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Past Meets Future

By @Renfestlovrr

Chapter 4

“You want to let her do what, Data?” Captain Jean-Luc Picard asked the android. 

 “Allow her to see the pod,” Data said, coming straight to the point. “I believe that whatever has happened to Ms. Carter was catastrophic, she has blocked out important details from her mind. If she sees the pod, memories could return.” 

 “Or it could make her mental condition worse,” Jean-Luc said, leaning back in his chair. “I don’t know, Data. What does Joelle think about this?”

 “She was the one who asked to see the pod, Captain,” Data said, his arms behind his back out of respect for his captain. 

 Data had brought Joelle back to her quarters, observing that it would be best if he spoke to the captain about her seeing the pod. He informed her that he may say no.

 “Captain, if I may,” Deanna spoke up. “I am in agreement with Data. I feel as though she needs this closer to feel better. There is a 50/50 chance she will gain memories or feel like she hasn’t accomplished anything. I believe we owe it to her.” 

Jean-Luc thought for a moment. They were right, perhaps she needed to see the pod, or even touch it, to gain closure.

“Very well. Have her brought down to the cargo hold in fifteen minutes. Data, prepare her for the worst,” the captain instructed. 

“In all due respect, captain,” Data said. “I believe we should think positive for Ms. Carter’s sake.” 

 Jean-Luc nodded and waved everyone off. He sat there and thought for a second before leaving for the cargo hold. 

 Joelle was pacing back and forth nervously waiting for Date to bring her either good news or bad news. She felt something deep within her that this was a good idea. 

 “Ms. Carter,” Data said after asking to enter. “The captain has requested you in the cargo hold in fifteen minutes.”

 “He said yes?” she asked, excitement in her voice. 

 When Data nodded she wrapped her arms around his neck unknowingly. She pulled away ever so slightly, her arms still around his neck. 

 “Thank you, Data,” she said softly, her eyes roaming his face. “This means a lot.”

 “Of course,” Data said. “Just be prepared for no answers… this is a 50/50 chance you may or may not get the answers you are seeking.” 

 “I’ll be alright,” Joelle said, lowering herself from her tiptoes, her arms still around his neck. 

 Data roamed her face, his eyes landing on her lips and back to her eyes. “I will be there every step of the way, if you need me.”

 “Shall we get going?” Joelle asked, breaking off the embrace. 

 Data tilted his head in confusion as her face was kissed with a pink color. No matter how many times he had humans figured out, something else happened that caused him confusion. Perhaps he could ask Commander Riker his opinion. 

 “Yes,” Data said, leading the way. 

 The trek to the cargo hold in the elevator was awkward. Joelle didn’t know what to feel after her and Data’s moment in her quarters. Was it possible for a human to have feelings for an android? Was it possible for the android to return those feelings? Joelle shook her head, trying to get the thought out of her mind. She didn’t want to get attached just in case she would be able to return home. Joelle was still trying to mentally prepare for the worst.

 When they made it to the cargo hold, Joelle could feel her heartbeat start to race. She ended up grabbing Data’s hand as they made their way to where the pod was sitting, tied up so it would move around. Captain Picard, Riker and Deanna were waiting for them. 

 Riker shot Deanna a smirk when he noticed Joelle and Data were holding hands. Deanna shook her head at him as if to tell him to not read much into it. 

 “Hello, Joelle,” Jean-Luc said, giving her a hug. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

 Joelle nodded slowly, her eyes focused on the pod. She released Data’s hand and approached the pod they had discovered her in. Her hands started to shake as soon as she reached for it. Joelle pulled away and turned to Data.

 “It is alright,” Data said, nodding for her to go on.

 “Don’t force, Joelle,” Jean-Luc said. “We understand if you’re not ready for this.”

 “No,” Joelle said, turning back to the pod. “I’m not running from this. I ran from the Holodeck when I was able to go inside my house and see my family. I’m not running from this… I need to know…”

 Without any more hesitation, Joelle placed her hand on the pod. Lights began to flicker and it was as if the object was electrocuting her. 

 “Captain!” Deanna screamed, falling into Riker’s arms. “We must get her away from it! It’s hurting her!” 

 Jean-Luc tried reaching for her, but felt a sudden wave of electricity run through his arm causing him to fly backwards. 

 Joelle began screaming. Data, without even thinking, grabbed Joelle around her waist and effortlessly pulled her off of the pod. They landed on the floor, Joelle on top and shivering. 

 “It hurts!” Joelle cried. “Make it stop!”

 “Data, bring her to sickbay immediately!” the captain said. “Riker, get Counselor Troi out of here. I knew this was a big mistake.”

 Data lifted Joelle’s shivering body and carried her to the elevator. He found himself worrying about her as she slipped in and out of consciousness. 

 “It hurts,” she mumbled, her arms wrapped around his neck. “Make it stop… please.”

 “It will be alright,” Data said. “I am bringing you to sickbay where Doctor Crusher will take care of you.” 

 Joelle became silent, which made Data worry. Thankfully they had arrived at sickbay and as Data rushed in, Dr. Crusher was at his side immediately. 

 “What happened?” Crusher asked. 

 “She wanted to see the pod. Once she touched it, it seemed to have electrocuted her somehow,” Data explained. “She was in a lot of pain, Counselor Troi felt it all.” 

 Doctor Crusher looked at Data concerned. “Let’s hope she pulls through. Her pulse is weak and her vitals are unsteady. She is lucky to be alive.” 

 Data stared at an unconscious Joelle with a worried look. Crusher put her hand on his shoulders and smiled. 

 “I believe she will pull through,” Crusher said. 

 Just then Captain Picard and Riker came in, both with serious looks on their faces. Picard shook his head after looking at Joelle. He hit the foot of her bed in aggravation. 

 “I should not have let you talk me into allowing her to see the pod,” Picard said, pointing a finger at Data. 

 “Captain, all due respect,” Riker stepped in. “It’s not Data’s fault. Joelle wanted to see the pod, she wanted answers and a better understanding of what happened to her.”

 Picard shook his head. “I don’t care if she wanted to hop in the **** thing. It was a bad idea and now look at her.”

 “She is stable for now, Captain,” Doctor Crusher assured him. “Please don’t blame others. It’s not Data’s fault and it most definitely isn’t Joelle’s fault. I will let you all know when she wakes up.” 

 With that, Crusher shooed them out of sickbay, promising again that she would inform them when she woke up. Data pulled Riker aside as soon as they stepped into the hallway and Picard disappeared. 

 “Are you okay, Data?” Riker asked, laying a hand on Data’s shoulder. “I’m sure this must’ve affected you in some way.”

 “Commander,” Data began. “I am fine. But I was curious as to why Joelle’s face turned red before we had come to the cargo hold earlier.”

 Riker smirked. “What are you talking about, Data?”

 “I do believe Joelle and I had, what you would call, a moment,” Data said. “I hugged her to help her feel better and well…”

 Riker had a big smile on his face. “Data, I believe you’re asking me why she was blushing.” 

 “Blushing, sir?” Data asked. 

 “Yes. It’s when a person’s face turns red due to psychological reasons. It’s involuntary and is usually triggered through emotional stress associated with passion, embarrassment, shyness, etcetera,” Riker explained.

 “So, Joelle was blushing?” Data asked himself out loud. “But why do you think she would blush?”

 “That, Data, is something you will need to ask her,” Riker said, patting his comrade on the arm and walking off with a smile.

 He left Data in his thoughts. His mind went back to Joelle and what had happened to her. He felt worried about her and what made things worse was, he worried about feeling. The only person he could talk to that understood emotion more, was Counselor Troi. So he made his way to visit her.

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