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Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment
Star Trek is not mine and I make no claim on it

It Never Happened

The Tsiolkovsky incident: let us assume that, instead of strolling back onto the bridge for business as usual the instant the cure became effective, the crew of the Enterprise had a slightly longer period in which to get back to normal. Overnight, say.

It had been a long, confusing and hazardous day. But now Starfleet orderliness had been restored throughout the ship, and the crew had shaken off their confusion and made all tidy again. In the relaxation lounge, two of the bridge officers were discussing that day’s events, under the guise of a game of chess.

"My most recent self-diagnostic confirms that all my processors have resumed normal function. However, information contained in a number of storage cells is somewhat indistinct. It would appear to be the result of the action of the chemical imbalance on my memory circuits."

"I feel kinda blurry about most of it myself," Lieutenant LaForge agreed. "I guess that’s what happens when you get drunk. No " seeing his android friend’s mouth open with an automatic refutation, Geordi held a hand up for silence, " I know we weren’t exactly drunk, but it’s a pretty accurate description of what happened."

"Intoxication would appear to be the closest analogy," Data admitted, and paused. "Geordi, will all the humans who were affected by the Tsiolkovsky problem experience a similar memory loss?"

"I don’t know, Data. It’s possible. Why?"

The android’s face blanked. "I do not wish to react inappropriately," he stated. "Some of the behaviour exhibited by crew members during the recent difficulty was... unusual."

"Conduct unbecoming a Starfleet officer, you mean!" LaForge chuckled. "Like sitting on the floor playing with computer chips! You’re right, Data. I’ll bet most of the people on this ship either have forgotten what they did or wish they could forget. It’d probably be tactful not to mention it."

Data nodded slightly, and moved a crucial bishop.

"May I join you gentlemen?"

"Of course, Lieutenant. Please sit down." Data replied, rising politely until the Security Chief was seated.

Tasha looked at the multilevel chessboard with disfavour. "It looks like you’re in trouble, Geordi."

"I know," the helmsman sighed. "I keep telling myself I’ll beat him one of these days."

"I have assimilated the winning strategies devised by seventy-four grand masters, Geordi. The likelihood of your achieving victory is—"

"No, Data, don’t tell me, I’ll just get depressed." Geordi moved a piece, and huffed in frustration at the android’s immediate riposte.

"I think Data knows all the best moves," said Tasha, thoughtfully.

"Yeah, but I’m not beaten yet," retorted Geordi, and scowled at the board.

Data cocked his head and raised his pale eyebrows. "Geordi, we have played eleven games since you joined the crew of the Enterprise, and you have not yet achieved a victory, or even a draw."

"Your programming is superior in lots of ways," murmured Tasha.

LaForge muttered something, of which the only audible words were "tact" and "adjustment".

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Data replied to the Security Chief. "The game of chess, in its multiple forms, is particularly suited to the positronic brain and information retrieval systems I possess. It would seem I have a considerable advantage over most human players."

"I’d say you have quite a few advantages over most humans," she told him.

The young helmsman sighed and reached for his queen.

"An interesting move, Geordi," the second officer commented. "You are adopting an unusual counter-strategy. However..."

LaForge groaned in dismay at Data’s move.

"Somehow I expected you to rise to the occasion," said Tasha, leaning forward for a better view.

"Checkmate in seven moves," the android said calmly. "Geordi, you have improved considerably since our last game. This game has lasted for four more moves than your previous best. Do you wish me to demonstrate the errors you made?"

"Not right now, thanks, Data," said LaForge, standing up, "It’s time for me to turn in. Don’t want to be yawning on duty tomorrow." And suiting action to the words, he left.

The android’s pallid face took on a momentarily crestfallen expression. He looked earnestly at Tasha. "Lieutenant, have I committed an error? I understood that Geordi hoped to improve his performance at chess, but he does not wish to study the game we have just played."

"I’d really prefer you to call me Tasha, when we’re off duty like this. And as to Geordi, well, Data, nobody likes to lose. It’s a human failing."

The android’s brow creased as he strove to understand. "I have offered to restrict my chess program to a level more compatible with Geordi’s when we play, but he has so far declined to accept."

"I can’t say I blame him." The blonde woman smiled at him and stroked her fingertips over the back of his hand. "Who wouldn’t want to play with an expert, given the chance?"

"Geordi does not appear to derive much pleasure from the experience," the android observed.

"That’s because he’s playing chess," she said.

"You do not care for chess, Tasha?"

"No thanks," she told him. "I prefer more, mm, physical recreation."

"Then I will put the board away," said Data. Tasha’s eyes followed the graceful movement of his gilded hands.

"I guess it’s time for me to turn in as well," she said, stretching provocatively in her chair before getting to her feet. "Would you see me back to my quarters, Data?"

He looked startled, but acquiesced. As they walked through the ship’s quiet corridors, Tasha wound her left arm through his right, and gave him a companionable squeeze.

In the doorway to her quarters, she turned and smiled at him. "Won’t you come in?"

"It is late," Data replied politely. "I should not keep you from sleeping or else you, too, may be yawning on duty tomorrow. Good night, Tasha. I will see you on the bridge." He walked smoothly away towards his own quarters.

Behind her closed door, Tasha Yar shrieked with frustration and fury, broke several small objects against the wall, and cursed fluently all androids who were unable to accept a simple invitation. Which was odd, really, as she was acquainted with only one. But if he could forget the whole thing, well, so could she.

Somewhat later, when Lt Cdr Data had reviewed and analysed the evening’s events, he began to wonder whether he had perhaps assessed the situation incorrectly. Was it possible that Lieutenant Yar did not regret her... unusual behaviour? Was it possible that she wished to repeat the altogether remarkable experience they had shared? He would observe her very carefully during their next shift.

* * *

From the moment she strode confidently onto the bridge, Data kept a furtive watch on Lieutenant Yar’s behaviour, looking to detect signs of the gentler, friendlier Tasha he had seen mere hours earlier.

She caught his eye. She wished to speak to him.


It seemed his original assessment had been correct, after all.



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