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Data (Star Trek)
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Data (Star Trek)

Data, played by Brent Spiner, is a character in the fictional Star Trek universe. He has served as the second officer and operations manager on the USS Enterprise-D and USS Enterprise-E. Data appeared throughout the television series, as well as in later movies.

Data is an android, an advanced form of artificial life, with a positronic brain. He is roughly the equivalent of Spock in the original series, in that he has a logical mind, finds humans hard to understand yet is drawn to the concept of humanity. This desire combined with his apparent innocence about the reality around him charmed viewers and made him one of the most popular characters of the series.

Warning: Plot details follow.

Biography

Data was created by Dr. Noonien Soong. Data's construction followed Dr. Soong's previous, less successful attempt at an artificial humanoid life form, Lore, who was later to become a recurring character on . Lore was more or less Data's "evil twin". A total of seven androids of Data's type were constructed.

After attending Starfleet Academy, Data served with distinction on the Enterprise-D and -E, with the rank of lieutenant commander. Data held the Starfleet Command Decoration for Valor; Starfleet Command Decoration for Gallantry; Medal of Honor, with Clusters; Legion of Honor; and the Starcross. ("The Measure of a Man")

In 2364, Data discovered his "brother" Lore, a prototype created by Dr. Soong. However, Lore was psychopathic and deactivated Data in an attempt to take over the Enterprise. ("Datalore")

In 2365, cyberneticist Bruce Maddox obtained permission to have Data reassigned for study, wherein he would be deactivated, disassembled, and duplicated. Data refused, and sought and won a legal judgment declaring him a sentient life-form with the same rights as other Federation citizens. ("The Measure of a Man")

Desiring to reproduce himself, Data created a daughter, Lal, in 2366; unfortunately, she suffered a cascade failure of her neural systems and died shortly after being activated. ("The Offspring")

Data was thought lost in a shuttle accident in 2366, but had in fact been kidnapped by fraudulent antiquities dealer Kivas Fajo. Fajo was subsequently arrested and Data released. ("The Most Toys")

In 2367, Data was taken over by a homing signal generated by Dr. Soong, who intended to give him an emotions chip which he had perfected in secret after being thought dead. Data was forced to take over the Enterprise and bring it to Soong's lab on Terlina III. Unfortunately, the homing signal summoned Lore as well, who tricked Soong into giving him the chip and then killed him. ("Brothers")

In 2368, Data's head was discovered in an archeological dig in San Francisco. The ensuing investigation sent Data, later followed by several senior Enterprise officers, to late 19th century San Francisco. Data's presence set up a number of temporal paradoxes involving Guinan, who had been present on Earth at that time, and the senior staff. Jack London and Mark Twain appear in the episode. Data's head was blown off in the 19th century; the officers escaped with his body but Captain Picard was left behind. Picard implanted a message into the head, and when it was reattached the crew was able to avoid catastrophe and rescue him. ("Time's Arrow")

In 2370, Data was kidnapped by Lore and coerced into aiding an insurrection by the Borg. After the threat to the Federation was dealt with, Data was forced to disassemble his brother. From Lore, Data obtained the emotions chip which Soong had intended for him. ("Descent")

In 2370, Data met a woman who appeared to be Dr. Juliana Tainer, the widow and collaborator of Dr. Soong; in a sense, Data's mother. However, she turned out to be an android, constructed by Dr. Soong after the original Dr. Tainer died. Unlike Data, she had been unaware of her nature as an android, and had divorced Dr. Soong and remarried. ("Inheritance")

In 2371, Data chose to use the emotion chip he had obtained from Lore. Despite difficulties in adaptation, Data successfully integrated the emotions chip. ()

Data was chosen to become first officer of the Enterprise-E in 2379; shortly thereafter, he discovered a prototype version of himself, whom Dr. Soong had named B-4. However, before acceding to the position, he was lost in the line of duty; in saving the Enterprise-E and its crew from the thalaron beam generator aboard the Reman ship Scimitar, he was killed when that ship exploded. (). However, before his death, Data hooked a data transfer cable to B-4 to copy to him his memories in the hopes that B-4 would learn something from this. This gives the possibility for Data to be resurrected in a future movie.

In an alternate future created by Q, he held the Lucasian professorship at Cambridge University. ("All Good Things...")

Relationships

Characterising his relationship with friends as based on a dependency that stems from a sense of familiarity that is caused by frequent contacts, physical and visual, Data explained that his "mental pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns." These "mental pathways" had a brief intimate relationship with crewmate Tasha Yar ("The Naked Now") in 2364, and attempted to pursue a romantic relationship with another crewmate, Jenna D'Sora ("In Theory"), in 2367. Data also has a pet cat named Spot.

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