Reva communicated with his chorus using Telepathy. How come he could not use the same powers when communicating with counsellor Troi?

  • 1
    If I remember correctly, Troy was not fully telepathic, she could only feel emotions. – Max Aug 17 '15 at 11:00
  • 2
    No, she often spoke with her mother telepathically, so she was at least partially telepathic as well. – BBlake Aug 17 '15 at 12:36
  • @User50721 Lemme guess... you were watching re-runs on the BBC last night too? – Iszi Aug 17 '15 at 21:38
  • @BBlake Like mentioned in Richard's answer, it worked because her mother, as a full-blooded Betazoid, was telepathic – Izkata Aug 18 '15 at 1:07

This is dealt with in the episode. There's no evidence that Riva is a powerful telepath, or even a telepath at all. His Chorus evidently took quite some time to become able to turn his thoughts into speech and it's possible (bordering on likely) that they're the ones with the telepathic gift.

DATA: When Data speaks for me [Riva], can you hear my anguish, my despair? Data is a fine machine, but he cannot take the place of my chorus. It took years to develop a communication. That cannot be easily replaced. 

As to why Troi can't simply read his mind, the only time she's been able to do that is with Riker (with whom she is deeply intimate) and various full telepaths such as her mother. Under most circumstances she's empathic (can sense emotions) not telepathic.

Interestingly, in the original script, Riva claims that his Chorus are able to communicate by reading his sign language:

RIVA: My Chorus is so attuned -- they can "hear" my hands and translate to you. It is a relationship which has developed over centuries -- their ancestors provided the same service to my ancestors.

However, it then transpires that he was actually using a mental telepathy device. When that gets destroyed, his Chorus become useless:

Picard, and his staff are there with Riva. Picard has in his hands the "device" which Riva has been wearing.

PICARD: So... communication between Riva and his Chorus was aided by this device. Without it...

TROI: Without it, he is mute.

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  • The paragraph beginning "As to why Troi..." is really all that needed to be said. The background on the original script is very interesting though. The move to change the script so that Riva lost the entire chorus instead of "just" a piece of technology was just brilliant! – Iszi Aug 17 '15 at 22:00

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