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[personal profile] ol_yellow_eyes
Data leaves his analysis incomplete and returns to his quarters, trying to put Crosis's words (and his own) out of his mind. He sits at his desk. Perhaps he can complete the biospectral analysis, complete the orders that Captain Picard gave him… Spot is sitting on the console, and Data absentmindedly reaches over to pet him.

Spot hisses and runs away, darting to the other side of the room and hiding under the bed.

Data looks after him.

And finds himself smiling.

He frowns, not allowing himself to dwell on the sensation. He came here to fix something… No, to finish something. Or perhaps it was both…

Something is wrong. This is wrong.

He is feeling emotion. But that is impossible. He does not have any reason to believe that he would have developed such a capability on his own. It seems to be connected to the Borg somehow. But how would they have developed the knowledge and technology to affect his postironic brain? Their systems are completely different from his own.

In fact, the majority of systems in the galaxy are completely different from Data's. The only person who successfully pursued positronic technology as a means of developing sentience—as a means of developing a capacity for emotion—was Dr. Soong.

That conclusion leads Data to an unfortunate hypothesis.

Forgetting his tricorder and his orders and the malfunction he discovered (or perhaps choosing to ignore those things), Data returns to the brig. He needs to talk to Crosis. Alone would be better.

Upon entering, Data speaks to the ensign who is on security duty. "I have been sent to interrogate the prisoner further," he lies. "Please lower the force field."

"Yes, sir," the ensign is obviously confused, but does as her commanding officer tells her to. While she is distracted, Data renders her unconscious with the technique he learned from Ambassador Spock. The force field is down, and Data walks straight into the cell.

He lifts Crosis by the throat, pushing him against the wall.

"Who is it?" he demands. "Who is doing this?"

Crosis hesitates. Clearly he has not been permitted to reveal that information. But he has a sense of individuality now, and Data can use that against him.

"Who is 'the One'?" he asks again. "Tell me his name, or I will kill you."

Despite the vice grip on his throat, Crosis manages to say it—the one name Data did, and did not want to hear:

"Lore."

.....


Data has heard a theory regarding human decision-making processes, in which it is speculated that humans have no control over most of their decisions, and only have the power to rationalize those decisions afterward. Data does not know for certain to what extent this theory might hold true for humans, but he knows that it is impossible for it to apply to his own decision-making process. His cognitive speed is so fast that he can consider all possibilities in a very short amount of time, and arrive at the best decision quickly. He is programmed to do so. He has no reason to rationalize his actions after the fact.

In this case, however, Data is starting to wonder if he is doing exactly that.

He knows that it is not true, of course. His memory of the decision to escape with Crosis is clear and complete, and he knows for a fact that he considered all of the possibilities before arriving at his decision.

But this is the first time he is not completely confident that he made the best decision.

And what he is doing right now, as he helps the Borg escape, is unnervingly similar to "rationalization." His mind is running through the reasons he thinks he should do this, from the altruistic (he could reason with Lore, and put an end to this threat to the Federation) to the selfish but reasonable (he will demand his emotion chip back, and say goodbye to his brother forever). But even though those reasons were valid considerations in his decision-making process, they do not necessarily outweigh his duty as a Starfleet officer, to obey his orders and remain on the ship. If he is being honest (and he is incapable of being dishonest… or is he?), the deciding factor was little better than an instinct, the realization that regardless of the outcome, he might regret it forever if he did not do this. He has to see this through to its inevitable end, if only to discover what will happen.

This may be his last chance to retrieve his emotion chip. His last chance to feel.

For that, he would give everything.

Data pilots the stolen shuttlecraft into the energy stream after triggering the phenomenon with the appropriate tachyon emissions. Without looking back, he leaves the Enterprise—his crewmates, his friends, everything—behind.

He will face his brother alone.

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January 2011

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