One day soon after Jed's birth, Data was walking down a corridor when he saw Captain Picard and Commander Madden just standing and smiling at him. He looked at them with curiosity.
"Big news, Data," said Captain Picard. "After all these years I have finally decided to retire."
Data turned to Commander Madden. "Congratulations, sir."
"I have accepted the position of Captain, but not on the Enterprise," Madden told him. "With the promotion I will be transferring to a different starship."
"But who will be the new Captain of the Enterprise then?" Data was baffled.
"Congratulations, Mr. Data." Picard smiled and patted Data's arm. "I know you'll do an excellent job."
"Me?" Data was so surprised that he merely mouthed the words. No actual sound came from him.
"You're the logical choice, Data, and no none has worked harder than you or deserves it more than you do."
"But, sir, I've never even served as first officer before..."
Picard patted Data's shoulder reassuringly. "Relax, Data. No one will expect you to know everything at once. You will receive several weeks of intense training in all areas of starship control before the Commander and I leave."
"I bring exciting news, Tasha," Data announced when he arrived home that evening. "I've been offered the position of Captain of the Enterprise. Captain Picard is retiring, and Commander Madden has been offered the position of Captain on another starship."
"Wow, Data, how exciting!" Tasha held a sleeping Jed in one arm as she came to kiss her husband hello. "When do you start?"
"It won't be for a while yet. Since I've never even served as a first officer before, I must have several weeks of intense training first."
"You'll do fine, honey. I know you will."
"Thank you for believing in me, Tasha."
"Why shouldn't I? You've always come through before!"
"Why, thank you, Data. I am deeply honored," Geordi said.
"There's no one else I'd rather have as my first officer," Data told him.
"Wow, that's a big step up for both of us. What does Tasha have to say about it?"
"She's very excited and happy, and keeps telling me how proud she is of me."
"I knew that this opportunity would come your way some day, although to be honest I'm surprised that you didn't have to serve a stint as first officer beforehand. Wow, things are really looking up for you, Data! First a new son, and now your own starship!"
"You're not jealous of me, are you, Geordi?"
"Of course not, Data! After all you've been through, how could I be?"
The next several weeks did indeed prove to be among the most challenging of Data's life. Although his android brain could have absorbed the information in a fraction the amount of time it was taking his human brain, he wouldn't have traded places with his former self for anything in the world.
At last came the day the Captain and Commander Madden felt that he was ready to take full command of the Enterprise. Tasha threw him a surprise party to which all the crew members came, and everyone congratulated him and told him how happy they were for him.
It was several weeks later that Data received a hail from another starship and was truly shocked to recognize a face on his viewscreen which he had never expected to see again in his lifetime.