Posted by: rebeccajrobare | July 16, 2018

Trust the Team: “The Big Goodbye”

Mission Summary: The Enterprise is preparing for diplomatic contact with the Jarada, a species that has refused earlier overtures from the Federation because of errors in the formal greeting they must be offered. Exhausted by his preparations, Captain Picard follows Counselor Trou’s advice to take a break, and visits the ship’s new holodeck to enjoy a story in which he will role-play his favorite fictional character, detective Dixon Hill.

While Picard, Dr. Crusher, historian Dr. Whalen, and Lt. Cmdr. Data are in the holodeck, the Jarada arrive at the rendezvous and scan the Enterprise. The scan causes the holodeck to malfunction, trapping the Captain and crew members inside and disabling the safety protocols, resulting in Whalen being injured when shot with a computer-generated but very real bullet. While LaForge and Wesley Crusher attempt to repair the holodeck, Commander Riker must delay the touchy Jarada and Picard must keep the rest of his crew alive in Dixon Hill’s dangerous world. LaForge and Ensign Crusher reset the holodeck, freeing the trapped crew and revealing to the characters that they are a simulation, resulting in one of them wondering what he will experience when the simulation ends. Picard returns to the bridge and greets the Jarada in the appropriate manner, and they agree to open diplomatic relations.

Analysis: This mission sees a crew functioning at its highest capacity. The Captain follows the advice of the counselor and sets an example for the crew of taking appropriate rest. When the holodeck adventure goes wrong, Picard is able to trust to the rest of the crew to discover what has gone wrong and free them, even though communications are cut off. Riker stalls the Jarada as best he can even though they consider him to be too low in rank to substitute for Picard.

As an observer, I consider the greatest significance of this mission the revelation that the holodeck-generated characters are sufficiently self-aware to wonder about an afterlife when confronted with the understanding of their artificial nature. The philosophical implications are concerning: if we are able to create self-aware avatars, are we ethically obligated to not un-create them? Are they a sentient form of life, and if so, it is murder to end their existence when we are finished with a simulation? I admit, I am concerned about the use of the holodeck following this mission, and I certainly hope that as I learn more about holodeck engineering, these questions will be resolved to my satisfaction!


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