Could Dominion War trauma have caused Data's infrequent emotion chip use in the movies?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Yistaan, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As all TNG fans know, Data's tv series arc of trying to achieve emotions reached a dramatic conclusion in Generations when he finally installed his emotions chip, although Data's initial inability to handle them indirectly caused the destruction of the Enterprise NCC-1701-D (experiencing fear facing Soran allowed the capture and compromise of chief engineer Geordi, which resulted in the Duras sisters bypassing the Enterprise shields).

    After Generations, there are mentions of Data's emotions (He says "To hell with our orders" in First Contact, and the Borg later try to use Data's emotions to corrupt him to join them). Otherwise, however, Data takes out his chip in Insurrection and there is no mention of it in Nemesis. For all of the anticipation regarding Data's life-long goal of gaining emotions, it seems once he actually has them he either often turns them off or takes out the chip quite frequently (there is some mild foreshadowing of this when Data demands of Picard in Generations: "Sir! I no longer want these emotions! Deactivating me is the only viable solution.")

    What happened? (Other than the likely real-life reason that the movie writers wanted to maintain audience familiarity with the non-emotional Data of the tv series).

    One thing I noticed was that the early years of Data's having emotions corresponded with the Dominion War (the war starts in 2373, the year of First Contact, and ends in 2375, some time after Insurrection).

    We don't know from canon what exactly the Enterprise E crew, and Data in particular, were doing during the war, although some non-canon licensed works have delved into this. We can assume though that, the Enterprise E being the flagship and Data being a prominent Starfleet officer, Data likely was on the front-lines of some horrifying Dominion War battles with massive casualties and injuries to friends and fellow officers.

    Even if Data had the emotion chip turned off during actual combat, he would still feel the emotional fallout of the battles once he reactivated the chip (the way in Generations his emotions reacted to jokes said years before the chip installation, like the Farpoint joke). Data, being relatively new to having emotions to begin with, might be even more vulnerable to emotional trauma caused by war than other Starfleet veterans would be.

    Considering real world combat often severely emotionally damages real world soldiers and causes PTSD, could Data also have suffered an android form of PTSD from the Dominion War (that caused him to regularly keep the emotion chip turned off)?

    If so, it would explain why he hardly ever used the emotion chip during the TNG movie timeframe (which ran mostly concurrently with the Dominion War). What are others' thoughts on this?

    A separate question I had, very tangentially related, was why the Borg in First Contact didn't deactivate Data's ethical subroutines to try to corrupt him? Lore and his Borg faction were able to easily deactivate the ethical subroutine in the episodes 'Descent', parts 1 and 2, and the combination of this with emotions turned Data into a villain cackling at mutilating Geordi in experiments. I can only assume that, sometime after Descent and in horror of what he almost did to Geordi, Data massively upgraded the security around his ethical subroutines to make deactivating them nearly impossible. (The Doctor in Voyager mentions he planned to do this after recovering from the incident where the crew of the renegade USS Equinox deactivated his ethical protocols to force him to experiment on Seven of Nine in 'Equinox').
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  2. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He didn’t seem to be suffering any more war trauma than Picard, Riker, Worf, Geordi, Troi, or Crusher were. Which is, to say, none. So I’d say...no.
     
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  3. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    We don't know Data wasn't reassigned to missions the others weren't (particularly Starfleet would take advantage of his enhanced speed, strength, and intelligence).

    Also, Data literally has only been dealing with emotions for a few years, not like Picard, Riker, etc. you cite who dealt with them since childhood. As such, he has far less "tools" for handling them because he's years behind (as Generations showed).

    Also, even in the real world certain soldiers experience trauma that others in their squad did not. This obviously doesn't mean they are "weaker" or whatever, but different people handle things differently. And Data is very different from everyone else on the Enterprise.
     
  4. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He was reassigned. He was stationed on the Ba’ku planet. And he didn’t seem to be suffering any trauma then either.
     
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  5. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Data is specifically said to be without his emotions chip in Insurrection. Thus any trauma would only be in effect when it's installed and activated.

    Even if Picard etc aren't showing signs of trauma, they're obviously well practiced in hiding it. Picard doesn't show much trauma from his Borg assimilation in seasons 4 through 7 other than 'Family', but First Contact revealed it was there all along. We have no idea from their appearances in Nemesis and Insurrection if the other Enterprise crew weren't dealing with Dominion War tragedies in their silent way. Data may not have these built-in (over many years) emotional tools to hide trauma that his shipmates have.
     
  6. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well if you want to believe that Data suffered from Dominion war trauma and that’s why he stopped using his emotion chip, feel free to think that. But there’s really no evidence for it. It’s more plausible that the emotion chip simply had issues that caused him to rethink using it.
     
  7. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think there are any evidence of issues at all in the movies. The Dominion war is a canon event, any technical issues with the emotions chip post-Generations are not. In fact, we are even told by Troi at the end of Generations when Data is crying over Spot that the emotion chip is functioning normally.
     
  8. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The chip fused to his neural net in Generations. It was implied that that wasn’t supposed to happen. So there’s at least a fault in the chip there.
     
  9. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Fair enough, although I assume this was corrected by Insurrection which showed he could remove it.
     
  10. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    But Geordi also said Data "didn't take it with him" on the Ba'ku Duckblind. So he could remove it sometime between 2372 and 2375. It's never mentioned at all in Nemesis implying he no longer uses it. It wasn't even considered for B-4, no programming or chip. He may have gone so far as to get rid of it entirely like he meant to do in the series.
     
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  11. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This summarizes pretty well why I think there's some major offscreen event that causes Data's minimal to non-use of the chip by Nemesis (especially in light of the fact he wanted emotions so much throughout the 7 years of TNG). As the "fused to neural net" issue was resolved by Insurrection, the only possible drastic event that Data realistically could have been a part of in canon is the Dominion War.
     
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  12. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    Between being helpless to stop Geordi's abduction in Generations, and the Borg Queen able to use the emotions against him endangering two ships and all his friends, I think it wouldn't take much more to make him reconsider.

    By Insurrection he's already leaving it behind on missions, maybe only wearing it on off duty hours. By Nemesis the programming isn't saved to the Enterprise or Data's own neural net, so the chip might be off with Lore's bodyparts being studied somewhere.
     
  13. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Being afraid in fighting Soran was when Data literally just had the chip installed. As he showed no hesitation in other combat issues with the chip on (fighting in the Battle of Sector 001 or Lily shooting him with a gazillion bullets using a machine gun), I think Data would think the Soran thing was an isolated incident and would not remove the chip over something that happened literally years ago by that point.

    While Data did turn off the chip with the Borg, that was a unique situation in which the security crew were outnumbered (unlike the fight with Soran where Data had the advantage). As for the Borg Queen taking advantage of the emotions chip, First Contact showed that was a massive failure from the Borg and Data was tempted for literally only a fraction of a second. It would be more incentive for Data to keep using the chip knowing he can still defeat the Borg with it activated, not less. His ability to trick the Borg Queen emotionally would have been less convincing if he didn't have the emotion chip working.

    Thus, I don't think Soran or the Borg are the reason for Data's later non-use of the chip, but something else.
     
  14. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I never got the impression that the Enterprise-E was ever on the front lines of the Dominion war. During the major space battles in DS9, we never saw a Sovereign class ship in action. And other than his stint on Ba’ku, I also got the impression that Data spent 95% of his time on the Enterprise, since it seems that all the others (with the exception of Worf) did too. Which is utterly ridiculous in wartime, but that’s another topic.
     
  15. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Except that there were many battles that weren't depicted on DS9 episodes. We know for a fact that the Dominion took over Betazed: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Battle_of_Betazed .

    Do you really think the Enterprise E was going to let Troi's homeworld fall to the Dominion without a fight? The fact that Betazed was lost likely meant the Enterprise, if it was there, fled after massive Federation casualties inflicted by the Dominion. Troi losing her homeworld would be emotionally devastating to her, and Data's guilt (via the emotion chip) in failing to prevent it or other Federation casualties would take a toll on him as well, android or no.

    Furthermore the same article mentions the Federation took part in at least 3 battles to retake Betazed, which all ended in failure (likely due to many more casualties inflicted by the Dominion). If Data took part in all these battles, the stress of repeated failure and more Starfleet deaths from these failed attempts would be a lot, even for him.

    While Picard and Troi and Riker and the rest may take it in stride due to having dealt with emotions throughout their entire Starfleet career (as well as their entire lives), for Data he's only had emotions for a few years at this point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  16. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    Where the ship's councilor is from has no bearing on wear a warship is deployed. If they wanted Enterprise guarding the Tholian frontier, or keeping watch on some other border that might prove porous during the conflict, that would have been up to the admiralty, not the captain. Jumping in at the battle of Sector 001 was different, I suppose, as Picard had particular understanding of the enemy, and made a calculated risk of violating his orders since he probably had every reason to assume command structure would fall apart, as it did. He still could have been brought on charges for it.

    It's still hard to imagine a ship like that didn't see some action though.

    Maybe he just got justifiably angry about never being promoted and given his own command when he wore the chip and so just put it aside.
     
  17. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well you know what they say, 'Superior Ability Breeds Superior Ambition' in regards to Data being hypothetically angry at his slow career progress.

    Also, I just find it hard to believe the Federation, taking all these hits, would let the Enterprise stay away from the hottest action (even if it wasn't at Betazed specifically it should be in other hotzones).

    Unless the Enterprise did indeed spend the entire Dominion War patrolling "the Neutral Zone. In case the Romulans decide to take advantage of the situation." Because we know from First Contact that apparently this was a thing. :shrug:
     
  18. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Or the chip was just faulty.
     
  19. Yistaan

    Yistaan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well if there is canonical evidence that this is the case by First Contact and afterwards, you're free to post the link.
     
  20. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    Up until the Romulans joined in on the UFP side. Why Data didn't get a command of his own in war time, when they need every experienced officer they can get, and he already had time in a center seat, doesn't make sense. Don't get assigned to a hero ship. You'll never get away from it. Even if it is lost. They'll stick you in the same seat on the next letter of the alphabet.