ol_yellow_eyes: (sorry)
[personal profile] ol_yellow_eyes
After disabling his brother, Data returns to the main hall. "Lore is no longer functioning, sir," he tells Captain Picard. "He must be disassembled so he is no longer a threat."

The captain looks at him with all of the confidence and approval that he has always displayed for his second officer. "Welcome back, Data."

.....


Normal.

It does not seem right, after all that has happened, for everything to return to normal. But it does. Data does not receive any punishment, formal or otherwise, for his reprehensible behavior. He is allowed to resume his duties almost immediately, and to him it seems as though people are treating him like nothing ever happened.

It is too easy.

It is not his place to complain, however. He already expressed his concern to the captain, who promptly dismissed it and told him "not to worry." Beyond that, there is nothing he can do. Perhaps it is something the rest of the crew needs, for things to return to normal. Perhaps it would be unfair to ask them to dwell on the incident further, just for the sake of his belief that he should be properly reprimanded.

Lore has been disassembled. For now, his parts are being stored on the Enterprise, until Data decides what to do with them. Perhaps he will submit them to Starfleet for research, or keep them himself for similar purposes.

The only thing he asked was that the emotion chip be removed from Lore's body. As he suspected, it was heavily damaged.

Data is examining the chip when he hears someone at his door. "Enter," he says, turning to look.

It is Geordi.

"Hi, Data," Geordi says, walking over to the console. He reaches down to pet Spot gently while he speaks. "I wanted to let you know that Dr. Crusher says I'll be able to return to duty soon."

Data cannot help realizing how kind it was of Geordi to come and tell him that. "I am… relieved, that the injuries I inflicted on you are not permanent," he says, choosing his words carefully. He resists the impulse to apologize again, as he has already done so several times. Geordi has told him recently to "knock it off."

Right now, Geordi just nods a little. He glances at the chip, which Data is still holding. "What's that?"

"This is the chip my father created for me so that I could experience emotion," Data answers, calmly. "I had it removed from Lore's body before he was dismantled."

Geordi leans over the console. "Does it work?"

"No," Data replies. He reaches over to place it in a small, white box. "I am pleased to say it was damaged when I was forced to fire on Lore."

"Pleased?" Geordi sounds surprised. "Data, you've wanted emotions your whole life."

"Yes," Data admits. "But emotions are responsible for what I did to you. I would never risk letting that happen again." Here, Geordi tries to interrupt, but Data continues, sincerely, "My friendship with you is too important to me."

And so Data reaches for his phaser.

As Data aims it towards the box, he feels exactly the same thing he felt as he was disabling his brother:

Nothing.

But also, the absence of something. The thought that perhaps he should be feeling something, but coupled with the knowledge that this is for the best. He does not need the temptation of emotions again. He failed that test once.

He can endure an existence without emotions. But he could not endure an existence without his best friend.

Before he is able to fire, however, Geordi's hand covers the box.

"Data," he says quietly. "I wouldn't be very much of a friend if I let you give up on a lifelong dream, now would I?"

Data looks up at him, bewildered.

"Maybe… someday," Geordi suggests. "When you're ready."

Data does not know what to say.

But he imagines that he would feel grateful—maybe even happy—if he could. He cannot.

But maybe, as Geordi says, someday he will.
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