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Computer-Generated Beings

Daniel Davis as Professor MoriartyProfessor Moriarty - A holographic entity imbued with self awareness who first appeared on episode "Elementary, Dear Data" on the science fiction adventure series STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/UPN/SYN/1987-1994.

Professor James Moriarty (played by Daniel Davis) was the creation of a holodeck program onboard the starship Enterprise-D. He was programmed by Geordie LaForge (LeVar Burton) as a foil for an android named Data (Brent Spiner) who wanted to play a holodeck mystery inspired by the Sherlock Holmes tales.

Unfortunately, the Moriarty holo-being was so well programmed that it became self-aware and attempted to take over the controls of the star ship.

He was "contained" and later resurfaced in the episode "Ship in a Bottle" where he is paired with an equally competent computer-generated female named the Countess (Stephanie Beacham) who became his companion.

At the end of this episode, the Professor and the Countess were placed back into holographic storage, and were given a lifetimes worth of holographic adventures to encounter so as to keep their captivity within tolerable.

Moriarty actually wanted to enter the real world, but instead Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) fooled Moriarty and his companion into thinking they actually accessed the real world. It was however, just another holographic universe within the starship's computer system.


TRIVIA NOTE: The fictional character of Professor Moriarty was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his short story adventures that appeared in Strand Magazine at the end of the 19th century. In these stories, Professor Moriarty was a criminal genius and the nemesis of consulting criminologist Sherlock Holmes. At one point, Holmes and Moriarty met in a deadly struggle atop Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland and Moriarty allegedly plunges to his death.

Holmes and Moriarty Struggle - Illustration by Sidney Paget for 'The Final Problem' by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1893

Writer PG Wodehouse once referenced the character Moriarty by saying "A villain should be like a force, a power (like a force of nature) and we are supposed to wonder 'my God, who can stand up to this person?' Moriarty is like that. He is crime itself."

Here is the description of Moriarty given by Holmes in the 1893 story entitled: "The Final Problem" where the Moriarty character first appeared.

“His career has been an extraordinary one. He is a man of good birth and excellent education, endowed by nature with a phenomenal mathematical faculty. At the age of twenty-one he wrote a treatise upon the binomial theorem, which has had a European vogue. On the strength of it he won the mathematical chair at one of our smaller universities, and had, to all appearances, a most brilliant career before him. But the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead of being modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental powers. Dark rumours gathered round him in the university town, and eventually he was compelled to resign his chair and to come down to London, where he set up as an army coach. So much is known to the world, but what I am telling you now is what I have myself discovered.

“He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed–the word is passed to the professor, the matter is organized and carried out. The agent may be caught. In that case money is found for his bail or his defense. But the central power which uses the agent is never caught–never so much as suspected. This was the organization which I deduced, Watson, and which I devoted my whole energy to exposing and breaking up.

“But the professor was fenced round with safeguards so cunningly devised that, do what I would, it seemed impossible to get evidence which would convict in a court of law. You know my powers, my dear Watson, and yet at the end of three months I was forced to confess that I had at last met an antagonist who was my intellectual equal. My horror at his crimes was lost in my admiration at his skill. But at last he made a trip–only a little, little trip–but it was more than he could afford, when I was so close upon him. I had my chance, and, starting from that point, I have woven my net round him until now it is all ready to close. In three days–that is to say, on Monday next–matters will be ripe, and the professor, with all the principal members of his gang, will be in the hands of the police. Then will come the greatest criminal trial of the century, the clearing up of over forty mysteries, and the rope for all of them; but if we move at all prematurely, you understand, they may slip out of our hands even at the last moment.


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