12

Reading this question, I came across the below image:

Data and the Borg Queen

If you look closely, you can see that Data's eye is blue! Now, out of universe, Brent Spiner's eyes are blue, so that's the out of universe reason why, but I'm interested in the in-universe explanation of why Data's eye was blue. I thought in First Contact the Borg were just adding real skin to Data, not actually messing with other parts of him such as his eyes.

Indeed, even Memory Alpha states that

[the Borg Queen] embarked on a transformative process to make Data more "Human," by attaching Human skin onto his android skeleton.

(emphasis mine)

  • 6
    Because we blue eyed people are so pretty. – Wad Cheber Sep 11 '15 at 1:43
  • 5
    Fun fact of the day: The condition of being born with two different eye colors is known as heterochromia iridum. – Wad Cheber Sep 11 '15 at 1:45
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    It's also interesting to note from that picture that his hair is ruffled where the human skin has been applied, but typical Data hair where it hasn't! – Often Right Sep 11 '15 at 1:45
  • 1
    David Bowie might have heterochromia iridum and he definitely has a permanently paralyzed pupil, which is probably not much fun to have, but it is really cool to see. – Wad Cheber Sep 11 '15 at 1:53
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    @WadCheber Not quite... eyes of different colors is known as bilateral or complete heterochromia, and not to be confused with central heterochromia, or with sectoral heterochromia. All three types are heterochromia iridum... not that I have a vested interest in rainbow-colored eyes or anything. ;) But bonus points for drawing attention to this much neglected eye condition! :) – Lexible Sep 11 '15 at 5:20
17

Data had a biological eye implanted, most likely taken from an assimilated crew mate. In the image above, we see Data with his biological grafts, including the eyelid, burned off. There is no eye there, and nothing which would hide his cybernetic eye from view.

  • 1
    That's the picture I was trying to find! +1 – Often Right Sep 11 '15 at 6:46
  • 2
    Is that eye-region concave or convex? I think it's convex, so you can't argue the entire eye was organic. – ThePopMachine Sep 11 '15 at 14:56
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    No, but we are talking about cosmetics here. The part of the eye which was showing blue was organic. – Politank-Z Sep 11 '15 at 16:30
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    @ThePopMachine The shadow of the exposed wire to the left strongly implies that it's convex to me. Based on the angle of the shadow from his nose I don't think that shadow would appear if it were deep in a socket. – ApproachingDarknessFish Mar 6 '17 at 21:01
13

The Borg Queen's goal in that scene is to try to make Data look "more human". Outwardly, there are two major characteristics of Data's appearance that make him look obviously not human: his skin color and his eye color.

The Queen began applying natural skin to his exoskeleton so that, at a glance, he would look human. However, yellow is not a natural eye color for humans (as far as we know, this applies in ST:TNG as much as in reality). Giving him human skin but leaving his abnormal eyes would destroy the illusion the Borg Queen wanted to present: Data getting what he wanted, and being a real human. Giving him normal looking eyes (and hair, apparently) was just all part of the make over.

The reason there's so much focus on the skin part is 1. it's the biggest and most obvious change, and 2. it's the creepiest part.

  • 1
    It was more than just changing what his eye looked like. IIRC later, after Data breaks the plasma conduit and his organic skin is burned off, his eye is closed, suggesting that he potentially no longer had one. – Xantec Sep 11 '15 at 3:37
  • the borg specialize in grafting technology onto biological entities it stands to reason they would be able to graft biological systems onto technology as well – revenant Sep 11 '15 at 5:47
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    The goal was not for Data to look (for others to see) more human by glueing natural skin to him. The goal was to make him feel more human (cf. the goose pimples on his skin when the queen lusciously blows over it; and he - mentally - can't rip off the skin as easily as he would disassemble parts of himself otherwise) – Hagen von Eitzen Sep 11 '15 at 16:24
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    @Hagen von Eitzen Have we ever heard that Data sees as we do? Maybe he sees more like Geordi and she gave him conventional eyesight too. (In one eye....) This would add to the idea of the skin really, but the skin is probably still the most relevant and impactful. – ThruGog Sep 13 '15 at 16:49

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