May. 9th, 2010

ol_yellow_eyes: (looking out)
Data has not slept for days.

To an android, of course, that means almost nothing. It would have meant nothing at all, not so long ago. But even now, it is only somewhat significant that he has not accessed his dream program for a while.

He has been keeping himself busy. Even when he is off-duty and in his quarters, he has been working.

He is not there now, however. He is in one of the performance spaces on the Enterprise, where the set for the play, Frame of Mind, is still in place.

And he is simply standing there, looking at it.

People on the ship who do not know Data very well would find this extremely odd. People who do know him know that he does odd things like this all the time. But even they would wonder about the reason behind it. Is he looking for something? Is he somehow experiencing what it is to worry; did he somehow feel like coming here? Is he preoccupied? Or is he simply trying to simulate something that he might consider to be a human action?

Days ago, Data stood here under very different circumstances, looking into the eyes of someone he considers to be one of his closest friends. At that time (and as always), a million different things were going through his mind-- his character's lines, his character's motivation, the subtle sounds of reaction from the audience, even sensor logs they had collected earlier that day. But at that exact moment, he had not been considering the possibility that the person standing in front of him, reciting a monologue with an amount passion that Data could never even dream of simulating, would be gone in a few days.

Goneā€¦ not dead. Data refuses to think of Commander Riker that way yet, however high the probability. Not until they have pursued every possibility, not until it is a confirmed fact. Until then, Commander Riker is simply missing. The investigation is still taking place. And that is why Data has not slept.

This is certainly not the first time that Data has taken the position of Acting First Officer on the Enterprise. In fact, it has happened more often than others might realize. But even though he knows he can fulfill the requirements of the job itself, he knows that these are shoes he can never truly fill. He knows it when he is on the bridge sitting next to the captain, who seems quieter than usual, and across from the counselor, who cannot seem to look over at him for whatever reason. It is the strange sensation (if Data can call anything he experiences a sensation) of not quite being there. Or at least being somewhat ignored. And it is for that reason that he hopes the chair in which he is sitting is only borrowed.

Data takes one last glance around the set of the play. He is preoccupied, certainly. Is he worried? Or simulating a human reaction?

The question he ponders is not what a human would do in this instance, but what he, as the commander's friend, is going to do. And so he walks out of the performance space to return to his quarters. He will continue working.

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January 2011

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