Jun. 15th, 2010

ol_yellow_eyes: (suggestion)
Data is off-duty, and sitting in his quarters. Normally, he would be working on something, or engaging in one of his various hobbies. Currently, however, he is simply sitting, and thinking.

To use a human expression, something is not "sitting well" in his positronic matrix.


When Lieutenant Worf was granted a temporary leave of absence to take a pilgrimage to Boreth, Data thought little of it. Klingons are generally a spiritual people, who place a great deal of value on their religion and cultural traditions. It did not seem unusual in any way.

However, when Lieutenant Worf returned to the Enterprise, claiming that Kahless, a mytho-historical Klingon legend and spiritual leader, had fulfilled prophecy and come again after 1,547 years, it seemed that the subject warranted more thought.

Naturally, Data was curious. From what he was able to ascertain, Lieutenant Worf's claim was based on an insufficient amount of evidence. So he approached Worf and inquired,

"In the absence of empirical data, how have you determined whether or not this is the real Kahless?"

"It is not an empirical matter," Worf responded. "It is a matter of… faith."

"Faith," Data repeated. "Then you do believe Kahless may have supernatural attributes?" When the lieutenant did not respond immediately, he added, "As an android, I am unable to accept that which cannot be proven through rational means. I would appreciate hearing your insights on this matter."

"Perhaps some other time, Commander," Worf told him. "I… do not believe I can provide much… insight, at this moment."



Since then, Data has found himself repeatedly contemplating their conversation.

And he finds that he was in error.

"As an android, I am unable to accept that which cannot be proven through rational means."

His statement is continuously running through his mnemonic pathways in a loop. And he cannot help but realize that there are numerous things he has accepted during his lifetime without rational proof. Some were programmed directly into his systems (such as moral judgements), but others he has come to accept on his own. Among these is the most important "truth" he has ever allowed himself to accept.



Still pondering this, Data joins Lieutenant Worf and a group of Klingons in the holodeck to listen to Kahless speak. He wants to learn more about this person, to understand why so many Klingons have put their faith in him.

Of course, it is not as though there are not doubters among them as well. Gowron, Chancellor of the Klingon High Council, enters the holodeck. He challenges Kahless, which eventually results in a duel.

Gowron wins.

Worf leaves, along with Kahless and the high priest. Data is not certain, but it seems that the situation has become quite tense.

Data remains in the holodeck, observing a group of Klingons that choose to stay and wait for Kahless to return. Three hours and seventeen minutes later, Worf reenters the holodeck alone. Data indicates the group, and comments that the faith of these Klingons appears to be unaffected by Kahless's inability to defeat Gowron.

"Then they are fools," Worf replies.

Data is mildly surprised to hear him say that. What happened to his "faith?"

"Does that mean you no longer believe this is the real Kahless?" he asks.

"Yes," Worf answers. Data detects some sharpness to his tone.

"I am curious," Data says. "Do you still think the real Kahless will return someday? Or has this experience only deepened the spiritual crisis which originally sent you to Boreth?"

There is a pause lasting approximately 6.7 seconds before Worf answers. "I do not know."

Data is still somewhat preoccupied with the statement he made during their previous conversation. He wonders if it was unintentionally discouraging, and thinks that perhaps he should attempt to present a different side of things.

"I understand your dilemma," he tells his friend. "I once had what could be considered a crisis of the spirit."

"You?" Worf's voice betrays a measure of skepticism. Data thinks that is understandable, especially considering what he said earlier.

"Yes," he replies. Then he explains, "The Starfleet officers who first activated me on Omicron Theta told me I was an android, nothing more than a sophisticated machine with human form. However, I realized that if I was simply a machine, I could never be anything else. I could never grow beyond my programming. I found that difficult to accept. So I chose to believe that I was a person. That I had the potential to be more than a collection of circuits and subprocessors.

"It is a belief which I still hold."

It is also the one belief which is most important to Data. He could not prove that it was true at the time. He still cannot prove it. But he believes it nevertheless, and it has shaped the basis of his entire existence.

Lieutenant Worf has been listening patiently. When he speaks again, he sounds much less skeptical. "How did you come to your decision?"

"I made… a leap of faith," Data answers. He can think of no better way to describe it.

Lieutenant Worf seems to consider this for a moment before leaving the holodeck, taking broader, faster steps than when he entered. Data wonders if what he said helped in any way. He glances at the group of Klingons again, contemplating the decision he made 30 years ago.

As an android, he should have been unable to accept something which he could not prove through rational means.

But as a person, he did so anyway.

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January 2011

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