Author, Author
Stardate: 54732.3
Original Airdate: 18 April 2001

[Holodeck]

EMH [OC]: In the beginning there is darkness. The emptiness of a matrix waiting for the light. Then, a single photon flares into existence, then another, and soon thousands more. Optronic pathways connect, subroutines emerge from the chaos, and a holographic consciousness is born. (To illustrate this, an image of the EMH is built up bit by bit. He is wearing a satin smoking jacket. Very Noel Coward.)
EMH [OC]: I awaken into this world fully programmed yet completely innocent, unaware of the hardships I'll endure or the great potential I will one day fulfil.
(The hologram sits at a desk, picks up a quill pen and starts writing in a blank book.
EMH: Computer, save revisions and open chapter one.

Captain's log, stardate 54732.3. It's been three weeks since we received Starfleet's instructions in the last datastream and we're finally ready to begin Operation Watson. We're all holding our breath.

[Astrometrics lab]

KIM: The deflector's in position.
JANEWAY: Anything?
KIM: I'm picking up a phased tachyon beam.
SEVEN: There's triaxialating signal encoded in it.
JANEWAY: On screen.
BARCLAY [on screen]: Voyager, this Lieutenant Barclay at Starfleet Command. Are you receiving this?
JANEWAY: Can you clear it up?
KIM: I'm on it.
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: Captain Janeway, it's a pleasure to finally talk to you in person.
JANEWAY: The pleasure's mine, Admiral. How's the weather in San Francisco?
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: Cold and rainy as usual.
JANEWAY: It sounds delightful. Lieutenant Barclay, my congratulations on establishing the first trans-galactic comm. link. You've earned a place in the history books.
BARCLAY [on screen]: I can't take all of the credit, Captain. It was Harry and Seven who suggested bouncing a tachyon beam off of the quantum singularity.
KIM: Just be sure to thank us when you accept the Daystrom prize.
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: I wish we had more time for small talk but the singularity only stays in alignment for eleven minutes a day.
JANEWAY: Eleven minutes are better than none, Admiral. We appreciate all your work, Reg.
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: We're going to leave it up to you to determine how to allocate the comm. time.
BARCLAY [on screen]: Admiral, er, there was something else.
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: Oh, yes. Mister Barclay has arranged a small gift for you and your crew. (Their image shrinks into the bottom right corner of the screen, to reveal planet Earth.)
BARCLAY [on screen]: This is a live image from McKinley Station. Not too much cloud cover over North America today.
JANEWAY: Quite a view. Thank you, Reg.

[Mess hall]

NEELIX: In my hat I hold one hundred and forty six sequentially numbered isolinear chips, one for every member of the crew. Each chip entitles the bearer to three minutes of uninterrupted comm. time with his loved ones back in the Alpha Quadrant. Good luck.
(Hands dive into his colourful chef's hat.)
KIM: My Mom's birthday is next week. This could be the best present I ever gave her. Who's everyone else calling?
CHAKOTAY: I'll be calling my sister. What about you, Captain?
JANEWAY: My mother, I hope.
EMH: Doesn't anyone want to know who I'm calling?
PARIS: Wait, wait, let me guess. Reg Barclay or Doctor Zimmerman.
EMH: What makes you so certain it's either of them?
(It is the senior crew's chance to draw lots.)
PARIS: Number six.
NEELIX: That's the lowest one yet. You'll be talking to your family the day after tomorrow.
KIM: One hundred thirty. That's about a month and a half from now. So much for Mom's birthday.
EMH: Apparently, the line forms here.
TUVOK: Congratulations.
KIM: Doc, how about a trade? I'm willing to throw in some holodeck time. Come on. It would mean a lot to my mother.
EMH: I wish I could help, but I have a very important call to make.
PARIS: Here, give your mom my best.
KIM: Are you sure?
PARIS: I've waited this long. What's another six weeks?
(Paris trades his number 6 for Kim's 130.)

[Astrometrics lab]

(There is a Bolian on the astrometrics screen, sitting behind a desk in an office.0
BROHT [on screen]: I can hear the critics already. A new voice has arrived. You could be the next K'Ratak or a modern-day Tolstoy. I'd like to start distribution by the end of the month.
EMH: The material I sent was only a working draft. I need time to make revisions.
BROHT [on screen]: If you insist, but please do it quickly.
EMH: I will. So tell me, what did you think of the characters?
BROHT [on screen]: Oh, they're very real. Compelling. I almost forgot they were holograms.
EMH: Who was your favourite?
BROHT [on screen]: Without a doubt, that would have to be Lieutenant
(Transmission ends.)
EMH: What happened?
(Seven turns from Stellar Cartography map 4733.)
SEVEN: Your time has expired.
EMH: You could have let the man finish his sentence.
SEVEN: I believe your ego has received enough stroking for one day.

[Sickbay]

(Enter the EMH, whistling.)
PARIS: So how's Reg?
EMH: I'll have you know I was speaking with Ardon Broht, of Broht and Forrester.
PARIS: The publishers of the Dixon Hill series?
EMH: Who are now about to publish my work. It seems you're not the only one aboard with a flair for holographic narratives.
PARIS: Congratulations.
EMH: Thank you.
PARIS: So. what's it about?
EMH: The adventures of an intrepid doctor.
PARIS: Oh, sounds like fun. You know, I've never thought about trying to get my work published. Maybe I could talk to your people about Captain Proton.
EMH: Broht and Forrester deals in sophisticated literature.
PARIS: What are you saying, that I'm low brow?
EMH: Not at all. I'd be delighted to talk to them.
PARIS: Thanks. So, when do I get to see this opus?
EMH: Well, it's not ready yet.
PARIS: It was ready enough for Broht and Forrester.
EMH: Maybe it could use a fresh pair of eyes. After all, you are a fellow author. I'll cover the rest of your shift.
PARIS: Oh, I almost forgot. What's it called?
EMH: Photons Be Free.
PARIS: Catchy.

[Holodeck]

EMH [OC]: I awaken into this world fully programmed, yet completely innocent unaware of the hardships I'll endure or the great potential I will one day fulfil.
(Paris stands in front of the desk. The hologram looks up and puts down his quill.)
NARRATOR-EMH: Ah, welcome. You've made an excellent choice. You're about to take part in a thrilling first person narrative. You will take on the role of an Emergency Medical Hologram, the Chief Medical Officer aboard the starship Vortex.
PARIS: Vortex?
NARRATOR-EMH: As our story begins, an anomaly has hurled your ship thousands of light years across the galaxy. Your mission, to uphold your medical and ethical standards as you struggle against the crew's bigotry and intolerance. Persons with vascular disorders should consult a physician before running this programme. And now, a few acknowledgments. First, Doctor Lewis Zimmerman, the creator of my holo-matrix, whose foresight and dedication have made it possible for me to achieve
PARIS: Computer, freeze programme. How much longer is this introduction?
COMPUTER: Nine minutes, four seconds.
PARIS: Skip to the first chapter.

[Holodeck - Sickbay]

EMH [OC]: Chapter one. A Healer Is Born. In which our protagonist must make a difficult choice.
(Red alert. Something goes bang. Paris steps out of the office.)
CREWMAN: Are you the EMH?
PARIS: Please state the nature of the medical emergency.
CREWMAN: Our doctor's dead. We've got wounded. They're both badly hurt. Who should we treat first?
PARIS: Second degree plasma burns. He's got an aortic rupture. Get him to the surgical bay now. (A hunky Bajoran man with a long pony tail and tattoo over his cheek, helps an injured person in. The tattoo incorporates a snake and a Bajoran symbol.)
KATANAY: You. Over here.
(The injured man is Paris with a moustache.)
PARIS: Nice moustache.
KATANAY: What?
PARIS: Nothing. He's got a mild concussion. I'm going to have to treat the others first.
KATANAY: I need Lieutenant Marseilles on the bridge. You'll treat him now.
PARIS: As I understand it my job is to treat the critical patients first. So, if you'll excuse me
(Katanay puts up a forcefield to stop him.)
KATANAY: I don't know who you think you are, hologram, but to me, you're just another piece of technology.
PARIS: Well, apparently, I'm a piece of technology that's in demand so why don't you go back to the bridge and let me do my job?
(Enter the captain, a woman with long black hair.)
JENKINS: (long black hair) What's going on here?
KATANAY: Our medical hologram is refusing to treat Mister Marseilles.
JENKINS: Are you malfunctioning?
PARIS: I don't think so.
JENKINS: I need my helmsman back at his station.
PARIS: Lieutenant Marseilles isn't seriously hurt. This man will be dead in five minutes if I don't operate.
JENKINS: Drop the force field.
(She draws her phaser and shoots the injured crewman.)
JENKINS: That patient is dead. Now you're free to treat Lieutenant Marseilles.

[Mess hall]

(Paris is describing the action to Torres, Kim and Neelix.)
PARIS: Then the captain pulls out a phaser and shoots him right there on the biobed.
KIM: Captain Janeway murders a crewman?
PARIS: Captain Jenkins. Everybody has a different name. You're Kymble, you're Torrey and I am Lieutenant Marseilles.
TORRES: Oh, now that's creative.
KIM: What did you say to the Doctor?
PARIS: He thinks he's written a masterpiece. I didn't know what to tell him.
KIM: If this gets distributed, people are going to assume this is about us. What are our families going to think?
TORRES: This is a Starfleet ship. No one will believe we actually go around shooting injured crewmen.
PARIS: People may not take the programme literally, but they might wonder if there's some truth to it. I think we should talk to the captain.
TORRES: Are you sure you're not taking this a little personally?
PARIS: What do you mean?
TORRES: Well, the holodeck always has been your domain.
PARIS: You think I'm jealous? Okay, maybe I am overreacting. Why don't the rest of you try the programme and decide for yourselves?

[Holodeck - Sickbay]

EMH [OC]: Chapter five. Out of the frying pan. In which our protagonist must confront abusive colleagues.
CREWWOMAN: I'm here for my physical.
TORRES: Why don't you have a seat over here?
MARSEILLES: Doctor, you better get down to Engineering.
(Torres tries not to laugh at the moustache.)
TORRES: What's wrong?
MARSEILLES: A plasma conduit just exploded. At least ten people are hurt.
(Torres tries to leave sickbay, and her leg disappears.)
MARSEILLES: Hey genius, Forgetting something? Your mobile emitter.
TORRES: Oh, right. I don't see it.
(Marseilles points to a huge backpack.)
TORRES: That's my mobile emitter?
(Marseilles helps her on with it.)
TORRES: This thing must weigh fifty kilos.
MARSEILLES-PARIS: You should be glad we let you out of your cage at all. Now get going.

[Holodeck - Engineering]

(Chief Engineer Torrey is a human woman.)
TORREY: I'm impressed.
ENGINEER: Really?
TORREY: Absolutely. I haven't seen a dilithium matrix this far out of alignment since I served aboard a Ferengi garbage scow. I'll fix it myself.
TORRES: Excuse me.
TORREY: How many times have I told you? Engineering is off limits to holograms.
TORRES: Maybe you should waive that restriction during emergencies. A plasma conduit exploded?
TORREY: Does it look like anyone here is covered with plasma burns?
TORRES: Lieutenant Paris, er, Marseilles told me there was an accident.
TORREY: Looks like your auditory subroutines are malfunctioning, again. I'm surprised a matrix as primitive as yours can function at all.
TORRES: Maybe you should be a little nicer to your shipmates. You never know when you might need their help.
TORREY: Let's get one thing straight. You're not one of my shipmates. You're a tool, like this hyperspanner. And tools can be replaced. So why don't you go back to Sickbay before I start doing a little reprogramming?

[Holodeck - sickbay]

TORRES: Computer, lights.
(The lights reveal Marseilles and crewwoman getting intimate on a biobed.)
MARSEILLES: Didn't I tell you to go to Engineering?
TORRES: Oh, I get it. Interesting plot twist. You get me out of Sickbay so you're free to give my patient a tonsillectomy.
MARSEILLES: If you even think about mentioning this to my wife, I will purge your memory buffer. Do we understand each other?
CREWWOMAN 2: I'm here for my physical?

[Holodeck - Ready room]

EMH [OC]: Chapter six. Duel in the Ready room. In which our protagonist faces an inquisition.
(Captain Jenkins points a flintlock pistol at Neelix, who is wearing the backpack.)
JENKINS: This time, you've gone too far.
NEELIX: Captain, I'm not sure what you mean.
JENKINS: An inventory of your holo-matrix. Fifty gigaquads of memory devoted to music. Forty two for daydreams. Another ten to expand your sexuality.
NEELIX: I had no idea holograms could do that.
JENKINS: These extracurricular subroutines don't belong as part of an Emergency Medical Hologram. Do you have anything to say for yourself?
NEELIX: Er, of course I do. I don't think these subroutines are trivial, Captain. They help make me a better doctor and a better person.
JENKINS: But you're not a person. You may be programmed to look and act human, but that doesn't make you one. These subroutines are going to be deleted immediately. Mister Tulak.
(The Security Chief enters. He is human with a neat goatee beard just like the Alternative Universe Spock.)
JENKINS: Take the EMH to the holo-lab for reprogramming.

[Holodeck - turbolift]

EMH [OC]: Chapter Seven. The Escape. In which our protagonist is aided by his only ally.
(Kymble, a Trill, has the Doctor at phaser point. They enter a turbolift with Tulak.)
KYMBLE: I'm not sure we should be doing this, Commander.
KIM: Listen to him. He knows what he's talking about.
KYMBLE: Quiet! I'm not talking to you. If we start tinkering with his matrix how do we know we won't accidentally delete some of his diagnostic subroutines?
TULAK: You afraid you'll catch something on your next away mission, Ensign?
KYMBLE: There must be millions of viruses in this quadrant that no one's ever encountered before. With my luck, I'll probably end up catching half of them.
KIM: Great, my character's a hypochondriac.
(The turbolift doors open to reveal a red-headed woman with a flashing necklace.)
THREE: I'll escort the prisoner from here.
TULAK: Our orders are to take him to the holo-lab.
THREE: I've been ordered to perform the procedure.
TULAK: Your sympathies for the EMH are no secret, Three of Eight. Step aside.

[Holodeck -corridor]

(Three uses her wrist band to set up a forcefield between the EMH and his escort. She attacks them and throws Kim a phaser.)
THREE: Run, Doctor!
(But there is another forcefield further along. He is caught and dragged away.)

[Holodeck - Sickbay]

EMH [OC] Chapter eight. A Tragic End. In which our protagonist learns his fate.
(The mobile emitter backpack is removed from the player.)
JENKINS: I've tried to do this the easy way, but it's clear you're not going to be reasonable. Your matrix will be decompiled and reinitialised. You'll remain offline except for emergencies.
TORREY: Ready.
JENKINS: Do it.
THREE: Wait. He has the right to expand his programme.
JENKINS: He's a piece of technology. He has no rights.
THREE: But he should. One day, the EMH and others like him will be recognised for what they are. Intelligent individuals with a passion for life. Make no mistake, Captain. We may be thousands of light years from home, but one day people will learn of the crime you're committing here today.
JENKINS: Nice speech. Now decompile the programme.
(Captain Janeway watches her alter ego disappear from her sight.)

[Holodeck]

(The narrator comes out from behind his desk.)
NARRATOR-EMH: What you've experienced, dear protagonist is a work of fiction. But like all fiction, it has elements of truth. I hope you now have a better understanding of the struggles holograms must endure in a world controlled by organics.
COMPUTER: End of programme.
JANEWAY: Janeway to the Doctor. Report to my ready room now.

[Briefing room]

EMH: How many times do you want me to say it? My work is not about the Voyager crew.
KIM: Come on. Ensign Kymble? Lieutenant Marseilles?
TORRES: The characters look almost exactly like us.
EMH: I used your physical parameters as a starting point, but I assure you any further similarities are purely coincidental.
PARIS: You set your story on a starship lost in the Delta Quadrant.
EMH: What would you have me write about? Palace intrigue on the Klingon homeworld? I do what all good novelists do. I write what I know.
KIM: So it is about Voyager.
EMH: No! The Vortex characters are larger than life. They're nothing like our crew. As far as I know, Captain, you haven't executed any of my patients.
JANEWAY: Doctor, you've written a very imaginative story, but it's conceivable that people will think it's based on fact.
EMH: I don't see how.
KIM: How many holograms carry mobile emitters?
EMH: The emitter in my story is nothing like the real one.
TORRES: Yeah, what was the point of that? It was like carrying around a small shuttlecraft.
EMH: It's a metaphor. A symbol of the burdens that I live with every day. Imagine having to take this everywhere you go. It would be a constant reminder that you're different from everyone else. I wanted the player to feel the weight of it. Literally.
JANEWAY: Your emitter isn't a ball and chain. It liberates you.
EMH: It doesn't always feel that way.
JANEWAY: If I didn't know better, I'd think this story was written by someone who feels oppressed. Is that how you see yourself, Doctor?
EMH: Of course not. The real victims are my brothers in the Alpha Quadrant.
TORRES: Brothers?
EMH: Hundreds of EMH mark ones. Identical to me in every respect except, they've been condemned to a menial existence. Scrubbing conduits, mining dilithium. There's a long history of writers drawing attention to the plight of the oppressed. The Vedek's Song, for example tells the story of the occupation of Bajor.
JANEWAY: I understand you have your reasons for writing this, but you should consider how it's going to make your friends feel.
EMH: I'm sorry my work offends you. But if the price of expressing myself is having to suffer the scorn of a few colleagues, so be it.

[Astrometrics lab]

MARY KIM [on screen]: You're very popular with my eighth graders. It's all they ever talk about. Voyager this, Voyager that.
JOHN KIM [on screen]: Your mother has a small favour to ask of you.
KIM: Name it.
MARY KIM [on screen]: I was hoping you could record a short presentation about what it's like to command a starship.
KIM: But I don't command a starship.
MARY KIM [on screen]: In your letters you said the captain puts you in charge sometimes.
KIM: What I said was I'm in command of the night shift, twice a week.
MARY KIM [on screen]: She must think very highly of you to give you so much responsibility.
JOHN KIM [on screen]: So when is she giving you a promotion?
KIM: It's a small ship. There are only so many command positions available.
MARY KIM [on screen]: This Captain Janeway sounds like a lovely woman. Maybe I should write her.
KIM: Mom!
MARY KIM [on screen]: She needs to know how hard you work.
KIM: Please, don't get involved.
(The image starts to break up.)
MARY KIM [on screen]: Harry, I can't hear you.
SEVEN: A solar flare is scattering the beam.
MARY KIM [on screen]: Tell Captain Janeway to expect a letter from me.
KIM: Mom, don't send anything to the captain, do you hear me? Try boosting the deflector output.
SEVEN: It's already at maximum.
(Transmission lost.)
KIM: Argh! I don't believe this. I had a minute and a half left.
SEVEN: You'll have another opportunity to speak with them in approximately two months.
KIM: You just don't get it, do you?
SEVEN: No.
KIM: Maybe if you had family you were close to, you'd feel a little differently.

Chief Medical Officer's personal log, stardate 54740.8. Although the decision has made me unpopular with the crew, I've decided not to compromise my work. I'm making some final revisions to the programme before transmitting it.

[Holodeck]

EMH: Computer, run EMH programme Photons Be Free.
NARRATOR-PARIS: Welcome. You've made an excellent choice. You're obviously a person with impeccable taste.
EMH: Computer, freeze programme.
COMPUTER: Unable to comply.
NARRATOR-PARIS: You are about to embark on a remarkable journey. You will take on the role of a medical assistant aboard the starship Voyeur.
EMH: Voyeur?
NARRATOR-PARIS: Your job will be to assist the Chief Medical Officer, and learn to tolerate his overbearing behaviour and obnoxious bedside manner. Remember, patience is a virtue.

[Holodeck - Sickbay]

PARIS [OC]: Chapter one. It's The Doctor's World, You're Just Living In It.
(This EMH has a comb-over.)
HOLO-EMH: When I tell you your shift begins at oh eight hundred that doesn't mean you can stroll in here at oh eight hundred and twenty four seconds. Do you understand me, Ensign!
EMH: This is outrageous.
HOLO-EMH: What's outrageous is that I'm going to miss my tee time. Now, come along. Aw, what seems to be the trouble, One of Three?
TWO: I'm Two of Three.
HOLO-EMH: Sorry. They're triplets, you know.
TWO: It hurts when I do this.
HOLO-EMH: Well then, don't do it.
(He laughs and slaps her sore shoulder.)
TWO: Ow!
HOLO-EMH: Don't be a baby. Your biradial clamp's out of alignment. I've got just the thing. (to EMH) It's a Klingon aphrodisiac, my own special blend.
(He injects the Borg babe and massages her shoulders.)
HOLO-EMH: You'll be feeling better in no time at all. 

[Corridor]

EMH: Lieutenant! I want you to know I'm making a full report to the captain.
PARIS: This isn't about that dermal regenerator I misplaced, is it?
EMH: You know very well what this is about. You accessed my holo-novel without permission and replaced it with your own hackneyed narrative.
PARIS: Hey, I'm just writing what I know.
EMH: You destroyed a work of art that took months to create.
PARIS: Relax, Doc. I saved your programme in a backup file. But I was just trying to make a point.
EMH: Well, you made it, with a typical lack of subtlety.
PARIS: Oh, you're one to talk. Your programme is about as subtle as a Ferengi mating dance.
EMH: My programme is a serious attempt at social commentary, yours is an insulting farce! You had me drugging a patient and taking advantage of her.
PARIS: Don't be ridiculous. That character is not you. For one thing, he has much more hair. But what if some people ran that programme and thought that it was based on you?
That would bother you, wouldn't it?
EMH: I don't care what people think.
PARIS: That's all you care about! You want everyone back home to think of you as a brilliant author.
EMH: I'm not doing this for my ego. And if you could look past yours, maybe you'd see that.
PARIS: Listen, I don't care if the whole Alpha Quadrant mistakes me for Lieutenant Marseilles. What bothers me is that you think that's what I'm like.
EMH: Obviously, you're nothing like Marseilles. He's self-indulgent, immature.
PARIS: And how would you describe me?
EMH: Well, you're a married man with a child on the way. A lot of responsibilities.
PARIS: I'm surprised you noticed. You know, I thought I'd begun to earn your respect. Maybe I was wrong. Your programme is under file theta one five. Do whatever you want with it.

[Doctor's office]

NEELIX: Doctor, I need your help.
EMH: Unless you're suffering acute symptoms, go away.
NEELIX: Er, I was wondering if you could take a quick look at this.
(He gives the EMH a PADD.)
EMH: Cooking with Neelix, a Culinary Tour of the Delta Quadrant.
NEELIX: It's a holo-cookbook proposal. I was hoping to transmit it to your publisher during my comm. link this afternoon. With your approval, of course.
EMH: If you're looking for writing tips, there are plenty of people on this ship eager to offer them.
NEELIX: I don't know what anyone else may have told you, but I loved your holo-novel.
EMH: You did?
NEELIX: Absolutely. It was a rousing adventure, with an important message too.
EMH: Exactly. This is my first chance to be appreciated not just as a physician, but as an artist. I thought the crew would be happy for me.
NEELIX: You're going to reach a wide audience. What do you care about the opinions of a few disgruntled shipmates?
EMH: They're my friends. I don't want to hurt them.
NEELIX: There's an old Talaxian expression. When the road before you splits in two, take the third path.
EMH: Meaning?
NEELIX: You could make some adjustments to the programme so it won't be so obvious it's based on Voyager.
EMH: I suppose I could change the setting, alter the characters' physical parameters.
NEELIX: You wouldn't have to change your theme.
EMH: No. But a rewrite could take weeks. My publisher is expecting a final draft tomorrow.
NEELIX: Maybe you should give him a call.
(Neelix hands over his isolinear chip.)

[Astrometrics lab]

BROHT [on screen]: Revisions?
EMH: I need to rework the characters.
BROHT [on screen]: Why? They're so believable.
EMH: A little too believable, apparently.
BROHT [on screen]: Doctor, I, I really don't think this is necessary.
EMH: I'm afraid I have to insist. My friends' reputations are at stake.

[Mess hall]

EMH: My publisher assures me he won't distribute the programme until he receives the revised version.
TORRES: That must be the one where we assimilate the Borg and take over the quadrant.
JANEWAY: We're all grateful that you're taking our feelings into account.
CHAKOTAY: So how long do you expect the revisions will take?
EMH: Art can't be rushed.
JANEWAY: Take your time, Doctor.
EMH: Lieutenant? I'm sorry.
PARIS: Forget about it.
EMH: I could use your help with the rewrites.

[Corridor]

PARIS: Really? You realise, as a writer I'm a little unsophisticated.
EMH: No, I believe the phrase you're looking for is low brow.
(The EMH walks off. Paris catches up with Torres, who is reading a PADD.)
PARIS: Hey. What's that?
TORRES: It's from my father. He wants to talk.
PARIS: What are you going to do?
TORRES: Well, I've already arranged to talk with my cousin.
PARIS: Oh, I'm sure she wouldn't mind waiting a few weeks.
TORRES: I wouldn't know what to say to him.
PARIS: Then let him do the talking.

[Astrometrics lab]

(Paris is lending moral support.)
JOHN TORRES [on screen]: Look at you. You must be, what, twenty weeks along?
TORRES: Twenty three, actually.
JOHN TORRES [on screen]: Have you decided on a name?
TORRES: Not yet. We were thinking about Miral.
JOHN TORRES [on screen]: Your mother would've liked that. You know, I had some business on Kessik Four a few months ago. You wouldn't believe what our old house looks like.
SEVEN: Lieutenant, thirty seconds.
TORRES: We have less than a minute. Is there a reason you wanted to talk?
JOHN TORRES [on screen]: I know I can't make up for twenty years in one conversation. The truth is, when your ship disappeared, I thought I'd lost you. I don't expect you to forgive me but, maybe we could try to get to know each other again.
TORRES: I'll write you.
(Transmission ends.)

[Pathfinder lab]

BARCLAY: I'm sorry to disturb you, Admiral.
ADMIRAL PARIS: Ah yes, Mister Barclay. What can I do for you?
BARCLAY: I thought you'd want to see this, sir.
ADMIRAL PARIS: Well, what is it?
BARCLAY: It's a holonovel that's becoming quite popular.
ADMIRAL PARIS: Well, I appreciate the gesture Lieutenant but, I don't share your affinity for holographic diversions.
BARCLAY: You don't understand, sir. This programme, it's about Voyager. And it doesn't portray the crew in a very flattering light.
ADMIRAL PARIS: Hmm.

[Astrometrics lab]

JANEWAY: On screen. 
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: Captain.
JANEWAY: Seven told me your message was urgent.
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: I had the dubious privilege of playing a new holonovel apparently written by your EMH. I'm surprised that you would allow the Doctor to discredit your crew like this.
JANEWAY: He's still making revisions. The programme shouldn't have been distributed yet.
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: Well, it has been. Mister Barclay tells me it's already being played in thousands of holosuites. (The EMH is there with Captain Janeway for the next message home.)
EMH: You assured me you were going to wait for my revisions. I demand that you recall every copy and issue a public apology to Captain Janeway and her crew.
BROHT [on screen]: I won't do anything of the sort.
JANEWAY: I don't see that you have a choice, Mister Broht. Authors have rights.
BROHT [on screen]: Not in this case.
EMH: What do you mean?
BROHT [on screen]: The Doctor is a hologram.
EMH: So?
BROHT [on screen]: According to Federation law, holograms have no rights.

[Briefing room]

TUVOK: Under a strict interpretation of Federation law, Mister Broht is correct. The Doctor has no legal rights.
EMH: Because I'm a hologram.
TUVOK: Yes. There is another option. We may be able to claim that the holonovel reveals classified information. Starfleet could then request that it be recalled for security purposes.
PARIS: Oh, great idea. A cover up. And then everyone will be convinced that it's a true story.
CHAKOTAY: Could we claim defamation?
PARIS: Well, we'd have to prove that the story's about us and that we've been harmed by it.
JANEWAY: We might win on those grounds. But what about the Doctor?
EMH: What about me, Captain? It's the crew's reputations that are as risk.
JANEWAY: I'm not so sure. I think it's your reputation that's on the line here. You have the same rights as every other member of this crew, and I'm not going to let this publisher say otherwise.

Captain's log, stardate 54748.6. A Federation arbitrator has been assigned to determine whether the Doctor has the right to control his artistic creation. Because of our limited comm. time with Earth, the arguments should take about three days.

[Pathfinder lab]

TUVOK [on screen]: You claim the Doctor doesn't have the legal right to control this holoprogramme, yet you're promoting the fact that Voyager's EMH wrote it.
BROHT: Our most successful children's title is a programme written by Toby the Targ. Fortunately Toby hasn't tried to stop me from distributing any of his work.
TUVOK [on screen]: But you don't deny

[Astrometrics lab]

TUVOK: That the Doctor is the creator of this holonovel?

[Pathfinder lab]

BROHT: No, but a replicator created this cup of coffee. Should that replicator be able to determine whether or not I can drink it?

[Astrometrics lab]

EMH: I object!
JANEWAY: Doctor.
TUVOK: An intriguing analogy, Mister Broht. But I have never encountered a replicator that could compose music, or paint landscapes, or perform microsurgery. Have you? Would you say that you have a reputation for publishing respected, original works of literature?

[Pathfinder lab]

BROHT: I'd like to think so.
TUVOK [OC]: And is the Doctor's holonovel such a work?
BROHT: Actually, some aspects of it are quite derivative.

[Astrometrics lab]

TUVOK: Has there even been another work written about a hologram's struggle for equality?

[Pathfinder lab]

BROHT: Not that I know of, but, er
TUVOK [OC]: Then in

[Astrometrics lab]

TUVOK: That respect, it is original.

[Pathfinder lab]

BROHT: I suppose so.

[Astrometrics lab]

TUVOK: Your honour, Section seven gamma of the Twelfth Guarantee defines an artist as a person who creates an original artistic work. Mister Broht admits that the Doctor created this programme and that it is original. I therefore submit that the Doctor should be entitled to all rights and privileges accorded an artist under the law.
ARBITRATOR [on screen]: You've made a persuasive argument, Commander, but there's a flaw in your logic. As you point out, the law says that the creator of an artistic work must be a person. Your EMH doesn't meet that criteria.
BARCLAY [OC]: Sir, we're losing the link.
ARBITRATOR [on screen]: This hearing is in recess until tomorrow.

[Briefing room]

TUVOK: We're not doing well.
EMH: Is that your considered legal opinion? I'm sorry. It's just frustrating to be told I have no more legal standing than an replicator.
TUVOK: If the Doctor doesn't have the right to control his own work, then it stands to reason he never had the right to enter into an agreement with Mister Broht. We could argue that the original contract is invalid.
PARIS: In other words, you want to concede that the Doctor isn't a person.
JANEWAY: What we need to do is prove that he is just as much a person as any of us.
EMH: How do we do that?
JANEWAY: By telling your real life story.

[Pathfinder lab]

SEVEN [on screen]: Because I was having difficulty interacting with the crew, the Doctor gave me social lessons. First, he taught me how to make conversation. Later

[Astrometrics lab]

SEVEN: How to dance. Eventually, he showed me how to express romantic interest.

[Pathfinder lab]

SEVEN [OC]: Without his guidance, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

[Astrometrics lab]

KIM: He decided it wasn't enough to be just a doctor, so he added command subroutines to his matrix and now, in an emergency, he's as capable as any bridge officer.

[Pathfinder lab]

ARBITRATOR: That only proves the Doctor's programme can be modified.
KIM [on screen]: Your honour, I think it shows he has a desire to become more than he is, just like any other person.
BARCLAY: He travelled halfway across the galaxy to care for Lewis Zimmerman, the man who created his programme. It was like a son who wanted to show his father what he'd become, so the old man would be proud of him. And if you ask me, he was.
JANEWAY [on screen]: I'd made myself clear. But the Doctor disobeyed my direct orders. In the process, he endangered the ship and crew.
ARBITRATOR: That's hardly commendable behaviour.

[Astrometrics lab]

JANEWAY: No, it wasn't. But it was human.

[Pathfinder lab]

JANEWAY [OC]: Starfleet had programmed him to follow orders.

[Astrometrics lab]

JANEWAY: The fact that he was capable of doing otherwise proves that he can think for himself. Your Honour, centuries ago in most places on Earth, only landowners of a particular gender and race had any rights at all. Over time, those rights were extended to all humans, and later, as we explored the galaxy, to thousands of other sentient species. Our definition of what constitutes a person has continued to evolve. Now we're asking that you expand that definition once more, to include our Doctor.

[Pathfinder lab]

JANEWAY [OC]: When I met him seven years ago,

[Astrometrics lab]

JANEWAY: I would never have believed that an EMH could become a valued member of my crew, and my friend. The Doctor is a person as real as any

[Pathfinder lab]

JANEWAY [OC]: Flesh and blood I have ever known. If you believe the testimony you've heard here, it's only fair

[Astrometrics lab]

JANEWAY: To conclude that he has the same rights as any of us.

[Pathfinder lab]

ARBITRATOR: You'll have my decision in two days.

[Astrometrics lab]

ARBITRATOR [OC]: This hearing is in recess.

[Mess hall]

SEVEN: When you sing happy birthday to your mother, try to stay in tune.
KIM: What's this?
SEVEN: An isolinear chip entitling the bearer to three minutes of comm. time tomorrow. You made it clear how important it was to finish your conversation.
KIM: I overreacted.
SEVEN: I understand why you did. I've been observing the crew interacting with their families over the past few days. It's become clear to me how meaningful that communication can be.
KIM: Thanks, but I can't accept this.
SEVEN: Why not?
KIM: You should contact your own family.
SEVEN: My parents were assimilated.
KIM: There must be someone. A distant relative?
SEVEN: My father has a sister on Earth. Irene Hansen.
KIM: I'm sure she'd be thrilled to hear from you.

[Astrometrics lab]

IRENE HANSON [on screen]: You can imagine my reaction when Starfleet told me to expect your call.
SEVEN: I experienced some apprehension myself.
IRENE HANSON [on screen]: You seem like a lovely young woman. But you were the most stubborn six-year-old I've ever met. Your parents left you with me for a weekend, and you were so angry you locked yourself in my guest room and refused to come out.
SEVEN: That must have been inconvenient for you.
IRENE HANSON [on screen]: Oh, I coaxed you out eventually with a strawberry tart.
SEVEN: I'm very fond of strawberries. I didn't realise I'd eaten them as a child.
IRENE HANSON [on screen]: You couldn't get enough of them. Of course, you didn't hesitate to point out if they weren't perfectly ripe.
SEVEN: I'm sorry if I insulted you. Perhaps I shouldn't have called.
IRENE HANSON [on screen]: No, I'm very glad you did. It's wonderful to see you again, Annika.

[Starfleet Communications]

ARBITRATOR: We're exploring new territory today, so it is fitting that this hearing is being held at Pathfinder. The Doctor exhibits many of the traits we associate with a person. Intelligence, creativity, ambition, even fallibility. But are these traits real, or is the Doctor merely programmed to simulate them? To be honest, I don't know. Eventually we will have to decide, because the issue of holographic rights isn't going to go away. But at this time, I am not prepared to rule that the Doctor is a person under the law. However, it is obvious he is no ordinary hologram and while I can't say with certainty that he is a person, I am willing to extend the legal definition of artist to include the Doctor. I therefore rule that he has the right to control his work. I'm ordering all copies of his holo-novels to be recalled immediately.
BROHT: Your honour!
ARBITRATOR: This hearing is adjourned.
BARCLAY: Congratulations, Doctor.

[Astrometrics lab]

EMH: Thank you, Reg.
ADMIRAL PARIS [on screen]: We'll be in touch, Captain.
(Transmission ends.)
JANEWAY: You don't look like someone who's just struck the first blow for the rights of holograms.
EMH: I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but it feels like a hollow victory. Pardon the pun. The programme's already been played by thousands of people. The damage is done.
JANEWAY: We'll survive.
PARIS: If I'm not mistaken, don't you have a holonovel to revise?
EMH: Do you think I'll be able to find another publisher?
JANEWAY: If there's one thing I've learned about you, Doctor, it's that you can do just about anything you set your mind to.

[Federation Dilithium Processing Facility, Alpha Quadrant]

(Four months later. One EMH mark one speaks to another whilst a lot more work in the mine.)
EMH1: Time for your diagnostic. Report to the holo-lab.
EMH2: I know the routine.
EMH1: And, while you're there, do yourself a favour. Ask the operator to run programme forty seven beta.
EMH2: Why? What is it?
EMH1: It's called Photons Be Free. It's quite provocative.

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