A/N - This sort of evolved from a conversation about XR's relationship with 42 on the Marred forum. Most of us really hated how the episode ended - there was no way that XR wasn't affected by his breakup with 42. So there can be two explanations: either he really is as emotionless as the end of that episode made him out to be, or ... it really did affect him, but he didn't want anyone to see. This is my take on it. It's the first time I've ever attempted robot angst, just to warn you. LOL. And yeah, no marred. Sorry. But still, enjoy!

There was nothing but absolute stillness in the quiet, desolate air. The lab was cold and completely dark, except for the eerie yellow glow coming from his charger.

XR sighed heavily. So here he was - sitting on the floor in the empty silence of Star Command's science bay. His internal clock told him that it was exactly 1:42 AM, but he wasn't concerned. Time didn't matter anymore. So what if it was getting later? So what if the seconds were quickly passing away? So what if he wasn't getting a good rest? He just couldn't force himself to climb up into his charger and replenish his energy. Of course, this would mean that he'd probably collapse from exhaustion right in the middle of a mission, but what did it matter? Did they really need his help anyway? Did anybody need a robot like him?

He used to think he was needed - about last week, when 42 was in his life. At the thought of her, he felt his engine heat up, then rev uncomfortably. How could he have fooled himself? How could he have actually believed that she needed him - that she wanted him? She had said that she could use someone to talk to, and he was more than eager to listen. No one had ever confided in him before. No one had ever been interested in telling the robot anything. No one ever believed that the robot had a right to know anyway. And now, it was finally happening.

His hopes had soared. The future was suddenly filled with endless possibilities. He'd never had such a deep relationship with anyone else before. Sure, he flirted with almost every girl he met. But wasn't that was you were supposed to do? Girls liked that sort of thing, didn't they? Besides, deep down he knew that he'd never have a chance with any of those intergalactic babes anyway. They were organics, and he was a robot. What did he really have to offer? They didn't really need him, no matter how much attention he tried to give them.

And now it had happened. Someone had actually given him the time of day. And she was a robot - just like him. Finally, he would have someone understand him: his fears, his dreams, his hopes, his desires ...

So he told her everything. He confided in her, actually believing for the longest time that she was interested - daring to believe that she actually ... cared.

But she hadn't. He had to admit - she was a darn good actress. She certainly had him fooled.

Although he wasn't exactly the most guarded being, no matter how much of a show he put on to prove otherwise. He was vulnerable - and she exploited that vulnerability.

The thought of her and what she had done made him feel queasy. His gears churned faster, and the oil gurgled inside his engine. A wave of nausea passed over him, and he was afraid for a second that his oil would spew out of his mouth and create a black puddle on the floor.

42. The artificial intelligence mind of the star cruiser - the independent, free-spirit that had been held captive inside an empty ship. Well, of course she needed someone to talk to; she was bored. She wanted adventures and surprises; she wanted to get away from the dreary, dull ship and go have some fun. He became her ticket out of the boring, routine life of the ship and into exciting new places. XR gulped and shuffled his feet. Yeah, she never really cared. He should have seen it from the start.

And now he was left sitting here - alone in the science bay, completely awake and not in his charger where he should be. He stared off into space, thinking and wondering why it had to be this way.

Why wasn't there anybody that cared about him? True, he was a robot, and he wasn't supposed to have feelings, but ...

He wasn't asking for much - just someone who would lend him a listening ear. Someone who he could talk to who wouldn't just dismiss the way he felt. Someone who actually cared. Someone who ...

But then again, maybe that was asking for too much. After all, what was he? Just the robot. Robots weren't supposed to fell anything. Robots weren't supposed to have emotions. They were only supposed to do their jobs, and not be bothered with things like emotions and relationships. They weren't supposed to fall in love. They weren't supposed to ...

But he was different! Why couldn't anybody see that? He wasn't emotionless; he had feelings. Why couldn't anybody just ...

His thoughts returned to 42. An anger burned inside of him, and his engine started to heat up. She had no right to do that to him - to lead him on, to make him think that she actually cared. He had gotten her a new body for crying out loud! Craters, why'd she have to ...

But could she really be blamed for everything? Heck, even he would have been bored if he was cooped up in a star cruiser all day with no one to talk to or nothing exciting to do. He realized it now. 42 didn't want commitment; she only wanted to be free. She didn't want to be tied down to one person; she wanted excitement and adventure. She didn't want someone to confide in; she wanted someone to have fun with. She didn't want a real relationship. She never cared about him - not that way, not ...

Suddenly, he broke out into uncontrollable, choking sobs. By now, his engine had become dangerously hot, and his whole body convulsed violently. Sizzling tears poured out from his robotic eyes. He clutched his chest, feeling the pain well up inside of him. He knew he had to stop crying and calm down, but he couldn't. And if he went on for much longer, he was sure that he'd short circuit.

Why was he feeling all this emotion? Why did he have to do this to himself, torturing himself with these thoughts and feelings? Why couldn't he just be a normal robot? Why did he have to be so ... different? Why did he care so much?

Slowly, his sobs died down and his shaking subsided. He could feel his engine cooling down and his mind starting to clear. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he took a deep breath and calmed himself down.

This was stupid. He shouldn't be crying - not over this. This was something that he couldn't control; something that no one could control. Why should anyone care about the robot? They didn't need to; they couldn't be expected to know how he felt. Especially since he never let them see this side of him before.

He never wanted them to see him this vulnerable. True, sometimes he might get upset on missions, but he always pulled it together in the end. He was never sobbing this uncontrollably in public. He didn't want anyone to find out about this - not Buzz, not Booster, and not Mira ...

He closed his eyes. Especially not Mira.

So that's why he ran after that girl a few days ago in Cosmos, when they had first heard about his breakup with 42. He wanted them to believe that the old XR was back. He didn't want them to think that he was weak, and he didn't want them to see how hurt he really was. Maybe that's why he made such a big deal - to show them that it wasn't a big deal. XR cocked his head. In a weird and ironic way, it sort of made sense.

But now, he was empty - there was no feeling inside of him. His engine had gone cold, leaving him feeling numb. None of his teammates knew that he was staying up late each night. Actually, he was quite surprised that they hadn't noticed how sluggish he was starting to get, how much energy had been drained out of him from the hours he spent out of his charger. Either he was really good at pretending he was okay, or they really didn't notice anything about him.

XR sighed again. He just had to make sense of it all. And now he had. Now he thought he finally understood why he was feeling so empty. It took 42's rejection of him to realize what he had never known about himself - that he could feel. That he, in a strange way, had become human. And that he would never belong - he was too organic to be a robot, and too robotic to be an organic.

Fatigue overtook him. His eyes flickered, a sure sign that his energy was leaving him. His internal alarm system started to beep, signaling that his power levels were dangerously low. He nodded his head solemnly, picked himself up off the cold floor, and started to climb up into his charger.

He knew that he couldn't do this anymore - and he didn't have to now. He'd go back to work tomorrow, and everything would go back to normal. There would be no more pretending. This would be the last night that he would let his pent up emotions torture him. XR had accepted his fate. He would always be just the robot - but he was okay with that. He would go on flirting, but it obviously not mean anything, not like what it meant with 42, or what he thought it had meant with her.

Well, he wouldn't let memories of her ruin his life. Why should he stay up late at night thinking about her? He shouldn't. He should be happy that he had his job as a ranger. He should be grateful for his team - his friends, and all that they had done for him. He should be thankful that he was alive. Happy that he would only be just the robot.

As he connected into his charger he felt the waves of energy pulsate through his body soothingly. He let out a resigned sigh, and slowly closed his eyes.

This would take some getting used to.

Comments are greatly appreciated. ;)