I remember a time, when Data was very young. He came to me one one evening, the crew knew I didn’t leave my ready room until about 18:00 hours or so.
“I wonder if I could have a word with you, Captain.” he said, in his most charming-android manner.
“Yes Data, of course, come in.” I said. I felt it was strange how formal he could often be, even after 7 years of service together and yet it was also quite perfect.
“What’s on your mind?”
“Sir, I am still confused about something and I don’t know what to do.”
I was immediately intrigued of course, he had such a fire in his eyes at that moment and I couldn’t feel anything but deep friendship and profound interest. I also had a sense of relief as I knew this conversation was on the horizon.
“Data, I have a feeling, I know where this is going.”
“Sir, I don’t think you do.”
“It’s perfectly all right to be confused, Data, we all go through it, I remember that as a young man, I myself had very confused feelings for a colleague of-“
“-Sir! It’s nothing like that.”
I misjudged the whole situation. I think I must’ve been wide eyed and visibly embarrassed at this point. I was absolutely certain Data was going to tell me he was dating a younger male crew member that I noticed he took an interest in as of late.
“Pardon me.” I then gave him the floor as it were.
“Sir, I have learned that fear is a prominent emotion for human beings and I cannot understand why this is advantageous. I have had to reprogram my emotion chip to inhibit my fear. My diagnostics show that the chip is putting out experiences of fear consistent with that of any human, yet for me, sir, it is intolerable. How do humans live with such fear?”
Compelling, I had to really think about this.
“Data, fear is something that every living being which can experience emotions is going to have to live with if its going to survive. You’re going to have to be specific if you require my accurate advice.”
“Thank you sir, for example; I came to the realization of just how fragile I actually am. Prior to gaining an emotion chip, I accepted that my body was expendable and I had no interest in being alive one way or another. Now I constantly fear that I will somehow injure myself or become fatally damaged. I am in constant fear of my surroundings.”
“Data, I keep forgetting that Humans and other species like us, have stories to help us deal with this kind of thing. But there aren’t a lot of stories about what to do if you just got feelings after not having them.”
“Fascinating, Captain, are you suggesting that my experience is somehow singular?”
“Yes and no. "The reality of data's dilemma was completely understandable to any human who had been around children or recalled their youth vividly.
"I think for human children emotions are very intense and then they even out over time with experiences, your time with emotions is probably equivalent to a what a teenager may experience on Earth. I think you should just give it time. And watch many films, vulcan melodramas are particularly interesting although I recommend Nicholas Nickleby and perhaps Four weddings and a funeral.”
Data looked at once baffled and pleased, so I knew I did something right.
“Thank you captain, may I ask what made you select these refernces in particular and-“
“-And goodnight Data.”
I smiled at him. He smiled back, “Goodnight Sir.”
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