“Who’s to say that our definition of life is the only valid one?”

Yaderan villager Rurigan: “I was happy living on Yadera Prime, that is, until the Dominion took over and changed our whole way of life. And I realized one morning that I didn’t really belong there anymore. So I came here. And I used a hologenerator to recreate all the things that I’d lost. I have lived here in my village for nearly 30 years, and I’ve watched the people marry, have children, grow old, and sometimes I even forgot that they were holograms. But it’s over; it’s over. And I would appreciate it if you’d take me back to Yadera Prime.”

Security Chief Odo: “But what about the villagers? What about your granddaughter?”

Rurigan: “She’s not real.”

Odo: “Well, technically, I suppose you’re right. Maybe by our definition, Taya’s not real. Her memories are stored in a computer; her body is made up of omicron particles. But who’s to say that our definition of life is the only valid one? I’m sure if you asked her, she’d say she was real. She thinks; she feels.”

Rurigan: “She only seems to. It’s all an illusion. An illusion I created.”

Odo: “Well you said that you created the village 30 years ago. Taya’s only 10.”

Rurigan: “I designed the program so the villagers could have children if they wanted to.”

Lt. Jadzia Dax: “Then Taya’s personality is a combination of her parents’ personalities.”

Odo: “Just like a real child. You had nothing to do with it.”

Rurigan: “But she’s still a hologram.”

Odo: “Maybe. But I saw the way you held her hand when she was sad. I saw the way you tried to comfort her when she was frightened.”

Rurigan: “I…I didn’t want her to get hurt.”

Odo: “If she’s not real, what does it matter?”

Rurigan: “It matters. It matters to me.”

Odo: “Why should it matter to you if a hologram cries?”

Rurigan: “Because I love her.”

Dax: “And she loves you.”

Odo: “Don’t you see? She’s real to you. And she’s real to me, too. They’re all real and you can’t turn your back on them now.”

(Star Trek: DS9 s02e16 – “Shadow Play”)

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