i am a little fighter

For moireach.

Data. Picard/Crusher, if you really really squint.




Data watches Tasha’s holovid in his quarters. Her speech patterns are very precise, which he finds pleasant. (Some of the people on the Enterprise have a tendency to blur words; he does not know how anyone without translation circuits can understand Dr. Crusher.)

If he leans forward in his chair, puts his elbows on his knees like Commander Riker does, he is level with the camera and Tasha looks at him.

"My friend Data," she says, "you see things with the wonder of a child, and that makes you more human than any of us."

It does not make sense; children only wonder because they do not know, and human nature is to chase the unknown and abandon the familiar.

She clips her 't's, and her 'r's are short and nasal; the Klingons would find her very hard to translate.

*

He asks no questions. The human mourning process appears to be a source of shame.

*

When Data asks, Worf says, "A dead warrior is an empty shell. It is disgraceful to mourn."

Data listens to Tasha’s holovid. She respects Worf very much.

Respected, he corrects.

*

"Doctor," he says, and Crusher looks up from her desk.

She smiles, for which he is grateful. "Yes, Data."

"Doctor, I have some questions."

"Regarding the nature of human death, I suppose?" She smiles thinly.

He is not surprised; Dr. Crusher is by nature anticipatory.

*

Dr. Crusher tells him the human body loses a little weight in death, a few grams, as the lungs empty.

He remembers hearing Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi complain about the fit of their uniforms last week.

"For which women must be grateful," he says.

Dr. Crusher blinks.

*

Tasha Yar weighed 67 kilograms, though her weight on her home planet would have been gravity-adjusted. He performs the calculations; 62 kilograms.

*

In the holodeck, he requests a history of simulations ordered by former Security Chief Tasha Yar.

"Running," the computer acknowledges, and then informs him, "Security Chief Yar is deceased; simulations will be archived for thirty days and then deleted."

"Copy list of holodeck simulations to my designation," he says.

"Running."

*

The majority are, as expected, battle simulations. Her most requested involves ten opponents on uneven terrain, lighting so low as to render a human nearly blind. A replica of her childhood on Turkana IV, running from rape gangs.

He did not know she regularly recreated the experience. It seems unnecessarily masochistic.

"Light," Data says, and the street is illuminated. Two of the buildings in Data’s line of sight have bomb holes in the facades; the street is littered with trash and shrapnel.

The ten men stand before him in the street, flinch in the sudden light.

One of them (better dressed, the leader presumptive) peers at Data. "Who the hell are you?"

Data pulls his blaster, fires calmly until all of them are dead.

"Erase," he tells the computer.

"Running."

*

Picard asks him to the captain’s quarters.

"Data," he says, and indicates a chair, "Beverly has told me that you’re, ah, trying to come to terms with Lieutenant Yar’s death."

"Yes, sir," Data says, files away the use of Doctor Crusher’s first name.

The Captain sits opposite him. "Is there. Well, is there anything I can do?"

"Not advisable, sir," Data says. "The human mourning period is, on average, three to six months. Multiple studies have shown that intrusion upon or deferment of grief often manifests in unhealthy behavior such as nightmares, insomnia, drug and alcohol abuse, loss of appetite, pathological narcissism, morbidity –"

"Yes, Data. Thank you. I meant, is there anything I can do for you?"

Data frowns. "No, sir. I have no mourning period."

After a long time, The Captain says, "I see."

Data files away the length of the pause for future study.

*

Sixty-two days after Tasha Yar’s death, Counselor Troi laughs.

She is in Picard’s ready room – since Tasha’s death they have been meeting weekly – and he says something, and she chuckles.

It is not loud; he suspects that only he and Worf have heard it, as the others on the bridge register no reaction.

When Data turns, Worf is looking at him; he appears unhappy with the sound.

Data, of course, has no opinion. The Betazed mourning period is generally shorter than the human mourning period, as increased emotional cognizance promotes a deeper understanding between people and an earlier acceptance of death.

When Troi comes out she is serious, and she and the Captain take their seats and do not smile again.

This does not seem to appease Worf.

*

Worf falls into step behind him on the way off the bridge.

"I find such hilarity disrespectful," he says before Data can greet him.

That is unusual. "Klingon tradition says nothing about it."

Worf looks at him. "I said nothing about Klingon tradition."

*

Tasha’s hologram equates herself and Worf and acknowledges the importance of meeting death joyfully; Klingon belief, rather than human.

Perhaps Tasha, by adopting Klingon beliefs, was trying to forestall a period of mourning.

Data does not have enough evidence to come to a conclusion on the matter.

*

When he turns off the lamps in his cabin, her hologram appears nearly solid.

Comments

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This made me cry.

I know everyone always says that. But there are tears running down my face and I'm all snotty. I had to break for sobs when Data killed the rape gang and again at the end because I was crying too hard to read.

This is one of the top two or three emotionally powerful stories I've read.

Holy cow! Are you working on a novel? Please tell me you're working on a novel.

I don't know what to say- this really was an exploration of grief, and it was very, very painful. And beautiful.

Thank you so much.
I don't even know how to respond to this; I've read it four times and nothing comes to mind.

I'm working on two novels, though I think you'd be diappointed, so let's pretend I'm a struggling playwright/stripper or summat. ;)

...thank you. Really.
THIS IS SO SO THE BEST THING EVER. Ahhhhhh. I have to read this ten thousand times over. It's so SAD and yet so straightforward, just so perfectly Data, and you get all these nuances of WORF and Picard and Crusher and Tasha and ahhhhh. Absolutely perfect. You win all. And you get my secretly-Data icon.
Man, I totally blow the rest of your feedback by admitting I need help with the icon.
meyerlemon sent me here, and WOW. You gave her what she deserved.

My sister, at age four, actually learned about death from the on-screen demise of Tasha Yar, and I think I might need to send this to her. Just... dude.

I don't think I have ever read anyone write Data so well -- the emotions circumscribed around the non-emotion -- and it's just so excellent.

There's nothing I can say but thank you.
Thank you.

This show was formative for a lot of people, I think, and I'm really glad that you liked it; it's such scary canon - so easy to mess up.
Ooh. Dude, I really like this. And it's the best treatment of Data and Tasha I've seen--I wish they'd published this instead of Jean Lorrah's shitty fanfic.

*squints happily at her 'ship*
Awww, poor Jean Lorrah! ;)

Thank you.
OHMYGOD I CAN NEVER WRITE ANYTHING AGAIN EVER.

here. take my keyboard. I'm going to go weep at the awesomeness of this story over in the corner WHERE MY RIPPED-OUT ENTRAILS ARE.
Okay.

You need to shut up bbefore I hit you so hard your grandkids feel it.

I want a fic where they are NOT DEAD and they DANCE AND YOU WILL GIVE IT TO ME.
this was wonderful.

yes, the cannon is scary. their voices come to mind so easily, and your words are faithful to the characters. really very wonderful.
Thank you.
I too came on meyerlemon's rec. I wish I had something more pity and intelligent to say other than it was beautiful. My roommate recently made the observation that I read a lot, but I don't like much of what I read. SO not the case here.
I'm glad you liked it!
...wow.

You know, I've gotten to this point where I've forgotten why I was so obsessed with TNG as a kid. I mean, looking back at the reruns, the plots are slightly silly, the actors are kinda cold and emotionless, and the outfits are painfully 80's. The whole thing just isn't all that good. I just don't see any heart or passion to it these days. Frankly, it's become something to kill some time when I'm actually here in the early afternoons.

And then I read this and I remembered why I cared in the first place and why I would wait for each new episode with gleeful anticipation as a child and eagerly discuss "what they all did last night" with my fellow geeky friends at school.

This fic, if only for the time that I was reading it, turned me back into that excited child who loves all things Star Trek again.

Thank you.
Wow. Thanks.
this was quite exquisite, thank you so much for posting it.
Thank you very much!
OMGWTF.
OMG THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS
Thank you for this. It was a welcome, incredibly nostalgic, well-crafted thing - especially coming off the wake of Enterprise...

Actually, I never watched Enterprise because I couldn't get past the unbelievably corny theme song, but I think my point is still valid.
This was beautiful and emotional and I really feel speachless.

Damn. Thank you.
It's been awhile since I watched TNG, but I adore it, and this brings it all back and the characters are so perfect.
Awesome. Thank you so much.
Wow. That is incredibly touching.

Just brilliant.
This fandom is so big I was a little wary, but i'm glad it worked out. THanks.
So, hi.

I've never read a ST fic before, but I know the show, and I was led here, and so. I read it, and WOW. There's all this unexpected emotion between the lines. The writing is sparse, but not, at the same time. I loved it. Thanks for sharing.
This is such great feedback. Thank you.
This was just recced on Shrift and Nestra's recs page, and...man! I'd say it was an excellent look at Data's psychological processes as he comes to terms with his grief over the loss of Tasha...but I suspect he wouldn't recognize any of that as applying to his situation at all.

Poor baby.

I'm definitely adding this to *my* recs page when I next update.
Wow, thank you! I loved him so much. SO much.

Can you link me to the page where you found me? I like to thank my reccers. (Which reminds me: Thanks for reccing me!)

Just seen this via Polyamorous -- excellent take on Data which felt very much in keeping with the show. Thank you.
I'm so glad you liked it!
One of the most heartbreaking episodes scenes for me in television ever is when Data is looking at the hologram and has to try to explain why he keeps it. I know that I'm misremembering it because I watched it years ago when I was so much younger, but even the memory of that scene hurts me.

This hurt me in the exact same way as that memory does. It makes me bleed for how Data cannot understand grief even as he experiences it. Tasha touched everyone and this showed it, but the people she touched the most, Worf and Data were the ones here that hurt the most.

Brilliant, brilliant work.
That scene just ruined me. I loved him so much.

Thank you.
This is gorgeous. I found my way here via bethbethbeth's recs page, and am very glad I did. You've got the voices down, and I find Data's observations strikingly poignant.
Thank you! Glad you liked.
Wow, this is amazing. I loved this show when I was a kid--and remember being totally shattered by Tasha Yar's death, too--but I haven't watched an episode in years. This has made me want to go and find one, though. Your characterisations are perfect, and the story really does feel like an episode. Thanks so much for writing this!

(Here via norah, by the way. :)
Here via a rec link.

Wow.

Words fail.

(adds to memories)
Oh, they're all so terrifically in-character. And such wonderful use of little details. Bravo.

(I feel like this sounds like faint praise, but it really isn't intended as such; I just feel silly pointing to bits in every single section to praise.)
Excellent writing. Thank you for posting it. May I link this to my rec page?
This is fantastic! Oh, Data. I love this. My very favourite part is probably Data's conversation with Picard, or his talk with Beverly, or the whole thing, really. This fic makes me so happy.
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i am a little fighter

May 2012

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