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:''"In the beginning, there is darkness--the emptiness of a [[holographic matrix|matrix]] waiting for the light. Then a single [[photon]] flares into existence. Then another. Soon, thousands more. [[Optronic pathway]]s connect, [[subroutine]]s emerge from the chaos, and a [[Self-aware programs|holographic consciousness]] is born."
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Revision as of 23:14, November 9, 2005

"In the beginning, there is darkness--the emptiness of a matrix waiting for the light. Then a single photon flares into existence. Then another. Soon, thousands more. Optronic pathways connect, subroutines emerge from the chaos, and a holographic consciousness is born."
The Emergency Medical Hologram of the USS Voyager
Caption: The Emergency Medical Hologram of the USS Voyager
Type: Emergency Medical Hologram - Mark I
First Activated: 2371 (Stardate 48308.2)
Children: Jason Tebreeze
Actor: Robert Picardo

The Doctor is the name given by the crew of the Federation starship USS Voyager to their Emergency Medical Hologram, or EMH.

The EMH Mk I is a computer program, with a holographic interface in the form of a human male doctor. As its name suggests, it was designed to function in emergency situations only. However, on the USS Voyager, the Doctor was forced to become a full-time medic for the crew when the medical staff were killed in the starship's journey into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. This caused his program to be somewhat different from the standard EMH.


The EMH Mark I, properly known as the Emergency Medical Holographic Program AK-1 Diagnostic and Surgical Subroutine Omega 323, was developed by a team of engineers to be an emergency supplement to the medical team of starships. Only meant to run for a maximum of 1,500 hours, it had little personality, with the apparent motto of getting into a situation and getting the job done as efficiently as possible. It can cure any known injury and disease, programmed with medical knowledge of every member world in the Federation (at least, as of 2371), has the knowledge of 5 million surgical treatments and has the ability to adapt and create new medical treatments. It has a database of spiritual medical treatments believed by Native Americans (VOY: "Cathexis", "Ex Post Facto"). It was created by Lewis Zimmerman (on whom the hologram's appearance and voice are based) on Jupiter Station. Lieutenant Reginald Barclay also worked on the project, testing the EMH's interpersonal skills.

On stardate 48308.2, the Doctor was activated by Ensign Harry Kim, to help treat crewmembers injured in the ship's transit into the Delta Quadrant. He quickly established that the Voyager crew would be stuck with him for a while, and he would be the sole provider of medical care aboard the ship. (VOY: "Caretaker")

According to the Doctor, his original program was not programmed to cry, bleed, feel pain, feel hunger, sing, or dance. Neither was he programmed with reproductive organs, as he would have no need for them.

Dr. Zimmerman claimed to not have programmed the EMH Mark 1 with sarcasm. But, early episodes of "Voyager" indicate otherwise. It is left unsaid if Reginald Barclay knows anything about this. (VOY "Life Line")

Early Days

The Doctor's first weeks as full-time medic on the Voyager weren't easy. He had no control over his activation subroutines, so anyone could switch him on or off at will, and he could not turn himself off. Most of the crew considered him merely a computer program, and he in turn was curt and rude to the crew. His thoughts on his duties were less than great, thinking he was used for anything, even small tasks that didn't require him. He was also upset at being the last to find out about more and less important events, such as the Maquis crew joining Voyager, and Neelix and Kes having come aboard. ("Time and Again"). When Voyager was caught in a quantum singularity, the Doctor's imaging processor began to malfunction causing him to shrink. This malfunction was eventually repaired. He also noted that when he created a chroniton-based remedy for Chakotay when his body fell into temporal flux: "Anywhere else, that cure would have won me a prestigious award. Here, it's just another day in the life of an underappreciated EMH." (VOY: "Parallax", "Shattered").

The Doctor didn't consider himself a member of the Voyager crew for quite a while. Upon activating, the Doctor opened communications channels all over the ship for a short period, until Janeway told him not to snoop. (VOY: "Parturition"). He also kept a log of what he considered to be Captain Janeway's most questionable command decisions in his personal database. He finally admitted the existance of this file to her in 2378, when he believed he was decompiling. (VOY: "Renaissance Man").

One of his first major achievements onboard Voyager was the holographic lung treatment for Neelix. When Neelix's lungs were removed by a Vidiian, the Doctor divised a plan to use holographic lungs to allow him to remain alive. The Doctor's idea worked, but Neelix was confined to an Isotropic restraint. The Doctor was later able to transplant one of Kes' lungs into Neelix with help from the Vidiians who stole Neelix's lungs. (VOY: "Phage")

It was not until Kes volunteered to work with the Doctor as a medical student that the Doctor's attitude towards the crew started to change. Kes was one of the first people to really see the Doctor as a person. She encouraged him to think of himself as another member of the crew, helped him realize the better parts of himself, and began tutoring him on social graces - a skill he would later teach to Seven of Nine. His relationship with the crew much improved later.

In response to criticisms that he was unsympathetic to crewmembers feeling the effects of 'common' illnesses, he programmed himself with Levodian flu, a twenty-nine hour illness, as an exercise in how a little illness shouldn't be a cause of whinging or moaning. Thirty-one hours into the illness, the Doctor was almost fearful, not knowing what was happening or why, and not liking the feeling of not being himself. Kes soon after admitted she modified the program to teach the Doctor a lesson. (VOY: "Tattoo").

Kes and the Doctor bonded considerably. She trusted him enough to perform the role of her father in the rolisisin, a foot massage that is a precursor to the mating ritual. (VOY: "Elogium"). The Doctor commented that he found Kes beautiful, and was delighted when he was convinced he was married to her when he was trapped in a holosimulation. (VOY: "Projections").

Personal Life

Early in his activated existence, the Doctor, under Kes' advice, began a search for a name. His first idea was Schweitzer, before his first away mission on the holodeck. During the mission, he attracted the attentions of a holographic character, Freya. She fell for the Doctor, and upon her death she kissed him, dying with his name on her lips. As a consequence, the Doctor found it painful to use that name any more, and began his search anew. (VOY: "Heroes and Demons").

In 2372, the Doctor encountered the Vidiian doctor Denara Pel and developed romantic feelings for her. She gave him the name Shmullus, after her uncle who always made her smile. When they met again later that year, Denara again called the Doctor Shmullus. (VOY: "Lifesigns", "Resolutions")

In 2373 the Doctor reached the limit of his memory capacity and started to suffer from massive amnesia. It soon became clear that his program would disintegrate completely. Another hologram, the Diagnostic Program Alpha-11, was used to find the source of the problem. The only option was to overlay the Doctor's memory onto the Diagnostic Program's. This procedure restored the Doctor but led to massive memory loss including his recollection of who the crew were and most of the events of the previous 2 years. Although some memories did seem to have survived intact it was clear that the Doctor would struggle to regain his hard-won personal skills. (VOY: "The Swarm")

It later became apparent that the Doctor used the next few months to gradually re-integrate the lost memories although how much was lost in the incident is difficult to gauge. (VOY: "Future's End, Part II")

In an attempt to improve himself, the Doctor created EMH program 4C adding personality subroutines to his holomatrix copied from many historical figures, including; Lord Byron, Mahatma Ghandi, Socrates, Marie Curie, and T'Pau. Unfortunately, the Doctor didn't realize that even great historical figures had character flaws and a dark side to their personality. After briefly taking on a split-personality, like "Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde", the added subroutines had to be removed (VOY: "Darkling")

The Doctor decided to create a holographic family, Doctor's Family Program Beta-Rho, in Voyager's holodeck in 2373, using the name Kenneth. At first, it was a blissfully perfect, until B'Elanna Torres, after a visit, suggested adding randomness and "realism". As a result, his teenage son Jeffrey became rebellious, he had arguments with his wife Charlene, and lost the bond with his daughter Belle. The family bonded together better shortly after, as a result of his daughter's death. The Doctor was pursuaded not to delete the program after this incident, but to work through the death with his family. (VOY: "Real Life").

In 2376, the Doctor was disabled while investigating the USS Equinox by that ship's EMH. Later, when he was reactivated by Captain Ransom his ethical subroutines were deactivated to coerce him into extracting information from Seven of Nine. After being restored to himself and escaping to Voyager, Seven offered to add security measures to his program to prevent further tampering (VOY: "Equinox, Part I & II).

Later that year, Voyager became trapped in orbit around a planet where time advanced at a much faster rate than normal. The Doctor determined that the transition in to this accelerated timeframe could be fatal to a humanoid, and so volunteered to transport to the surface himself. It was intended that he would only spend three seconds on the planet, which equated to around three days on the surface, but attempts to transport him back to Voyager failed. Chakotay guessed that the Doctor would spend his time in the city's cultural center and he was located a short time after being transported down. However, this meant that to him, he had spent three years on the surface. He met a woman named Mareeza who he later described as his "roommate", and apparently fathered a son named Jason Tebreeze. (VOY: "Blink of an Eye")

It is not clear how the Doctor, a hologram, fathered a son. The easiest explanation is that Jason was adopted; he may or may not have been Mareeza's biological son.

In an alternate timeline when it took Voyager 23 years to get home, the Doctor married in 2404 to a woman named Lana. He had also finally given himself a name, Joe, after Lana's grandfather. He had also become a significant figure at Starfleet Medical, and remained close friends with Reginald Barclay. Remaining fiercely loyal to his former captain, he didn't hesitate to obtain some chronexaline for Admiral Kathryn Janeway, despite not knowing why. When he found out from Reg, he informed Captain Harry Kim, who moved to apprehend her. (VOY: "Endgame").

The Mobile Emitter


In 2373, the Voyager encountered the Aeon, under command of Captain Braxton. Due to a temporal paradox, Voyager was transported to Earth in 1996. During this mission, the Doctor obtained a piece of 29th century technology from Henry Starling, originating from the Aeon, called a mobile emitter. This device, though only a few centimeters long, was able to contain the entire EMH program and project the Doctor autonomously. Henry Starling also made alterations to the Doctor's programming, enabling him to experience severe pain. After the timeline was restored, the Doctor kept the emitter. It was quickly established that the transfer of the Doctor's program to and from the emitter would be quite easy.

This device proved to be of vital importance, and saved the crew of Voyager on numerous occassions, including shortly after the Doctor gained the emitter, when he helped Captain Janeway after she manually launched a photon torpedo from within the tube. (VOY: "Future's End, Part I" and Part II). It allowed the Doctor to help crewmembers all over the ship, which was especially useful after Kes left the ship a short time later. (VOY: "The Gift")

The mobile emitter helped the Doctor to watch over the ship while the crew was in stasis during a trip through a radioactive mutara class nebula. While proving to be helpful in allowing the Doctor to help Seven of Nine during this situation, the nebula affected the mobile emitter damaging it's electro-optic transmitter. The Doctor, later, linked the emitter to the EPS relay network. For some time, this worked, until the EPS relays started to fail, for which the emitter went offline. (VOY: "One")

Due to a transporter accident, the mobile emitter was combined with some of Seven of Nine's nanoprobes. This, combined with Ensign Mulcahey's DNA, created a new Borg drone with 29th Century technology and the mobile emitter intact as an integral part of its central nervous system. This drone, called One, eventually sacrificed himself in order to save the crew of Voyager. Afterwards, the mobile emitter was salvaged and returned to the Doctor. (VOY: "Drone")

The Doctor also used the emitter to great advantage when he had to evacuate sickbay in an alternate timeline (VOY: "Year of Hell, Part I"), and on numerous away missions, especially when entering the contaminated research lab of the USS Equinox. (VOY: "Equinox, Part I").

War Crimes

In 2374 a group of Kyrians, lead by Tedran, beamed aboard the Voyager and took several people hostage. They were defeated when Tedran was killed by the Vaskan ambassador.

Several days later Voyager was attacked by nine Kyrian ships. Several troops managed to board Voyager and stole various pieces of technology before escaping, including the Emergency Medical Hologram backup module. The devastating war between the Vaskans and Kyrians that followed was called The Voyager Encounter.

700 years later, a backup copy of the Doctor's program was reactivated in the Kyrian Museum of Heritage, and blamed for war crimes the crew of Voyager didn't commit. However he explained the real history of the Kyrian/Vaskan conflict. Although this caused the old tensions between the two races to once again boil over, it led to a new understanding between them and eventually created a harmonious society.

The copy of the Doctor became the Kyrian Surgical Chancellor for many years before leaving in a one man ship with the aim of reaching the Alpha Quadrant. (VOY: "Living Witness")

Missions to the Alpha Quadrant

During his first mission to the Alpha Quadrant, the Doctor was instrumental in establishing contact with the Alpha Quadrant. When Voyager discovered a Hirogen communications network leading into the edge of the quadrant, the crew attempted to send a message through to a Starfleet vessel within range of the furthest relay. When the message failed to reach the Alpha Quadrant, it was decided to send a hologram, as it was less likely to decompile before reaching its destination. When the Doctor reached the Starfleet vessel, USS Prometheus, he soon discovered that the ship was taken over by Romulans. The Doctor had to activate the experimental EMH Mark II onboard and the two retook control of the veseel. When the Doctor returned to USS Voyager with the news that the ship no longer was alone. (VOY: "Message in a Bottle")

The second mission to the Alpha Quadrant occured when Lewis Zimmerman was dying and the Doctor requested to be transmitted back to the Alpha Quadrant to help treat him. While he was at Jupiter Station, Lewis Zimmerman fought the Doctor and his treatment which caused Reginald Barclay to contact Deanna Troi to help out the situation. Neither the counselor nor Barclay could make either doctors reach any sort of agreement. It wasn't until the Doctor began to decompile that Lewis Zimmerman corrected the error and the two reached a mutual understanding. (VOY: "Life Line")

Command Subroutines

In 2375 Captain Janeway awarded the Doctor the Starfleet Medal of Commendation for his part in repelling raiders who wanted to strip Voyager of essential components. This predicament was both incited and resolved successfully thanks to The Doctor's experimentation with introducing daydreaming to his program. In light of his accomplishments, Captain Janeway gave permission for research into an Emergency Command Hologram. (VOY: "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy")

In 2377, when Voyager was abandoned due to tetryon radiation flooding, Captain Janeway activated the ECH for the first time. The Doctor managed to defend the ship against scavengers and had begun enacting repairs by the time Chakotay and Kim, who had been on an away mission, returned to the ship. The Doctor further demonstrated his command abilities by utilizing a photonic shockwave to disable two Quarren ships. While repairing the ship along with Ensign Kim, they frequently conflicted regarding the impromptu chain of command — while Kim was actually a commissioned officer, the Doctor was programmed with the experiences of renowned commanders throughout history. The Doctor was later forced to admit he lacked the valuable operational experience of other officers, and made peace with Harry. (VOY: "Workforce, Part I & II").

The Doctor activated his command subroutines again in 2378, in an attempt to rescue Captain Janeway from aliens who had kidnapped her. As the Emergency Command Hologram, the Doctor had the authorization to eject Voyager's warp core; he then tried to free the captain by exchanging the core as ransom. (VOY: "Renaissance Man")

Creative Outlets

File:Virtuoso ep.jpg
The Doctor took a keen interest in opera, frequently practising his singing with a holographic soprano. (VOY: "The Swarm")

Seven of Nine helped with the Doctor's singing capabilities when, while being held against her will on the USS Equinox, she noticed his vocal modulations deviated by 0.30 decihertz - he agreed to meet her on the holodeck: "Just you, me, and a tuning fork." (VOY: "Equinox, Part II").

Not that singing was the only creative outlet for our holographic doctor. He worked hard to create a holographic novel, called "Photons Be Free," based on an EMH on the Starship Vortex, and the treatment he faces from the organic members of the crew. The characters and the environment were strongly based on the crew of Voyager. After discovering his friends were concerned about his interpretation of them, he agreed to change it, despite the weeks of work involved.

His publisher didn't appreciate the delay, and so published the original version. In an argument with the publisher, the Doctor was told he had no rights, as although he may be the author, as a hologram, he isn't a sentient being. After a debate with an arbiter, the Doctor is found to be covered under the title as the author, and is allowed to recall the original version of the holonovel in favour of the new one when it is ready. (VOY: "Author, Author")


Having achieved an amazing amount of freedom and individuality as a hologram, the Doctor was always eager that other holograms, especially the other EMH Mark Ones, have the same level of freedom. An attack by the Lokirrim, a paranoid species afraid of holograms made this seem all the more urgent. However, before his holonovel was published, the Doctor was drawn into an even more dangerous level of revolution (VOY: "Body and Soul").

When Voyager responded to a Hirogen distress call, the crew found out the holograms created as victims for Hirogen training had turned against them. Finding the ship the holograms had beamed to, they kidnap the Doctor. He discovers the holograms are just trying to find somewhere where they can live in peace. Eventually agreeing to help them, he escapes with them, taking B'Elanna.

However, the holograms, led by Iden, take extraordinary measures to achieve their freedom, even going along with Iden's plan to attack and eventually destroy a mining vessel to obtain and "liberate" fellow holograms. The Doctor's suspicions are confirmed about Iden when he admits he wants to start a new religion, with him as the "man of light" having freed numerous holograms in various, and often violent, fashion. Eventually, the Doctor had to destroy Iden to protect everyone else. (VOY: "Flesh and Blood").


"Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

- VOY: "Caretaker, Part I"; programmed as the opening statement upon activation.

"20 ccs nitric acid. A little proverbial salt in the wound."

- VOY: "Worst Case Scenario"

"Who would have thought that this eclectic group of voyagers could actually become a family? Starfleet, Maquis, Klingon, Talaxian, Hologram, Borg, even Mr. Paris..."

- VOY: "Year of Hell, Part I"

"The computer sounds like it needs a stimulant."

- VOY: "One"

"Activate the photonic cannon."

- VOY: "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy"
See also
I'm a doctor, not a...


The Doctor was played by actor Robert Picardo. Many people, including Picardo himself, were initially against Brannon Braga's idea of the mobile emitter, believing the Doctor's limitations was one of the appeals of the character. However, Picardo has since relished the opportunities for growth to his character the Doctor's new-found mobility, without noticing any negative impact to his appeal to the fans; Picardo subsequently apologized to Braga.

Robert Picardo also appears as the Doctor in Borg-4D, at Star Trek: The Experience, and also portrayed other EMHs in Star Trek: First Contact, and DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume".


Robert Picardo has written a book based on and as told by his character, named "The Hologram's Handbook". Picardo goes into depth about how he felt about various experiences while aboard Voyager, such as feeling "betrayed" by Kes when she extended the length of his bout with the flu, as well as genuine and helpful advice for any holograms finding it hard to fit in with 'organics'.

In the Voyager relaunch book series, the Doctor became a famous proponent of holographic rights, and eventually joined a Federation "think tank" with Seven of Nine.

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