Star Trek: The Next Generation
Settled in the 24th century and 78 years after the adventures of the original crew of the starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard the all new Enterprise NCC 1701-D travels out to distant planets to seek out new life and to boldly go where no one has gone before.
Lal was a Soong-type android, constructed by Data in 2366 with a newly-developed submicron matrix transfer technology. Using his own positronic brain as a template, Data created Lal for two purposes – to attempt to re-create the work of his "father", Noonien Soong; and to experience the act of procreation, and of having a family. Data chose the name for his offspring from the Hindi word meaning "beloved".
Originally genderless and of a neutral appearance, Lal was allowed to choose its own gender and appearance. After narrowing the choices to four – an Andorian female, a Klingon male, a Human male, and a Human female – Lal chose the human female form. Data wanted her to learn about being Human, and entered her in the ship's school. Unfortunately, other children were afraid of her. As a result, Data decided that allowing Lal to work in Ten Forward would give her more valuable insight into human social interaction. Lal began to improve on her father's original specifications, becoming able to use verbal contractions and eventually even to feel emotions.
However, Starfleet was interested in separating Lal from her father for purposes of study, and when she was only a few weeks old, Admiral Anthony Haftel ordered Data to transfer Lal to the Daystrom Institute annex on Galor IV. According to the Admiral, she was capable of more than 60 trillion calculations per second.
The situation caused Lal distress, and while speaking with Deanna Troi, she began to feel emotional anxiety. Upon running diagnostics, Data identified the problem as a symptom of a cascade failure in her neural net, and, with the assistance of Admiral Haftel, attempted to repair the damage. Despite their best efforts, the effect was irreparable, and Lal's neural net shut down. As a final act, Data transferred Lal's memories and experiences into his own brain, ensuring a part of her would live on.
Ironically, the symptoms of Lal's shutdown achieved something Data had been trying to achieve for many years: basic Human emotions. It would be five more years before Data would achieve the same results in himself, and this he only did with a new chip from his "father". He also suffered from a neural net failure, but was able to function afterwards.
Lal remained in Data's thoughts for many years after. During his experimentation with painting, Data painted a portrait of Lal, which he later showed to Juliana Tainer when she visited the USS Enterprise-D in 2370.
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