VOY: S6E13: “Virtuoso”

In which the Doctor has a brush with fame. 

“One of us is definitely a bit deficient here.”

Voyager has just stowed a damaged Komarian vessel and is repairing it, and treating the crew. The crew are not, however, particularly receptive to the ministrations of a holographic doctor. They claim him as very primitive. It’s a little jarring since they all treat him like… well, like early-stage SIRI, despite clear indications that he is perfectly capable of parsing normal speech, unlike modern SIRI. When Janeway comes down, they’re very ungrateful because the Voyager crew isn’t up to speed on Komarian technology – they seem to be one of the rare cases of post-Federation levels of advancement, and they’re very annoyed that Voyager‘s scans knocked out their propulsion.

Call me crazy, but if your engines can be knocked out by a sonar pulse, you’re not in a great position to claim technological superiority.

What does get their attention is when the Doctor starts humming. They react like he’s grown a third head, because they are unfamiliar with the concept of song, and demand he continue. As one might expect from a species that never stumbled on singing for its aesthetic value, they’re all about the math that goes into the frequencies. Which sort of suggests that they process sound in a very different way than humans do, and may have some sort of intellectual sense of the frequencies involved. In fact, the Komarians have no concept of art and aesthetics of any kind. As such, the Doctor is happy to volunteer a demonstration.

After this, Voyager has been invited to visit the Komar system, which is usually closed to outsiders and which is bustling with activity and encrypted comms traffic. They are welcomed to the Komar planetary alliance with the expected condescention by the Prelate. They want the Doctor to provide a performance. This includes a variety of samplings, including opera and whatever they need those cheap synth instruments for. Oh, Jazz. The Doctor has selected his repertoire to showcase the mathiest musical forms. Harry performing on clarinet. The Komarians are not fans, so the Doctor has to step in to rescue it with vocals, a.k.a the main mathy melody. Chances are good they’re going to try to kidnap the Doctor. But keep your eyes on the woman next to Paris enjoying the music a little too much.

“I’m a clown. And also, dressed like a clown.”

Dinka is her name, in fact, and she goes right up to Harry, to see if he can introduce her to the Doctor – who is being typically pretentious. The Komar schedule him for an immediate performance at a lecture hall, including redesigning the building for better acoustics. Torres adjusts his emitter to let him change clothes on the fly – presumably pre-loaded with quckset options that he can change to on the fly. I still say that one of the advantages of a holographic doctor (or engineer, or any kind of technician) would be the ability to switch to other shapes that don;t necessarily need tools. Where’s his quick-surgery setting. The Doctor has, apparnetly, pre-show jitters as a personality subest. That seems like a terrible thing to add to a surgical program.

Some time after, the ship is sent to red alert by Seven in astrometrics – she has found evidence of sabotage by the Komar, trying to overload the comms system with fan mail to the doctor, forming a DDoS attack. Janeway gets the chance to explain this phenomenon to Seven. The Komar have jumped straight to full-on embodiment of celebrity culture. Next, Janeway is called to deal with all the Komar camping out trying to see the Doctor, getting him to sign holographic recordings of himself, etcetera. This annoys Janeway so she shuts down his efforts at cultural outreach and orders him to Sick Bay where two Komar are way smarter than the others and have presented with symptoms that need to be treated by the Doctor. Up close and personal-like.

One of the original Komar group has gotten to the point of composition, based on fractal intersection. She offers again to help him reprogram himself, and wants him to stay on Komar, because she’s in love with him, and Voyager doesn’t appreciate him like she does. Therefore, the Doctor tries to resign. Janeway, who is not up on her case law, does not react as an enlightened 24th century member of the Federation. Evidently, her answer to ‘does the Doctor deserve self-determination’ is No. Janeway does, to her credit, pivot to the Doctor’s emotional needs, friendships, and the fleeting nature of fame. It almostmakes her look like not-a-monster. Eventually, she lets him go.

The Doctor next has to hand all his duties over to Paris, who also doubts his intentions. They’ll be in comms range for a month, to extend all the painful goodbyes. Speaking of which, Seven is not pleased to see him leave either, and just retreats back into cold anger. Then he takes a call from Tinku in her presence, which would be sort of rude even if it weren’t for the emotional context here.

The Doctor beams down to meet her, and she shows off a holographic recreation of him, to solve his problem. She built a better singing Doctor program, because ultimately he’s just a nifty singing program, and they don’t really grok what humans intend with music. He gets to do a farewell performance, though. And to make it a showstopper, he wants Torres to delete his medical database so there’s more room for singy-program stuff. She’s able to convince him that she (and the Voyager crew) actually care about the Doctor as a person, not just for what he can do.

He gives a soulful final performance, and then at the end of a moving piece gets upstaged by the new program. It goes over well with the Komar, but there’s a pretty clear cultural divide. Ultimately they prefer a genre he doesn’t sing. Janeway gives him a ‘told you so’ but otherwise lets him get away with the whole thing. Seven even wrote him some fan mail.

Now it only remains to be seen what the Komar gave Voyager in terms of technology and what they can do with a drive system that explodes if you look at it funny,



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