prowled his quarters, nervous about the upcoming mission. Then, stopping
abruptly, he pondered his situation. Three years ago, he realized, he wouldn't
have even been capable of an emotion like this. And now all he wanted was for
it to subside. He could, of course, simply turn off his emotion chip, but he
was endeavoring to live more like the humans which he so admired, and if that
meant leaving it on, even when it produced uncomfortable sensations, that was
what Data would do.
to his quarters chimed, and Data turned to answer it, even though he knew the
computer could hear him just as well when he was facing the opposite wall.
"Come," he addressed the door.
hissed open, and Geordi La Forge stepped into the room. Data's best friend wore
the typical blue uniform coverall over the yellow shirt that marked him as an
engineer, and chief engineer at that.
stepped farther towards Data, and, as usual, delivered the news without
preamble. "This is for you." He held
out a slim holodeck chip, which Data knew contained a program that wasn't
accessible from the database.
this?" He queried. Geordi didn't usually have much free time on his hands, so
Data knew his friend probably hadn't created it. Wondering where it was from,
Data also pondered the fact that his friend looked extraordinarily
quickly looked at the floor before returning his gaze to Data. "Tasha gave this
to me a few weeks before she was killed. She told me that if and when she was
killed, on duty or off, to give this too you when you understood emotions."
eyes locked on the chip, a flood of emotion pouring over him. But he took the
program from Geordi's hand, and continued to just look at it for a long moment.
Geordi, for keeping this for me."
nodded, and with typical perception, stepped out of the room to give Data some
time alone with his thoughts.
soon as Data got off duty, he headed for the holodeck. But when he found
himself in Ten-Forward, instead, he realized that his subconscious mind knew he
needed to talk to someone. As he sought out Guinan, the hostess recognized
Data's personal dilemma, and sat herself easily by his side, waiting for him to
fidgeted, but eventually realized he should just get right to the point.
"Guinan," he began. "I have a…dilemma."
hostess/bartender sat back in her seat, and waited for him to continue. Data
fished the chip out of his breast pocket, and showed it to her. There was a
moment of silence as Guinan waited for Data to continue. Eventually, he did.
"Lieutenant Yar left this with Geordi, and
told him to keep it until I 'understood emotions.'"
nodded. "Have you opened the program yet, Data?"
shook his head. "No. I wish to, but I am afraid of what I might find."
you can't know what you'll find until you look, can you?"
looked more closely at Guinan. Her wise brown eyes caught his, and gave him the
boost of courage he needed. He stood from the table, and started to leave. But
before he got too far, he turned and said, "Thank you."
at the holodeck, Data slipped the chip into a slot, and engaged a privacy lock.
He then stepped into the holodeck, not entirely sure what he would find.
in the bare yellow and black room, the doors safely shut behind him, he
gathered his courage, and pulled himself together. These emotions weren't easy
to keep a handle on, sometimes, he noticed once again.
shimmering image appeared in the middle of the deck, which slowly coalesced
into a full-size figure of the late Natasha Yar. She stepped towards him, arms
at her sides, looking not a day older than she had been when she had died.
was in uniform, as Data would always remember her. Her eyes were glowing, and
she was smiling. Data fought back the urge to cry.
image began to speak. "Data, if you're seeing this, then I'm dead. I do not
know how long I've been dead, or how long Geordi has waited to give you this
program. But I had a few things to say to you, that I knew you weren't ready
image stepped closer, though she was still a good six feet away. "Data, I know
that I never said much, never did much. But…I loved you. And I still do. And
though I wouldn't admit it, that time we had together under the affects of that
horrific disease, was one of the best times in my life.
refused to acknowledge how I felt, partly because I was afraid of getting hurt,
and partly because I didn't think you were ready. I hope I did the right thing,
in not telling you then, but now that you can understand what makes people feel
this way, I hope again I'm doing the right thing, this time, by telling you the
the time we had together, as colleagues and as friends, and for that one
all-too-brief time, as lovers, were the best times in my life. After the hell I
grew up in, it wasn't too hard for things to be better than my childhood
memories, but the best times were the ones when I was with you. The times when
I was truly happy were when I was by your side.
please forgive me for not telling you the truth, all this time, but I know that
now you aren't ready, and that someday, you'll thank me for this. Remember,
Data, love is stronger than death, and even in death, I will watch over you and
love you for eternity."
image faded, and Data fought the illogical urge to call her back, to grab her,
and try to keep her from leaving. But there was no point in any of that, the
real person was gone, and the image that had just disappeared was no more than
a projection of light and forcefields.
still, the real Tasha had programmed this, and the real Tasha was definitely
more than light and forcefields. When she had died, Data had been unable to
clarify his feelings, though, by all his programming, he should have been numb.
the specifications of Data's programming, he should have felt nothing. He
should have been unable to experience the flood of emotions that he had felt
upon Tasha's death. But little by little, Data was beginning to realize that
even then, he had had feelings, they had just been much too jumbled and buried
to be recognizable.
as Data's real, honest emotions threatened to overwhelm him, he stepped from
the holodeck, and strode down the hallway. The crew he passed gave him a wide
berth, feeling the unwise nature of a confrontation right then.
said nothing, looked at nothing, and saw nothing until he reached his quarters.
Of course, his optical processors took in everything that he passed, but he
experienced none of it, and in that way, he was blinder than any blind man
could ever be.
the robot that he aspired to be more than, Data made his way to his quarters,
and then his bedroom, where he dug out the hologram of his former crewmate,
friend, and lover, and simply stared at it for long moments. Then, with a flick
of his finger, the image disappeared, just like Tasha had from Data's life,
much too early.
to his window, Data looked at the vastness of space, and wondered, illogically,
where Tasha was watching him from. Then, seeing a speck in the corner of his
vision, which was not on any astronomical chart he knew of, Data let his
imagination have free reign. The logical part of his mind, the android part,
told him that the speck was a nebula, a comet, or some other space phenomenon,
but Data dismissed that belief, and listened to what he wished to hear.
his gaze on the bright spot in the sky, Data whispered to his beloved. "My
precious Tasha. I will listen for you eternally. And I must tell you…I, too
will love you from the depths of my…soul…forever and for always."
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