The return of a long forgotten foe. Holodeck shenanigans once again. Originally airing on January 25,1993. this is Ship In A Bottle.
Stardate 46424.1 Ship In A Bottle
Lt Barclay rediscovers an old forgotten holodeck program that threatens the ship. Moriarty has returned.
The Enterprise is examining a spatial phenomena concerning two planets that are colliding in space.
After encountering anomalies in the Sherlock Holmes holodeck program, Data and LaForge asks Barclay to start repairs. Barclay soon runs across a strange program that is self away. Professor Moriarty makes it known that he is disappointed that Picard has forgotten him and requests an audience with his captor.
Picard arrives and discusses Moriarty’s existence as a person. It becomes clear that for the past four years Moriarty has been self aware and waiting for his freedom. He is convinced that he can freely move about the ship and, much to their surprise, he proves to Picard and his crew that he can leave the holodeck at his own volition.
After having him checked out by Dr. Crusher, Picard provides him with a tour of the ship. Moriarty is shocked to learn that they are in space and desires to learn more about his new found life. He soon requests a companion to be brought into the real world like him. Picard denies him his request as they do not know how he came to be and it would be unacceptable to create another life at Moriarty’s request. Moriarty takes offence and soon takes over the Enterprise in retaliation.
With the ship under his control, they only have a matter of hours before the nearby planets collide and harm the ship. Moriarty refuses to relinquish control of the ship until they bring the Countess, the woman he claims to love, into the real world. They soon begin to work on unique ways to pull the countess into reality. Barclay soon discovers that Moriarty has given consciousness to the Countess despite Picard’s resistance to do so himself.
As they attempt to find a way to remove Moriarty and the Countess from the holodeck, they soon discover that they have never left holodeck to begin with. Moriarty has tricked them into believing that they are indeed on the real ship and that Moriarty has the ability to leave the holodeck. Picard realizes that, believing he was on his own ship, he inadvertently gave Moriarty his command codes and now the real ship is in danger.
Moriarty begins to negotiate with Riker with the lives of not only Picard, Data and Barclay but the ship itself. Picard soon devises a way to trick Moriarty into believing he has been pulled into the real world. Using the Holodeck himself, Picard creates yet another ship into which Moriarty ‘escapes’ from the ship. When Moriarty releases the ship, Picard saves the simulation so that Moriarty believes he and his love are free and exploring the cosmos together in a shuttlecraft. They keep the files in a small device so that they can no longer affect the ship. In effect, Moriarty is living in an all new universe created by Picard and the crew.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Sometimes the simple story lines are the best and this one is one of those. Acting as somewhat of a sequel to Elementary, Dear Data. We find out that Moriarty has been in somewhat of a purgatory for the past four years. Experiencing the vast nothingness in real time, he has been planning his escape and nearly succeeds when given the chance.
This, of course, raises the question of sentiance again. Is Moriarty indeed a living, intelligent being and does he have the rights and privileges of one? Picard seems to be at odds with this notion, sometimes believing that any sentient life has rights and other times ignoring the possibility entirely. In this case, Picard seems torn. He accepts that Moriarty is indeed self aware but is concerned that this man will continue his scripted criminal activities well beyond the holodeck. Due to this, Picard seems to be dragging his feet in trying to find a way to free the holographic man. One big tell is that he claims that people have been researching the possibility but for some reason Moriarty is still in the ships holodeck system. You would think that Moriarty would have been transferred to somewhere like the Daystrom Institute for proper study, but he has not been. This leads me to believe that Picard is not being completely truthful with the hologram man and is, in essence, keeping a known criminal captive against his will. Sorry Picard, but that is not the Starfleet way.
In the end it also raises the question…are we in fact in a simulation ourselves? If we are, would we ever know it to be so?
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We never seen nor hear from Moriarty again. I just hope that Barclay managed to secure the holographic device that Moriarty and The Countess were in before the destruction of the Enterprise in Generations. Otherwise, they too would have perished.
Oh and if you are wondering where O’Brien has gone, he’s been transferred to a space station called Deep Space Nine. He is now serving as the Chief of Operations aboard the station and does quite well for himself. We may cover his and the rest of the Niner’s story later down the road. It is a really good one.
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Late To The Game 6/13/2020 (Originally published 11/14/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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