**** (4 stars out of 5)
Pathfinder and Voyager have managed to establish a real-time video communication. But it only works 11 minutes a day, so there's only enough time for a few brief conversations, or to watch a single episode of 'Adventure Time'.
The Holographic Doctor has written a holo-novel entitled "Photons Be Free". It was designed to call attention to the plight of oppressed holograms. Particularly the sentient EMH Mark Ones repurposed for Workin' In A Coal Mine and Goin' Down Down.
All to the good, if only the novel did not feature such thinly veiled jerk versions of the Doctor's real-life crew-mates. TOO THINLY VEILED. From "Captain Jenkins'" execution of patients to "Lt. Marseilles's" cheating on his wife, the Doctor has crossed the lines of libel and good taste if not outright copyright infringement! Tom writes a lecherous, drug abusing, comb-over EMH parody to show him how feelings could get hurt- none of which will matter now that publishers Broht & Forrester have released the story AS IS. With all 97 gratuitous sex scenes unexpurgated.
From bad to worse: Drinking-Chocolate-Rabbit-Voiced Broht points out that holograms have no rights under Federation Law. Even though it's only reputations at stake and not profits (One would assume. Or are these dinks actually selling it outside the Federation, too?), B&F fight pretty hard not to have to recall the program even briefly. Lord knows why. Just standard publishing industry douchebaggery?
Despite the low stakes this really IS a debate about Equal Rights For Artificial People, and nobody remembers or cares to cite the Data precedent from 'The Measure of a Man'. Ahem, speaking of copying.
"Author, Author" is flawed, but a favourite. So, what IS Broht paying the Judge? Don't tell me you could listen to Tuvok or Janeway or Barclay and then STILL not have the guts to rule on the Doctor's status as a sentient being. One might humbly submit that writing bad fan fiction is practically the DEFINITION of sentience.