You know, Altra Palantir, that thing about Reg dying of laughter is a really funny idea. Unfortunately, it doesn't really fit in with this awesome idea I had for the end...but maybe, just maybe, I can make it work in a later chapter. :D

And Laura, I'll try and make this chapter longer, 'kay? ^_^


"Do you think that was very 'stupid' of me, Spot? Do you think that everyone will hate me from now on?" Spot growled from under the bed, flattening her ears to her head. Had Data been human, he would have sighed heavily. "Spot, you are not assisting me in my endeavor. Why do you not help me accomplish this?" The cat turned and disappeared from his sight, leaving Data looking at the bedspread.

This wasn't working. Nothing, it seemed, was working. The holodeck hadn't helped him at all. No luck from the drinking in Ten-Forward. And now that he had dimmed all the lights in his quarters, and was trying his very best to lower his self-esteem, still no luck. He slumped back into his seat, forcing himself to hunch his shoulders.

Of course what he was doing right now went against all his logic. He knew that. But he also knew that there was a slim possibility that he could make a breakthrough in his work to become more human. To become more like his crewmembers.

With barely a twitch of an eyelid beforehand, Data stood up and headed to go try another tactic.


Commander Riker stared at the readout. Fifty mistakes. He'd made fifty mistakes. And here he thought he was a real swingin' jazz artist. Hell, he was probably bad at everything else as well. Pushing himself up from the computer console and dropping his trombone on the floor of his quarters, Riker headed for the bathroom. He stared into the mirror. Wow, was he letting himself go. Without bothering to trim his beard, he tried to make himself look halfway presentable to talk to the Captain, but his heart just wasn't in it. "Remember, Will," he told himself upsettedly in the mirror. "You're a real lady killer."

He lacked his usual confident stride in the corridor. What was the use? No one thought he was important. It was when he got into the turbolift, though, that his spirit reached an all-time low.

"Hello, Commander. Lovely day, isn't it?"

"Huh? Oh, yes, lovely, Barclay," he replied, obviously not believing that it was a lovely day in any way at all. How could a day be lovely? They were in outer space! Nothing was lovely! Nothing except the women…and they certainly didn't think that *he* was lovely…not after that horrific performance on the trombone…

Before he even knew it, Riker was making his way across the bridge. There weren't that many people on it. Not that he cared. The door to the Captain's ready room slid open.

The lights were off completely. "For God's sake, step away from the door!" came a cry from the couch, and Riker quickly moved away from the entrance to the room, allowing the doors to slide shut. They were engulfed in darkness. "Mmmnnngh."

"Uh. Sir?"

A rustling noise came from the couch.


"Yes, yes, yes, what *is it*?"

Riker cleared his throat ashamedly. "I've come to resign, sir."

"Good. All right. That makes two of us. Let's celebrate. Get some liquor."


"Oh, that's right, all there is is that damn synthehol garbage. Well, get some of that anyway--the kind that burns when it goes down your throat, if you can manage it."

Riker complied, and held out a glass of synthehol to the slumped form on the couch. The only light came from the replicator, and he could just make out the form of his Captain. "Sir? Permission to speak frankly?"

"Yes, go ahead," a dismissive hand waved at him.

"Life sucks."

"Ohhhhhhh yes."


Doctor Beverly Crusher, long-time professional, caring mother, famous throughout Starfleet for her talents in the medical world, and daily miracle-worker, hurled an antique egg-timer against the wall. Its shards joined the rest of the wreckage on her office floor, now completely worthless. She was just about to hurl a small, delicately-made cuckoo clock that she'd fetched from her quarters when Lieutenant Worf poked his head through the door. Stopping in mid-throw, she looked at him, annoyed.

"Sorry to disturb you, Dr. Crusher. I was wondering if you might help me. I've been having some…family problems."

"Why didn't you go to Counselor Troi?"

There was a long pause. "She didn't seem…interested."

Beverly gestured tiredly at the seat opposite her own, which she presently slumped into wearily. "What happened?"

"It's about Alexander. He and I…had a little disagreement," Worf shifted uncomfortably. "He wanted to be in his school musical, and I forbade him from doing so. Was I wrong?"

Rubbing a temple, she answered, "Why wouldn't you let him participate?"

"I was afraid of him becoming--too friendly with other boys. But now…" he cleared his throat.

"I see. Well, too bad for you, Worf." Picking up the cuckoo clock again, she stood up and prepared to chuck it against the wall.

"'Too bad for...'? What are you doing?"

"Smashing this," she said, doing so. "What does it *look* like I'm doing?" She reached for a porcelain statuette of a ballerina, assuming a baseball pitcher's stance.

"Are you having a bad day as well, Dr. Crusher?"

"Nope. Best *freak*--" the ruins of the ballerina joined the rest of the junk on the floor "--in' day of my life. The day when I realized that--unh--" a little glass clown flew through the air and impacted the wall "--I'm a sucky-ass doctor, and that--" the shards of her 'Best Medical Officer of the Year' award rained down on the carpet "--I can't help anyone. And I have one--" a trio of crystal bells went sailing across the room "--whiny-ass son to boot." Her litany finally stopped, considering that she had run out of things to throw. She searched the room with her eyes as she added one last comment. "All in all, it's been a *fab*ulous day."

Worf took a few seconds to process all this. "Oh."

"Ah!" The glass cabinet door swung open, and suddenly tripods and scanners were being lobbed at the wall.

"At least you have figured out a way to deal with it in an honorable way," Worf said, backing out of the room slowly.

"Uh-huh. Can't help you, Worf." A hypospray flew past his head. She added as an afterthought, "Sorry."

But by then he was gone.


Wow, that took me a really long time. And, again, I apologize. It shouldn't take me that long to update. But, guys, prepare for an end to this story! It should take me, at most, three chapters to finish. ::hugs everyone:: It's been a long journey, hasn't it?