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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

Between SemiQuavers

Ten-Forward was hushed. A good-sized audience — all the bridge crew (except Worf, who had a rather canine ear for music) were in attendance, as well as some three dozen other persons, friends and family of the performers, perhaps even music-lovers. The eyes of the three other members of the quartet were intent upon him, waiting for the cue. Data raised his bow, raised an eyebrow, and began.

* * *

There was an instant of disorientation, and Data blinked to find himself in an unfamiliar room. In fact, a bedroom. He was seated on the edge of a bed of immense size, vast and circular and grandly draped with plush curtains and swathes of silk. The android lowered his arms; the violin had not travelled with him to — wherever he now was.

Not altogether to his surprise, Data found he was not alone.

“I hope you enjoyed your laugh, Data.” Dressed, as was his wont, in a Starfleet Captain’s uniform, the being lounged against the door with his arms folded and an expression of extreme smugness on his face.


“Surprised to see me?”

“Please return me to the Enterprise immediately.”

“Oh, don’t make such a fuss,” Q retorted, somewhat exaggeratedly. “Nobody’s going to notice you’re missing. I’ve created a little pocket in the fabric of time. You won’t miss a single semiquaver.”

“What is your purpose in kidnapping me in this way?”

“I thought we could have a little... talk,” Q replied with a quirky smile.

“I do not believe we have anything to discuss,” the android replied.

“Well, I disagree.” Q unfolded his arms and strolled towards the android. “It occurred to me that giving you a hearty laugh wasn’t quite sufficient to repay you for saving my life.”

“I do not require recompense of any kind for saving your life, Q. I would have done the same for any sentient being.”

“But I want to reward you,” Q replied.

“It is unnecessary to offer me further reward. The experience of laughter was... a wonderful gift.”

“Oh, but laughter is such a trivial thing,” said the omnipotent one, dismissively. “I was thinking of something much more memorable.”

Data’s head twitched as he considered the statement. “You stated before you left the Enterprise that you were going to give me ‘something very special’. You did not appear at that stage to regard it as a trivial matter. Therefore I am forced to the conclusion that your present kidnapping of me is for some other reason which you have not disclosed.”

“All right Data, I’ll be honest with you,” said Q mendaciously. “I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought, and I’ve concluded I just wasn’t generous enough. After all, this is My life we’re talking about. So I’m going to reward you with pleasure, Data. You see, I’ve become intrigued with this human form of physical behaviour called sex, so I’ve decided to try it. With you.”

Data’s expression grew subtly wary. “May I ask why you wish to explore sexual behaviour with me? I am, after all, an android. Would it not be more appropriate for you to experiment with a human being?

“Certainly not,” Q replied, affronted. Why should this android, this artificial creature, feel entitled to question the motives of a Q? “Humans can be so judgmental. And suspicious, don’t forget suspicious. They never seem to quite trust me, somehow.”

The android’s expression seemed to indicate that this suspicion was not the sole preserve of his organic crewmates.

“Now you,” Q continued, “you aren’t like them. You’re so beguilingly innocent, Data. Everyone else on that ship is a dreadful cynic. But you... there’s something very appealing in the idea of—” he braced himself for the gruesome phrase “—making love to someone as innocent as you.”

“If, as you imply, you are yourself inexperienced in matters of human passion, it seems unlikely you would select as an instructor someone you perceive as innocent,” Data pointed out, rather caustically, Q thought.

“Nobody wants to be just one of the crowd,” he pouted. “You and I could have a very special experience. We could learn together.”

“You are under a misapprehension, Q. I am already fully conversant with human sexual practice. I am programmed with amatory techniques from seven major cultural streams, including a catalogue of four hundred and twenty-nine separate positions and the use of auxiliary equipment.”

“Then you know what I’m talking about!” said Q delightedly. Perhaps he was getting somewhere. “Isn’t it just awful to see other people doing something and to have no idea why? These humans place such emphasis on fucking, some of them think about it all the time. Take Riker, for instance, though if you ask me, I don’t know why anyone would bother. Oh, I’ve watched them, sometimes, humping away and getting all sweaty and sticky and making strange animal noises. I really don’t see the appeal. There must be some reason why they do it. Won’t you help me find out what it is?”

“I have no wish to engage in sex with you.”

Q assumed a wounded expression. But he certainly was not going to give up that easily. “I bet you haven’t tried them all.”

The android looked back at him, warily.

“All those four hundred and twenty-nine positions. If you hadn’t mentioned them I wouldn’t even know they existed, not from watching the humans on that ship of yours. They’re so dull and unimaginative, most of them.” After a telling pause, Q prodded further. “Just how many have you tried, Data?”

The android made no reply.

“Just how many of those wonderful humans you so much desire to emulate have actually deigned to share this experience with you?” Data remained stubbornly silent. “Oh, don’t bother to tell me. I can guess. Here you are, programmed with all these wonderful functions, and you’ve never had the chance to try any of it, have you?”

“It... never happened,” the android whispered.

Q, triumph beginning to surge through him, moved closer, until he stood mere millimetres from the android, and lowered his voice temptingly. “Don’t you get curious, Data? Don’t you want to know what it’s like? Don’t you want to know why the humans spend so much of their time doing it, and most of the rest of the time thinking about it? I’m curious, Data. Now that I’ve tried on a real human body, now I’ve felt hunger, pain, weariness, I want to try fucking too. This curiosity, it’s like an itch. I need someone to scratch it with. Surely you can understand that? Or don’t you have any curiosity circuits?”

“I believe curiosity is encoded at a fundamental level within my positronic net,” Data said, almost grudgingly. “But curiosity is not a sufficient reason to engage in sex with another being. There is an emotional component to most human lovemaking which I am unequipped to provide. Besides, I am unconvinced of your sincerity.”

Q looked reproachful. “Come now, Data! Don’t tell me you’re going to be swayed by silly emotional responses? You don’t need that nonsense, you’re such a deliciously logical being. Surely you can see I’m serious?”

Data’s head tilted as he considered the matter. “Logically speaking, Q, as you have treated the crew of the Enterprise, myself included, in an arbitrary and capricious manner in the past, it would be unwise to trust you in the current situation.”

“Oh.” Q thought for a moment. “What if I promise to be good? Really, really good?”

Ignoring the possible ramifications of that statement — of which, as an android, he might have been unaware — Data looked Q in the eye and replied chidingly: “You keep or break your word at your own whim, Q. I can place no value in a promise you may choose to renege on at any moment.”

Q paused. The android seemed to have an endless line in refusals. Perhaps it was time to change tactics.

“That’s what I like about you, Data. You’re so... honest. So straightforward. But tell me, do you really think I couldn’t compel you to do as I want, if I chose?”

There was a short pause. “You have done so in the past,” Data admitted.

“But this time, I’m not forcing you to do anything. I’m asking. Asking for your help. All I want is a little, simple, human pleasure. Won’t you try it, just to please me?”

“But I have no desire to please you,” the android stated.

Really, this was becoming annoying! Q strove with himself in an unaccustomed effort to subdue his natural reactions. It would be too tiresome to have to begin at the beginning again, when he was making such progress.

“Then I shall please you, Data. I take it you have no objection to that?” In a flash — literally in a flash — both were naked. Omnipotent beings had no need to struggle with tiresome zippers. Or velcro. Or—eugh —socks.

The android was quite an appealing sight, Q decided. That artificial body was free of the irregularities of the average human physique, and there was much to be said for a metallic sheen instead of lumpen and all-too-frequently hairy flesh. Q preened at the sleekness of his own firm musculature, and toyed briefly with the idea of mimicking Data’s android gold, but decided to stick with human. It was, after all, the physicality of human sex he wanted to experience, not an artificial substitute.

Data was looking at him steadily, obviously not willing to make the slightest move. Well, Q was going to show this android just how mind-staggeringly good a Q could be at — anything at all. A smile illuminated Q’s face, a smile so wide and genuine and sincere that it would probably have convinced a human that the omnipotent being before him was honestly delighted. Data, lacking emotional perception, was not convinced, but was, it seemed, sufficiently intrigued to permit his companion to proceed.

Q ran a hand down the android’s torso. It was warm. Smooth. An odd sensation, Q’s human fingertips conveyed, something between steel and silk. With little irregularities — ah, yes. Nipples. Now, why in the name of the infinite would an android need nipples?

But Q stroked them anyway, tickled them against his palms, gave a casual tweak, and was rather gratified to discover that the insignificant little nubs tautened into points. See, he could do this! Nothing to it. Then he was distracted by an odd sensation of warmth in his groin. Odd, but definitely pleasant. Ah! His sex organ was swelling.

Data’s, however, was not.

Not yet!

Q decided to waste no more time on peripherals. He grasped the android’s coppery penis in both hands and squeezed firmly — and was considerably surprised when his hands were forcibly separated from the unresponsive appendage. Data’s fingers held Q’s wrists well away from anyone’s genitals as he spoke.

“That would have incapacitated a human male.”

“Well, but...” Q stuttered defensively. “You’re not human.”

“Fortunately, no. However, my sexuality program is designed to mimic the human response. Your attempt to give me pleasure was unsuccessful. Perhaps you will now return me to the Enterprise.”

“But we haven’t done anything yet!” Q yelped. Don’t say he was back to square one after all his hard work! “Wait! Let me try that again, Data. I said I was going to please you, didn’t I? You - you’ll just have to tell me what to do.”

“It would be more appropriate for you to learn by experience, Q,” the android said. Hah! At last, he was going to have Data where he wanted him, Q thought. “I suggest you use one hand on your own cock and the other on mine,” the android continued unexpectedly. “That way you will learn which actions impart pleasurable sensations and which do not.”

That sounded... reasonable. It wasn’t what he’d originally had in mind, but Data was proving more difficult than he had anticipated. And besides, it seemed like a good idea. Interestedly, Q slid his left hand down to his own penis, which by now was really quite firm, and was pointing away from his own body, convenient for his grip.

The feel of a hand round his own sex organ was quite delightful! Who would have guessed the humans had anything this agreeable to play with! Q slid his grasp experimentally up and down the sturdy length. Definitely worth doing. With a more cautious approach this time, he closed his fingers over the android’s penis and squeezed gently. It was difficult to decide how best to get Data’s organ up to the same state as his own, but Q was beginning to understand how to proceed. He started with small, quick back-and-forth motions; slid the synthetic foreskin back to reveal the smooth round head and swirled the pad of his thumb over the exposed flesh. Data made no sound, but Q smirked anyway. The android’s sex organ was responding, filling and rising as he continued to minister, now to the lengthening shaft, now to the head.

Now Q had two stiff, fully erect penises to play with. He slid his hands along them both, relishing the heat of that straining, stretched flesh against his palms, duplicating every motion. Every squeeze, every glide, every rhythmic pistoning sent streaks of pleasure through his mind as well has his groin, multiplying the sensation with the certainty that Data was experiencing it too.

He wanted more. More input, more sensation. Q pressed his body against the android, their cocks still enclosed in his eager fists. Data’s eyes were closed, no, not closed, a tiny citrine glint shone through the fringe of his long, pale lashes. His mouth was open, lips parted involuntarily, and his respiratory function had accelerated. Q, delighted with this confirmation of his own success, lowered his head and kissed those parted lips. Ran his tongue-tip delicately around the android’s passive mouth. Then, impatient, he trailed his mouth along the golden jaw, down Data’s neck, tasted the indefinable but pleasing flavour, suckled like a neophyte vampire. Those ridiculous, unnecessary nipples tempted him. Q’s hands worked faster as he bent to lave the tiny points with his tongue, tease them with careful teeth.

There seemed to be a wetness on the end of Data’s cock. Q glanced down and noticed a droplet glistening from the small opening at the end. His own cock had not produced a similar liquid. Intrigued, Q spread the silky stuff over the android’s glans, his fingers exploring the contrast in texture between his own flesh and this new slipperiness. A fresh droplet appeared on Data’s cock; Q’s fingers claimed it, then he swapped hands and spread the liquid over his own twitching organ. Ah... Q found himself thrusting his hips forward as his hands worked the two cocks faster and more urgently. This extraordinary tension, this irresistible sensation, had him captured as firmly as Data in the grasp that brought them simultaneously higher.

“You may fuck me, if you wish, Q.”

Q was astonished by the quiet statement. Then the fleeting thought passed, overwhelmed by a huge desire to do as Data had suggested.

“If you stimulate me further with your hand, there will be sufficient ejaculate to lubricate you for penetration.” Such a calm, soft voice - such an offer! Q devoted both his hands to Data’s penis, sliding up and down the entire length with eager, determined strokes, briefly devoting one hand to that sensitive foreskin, exploring tip and root and balls, then hard, fast, sure strokes until there was a jolting, frantic response and a gush of golden liquid over his hands.

Data stepped back to the bed, and lay with his knees raised, mutely offering. Almost feverishly, Q slathered the warm syrup over his rigid cock,and knelt on the bed. He knew - he had witnessed it often enough - he knew what to do, he wanted it, right now more than anything in the universe, he—

Data reached a hand between their bodies and guided Q’s penis, pressing the taut, slick head against the entrance to his body. Their eyes met: Data said nothing, but raised his eyebrows faintly. Q pushed slowly forward - incredible. The sensation, a warm glove for his cock, snugger than a hand, circumferent pressure, really quite remarkable. The lubrication of Data’s ejaculate allowed his cock to slide in, cleaving a gradual path. Q drew himself carefully backwards, then forwards again: the slow friction of his penetration in that tight opening brought a pleasure so intense that his only thoughts were of prolonging the pleasure, of bringing it to a peak.

His hands slid to the irresistible shadowed depressions at the sides of Data’s butt, caressed Data’s thighs and firm, small cheeks, while he thrust in steady, regular motion. His cock felt as though it had swelled to twice its previous size, squeezed by the close, tight muscles and the rhythmic fucking friction. He could not stop, never never stop, must have more - a rushing gush of sensation pulsed through him, he thrust desperately, arching his back and clutching Data’s hips to him, and climaxed with a great shout.

Waves of pleasure back-washed through him, and his clenched muscles relaxed into strengthlessness. Lying cradled between Data’s knees, Q felt the blood thumping noisily through his limbs, and reluctant understanding of this human obsession flooding into his mind.

However, it did not take him long to get his breath back. And to begin feeling quite... frisky again. No sense being omnipotent if you didn’t bend the rules a little—he might be wearing the body of a human male, but that was no reason why he should be restricted by human frailty.

Data was still displaying a remarkable reluctance to - what? Not to co-operate, he seemed to be doing that quite nicely, Q acknowledged, fingering the supine android’s resplendent cock, now pointing skyward like an ornamental torpedo. But the android was just not... eager enough. Q was determined that Data should feel the same helpless pleasure that he himself had just experienced. After all, if a mere android could give *him* such an incredible feeling, he could certainly give it to the android.

Such a fascinating thing, a cock. A beautiful, hard, fat cock, still tacky with the pale oily liquid that had spilled from it. Q stroked it idly, following the contour of the long vein towards the corrugated sac of the scrotum, then, on an unexplained impulse, gave it a swipe with his tongue. Twin reactions: a startled twitch of the penis and a tiny gasp from the android. Very gratifying, Q thought smugly, and reapplied his tongue.

Very soon he was wondering why he hadn’t thought of this sooner.

Then there was a push at his shoulder, a businesslike rearrangement, and the two of them were lying on their sides, each with his head resting the other’s updrawn thigh, each with his hands busy and his mouth full. No sooner had Q engulfed the head of the android’s penis in his mouth, no sooner was he slithering his tongue across it in exploration, tugging and sliding, than he felt the matching sensations of his own cock being captured by a warm, wet mouth, licked and sipped and slurped and sucked. Data’s hand slid along Q’s rigid shaft, slowly up... then hard and fast. Q copied the motion, and initiated his own exploration of the taut ridge between cock and balls. It was as though he were caressing himself, yet it was more exciting still to be touched by the other, with the occasional surprise of an unexpected innovation.

When he felt the exquisite torment of a finger trailing delicately at the hypersensitive perineal skin behind his scrotum, Q sent an exploratory hand to reciprocate. A saliva-wet fingertip pressed into him, an invasion, unexpected but - after the initial surprise - eagerly welcomed. Q wriggled, tried to reposition his thighs, splaying himself to allow the android’s hand an easier path, even while his own finger sought the opening his cock had so recently filled. But he was losing the reciprocity, so overwhelmed by the sensations of Data’s mouth on his cock and Data’s fingertip sliding in and out of his ass that he could make no attempt to give Data that same pleasure; he clutched at the android’s firm buttocks and writhed, helpless with pleasure. More, more...

“Fuck me, Data! Put it in me—I want to feel it,” Q demanded. “I want to know what you felt. Do it!”

The android raised his head. “I do not believe saliva will be a sufficient lubricant. If—"

A pot of gel appeared on the bed beside them. Data made a small, pleased noise and withdrew himself from the tangle of Q’s limbs. Face-down on the bed, his cock throbbing against the warmed silk sheets, Q waited avidly for the android to finish anointing himself.

A finger, newly cold with gel—why hadn’t he thought to heat it?—insinuated itself past the tight puckered opening of Q’s ass. No teasing fingertip this time, the whole slender length, and Q trembled at the mixture of apprehension and sensation. Data’s cock was bigger than - Data’s cock was poised at the entrance now, he could feel it there, hot. (Had the android’s own body heat done that?) Hands were parting his buttocks, there was steady, relentless pressure, and Q moaned as the rigid head slowly began to fill him. Slow, gradual, irresistible, it forged up inside him, drew back, and thrust again. How could Data have such control? Q was shuddering, wanting to push himself harder against that hard impalement, but his legs were too weak to move.

Or was it the bed? He had provided a gel-bed, the ultimate in comfort on humanoid worlds, but the obliging stuff flowed around him and gave him no purchase.

So - instead they were lying on a hard wooden frame, with Q’s jerking cock free in the space between two of the slats. As he clung to the boards, Data’s hand came round to engulf his erection, sliding up and down in a slow, deliberate rhythm that matched the thrusts into his ass. Q found himself babbling incoherently, unable to frame words, the excitement building through his body as Data pushed him relentlessly towards the climax—not accelerating his penetration but lengthening it, withdrawing almost all his shaft then pressing back to the hilt, again and again as his hand worked on Q’s cock. The explosion came like a nova, blinding him to anything but the ecstasy rushing through his body as he ejaculated in great spurts, until all his energy was spent and he collapsed against the hard boards and gulped air.

Little tremors of pleasure shook through him as Data withdrew carefully. There were creaking noises as Data eased himself from the wooden frame, but Q lay still, limp and exhausted, too leaden to move his head and see what the android was doing. With one great heave he managed to turn himself over to lie sprawled on his back.


Surprised but grateful, Q sat up slowly to drink. He was thirsty, but how had Data known?

“You provided a pitcher and a glass. I surmised that you were supplying your own need,” Data replied when questioned.

“Just one more little thing we of the Continuum excel at,” said Q smugly, lying back. He was particularly pleased with himself. Seldom had he experienced such a sensation of well-being. Did ordinary human beings manage to endure such pleasure? Somehow, he doubted it.

How wise to have selected Data as a mate for this experiment. Though it hadn’t occurred to him at the time - he’d simply required an appealing partner who could keep a secret, who wasn’t going to be amused by his inexperience, and who would not preach to him of morality - the android’s artificial nature made him the obvious choice, the only one aboard the Enterprise who had a chance of keeping up with him. Already the, mmm, the sap was rising again. A few more minutes and he’d be ready to start anew. Languidly he stretched, enjoying the sheer physicality of this human shape. Strange to think that he’d despised humans for their humble flesh.

His right hand was captured by Data, who pressed an open-mouthed kiss into the palm and then—what? Q hardly had time to react before his left hand was captured too. Then he found himself being fastened by the legs; Data was stretching him into an X-shape over the frame. Q twisted his head around and saw that ropes, quite thin and supple, were bound firmly round his wrists and the corner posts of the wooden bed.

“Data! What are you doing?”

The android spared him an enigmatic look, but said nothing.

“I demand that you release me at once!”

Data put his hand over his captive’s lips, then smoothed it slowly over Q’s chest and stomach and down one strong thigh. Then he shook his head. Short on conversation the android might be, but it was clear he had no intention of releasing his prisoner.

Q lapsed into indignant silence. He gave an investigative tug with each limb in turn. There was effectively no slack - he was tied there, helpless, until Data chose to undo the ropes. But this was absurd - he could free himself whenever he chose, all it took was a thought and he could have Data here instead, tethered like a sacrifice... Data knew that. Data knew he could free himself... Q tugged at the ropes again. The ropes were no more yielding than they had been the first time. He tried to bring his arms down, tried to close his legs together, tensing his muscles against the resistance, all to no effect. Well, almost no effect. As his limbs tightened, he felt other muscles tightening, too. It was quite... interesting, this helplessness. And of course, he could free himself, whenever he chose.

But perhaps he might just wait and see what Data was going to do?

Data stood at the end of the bed, beyond Q’s splayed legs. With a tiny almost-smile on his face, he sent his left hand on a careful tour of his golden torso, skimming gradually downward until it settled around his gleaming erection. Q watched, fascinated, as the android began to masturbate in a leisurely way, rubbing his cock with full hand, rigid fingers, fingertips, both hands, either hand; Data’s hips began to thrust in slow rhythm as he played with his gorgeous cock, and Q found himself tensing to the same beat. His own penis was fully erect, and wanted to be touched. Q’s mouth was dry, he licked his lips as he watched Data’s hands moving on Data’s cock, and wanted them on his own.

“Touch me, Data! I want—" The android shook his head. Q strove ineffectually against the ropes. “Then let me do that.” He was hypnotised by the sight. Already he could see a droplet glistening. He licked his lips again.

A sudden touch made Q flinch in surprise—a hand, on one of his tethered feet. Data stroked the foot lovingly, smoothed over the top with his strong, elegant hands, traced a tormenting finger along the sole, pulled gently on each toe from the smallest to the largest. Q gasped and squeaked at the stimuli which he could not evade despite his struggles. It was as though he had developed a new sex organ, every nerve was fizzing a message directly to his groin. Then Data’s mouth slid over the biggest toe, he lavished attention on it as though it were Q’s cock, and Q thrashed frantically but uselessly against the ropes, helpless to escape the relentless heights of sensation.

And then, the other foot.

And then, as Q pleaded for relief, then at last those golden hands began to glide up his leg, inching their way towards the straining, throbbing erection. Data was kneeling between his legs now, a hand creeping along each thigh until - until - until they slid up the sides of his hips and swept up across his taut belly and over his chest, paying a careful homage to each tiny tight nipple. Q moaned. Fingers traced across his lips, featherlight, trickled over his cheeks and nostrils and eyelids, leaving fiery lines of electrified nerves. Q sought to kiss the hand as it trailed over his face, stretched his tongue to taste the android’s skin. Up over shoulders and along his arms the hands went, and down slid the fingernails, setting the nerves alight as they passed.

Data knelt back on his heels and surveyed his captive. Q’s hips lifted, he arched himself off the bed, offering his cock for Data’s attention. The android allowed a slight smile to escape him, and moved backwards, then lowered his head.

Q’s eager encouragement changed into sharp ecstatic cries as the android’s tongue began to lick at his tight-drawn balls. Data’s hands crept under his thighs and lifted Q’s hips off the wooden slats, and his tongue began to flicker over the helpless prisoner’s puckered sphincter, to penetrate slickly.

At last—at last!—the golden head moved up, and his hands slithered round and up and fastened themselves onto Q’s straining shaft. Q was ready to explode, but Data found a particular spot and pressed firmly, and Q discovered that he was not quite ready to orgasm, not yet. The hands began stroking him, gripping tightly to his throbbing erection, but with a slow, tormenting rhythm. Q’s entire body seemed alight, every individual nerve vibrating like a violin string, and all of them knotting in his groin.

A change to the rhythm—seven strokes, pumping quick and hard - then back to the first pattern. Q was beyond pleading, he had no breath to speak, he was conscious of nothing but the urgency of his need and the pressure building and building through his body. His cock seemed rooted in the extremes of his limbs, his whole body was one huge penis, stretched and held taut by the ropes and striving upward even as his erection strained and pulsed under Data’s ministrations. Data’s hands moved faster, harder, pushing at last toward a climax that gathered like a tsunami and exploded up and out in a great fountain, on and on and on the ecstasy pumped through him until he was drained of all energy and utterly spent.

Q’s human body hauled in great gulps of breath as he lay, boneless, and Data released his arms and legs. The android sat on the edge of the wooden bed and drew the exhausted Q to him in a gentle embrace.

After an indeterminable time they found themselves seated once more on the gel bed. Data tucked the silken covers over Q, and began to get dressed.

“You’re leaving? So soon?” said Q, with most of his usual self-command.

“I am supposed to be playing the violin,” Data reminded him. “If you would return me to the Enterprise..?”

“Oh, have it your own way.” Q was not entirely sorry to see Data leave. He might - if he thought about it for a while - decide to take umbrage at being tied up. Or perhaps he’d just take a little time to... reflect on what he’d just experienced. There was a lot to consider. Perhaps he might even decide to re-experience some of the moments, the most pleasurable ones. If he could decide which they were. “Aren’t you going to thank me?”

The android looked at him with what, on a being capable of emotion, might well have been described as a reproachful expression.

“After all,” Q went on, “without me you’d never have had the chance to try out your techniques, would you?”

Eyebrows flickered on that pale forehead. “Thank you, Q.”

Q got to his feet. “And thank you, Data. I’m glad to see I made the right choice when I selected you. But before you go—"

Data looked at him with extreme wariness.

“Tell me...” Q examined his fingernails with idle interest, “what made you decide to tie me to the bed?”

“A person who is tied up can be forced to receive extremes of pleasure which he would otherwise be unable to tolerate. In addition, many people derive satisfaction from being restrained. I surmised that you would enjoy it.”

Q knew, and knew that Data knew, he had indeed enjoyed it, if so feeble a description could be said to apply. But he wasn’t willing to admit it to anyone outside the Continuum. “I don’t know how you could possible have decided I would enjoy it,” he said petulantly, and raised his hand to send Data home.

Data smiled faintly. “I could not have used the ropes, Q, if you had not provided them.”

* * *

An instant of disorientation. Data blinked.

Ten-Forward was hushed. There was a good-sized audience in attendance. The eyes of the other three members of the quartet were upon him, waiting for his signal to start the second phrase. Summoning the score to the forefront of his memory, Data brought his bow down onto the strings.

* * *

“Congratulations, Mr Data. That was a remarkable performance. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you play with such - such passion.”

“Thank you, Captain. I believe you could say I was... inspired.”


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