Chapter 3 ~ The Problem At Hand
Captain Picard sat intrigued at the sight before him. His second in command, not a mere man but an android that he has had the privilege of serving with for seven years now appeared to be an enigma. It was a mystery, one that the Captain intended on solving.
It was a perplexing problem that not only caught the chief of engineer at an unawares but the android as well. Both were at a complete loss as to what Data's body was beginning to do.
An awkward silence filled the Captain's ready room as he stared in amazement. The pale, yellow appearance of Data's eyes long gone, only to be replaced by a deep, cobalt blue. Even he had to admit that they were quite striking in color, so much so that he noticed them the moment the android stepped through his threshold. Despite the engaging warnings on Geordi's part, he still found himself utterly in shock.
Picard tore his gaze from Data's appearance as he questioned LaForge a little further.
"Did the tests you perform reveal any malfunctions or hidden programs within his positronic matrix that we may possibly be unaware of?"
Geordi shrugged his shoulders in a perplexing fashion. "If there is, Dr. Soong hid it so well that even the technology of this day and age can't find it." He threw his hands up in defeat. "I ran every possible test while he was asleep and nothing in his programming has initiated -" He looked pointedly at Data, in a direct response to his eyes. "This!"
"If I remember correctly." Picard began. "His dream sequence was nothing more than a dormant program that was jump started by accident. Perhaps this is another one of those cases. A lasting attempt on Dr. Soong's part to make Data appear more human once he reaches a certain level of growth."
Data remained silent, as Geordi answered the Captain's intriguing theory. "It is possible, Captain." His brows visibly rose in concern behind his visor. "The only question is why not create him with the appearance of a human from the start, why go through all the trouble of making him so different to begin with?"
"Dr. Soong was an eccentric man, perhaps he wanted Data to look the part. After his failed attempts on Earth which ended in mockery among the universe, maybe he felt the need to make him look as an android. So that his claims of success couldn't be dismissed because Data's uniqueness would be the silencing factor to all those doubting cyberneticists."
Still, Data remained silent, a distant perturbed look encroaching upon his normal, ageless face.
His tacit behavior was beginning to trouble Captain Picard.
The android remained quiet, his blue eyes fixated on the shine of his boots.
Picard forcibly spoke his name a little louder, almost like a father scolding his child.
Finally the android's face rose to meet the concerned look of his Captain.
"Is there anything in your dreams that might possibly standout as to why this change is occurring?"
Data's eyes met Geordi's for support, clearly taken back by the reminder of his dreams.
Silently, Geordi nodded his head in support. A non-communicative gesture between the two friends for Data to reveal the state of his dreams.
Complete and utter defeat laced the android's voice. "She's haunting me!"
Picard quickly caught onto the fear in his inability to control what was happening to him. Immediately the Captain sympathized with him. It had to be a daunting task to be someone who could easily run diagnostics on his state of function and apply a simple, easy fix to the solution. But that ability was now lost in the abyss of the unknown, along with the imminent danger of what his body was now doing.
A vast array of changes were taking place. His appearance, as well as his inadequacy to experience emotions. He was struggling with this transformation, that much was clear to Picard. Although Data never vocalized those concerns directly.
"Who is haunting you, Data?"
Again, the android shut down verbally.
Picard tried a different approach. "Geordi tells me your experiencing a state of recurring dreams, is this true?"
Refusing to meet his gaze, Data softly answered. "It's not the dreams that are repeating - it's the person in the dreams!" An image of his last dream replayed fleetingly across his mind and he shook his head from side to side in a desperate attempt to shut it down. "I specifically recalled to myself in the dream how long she had been dead and yet, there she was!"
"And what does the time of her death have to do with anything now?"
"Because it's a complete contradiction to what I know to be stored facts within my memory banks."
"And what do you remember, Data?"
Agitated, the android slammed his fist against the desk, startling the Captain and Geordi both.
"I remember gaining the ability to dream three years ago but according to Geordi I have just achieved that accomplishment by accident mere weeks ago. And then there's the vagueness about my emotional state and yet again, I remember Geordi installing my emotion chip two years ago."
Both officers began to smirk at Data's discrepancies.
"Data, you destroyed the emotion chip shortly after Lore captured you. He was using the negative allure of emotions to control you. You never installed it because of the fact that it was those emotions that almost caused you to kill me!" Geordi explained. "And your dream sequence began a few weeks ago, after a power surge at deep space nine shut you down completely."
The android began erratically shaking his head from side to side. "No, I remember! I know that Tasha has been dead for eight years now. Their is no disputing that fact. I do not know if she is trying to warn me by helping me remember what reality I am in." He looked down and then back to Picard. "Maybe I am in some sort of parallel universe or something but I do know that Tasha is the only reason why I am remaining sane. She is my constant in this sea of blackness!"
Picard scoffed at Data's ramblings. "Commander, I want you to listen to yourself! You are trying to rationalize a fictional world. Its as if you've created your own holodeck, a place in your subconscious to escape too, a fantasy world is you will!"
Data quickly stood to his feet and Captain Picard immediately alerted security.
The android's voice grew louder with his agile state as he pointed an accusing finger toward the Captain.
"You both are trying to convince me that I have lost my sanity. But what you have neglected to understand is this - that one person you are using to render me helpless in this world, is the one who is giving me the little assurance I need to know that I am right."
He began shouting around the room, his frustrations mounting to the thought of some unknown alien watching from the sidelines. This was not his world, of that much he was certain.
"I lived with the loss of her death everyday of my life. I know every second, every minute, right down the very hour of how long I have been without her. It is etched within the confines of my memory."
Once again, Captain Picard tried to reason with him.
"Data, you have created a place in your mind where Tasha lives but the message she is trying to give you in those dreams is that she is no longer with you." He looked at the android sympathetically. "She hasn't been for quite some time and I think its time you let her go!"
Data remained defiant till the end, gritting his teeth from the stinging remark, as he forcibly shoved Geordi into the wall and in one quick motion, he was face to face with Picard. His anger completely blinding him to the security officers who were quickly on his heels.
He had only seconds to get his threat out as he stared down the man before him.
"I don't know who you are or where I am but you are not my Captain -" Data waved his hand wildly around the room. "And this is not my ship!"
Picard quickly took a step back as Worf placed his hand upon Data's lower back, hitting his off switch. The android quickly went limp as his body hit the floor with a hard thud.
"Place him in the brig where we can safely place him back online without the fear of him trying to harm anymore crew members."
The Captain demanded as Lieutenant Worf and a couple other security officers carried Data's stilled body from the ready room.
Author's Notes: Alright, I got you guys all updated on the stories except for "If Only" which will probably be tomorrow. I've written three chapters today alone, so I need a little break for now. Hope you guys enjoy it and if so, leave a review and let me know. Thanks again!