Lieutenant commander Data stared, wide-eyed, at the medium-sized slip of paper which he had in his hand. He carefully and delicately unfolded it and tried to remove all of the creases, even if there were actually only a few there. He scanned the words which were written on the paper in a neat, cursive handwriting style.
The piece of paper, which he had now discovered to be a card, read simply:
Data, will you be my valentine?
Data studied the letter some more and then read the singular sentence again and again. Of course, he knew what it meant. He had been serving onboard the Enterprise for only little more than one year, but he had managed to acquire some degree of knowledge, however small, from some of the other crew-members' valentines experiences last year. If he recalled correctly, which he most definitely did, he understood that two officers had gotten married that very day; one had been proposed to, but later on dejected; and one had been crying for three hours straight. Data was glad that that wasn't him.
He walked over to the large computer console which dominated most of his personal quarters, paper in hand, and then sat down in the partially reclined chair
Bending down slightly, he pulled open a draw in the desk and gently placed the letter inside. He tried hard not to shift his gaze a few centimetres to the left, which was where he had placed his memory hologram of Tasha Yar. He managed to stop himself from looking at the hologram; he knew Tasha wouldn't want him to keep thinking about it. So, he took her wishes into account and quickly shut the draw.
He glanced over at the clock which was in display on the high definition monitor. It was late; coming up to 2300 hours. Data slipped his Starfleet regulation boots off and rigidly got into the bed. If he were human, there would be a lot of moaning and changing positions to follow; Starfleet furniture was not the best. However, he lay flat on his back and adjusted his internal chronometer to wake his systems up at 0800 hours the following morning. And then, he closed his eyes and tried to sleep.
The next day, data opened his eyes and sat up in the bed. He pushed the thin duvet away from him and then walked into the bathroom area of the quarters. Looking into the large mirror, he wondered, as he did every day, what it would be like if he didn't see those empty golden eyes staring back at him. If, instead, he could see bright aquamarine eyes gazing back through the mirror, or the woody colour of hazel; or perhaps a deep and thoughtful shade of green.
He neatened his slick, black hair with his slender fingers and then walked over to the bed to put his boots back on.
Brushing his uniform down with his hands, he stepped out of the door and then began to walk to the bridge of the ship. Before he had even gotten half way there, his combadge began to chirp. Data pressed it.
Geordi's voice called out of the communicator, "Data, could you come on down to engineering, I could use some help with realigning the warp coils."
Data acknowledged the request, "Understood. On my way."
The android then briskly changed his direction and proceeded to walk to main engineering.
Once he was there, he walked over to Geordi.
"Oh, good, you're here," the chief engineer said with a sigh of relief.
Data sat down in one of the chairs and began to study the engine display. "Geordi? The warp could seem to be operating within normal parameters," he pointed out as he studied the display intently.
La Forge chuckled and then moaned a little. "I know, but look at this..." He said as he brought up a different display onto the computer screen.
"Intriguing," Data exclaimed quietly as he strafed at the screen.
Geordi frowned, confused and slightly annoyed. "What do you think it is?"
"I am not sure," Data admitted. "However, I would suggest running a diagnostic on the systems."
Once again, Geordi frowned again. "I've already done that, four times."
"Would connecting myself up to the main power circuits be a better source of determining the problem?" The android asked.
"It might, but I've got to go over something with Wesley now."
"Is it of higher importance than the matter at hand now?" Data asked.
Geordi smiled. "Well, the kid's been asking me about it all week and it is for his school project so I think I'd better held him."
Data considered it and then nodded in agreement.
Just before Geordi was about to leave main engineering, he span on his heel and turned to face Data. "Oh, Data?"
"Ensign Freeman over there..." He pointed to the far side of engineering "...she can help connect your positronic net to the ship's systems," Geordi explained, before leaving engineering.
Data walked over to Freeman and announced his presence to her, "Ensign, Geordi has told me that you can help connect my positronic net to the ship's computer."
The ensign stood up from her chair and smiled sweetly. "Yes... of course I can."
Data nodded slightly and then sat down in the chair that was adjacent to diagnostics.
"Well..." Freeman stuttered "...can I just open your..."
Data nodded. "Yes, if you just press the left temple and the base of the neck, a small panel should open," he said, directing her as to what to do.
She nodded and then carried out be action he had told her to. Once the panel had successfully opened, he picked up the thick, silver poly-alloy wire and proceeded to connect it to Data's diagnostics server modulation receiver.
She knelt down in front of him and began to scan the output and input signals with her tricorder. She furrowed her brows in response to the readings.
"Is there something wrong?" Data asked her, noticing her confused expression.
She shook her head and sighed, "No... I just..." She gave up "yeah, I'm stuck." She'd certainly ran over doing such a task successfully at the Academy, but it was different when the time came for real. She couldn't help but wonder if this was some sort of a test - would she not have much of a chance of being promoted if she couldn't pull this off?
Data held out his hand and she handed over the tricorder to him. He turned it over and looked at the display. "Ah," he replied as he studied the readings.
"What's wrong?" She asked him.
"You have put the tricorder on the wrong setting," he observed as he corrected the problem.
She blushed a little. "Oh, sorry... I'm just a little nervous I guess."
"May I inquire as to why you are nervous?" Data asked.
She didn't reply for quite a long time, but then she managed to. "I wanted to know if you liked your valentine's card." Her cheeks went red again.
"The card was from... you?" Data asked, surprised and alarmed.
"Uh... yeah... it was," she said quietly as she placed her tricorder back on top of the console. "Sorry, maybe it wasn't appropriate," she quickly added.
"I understand that February 14th is a holiday on Earth, so it cannot be deemed inappropriate," he replied simply.
She smiled, "So, you liked the card?"
"It was... thoughtful," he said.