ol_yellow_eyes: (at the helm)
One of Data's more pessimistic theories about Dr. Crusher's plans is confirmed, the day after their conversation in the shuttle bay.

Data does not know everything about jealousy, but he is relatively certain that no one on the bridge would envy him the task of bringing this to the captain's attention.

"Captain. An unscheduled launch is taking place in Shuttle Bay 2."

It is quickly determined that the shuttle in question is, in fact, the shuttle that was modified by Dr. Reyga. A hailing frequency is opened, and Dr. Crusher responds. She confirms her intention to prove that the ill-fated test flight had been sabotaged, just as Data suspected she might. All attempts to gain remote control of the shuttle are unsuccessful.

The bridge crew is forced to watch, helplessly, as Dr. Crusher carries out her dangerous experiment.

Data monitors the shuttle as it heads into the star. He turns to the captain. "Sir, the shuttle is entering the corona."

Captain Picard seems worried. But the experiment appears to have been successful—the metaphasic shield is still holding.

Suddenly, communication with the shuttle is lost.

It is Data's job to find the shuttle, to ascertain what has happened to it. The task is made more difficult by the solar interference to the sensors. As he works, he can feel the captain pacing anxiously behind him…

Data recognizes what a loss it would be to the ship, if their chief medical officer was confirmed dead. He is even aware of the fact that he would miss Dr. Crusher, his long-time friend and crewmate. But he does not know if he will ever understand what it is like to be truly afraid of what the answer will be, to be so anxious that you cannot even stand still. Even as he focuses on his current task he keeps track of the captain behind him, and wonders what emotional force is driving him to repeat his path back and forth across the bridge…

The sensors pick up a transient subspace signal. "Captain, there is no indication of debris. However the subspace signal indicates a warp engine breach."

Captain Picard discontinues his pacing, but the frequencies in his voice betray a maintained state of anxiety. "Alright. Begin a Phase One search, starting with the shuttlecraft's last known coordinates. Plot a proximity course toward the star—"

"Sir," Lieutenant Worf interrupts. "We are picking up an object emerging from the corona."

It is the shuttle.

Dr. Crusher sounds somewhat breathless as she hails the ship. "Crusher to Enterprise. I'm all right. Returning to the ship." She smiles. "And I finally have the answers I've been looking for."

.....


Apparently, Dr. Jo'Bril had not been killed in the original test flight. Previously unknown to Starfleet informational sources, his species is able to simulate a deathlike state. He had framed Dr. Reyga for his own death, with the intention of discrediting him and pursuing the metaphasic shielding technology for his own purposes.

He hid in the shuttle and attacked Dr. Crusher during her flight. After severing communications, he sent the transient subspace signal and planned to wait until the Enterprise left before taking the prototype shuttle back to his own planet.

It is a fascinating conclusion to an intriguing mystery.

But even Data—who has always enjoyed a good mystery—finds this relatively unimportant, when compared with the fact the Dr. Crusher is all right.
ol_yellow_eyes: (serene)
Data is alone in the shuttlebay, working. Lately, he has been rather uninformed in regards to recent events aboard the Enterprise.

But that is not his job. He is simply trying to carry out his orders.

He was there for the experimental test run of the metaphasic shield, which failed, which resulted in the death of a respected Takaran scientist named Jo'Bril.

He took part in inspecting the modified shuttlecraft afterwards, and determined along with Geordi that there had been no malfunction.

He heard that the Ferengi scientist who developed the technology had apparently committed suicide.

The most recent news was that Dr. Crusher, who had gathered the scientists and organized the demonstration, had been relieved of duty for performing an unauthorized autopsy on Dr. Reyga's body.

Which is why Data is surprised to hear her voice as she walks into the shuttle bay.

"What are you doing, Data?" she asks, entering the shuttle in which he is currently running scans.

Still working, he explains, "I am running additional diagnostics to make certain there was no permanent radiation damage to the shuttlecraft hull."

He does not have to look at her to know that she is displaying symptoms of anxiety. It is apparent in certain frequencies that he is detecting in her vocal patterns. "You've studied Dr. Reyga's shield system. Do you think it could have been sabotaged?"

"There was no evidence to support sabotage," he tells her.

"Just… consider the possibility."

Only now does he turn to look at her. "The system interlocks prevent access to the circuitry, unless the shield emitter is active. Any attempt to sabotage the device would have to be made while the shield is in operation."

She sits down. "The only time the shield was active was during Jo'Bril's test flight."

"That is correct." He adds, "It seems unlikely that Jo'Bril would perform sabotage that would result in his own death."

"I agree." Dr. Crusher seems to be thinking about it. "Would it be possible to sabotage the shuttle by remote during the flight?"

Data knows that this is important to her. He considers the possibility.

His answer is honest, automatic. "A phase dionic pulse beamed directly into the metaphasic projection matrix would result in a temporary system malfunction."

"Where on the Enterprise could you generate a phase dionic pulse?"

"Such a pulse could be initiated from the lateral sensor array, science labs 1, 4, and 16, or any of the bridge science stations."

"Let's assume for the moment that someone did send out a phase dionic pulse. What would have happened inside the shuttle?"

"A tetryon field would be formed briefly inside the cabin, temporarily disrupting the metaphasic shield."

"A tetryon field…" Dr. Crusher is no longer looking at Data. He notes that her voice has resumed its normal stability. "If Jo'Bril was exposed to a tetryon field, it might have left residual traces in his tissue." She even smiles a little, before getting up to leave. "Thanks, Data."

Data watches her go. He is not certain what she is going to do with the information, but he is able to formulate a few theories.

If he were anyone else, he might be… worried.

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January 2011

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