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It had been four weeks since Data's project started to become more widely known."You mean that useless matchmaking algorithm? But no orders appeared -- the long list of message headers increased by one as he watched, and was blue, meaning not from Command, as he'd asked the computer to code all of those in red. "Sir.""How could it be that I have a message without a sender ID attached to it? This circumvents the problem of having a small pool of possibilities where repeated attempts at a relationship would affect working relationships with other officers -- an anonymous method of sending messages to each other to determine interest by getting to know each other before meeting in person should decrease the likelihood of negative first encounters.""I see. So thank you, for letting me know, as now I will know to delete them unopened."Data lost the smile. "I had actually hoped that you might try it, Captain.There was something different about this new message. "Data smiled -- there really was no other way to describe the ghoulish grin politely -- and explained. Well, as impressive as others have told me it is, I have no intention of using it. I find myself most curious to know if -- ""You are dismissed, Mr.The pride in his accomplishment was evident."I sincerely hope that you have not wasted any time on duty on this project," Picard exclaimed. And the silence drew long, on the bridge, until Picard left it to the first officer and went to the gym. Though he was sure his feelings on the matter were clear, Will kept going."I never thought I would say this, because she wasn't the one I thought I would get, but I really am enjoying Lieutenant-Commander Nielson's company."Barbara Nielson? Nielson of the annoying laugh and the shaggy eyebrows? Picard turned back to his monitor, thinking it must be time for new orders -- perhaps a battle with several Ferengi vessels? They were moving into the next star system, featuring a K type star with seventeen planets and two asteroid belts.
I am glad that you found it useful." There was an unusual lilt to the android's voice.The idea of using a computer to match yourself with someone else." Her amusement wasn't like Will's; she seemed to also be sad, perhaps, or weary. "You're annoyed that the algorithm matched you to someone who is using it.Or perhaps she was reflecting his own feelings back at him. Did you tell them you didn't want to participate, then? "Whoever it is does not give up easily.""Have you figured out who it is yet? "Because it's what you always do, solve the mystery.The feeling of doom returned as he composed an answer, against his better judgment. They expect us to do things we never dreamed of doing. Some of us go through our lives letting our bodies be their tools. The romance dies, and they settle into domestic bliss. "Computer, play Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, composed by Bach."As it started to play, he replicated some tea. He actually spent a few moments feeling disappointment.Answering didn't mean he would ever even know who it was. A puzzle, to tease out the person's identity without revealing his own. They put us back together after we're damaged, they put us back in service, but they don't provide the things we need. And it becomes obvious that there is a need that is never met. When he returned with the steaming cup of Earl Grey, another message had appeared -- that was fast. Then turned to look out the viewport at the star, hovering in the black of night.
And Will, who was in his seat looking intently at a padd, was working far too hard not to grin about something. Rolled his eyes."Report, Number One," Picard said, taking his seat."We're on course, continuing at warp four, on time to rendezvous with the as scheduled." And there came the grin. Data has completed a project."Picard debated whether he wanted to know or not.