ol_yellow_eyes: (huh.)
[personal profile] ol_yellow_eyes
Humans have an intriguing perception of time.

They speak of it almost as though it were a physical resource, an important commodity like air or water that can easily be depleted. When they are busy with something, they say, "There is no time." When they are engaging in activities at a slower pace, or not doing anything at all, they say, "There is plenty of time." One can find it, waste it, or even have it on one's hands.

But for Data (and his internal chronometer), time is always there, moving at the exact same steady rate.

It took him a while to get used to these human expressions regarding time. By now, however, he has learned to understand what is meant by them. He has even come to the point where it seems natural to use some of them himself. Still, he may never understand the seemingly constant human fear that their time is "running out."

...Or perhaps he might.

It seems odd to use such expressions in an environment in which the normal flow of time has been altered drastically. Odder still, that in such a situation Data would come to a better understanding of these expressions. But that is exactly what happens.

The Enterprise is frozen at the moment of its destruction. Data, Geordi, Counselor Troi, and the captain are attempting to prevent the inevitable. Data finds his three crewmates to be surprisingly calm in this situation, but perhaps that is because they are not rushed.

As the captain says, "It would seem that time is what we have plenty of."

Until Geordi is fatally injured while they are attempting to investigate.

When Data suggests taking him back to the runabout, Counselor Troi tells him, "There isn't time-- he's dying." She quickly removes the device on Geordi's arm, freezing him in the other time stream.

"At least this way, he'll be alive in the other timeframe; we might have a chance to save him later," she says.

Data glances down at Geordi one last time. As he does, he believes that he understands-- the concept of time being a tangible object, something that can be taken away from someone, and in this case, given back. It must seem to humans like they lose something, in that instant they are injured and begin to die. They lose time that they thought they would have.

In Data's case, for a brief moment, he believed that he had lost time he thought he would have with Geordi. But now there is a possibility that it has been given back to him, and he cannot help but be grateful. He cannot feel grateful, exactly, but he decides to be, because Geordi is his friend. He also decides that the stakes of this mission have now become higher.

They are able to manipulate the time stream to move backwards briefly, then forward again. In that small space of time, they are able to save the Enterprise and its crew, including Geordi.

Time resumes its normal flow, synching back up with Data's internal chronometer. Only now, he is choosing to be ever so slightly more grateful for time, especially the time he is able to spend with his best friend.

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January 2011

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