In 2x09 The Measure of a Man, Bruce Maddox wanted to disassemble Data in order to understand and copy-construct him.

Since that request got denied, I was wondering why, after 7x01 Descent II (where Lore got disassembled) why Lore wasn't handed over to Maddox for study instead?

Was this considered anywhere?

3 Answers 3


If we assume that the blinking lights on his head indicate the health of Lore's positronic brain then shutting him down would render him largely useless to the Federation's scientific establishment.

Lore was very substantially damaged in the encounter (at the end of TNG : Descent, part II) and effectively died. Although the actual extent of his injuries isn't spelled out in the episode's dialogue, the direction in the script makes it abundantly obvious that when your blinkies stop blinking, that's a bad thing:

Data kneels at his side... the impact of the fall caused Lore's head flap to open and his BLINKING CIRCUITRY is now exposed.

Lore looks up at him, his eyes filled with sadness.

DATA : I am going to deactivate you now.

Lore speaks haltingly -- he's clearly damaged.


Data uses a TOOL to starts shutting down Lore's systems, and the firing pattern of his blinkies starts to slow.

Data pauses before shutting off the last system; he has to fight off the feeling of withdrawal.

DATA : Good bye, Lore.

Lore's lost so many systems that his words come out distorted.

LORE : I... love you... Brother...

Data shuts down the last system and Lore's circuitry stops blinking. He is still, lifeless. Data regards him silently, his face unreadable...

We've no reason to presume that Lore's body (or at least his brain) wasn't sent to Starfleet for analysis. We do know that at the very least, Data recovered the emotion chip and may have cannibalised Lore's body for spare parts.

Moving down the canon scale, the issue of Lore's components is dealt with in the Trek Novel Star Trek: The Next Generation - Cold Equations : The Persistence of Memory.

In it, we learn (via Dr Soong) that Lore's brain was destroyed when the Enterprise-D crash-landed on Veridian III at the end of Star Trek : Generations.

I skim all the cargo attributed to Data. Salvaged intact from his quarters are a handful of paintings; a Lorcan wisdom mask; my first three failed prototype androids, which Data recovered from Omicron Theta after Juliana told him where to find them; the body of Data’s own failed experiment, the daughter he named Lal; and all of Lore’s components . . . except one. The vault in which Lore’s brain had been stored self-destructed automatically when it was compromised by bulkhead damage. Lore’s positronic matrix was reduced to vapor.

  • 8
    Ouch. You know you're hurt when your blinkies stop blinking.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 21:17
  • 5
    Ooh. Right in the blinkies :-(
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 21:17
  • IIRC At the end of the episode, Data states that Lor has been disassembled, which to me implied Data did it and Maddox didn't have the chance to obtain a sufficiently intact Lore. But as you mentioned, once truly shut of (though I wonder how permanent that actually was) he was of no use anyway...
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 19:09
  • 1
    Aww, I missed the opportunity to add a witty comment about Blinkelnlights...
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 9:31
  • This makes me wonder if we ever see an instance when Data's blinkies have stopped but he is later okay.
    – Xantec
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:03

Maddox listed three criteria for sentience that would entitle Data to personhood:

  1. Intelligence
  2. Self-awareness
  3. Consciousness

Insofar as Lore was at least the equal of Data in his cognitive abilities, any rights assigned to Data should automatically be assigned to Lore. So it was not permissible that Lore be handed over to and be tested to destruction by the likes of Maddox.

A question that was never addressed in the series is why it was acceptable to disassemble Lore and leave him in that state without trial forever. I guess the answer is the same one we use today to hold terrorists without trial; he is too dangerous to release and there is no time limit on how long he may be held before being tried. Since his disassembled parts don't experience the passage of time, he could be held essentially forever if deemed necessary.

  • +1 I think that tackling the question from the ethical standpoint is the right way to go. Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 9:10
  • There is no evidence that the rights attributed to Data in The Measure of a Man are automatically extended to Lore. Indeed, those rights didn't appear to have even been extended to Data's own offspring, Lal.
    – Xantec
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 20:02
  • @Xantec Picard seemed to think those rights had been extended. When discussing the forced relocation of Lal, Picard said of androids "They're living, sentient beings. Their rights and privileges in our society have been defined. I helped define them." Starfleet, like police and military organizations everywhere is intrinsically authoritarian and will always attempt to niggle away at personal liberties until they are brought to heel by judicial and legislative forces. The episode "The Offspring" is a good representation of that eternal struggle.
    – Kyle Jones
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 0:05

TL;DR: Maddox needed an active, functioning brain to study, but by the time Lore was available he was no longer functioning.

Maddox didn't simply want to take Data apart. In fact, at that time Starfleet already had access to the technology needed for building a functional android body. The secret that Noonien Soong took to his grave was not how to build an android, but how to build a stable positronic brain.

Maddox had already attempted to replicate Soong's success, but all of his androids resulted in cascade failure. The reason he wanted Data was so that he could study - and vivisect - a WORKING Soong-type android. And at the time, Data was believed to be the only one in existence (nobody knew about B-4 or Juliana yet).

References to this are made not only in "Measure of a Man" and "The Offspring", but also in the novel "Immortal Coil", which revolves around the creation of a new alternative to the Soong-type android (and in which Maddox is a major character).

As for why Lore was not simply "given" to Maddox prior to S07E01, neither Starfleet nor Data were aware of Lore's whereabouts at the time, although it's quite possible he was on some WANTED posters somewhere. After the episode, Lore was permanently deactivated, and therefore useless to Maddox. However, it's still debatable whether or not Data would approve of such a transfer, and following the ruling in S02E09, Data would be the 'next of kin' making the decision.

  • 'Measure of a Man' was episode 9 in season 2. The episode 'Datalore' (in which Lore is introduced) was episode 12 in season 1. Without rewatching (for the nth time) to see if stardates are referenced and the 2-9 actually occurs prior to the 1-12, I assume the episodes are supposed to be linear in time. Ergo, Lore was known to be in existence at the time of the 'Measure of a Man' episode. You've provided backup on what Maddox wanted to do but haven't really explained why Lore wasn't given to Maddox.
    – Stan
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 23:14
  • @Stan Based on the timing of the episodes and Lore's retelling of his history in Brothers, Data could have informed Maddox of Lore's position immediately following Datalore and Starfleet could have dispatched a ship to recover him. Missed opportunities.
    – Xantec
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 19:29

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