Author Introduction: This little idea popped into my head whilst watching a few Data episodes. I can imagine him doing something like this, experimenting with flirting and going round the ship hitting on all the female officers. LOL Pity we never saw anything similar happen in the actual show. Figured I'd do my own version. I hope you like my efforts. I intend to do more Data-centric fics with him exploring different aspects of humanity and so forth. Look forward to them. For now, enjoy this. I do not own Star Trek: The Next Generation. Rated T to be safe.
Lieutenant Commander Data briskly made his way through the corridors of the Enterprise D, aiming for the turbo lift that would take him to the deck which his quarters were situated. He was rather deep in thought after a brief yet interesting conversation with a young female ensign that he was not paying attention to where he was going and, despite knowing of every deck, walkway and corridor like the back of his hand, found himself bumping into someone as he turned the corner.
"Data!" came the voice of his best friend and chief engineer Geordi La Forge. "You ok, buddy? You seem to be a little...preoccupied."
The pale skinned android simply cocked his head to one side, blinking his golden eyes once whilst they were fixed upon his good friend. "Yes, Geordi; I am fine, though I have just had the most unusual conversation with Ensign Taylor. She seemed to be acting rather...peculiar."
"How so, Data?" Geordi asked; folding his arms across his chest and taking immediate interest.
"Well... as she spoke to me, her eyes seemed to continuously blink - like she had some form of foreign object in them - and they also appeared to... dilate. Her fingers seemed to run through her hair a several number of times; approximately thirty-two times I noted, may I add. And I am not so sure as to why she had to lick her lips. It was as if her lips were dry; the air conditioning on board the Enterprise is not dry to my knowledge. It would take a temperature of at least-"
"Data, stop right there." Geordi interrupted, resisting the urge to chuckle outwardly. He knew what was going on here, but his naive friend did not. "I think I may know why she was doing those things."
The android science officer blinked once, cocking his head to the other side before then deciding to mimic the blind chief engineer by folding his arms - rather slowly and rigidly. "Hmm, intriguing. How could you possibly know, Geordi? You was not present at the exact time the conversation between Ensign Taylor and myself took place. How could you deduce-"
"Data, trust me. From what you've just told me, it's plainly obvious she was flirting with you." Geordi told him with a slight smile and a clap to the artificial life form's shoulder.
Another cock of the head and a blink of the eyes followed from Data. "Flirting? I am unfamiliar with the term. Accessing."
Geordi had to chuckle. Data was so utterly predictable and now he watched as the android searched his data banks. Geordi knew when he did this as his golden eyes tended to dart from side to side in his sockets - like he was watching a tennis match, but really he was accessing information from the memories, logs, and other basic human information his creator/father had purposely programmed into his neural net as a way of better understanding humanity. The android was basically a walking-talking encyclopedia - but he still struggled with some aspects of humanity. Flirting would be no different.
The eye dart continued for several seconds until it seemed the android had found what he was looking for. "Ah, flirting; a common form of social interaction whereby one person obliquely indicates a romantic or sexual interest towards another. It can consist of conversation, body language, or brief physical contact. It may be one-sided or reciprocated with intentions of getting to know that person on a higher level."
Geordi stood before his android friend, simply gawking; that was one way of putting it. "Yeah, Data; that is the dictionary meaning of flirting. But...how do you personally feel to having someone, a young and attractive female, flirt with you?" The blind engineer asked, his arms still folded as he did so.
Again, as predictable as he always was, Data cocked his head to one side briefly - taking in what his friend had asked of him, not really quite so sure of how to answer it. Data had no feelings of any kind, was never moved or given to loss of temper, nor was he flattered by such attention from a young and pretty ensign whom obviously had a little crush on him. However, if there was one thing Data always had in droves it was curiosity - and this phenomena known as 'flirting' had seriously caught his attention.
"I feel nothing, Geordi." Data told his friend, his eyes confirming what he had just said - that he felt nothing. However, there was a flicker of interest in his golden gaze and Geordi knew what this meant.
"Ensign Taylor is a fine and dutiful officer, but unfortunately I do not return her romantic feelings, nor am I capable of returning them. However, it does not mean that I am not interested in learning more on this 'flirting'. Sounds intriguing. If you will excuse me, Geordi."
Data nodded politely to Commander LaForge before he spun round on his heel and headed for the turbo lift, with Geordi left in his wake and wondering to himself if he had gone and unintentionally created a monster...
Many Hours Later...
Data had read up on everything; everything he could find on flirting, had digested and soaked up every last known fact, even lines and tactics. He had even spoke to Commander Riker about it, as Data recognized the First Officer had such success in matters of love, sex...and women.
The gold skinned android, now armed to the teeth with the knowledge of flirting, had roamed the ship - attempting to find a willing and able female volunteer to try it out on, but it hadn't quite turned out the way he had planned it.
Many of the females on board were either bemused, amused - or downright insulted, and he had received responses varying from slaps across the face or simply warnings informing him to leave them alone. Doctor Crusher had been one of the very few who had slapped him, whereas Guinan had reacted by simply telling him, in a firm yet friendly manner, that it must have been because he had performed it all wrong.
Though not discouraged in his quest for better understanding the human ritual known as flirting, so far Data had to admit his experiment was not yielding the desired results, but all was not lost for he still had Counsellor Deanna Troi to try it out on. So now the android was making his way to the counsellor's quarters - hoping that this time he would be successful in his experiment.
As the android approached the door of the counsellor's quarters, he straightened himself up and tried to 'act naturally' as suggested by Guinan, Data reached for the chime, then pressed down gently, awaiting for Deanna to invite him in.
"Come in..." chirped the calming voice of the ship's counsellor.
"Counsellor." he greeted her once the doors hissed open, allowing for him to enter.
"Hello, Data." Deanna brightly welcomed him once she laid eyes on him. "What can I do for you today? Are you all right?"
Data, remembering the piece of friendly advice Guinan had given him in Ten forward, tried to 'be himself' whilst explaining his reasons for suddenly turning up unannounced. A cock to the head followed, along with the eye-blink.
"Yes, Counsellor; I am fine. I am merely here for 'experimental' reasons, if you would not mind being a willing participant of course?" He asked in his usually calm, monotone yet friendly manner.
Deanna smiled broadly to her android friend, nodding her head in agreement, indicating she was intrigued and therefore allowing him to proceed with his experiment. "By all means, Data - I am willing to help you in any way that I can."
Data nodded his head once to the counsellor, before tilting it to once side; his eyes starting to dart back and forth, showing that he was accessing recently acquired information in that vast positronic brain of his. Before Deanna could gather her thoughts, a rather charming smile had spread across the android's face and he placed one slender finger under his chin whilst supporting the arm with his other which was folded across his chest.
"Is it hot in here or is it just you?"
Deanna's eyebrow popped right up. Did he just say what she thought he just said?
Data did not answer, well - not with a straight one.
"Do your legs hurt from running in my dreams all night?"
Deanna could not help but feel a slightly amused smile curl up, though tried so very hard to fight it from coming. She also felt her cheeks burn somewhat from the 'lines' he was coming out with.
"If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together."
"If I follow you home, will you keep me?"
Deanna was so dangerously close to bursting into laughter, but managed to suppress it as he continued on with his rather unusual 'experiment'. She had an idea now what he was doing.
"Data, are you... flirting with me?"
"Flattery will get you everywhere! Keep talking."
Data, now completely consumed and lost within his research, still went along with his crazy scheme with his amused participant still watching on.
"All those curves, and me with no brakes."
"Baicarumba...are those real?"
Deanna burst out laughing at that one; she simply could not help it.
That had gotten the android's attention, and at once his 'charming' smile and the twinkle in his eye abruptly vanished, melting away and his straight dead pan expressions coming back soon after.
"Yes Counsellor?" He asked innocently, behaving as if nothing had ever happened.
Deanna, still chuckling a great deal, got up from her seat and made her way over toward the sweet natured android science officer. "Data, were you or were you not just...'flirting' with me?"
Data cocked his head to one side again as he took in what the counsellor had just asked of him before nodding it once in confirmation. "Yes, counsellor. I am currently researching on the phenomena known as 'flirting'; the comments I made were not meant as serious observations and I apologize if I have offended you in some way, as I have offended certain others."
Deanna smiled softly before reaching over, standing up on her tip toes to give him a small yet sweet kiss on his cheek. "You haven't offended me, Data." she soothed. "It was just...quite...unexpected, that is all."
Data nodded slightly in understanding. "Hmmm, I see. So, what do you...believe I should do now, counsellor?"
She didn't answer straight away, though merely squeezed his arm in encouragement. "I would...leave the flirting to Commander Riker, Data; for now. Just until you are more attuned to the nuances of basic human behaviour." she told him with a sweet smile and watching as Data took in what she had just told him. To her relief, and not to her surprise of course, Data did not take offence.
"I understand, counselor. Thank you for your time, and for not becoming offended by my unorthodox experiment. Good evening, counselor."
Data and Deanna both nodded politely to one another before he turned to depart, with her now alone and not realizing that - during his experiment - he had unintentionally flattered the Betazoid counsellor. Though it was an experience that had been rather amusing, she couldn't help but to see Data in a whole new light now...and for the better.