While the Enterprise explores a mysterious nebula, Data enjoys working with Jenna D'Sora, an ensign who has enlisted him to help her keep her promise to herself not to return to a previous boyfriend also aboard the ship. Data's literalism and rationality appeal to her, as does his earnest praise of her skills as a musician when the two perform in a group together. When D'Sora wonders aloud why she can't fall for someone more like Data and kisses him, Data seeks out advice first from Guinan - who encourages him to open himself up to the possibility of love - then LaForge, Worf, Troi, and Riker, all of whom tell him that even failed romances are experiences worth seeking. They also remind Data that while he has no feelings to hurt, D'Sora obviously does. Data devises an elaborate dating program, but his artificially constructed solicitation and forced lover's quarrel backfire, since D'Sora finds these contrivances to be arbitrary and artificial. The two are distracted by a developing engineering crisis: what seem at first to be minor incidents, like Spot escaping from Data's quarters and Picard's desk collapsing in the ready room, escalate until bulkheads begin to disappear and a crewmember is killed. Data finds that the nebula is tearing the fabric of space, making matter phase out of existence. Because the Enterprise is too large to navigate past all the pockets of warped space, so Picard takes a shuttlecraft to guide the starship through. Once the ship is safe, D'Sora tells Data that she thinks she has made a mistake, replacing an emotionally unavailable past boyfriend with a man who has no emotions at all. Data tells her that he will delete the subroutine he wrote for her and spends the evening with Spot instead.
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