When the Equinox Doctor's ethical subroutines are deleted, he is capable of doing all sorts of things he normally would not do, like killing alien life forms to turn them into fuel. I do not understand, however, why his loyalty to his captain and crew remains so strong regardless of whether he is on Equinox or Voyager. This is demonstrated in his rescue of Captain Ransom and crew members from Voyager's brig, and his repeated subterfuge communications with Equinox to alert them to Voyager's whereabouts and shield frequencies.

In contrast, when Voyager's Doctor has his ethical subroutines deleted, he does not seem to be analyzing or practicing ways to circumvent Captain Ransom's orders to save his crew member, Seven of Nine, neither through delay nor deception. He appears to simply follow all of Captain Ransom's orders.

I can understand the EMH wanting to preserve itself first and foremost when its ethical subroutines are deleted, but why would it then jeopardize its safety on Voyager by aiding the Equinox? What determines the EMH's loyalty?

  • Were there any scenes where Voyager's EMH knowingly did anything to subvert Janeway's orders? If not, it could be that each ship's EMH is programmed to prioritize their own Captain's orders whenever there is a conflict between their Captain and the Captain of another ship--this might have been true even before Ransom messed with their ethical subroutines.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 21:19
  • @Hypnosifl - There's at least one case where the EMH completely disregarded Janeway's orders; scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/98877/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


Given that Ransom appears to have total control over the (Evil)Doctor's programming by this point (as evidenced by his ability to delete the EMH's ethical subroutines) it seems likely, if not downright certain that he not only futzed with the (Evil)Doctor's ethics but that he also inserted a simple command that says;

"and you will also be totally and utterly loyal to Captain Ransom and his crew".

  • The default state of the EMH is to follow orders without question. His initial character arc involved gaining autonomy, ala his computer end program command. Voyager crew could have erased his subroutine if they wanted to. The distinction being not that Ransom has control at this point, but always had control, as any star fleet personnel would, but the bastard - gene to use it.
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 20:47
  • @cde - True, but the (Evil)EMH seems to go out of his way to solicit orders from Ransom. That suggests that he's been reprogrammed.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 20:48
  • But see my comment above, it also seems like a reasonable possibility that when there's a conflict between Captains, any ship's EMH would be programmed to default to the command of their own Captain, unless this conflicted with other factors like ethics. So maybe the Equinox EMH was just continuing to follow this rule, but with his ethical sense deleted.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 21:23

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