Think of Me

A Star Trek: The Next Generation story by Babs Bunny

Let's say I'm omnipotent-
not like god,
or your mother,
but like a dream
that convinces you that you're falling.
  - from What You Want by Rebecca Cook


The away mission wasn't initially going to be that long. The object of the mission was to quietly observe a newfound pre-warp civilization and study the resulting findings on these inhabitants and their way of life. A simple task, but at the same time, there were some new elements and previously unheard of matter discovered on the planet itself, and so a more thorough research was undoubtedly required. Among the candidates picked for the away team was Ensign Alpine Arcticfox, a young vulpinoid, hailing from planet Versallis. Having only been on the Enterprise for only a little over a year, he had proven himself to be a formidable crewmate in the engineering department, and was due to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade within the next month. Initially it was questionable as to whether or not the vulpinoid would be a suitable choice for the away team. There was always a chance that circumstance or dire measure could require that the crew fit in with their surroundings on the planet. due to his appearance, this was something that Alpine would have a problem with, as, unlike most of the other crewmates, he didn't look humanoid. Standing at roughly 5'7", Alpine looked like a bipedal sentient fox. Thick white fur covered his body, and his hands were more like paws than anything. his black tipped ears stood up in an alert fashion, and he had a well-pronounced fox's muzzle. And poking out from a hole in the uniform trousers tailored just for him, was his long bushy fox tail, white as the rest of him, but black-tipped like his ears. Appearance aside, it was a well-known fact that Alpine was quite adept at elctronics, and was a whiz at learning new equipment. There were several new tools that were going to be involved when studying this new civilization and planet, and these tools were things that Alpine had already mastered, having been briefed on them recently. So the decision had been made. Alpine would join the project, and rather than do field work in an invisibility suit as some of the other crewmembers would be doing, he would stay at the mainbase and serve as one of the mechanical overseers, while teaching the others how to use the new equipment. Unfortunately there was one crewmember who wasn't going to be on the away team. After the incident on the Ba'Ku planet, it had been decided that Starfleet couldn't afford any more malfunctions or mistakes, should there be the threat of enemy fire. As it was, he was a crucial individual to Starfleet, and his presence was required more on board the bridge of the Enterprise, than it was down on the planet. This individual was of course, Lieutenant Commander Data: operations manager and second officer to the Enterprise..and Ensign Arcticfox's lover.

Alpine relayed the news of the project the day he was assigned, which was two days before the mission, after the two had gotten off duty and were sitting in the ship's lounge. "It's a real honour to be picked for this," he had said. "But..I really wish you could come with me Data. I's going to be a whole month without you. It won't be the same sleeping at night without you to snuggle up with." He laid his hands over Data's and looked into his amber eyes, a sad smile playing on his muzzle. Data merely nodded and cocked his head. "True. However, this is a crucial mission, and personal relations cannot interfere with the progress of Starfleet. We shall simply have to adjust until the project is over." Data spoke with a familiar matter-of-fact tone to his voice, and outwardly he seemed as though his emotion chip had been turned off at the moment. However, inside his heart was aching. Alpine gave the android's hands a soft squeeze and sighed. "Yeah, that's true. I'm sure we can survive through this. All part of the job, right?" the fox grinned, his positive attitude coming into play. He beeped Data's nose and then chuckled. "C'mon, let's hit the bar. I hear they have a new strawberry pineapple beverage that I wanna try." As Alpine made his way over to the bar, Data managed a smile himself and followed suit.


The next day wasn't an easy one for the android. Alpine's team would be departing tomorrow morning, and the today seemed to be going entirely too quickly. And the more it progressed and the trip loomed closer, the more emotions conflicted with each other in the android's positronic net. Several times that day he considered very seriously twitching his head in the way that would simply turn off his emotion chip. But he stopped himself, as the captain's words echoed in his head about not hiding from his emotions. Facing emotions that one did not necessarily wish to face was something humans did every day, as they did not have the luxury of a switch to shut them down like Data had.

Bridge duty was uneventful that day and somehow Data it through, performing as well as he usually did. Which wasn't too hard because one of the advantages of being an android was the ability to concentrate on hundreds of things at once without missing a beat. However, no matter how many things he concentrated on, or how many tasks he performed, Alpine's departure seemed to be the most prominent thought in his head. After duty was over he was quick to take his leave, and instead of heading down to the lounge to meet Alpine as he normally did, he made his way back to his quarters where he sat brooding on his couch gently petting his orange tabby cat Spot, until the door chimes to his quarters sounded.

"Enter," he called out by force of habit. Alpine came striding into the room, and found Data on the couch.

"There you are!" the vulpinoid stated. "I've been looking everywhere for you! Why didn't you come to the lounge after duty?"

"Because I did not feel like frequenting the lounge today." Data replied simply.

Alpine looked concerned. "Why not? You feeling alright?"

"Yes. All systems are functioning within their proper parameters. I did a self-diagnostic today and nothing appears to be--"

"You know what I mean," Alpine interrupted gently, sitting down beside the android and running his clawed fingers over the android's arm soothingly. "What's bothering you?"

Data started to open his mouth to quote more self-diagnostic results but then closed it again, changing his mind. Finally he looked away and sighed. " not wish you to leave," he admitted sadly.

Alpine's ears drooped and he gathered Data into a hug. "I figured that's what it was." He kissed Data on the cheek and then put a finger under his chin, softly turning the android's face to meet his. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I should be happy for you. Discovering a new form of civilization is a very big project, and the participants for the resulting away missions are chosen very carefully. You are correct, Alpine. Being picked for this project was an honour. As a Starfleet officer you have great potential and you have no doubt proven your prowess. I know you will do a good job." Alpine smiled a little and nodded acknowledgingly as Data spoke. The android paused, swallowing, and then continued. "At the same time....I do not wish you to go. I will miss you very much and the ship will seem very lonely without you. I am aware of the fact that I have other friends to spend time with and that there are numerous ways to occupy my time until your return. But you are not like my other friends. I love you. You mean much much more to me, and..and the fact that I will not be able to see you for an entire month is what hurts."

"Oh...oh sweetie.." Alpine said softly, shaking his head sadly. "I'll miss you too. You know I will. It kills me that you can't come along." He held Data close and rocked him gently. Data returned the hug and for a long time the two silently sat on the couch in a tight embrace. Finally Alpine licked the android's ear and grinned. "'s our last night together for a while. Why don't we make it something special?"

Data cocked his head, intrigued. "How so?"

"I'll show you.." Alpine replied, as the two got to their feet. He took Data by the hand and led him out the door.

That evening was truly one Data could describe as memorable. The first stop was Holodeck 2. There, Alpine managed to conjure up a beautiful starlit night atop a grassy knoll, with a forest nearby. A full moon was in the sky and the program was detailed right down to the leaves on the trees and the sound of crickets and an occasional katydid in the cool night breeze. Along with the holodeck program, Alpine had planned another surprise, in the form of a steak dinner that he had made himself in preparation of this night. Though Data did not need food to function, he and Alpine sat out under the stars on a blanket and ate their dinner by candlenight, and he finished every bite, savouring the flavour.

After digesting and cleaning up a little, the two took a walk and gazed up at the stars and at the fireflies playing hide and seek in the night sky. Shortly thereafter, they came across a pond nearby and wound up skinnydipping in the cool water. They laughed and played and splashed each other, and Alpine gave Data a quick lesson in using his built-in floatation device to his advantage and showing him how to swim. After a few false starts, Data got the idea and soon took to the water like a fish, his lover by his side. After an hour or so in the water they lay naked on the grass cuddled up to each other and made love in the moonlight. Gentle caresses lingered longer. Touches were more delicate and sensual. Embraces were tighter. And when they both came simultaneously they cried out each other's names and held each other tight, whispering promises of undying love and bonds never to be broken. Afterwards, as Data lay upon Alpine's chest and gazed down at him, suddenly it all became overwhelming. Eyes brimming with amber tears he buried his face into Alpine's shoulder and wept softly into his fur. Alpine held him tight and let him cry, his own tears threatening to fall. "Data, it's okay, everything will be okay..I'll be back soon.." he whispered, trying to soothe the heartbroken android.

"But...I will..will miss you." Data sobbed. "It hurts so much..I do not wish for us to be apart.." Data began to cry harder and Alpine's ears folded back, the pain in Data's voice enhancing his own difficulty with having to leave the android behind for a month. Finally he swallowed back his own tears and found his voice. Sitting up, he cradled the android against his chest and nuzzled his hair.

"'s okay...honest it is. We're going to be apart, physically. But we don't have to be apart in spirit." He stared up at the stars and added, "How about we think of each other as..omnipotent?"

Data sniffled and craned his head up at Alpine, his face streaked with yellow tears. " Q?" Alpine shook his head, looking down, his eyes meeting Data's. "No, not like that. Let's say...I'm omnipotent. Not like a god, or your mother...but like a dream that convinces you that you're falling." Data thought this over, a stray tear rolling down his cheek. Alpine gently wiped the tear away and explained further. "If you believe in me enough, and I believe in doesn't even have to feel like we're apart, because the bond we have will make it seem like neither of us are actually away from the other. Think of it as a funny little mind trick. And before you know it, I'll be back home and in your arms again. How does that sound? Shall we give it a try?"

Data managed a smile, snuggling up to Alpine. "I think...I think that will work just fine."


Three weeks later, Alpine and the crew were just starting to wrap up the mission, and when he got a chance he sent a message to Data: "The mission, as you know has been a success. The Sjon Myhr, as they are known, are a fascinating culture! And their planet is beautiful! I'm going to have to show you sometime. There are many unpopulated areas we could visit where no one would know we were there. I miss you, Data. I love you so much, and it's only another week before I'll be home again!"

Data read the message over and over again, and smiled again, feeling a warm sensation in his heart. "Oh Alpine," he thought. "In ways it is almost like you never left."



Feed the author!

Return to Stories by Author, Stories by Fandom, or Stories by Poem.