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Past Meets Future

By @Renfestlovrr

Chapter 5

 “Come in,” Deanna said as she heard someone at her door.

 “Counselor,” Data said, entering. “You understand emotions better than anyone I know. I believe I am feeling worried about Joelle.”

 Deanna looked at him surprised. “Data, are you saying you have feelings for Joelle?”

 Data gave a chuckle. “Counselor Troi, I am incapable of feeling love and affection. But I do feel worried. And as of now, I am very worried about Ms. Carter.”

 Deanna patted the seat next to her. “Data, do you ever feel yourself thinking about Joelle a lot? Or has she come across your mind in little scenarios… romantically?”

 “Counselor, what does this have to do with me worrying about her?” Data asked, unsure how to truly answer the question.

 “I am feeling worry coming from you, yes,” Deanna said. “I am also feeling something else. I’m just trying to help you open your mind up to the possibility that you may have feelings for Joelle.” 

 Data stood up and paced back and forth, thinking hard about what she said. “I do not believe that to be likely.” 

 Deanna smiled. “Whatever the case may be, Data, I’m sure you’ll figure it out. But it is okay to worry. I’m worried about her too but I also feel her emotions. Right now she is frightened. Perhaps you should go and check on her.”

 Data nodded and made his way to sickbay, where Doctor Crusher was still examining Joelle. He stopped in the doorway, a strange feeling coming over him that he didn’t know he could feel. Seeing her laying there helplessly made him sad. 

 “Data, what brings you here?” Doctor Crusher asked, noticing him standing there through a mirror on the wall. 

 “I was just coming to check on Ms. Carter,” Data said, standing by Joelle’s bedside.

 “Well, she’s stable now. I believe she’s going to wake up soon,” Crusher said with a smile.

 “That is excellent news,” Data said, sitting on a chair by Joelle’s bed and grasping her hand.

 Doctor Crusher watched, one eyebrow raised. She was thinking the same thing Deanna was thinking earlier; Data seemed to have feelings for this girl. The doctor watched on as Data began talking to her. 

 “Ms. Carter, I know you’re afraid. I am here when you wake up,” Data said, softly. 

 Joelle groaned suddenly, tightening her grip on Data’s hand a little. Her eyes slowly fluttered open and she made eye contact with him. Her eyes started tearing up and she shot up in her bed and wrapped her arms around his neck. This surprised both Data and Doctor Crusher. 

 “I think I know what happened to me,” Joelle said, muffled. “Can you bring the captain here… I think he needs to hear this.” 

 “Captain Picard, you’re being requested to sickbay. Joelle is awake,” Doctor Crusher said over the computer. 

 It wasn’t too long after Crusher called for Picard, he showed up with Riker right behind him. As soon as they saw Joelle sitting up in bed drinking water, they both smiled from ear to ear. 

 “Joelle,” Picard said, taking her hand in his. “I am so glad to see you’re awake. How do you feel?” 

 “I think I know how I came to be here at this time,” Joelle cut straight to the point. “When I was walking out of my house to go to a job interview, I heard something strange behind me and when I turned around I saw a very bright light. Next thing I knew, I came too inside a strange room with odd looking creatures surrounding me and talking in a high pitched tone. It was hard for me to check out my surroundings because the room was very bright. Next thing that happened was an alarm started going off…” 

 Joelle paused to take a sip of water and to watch everyone’s facial expressions. She was starting to feel a level of excitement as she remembered the images that flooded through her mind once she had touched the pod. 

 “I wasn’t able to get off of the table I was laying on until one of the creatures untied me and led me to the pod. It looked afraid and it said something in its language. I remember being groggy once the pod left the ship I was being held at. The pod gained enough distance for me to see the ship suddenly explode. After the explosion, a multi-colored light was visible in front of me. Then I blacked out,” Joelle finished.

 “Time travel, Captain?” Riker asked, turning to a shocked Picard. “I thought time travel wasn’t possible.”

 “Did you say a multi-colored light? Was it in front of the pod outside or inside?” Picard asked, intrigued. 

 “Outside. It happened so quickly and I think the fast pace knocked me out,” Joelle said. 

 Picard tapped his chin with his index finger, clearly in deep thought. “Joelle, I am excited to tell you that you have travelled through time and space. The bad news is, to this day we have not yet figured out the secret to time travel.” 

 “Um, flux-capacitor?” Joelle said, as a reference to a movie she had seen. 

 “A what?” Picard asked. 

 “Oh, nevermind…” Joelle said, waving it off. 

 Picard was in deep thought. There could be a possible way to send her back to the past and the answers were within the pod.

 “Perhaps the pod is a time machine of some sort,” Riker said, speaking what Picard was thinking. “Maybe we’ve been examining it wrong and we need to take it apart.”

 “Send word to our crew down there. Tell them to be very thorough and if they find anything strange to report to the bridge,” Captain Picard instructed. “Data, if Joelle is well enough, look after her and take her to her quarters. I want to make sure she is well rested.”

 “Understood, Captain,” Data nodded and turned to Joelle who looked confused. “Are you alright, Ms. Carter?” 

 “Everything is just happening all at once,” she said, putting her hand to her forehead. 

 “It’s just overwhelming for you, Joelle,” Doctor Crusher. “Maybe you and Data could find something to do to get your mind off of things.”

 “I know just the thing,” Data said, offering his hand to Joelle. 

 He brought her to the Holodeck. Joelle looked at him concerned. He didn’t think she was ready to face going back to Michigan, did he? 

 “Data,” Joelle began. 

 “Computer, Paris in the 90’s,” Data said, watching Joelle’s facial expression go from worried to curious.

 Once the doors opened, Joelle walked through in total amazement. She had always wanted to go to Paris. Not knowing when and how she’d be sent back home made her worry, but right now, she needed to try and think happy thoughts and get her mind off of it. Data had a brilliant idea, that was for sure. 

 “I have always wanted to come here,” Joelle said, a big smile on her face as she turned to look at Data.

 “Bienvenue à Paris, Mademoiselle Joëlle,” Data said, waving his hand around. 

 “What?” Joelle asked, looking confused. 

 Data chuckled. “Welcome to Paris, Ms. Joelle.” 

 She grinned and wrapped her arms around his neck. Just then a violinist began to play as he saw them embracing. Joelle backed away enough to look at Data with embarrassment. 

 “Would you like to dance with me?” Data asked. 

 “I’m not quite sure how to…” she admitted. 

 “Not to worry, I will lead and you follow,” Data said, taking her hand in his and placing his other hand on her waist. 

 Data couldn’t stop staring at Joelle as she blushed again. Her cheeks were champagne pink and it was like a poem to a gentle soul. Joelle avoided eye contact with him the rest of the dance and kept her eyes busy by looking at her feet. 

 “Data, what do you find enjoyable in life?” Joelle asked, as they walked the streets of Paris.

 “I enjoy chess and petting my cat,” Data said.

 Joelle looked at him surprised. “I didn’t know you had a cat.”

 “Of course. Her name is Spot,” he said, looking up into the dark sky. “She has patterns on her fur with spots.” 

 “I want to meet her, I love cats,” Joelle said with a smile. “They are my favorite animals, including horses and dogs.” 

 “I find all animals most intriguing. But the cat is the animal that fascinates me the most,” Data added.

 “I think our conversations are interesting,” Joelle said, looking at her feet. “I’m grateful for you taking me here, Data.”

 “I thought this would help take your mind off of everything that is going on,” Data admitted. 

 Joelle sighed. “Thank you for this. But I can’t avoid what’s happened forever. And I know I’ll have to face going into the apartment and see my parents. It’s just very hard for me right now. I don’t even know if you will be able to understand that pod and if it can get me back home. I must face the facts, Data… I may never see my family again.” 

 Data stopped walking, causing Joelle to collide into his back. He turned to face her, searching her eyes. His eyes locked onto hers. Joelle held the gaze and broke away to look around as she felt like his stare was seeing into her very soul. 

 “Ms. Carter,” he said calmly. “I have a lot of trust with the crew on the Enterprise. If they say they can find a way, you can believe that. Although they may not have all of the answers they need, I can assure you that they will find them.” 

 “Your optimism is deeply appreciated,” Joelle said, feeling ashamed for speaking the way she did. 

 “It is alright,” Data said, resting a hand on her cheek. “I am not angry with you. That is an emotion I do not have. But please try to stay positive. Your thoughts become your reality, as Counselor Troi had once said.”

 “She’s very wise,” Joelle said, a small smile forming. 

 They both didn’t realize Data was still holding Joelle’s cheek in his hand. Joelle leaned into his touch and closed her eyes to take it in. Could falling for an android actually be possible? She was human and sometimes the human heart can’t help it. But how did he feel, she wondered? Could there be something there as to the reasons for his kindness and physical touch? 

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