The Watched Pot
It had been months since Data has assumed the emotion chip full time. He had been reporting on every little nuance of his altered perceptions to Commander Maddox since the moment Geordi had replaced the device – and altered perceptions they were.
Sadness was especially troublesome. Anger, annoyance, frustration – they all came with some new hurdle for him to jump, some new way of having to deal with the sudden need for complex social skills for which he had not yet developed the subroutines. On top of it, he felt guilty for taking up so much of the counselor’s time...but slowly, steadily, things began to settle in. He learned to control the negative emotions and to enjoy the positive ones.
The Enterprise was making a short stop at DS9 for supplies and it afforded Data the opportunity to catch up with Keiko and Miles O’Brien. Before he realized it, he had been wrangled into babysitting their daughter Molly for the evening. Molly was an inquisitive child and Data found himself facing a new level of emotional challenges. He had been ordered to finish a detailed report by the Captain, and Molly’s presence in his quarters was proving to be more of a hassle than he had envisioned. Her constant questions and interruptions were beginning to fray on his nerves, yet another new emotion.
He had decided to keep the child busy and placed her near the coffee table in his quarters with a small electronic tea kettle – the same tea kettle he had studied for hours to decipher the root of the idiom, a watched pot never boils. His studies had revealed that a watched pot always boiled. It always took 51.7 seconds for water to boil in the kettle. He had even taken Commander Riker’s advice once and turned off his internal chronometer and still, it took precisely 51.7 seconds according to the chronometer on his desk.
He discerned it would be the perfect game for Molly to undertake to keep her occupied while he finished his report. He had asked her to watch the time as the water came to a boil, mark the time, refill the pot with water and perform the test again fifteen times. She undertook her orders with scientific glee and sat staring at the tea kettle, chronometer in her hand and PADD in the other.
Satisfied with her quiet demeanor, Data turned to sit at his desk. He began working on the tedious report. He smiled when he realized that, yes, it was tedious.
Moments later Molly was standing next to him, holding the chronometer and the PADD in her hand. The PADD contained a graph: 51.7 seconds was listed…fifteen times.
Data’s shocked yellow eyes darted from the child to the tea kettle. Indeed, his internal chronometer had measured that just over fifteen minutes had passed since he had given her the assignment.
He smirked. “Hmmm. That was fast.”
Story Notes: A response to a challenge at Trek United - Keyword: FAST