The android's yellow eyes flickered and darted from left to right; so as to take in as much information from Earth's history as possible in a short amount of time.
Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge was the android's closest friend and was sitting next to him, drinking the black coffee he had ordered from the food replicator.
"Hey, Data, what are you doing?" He asked, turning his attention to the Soong-type android.
Data's eyes stayed fixed on the computer screen and replied,"I thought, since I live and work among so many humans, I should learn more about the history of your home planet."
Geordi took another sip of his coffee. "Found anything interesting yet?"
"Nothing that seems out of place..."
"Hey, Data," Geordi reached out to his friend's shoulder. "Slow down, go back."
At first, Data wasn't sure what Geordi meant, then he stopped scanning the computer and the screen was frozen on Earth circa 3 million BC. "Yes, Geordi?"
"Look, there." He pointed to the centre of the screen.
"Ah, if I am not mistaken, I believe humans WERE around at the time of this." He gestured to the screen.
Geordi mused for a while. "That's what I mean, there were early humans at that time. It says there was no humanoid life, why?"
"I so not know, Geordi. It is most peculiar. I think we should notify the captain."
"Yep. La Forge to captain Picard." He spoke into his communicator.
From the bridge, Picard answered. "Yes, what is it?"
"I think you'd better come here."
"Agreed. Picard out."
Jean-luc entered the turbo lift and made his was to engineering, where Geordi and Data were. "Yes, what is it, lieutenant commander?"
"It's most unusual," it was Data who answered, "I was scanning the ship's computer banks in an attempt to learn more about Earth's history. And what was on the screen is most alarming."
"Let me see." Data for up from his chair and let the captain sit down.
"Right here," he pointed to the screen.
"Ah," Picard rubbed his chin, "where are all the humans?"
"I don't know, it's like they've disappeared. Like they never existed." Geordi paused. "It can't be the computers, they've never done anything like this before."
"Yes... " Picard thought long and hard, but he was interrupted by the whistling sound of the comm.
"Captain," Riker's voice boomed over the speaker, "We're receiving a message from a race who identify themselves as the 'Seers'. Should we play the message?"
"I'll be right there, Number One."
The captain took his place on the bridge and sat down in the command chair. "On screen." He gestured to the main view screen.
"Aye, captain." Ensign Wesley Crusher did as he was ordered.
The view screen flickered ever so slightly and turned from black to display the image it had been directed to display. The aliens, known as the 'Seers' where not humanoid and had no substance or matter, either. They were just balls of glistening light, red and blue and yellow. The primary colours. "We have found your ship to be the most advanced vessel created by man. Thus, we have designated this message to be received by you."
The first alien being stopped talking and the second one began to talk. "We have seen how destructive and corrupt humanity is, therefore we are eliminating your race from the very beginning. "
The third entity started to talk now. "Humanity will be no more."
The screen turned off and the recorded message ended.
"What do we do?" Wesley was only sixteen and his anxiety was staring to become clear.
"I do not know, Wesley," Data turned to five the teenager.
Geordi attempted to lighten the mood. "At least we know why the computer history banks seemed so strange."
"Yes, but now we need to figure out what to do." Commander Riker stayed the obvious.
Captain Picard walked over to the helm, to speak to Wesley. "Are you sure that the sling-shot method will work?"
"I'm not sure, captain."
Data turned in his seat. "Approximately one hundred years ago, commander Spock of the previous USS Enterprise, devises the sling-shot formulae and it worked, sending him and his crew back three days into the past."
"Hmmm... " Picard pondered. "Yes, lieutenant commander Data, executive the sling-shot method."
"Sir, it is not as simple as it may seem. Numerous calculations must be made and even then, there is still a considerable level of risk involved."
Picard placed a reassuring hand on the android's shoulder. "Don't worry, Data. You're one of Starfleet's best officers. You can do it."
"Good luck, Data." Wesley encouraged him.
The android cocked his head slightly. "It will not be a question of luck, Wesley. However, I am grateful."
Ensign Crusher nodded. "You're welcome."
"Data, do you have the formulae?" The captain asked him.
Data turned to face his commanding officer. "Yes sir. We will need full power to the engines. Commander Spock had to have his captain's ship reach warp factor 10.1."
"It is possible, commander, but there will be a great deal of risk involved."
"Be careful." Riker said to him.
Data didn't glance up from the helm. "I am always careful, commander."
"Mr Worf, warp factor 10.1."
At first, the Klingon hesitated. "... Aye, sir." Lieutenant Worf carried out the order and the stars surrounding the Enterprise became a blaze of stretching light. "Warp factor 10.1 successful, sir. I don't think the hull can take much more."
"How much time do we have, Data?"
"Considering the distance to the nearest star, an the speed at which we are travelling now, I estimate 23.76 seconds, and counting."
"When do we need we need to complete the sling-shot around the star?"
"Just about... now."
Picard turned his attention to Geordi. "La Forge?"
"Aye, captain." Geordi completes the order and in less than six seconds, the USS Enterprise had sped right past the bright star in a semicircular pattern.
"Yes! Go Data!" Wesley lifted his hand up for a high five with the android, who wasn't quite sure how to react. His eyes darted back and forth; scanning his databanks, and he reached a conclusion, and high fived the young officer.
"What year is it?" Wesley asked his captain as they walked on the surface of what must have Africa, deep in Earth's past.
Picard looked over at his second in command, expecting him to answer, and he did. Riker glanced at his tricorder, "Around the year 3 million."
"What, that's in the future?" Wesley was confused.
"No, 3 million BC." Riker added.
"Ah." Wesley exclaimed.
"But," the commander continued, "we can't stay here. We have to see if there's more humans."
After walking or a few hours in the intense heat, everyone began to feel the intense heat of the African deserts.
"It's too hot!" Wesley Crusher was exhausted.
His mother walked over to him, and comforted him. "It's not too far."
"Where are we even going?" He asked, tiredly.
"I... don't really know. I just know we have to find the early humans." Beverly replied. "Data? Do you know where we're headed?"
The android stopped and replied to the doctor. "Just to the east, I have detected a numerous amount of humanoid life signals."
Wesley Crusher, like many teenagers, got bored very quickly. Sure, being an officer on what was perhaps the best starship in the fleet had its moments, but he wanted some excitement now. He decided to take his chances.
The ensign strayed behind from the away team and his behind a tall bush until he was absolutely sure they were out of sight. He stepped out from the bush and walked in the opposite direction.
'That was a mistake,' he thought to himself. 'A big mistake.' He wondered what the away team would be doing. Would they know he was missing?
Dr Beverly Crusher's face suddenly turned red and tears came down her cheeks.
"Dr," Data walked over to here, "what is wrong?"
She turned to face him. "It's Wesley. He's... he's gone."
The captain noticed her distress. "Beverly?"
"Wesley's gone! What if he's lost? Oh no, there's all sort of dangers out here." She cried more.
Captain Picard walked over to her and placed his hands on her shoulders and looked sternly at her. "He'll be fine. He's a Crusher, hell be fine. I promise."
Jean-Luc had more to say but he was interrupted by his android second officer. "Captain, I am picking up a single life signature over the hill. It may be Wesley."
"Wesley?" Dr Crusher's face lit up. "Is that him?" She pointed out into the distance.
Data looked at her. "I do not know, the chances are it probably is him. We are the only 'humans' here. The early humans' life signs are slightly different. I estimate it is your son."
The away team walked in the direction of the life signal, with Worf walking ahead.
"Do not worry," Deanna Troi comforted her friend, "Wesley will be fine. I can feel it."
Beverly smiled at her, gratefully. "Thank you."
The Klingon lieutenant turned around and stopped in his tracks. "Captain, I believe we have reached ensign Crusher. He is here."
"Wesley!" Dr Crusher shouted.
The body behind the rock moved and sat up. "Mom?" The boy asked feebly.
"Wesley!" She sighed and ran over to him. "You're alright. She pulled him to his feet and dusted the sand off his face. "Why did you leave?"
He shook his head. "I don't know. I was bored, I guess."
"Wesley! It's not every day a teenaged-boy gets to serve on a starship an them go back in time!" She was worried and annoyed with him, and kissed his forehead. "I'm just glad you're ok."
Wesley shuffled his feet and looked down at the ground. "Sorry. It's not all that bad. I... I found some more people... Early people or whatever they're called."
Picard looked up at the bright, beautiful blue African sky and sighed; it was a wonderful sight. Just as he was about to turn his attention back to the matter at hand, he heard a loud, overbearing voice from the clouds.
It spoke, "We are the seers. We have scanned your computers. We have found that humanity is not as destructive as we thought."
Picard was perplexed. "You saw our ship when we received your message. It is a starship, therefore advanced. Why didn't you stop this act then?"
"That was a recorded message. We sent it three centuries ago."
"Three hundred years ago?" Picard asked.
Data spoke up. "Sir, that was the time of a conflict that humans called World War III. It was almost immediately after the eugenics war, perhaps one of the most distressing and destructive eras of humanity. Many consider it the worst."
"Yes, Data," he spoke to the officer, "I know." He then turned his attention back to the Seer ship in the sky. "Why did it take the message that long for to reach my ship?"
"The answer is simple, we originate from hundreds of billions of light years from your planet Earth."
"What are you going to do?" Commander Riker asked.
"We have decided to let humanity live on." The second alien entity replied.
The third alien replied, this time. "Humanity's aims are very similar to that of ours; to explore and make their home world and the galaxy a better place for everyone. Just as you boldly go, we do the same. We have watched over many civilisations for millennia. We have never come across a race like the humans. You are different and you must be preserved."
The second alien spoke again. "We will spare you the trouble of returning to your time period."
And, with that, the away team suddenly found themselves aboard their ship. Everyone was dazed and confused, but no one was in a serious condition, and continued with their regular duties.