Katina walked down the corridor to Data's quarters and pressed the door chime. A few seconds passed before she heard a weak voice reply "Come in." She complied.
"Data?" she asked, seeing the android sitting up in bed with Spot sleeping on his lap, "How come you're in bed?"
"I am not well," he replied.
"You're sick? I thought androids couldn't get sick," Katina said. "You're not contagious, are you?"
"Only to other computers," Data explained, "It is a computer virus that affects me like a biological virus would affect a human. Fighting it off takes a great deal of my energy. I am currently weakened to the point that I cannot even get out of bed."
"Wow, that sucks," Katina said. She walked over to Data and sat down in a chair by his bed, reaching over to pet Spot. "So I guess you're not going to be able to come to the holodeck?"
"Not for a while," Data replied, "The program I am using to remove the virus takes two days to run its course. I will be unable to do much during that time."
"Two days?!" Katina exclaimed, "I thought it only took a matter of minutes to remove a virus from a computer!"
"This is quite a bit more complicated than one of those viruses," Data explained.
"Yeah, but you're no ordinary machine," Katina pointed out.
"And this is no ordinary virus," Data replied, "This was affecting an entire climate control center's computer system, many computers all at once. I am just one android."
"I see," Katina said, scratching Spot behind her ears. Data sneezed, which sent Spot running for cover again. Katina laughed at Spot's reaction, then looked up at Data again. "So," she began, "You sleep in your uniform?"
"I do not own any sleepwear, as I do not usually need it," Data said, "I am perfectly comfortable in my uniform."
"Ah well, suit yourself," Katina replied, "Do you need anything? Another pillow or blanket or a glass of water or something?"
"Now that you mention it," Data said, "I was wondering if you could go to the replicator and get 'chemical nutrient compound' for me."
"What's that?" Katina asked.
"It is a semi-organic nutrient compound in a silicon based liquid medium," Data explained, "I occasionally ingest this to help lubricate my biofunctions and keep my systems running at peak efficiency."
"In other words, fuel, right?" Katina said.
"Not exactly, as it is not a source of energy," Data replied.
"Ok then," Katina nodded. She got up and walked over to the replicator to give the order, and returned with a glass of a clear gray liquid. "You drink this stuff?" she asked, disgusted.
"Yes," Data said, taking the glass from Katina and thanking her.
"It must taste horrible," Katina grimaced as Data took a drink.
"I cannot 'taste' anything," Data admitted.
"Guess that could be a good thing sometimes," Katina joked.
Data finished consuming the compound and set the glass on a table next to the bed. Spot came out of hiding and jumped in Katina's lap this time, and nearly clawed her to death when Data sneezed again.
"Ow!" Katina exclaimed, grabbing where Spot had clawed her arm.
Data looked at the damage Spot had done. Nothing major, but still… "You should tend to those scrapes," Data said.
"Nah, it's no big deal," Katina replied, "My grandpa owns a cat. I've been scratched many times."
"Hmm," Data nodded. He shifted in his bed so he could lie down properly. "I have to shut down for a while now," he said, "Normally the program requires me to sleep for only 30 minutes, but this one may take longer than before."
"How much longer?" Katina asked.
"I am uncertain," Data replied, "The program is at a critical stage now. My estimation would be approximately two hours, but it could possibly be a little longer."
"Well if it goes on too long I'll have to get Geordi," Katina said, "I'm concerned about you, Data, and I want you to get well as soon as possible."
"Your concern is… appreciated," Data said, "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Katina grinned, "So, I'll come check on you in another two hours or so. See ya."
"Good bye, Katina," Data said. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Two hours later, Katina returned as promised, but Data was still asleep. Not wanting to disturb him, she just sat down next to his bed and played with Spot.
Another hour passed, and Katina was starting to worry. Maybe it was a miscalculation, she thought. But then again, how could Data miscalculate anything? Well, he did say it could be longer.
Yet another hour passed, and Katina was very tempted to try to wake Data up, but what would happen if she did? What if his program was at a really important stage that would make things worse if Data woke up at that moment? Would he even wake up if she tried to wake him? She decided now would be a good time to go get Geordi. He would know if it was safe to wake Data… right?
She tapped her combadge. "Katina to Commander LaForge," she said.
"Geordi here, what's up?" a voice replied.
"Data went to sleep again. It's been four hours, and he hasn't woken up yet," she explained.
"Four hours?!" Geordi exclaimed, "He told me each time he slept would only need to be 30 minutes long!"
"Well he told me this one would take longer since his program's at a critical stage. He estimated about two hours but it's been much longer. Is it safe to wake him?" she asked.
"It's not like Data to make such a major miscalculation," Geordi replied, "And if it were absolutely crucial that he remain asleep during the process he would've warned us not to wake him up. Go ahead and try."
"Ok," Katina said. She grabbed Data's shoulder and shook him slightly while calling out to him, "Data! Data! Wake up!" But he didn't even stir.
"Nothing's happening," Katina reported to Geordi.
"Is he moving or snoring at all?" Geordi asked, remembering what Data had said about the extra functions he had added to his sleep routine.
"I didn't know he could snore or move in his sleep," Katina said, "But he's not doing either of those things right now."
"So either he deactivated those functions in order to make the virus program more efficient," Geordi speculated, "Or something's seriously wrong in there. I'll be right up, Katina; we need to figure out what's going on."
"Understood, I'll be waiting for you here. Katina out," she said before closing the link. She glanced over at Data with an expression of deepest concern on her face. "Man I hope you're alright, Data," she said, just in case he could still hear her.
Minutes later, Geordi rushed in. "Any improvement?" he asked. Katina shook her head. "We should get him to sickbay then, most of his diagnostic equipment is there. How much can you lift?"
"Not a lot," Katina replied, wondering what that was supposed to be about.
"I suppose carrying him's out of the question then," Geordi said. He tapped his combadge. "LaForge to Sickbay," he called out.
"Crusher here," Beverly responded.
"I need to get Data to sickbay, it looks like his virus has taken a turn for the worse. Have the transporter chief beam him over there and I'll be up as soon as possible," Geordi explained.
"I'll come too," Katina added.
"It might be best for you just to stay here or go back to your quarters," Geordi began, but Katina interrupted him.
"I know a little about technology, and it just wouldn't feel right for me to sit here and do nothing when one of my friends is in danger," she explained, "I promise I won't get in the way."
"Alright," Geordi sighed, "Dr. Crusher, I'm bringing Katina with me too. She insists on coming."
"Ok, standby to have Data transported," Beverly said. A few seconds later, Data was beamed out of his own bed and rematerialized on a biobed in sickbay. When that was done, Geordi and Katina left Data's quarters to go to sickbay.
They arrived to find Data lying on a biobed, hooked up to his diagnostic equipment. "It doesn't look good, Geordi," Beverly said.
Geordi looked at a readout on the diagnostic computer. "It looks like the virus is affecting many of his systems," he said. He punched in some commands. "And I don't see his anti-virus program in here. The virus must've taken it out."
"Now what do we do?" Beverly wondered.
"We could try what happened with the Iconian virus," Geordi suggested, "His systems were completely shut down and memory was wiped from the moment of infection."
"Is there a command for that in there?" Beverly asked.
Geordi looked through a list of the many programs Data had. "Doesn't look like it, and I'd rather not mess with his self-repair program. I'd hate to have to recode it if something went wrong."
"How did he even pick up this virus?" Katina asked.
"The virus left the control center's computer network and entered him through the physical link he established with the main computer," Geordi explained.
"Then why not hook him up to a different computer and see if the virus will leave him alone and affect the other computer?" Katina suggested.
"All the computers on the ship are a part of the ship's network, except these diagnostic machines," Geordi said.
"Can't you just take a computer off the ship's network?" Katina asked, "If you did, you could hook Data up to it without any risk to the ship, and if my idea works then the virus will go in there and leave Data alone."
"I can, but it takes a few minutes," Geordi replied, "Run down to engineering and ask Lt. Barclay for a computer we can use. I've left him in charge for now."
"Yes sir," Katina acknowledged, leaving sickbay as quickly as she could. She got inside a turbolift and ordered it to take her to engineering. Once there, she approached a rather nervous looking lieutenant whom she assumed was Barclay.
"Lt. Barclay?" she asked.
"Yes? How can I help you?" Barclay replied, "Wait, you shouldn't be down here, you're just a kid."
"Commander LaForge sent me," Katina explained, "I need to bring him a computer that he can disconnect from the network and link with Data physically."
"Oh yes, I heard about Data," Barclay said, "Is he alright?"
"Not really," Katina replied.
"Right, I should get you that computer then," Barclay said. He went off somewhere and came back with a small computer that had an access port that Data could connect to. "This should work," he said, "I hope everything works out alright."
"I hope so too," Katina said, taking the computer. It was kinda heavy. "Thanks," she added, heading back to the turbolift and ordering it to take her to sickbay.
Once she got back to sickbay, she saw that Data had taken a turn for the worse. Though he remained asleep, he'd started coughing violently.
"The virus is causing his internal systems to start attacking each other," Beverly stated as Katina handed the computer to Geordi. "Better hurry up with that."
Geordi got the necessary cords ready but didn't connect to the computer yet. He turned it on and spent a few minutes trying to disconnect it from the ship's network. By the time he'd finished, Data had started convulsing, much like he did when Lore had rapidly pressed his off switch. Beverly and Katina held Data as still as they could while Geordi connected the cable. Once the link had been successfully established, the coughing and seizures subsided. Geordi checked the status both on the diagnostic equipment and the computer.
"I think it's working! The virus is leaving Data's systems and entering this computer!" Geordi commented.
Once the diagnostic equipment showed that the virus no longer resided in Data, Geordi disconnected him from the computer. Data had calmed down completely. He was no longer coughing or sneezing, but had returned to the regular snoring and movements he had added to his sleep routine.
"Should we wake him, or let him sleep this off?" Katina asked.
"We need to know if everything's alright," Beverly said. She gently tapped Data on the shoulder while calling to him. Data's eyes slowly opened.
"What am I doing in sickbay?" he asked, looking around and still sounding a little weak. He tried to sit up, but Beverly stopped him.
"Stay put, I need to run some more scans to see if everything's normal again," she said. She ran a few scans and reported the news. "There's a bit of internal damage but it's minimal," she explained, "You should be able to correct everything yourself with a bit of rest."
"But I do not require…"
"I said REST, Data," Beverly stressed, "Take it easy for a bit. Besides, it'll probably be a while before your internal temperature returns to a safe operating level. Considering how high your temperature got I'm surprised your skin hadn't started melting. It is declining steadily, though, which is a very good sign."
"It's good to see you're ok, Data," Katina said, giving the android a hug, "We were really worried when you wouldn't wake up."
Data was a tad bewildered by this display of affection and concern, but awkwardly returned the hug anyway, patting Katina on the back in a reassuring manner.
"How did you find a way to remove the virus?" Data asked Geordi.
"Actually, Katina came up with that idea," Geordi explained, "We hooked you up to a computer that we had disconnected from the ship's network and the virus left you and infected it. Just like how you took it from the climate control center."
"And what will we do with that computer now that it is infected?" Data asked.
"I think we should let Katina decide that," Geordi grinned.
"Well I can think of two possibilities," she said, "One: Keep the virus on that computer and use the computer to work on a way to destroy it for good, so we know what to do next time. Or two: Beam the computer out into space and leave it particleized so that the virus will never bother anyone again. In my personal opinion, I kinda like the second option," she added with a smirk.
"It would be incredibly beneficial to find out how to destroy this virus the proper way," Geordi said, "just in case there are others out there like it. But if this computer's infected, it'll become inoperable like the consoles at the climate control center, so we would have no way of working on a solution." A grin spread across his face as he considered the second option. "Care to do the honors, Katina?"
"I don't know how to work a transporter!" Katina replied.
"I can show you what to do," Geordi said, picking up the computer. "Wow, this thing's getting warm already!"
"Wanna come watch, Data?" Katina asked.
"He's not going anywhere till I say it's ok," Beverly stated before Data could speak up, "I want to make sure everything's just fine before he leaves here."
"Doctor, the virus is gone," Data explained, already sounding stronger, "My condition will not deteriorate any further. My internal temperature is quickly returning to normal. And I assure you that I will rest and perform the necessary repairs once I return to my quarters."
"Fine," Beverly sighed, "Go watch Katina beam that thing off the ship, but right after that return to your quarters, repair everything, and let yourself cool down. Promise?"
"You have my word, Doctor," Data assured her. He sat up, got off the biobed, and followed Katina and Geordi to the transporter room.
Chapter End Notes: I really didn't have to do much modification on this one, actually...