Androids in Love-Chapter One
"Personal log, stardate 43906.02, Commander Data recording. For the past seven years, I have intermittently searched fruitlessly for a way to revive my daughter. I have spoken with every cybernetics specialist in the Federation with little success. Of late, I have been considering other historical avenues. I have been in contact with one named Courtney Mudd, a descendant of the intergalactic rogue Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Miss Mudd is also a cybernetics expert, and is the starship Constellation's ship's counselor. She has led me to a planet named after her ancestor. There, I have discovered evidence of a link between the Andromeda androids on Mudd and that of a certain scientific genius named Flint. It appears that Mr. Flint happened upon the aforementioned planet before purchasing the planet Holberg-917-G, another planet I have chosen in my quest to revive Lal.
Flint's androids are legendary, not only for their workmanship, but also for their beauty. It is said that the most abundant model on Holberg, the Rayna series, is also positronic. The last Rayna model, it is rumored, once had a romantic relationship with Captain James T. Kirk, although historical evidence is lacking. This last Rayna inexplicably collapsed and ceased to operate. Modern cybernetics experts cannot find anything wrong with her. It is my hope to solve the mystery of her collapse and perhaps find a way to bring my daughter back."
Data sat back, feeling the eyes of his companions upon him. He had hoped to go on this quest earlier, but Dominion and Borg skirmishes had kept the Enterprise-E very busy. This was the first time in over a year that the crew could relax for a while. Data and his companions on the shuttle craft were on vacation. As an android, Data did not need vacations, but, lately, his daughter had been on his mind quite frequently. Now that his emotion chip was thoroughly integrated into his positronic net, he realized without too much surprise that he loved his creation deeply and missed her terribly. Because of this, he had asked for a two-week leave to go on a personal quest to historic Holberg-917-G. Geordi LaForge and Courtney Mudd of the Constellation accompanied him. They were on a shuttle named the Phoenix. Geordi commented that the name might be a good omen and a harbinger of success for Data.
Kivas Fajo had been out of jail for a little over a year, and had so far managed to keep his nose clean, but, lately, he had fallen back into his old habit of collecting rare and valuable items. This in itself wasn't bad, for he now realized that stealing them had been both unwise and unprofitable. He had acquired most of his new finds somewhat honestly, although some were from black-market sources. He still wanted an android for his collection.
A Ferengi business associate told Kivas of another who bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Data. He had been found disassembled on a planet formerly occupied by the Borg. The Ferengi had put the android back together and planned to use him for slave labor on Ferenginar, until, of course, Kivas offered the hefty sum of fifty bars of gold-pressed latinum for him. Little did Kivas know how much he was being ripped off. These Ferengi business associates also happened to be Quark's suppliers on Deep Space Nine.
After the trouble Quark got into in the mirror universe after he discovered the identity of the female Nagus, he was embarrassed and needed a break as well. For the first time in five years, he decided to take a break and get away from the station for a while. He was lucky to get back alive, as Captain Sisko told him. In a way, Quark had to agree with that, although he hated having to leave that other universe without making a profit. Rom told him that he should consider his life to be the 'profit'. Quark still considered Rom to be a moron, but he decided to concede.
He, Rom, and five of his friends had spread a detailed star map out on a table in the bar for the purpose of picking a place to go at random. They, of course, chose a map of Federation locations to avoid trouble with Klingons, Romulans and the like. By sheer coincidence, Quark, blindfolded, landed his finger on Holberg 917-G. Rom smiled greedily, knowing a little about the legend of this place. He informed his brother that there was a great planetary treasure there. He wasn't sure what it was, but he knew it was of great value.
Courtney Mudd was curious about Data's looks. Every other android she ever saw looked completely human. Data was a notable exception. On board her ship, Data was affectionately known as 'Old Yellow Eyes'. She was certain that she wasn't the only person in Starfleet to wonder why he was so different.
Data was aware of the nickname he had garnered on the Constellation, but did not completely understand it. He knew it was a reference to a twentieth century entertainer, but he did not resemble the man in the slightest. He wasn't "old" either.
"Commander Data, may I ask you a personal question?"
"Of course, Miss Mudd."
"Call me 'Courtney', please, sir. Please don't be offended, but…I have noticed that every other android I have ever seen has been completely human in appearance. Why are you so different?"
"No offense taken, Courtney. I have often pondered that question myself." Data paused in thought. "The fact that I was able to create Lal as a beautiful young woman would seem to indicate that my creator, Doctor Soong, was fully capable of making me look human as well. My theory regarding my appearance is that the Crystalline Entity interrupted his plans to make me look more human. It is not that I mind terribly, however. This appearance is all that I have ever known and I am sure the Enterprise crew has grown accustomed to it. Am I correct in assuming that, Geordi?"
"Most definitely, Data. Courtney does bring up an interesting question. We, though, as a general rule, like the way you are, Data. However, I think a lot of people have wondered why you have gold skin and yellow eyes. Your hypothesis about the Crystalline Entity is quite plausible."
"The Crystalline Entity? I'm not familiar with that life form." Courtney admitted.
Data then went on to explain that the Crystalline Entity resembled a huge flocked barren tree and that it completely obliterated all other forms of life to sustain its own. He also mentioned how Lore, his brother, was the only life form known to be able to communicate with it.
"Continuing the discussion about your looks, Mr. Data, it might be that Doctor Soong made you and your twin different to set you apart from all other androids. However, being that your brother was so different in temperament raises the question as to why he bothered. You both look exactly the same. Surely, your brother's personality set him apart in and of itself."
"A point well taken, Courtney. That is why I think my father's work was interrupted. He probably did not have time to give me or my brother human features."
The curator of the Flint Museum had reservations about letting someone from the Enterprise visit Holberg. Zachary Flint was the son of the man who had created the Rayna androids. He and his sister Melanie had become the caretakers of their father's castle and the curators of his museum soon after his death. Both looked quite young for their age. They hoped that they had not inherited their father's longevity along with his property. Neither had any desire to live for thousands of years. Their mother, a beautiful Minaran empath, was also deceased. Fortunately, neither sibling was born without vocal chords like their mother. Zachary's father had loved her very dearly, as had Zach and his sister.
Flint had almost decided to name his daughter after the android, but his wife greatly disapproved. She did not want her child to be named after a non-functioning machine. Melanie had inherited her mother's empathic gift of healing with a touch, so she had become a nurse. When she completed her schooling, she returned to Holberg to help run the family business. The two knew that the present crew of the Enterprise had no real knowledge of what had happened back when their father had fashioned Rayna. However, even though Zachary and Melanie knew that the present crew was not at fault for Rayna's demise, they still were reticent about letting them near her; although, from what their father had told them, their interest was piqued. There was also the fact that tourism had dropped off considerably in recent years.
The Phoenix landed in an almost empty parking lot in front of the castle. There was only one other craft in the lot, and it was Ferengi. The Starfleet trio stepped out of their shuttle and into bright sunshine. The scene with the castle and the large natural satellite reminded Courtney of another planet she had read about—Rigel Seven. Rigel was the home of a Neanderthal-like species called the Kalar. Courtney had not set foot on Rigel; she had merely seen pictures of it. Starfleet's cultural anthropology department had set up hidden cameras on the planet to observe the primitives. Being that the Kalar were extremely hostile to off-worlders, they were left alone. Courtney marveled at how well those cameras were hidden. If they had been discovered by the natives, they would have no doubt smashed them.
No one came out to greet the Starfleet trio, but Geordi guessed why. It was a long walk to the castle doors, and their first communication with Zachary and Melanie Flint had not gone smoothly. Oh, they were cordial enough, but Counselor Troi sensed that they were not comfortable with the idea of visitors from the Enterprise. They had finally agreed after discussing it between themselves, but had asked that the landing party consist of as few people as possible. It was a strange but reasonable request; strange in that this planet needed more tourists in order to run the museum, but reasonable because of the nature of their visit. They were going to dissect the planet's most valuable asset for the umpteenth time, to find out, if possible, why she had stopped functioning.
The seven Ferengi had asked to see the planetary treasure, and, with a smile, Zachary showed them. To say the least, the Ferengi had disappointed looks on their faces. To them, this, although beautiful to look upon, was nothing but an antiquated piece of used garbage. One joked that he wondered what she would look like naked, and another thought she would probably look better. Zachary wondered how they could say such a thing. The Rayna android was a beautiful sight; her iridescent silver blue gown and her long flowing blonde hair showed no signs of aging. Neither did her beautiful face. They had placed her in a glass case, much like a fairy tale princess. She was the planet's pride and joy, even though she never said a word or moved a limb.