, and self-aware, being just like her. “When you put that way I would not take such a chance. A part of me would know that I might just be talking to a sentient being... And knowing that would mean to respect his rights and freedoms as a sentient being, and not to trample unjustly upon them.”
Relief shone on Max’s face, it was clear that this was what Max had wanted to hear. “Now do you understand why I consider Holo to be sentient?”
Ezri nodded once in acknowledgement. “I'll talk to Holo myself, thank you for relying your concerns to me.”
Max rose from the chair though he looked troubled again. “Erm... captain, you will reinstate Holo back to duty?”
“Of course I will!” she replied vehemently.
Max nodded in appreciation, and he left Ezri’s quarters.
Ezri had never seen a human who possessed such impeccable logic and reasoning skills. Not even Bashir had Max’s elegance when it came to arguing over a philosophical issue. What Max had said gave Ezri a lot to think about, suddenly she felt guilty for what she did to Holo. However, she could rectify that mistake...