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Inheritance (episode)

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"Inheritance"
TNG, Episode 7x10
Production number: 40277-262
First aired: 22 November 1993
161st of 176 produced in TNG
161st of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
297th of 728 released in all
Juliana Tainer
Teleplay By
Dan Koeppel and René Echevarria

Story By
Dan Koeppel

Directed By
Robert Scheerer
47410.2 (2370)
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Data meets Juliana Tainer, former wife of Dr. Noonian Soong and Data's "mother," but she holds a shocking secret that even she doesn't know she carries.

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

When the Atreans discover that the magma on their homeworld, Atrea IV, is cooling, posing a significant threat to the continued habitability of the planet. The USS Enterprise-D is dispatched to find a solution. Dr. Pran Tainer, an Atrean geologist, and his wife, Dr. Juliana Tainer, come on board to assist the Enterprise crew in this task.

After briefing the senior officers on the nature of the problem, Geordi La Forge and Data suggest employing ferro-plasmic infusion to reliquify the planet's core, using the Enterprise's phasers to drill through the surface and setting up plasma infusion units. Data believes that if the procedure is successful, the core will remain molten for centuries. After Captain Picard and Pran approve this plan, they, along with most of the other officers leave the observation lounge, leaving Data alone with Juliana Tainer. Juliana asks Data if he remembers her, and when he says he does not, she reveals she was Dr. Noonian Soong's wife, and involved in Data's construction, therefore making her Data's mother.

Act OneEdit

In Ten Forward, Data and Juliana sit down to talk. Juliana reveals details of Data's early days, which she considers to be his childhood. Data had trouble with his motor skills and sensory processing at first, and Dr. Soong tinkered with his programming until he'd corrected the problems. At this point, the Soongs deactivated Data, wiped his memory, and gave him the experiences and logs of the Omicron Theta colonists in an effort to aid in the development of Data's Humanity without the aid of emotions. As mentioned earlier, they believed that he would retain nothing of his memory from before the wipe, but couldn't be sure that would be true. It was during this time that the Crystalline Entity attacked the colony, and the Soongs were forced to flee. Juliana explains that the life pod in which she and Dr. Soong escaped only had room for two, and they had to leave Data behind.

Data is curious as to why, when he met Dr. Soong on Terlina III, Soong did not mention Juliana, and why there was no record in the colonists' logs of Soong's marriage to Juliana. Juliana tells Data the story of how she and Soong eloped on Mavala IV because Juliana's mother disapproved of the age difference between them. There was only a Klingon and a Corvallen trader as witnesses. It wasn't her dream wedding, but Noonian had a way of making the oddest things seem romantic. When Data agrees that his father had an unusual way of looking at things, Juliana is pleasantly surprised to find out that Data had met him, but then is shocked when Data states that he died soon after. She had no idea that he was dead and admits the news has hit her a lot harder than she thought it would, as they had not parted on the best of terms. Then Juliana tells Data that she eventually left Soong because he was more focused on his work than her, and their solitary life in the jungle of Terlina III was "no life at all." Keen to get to know him better, Juliana suggests they spend more time together, but Data brusquely tells her that he wants to corroborate her story first.

Data joins La Forge in engineering, and proceeds with verifying what Juliana told him. He finds records that show Soong and Juliana spent four days on Mavala IV, but there is no accompanying proof of marriage. La Forge suggests that Data is looking for a lie, but Data protests that he merely can't figure out why Soong would never have mentioned his wife. Aware of the fact that Juliana left Dr. Soong, La Forge wonders if maybe Soong had his heart broken and wasn't eager to discuss the experience. Together, he and Data surmise that there may be hidden memories inside Data's emotion chip about his mother, which Soong intended Data to access when he was ready.

Data is still clearly confused by the situation, and La Forge notes that it's because it doesn't fit in Data's logical processors – there's no rational explanation. This, La Forge says, is life, and Data needs to get used to life not conforming to his preconceptions. Disturbed by a past he cannot remember, Data nevertheless says he's curious to know more about his mother.

Act Two Edit

As Juliana and Data walk through the halls, Juliana mentions that she had wanted a daughter while Soong had wanted a son. The dispute was settled when Soong created Data's head in his own image. When Juliana and Data reach Counselor Troi's quarters, Juliana remarks that Soong would be relieved to see that Data's sexuality program was fully-functional. As Data attempts to correct her, Juliana bids him goodnight and walks away with a teasing smile.

The next day in engineering, Data, La Forge and Juliana are getting ready as the ship moves to establish synchronous orbit over the drilling site. When Data thanks La Forge for reconfiguring the phasers, Juliana giggles, pleased with Data's manners; it wasn't easy to strike the right balance with his programming. She explains that Data didn't care about being polite and was in fact downright rude, something La Forge can't quite imagine. She continues on for a moment then stops, not wanting to embarrass Data in front of his friend, but he reminds her that's not possible for him and asks her to go on. She reveals that one thing she and Soong couldn't possibly have anticipated was that Data didn't mind being naked, although some of the colonists certainly did as he is anatomically correct. The Soongs asked him to dress, but he didn't feel it was necessary as he didn't "suffer from the elements." With a laugh, Juliana concludes that they had to resort to writing a modesty subroutine just so Data would keep his clothes on.

From the bridge, Commander Riker lets them know the Enterprise is in position. On overhearing Data's calculation for the phaser burst, after Riker acknowledges, Pran asks Riker if someone double checked Data's calculations, as he assumes that they would regularly do so. Riker states that they didn't but is sure that Data knows what he's doing; when Pran says that they should as Data is a machine, Riker remains professional and states his complete confidence in Data's "ability to check up on himself" and goes ahead with the drilling. It goes off without a hitch and Riker congratulates Data, saying he doesn't think it could have gone any better while giving Pran a meaningful sidelong glance. As Juliana also gives credit to Data's work and that she couldn't have done it without him, Pran keeps silent, his beliefs about Data having been proven unfounded. With several hours to wait before they can continue and Data having free time, Juliana suggests they spend some time together and asks to see his quarters.

In Data's quarters, Data plays a Handel violin piece for his mother, telling her that he will play the piece at a recital the next evening. Juliana says that Data's performance was beautiful, causing Data to wonder if she is exaggerating his abilities as most parents do of their children. Juliana also reveals that she was responsible for Data's creative aspect, a part of his programming which Dr. Soong considered irrelevant in the absence of emotion. Data confides in his mother that it is during his creative endeavors that he feels that he comes closest to Humanity. After saying that she's quite familiar with the Handel piece, Juliana offers to accompany Data on the viola at the recital next evening.

Data replicates a viola for her with which they can practice for the recital; she chuckles softly when he says "please" to the computer. She then notices Data's paintings, including one of his late daughter, Lal. When Data supplies the story of her inception and subsequent deactivation, Juliana looks slightly shaken. Data is unperturbed and asks if she would like to go practice. After practicing in Ten Forward, where the acoustics are most preferable, Juliana asks Data if he will ever try creating another child. Data still wishes to procreate, but Juliana begins recounting the difficulties she and Dr. Soong encountered. She relates to Data that she and Dr. Soong had created and lost three prototypes prior to Lore, and that Lore's cruel and evil nature had almost convinced them to stop trying. In fact, Juliana had cautioned against creating Data.

This causes Juliana to reveal the reason that she had avoided contact with Data after realizing he'd survived the attack on Omicron Theta: guilt. She had deliberately left Data behind when she could have taken him with her and Dr. Soong in the life pod. She feared at the time that Data would eventually become like Lore, and forced Soong to abandon him when the Crystalline Entity came. Before Data can react, Juliana puts her hand gently to his mouth and rushes out of the room in tears.

Act ThreeEdit

Drilling continues on the surface of the planet, with Data, La Forge and Dr. Tainer once again working from engineering. Suddenly the ship rocks: feedback pulses are picking up along the particle beam. Dr. Tainer believes the phaser beam must of impacted a pocket of magnesite ore, and tries adjusting the phaser harmonics to compensate for the pulse. Riker calls down, saying that they will have to terminate the beam if the feedback keeps up. Data explains that if they do, they would have restart the process in another suitable location; Dr. Tainer states that there are no other locations and asks for a few more seconds. La Forge starts to say that it will take her a lot longer than they have, but she unexpectedly finds the right frequency and the feedback ends. Dr. Tainer just attributes it to luck, but doesn't notice Data giving her a long, pondering look. The Tainers and Data beam down to the first magma pocket to set up the infusion unit.

Later, as they are working in the magma pocket, Data notices something particular about Dr. Tainer's face. Pran Tainer then admits to Data that Dr. Tainer told him what she told Data. He begins to say that he understands if Data was angry with his wife, however Data explains that he has no emotions. Juliana confirms Data's question that had Data been a biological child, she would not have left him behind. However, when Data asks if that meant that she values biological life over artifical life, she adds, in an emotionaly stung tone that it did not make it any easier. It had hurt every time she and Dr. Soong lost one of Lore's predecessors, and even shutting down Lore, although necessary, had taken a severe emotional toll on her. She was just afraid of how Data would turn out; if he had become another Lore, they would have had to shut him down too, and losing Data was something she was certain that she wouldn't be able to take yet again. She is not trying to justify leaving Data behind: she's just sorry that she did and hopes he believes her. Now knowing the truth, Data tells her that he understands and sharing a nod with Pran, who appears gratified that the matter has been resolved, they get back to work.

In the evening, Data and Dr. Tainer perform the recital in Ten Forward. The performance goes perfectly, a fact that Data, in the middle of their playing, seems to suddenly notice of Juliana.

Data apparently asks to talk with Dr. Crusher immediately after in sickbay, as she was attending the recital and they walk in with him still carrying his violin. Data wants to see Dr. Tainer's medical records and see if there is anything wrong from her transporter trace pattern, for reasons he says that he does not want to specify but states that he does have a good reason. Dr. Crusher is initially reticent, but likely relents because Data is considered a close relative. She replies, after looking at Dr. Tainer's records, that Juliana only seems to have a mild case of hypertension, a normal occurrence for her age. When she asks Data once more, he only says that he believes that Dr. Tainer may not be who she claims to be. Commander Riker calls Data at this point, reporting a cave in in one of the magma pockets and they need him in Transporter Room 2.

Data is informed that one of the magma pockets has become unstable. Pran and an assistant were doing a final check of the infusion units when one of the walls gave way; Pran sustained some injuries. La Forge reports that it's stable for the moment but seismic stress is building and at most, they have about 12 hours before the pocket collapses. The Tainers decide that they must finish configuring the remaining infusion unit and inject the plasma immediately. Riker is hesitant to send anyone inside, but the Tainers insist: it could take months to find another site, time they just don't have and he agrees, as long they finish quickly. Juliana goes in Pran's place.

Dr. Tainer and Data proceed to be transported into the pocket. After Data rearranges the pattern enhancers they make their way through the now treacherous pocket to get to the infusion unit. The unit was damaged, and they must restart the programming sequence. Riker soon checks with them, informing them of an increase in seismic stress. Data promises to expedite their work, and they quickly wrap up, finish the recalibration and bring the unit online. As they proceed to the transport point however, they realize that it has sunk far below their current level due to the seismic activity. Data determines that since there is no way to climb down, they will have to jump. Dr. Tainer protests, fearing that it is too high, but there is not enough time. Data takes her down with him. But while he easily lands on his feet, he sees that Dr. Tainer's arm has been separated from her collapsed body at the shoulder – and circuitry flashes within it.

Act Four Edit

In sickbay, La Forge examines the circuitry present in Dr. Tainer's head as Dr. Crusher scans her. It becomes apparent that Juliana Tainer is an Soong-type android, one more advanced than Data. Her internal machinery was designed to give off Human life signs. Dr. Crusher, however, is puzzled as to why she deactivated upon sustaining her injuries: as far as she can see, she should be conscious. Data suggests checking for a cascade anomaly in her positronic matrix. He clarifies to Riker that he had already worked out that she was an android, picking up on a few cues that were too subtle to be noticed by anyone other than him. During the feedback pulse incident, he reveals he saw her perform complex calculations without the computer's help: he agrees with Riker that it could have just meant she was good at math, but it was enough to get his attention. He later noticed in the magma pocket that her blinking is actually a pattern that is governed by the Fourier series mathematical formula that Soong had used for him to give the appearance of randomness, and she repeated the exact same performance from their private rehearsal, something impossible for a human to do. Upon examining her further, La Forge finds an information chip built with a holographic interface.

Noonian Soong hologram

A hologram of Dr. Soong talks to Data about his "mother" on the holodeck.

Data activates the chip in the holodeck, and a hologram of his father, a graying Noonian Soong, appears, explaining that he would answer any questions as to the nature of the Juliana android. When Data identifies himself, Dr. Soong becomes pleased; he hoped Data would be the one to activate the hologram, and had indeed wrote a special response program for him. Dr. Soong confirms that she was his wife, helped him to create Data and is glad he got the chance to meet his mother. When Data points out that she was likely created after himself, his father states that this is correct, but that there was a "real" flesh-and-blood Juliana O'Donnell. Dr. Soong explains that Juliana was severely injured in the Crystalline Entity's attack on Omicron Theta, and by the time they had gotten as far as Terlina III, fell into a coma. Once he knew she would never come out of it, he built an android and strove to perfect his synaptic scanning technique to encode a person's memories into a positronic matrix, so that he could somehow salvage her consciousness. He wasn't sure that it would work but he had to try, unable to stand the thought of losing the only woman he had ever loved. A few days after the real Juliana Soong died, he activated the Juliana android, complete with experiences and memory; the hologram shows the elation Noonian felt with how he had succeeded, but then his face soon falls. They were happy, but Dr. Soong's failure to adequately express his love for Juliana prompted her to leave him, something, he notes, that the original would have done too. He designed her to shutdown if the truth was discovered, and all Data needs to do is to put back the information chip and make up some excuse, as she will remember nothing. Data asks why he didn't tell her what she was, but Noonian says that there was no need: he wanted her to be happy, and in every way that mattered she was Juliana Soong. In the end, Dr. Soong sternly admonishes his son not to tell her that she is an android, so that until her body automatically shuts down after a long life, she can live out the rest of her life as a Human. He pleads with Data to not take her Humanity from her.

Data is confronted with a difficult choice, and consults with Counselor Troi, Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard in the observation lounge. He understands his father's motives that he felt she'd wouldn't be happy if she knew the truth, but feels that his father's wishes are not necessarily the most important, as Data is more concerned with Juliana's best interests. Dr. Crusher opines that she may be better off knowing the whole truth about herself, but Troi points out that she has believed herself to be Human all this time and the truth might be devastating. Picard ponders that there could be another situation in the future where the secret could be exposed anyway: perhaps she should learn the truth from him now. Dr. Crusher adds that if it were her, she would want Wesley to be the one to tell her. However, Data admits that he is having difficulty separating what would be best for her from what would be best for himself. He wants to tell her the truth and not be the only one of his kind in the universe; they'd have something in common to share. Troi says while that she understands his reasons, she states that if he did in fact tell her, he would be taking away the one thing he himself has strived for all his life: being Human. Nevertheless, Captain Picard reassures Data that they will support whatever decision he comes up with.

Data replaces the information chip in Dr. Tainer's head, and just like Dr. Soong related with her activation, she comes to, looks up at Data and smiles. As programmed, the last thing she remembers is the jump. Data tells her she lost consciousness and broke a bone in her arm from the fall, but Dr. Crusher repaired it and that everything is fine. While factually accurate, Data's description is also entirely consistent with human injuries.

As Juliana Tainer prepares to be transported off the ship, she asks Data to visit her sometime and he assures her he can return to Atrea someday on his next leave. As she turns to step onto the transporter pad, he stops her for a moment. Data relates that Dr. Soong had told him that he had only one great love in his life, and that he regretted not telling her how much he cared for her. Data says that he "is certain" his father was talking about her, to cover the fact that the Soong hologram directly confirmed it. Juliana is clearly moved, grateful for the knowledge. Juliana replies that she is consequently not surprised that Data developed and turned out so well – as the Atreans would say, he is the natural outcome of two parents who loved each other. Juliana bids her son farewell, asking him to take care of himself and Data tells her goodbye, calling her Mother as he does so.

Memorable quotes Edit

"I helped create you and now... look at you."
"You were a colleague of Dr. Soong?"
"I most certainly was... and I was also his wife. In a way, I suppose you could say I am your mother."

- Juliana Tainer meets her "son" Data for the first time in years


"Data?"
"I would like to get to know you better... mother."

- Juliana Tainer and Data


"I wanted to make you female but your father insisted on a son. Oh, we argued about it endlessly right up until we were ready to assemble you."

- Juliana Tainer, to Data


"Some of the colonists objected to having an anatomically correct android running around without any clothes on."

- Juliana Tainer on Data's early days on Omicron Theta


"The positronic matrix I designed for her was unstable. She only lived a short time."
"I see."
"In a sense, you were her grandmother."

- Data tells Juliana of his "daughter" Lal


"I didn't want to bring you with us. I was afraid if we reactivated you, you'd turn out like Lore. I made Noonian leave you behind."

- Juliana reveals her guilt over leaving Data behind


"How are you, boy?"

- A hologram of Noonian Soong to Data


"I programmed her to terminate after a long life. Let her live out her days and die believing she was Human. Don't rob her of that, son... please."

- Noonian Soong hologram, to Data about Juliana


"Take care of yourself, son."
"Goodbye... mother."

- Juliana Tainer and Data parting ways (last lines)

Background information Edit

Production Edit

  • First UK airdate: 13 March 1996

Cast and characters Edit

Sets, props and costumes Edit

Continuity Edit

Lal painting

Painting of Lal

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

Stand-ins Edit

References Edit

2328, 2370; Android; Atrea IV; B-4; Corvallen; Crystalline Entity; earthquake; emotion chip; feedback pulse; ferro-plasmic infusion; Fourier series, holo-programs; hypertension; Lal; logic; Lore; magma; magnesite; Mavala IV; A Midsummer Night's Dream; modesty subroutine; Omicron Theta; painting; Passacaglia for Violin and Viola; pattern enhancer; plasma induction coil; positronic matrix; Soong, Noonian; Soong-type android; Spot; Ten Forward; Terlina III; Terlina system; tricorder; viola; violin; Woman Holding a Balance, A

Okudagram referencesEdit

Standard Definition: Alpha Drapanas; Alpha Echevarria IV; Alpha Fernandes III; Alpha Roller II; Alpha Rossi; Alpha Zayra II; Augyn, SS; Balder's Planet; Beta Magdaleno II; Beta Wiltz III; Brownfield, Dick; Chronister II; commercial transport database; Coopersworld; Deep Space 7; Delta Charnock IX; Epsilon West IV; Fleck, Jerry; Fukai, Arlene; Gamma Towles II; Gausche, Steve; Genovese, Cosmo; Goldfarb, Dave; Gravett, Jacques; Johnson Station; Knox, Ronnie; Krosskove, Kris; Lauritson's Planet; Lehman's Planet; Manila, SS; McCrystal's Planet; McKnight, Scott; Neskoromny's Planet; Omicron Alpha; Omicron Beta; Perez's Planet; Purser's Planet; Silvestri, Steph; Simmons, Adele; Smutko, Al; Starbase 47; Starbase Allen; Stimson, Mark; Theta Gluckstern III; Thomsworld Spaceport; Trotti, David

High Definition: Adala, Milan; Adams, Ryan; Adams, Wynsdey; Alpha VII; Alpha Balder IV; Alpha Braga VII; Alpha Majoris I; Amos, Molly; Antos IV Spaceport; Astral Queen; Axanar Starbase Terminal; Barnett, Richard; Barredo, Ana; Berndt, Jimmy; Beta III; Beta III Orbital Station; Beta Berman I; Beta Eminiar VII; Bishop, Phil; Bivens, Loren; Blackman, Robert; Brettner, Charles; Bruno, Eric; Burnett, Robert Meyer; C-111 system; Cabot, Zayra; Camus II; Cape Canaveral; Chattaway, Jay; Class K; Class N; Coopersworld; Cordry, Marion; Crunsfeld, John; Dallas; Dante, Angelo; Delta IX; Garza, Demitre; Deneb II City; Denkir Orbital City; Donatu V Spaceport; Drexler, Douglas; Dytallix B; Earth; Earth Colony 2; Echevarria, Rene; Elba II Orbital Transit Station; Eminiar VII Starbase; Epsilon Wiltz IV; Excalbia Tourist Resort; Fatjo, Lolita; Felker, Wade; Foster, William; Gabl, Max; Gamma Trianguli VI; Gluckstern, Cheryl; Gothos Space Center; Graf, Tony; Grant, David; Greiner, Abigail; Hadjikhani, Jeff; Hanley, Jeffrey; Hengist, Claudia; Hengist, Michael; Holberg 917G; Holt, James; Hubble Deep Space Station; Hubble Space Telescope; Icarus IV Spaceport; Ingraham B Transit Station; Janus VI; Joy, Amber; Kalandan Outpost Transit Station; Kennedy Space Center; K Fernandes colony; Kogin, SS; Kreitzman, Nicki; Krosskove, Kris; Lauritson, Peter; Lay, Roger; Lee, Janice; Levinson, Robert; Levinius V Transit Complex; Lim, Michael J.; Litchfeld, Jack; low gravity suite; M-113 Archaeological Center; M-113 Tourist Center; Macalintal, Mary Joy; Makus III Spaceport; Malurian System Medical Station; Manoa, SS; Manark IV City; Marcos XII; Mars (Sol IV); Mars City Station; McCarthy, Dennis; Midos V Satellite City Spaceport; Molnar, Peter; Muirhead, Brian; Murasaki 312; Noa, Giordana; Neuss, Wendy; New Fabrina Settlement; New Kelva City; New Paris Colony Starbase; New Vegas colony; null grav suite; Ophiucus III; Organia; Paul, Sarah; Pealer, Donald; Pentacoff, Zoey; Planet Q; Platonius; Pollux IV Orbital Station; Powell, David; Pyris VII Complex; Quadrant 904 Central Station; Regulus V City; Reeves-Stevens, Svetlana; Rigel VII Lagrange colony; Rocketboy, Scooter T.; Roller, T.; Ross, Kenneth; Roth, Trevor; Ruiz, Wendy; Ryan, Kevin; Ryan, Paulina; Scotti, Keven; Shankar, Naren; Sherman's Planet Spaceport; Shimizu, Suzi; Simi Valley; Sims, Alan; Sirius Delta; Spaceport Alpha Carinae II; Spaceport Jonathan (W); Starbase 11; Stimson, Mark; Tantalus colony; Talos IV; Tarsas IV; Tarsus IV; Tau Ceti Deep Space Station; Tellun star system; Templeton, Mandy; Texas (TX); Tezber, Christopher; Tranya, Molly; Triskelion Orbital Station; Tycho IV Spaceport; Vackrinos, Amanda; Van Citters, John; Vega colony; Vendikar Spaceport; Vogt, Brian; Vulcan; Weiss, Craig; Westmore, Marion; Westmore, Michael; Willer, Duke; Wisconsin, SS; Wray, Niel; Zed Lapis Sector Spaceport

External linkEdit


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Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 7
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