Too Much by RevdKathy
He remembered back to the beginning: his Father. And the woman he’d called ‘Mother’. In a way it was their fault. The time factor was not something they’d considered.
He remembered his early days at college. He hadn’t fitted in then, despite his best efforts to blend. No-one had treated him as ‘normal’ until his first posting.
He remembered that, too. His first Captain: a warm, brave, serious-minded man who’d taken the young lieutenant under his wing, and helped him come to grips with his basic humanity. Dead now, of course. Long, long ago.
He remembered the bright enthusiastic engineer. They’d worked together to solve so many problems: one with the spark of genius and inspiration, the other with a limitless capacity to process information and sift through data. They’d had some brilliant times on that first posting.
And others, too: the fierce Klingon, who’d actually respected him for his physical prowess. Respected him! Maybe the first person who had.
And the gentle, empathic counsellor, who had been the first to try to understand the huge issues of his identity and strange collection of responses.
And the girl. Tasha. Funny that after millennia she still mattered.
When they admitted him to Bethlehem, they’d taken all his belongings ‘for your own safety’. He wasn’t sure what they’d thought he’d do with a desktop hologram, but he resented that loss. He’d like to see her again.
Of course, Bethlehem had to exercise their ‘duty of care’. The place was carefully constructed so there were no ligature points, though he doubted he could hang himself. And no sharp objects, though cutting his skin would not make him bleed. He was a ‘risk’, carefully assessed after his so-called ‘attempted suicide’.
And finally, he’d run out of things to think. So he’d turned himself off.
They didn’t understand. To them, that was ‘suicide’, sign of a disturbed mind. They deactivated his ‘off’ control, and tried to ‘treat’ him. But you can’t medicate a mechanical body. And talking therapies come to an end when there’s nothing left to say. He couldn’t make them understand: he’d simply lived enough.
A very short story (edited a bit by me for space concerns).
But what a HUGE debate could rage from this!
If someone is immortal, or virtually immortal, as TOS Flint character was, do they have a right to give themselves mortality? After all, a random date was programmed into Data's mother to make her lifespan more 'human', so does that make her 'death' okay and Data's not okay?
'The Measure of a Man' is still one of my absolute favorite TNG episodes, because they really tried to dig at and get to the core truths about the concept of artificial, sentient life. You've just added to the discussion and I enjoyed the experience immensely.
I realize this is just a one shot, but seriously, there is room to explore precisely why
Data ended up here. Even if he left Starfleet, I would think that he would continue meeting new friends even as they old ones aged and passed away. What might have happened to quell his natural curiosity to investigate the grand wonders of the universe?
A bittersweet, wonderful read!