At the end of S03E21 "Hollow Pursuits", Reginald Barclay deletes all his holodeck programs, except for program nine.

What was in it?

  • I am astonished by the philological activity about these trivial questions and abstruse "theories". That is, do you like the ST series? Well, put yourself comfortable and relaxed on a sofa and taste it! The sense of last scene is 1. No matter what the program contains 2. Reginald says goodbye to a holographic crew to do test before his real leave-taking because of his shyness 3. He delete all programs because he finally get rid of his hologram dependency thanks to the injection of new trust in himself for the intense recent interpersonal relationships and his brilliant (to be continued..
    – Bento
    Mar 18, 2020 at 10:12
  • solution in saving the ship 4. except one because (author's irony/joke) it is not possible an immediate and sudden abstinence from drug 5. incidentally, moral of the story: Barclay embodys the preponderant prototype of the fiction fans: intelligent, clumsy, and a bit dreamer guys.. Okay.. that was an arbitrary free assumption of author's neuronal schemes certainly without an actual counterpart in fans' personality and mental pattern.. anyway it must be stressed that absolutely irrelevant it is what P9 is, and how much futile any question about it is
    – Bento
    Mar 18, 2020 at 10:13

2 Answers 2


Main Canon

We don't know and are never told. I always felt that the strong implication is that it was the program with Troi (with whom Barclay is obsessed).

The original show-script indicates that he switched from the (unnamed) program with just Troi to "Program 15" which contained both Troi and a more complex setting with more of the crew. It's certainly not unreasonable to assume the less complex program was designed earlier and thus had a lower number, possibly number nine.

BARCLAY: Mmm, nice... but I'm in the mood for someplace a little more...unusual... (beat) Computer. Run Barclay Program Fifteen.

We stay on Barclay, but lose Holo-Troi, as the surroundings change to

9 EXT. GLADE (HOLODECK) A glade with a few small hills, rock formations, some trees, grass, a pond. As different as can be from the world Barclay lives in... peaceful, green, remote... a warm breeze flutters through the trees... Barclay takes a deep, cleansing breath... turns to see ---

EU Canon

Barclay's Program Nine makes an appearance in the eponymously named story in "Strange New World VII", written by Russ Crossley: A trader has acquired the program and attempts to sell it to Quark. It appears to be the program we saw in the TV show.

The raven haired human female stood before him with her arms thrown wide, her dusky curls trailing about her milk-white shoulders like a cascade of fine black silk, and her dark uncomprehending eyes gazing into the distant forest surrounding the glade. The artificial breeze that blew across them caused her flowing ground-length robe to billow about her as if she floated on a thunderhead. The only thing she’d said since appearing was, “I am the Goddess of Empathy.”

  • 2
    Near simultaneous answering, once again. :-) Throwing you a +1 for including details from Crossley's story. :-)
    – Praxis
    Sep 16, 2015 at 20:22

No canon information

There is no canonical information as to what "Program 9" contains. There was an award-winning short story by Russ Crossley called "Barclay Program 9" submitted as part of the Strange New Worlds competition, but it's just a bit of fan fiction (technically extended universe, as the contest was licensed).

Popular theories

The question of what "Program 9" contains is not a new one — it's something that Trek fans have debated since "Hollow Pursuits" first aired.

Two fairly popular theories, which have appeared in forums over the years:

  • Program 9 contains a holographic Troi...to keep Barclay "company"
  • All of The Next Generation is Program 9

To support theory #2, some have pointed out that Barclay is not a particularly impressive crew member and, while technically adept, would more likely be posted to a less stellar starship than the flagship.

  • 3
    Uh, I believe #2 was called These Are The Voyages... Sep 16, 2015 at 22:37
  • 6
    Everyone's theories are so prurient. Maybe he just wanted program 9 because it's some diagnostic or calibration program, or something he needs for work.
    – Paul
    Sep 17, 2015 at 3:23
  • Wouldn't theory #2 be somewhat countered by "Ship in a Bottle" which at the end, Picard makes an off-hand comment about all this (their reality) possibly being a simulation and once the room exists, Barkley literally says, "Computer, end program."? If Program 9 was essentially a simulation running what we know as the TNG series that Barkley was playing in, that seems like a very curious thing for Barkley to say.
    – Ellesedil
    Jul 6, 2017 at 18:06
  • @ThePopMachine #2 is an inconceivable contradiction. I like holodeck, but the exaggerated use the authors sometime do leads on the edge of absurdity. The last episode you cited is one of thise limit-cases: Troi and Riker had nothing better to do than recreate all the story with all particulars (scenes in the vacuum space, interstellar battles of battleships, planets etc), that is.. the holographic room should be limited in volume.. an absurdity, in fact.. and they obviously appear only at the end, absurdly interacting with all the exhumed characters.. that is, in episodes #1, 2, 3
    – Bento
    Mar 21, 2020 at 3:42
  • and so on they were instead well hidden behind the scenes....
    – Bento
    Mar 21, 2020 at 3:43

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