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Past Meets Future

By @Renfestlovrr

Chapter 2

Deanna and Joelle finally made it to Joelle’s quarters. Deanna could feel the anxiety the young girl was feeling as the doors to her new room opened. Joelle’s eyes grew wide once she saw her room. She entered slowly, looking around and taking in the scene. 

“This looks like my old room back home,” Joelle said with tears in her eyes. “How did you all know?” 

Deanne smiled, feeling Joelle’s excitement. “We have our ways. The ship and crew are amazing people to work with. Like I said earlier, we will not hurt you.”

Joelle’s smile turned into a frown. “Do you think you’ll be able to figure out if I can get back home?”

“We are trying,” Deanna said, sitting next to the young lady on a sofa. “The Enterprise has top notch scientists. They will be able to find out something. The pod we found you in is being studied right now.” 

“What can you tell me about the android I saw earlier?” Joelle asked suddenly. “Will he hurt me?”

Deanna chuckled and shook her head. “Data is harmless. He’s more curious than anything. He enjoys studying humans and trying to understand our emotions and behavior. If anything, he would be the perfect person to ask curious questions to.” 

Joelle nodded with a thoughtful expression. “Could I properly meet him?”

Deanna’s eyes sparkled. “Of course! I will send for him right now.”

Joelle watched as Deanna pushed a little pin on her shirt and called for Data to join the two in Joelle’s quarters. Deanna could feel her apprehensiveness. She couldn’t imagine what Joelle was going through at this moment. She truly hoped they would be able to find a way to help this young girl. 

“Joelle,” Deanna said, breaking the silence. “I don’t want to frighten you more, but you need to be prepared in case there is no way back home. You will always have a home here on the Enterprise.” 

Joelle nodded. “I’ve thought about that as well. But I’m not sure I’m ready to admit defeat if it came down to it. I have friends and family back home.”

Deanna nodded her understanding. “I cannot imagine what you’re going through right now. But I can assure you I know how you feel. Everything will be okay, just keep thinking positive.”

Just then there was a buzz at the door and Data entered. Joelle stared at him with mixed emotions of fear, disbelief and curiosity. She had never seen an android before and the closest she’s come to one would be a cellular phone. 

“You called for me, Counselor?” Data asked, suddenly making eye contact with Joelle. 

Deanna looked from Data to Joelle and nodded. “I believe our guest has some questions for you. Pardon me, I must return to the bridge. Will you be okay, Joelle?”

“I think so…” Joelle said, hesitantly. 

Data watched Deanna leave then turned his attention back to Joelle, who stood there visibly shaking. He extended a hand, causing her to step back. Data gave her a curious look. 

“I assure you, I am not going to hurt you,” he said kindly. “Ask me anything you would like.”

There was an awkward silence before Joelle said, “Does Earth still exist?” 

“Yes,” Data gave a short answer. “But it is not the same Earth you are used to. It is different in many ways.” 

“So, I guess my parents are no longer living?” Joelle said, looking at her feet with tears in her eyes. 

Before Data responded, he studied her facial expression and chose his words carefully as not to upset her even farther. He remembered the Captain instructed him to be careful around her so as not to scare her or cause her worry. 

“They are still alive, but only from when you are from,” he said, hoping these were the right words to say. “Do not be discouraged Ms. Carter. We are finding out a probable way to send you back to the year 2020.”

“That’s what everyone keeps telling me,” Joelle said, sitting down on the sofa. “If I’m honest, I’m tired of hearing it and I haven’t been here that long.”

Data moved closer. “There is no knowing how long it will take to find a way to send you home. I recommend being prepared for a long stay.” 

Joelle sighed, not wanting to admit that it may actually come to her being there forever. She stood up and looked out her window and watched as stars passed by quickly. She turned to Data with a little hope in her eyes.

“Please try everything you can to get me back, Data. I’m not ready to just say goodbye to everything I’ve known all of my life. I’m not ready to throw away everything I’ve worked hard for,” Joelle said, tears starting to form. “I need to know if my parents are okay. I need to know…” 

She couldn’t hold it in any longer as she burst into tears. Joelle didn’t want to look vulnerable in front of Data. But she had so much built up inside her, the only way she knew how to release stress was to cry. Data stood there, watching as she sobbed. He was unsure of what to say or do that would help her feel better. 

Joelle lowered herself to the floor and hugged her knees to her chest. She felt as though her soul was bleeding and her chest was heavy. She felt a hand rub her back and she looked up through silvery tears to see Data kneeled beside her. Although Joelle wanted to back away from him from fear, she remained there and allowed him to comfort her. 

Data felt her body start to tremble under his touch, so he stood up. “I do not know what to say or do to help you feel better. But if you need someone to speak with, I am here.”

Joelle glanced up at him, whipping her tears and gave him a small smile. “Thank you for your kindness.” 

“Of course,” Data said, returning her smile with one of his own. “I must return to the bridge now.” 

Before he walked out of the door, he turned to face her once more as if remembering something. Joelle stood up and hugged herself. 

“The Captain wanted to inform you that you are more than welcome to join us on the bridge if you need a change of scenery or if you become lonely,” Data stated.

Joelle nodded her thanks as Data left the room, leaving her alone with her wild thoughts and fear of the unknown. She tried digging in the back of her mind as to what had happened to her. No matter how hard she thought, she couldn’t place her finger on it. From what some of the crew members have been whispering, she was a mystery even to them. 

“Now what…?” she asked herself, pacing back and forth in her room. 

Back on the bridge, Data had just arrived when the captain was ordering Riker to go down to the cargo hold and examine the pod Joelle was found in. 

“I’m sure we may find something in it or on it that will help us better understand this strange occurrence,” Jean-Luc was saying. “Ah, Data, how is our guest?”

“She is scared, sir,” Data said. “Captain, do you believe we will be able to send her back in 2020?” 

Jean-Luc sighed. “I am unsure, Data. All we can do is try our hardest and hope for the best. If not, I guess we will have a new passenger travelling with us through space. She will need to figure out what she wants to do with her new life.”

Data gave a thoughtful look, as if he was processing what the captain had said. He shook his head and shrugged. Deanna glanced at Riker and gave him a soft smile as if saying, Data seems worried for Joelle. 

“Data,” Deanna said. “I am feeling that perhaps Joelle has warmed up to you a bit more. Perhaps you should spend more time with her.”

“I think that’s a brilliant idea,” Jean-Luc said, with a smile. 

“But, Captain, I am incapable of showing affection,” Data stated. “I do not wish to make her feel worse than she already does.” 

Jean-Luc chuckled. “Data, are you aware that curiosity is a human emotion? I’m sure you will do fine. After all, she needs to feel comfortable around you. Figure out a way to help her better understand you, vise versa.” 

Data’s eyes widened as if he had an idea. “Permission to leave the bridge, Captain?”

“Permission granted, Data,” Jean-Luc said, watching the android go to the elevator. 

“What do you think that was about?” Deanna asked with a slight laugh. 

Jean-Luc shook his head and chuckled. “It is Data. There is no telling. But I sure do hope that whatever he thinks up will help Joelle feel more at home here.”

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