Author: J. Juls
Contact: jjuls (at) tbc.net
Codes: D/f, BQ/f, BQ/D
Summary: Data is deeply, deeply in love with Mary Juls. Maybe. (Danger, Captain! Data reports that the wavelength of the prose in this story is exactly 4000 Angstroms.)
Disclaimer: Paramount owns everybody in this story except my wonderful original character. I named her Mary Juls, after me! Ain’t that a cute idea? And innovative! Sure, I made her better-looking and smarter than me, but only the best for our own lovable Mr. Data, right?
(Don’t tell my heart,
My achy breaky heart.
I just don’t think he’d understand.)
— William Raymond Cyrus
“Energizing now, sir.” Smiep played his fingers over the transporter controls, and a shapely female lifeform appeared, languidly posed from floating unconscious in zero gravity. Data ran to catch her as she materialized. The sparkling light gradually disappeared from her still form, and Data saw …
He could not see her as a mere lifeform anymore, not as one of the many refugees from Space Station Omega 3; no, even in unconsciousness, she was a princess. Her soot-smudged cheekbones were high and sharp, her pale lips shaped into a pouting bow. Her hair, darker than obsidian, deeper than night skies in the M’Par nebula, drew his eyes inward, ever inward, until he saw a reflection of his own enthralled face deep within its ebon glory.
Data stood, entranced, for almost 400 milliseconds, until he was forced out of his reverie by Doctor Crusher’s able hands taking the stranger from him. “Mendez, Ogawa, get her to Sickbay, stat!” The doctor pressed a hypospray to her patient’s gracile neck, and then they were gone.
Data stood for almost a second in a motionless void of shock; [You should go to her!] echoed in his mind. But no, his duty station was on the bridge. [My place is on the bridge.] Although it pained him more than anything ever had before, he bravely strode to the turbolift, and, through quivering lips, whispered, “Bridge.”
Tensely Data worked at his station that afternoon. He could not concentrate, however, because of all the positrons flowing through his emotion chip. [How could it be that I think about her constantly, even though I have not yet met her?] He could not answer his own question and was so preoccupied that he jumped, startled, when he felt a soft hand on his shoulder.
“Data, may I see you in the observation lounge for a moment?” Counselor Troi asked. Data looked to his Captain for permission. “I’ve already asked him, Data.” Captain Picard nodded to him. “If you didn’t hear me, then we*do* have something to discuss.”
Data stood in the Obs lounge; sitting would do him no good. He tried not to think about … her.
“I’m sensing great turmoil from you.”
Data felt his face grow hot from the unpleasant emotion embarrassment. He needed to hide his shameful obsession! “Turmoil, Counselor?”
“Yes. It started when we were beaming up survivors from Space Station Omega 3.”
The mention of the survivors brought everything back to him, and the vision, unbidden, took his thoughts. Her noble face; black, flowing hair; lissome body; all of it. Troi smiled.
“Why, Data! I didn’t know.”
“Know what, Counselor?”
“You’re in love!”
Following Counselor Troi’s advice, Data had gone to Sickbay and now stood over his beloved’s bed. “Don’t worry, Data, she’ll be fine. She had only some minor contusions. She should wake up any moment now.” Doctor Crusher seemed to understand Data’s emotions, and who would not? Seeing this glorious creature lying so helpless, yet regal, who could resist her charms?
She opened her eyes, shockingly violet eyes which sent Data’s thoughts swirling to the quasars of Sector 3000006. “Where … where am I?”
Her voice, low and clear as the surf on Remba 2, resonated through Data’s auditory circuits. He reached out to stroke her face but stopped his hand at the last moment. He had to keep reminding himself that he did not even know this beauty’s name yet; he could not be so familiar so soon.
“Please, where …” she began to cough, delicately.
Data started. He had been so enraptured by her voice that he had not even comprehended her words, delivered in a strange, exotic, musical accent. He had to replay his auditory records to find what she had said.
“You are on the Federation Starship Enterprise,” he assured her. “We will not harm you. I am … ” the mere thought of telling her his name rang out in his mind as a siren — I love you, I love you — “Commander Data.” [Does my name please her? Oh, Soong, let her not despise me.]
“I am Mary Juls Voluptua, Princess of Planet Ova 6.”
[A princess?] Yes, it was true, true! But … “But we rescued you from Space Station Omega 3.” The expression on her beautiful face grew bitter, although her loveliness continued to shine through.
“I had fled my homeworld,” she replied, harshness in her voice. “Cyborg beings from another quadrant tried to add my distinctiveness to their own. I am the only one of my species who has strong empathic powers, more pronounced than those of even the most adept Betazoids. My parents sent me to this remote backwater in order to keep my abilities from this cyborg collective.”
Inwardly, Data wept for one so brave, so unjustly wronged. He then did something unprecedented for him; he made a promise that he had no knowledge of how to keep. “The Borg,” he stated coldly. “We are sworn to defend against them, and we will protect you. Do not trouble yourself, Princess.”
The princess then sighed, the sound of a fresh spring breeze. “Please, call me Mary Juls.”
[Syringa amurensis japonica will make a suitably fragrant yet understated bouquet for Mary Juls’ welcome,] Data thought as he placed the vase of delicate white flowers on the table of her stateroom. It was late evening, 2200 hours ship’s time. Dr. Crusher had wished for Mary Juls to stay the night in Sickbay for observation, but she had insisted upon leaving, her strong-willed nature not allowing her to be coddled. Data had stayed constantly by her side, only leaving briefly in order to prepare suitable quarters for her. He could picture, as clearly as if she were here, Mary Juls sitting before the mirror, brushing the long night of her hair over and over …
He was startled when the door swished open, so preoccupied had he been daydreaming of Mary Juls. Odd! He had never daydreamed before! This must be a newly-developed function of his neural net, activated by Mary Juls’ great beauty! But Data had no time to consider this development, for Dr. Crusher was ushering … her … into the room.
Mary Juls’ glorious face burst into a radiant smile as soon as she saw him. “Data! Oh, you’ve fixed up my quarters; how lovely!” She bent to smell the flowers, and they suddenly looked ugly next to her face. But Data only pitied the poor flowers, for how could anything in the cosmos compare to her? She favored him with her gaze.
“I can’t thank you enough, Data, for all you’ve done. Really. For everything.” Data had not had time to digest the poetry of her words before she danced toward him and kissed him lightly on the cheek.
Positrons whirled through his neural net, overwhelming him with something he had never experienced, something that could only be intense joy. Data could hardly stand as he hastily excused himself from the room and floated to his quarters, not realizing he had even departed until he was home.
But when he arrived home, he could not imagine going into his quarters and staying there, that mundane set of rooms with its spartan decor being too great a contrast to the kaleidoscope of feelings that were swirling through him, enveloping him, now. [She kissed me!] he marvelled again and again. [Mary Juls *kissed* me! Me!] As he set off down the corridor again, the treasured spot on his cheek burned white-hot with a fire unlike any Data had previously known — a fire that seemed composed of pure excitement, pure galvanism, pure … love. His breath was short, his body hot. He found that he was walking quickly through the ship with no idea where he was. Eventually he arrived at the ship’s arboretum and entered.
Warm, humid air relaxed his servos as he wandered along a winding path, listening to the gentle music of insects, inhaling the sweetness of flowers. Yes, they were pleasant indeed, but nothing compared to the music of Mary Juls’ voice and the sweetness of her smile. He was so overwhelmed that he felt the need to lie down on an out-of-the-way stone bench. However, thoughts of Mary Juls continued to haunt him. He longed to go to her, be with her, now. He desperately needed something, anything, to occupy his time until he could at last see her again. But what? Any time he tried to concentrate — analyzing symphonies, brown dwarf stars, or baseball statistics, the activities that had once calmed him — his thoughts turned back to Mary Juls. He pondered for several milliseconds. He could deactivate himself … but no, he couldn’t bear to do so when such an action would put him out of contact in case Mary Juls might need him.
Then he had a wonderful idea! He could engage his dream program! Yes, that would pass the time but would allow him to be roused easily should Mary Juls need assistance. He set the dream speed at its lowest, 2000 megahertz; this would make one dream last the whole night. He engaged.
Vaguely, as if through gauze, he saw himself and Mary Juls walking hand-in-hand through the arboretum, lying happily on a beach, running toward each other through a field of golden wheat and calling out to each other. “Data!” “Mary Juls!” “Data!” “Mary Juls!” They fell into each other’s arms and kissed, a kiss which brought full emotion, energy, nay, *life itself* to Data’s inorganic body, a kiss which awakened deep within him a longing, an ardor unfulfilled. “Mary Juls?”
“Yes?” The deep, deep pools of her violet eyes threatened to engulf him forever in their infinite depths.
“Would you … would you marry me?”
“Oh, yes, Data, yes! Yes!” And she whirled, twirling in the wheat field, twirling through the azure twilight of a far-off planet, twirling amongst the stars and nebulae and galaxies of his very existence; and, as she whirled, a white mist formed around her which coalesced into a wedding gown.
The gown was of the finest quinzolite, studded with opalescent pearls from Noarlllll 6. It flowed from a modest neckline and long sleeves to her ankles and beyond, whiter than white, the train carried aloft through the universe by seven pudgy cherubim. And Mary Juls flew into his arms again, this time … his. They kissed deeply, lovingly, passionately; she burned him with the light of her kiss until only his essence, his soul, was left; and he was no longer a mechanical man but had transcended his former, cold existence and was now only a spark of thought energy. He woke, her name on his lips.
“Mary Juls?” Data was disoriented. He sat up and looked around to see … was his dream program still somehow functioning? For it was she, Mary Juls, in the same wedding gown of which he had just dreamt!
“Oh, yes, Data, yes! I *will* marry you!” She flew into his arms again then, but it was real, all real! Amazed, Data ran a level three diagnostic of his neural net, but she was still here, in his arms. He kissed her, her soft lips as solid and existent as his own body, which now stirred with arousal, stirred involuntarily for the first time in his life. He pulled back to look at her; she was indeed real. But … a question:
“How did you know?” he held the sides of her face, ever-so-gently, and peered with curiosity into her velvet eyes.
She smiled, a radiant quasar. “It’s my empathic powers. I could … feel … I knew it was you. And replicated this gown and traced you here.”
“Oh, Mary Juls … ” for once, Data was at a loss for words. He could only hold her securely, stroking her sable hair, and wonder that life had brought him this precious, oh-so-precious gift.
He felt it first, in the underpinnings of his consciousness, before he heard it in his auditory channels: the murmur of many voices, many voices blended into one. Data checked his internal chronometer and realized that he had been sitting here, motionless, holding Mary Juls, in a blissful state, for almost 12.3 minutes. And now this.
He sat back. “Mary Juls.”
“Yes, Data?” Her eyes, those enrapturing, bewitching wells of deep azure love, shone at him questioningly. He did not want to disappoint her, but … “
“You’re upset!” Her perceptive face showed shock. “You … expect to be called to the bridge very soon. And … you don’t wish to leave me here alone.” She looked at the ground, dejected.
“Yes, Mary Juls. I have heard … “
“The Borg. And you must go.”
“But, Mary Juls, I must not … “
“Yes, you must, Data. Go to your station. Save the ship from them. If they have come for me, then they must take me. Do not sacrifice the ship for my sake. Perhaps you can even escape.”
“Oh, Mary Juls!” [I have promised you … ] Data felt a strange burning behind his eyes, something he had rarely experienced, the burning of imminent tears.
“I will stay in my quarters. Now go.” Data only looked at her, stunned.
Unable to speak, Data turned and left the arboretum.
Data’s mind was spinning as he entered the turbolift. The Borg. The memories their species brought to him were powerful, almost powerful enough to overwhelm his neural net, for he had once been a part of their collective. Therefore, he was oddly comforted when, in the turbolift, he saw his Captain.
The only other being known to have been removed from the Borg.
A thought passed between them with a glance, a thought known well to both but unspoken: The Borg are here. *What does that fact mean for Mary Juls?*
“Resistance is futile.” Those words rang in Data’s ears, even though it had been 14.23 minutes since he had heard them. And it was beginning to seem that resistance would indeed be futile, as the Borg adapted to and circumvented all of the Enterprise’s latest offensive and defensive innovations. No matter how many times they modulated the shield and phaser nutations, no matter how many times they rotated the modulations, the Borg managed to overcome everything. And even though both Data and the Captain could hear the Borg datastream echoing in the remnants of what had been their links with the collective, the Borg language was now incomprehensible to them; even that convention had been altered. The Borg were never stagnant.
“Shields are down, sir. Borg incursions on decks twenty-four, nine, and … three.” Data shared a stunned look with the Captain and Deanna. They all knew whose quarters were on deck three, and whom the Borg wanted … “Computer,” Data asked, fear a cold, hard stone in his chest, “Location of Mary Juls.”
“Mary Juls is not onboard the Enterprise.”
Data put his head into his hands and wept.
Data could sense nothing in his grief, remember nothing, until he sensed the arms of Deanna Troi around him, trying to comfort him, to take him to Sickbay … but, no, now there was something different — the icy tingle of an unfamiliar and abrupt transporter beam, the cold metal clamps snapped around his wrists and ankles — and in his numbness, he barely heard the drill before it entered his skull, and Her voice.
First Of One.
Data was clamped to a wall; she had already disabled his vocal functions. Likely more were to come. He strained against the duranium clamps; no, they were not mere duranium but some stronger substance, unknown to Federation scientists. He must remember to bring back a sample for them to analyze … no, he had to realize there was no more Federation. Wait, that thought had not come from him; it had come from Her! [Do not invade my thought processes! Do not!]
He looked around for strength, for guidance, and saw … Mary Juls.
She stood there, a shell of her former self, in a line of beings waiting to become drones. He saw friends, people he had known in a previous existence, but now they were unfamiliar automatons: Troi, Crusher, Geordi, Riker, Worf … even the Captain, now were on their way to becoming simple drones. They had all been injected with the initial nanoprobes but had not yet been retrofitted with Borg hardware. They were not completely under Borg control, but Data knew from previous experience that they were all but lost. It would take a mind with unbelievably strong mental powers to resist now, to break the bonds that the Borg had imposed.
And then he saw … First Of One. She was approaching the line of drones-to-be, approaching … Mary Juls! [No!] Data screamed through the nascent Borg link forming in his consciousness. [No! Not her! Please! Take anyone but her! Take me instead, me!] Then, to Data’s horror, First Of One … took a sonic driver from her anterior access panel, tore Mary Juls’ uniform, and … violated her in the most heinous way! Data closed his eyes, opening his mouth in a silent scream of outrage at what the Queen was doing to such a delicate flower, boiling with murderous intent and straining, ever straining against his bonds, attempting to free himself, to stop this reprehensible act of sodomy. Even as Data squeezed his eyes tightly shut, however, he could … see them, see them through the tenuous link which She had forced, would ever force, upon his consciousness. Data pulled with such strength against his metal restraints that he rent the synthoskin of his wrists, to no avail. Still he was held fast, and the rape of Mary Juls continued unabated. Bravely, she did not cry out, but her agony could be felt now, a piteous keening in the link. [No, I have promised to protect her, but I cannot. I cannot! I must!]
Presently, First Of One finished taking her perverted, sadistic pleasure and released Mary Juls from the torture. Mary Juls still stood, helpless, in the drone line, unable to do anything. Apparently her free will had already been taken, as had the free will of the other organic lifeforms, his former shipmates. Data hung his head and wept openly at the terrible waste.
Then, through his tears, Data saw the dynamic relay interface, on which all Borg communication depended. He knew that at this state, all persons who had not yet been retrofitted with Borg hardware could still be saved. If only he could get to the interface … he would be killed immediately, of course, but his actions would destroy the interface … he struggled with all his might against the bonds his captors had imposed upon him, but he still could not free himself! Frustration built in his mind, frustration that was seized by the Collective and multiplied into strength for them. All mental energy was strength for the Collective. He forced his emotions into equanimity, ceased the struggle. This would have to be done with stealth.
Suddenly, a lone figure escaped the drone line! The cloud of ebon hair in its wake identified the figure to Data as none other than Mary Juls. She had endured the earlier assault as a ruse! She still had her free will, and, as Data tried not to send thoughts of her through the Borg link, she sprinted toward the interface. With all her strength, she then flung her body upon it, breaking it in a flash of light and steam!
Data saw Geordi, no longer Borg, cut the bonds that held him to the bulkhead. He could not find the will to thank Geordi, however, or to be relieved at his shipmates’ recovery. All around him were ruins of a Borg cube, drones collapsing to die on the deck plates. The Queen was gone, no longer being manifested by the Collective. This he saw vaguely, not registering it fully on his positronic net.
But Data looked toward the relay interface and saw, in clear, distinct acuity, the charred hole, charred with computer — and organic — remains.
Mary Juls was no more.
Data had no strength to stand. He himself collapsed, as a motherless drone, and fell to the deck plates, sobbing with unendurable, inconsolable agony.
First Of Two Of Unimatrix One withdrew leisurely from her regeneration state. Another day, and another species to assimilate. They had begun on the species “Humanity” yesterday, with their acquisition of NCC-1701-E, the ship formerly known as USS Enterprise. Anachronistic, this strange trait of naming ships. But Humanity was insignificant compared to this other lifeform: the artificial one, the most intelligent on their vessel, her new paramour.
She cast a glance at Second Of Two, now also regenerating in his own alcove. She had not chosen to share his dreams this night, since it was his first ever time to regenerate. She had left him alone with his thoughts; assimilation proceeded more smoothly when puny individuals were left alone periodically. They tended to miss the perfection that they had found in the collective and to be more eager for it. Later, they would share with this new one again, and the sharing would make them all more perfect.
Her gaze lingered upon him. Something about his appearance was anomalous.
He was … the organics called it … crying.
[Second Of Two,] she sent through the link. [Come back to us. Your regeneration phase has been dysfunctional.]
Second Of Two was released automatically from his regeneration clamps. Immediately, he collapsed to the deck, sobbing bitterly. “Ohhhhhh, Mary Juls!” he wailed aloud. “You have sacrificed yourself for us! How can it be true? How can it be true?”
First Of Two searched her database for the being formerly known as Mary Juls. Ah, now its designation was 47th of 125. Altogether it had been an undistinguished lifeform, a run-of-the-mill human. She sent an order through the link to 48th of 125. [Examine thought waves from 47th of 125.]
[She has apparently been entering her fanfic into Second Of Two’s alcove again, my Queen.]
[Ah. Terminate her.]
48th of 125 pulled the support tubules from 47th’s head and neck, disabling her. He salvaged her more valuable components and then beamed her to raw materials storage.
Gradually, the sobs from Second Of Two decreased in intensity. Finally they stopped, and the golden oil tears dried. Second of Two looked to his Queen in confusion. [My Queen? What has happened?]
[Never mind, my Drone. Shall we engage in sexual intercourse now?]
He thought for a moment. [Yes, that would be quite agreeable.] First of Two whipped out her electronic Borg butt-plug, and Second Of Two engaged his hard-on program. All the drones got to experience the sex vicariously, except 47th of 125, who was now an itty-bitty lump of neutrons.