The door chime rang in Katina's quarters. "Come in," she called out. Data entered, and she greeted him.
"I have been asked to deliver your combadge," Data explained, holding out a combadge for Katina. She took it and attached it to her vest. "To use it, simply tap the combadge and say who you wish to communicate with. For instance…" he tapped his combadge "Data to Katina."
Katina could hear Data on her combadge as he spoke. "That's cool!" she exclaimed, as Data ended communications. "So, are you still up for that Custom Robo rematch later?"
Before Data could reply, he got a message on his combadge. "Riker to Data, you're needed on the bridge."
"Acknowledged," Data said, tapping his combadge. "It appears our rematch will have to wait," he told Katina.
"Ok, just let me know when you're off duty," Katina said, "See ya."
"Goodbye," Data replied, and left for the bridge.
Captain's log, stardate 48xxx.x: We are answering a distress call from the colony on Talyl 4. There has been an outbreak of an unusual computer virus in their climate control center, causing the computers to run inefficiently. It is no major cause for alarm at the moment, but if something is not done, the whole system could eventually fail.
"What have we heard about this virus?" Picard asked his senior officers.
"It's pretty strange," Geordi replied, "Reports say that the computer system… well one could almost say it's gotten sick."
"Yeah, like physically ill," Geordi explained, "They're running hot, weakened, and the voice interface sounds like it has a cold."
"That's very strange," Picard acknowledged, "Number One gather your team."
"Ok. LaForge, Data, you're with me," Riker said.
"Wait a second, Number One," Picard interrupted, "With a computer virus spreading down there, are you sure you want Data? He could be affected."
"I assure you, Captain," Data said, "I have sufficient anti-virus protection."
"Yeah, but you got infected with the virus from Iconia, remember?" Geordi pointed out.
"That is true," Data agreed, "But I have worked to improve my protection since then."
"Besides," Riker added, "We need his expertise down there. And we may need him to interface with these computers physically. No human can do that. It's a risk we'll have to take."
"And if ANYTHING goes wrong," Geordi assured Picard, "We'll get him out of there."
"Very well," Picard said, "Go."
Riker, Data, and Geordi beamed down to the climate control center. All the computers seemed to be giving off more heat than usual, so it was quite warm inside, and they heard an odd sneeze from the voice interface. Riker tried working with one of the consoles, but it was slow to the point of being nearly unresponsive. So Geordi helped Data link with the main computer.
"Establishing link," Data said. A brief moment passed before he announced that he had successfully linked with the main computer. Meanwhile, Geordi and Riker monitored his progress and the computer's status on the screen.
After a while, there were no signs of the virus. "Hey! I think you did it, Data! The virus isn't there anymore!" Geordi exclaimed.
"I do not think so…" Data replied, "It has gotten much colder in this room. Perhaps it has progressed to the actual climate control functions."
"Colder? What do you mean, Data? It's just fine here…" Geordi said, but stopped when he noticed his friend was shivering. "Data?" He asked, "Why are you shaking like that?"
"I am not sure," Data replied, his voice rasping slightly. Geordi immediately rushed over to Data and started to disconnect him from the computer.
"I think you might have gotten the virus," Geordi said, "You're much warmer than usual."
"ACHOO!" Data sneezed suddenly. (And it was a real sneeze, too. Not the fake one he had been practicing.)
"I didn't know you could sneeze," Riker said.
"I did not know I could either," Data replied weakly when Geordi had disconnected him from the computer.
"I'd say you definitely have this virus now," Geordi noted, "And since you are more like a human than this system, it's gonna show itself as more like a human illness in you."
"We need to get him back to the Enterprise," Riker said, "Should we send him to sickbay?"
"Well he's not really 'sick,'" Geordi pointed out, "But this is probably as close as he'll ever be. Maybe Dr. Crusher can do something about it."
"It's worth a try," Riker shrugged. He tapped his combadge. "Riker to Enterprise, three to beam to sickbay."
The away team beamed up, and moments later reappeared in sickbay, much to Dr. Crusher's surprise.
"What's wrong?" she asked, "You two look fine."
"Oh, we're not sick," Riker explained, "but Data is."
"It's that virus from the climate control center," Geordi explained, "It made the computers there almost show signs of real physical illness, which would definitely show better in an android than a console."
"ACHOO!" Data sneezed again.
"Oh my God!" Beverly exclaimed. "Data, are you alright?"
"I do not think so…" he replied, shivering.
"Can you run a diagnostic?" she asked while scanning him with a medical tricorder.
Data sat silently for a moment as he ran a quick self diagnostic. "I have contracted the virus from the climate control center computer," he confirmed, "I should be able to destroy it on my own within my internal systems, but it will take time and much of my energy to do so. In the meantime, I am weakened and show signs of physical illness."
"I guess you could say you've got an 'android cold,'" Geordi joked.
"More like 'android flu', since it's a virus," Beverly corrected Geordi.
"Well now what?" Riker asked.
"If it's going to present itself like a human illness," Beverly said, "Then I suggest we treat it like one. Since there's nothing I can give him, I recommend lots of rest if Data's going to fight off this virus himself."
"But I do not require rest," Data stated.
"You do now," Beverly smirked, "Doctor's orders. You need to take it easy for a few days while you fight this off. And you also need to focus on bringing down your internal temperature. You're running much hotter than usual and it could burn or melt some part of you."
"What about my duties?" Data asked, "And I promised Katina I would join her in the holodeck later."
"You're relieved of duty until this virus is gone," Beverly said, "And the holodeck will have to wait. I'm sure Katina will understand."
"And while you're still infected, I don't want you to link with the ship's computer," Riker ordered, "We can't risk this spreading through our computer systems."
"I understand completely, sir," Data acknowledged before sneezing again.
"Good," Riker grinned, "I'll let the Captain know what's going on. Geordi, escort Data to his quarters."
"Aye, sir," Geordi replied. Data stood up and walked out of sickbay with Geordi.
They arrived at Data's quarters a few minutes later (Data sneezed a few more times in the corridors, which resulted in strange looks from passersby.)
"Are you going to be alright?" Geordi asked when they entered.
"I have already initialized the program which will remove the virus from my system," Data explained, "It will take approximately two days to run its course, and I will be required to activate my sleep routine for brief moments during that time, to minimize the strain on my processors."
"Looks like you'll be getting some sleep after all," Geordi chuckled, "But, two days? That's a long time."
"This virus is an unusual one," Data said, "I have never encountered it before, and have no immunity to it. I will only need to sleep for thirty minutes at a time, and only a few times. Most of the program requires me to be awake."
"Well when's your first nap?" Geordi asked.
"In five minutes," Data replied.
"Well you better get to bed, then," Geordi said, "I'll come and check on you later, ok? Who knows? Maybe you'll have some interesting dreams. See you later."
"Good bye, Geordi," Data replied, before sneezing so loud that it sent Spot running for cover.
Chapter Notes: The idea to have a computer virus came from watching "Contagion," which is an AWESOME episode!
Chapter End Notes: This chapter was originally MUCH longer, so I split it into two parts.