Photons Be Free is a holonovel composed by The Doctor on the USS Voyager in 2378. Its original version, was released by Broht & Forrester against the author's wishes, sparking a debate on the rights of holograms. The Doctor had planned to revise the work in order that it not slander Voyager and the crew. It is not known if the revised revision was released. However, before the original version could be recalled, it was shown in thousands of holodecks and, presumably bootlegged copies made their way to a mining colony which used holographic 'slave labor'. (VOY: "Author, Author")
The original version borrows heavily off Voyager and her crew as follows:
- The Doctor is the protagonist, played by the reader, who is serving aboard the USS Vortex. A starship, which is much darker (literally and figuratively) and is always at red alert.
- The Doctor's mobile emitter is now extremely bulky and heavy, worn like a backpack.
- Captain Janeway is Captain Jenkins, who is warlike, highly unethical and has a ready room decorated with small weapons.
- Chakotay is now a Bajoran, with a Bajoran tattoo and earring.
- B'Elanna Torres is now a rude human, named Torrie.
- Tom Paris is now Marseille and sports a mustache.
- Tuvok is now Tulok, a human, with mustache and shades of gray hair.
- Harry Kim is now Kimball, a Trill hypochondriac.
- Seven of Nine is now Three of Eight, and is the only one who sympathizes for the Doctor all other characters treat the Doctor with disrespect, cruelty and consider it a tool with no rights, her implants appear differently than the real Seven.
- Neelix did not appear in the novel, which may explain why he was the only member of the Voyager crew who praised the holo-novel.
The original version contained eight chapters all from the point of view of the ships Doctor (the protagonist, or the reader), an extended introduction and epilogue as follows:
Introduction: About 10 minutes long, where the Doctor introduces the novel in its context as well as advises against viewing by people with a vascular disorder.
- Chapter 1 -- "A Healer is Born" (in which our protagonist must make a difficult choice)
The reader plays the Doctor at about the time of the Caretaker, and is faced with a triage situation. The senior staff insist he treat Lieutenant Marseille with minor wounds (who is more 'valuable') instead of one who is about to die. To 'resolve' the situation, Captain Jenkins shoots dead the latter.
- Chapter 5 -- "Out of the Frying Pan" (in which our protagonist must confront abusive colleagues)
Lt. Marseille alerts the Doctor to an emergency in Engineering, only to discover no such disaster, only a particularly mean spirited Torrie and a false alarm. The Doctor returns to discover Lt. Marseille making out with a female ensign in the Bio bed and threatens to destroy the Doctor if he informs his wife. Lieutenant Marseille had at least two women lined up for "tonsillectomies".
- Chapter 6 -- "Duel in the Ready Room" (in which our protagonist faces an inquisition)
Captain Jenkins is fed up with the Doctors 'unnecessary' modifications (extracurricular subroutines) to his program, as a waste of space, and sends the Doctor to be 'reprogrammed'; escorted by Tulok and Kimball.
- Chapter 7 -- "The Escape" (in which the protagonist is aided by his only ally)
Tulok, Kimball and the Doctor are on their way to the hololab when 3 of 8 tries to assist the Doctor in escape, the attempt ultimately fails.
- Chapter 8 -- "A Tragic End" (in which our protagonist learns his fate)
The Doctor is, after a passionate speech by 3 of 8 on holographic rights, ultimately decompiled and to be kept off except when needed.
Paris' altered version
During the creation of the work, it was sabotaged by Lieutenant Paris in order to protest the content and his portrayal. Paris' altered version takes place aboard the USS Voyeur, and there are at least three characters:The reader, or protagonist, is the Doctor's Medical assistant.
The Doctor, by the same name, is now egotistical, unethical and obnoxious--with a bad comb-over.
Seven of Nine is now Two of Three, similar to Three of Eight, but is named so because One of Three, Two of Three and Three of Three are triplets. She is quite demure and submissive in her attitude.
Introduction: Paris gives the introduction, heavily mocking the Doctor's original introduction.
- Chapter 1 -- "It's the Doctor's world, you're just living in it"
- The reader is confronted by the Doctor over being late by 28 seconds to duty. They then proceed to 'treat' 2 of 3, for an out of alignment bi-radial clamp. Though, instead of treating her, the Doctor gives 2 of 3 a Klingon aphrodisiac, proceeding to seduce and take advantage of her.