30

After Kivas hits Data with the acid in "The Most Toys" (http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Most_Toys_(episode)), he presents the android with a choice: run around naked, or change into the purple clothes which were refused earlier.

Data chooses the latter option. What is the in-universe reason for this? Data did not want to put the clothes on earlier, and he wouldn't be embarrassed or cold if he was naked.

I guess the most reasonable explanation is that Data, as a Starfleet officer, would want to emulate a typical Starfleet officer in that situation. And the proper thing to do would be to appear presentable, even if it meant donning undesirable clothing.

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    Episode titles are supposed to be in quotes, not italics. Also, I'm not sure why the Wikipedia link was added, so I removed it. – Ham Sandwich May 16 '16 at 20:37
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    The Wikipedia link is to the episode in question, which makes it easy for someone who is unfamiliar with the episode to quickly read a synopsis of it. You should revert that edit, as it made your question better than it is now. According to ivcc.edu/stylebooks/stylebook4.aspx?id=14718 though (top Google hit on title formatting), you're right on the episode names. – Ellesedil May 16 '16 at 20:43
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    I could, but I don't see links to Wikipedia articles on every other question. Also, links to Memory Alpha would probably be more apropos. – Ham Sandwich May 16 '16 at 21:04
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    Just because it's not in every single question doesn't mean it's not helpful. I add them to my questions and answers whenever I can. Wikipedia, Memory Alpha, Wookieepedia, whatever... there's pretty much no reason to remove links like that for that type of context if someone else added them. It only helps. – Ellesedil May 16 '16 at 21:07
  • Ellesedil, if you want to put the link back, that's fine. Preferably the Memory Alpha link, though! – Ham Sandwich May 18 '16 at 20:47
38

Kivas Fajo suggests that Data will probably follow the rules of decency prescribed by Starfleet training:

FAJO: Oh, don't worry. The solvent won't harm your, your skin. But in seconds it will completely dissolve that uniform. Personally, I'd be delighted to see you go around naked. I assume you have no modesty. But, then, I guess that decency is the rule of your Starfleet training.

Data does not correct Fajo on his assumption, which is significant as Data had already refuted Fajo several times, such as:

FAJO: I think you should be flattered.

DATA: I am not, sir. Most intelligent lifeforms find involuntary confinement offensive and inequitable. Moreover, you have violated Federation law.

As Data doesn't debate Fajo on the Starfleet decency point, we can assume that Data wore the purple clothes for the reason suggested by Fajo.

  • "...we can assume that..." -> can we really? This whole episode features Data being goaded into emotionesque responses despite his claims that that doesn't happen. – user36551 May 15 '16 at 14:28
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    @Leushenko 'goaded into emotionesque responses" you just described data's performance through the entire run of the series. "Prick us do we not beep?" – candied_orange May 15 '16 at 19:34
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    @CandiedOrange I thought that line was "Prick me; do I not... leak?" – hBy2Py May 16 '16 at 20:20
46

In the 7th season episode "Inheritance" we find out that Data has a modesty subroutine. When Data was first constructed, he didn't feel the need to dress because he didn't "suffer from the elements", but some of the colonists were disturbed because he was anatomically correct.

Data would not willingly change into the clothes that Fajo wanted him to wear but with his uniform gone, he changed into what was available rather than remain naked (and again depriving Fajo of any cooperation).

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    We remember the statement about anatomical correctness as "I am fully functional" :) – Hagen von Eitzen May 15 '16 at 10:12
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    "...and again depriving Fajo of any cooperation." Perhaps the real reason Data put the clothes on was because he knew it would make things harder for Fajo? (I have to admit here that I haven't seen the episode in question, so I'm shooting in the dark, but it is interesting to me that no one else has considered that possibility.) – Kevin May 16 '16 at 1:23
  • @Kevin: The title of the episode sums up Fajo's attitude towards Data, he was just another "thing" to be acquired. It didn't matter to Fajo if Data was a living being, Fajo needed to in control of all his "things". – sfhq_sf May 16 '16 at 2:34
25

He is acting like a Starfleet officer (or human being)

FAJO: Well, it doesn't matter. It isn't true anyway. My father was quite wealthy, actually. He was a thief. Data, why don't you put on these lovely new clothes and sit on the chair.

DATA: I must decline.

FAJO: You are going to be much more of a challenge than I had first thought. (goes to replicator) Finoplak, one hundred denkirs. (A vial of liquid appears.) Now, Data, in the meantime, here is something for your logic circuits to analyse. (Fajo throws the liquid onto Data's uniform, which begins to smoke and dissolve.)

FAJO: Oh, don't worry. The solvent won't harm your, your skin. But in seconds it will completely dissolve that uniform. Personally, I'd be delighted to see you go around naked. I assume you have no modesty. But, then, I guess that decency is the rule of your Starfleet training. In any case, Data, why don't you make a decision about which alternative you dislike the least. Make a decision by dinnertime tonight. I have invited a guest to meet you, and I expect you to be as entertaining with him as you have been with me.

Of course, this is merely Fajo's (perhaps rather biased) assessment of Data's personality. But it agrees with yours. Data has no modesty, in the sense that he is not embarrassed to be naked. But he does have decency, in the sense that he prefers to conform to the social norms surrounding nudity.

As a Starfleet officer, presumably he is supposed to remain dressed at all times. As a human being in polite company, he is supposed remain dressed. Either way, whatever his personal preferences, he will accommodate human norms and remain dressed.

He really does feel "embarrassed" to be naked

Something else to consider: the entire episode is about Fajo treating Data like an object, not a conscious being. Perhaps we are supposed to see Fajo as wrong here, and Data as being sufficiently "human," or at least sufficiently similar to the humans he hangs out with, to prefer, of his own accord, being dressed to being naked.

Indeed, the episode "Inheritance" (S07E10) suggests that this may be the case.

JULIANA: That was nothing to the problems we encountered. Never mind. I don't want to embarrass you.

DATA: I am incapable of embarrassment. Please continue.

JULIANA: Well, the one thing we couldn't anticipate was that you didn't seem to mind about being naked. Some of the colonists objected to having an anatomically correct android running around without any clothes on. We asked you to dress, but you didn't feel it was necessary because you didn't suffer from the elements. We actually had to write a modesty sub-routine to get you to keep your clothes on.

  • Beat you by 8 seconds. ;-) – Praxis May 15 '16 at 4:16
  • @Praxis - I had another idea to add. – Adamant May 15 '16 at 4:16
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    I don't get why you wrote that Data really does feel embarrassed to be naked. Of course he doesn't. – Ham Sandwich May 15 '16 at 13:17
  • @T-1000's Son - He has a modesty routine that makes him want to keep his clothes on. Whether that constitutes an actual desire not to be naked is perhaps up to interpretation. – Adamant May 15 '16 at 17:36
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    A desire to not be naked, sure. But Data doesn't feel any emotions, including embarrassment. – Ham Sandwich May 15 '16 at 17:38

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