Data and the Mirror of Erised

Data looked into the mirror. At least, he thought it was a mirror. It showed his image, but Data believed that the image was not a reflection.

His mirror self was standing in Ten-Forward. It looked like a party was going on, for there were streamers and balloons strung up. The mirror Data was leaning against a table, not slouching, but he looked casual, which was something difficult for Data to pull off successfully.

The most striking thing about Data's mirror self was not his posture, it was his appearance-ordinary colored skin and deep brown eyes. The real Data was startled by this and stepped back.

The scene was changing. People walked into Ten-Forward, Data's friends among them. The mirror Data struck up a conversation with Geordi. The real Data couldn't hear the conversation, but Geordi said something, smiling and gesturing with his hands, and the mirror Data laughed.

Data suddenly knew.

In the mirror, he was human.

Data's eyes flicked upward to the engraving on the top of the mirror.

Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.

Data searched his memory banks, but the words didn't match any language he knew. He studied it again and suddenly realized.

It was written in mirror language. He read backwards quickly.

I show not your face but your hearts desire.

Data understood.