He stood before the viewscreen, stoic as ever, translucent eyes flicking in time with the pictures scrolling down at an incalculable rate. She couldn't sense him standing there—but then again, she never had been able to in the first place. The realization was strangely comforting, the only constant on a slate gone suddenly, terrifyingly blank.

He called her Counselor. That stung, a little, but she knew it was an unintentional barb. There was no way he could have known, her having come straight from the Captain and resigning the post. Besides, Data would never speak so callously: for one with no feelings, he certainly took great pains in care for those of others. She looked directly into eyes inherently incapable of sympathy, and found something softer. Unlike Will, Data did not look at her and see a frightened cripple—even if he should have.

In the only acknowledgment he gave to the circumstance from the imminent crisis, he took her hand and gently squeezed it in a grip that could just as easily slice through flesh and bone, or pried apart airlocked doors. In his bland expression there was not a trace of pity; only the acceptance of the inevitability of the same logical conclusion she had reached. Adaption as needed. The android's easy understanding answered some unheard crying within herself, and soothed it. Some part of her was aware that she was self-diagnosing over-analyzing, and abusing that psychology degree so that it became a different sort of hypochondria. Another part of her pushed that away, determined to press rationally on. That was all that was left, wasn't it, when feeling was gone, sterile rationality?

Data did not expect anything from her: simply to complete the task at hand. Perhaps that was more than she expected of herself. But she could buckle down and give that, at least. Data deserved that much in return.

She drew her hand away and attempted a smile. The dryness of her eyes should have been a triumph. Instead she felt nothing at all: all the anger and helpless fear she compressed until it lost its dimension and became nothing at all. That her voice shook was irrelevant.

"Let's get to work, shall we?"