Data is capable of moving much faster than anyone else onboard, and he can do complicated math calculations in his head as easily as Picard or Riker can read a children's book. Why, then, doesn't Data oftentimes enter "super speed" mode (as shown in "Masks," "Hero Worship," "The Naked Now," off-screen in "The Offspring," etc.).

Out of universe, it was obviously not the Brent Spiner show, but what is the canon reason that Data many times didn't "take over?" For example, in "Night Terrors," Data and Troi are leisurely trying to find the correct element on the computer to produce an explosion. Of course, the process is slow, because Troi is just a humanoid, and she obviously cannot read as fast as Data could.

It is true that Troi helped Data in this investigation, but I have to believe that "super speed" Data would have eventually figured it out, too.

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    On numerous occasions, Data is quietly working at hyper-speed without anyone being informed, downloading vast amounts of data, calculating complex ship velocities in his head. Heck, even this sequence suggests that his abilities are profound without being dramatically obvious.
    – Valorum
    Dec 5, 2015 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


Data tries to be as human as possible. Obviously super speed sets him apart from mundane humans and counter this effort. So he's resorts to this only if absolutely necessary. I would consider that well in character.


In the 'Night Terrors' example, super speed wouldn't necessarily help. Data has been shown to not understand colloquialisms or other abstract human phrases and concepts (such as 'gut instinct') or intuition. In that case, he needed Troi's ability to make the abstract representation connect to a concrete scientific truth.

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