ol_yellow_eyes: (smirk)
[personal profile] ol_yellow_eyes
Data is in a bad mood when he delivers the VISOR to his brother. He is not accustomed to feeling angry, and he inevitably misplaces some of his frustration on Lore. He is annoyed that his brother made him take the humans to their cell. The Borg guards could have done so just easily, or Lore could have taken them. Instead, Data was forced to listen to their pathetic arguments all the way to the detention chamber.

It is Lore's own fault that Data is having doubts again.

It has occurred to him that perhaps Lore is, in fact, limiting the amount of emotional programming that he is sending to Data. And even though Data would rather be here with half of his emotions than back on the Enterprise with no emotions—at this point he might even rather be here anyway, emotions or not—the thought is still irritating to him.

"Here is the VISOR," he practically snaps, handing the device to his brother. "May I ask why you wanted it?"

"I thought it might look good on me," Lore replies, grinning wide and putting the VISOR on over his eyes. "Whaddaya think?"

Data simply continues to glare at him.

Lore sighs and removes the device. "Maybe we should work on your sense of humor, Brother," he says. "Actually, I was thinking LaForge's implants might make him an ideal test subject for my experiment."

"All of the Borg you have experimented on so far have suffered extensive brain damage," Data points out, still feeling annoyed. They had not yet finished discussing how to make the procedure more successful. Why does Lore wish to continue experimenting?

"Using the humans to perfect the procedure will allow us to prevent any further Borg deaths," Lore explains.

Data stops to think for a moment. Lore has clearly thought this through. He recalls the genuine regret with which Lore spoke of sacrificing Borg drones earlier, and realizes suddenly that perhaps his anger is being misplaced… It was foolish of him not to trust his brother.

(And he cannot help noticing that familiar hint of pleasure, when he thinks of "sacrificing" the humans instead.)

"I understand," he tells Lore, even managing to smile a little.

"Good," Lore replies. At that moment, Crosis enters the hall, dragging in another Borg drone by the arm. Lore glances at them both. "What is it?"

"This Borg has disconnected himself from the others. He would not let me hear his thoughts."

Crosis sounds agitated and angry. But Lore just sighs, and speaks to the drone almost gently. "I've asked you to stay linked to Crosis at all times. You know that, don't you?"

"Yes," the Borg answers nervously.

"I know this must be difficult for you. How uncertain you must feel. All of these sensations are new, and they can be frightening. Isn't that right?"

Data is watching carefully. The Borg seems encouraged, and answers honestly, "Yes. I have doubts."

"Of course you do. It's only natural," Lore assures him. "No one is going to blame you for that. But in order to lose those doubts, to keep fear and confusion away, I need you to remain linked to the others. So that their strength and their confidence can help you.

"I need you, Goval. I need you to help me build a future for the Borg. I can't do it without you. Will you help me?"

"Yes. I will," the Borg answers, standing taller.

Lore turns to wink at his brother.

Data smiles back. He thought that perhaps Lore was talking to him, as well.

"I need you, Brother… I can't do it without you."

He was foolish to doubt his brother.

.....


Data returns to the cell to retrieve Geordi for the experiment.

"Data. Where are you taking him?" Captain Picard asks, when Data lifts Geordi from where he was seated on the floor.

"That is not your concern."

"Data, wait. Let us talk to you," the captain pleads. Data does not even acknowledge it.

In the lab, he soons set to work with the procedure, neutralizing Geordi's pain receptors and implanting nano-cortical fibers in his cerebrum.

"They are designed to learn and mimic your neural firing patterns," he explains, injecting the first one into Geordi's forehead. "Once they are in place, I will destroy the existing brain cells, and we will see if the artificial neural network is able to take over your cognitive functions."

"Data… listen," Geordi interrupts. "Lore is controlling you. He's transmitting a carrier wave which is affecting your positronic matrix."

Data ignores the observation. He was already aware of the carrier wave—how else would Lore be sending him his emotions?

"If the procedure is successful, your cognitive processing functions will be considereably improved."

His test subject should find that encouraging, but Geordi is ignoring him too, it seems. "Don't you care that he's manipulating you?"

Data only pauses a moment before continuing, "However there is a 60 percent chance you will not survive the procedure."

"I don't care much for those odds," Geordi replies, apparently discouraged.

"Mm. They are a cause for concern," Data agrees, injecting another fiber. "However I still have Counselor Troi and Captain Picard. Odds are at least one of the procedures will be successful."

He smiles sarcastically—not that Geordi can see it—and leaves to retrieve another tool. But he stops just outside of the door, closes his eyes, and lets the rage boil inside of him.

He did not expect it to make him this angry.

Geordi is a fool, if he thinks he can still convince Data to return to the Enterprise. He is just as stupid as the other two. But that is only part of why Data is angry.

Geordi is persistent. And even though it is a futile effort, even though he does not have any idea what he is talking about, it is obvious that he is genuinely concerned about Data. He is trying, desperately, to get through to him, to save the person he has always considered to be his best friend. He acts as though it is even more important to him than his own life. But even though Data can see all of this, even knowing all of this, when he looks at Geordi, he feels absolutely nothing for him. Not even pity. He could not care less.

Perhaps that is what makes him angriest of all.

When Data finally leads Geordi back to the detention chamber, he returns to find that the remaining two prisoners have attempted to escape. Somehow Counselor Troi has stolen a phaser from one of the Borg guards, and is just coming out of the cell. She stops when she sees Data.

"Drop it, or I will break his neck," Data threatens. It is not an empty threat. As he brings one hand up to Geordi's throat, as he grips just tightly enough to feel the human's pulse quicken underneath his thumb, he knows that he would do it without a second thought. He glares at Troi again, daring her use the weapon.

She drops it.

Pathetic.

Data pushes Geordi back into the cell, and instructs the guards to remove the body of the Borg that Picard and Troi apparently killed.

"What have you done to him?" the captain asks, with hypocritical concern. He probably did not even stop to think about the fact that he has just committed murder. Data is certain that Picard does not consider the Borg to be people, which makes him wonder why Picard ever pretended to treat him as though he were a person.

"I will be back for him later," is all Data says before turning to leave.

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