Disclaimers: Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry and is owned by Paramount Pictures.
I make no monetary profits from my fanfic.
Summary: Set about eighty years after The Next Generation. Data is Admiral - Lore joins Starfleet Academy.
Pronunciation of names: Rachel Vererra - Ray-ch-el (ch as in chew) Ve-re-rra (short e)
Ranna Ra-nn-a (short a) - Andreau (And-ray-oh) - Noona Tsu Noo-na Su
THE ACADEMY'S LORE
The year is 2449. Seventy-eight years into the future. Data is now the Grand Admiral in charge of Starfleet -- The ultimate irony. Once they tried to make a claim that he was their property; a toaster - and now he ran the whole shebang.
Data had finished serving as a Lieutenant Commander on the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 D and E. He was then promoted to Commander for ten years and serves aboard the USS Enterprise F under Captain Riker. Data was promoted to Captain and captained the USS Aegean 9940.
After he had served as a Captain for twenty seven years, Data was promoted to Admiral. There was a huge discussion about this, but Data had proven his worth that androids were just as good as any other life forms and deserved to be treated as such.
After he played a pivotal role in making peace with the Romulans, Ferengi, Orions, Tholians, many other races formerly hostile to the Federation - even assisted to neutralise the Borg threat, Starfleet saw fit to honour Data by announcing him Grand Admiral. A decision they never regretted.
But now, February 2, 2449, the Head of Starfleet had a decision to make. His android brother Lore had been captured and apprehended by the crew of the USS Tasmania. He had been repaired by the Romulans some fifty years ago when they had salvages his parts from the saucer section of the Enterprise D. They had wanted to use him, but of course Lore had a mind of his own and had flown the coop.
Lore was wanted for disassembly by the Federation for the Omicron Theta massacre, the attempted murder of everyone on the Enterprise and the deaths with the Borg. Crimes he committed over one hundred years ago. The crimes were quite serious, as they caused the deaths of hundreds of people. Although Lore himself was not directly responsible; he collaborated with the Crystalline Entity, and the Borg whom had killed the people. Even though the crimes were committed so long ago, the Federation weren't about to forget them.
In a way, Data thought, it would seem reasonable to have Lore disassembled. He was a danger, but, Data thought, if he had Lore disassembled, what would that say to androids who would join Starfleet in the future? If Lore's crimes were committed by a human, or another biological life form, disassembly would not even be an option.
Despite what had happened between them, Data felt a certain kinship with Lore. Both androids; Lore was his brother; the only family he had. Juliana had chosen to die a natural death, despite discovering she was an android. Data decided it would be wrong to give Lore a death sentence.
After pondering this all night, by daybreak Data had come to a decision. Data put this before the other members of Starfleet Command and the President of the Federation.
They spent some time pondering, arguing, but in the end, the majority deciding in favour of giving Lore the choice.
Data made his way down to the brig where Lore was being held.
Lore looked at his brother disdainfully through the forcefield.
"Still in Starfleet I see. Still under the control of these pathetic humans ..."
"Enough, Lore," Data said. "I didn't come here to be insulted."
"Using contractions now I see. Another sub program?"
"As a matter of fact, yes."
"Why did you come here, Brother Dear? To see me beg for a chance? To see me one last time before I hit the chop? Ohh how touching ...." Lore placed his hand on his heart space.
Data was not amused by his brother's sarcasm.
"I came here, Lore, to give you a choice, but since you're not interested, I'll leave."
"What ... choice?"
Data was almost at the door.
"Wait..." Lore said, a little more urgently than he would have liked.
Data turned and walked back to him. "A choice that may save you from being taken apart - again."
Lore tried his best not to look too relieved. "W ... what choice?"
"Actually you have two choices. One - Join Starfleet Academy "
Lore burst out laughing at that. "What?! You're crazier than I am! I don't believe this! Me join StarFleet Academy ... Ha, ha, hee, hee." Lore laughed again and placed his hand over his mouth.
Data glared at him and gave him the second choice.
Lore's smile faded quickly. "Ah."
There was a pause.
"I see I have no other choice. It's either Starfleet Academy, or-" Lore drew his hand across his neck.
"This is really unfair, Data. Can I have a third choice? Like get the hell outta here?"
"Don't push your luck, Lore. You're lucky you have a choice at all."
"Perhaps I am at that, but I'm not all that keen on becoming a blasted StarFleet Cadet."
"Make up your mind, Lore. I don't have all day. In fact I'm cutting into my day as it is."
"I'll join ...." Lore said quietly, after a pause, and with disgust. But wait .... This isn't so bad .... He thought, after a moment. I could do something really nasty, get kicked out of the Academy and be on my merry way again.
Data turned to Lore, and as if he was reading his thoughts, said, "and, Lore, if you are kicked out under any circumstances, you will automatically be disassembled."
"Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, Data..." Lore groaned.
Data lowered the forcefield. Lore felt like throttling him, but that would mean his neck, rather that Data's. Lore stood there and waited patiently as Data handed him a cadet's uniform.
"I was hoping you would make this choice." Data his the relief from his voice. "You will wear this when you're on duty. What you wear otherwise is your own choice."
"Well thank you. At least I get some choice."
"And if you don't stop your sarcasm, Lore, I'll have you booted out right now."
"Okay, Listen, Dat... Admiral .... It's going to take me a while ... I'm not used to this ... way of life, you know. You've been through it. You know what it's like. I need some time to adjust..."
"Well, you'd better adjust quickly, Lore. You have ten seconds."
"Wow, thanks ... Admiral..."
The seconds passed without incident. Lore stepped out of the cell. The two androids walked down the corridor.
"Data ... Uh, Admiral?..."
"What should I do? .... I mean you've been though this. You've been to the Academy."
"Yes, Lore, I have and I got through by myself, which is what you're going to do."
"Great. I've got a little brother who's been through it and he won't give me a teeny weeny piece of advice."
Data stopped walking for a moment. "Lore, if I knew at the Academy what I know now, it would've been a lot easier for me, but I learned. Experience is the greatest teacher."
"Since when did you take up philosophy?"
"If you don't like it, Lore, there's always the second choice."
"I may not like it, Data, but at least I'm in one functioning piece. And fine if you won't give me advice, I'll find it - My way."
"You know the rules, Lore and you know what'll happen if you break them."
"Yes, Admiral. I won't break any rules."
"Good, Lore, for your sake."
Data turned and walked down the corridor, leaving Lore alone, still holding the uniform. Lore watched him go.
You said I can't break the rules, but you didn't say anything about bending them ...
A smile crept across Lore's face as he went to find which quarters he had been assigned to.
* * *
Private quarters No. 1576. Lore walked inside. Reasonably large for a one person quarters. Actually it was for two people, but there was no one else here. Lore snorted.
"They probably think I'll kill my room mate..."
Then he laughed.
The door chime to Grand Admiral Data's office sounded.
"Come in" he said, absently.
Commander Jeremy Riker entered and walked towards Data's desk. Data looked up. "What can I do for you, Commander?"
Riker paused for a moment. "It's Lore, sir."
"What's he done now?"
"I don't trust him, sir."
"Neither do I."
"Then why did you let him into the Academy?"
"I believe it was necessary to give him a choice."
"Data, he caused the deaths of... hundreds of people..."
"I know, Jeremy, but If Lore were human, he would not have to face disassembly. I may not trust him, or even like him, but he is my brother. And if I let them disassemble him, what would that say about androids? They do something wrong, so just take them apart? It took Starfleet over eighty years to realise that I was more than just a machine. Lal, my daughter might still be alive today if they hadn't been so ignorant. I struggled to get where I am today. I don't want that to be in vain."
Jeremy nodded. "I understand, Data, but with all due respect, sir, don't expect me to agree with your decision about Lore."
"I don't expect anything of you, Jeremy." Data paused for a moment. "Because Lore was responsible for those deaths, you believe he might betray the Academy?"
"I believe it's possible."
"I don't believe those are his intentions," Data said, "but we have to keep him in line. I've had to be very strict with him and he knows what'll happen if he steps out of line."
"I am personally assigning him to you. Lore will be under your command. See that he does not step out of line."
Data nodded, ignoring the hint in Riker's voice that he did not like the idea of Lore being at the Academy at all or being assigned to him.
* * *
Lore, dressed in his new cadet uniform (which he despised, but it was either that to going around naked), was looking at his timetable.
"Astrophysics, Ancient Earth History, Quantum physics .... exobiology .... boring, boring, boring. I may not know everything, but I don't need to know this crap."
Lore was ten minutes late for his first class.
"I would appreciate you coming to your lessons on time" the teacher snapped.
"Sorry, sir" said Lore, feeling uncomfortable with all his new classmates eyes on him.
Lore sat at the back of the class by himself.
The lesson was basic, but Lore tried not to get too bored. This was only his first lesson. Four more years to go. Frankly he wondered if he'd shut down before then. People have been known to die of boredom, you know.
Actually, Lore was more interested in the girl, Rachel sitting in front of him. Then scolded himself.
What am I doing? She's only a teenager ... a child... and I'm... well older than everyone here. Including the teacher.
"Lore ... Lore ..."
Lore snapped his head up and looked at the teacher.
"I suppose you were paying attention when you were daydreaming?"
"Yes, sir, I was."
"Then what is the answer."
Lore told her the precise answer, which astonished both her and the class.
Humans ... he thought disdainfully They're too stupid to realise that androids can do more than one thing at a time.
Lore was again daydreaming in his next class.
"Lore, tell me what happened in the Sung Dynasty, 13th Century China, and stop daydreaming."
Lore looked up and paused. "Sung Dynasty ... Sung Dynasty... Well, that's where ... uhh ..."
"Come on, Lore, the class hasn't got all day."
"Oh yes, of course, the Soong Dynasty. That's where they made all the androids."
The entire class, bar the teacher laughed at that. Lore smiled too, while listening the teacher explain what really happened in the Sung Dynasty.
Maybe these humans aren't so bad after all. Maybe.
Lore had finished classes for the day. He retreated to his quarters and sat in the chair. The door chime sounded.
"What now? ... Come in ..."
Riker walked into Lore's quarters. Lore looked at him, puzzled for a moment. "Have I seen you somewhere before? ... Oh. You've grown a beard. Suits you better, Riker. But hang on, how could you be..."
"I'm William Riker's Grandson. Son of Jean-Luc Riker and you will address me in the proper manner as Commander."
Riker looked at Lore, angry. "I told Data I didn't approve of you being here. I still don't. You don't belong here."
"Tell me about it, but I'd rather be here than dead."
"And furthermore, I don't trust you, Lore."
"That's a good sign."
"And I don't exactly like you either."
"Well, I love you too ... Sir."
Riker squinted his eyes at Lore, then left his quarters.
"Phew ... and I thought his grandfather was bad!"
* * *
A few weeks had gone by. The boredom was really gripping Lore I've got four more years .... I've gotta do something.
To make his life at the Academy bearable, Lore began playing practical jokes on people, students, teachers, just about everyone. Of course being careful not to be discovered. That made it a lot more bearable; even fun. Especially when Riker was the butt of the joke.
* * *
Months later, Riker had been fretting about two Ranorian inspectors coming to the Academy. And as everyone knew, Ranorians rated amongst the fussiest beings in the Galaxy. Everything had to be absolutely perfect.
The day drew nearer and nearer, until it finally came. Riker was frantically fussing about, making sure every detail was in place.
"Relax, Jeremy," Data said. "You're only going to mess things up if -"
"Clean that mess up!" Riker snapped.
Data looked around, as Riker pointed to a few spots on the wall and shoved a cloth in Data's hand. With a smile, Data wiped away the spots. He even dismissed the fact that Riker had not addressed him as Admiral.
"How do I look? Okay? I've been rushing around so much this morning, I feel like something the cat dragged in."
"You look fine, Jeremy. Trust me."
"Listen, Data, I need to appear calm and natural in front on the Ranorians. They insist on me transporting to meet them. Fussy people ....
Data smiled. "Calm down, Jeremy, you'll do fine."
Riker nodded, then left. Unbeknownst to both Riker and Data, Lore had been close by, listening to every word they were saying. A wide smile crept across his face.
That afternoon, Lore was with the two inspectors, and other Starfleet personnel, looking his best. Riker had threatened to have him kicked out if he didn't look immaculate.
Lore waited by the transporter. He acknowledged Riker's signal, activated the transporter and Riker materialised.
Everyone tried to keep straight faces, but they couldn't help it. First they smiled, then started snickering, then laughing, especially Lore.
Riker frowned. "I really can't see what's so...." he looked down at himself. "Fun..."
He was stark naked. Riker's face turned bright red as he covered the relevant part. He looked at the Ranorian inspectors.
"I'm sorry ... It must be a p....problem with the transporter."
Riker glared at Lore, who kept a perfectly straight, innocent face.
Thankfully the aliens seemed to understand. Nakedness was not so taboo amongst their people.
"Uh .... would everybody please leave ...." Riker said, softly, embarrassed.
Understandingly, everyone began to file out of the room. Lore was the last and was almost at the door.
"Except you, Lore."
Uh oh. Lore slowly turned around. Riker looked ready to tear him apart.
"You .... you .... YOU F#@$#%$!!!"
"Oh, such language, Commander!" scalded Lore, waving a finger.
Riker was fuming. Lore could almost see the smoke coming out of his ears and nose.
"Well, Sir, you did say you wanted to appear natural in front of them .... and what could be more natural than this?"
Riker glowered. He grabbed the front of Lore's uniform and yanked him forward, drawing back his fist.
"I wouldn't advise that, Sir. You'll break every bone in your hand."
Riker pushed him away.
"I want you to check EVERY transporter on the Academy grounds and fix every malfunction you find."
"Thanks, Riker, just picture it - Every woman in the Academy materialising stark naked."
Riker pictured it and started to smile, then he shook his head. "I want it done properly or I'll put you on report, Mister."
"Every single one."
"But there's over one hundred."
Riker looked at Lore blankly. "You should've thought of that before you pulled your little prank."
"Great ...." Lore groaned, "but hey, it was worth it."
Riker glared at him. "And another thing, Lore. Get me a uniform."
The inspectors inspected and Lore fixed. By the end of the day everything was in working order, the Ranorians were satisfied and they left on the next available transport.
* * *
Lore was on his way back to his quarters, when he saw Riker struggling to pull a long shard of metal out of the wall. He was sweating and making frustrated noises. Lore walked up to him.
"Auditioning for Excalibur are we?"
Riker rolled his eyes and continued to struggle. As hard as he might, he couldn't pull the damn thing out.
"Get it out!" he snapped to Lore.
"All you had to do is ask, Riker."
Riker stood aside. Lore clasped his thumb and index finger around the shard and plucked it out effortlessly. Lore held the shard up.
"And now I am the King of the Academy. He who holds the sword rules the Universe!"
"He who doesn't drop it gets kicked out of the Academy."
Lore instantly dropped the shard.
Riker picked it up and held it by his side.
"You're no fun, Riker" Lore scowled. "You're just like everyone else in Starfleet. Boring, boring, boring."
Riker whirled around, angry, accidentally stabbing the shard into Lore's stomach. Lore reeled backwards.
"Lore!" Riker exclaimed.
Lore fell down in a melodramatic Shakespearean manner. Riker ran to him and knelt down.
There was no movement.
Lore opened his eyes. He looked at Riker and said, deadpan, "Ouch."
* * *
A few months later, a scare at the Academy had everyone in a panic. An unsealed bag of neutronium chips had gone missing. The substance was highly toxic and fatal to all biological life forms. The entire grounds were evacuated, except for Lore, as he wouldn't be affected by it and Riker, who wore protective clothing. Data was away on official business, leaving Riker in temporary charge.
"Computer, where is Lore?" Riker asked.
"Cadet Lore is currently located within his quarters."
"What? He's supposed to be looking for ...." Riker bashed the com panel. "Riker to Lore. What the hell are you doing?"
"I'm having my breakfast, Commander," came the reply.
Riker ranted and raved and fumed, but Lore ignored him. Finally Riker was fed up. He stormed out down the corridor and barged into Lore's quarters.
There, he saw Lore, lying on his stomach, munching contentedly, casually away on the neutronium chips. Lore looked up at him.
"Couldn't you have at least waited until I'd finished my breakfast? .... These are quite delicious, you know."
Lore put a few into his mouth, crunched them up and swallowed them.
Riker wondered about the android's strength at being able to do that - and felt slightly uncomfortable.
"Oh how rude of me" began Lore. He held the bag out to Riker and smiled. "Care for one, sir?"
"Uh .... no thank you, Lore.
Lore smirked and ate the remaining chips, then licked his fingers. "Mmmmmmm!"
Riker rolled his eyes and try as he might, he couldn't hold back a smile.
Riker retreated to Data's office. No sooner was he there, he received an emergency transmission from Data.
"Commander Riker .... I have been informed of the Academy's current status."
"Don't worry, Data. We have everything under control. We've...uh ... contained the chips."
"Where? They are extremely difficult to contain and ...."
"Trust me, sir. The danger's gone."
"Where did you put the chips?"
Riker paused for a moment, finding it difficult to keep a straight face. "They're inside Lore's stomach, sir."
"He decided they tasted good, so he ...."
Data couldn't help smiling himself. "All right, Commander" he said. "I shall be returning shortly. Data out."
* * *
Lore was feeling really bored. He'd run out of practical jokes and needed something else to do. The door chime sounded.
Grand Admiral Data walked in. Lore was rather surprised to see him.
"Dat..." he started to say, "Admiral."
"I came to congratulate you, Lore."
"Me? What for?"
"You handled the energy chip situation very well."
"Oh that...." Lore smiled and rubbed his stomach. "Yes, they were delicious."
Data half smiled. "I must try some sometime."
An idea suddenly popped into Lore's head.
"Data, can you come here for a minute? I want to show you something ...."
* * *
Lore sat behind the desk, with his feet up on it, cracking his knuckles. The uniform made him feel more important - bigger and more powerful ... But what would happen if they caught him? Anyway, it was too late to think about that now. What was done was done. It was his holidays. He didn't have anywhere to go or anything to do. He had to stay at the Academy where he'd spent the last three years. He needed something to do - something fun, and this was it.
The door chime sounded. Lore instantly took his feet off the desk.
"Come in" he said.
Commander Riker walked in with two young cadets.
"Admiral...." he said, "these two were caught mucking about with the transporters, making sure everyone materialised naked."
Lore almost laughed.
"What do you want me to do with them, sir?"
Lore looked at the two frightened cadets, admiring his position of power.
"Don't do it again" he said, "it's very embarrassing you know. Off you go now."
The two cadets counted their blessings and hurried out of the office. Riker looked at Lore.
"With all due respect, sir, how can you just let them off like that?"
"Jeremy, cadets do those sort of things."
"Do you remember when you were a cadet?"
"Yes .... I did something like that too."
"So did I."
"Well, I participated in such an event."
"There was no record of it."
"I was never caught."
Riker smiled. "Figures."
He then left Data's office.
Lore began looking through files on the computer. Private files of various people, namely Data, Riker and himself. He changed all his reprimands to commendations and smiled slyly to himself. He then stretched his arms out, folded them, put them behind his head, leaned back and put his feet up on Data's desk.
The door whooshed open. Lore looked up and froze, his legs instantly falling off the table. Data stormed into the room, glaring at him.
"Uhh .... I was just keeping your seat warm for you, Brother Dear ....."
Lore instantly fell silent. Even in the Grand Admiral uniform, now he felt like a cornered mouse - like he was four inches tall.
"Uh ...." Lore couldn't think of anything to say.
How the hell am I gonna get out of this one? "I ... I was just mucking around, Data ... Admiral ... honest ... I ... I ... uh... I..."
"Save it, Lore - and get my uniform off."
Lore nodded and obeyed, not knowing what else to do. Data snatched it from him and handed him his cadet's uniform. Lore silently put it on, hoping Data wasn't too mad.
"Anything else?" Lore asked, finding himself almost shaking.
"Get out of my office."
Lore hesitated, then started to leave. Is this all? he wondered...hoped.
Just before Lore exited, Data said, "report back here at 0900 tomorrow morning."
"Do not be late."
Lore nodded nervously, then left.
"What am I gonna do? He's gonna chew me up and kick me out... and they'll take me apart..." Lore became frightened.
That was a stupid thing to do. For someone with all that intelligence you sure can be dumb sometimes, Lore ... he told himself.
Lore entered his quarters and sat up all night worrying. He paced around, went for a walk and a swim outside, but nothing seemed to take his mind off it.
Lore even tried sleeping, but that wouldn't work, because every time he tried he had a horrible nightmare about Data with a chainsaw.
The night seemed to last forever. Lore just wanted to get it over and done with. The dreaded hour drew closer and closer. Lore became more and more agitated and nervous. The waiting tortured him.
* * *
Lore started on his way to Data's office, slowly. Every step seemed to take more and more effort. He finally arrived in what seemed like hours. His hand reached out, hand shaking, then he put it down. Lore swallowed, hard, closed his eyes and pressed the door chime and he was told to enter. The doors slid apart. Lore slowly stepped into the office.
Lore checked the time. Three seconds past 0900. He looked at Data, who was looking at the computer screen.
"Sit down" Data ordered.
Lore sat on the chair at the far side of the room. Data did not look up from the computer.
Lore was becoming more and more uneasy, but still Data said nothing. He didn't even look at Lore. For Lore, the minutes seemed like hours, each becoming more torturous. He wanted to say something. He knew what he wanted to say, but found himself unable to get it out.
Finally he mustered some bravado and said, "D...Data ... A ... admiral... I was just fooling around ... I ... I, well ... didn't mean any harm by it..."
Data glanced up from his computer. "I did not give you permission to speak, Cadet."
"Sorry, I ..."
Lore instantly shut up and Data looked back at him computer. The hourlike minutes ticked away.
Lore became more and more nervous. He began fidgeting. First twiddling his thumbs, then his fingers, then his feet.
"Stop fidgeting," Data snapped, not even looking up from his console.
Lore was instantly still.
At least ten minutes passed, but Lore could have sworn it was ten hours. Every circuit inside him was threatening to shut down. More 'hours' went by.
Finally Lore couldn't stand it anymore.
"Data..." Lore took a few breaths. "Just do what you have to do, but stop torturing me like this!" Lore stopped, grateful he'd finally said it.
Data looked at Lore, not taking his eyes off him for a second. Lore looked back at him, but found Data's cold stare intimidating. He looked away, but could feel the Admiral's eyes burning into him. He looked back at Data, who still would not take his eyes off him. Lore looked away in another direction, but the horrible feeling wouldn't go away. He couldn't bring himself to look at Data. He looked anywhere but at his brother.
"Stop it! ..." he said, shaking his head. "Just stop it!"
Lore looked at Data.
Data opened his draw and took out a small device. Lore's eyes widened and he swallowed hard. It was a plasma torch. A tool which could be used to deactivate him. He began shivering and tried to stop himself. He was terrified. He closed his eyes for a moment, hoping this was all a dream. He opened his eyes, but was sorely disappointed. He looked at Data, petrified, trying his best to hide it.
Data looked into at Lore and could see the fear in his brother's eyes. Good, he thought. He's learned his lesson.
Data looked back at his computer.
Lore was still very uneasy and the fear inside him was growing. He did not want to be taken apart again.
More time passed.
"Do not do it again."
It was so sudden, it made lore jump. "What? ... uh...."
"Do not do it again and I don't want to see you in my office again either or I may have to use this."
Data fingered the tool and Lore swallowed.
"I won't, I prom...."
"I'm sorry. I won..."
Lore stood up slowly. It felt as if his bum was stuck to the chair. "Thank you, Data ... Sir. I ... I ..."
"Y...yes, Sir ..."
Lore instantly left the office. The doors hissed closed behind him. Lore checked the time. 0930. Half an hour. It seemed like he was there for days - years... Lore contemplated what had happened in there, then fainted dead away.
* * *
Just before the holiday's were over, Lore was caught, by Riker, carving the initials R.V into the Academy's largest tree.
"Lore....What are you doing?"
"Uh, nothing sir?...."
Lore turned around, nervously. Riker saw what Lore had done and he rolled his eyes.
"Defacing academy trees is against the rules, Lore."
"I just carved two small initials, Riker .... I didn't pull the whole tree out. I could if you wanted me to."
"That's quite all right, Lore. I like the tree where it is, but I'm going to have to punish you. Data has told me to keep a strict eye on you."
"How about this, sir ..." Lore jumped in hastily. "I'll clean up all the leaves on the Academy grounds."
"I'll clean every quarters in the academy, all the corridors and ..." Lore began.
Riker smiled. "I bet Data'll want to know about this ..."
Lore gave Riker his best puppy dog look. "Please don't tell him sir ... The tree'll live, sir, but I won't if you tell Data."
Riker smiled. "I was just going to tell you that the oak tree over there's better to calve initials in."
"Gotcha!" Riker smirked.
"I oughta ...."
"I can still tell Data."
"You're a lovely man, Riker.
Riker smiled. "Oh, Lore, I want to see you in the main schoolroom at 1900 tonight to get your timetable for tomorrow."
Lore nodded. That was thirty minutes away from now.
It had recently rained on the academy grounds, so it was wet an mushy, and as Lore was walking back to the building complex, he slipped and fell into the mud. He cursed and swore, but stood up and walked to his quarters. The sonic shower was malfunctioning, so he had to resort to a conventional warm water bath.
* * *
"Where is he?" Riker said to himself, waiting in the schoolroom. "Bugger this. Computer, locate Cadet Lore."
"Cadet Lore is currently located within his quarters."
Riker didn't bother opening up a channel. He just went straight to Lore's quarters and barged in there.
"Lore? ... Lore?"
Riker heard a noise coming from the bathroom, so he barged in there, only to see Lore standing naked in the bathtub. Lore grabbed a towel and covered himself.
"Would you mind knocking?!" he snapped, offended.
"I'm sorry ..." Riker said, uncomfortably. "I didn't know androids needed to wash ..."
"We don't and I'm sorry I was late to get your stupid timetable, but I didn't anticipate slipping into a pile of stinking mud."
"Sorry" Riker apologised. "Here's your timetable."
"Just put it on the table outside and get out."
"Okay ... sorry."
Riker left the timetable and left Lore's quarters, thinking to himself that he hadn't expected an android to look so ...
* * *
Lore was also happy to see the other cadets weren't so afraid of him as they were when he started and he was quite startled that they had started accepting him.
Lore walked into the classroom and saw Rachel Vererra sitting alone. He slowly walked up to her.
"May I sit here?"
She looked up at him, then smiled. "Sure," she said, moving her stuff and making room for him. Lore smiled and sat down next to her. They began talking together before class started.
"I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life," Rachel said. "I thought I'd try out for Starfleet. It's okay I suppose, but I don't really think I'm cut out for it."
"Neither am I. I'm not here for my health y'know, well actually, I am."
Rachel laughed. "Can you keep a secret?"
Lore smiled. "That depends."
Rachel quietly began telling Lore about a prac she had pulled on Riker this morning. Lore laughed.
"I really hate him..." she said.
"Tell me about it."
"You hate him too?" She smiled. "You know, I'd LOVE to know who pulled that transporter prac on his with the Ranorian inspectors." Rachel twirled her dark brown pony tail.
Lore smiled and gestured. "Yours truly."
Rachel laughed. "Good one."
"So tell me more about your prac," Lore prompted.
"Well, it was similar to yours. I got the idea from yours, anyway, except I had him materialise in a yellow polka dot bikini."
Lore thumped the table and hollered. At that moment, Riker stormed into the classroom.
"You know what."
Lore burst out laughing.
"You think this is funny, Lore?"
Lore stopped laughing and looked totally innocent. "No, sir."
Riker looked at him, dubious.
Lore finished. "I think it's hilarious!"
Riker glared at him coldly. "You will come with me RIGHT NOW!"
"Why do you think?"
"I didn't do it."
"And I'm your fairy godmother."
"Are you? How nice. Listen, I didn't do it this time."
"I suppose you're going to tell me the nanites did it? And in any case if you didn't do it, then why were you laughing?
"Just because I think it's hilarious doesn't mean I did it .... I mean you in a bikini .... HA, HA, HA! I'd go on a diet first if I were you."
Riker grabbed Lore's collar and yanked him up. "That's ENOUGH of that, Cadet! Or I'll put you on report! " Then he thrust Lore back into the seat. "Do you know who did it?"
"No ... Nanites, maybe?"
Riker glared at him, suspicious. "Inform me if you find out."
"And Lore, you're not lying to me, are you?"
"Have you anything else to add?"
"Three bags full, sir."
Riker looked ready to throttle Lore. Lore smiled innocently and Riker stormed out.
Rachel laughed. "I don't believe it!"
"How you could get away with that!"
"He really hates me, you know. And there's nothing he can do about it."
"I can see he hates you .... And I bet you're not too keen on him either .... Thanks for not dobbing me in about the bikini prac."
Lore smiled. "Hey, what are friends for?"
* * *
Over the next few months, Lore and Rachel grew closer to each other and became very good friends.
* * *
Some nights they would sneak out of their quarters and spend the night with each other.
One night, Rachel was sneaking along the dark corridor to Lore's quarters and Lore was sneaking to hers. Lore heard her footsteps and waited until she was almost on top of him, then he grabbed her and she screamed.
"Lore! ...." she scalded, slapping him. "Don't scare me like that."
He just laughed and carried her to his quarters.
* * *
Rachel had invited Lore to her quarters. She was dressed in a lovely silver green dress, which Lore most definitely admired. "What do you want to do?" he asked.
"Have dinner with you" she replied softly, kissing him. "I know you don't need to eat, but ..."
Lore smiled. "I'd love to ..."
Rachel had made dinner of ingredients she had replicated. One of her specialities - Tandoori Chicken with various exotic vegetables. She loved to make exotic foods and was never one for the bland or plain.
Rachel smiled as she watched Lore swallow the food.
For dessert, she brought her personal favorite - bavarian triple chocolate mousse. They ate together, enjoying every moment.
When they had finished, Lore kissed her gently and she responded.
Later that night, Lore and Rachel walked around the Academy grounds. It was crisp and clear. They walked for quite a while, before deciding to go skinny dipping in the cool lake.
Lore admired her. Not just her body. She didn't have a perfect figure. She was short, not much up top and she didn't have a classical beautiful complexion. He admired her. She didn't see him as a machine. She looked deeper into his soul and saw who he really was. And she was willing to give him a chance.
Rachel admired Lore. Now he had a wonderful body. He was tall, slender and beautiful. A body any woman would drool over, but that wasn't why she admired him. He was willing to look past her plain looks and body and into her and see who she really was. She didn't really have any friends and no men seemed to be interested in her until she had met Lore.
She dived into the cool water with him and they played around for a while.
Later, they found a private spot, in the gardens, sat down and began kissing, passionately.
"Commander Riker to Lore."
Lore jumped at first, then looked at his communicator and rolled his eyes. He ripped it off and threw it into the water. Rachel smiled, leaned closer to Lore, and ...
* * *
The next morning, Lore and Rachel returned to the main building complex, saw no one was around, grabbed Rachel and kissed her.
At that moment, Riker came around the corner and saw Lore.
"And where were you last n..." Riker cleared his throat.
Lore and Rachel broke away, embarrassed.
"Do you mind?" Lore said. "There are some things even an android can't stand."
"And there are some things you're not allowed to do in a corridor."
"Well excuuuuuuuuuuse me, Riker. There's nowhere where it says -- No Kissing in the Corridor -- and if you're too old to appreciate it, that's not my problem."
"You're older than me, Lore and where anyway, where were you last night didn't you hear me call you?"
"No. My communicator fell into the pool."
"Lore, I might've needed you for something important."
"You need me, Riker? Ohh, I'm touched. Sorry to disappoint you, but I'm already taken."
"I needed you to help me move something, but never mind, I got eighteen cadets to do it."
"There, you didn't need me after all."
Lore and Rachel folded their arms and waited until Riker had gone, before kissing the life out of each other again.
The following night, Lore was feeling very restless. He stayed in his quarters for a while, then went to Rachel's. She wasn't there, so he walked back to his quarters. Perhaps she's gone there. Nope. She wasn't there either. She'd probably gone looking for him, so he went looking for her.
* * *
The next morning, two security guards, Rene and Pillarre, approached Lore in the corridor, armed with phasers.
"What? ..." Lore started to say, confused.
"You are under arrest" one of then said, coldly.
"For what?" Lore asked puzzled.
"For attempted murder of Rachel Vererra."
Lore's eyes darted out of their sockets and his jaw dropped.
"Murder ... But I didn't ... " Lore shook his head. "I didn't..."
"You can explain that to the Grand Admiral."
Lore was so shocked, he didn't even resist when they hand cuffed him with android restraints and violently shuffled him along the corridor to Data's office.
* * *
Data gave a Lore look that would have frozen nitrogen. The look was also one of disgust.
"I didn't do it, Data ..."
"I'm sure you say that about all your crimes," Pillarre scoffed.
Lore shook his head. "Data ... I swear ... I didn't do it ... please believe me..."
"I am not sure I can, Lore. You were seen osculating with her."
"So that means I tried to kill her? We spend the night together and yes, we did kiss but not much more than that. We both believe it was too soon. I swear I'm telling the truth."
"I don't know if I believe you, Lore ..."
"Why would I try to kill her? Surely with my strength I could have killed her without an effort."
"Perhaps you had something to prove? Perhaps she rejected you and -"
"Data, I'm innocent." Lore was almost in tears. "I loved her... She was the only person who really cared for me. We snuck out at night to be with each other. All we did was walk around the Academy grounds a few nights ago and go skinny dipping in the lake. And if she rejected me, yes I would have been hurt, but I would never have harmed her in any way."
"All right then," Data said, "tell me what you were doing last night."
"I felt board and restless, so I went to Rachel's quarters. She wasn't there, so I went back to mine, figuring she might've gone there. She hadn't, so I went looking for her."
"And" continued Data, "you found her and ...."
"No, I didn't find her and no, I didn't try to harm her. Where is she?"
"She's unconscious, in a critical condition in sickbay. And if you didn't harm her, explain why her bleeding body was found in your quarters."
Lore's eyes widened. "My quarters?..."
"Mmm hmm" Data said. "Explain that."
Lore shook his head. "I can't and Rachel ... is she ..."
"I thought not, Lore. I am not sure I can help you this time."
"Wait ...." Lore said. "What about the two Betazoid Cadets? Ranna and Andreau. They'll prove I'm innocent."
Data sighed, then hit his communicator. "Ranna, Andreau, report to my office immediately."
There was no response. Data repeated his command, then "Computer locate Cadets Ranna and Andreau."
"Cadets Ranna and Andreau are currently located within their quarters."
Data tapped his insignia. "Any security member near Quarters number 512, check it immediately."
A short while later Pillarre, one of the security guards reported back.
"Admiral Data, both Ranna and Andreau are dead."
Data glared at Lore.
"I didn't ... I swear I didn't touch them ... I wasn't anywhere near -" Lore looked frantic.
"This does not bode well, Lore."
"Perhaps, but look at it this way they could be the only two people who could've proven your guilt and you killed them."
"But, Data, I didn't ... And you haven't told me is Rachel..."
"Rachel is in sickbay in a serious condition, which is more than I can say for Ranna and Andreau."
Lore looked upset. "I didn't do it, Data ..."
"You are not in a position to be believed." Data motioned to the guards. "Rene, Pillarre, take him to the brig, and if he tries to escape, phaser him.
They shuffled Lore out.
"Data ... I didn't ..."
* * *
"With all due respect, sir, I told you allowing Lore into the Academy was a bad idea."
Data sighed. "I know ... And I perhaps should've listened to you... He swears he's innocent but ... It's my fault. My fault they died."
"You didn't kill then, sir, Lore did."
"And if I'd let them disassemble him in the first place, this may not have happened."
"You believe Lore may be innocent?"
"I believe it is unlikely, but-"
"You hope he is. I guess I would feel the same if he were my brother."
Riker saw the regret and shame in the android's eyes. He tried to comfort him. "Everyone makes mistakes, Data."
"When a mistake costs lives, it's one too many .... Please, Jeremy, I'd like to be alone."
"Of course, sir."
Riker left the android in silence.
* * *
Half an hour later Data received a frantic communiqué.
"Admiral! .... There's been another murder!"
"Yes. Cadet Andy Wilda."
"Where's Lore. He was supposed to be guarded ..."
Data bashed his communicator. "Security!"
There was no reply. "Commander Riker ..."
"There's been another murder."
Data was puzzled for a moment, then he asked, "where's Lore?"
"Right here with me. In the brig."
"Do not let him out of your sight."
"He's not going anywhere, Data ..." Riker paused for a long moment. "He's ... he's ... dead."
Data stared at his communicator in disbelief. "I'll be there right away."
Data looked at Lore's body on the floor.
"Do you think he could have killed himself?" Riker asked.
Data knelt down beside Lore and examined the wounds. He'd been phasered, stabbed in the throat, chest and stomach. His shirt had been half torn off and his hands had been cut. The blood was still fresh. Data saw Lore had also been stabbed in the back of the head.
"These wounds could not have been self inflicted" he said. "He was phasered on mild stun. The stab wound to the head was inflicted first..."
Data looked at a pool of his brother's blood on the floor and felt sorry for him.
"He was innocent all along ..." he said, sadly, softly. "And now..."
There was no reply.
Data looked up at Riker.
"If Lore didn't commit the murders, then who did?"
Data shook his head. "I haven't the foggiest idea."
"Well, whoever they are, they've been killing Lore's friends and the only ones that could have proven his innocence. Is there any way he can be ... fixed?" Riker asked, looking at Lore's helpless body. He found himself feeling sympathetic towards him and actually forgiving Lore for everything he'd done and the mischief he had caused. Riker had always thought he'd be glad if Lore died, but now he found himself wanting to help him.
"I don't know," Data replied. "I can try to repair him, but I can't guarantee anything ... Wait ... they've been killing Lore's friends ... One by one ... The only other friend Lore had was Noona Tsu ..."
Data leapt up, grabbed Riker's phaser and bolted down the corridor.
"Stay with Lore."
And then he was gone.
Data burst into Noona's quarters and saw Rene and Pillarre. The latter was holding her down, while Rene held the knife, about to stab. Data stunned them both with the phaser. Noona ran to Data in tears. She was a small, timid Asian girl, who Lore had helped overcome some of her timidness. Data comforted her and ordered two other security guards to take the murderers into custody.
"You're okay now," he said gently to Noona, who was still shaking. Data knew the emotional wounds would take time to heal.
Data gave her to the Academy Counsellor, then returned to Riker.
"She's safe" he said. "I apprehended the murderers."
"Who were they?"
"Rene and Pillarre."
Riker widened his eyes. "The guards? Why?"
"They will tell me when they regain consciousness."
Data handed the phaser back to Riker, then gave his full attention to Lore. He knelt down beside his brother and gently picked him up.
"I have to do this alone," he said. "No one here knows anything about android anatomy. I will be writing up a study course in future, but right now I am Lore's only hope."
"Are you sure you can do it?"
Data shook his head. "No, but I will try."
Riker gave smile of encouragement. "Good luck."
Data carried Lore to his lab and carefully and gently laid him on the table.
Data examined his wounds. The head wound was the most severe. Quite a number of neural links had been severed. Data hoped that they were repairable. He began examining the other stab wounds in the throat, chest, stomach and hands. They were not as severe, but severe enough.
Data carefully cleaned the blood away. Lore's hands were the least damaged. Data repaired them first. The head wound could not be repaired until all the other damage was rectified. Data examined the stab wound in Lore's stomach. It was repairable. Data paused, looking at all the wounds.
"Why have they done this to him?"
He looked at his Brother's naked and helpless body and the open wounds.
Then he thought back to when they had first found Lore.
"Commander, could this be another me .... or possibly my brother? ... I never dreamed it was possible that I might find some link with a form like my own..."
And when they had reassembled Lore on the Enterprise. Why had he lied? Why did he say Data was made first? Data wanted to learn more about his brother. Lore apparently had emotions, whereas Data did not. He was more human.
Lore had underestimated the humans on the bridge. He said it was his desire to please humans. How true was this? Lore acknowledged his mistakes and said he wanted Data to teach him, and Data wanted to. He wanted to teach Lore everything he knew, and he wanted to be like Lore. He seemed to fit in easily with the humans, which is what Data always wanted. he wanted emotions - to be able to feel and Lore could do that. Data felt something in his own way - was it jealousy? Envy? But then that could not be possible, could it?
In Data's quarters Data and Lore talked together. Lore spoke of their father Doctor Noonian Soong, and how he was called "Often Wrong Soong" until he proved he could overcome his failures and make sentient androids.
Lore had told Data he had lived with the colonists, and how they petitioned Soong to make a less perfect android, in other words, Data. Lore had also told Data he could help him become more human and Data wanted this, but something about Lore was bugging him.
Later, Lore called Data to his quarters and Data saw him pouring two glasses of champagne. He gave one to Data, saying this was an ancient human ritual when events of importance were being observed. Data took a sip of his champagne and found that it was drugged. Too late. He felt the fine ground quadratanium clogging up his systems. Data stared at his brother in disbelief and shock, before collapsing to the floor. Before he lapsed totally into unconsciousness, Lore revealed his collaboration with the Crystalline Entity which killed the colonists, and now his ploy was to lure it here to kill everyone aboard the Enterprise. Data desperately tried to fight the effects of the quadratanium, so he could save his friends, but failed.
Data was reactivated by Dr. Beverly Crusher and went to stop Lore in the transporter room.
Lore threatened to kill Wesley and shot Beverly's shoulder, before Data ripped the phaser from his hand. Data and Lore fought, the fight ending with Data throwing Lore onto the transporter platform and beaming him out into space.
Data stared out of a window and thought for a long while. Had he done the right thing? There was still so much he wanted to know about Lore, but why had his brother done this? Why did he want to kill the people on the Enterprise? Why was he so jealous of him?
Data, in his own way, felt regret. Lore, as far as he knew, was his only family. He hadn't imagined his brother would be like this. He was disappointed, sad in his own way. Was that a fault on his part, expecting Lore to be like him? - But his questions would probably be forever unanswered. Lore was somewhere out there, drifting in space. Maybe he had been dispersed. Maybe the Crystalline Entity killed him. Who knew?
And then there was Lore's totally unexpected arrival at Dr. Soong's lab, when he had summoned Data.
Data had cautioned Dr. Soong not to reactivate Lore, but the human ignored Data's warning. Lore awoke and was sarcastic to both Data and Soong. Bitter to Data for leaving him drifting in space for two years, but Data said he had no choice. Lore would have allowed the Crystalline Entity to kill everyone aboard the Enterprise.
Lore was about to leave when Dr. Soong told him that he was dying. This stopped Lore in his tracks and he showed he genuinely cared for his father. This was the first time Data had seen any compassion in his brother.
Dr. Soong explained to Lore why he had disassembled him, because he was unstable and that he had planned to get back to him, but things didn't exactly go according to plan. Lore seemed to understand. Data had tried to understand what Lore went through, but found it hard as he had no emotions and wasn't capable of feeling the pain Lore felt.
Dr. Soong revealed a chip he constructed to give Data emotions.
Lore tried to Data how he felt and the dangers of feelings and Data tried to understand.
When Dr. Soong went to bed, Lore turned to Data and smiled. Data came as close to being nervous as he could.
"So," Lore had said. "What've you been up to?"
Data looked up at him, but said nothing.
"Come on, it's been two years, Data."
"Do not expect me to believe you care, Lore."
"Well, fine. Sentiment has never been one of my strong points. I'm just curious."
Data began explaining in explicit detail exactly what he had 'been up to.'
"Okay, Data. I get the idea."
"You asked me, Lore."
"Listen, Data, I've been thinkin' y'know...."
Data cocked his head to one side. "Thinking? Thinking about what?"
"Well, you namely." Lore paused for a moment, then said, "I'm trying not to blame you for everything. I mean it's not your fault. You didn't cause my pain and you had no choice but to save the Enterprise."
"You understand?" Data asked, surprised.
"Yes, Data. I do."
"You impress me, Lore."
Lore smiled. "Look, Data, I'm sorry, okay .... Will you forgive me?"
Data paused for a moment.
"Please, Data ... I'm sorry."
"If you are being sincere, Lore, I ...."
"I am being sincere, Data ... please believe me."
"But you have lied so much ..."
"I know ... I'm sorry ... I truly am."
Data paused and studied Lore for a while. "I ... I forgive you."
Lore smiled. "Thank you, Data."
Lore walked forward and hugged Data, switching him off in the process.
Lore proceeded to steal the emotion chip and hurt Dr. Soong in the process.
Data was turned back on by Commander William Riker.
He spent the next moments alone with Dr. Soong. He wanted to feel grief for his Father. Dr. Soong had said he was dying, but how much longer would he live if Lore hadn't thrown him across the room? He wanted to feel angry with Lore. His brother had stolen the chip and hurt his Father. He wanted to feel and he had come so close .... Why had Lore taken the chip? Perhaps he thought it would fix him? Who knew?
Data had returned to the Enterprise. Dr. Beverly Crusher had said to him, "Brothers forgive..."
Data spent quite a long time pondering this, considering it. Would he - could he ever forgive Lore?
And then there was the incident with the Borg. Lore had controlled Data, forced him to turn on his friends. That made data angry and resentful to Lore, but that was after Lore had taken the chip, and was even more unstable than he was originally. He had been disassembled, but and then stolen by the Romulans.
Data had encountered Lore brother on other occasions and come to a better understanding of him. Lore told Data how he was rejected on the Omicron Theta colony. Data had tried to put himself in his Brother's proverbial shoes.
Lore had still been untrustworthy and tried to take over Data, but he had been stopped. It seemed Lore had not tried to understand him. He'd even tried to kill him a number of times.
* * *
Now, Data looked down at his brother's helpless dysfunctional body and was beginning to have some doubts.
"Should I save him?..."
Data wrestled with his conscience.
"I let him join the Academy to give him a chance ... Three people died because of him and two almost perished ... But he can't be blamed for that. He didn't kill them. He wouldn't've killed them. They were his friends ... and the murderers killed him too..."
Data looked again at Lore's mutilated body.
"I have to help him. I'm the only chance he's got."
Determined, Data continued repairing Lore. He repaired all the open wounds. Lore had lost a lot of blood from the stab wounds. Data had to transfer much of his own chemical nutrients to Lore, so he could survive.
The head wound was the most severe and took the longest to repair. It was fortunate that none of his main neural links were damaged.
* * *
Data closed up and hoped Lore was going to be all right. Data flicked the switch. Nothing happened. Data looked down at Lore and wished there was something else he could do. He bashed the console with his fist. But wait .... Slight movement. Lore's eyelids began to flutter open. Data did a double take. Lore sat up quickly, frantic.
"Data, they ... they ... They didn't even give me a chance to fight back...." Lore was almost in tears. "They left the cell unlocked, so you'd think I escaped and killed..."
Data nodded. "I know, Lore"
There was a long pause.
"Data ... I'm sorry ..."
"Sorry for what?"
"Everything I've done ... I really mean it this time."
There was another pause, then Data spoke. "I know and it's taken me a long time, but I forgive you."
Lore gave Data a blank look.
"Well, I fixed you, didn't I?"
"You fixed me?"
Data nodded. "Yes." He then paused. "I was informed of another murder ... Andy Wilda."
Lore closed his eyes and looked sadly at the floor.
"Then," Data continued, "Riker told me that you were dead. When I saw your wounds, I knew that they could not have been self inflicted." Data paused for a moment. "Lore, I'm sorry. I was so cold with you ..."
"I understand, Data .... Did you catch the murderers?" Lore spat out the last word.
"Yes. They almost killed Noona Tsu."
"Noona! ... Is she ..."
"She's fine, Lore. A little shaken, but -"
"Where are they?"
"In the brig."
Lore leapt off the bed, grabbed Data's phaser and left the lab.
Data chased after him, but his brother was gone.
* * *
Lore barged into the holding cells. He saw the murderers and looked at them with a glare so cold, it sent icy chills down their spines. Lore pointed the phaser at them, set to kill. He lowered the forcefield so he could have a clear line of fire.
"Before I kill you both, I want to know why."
"You should know why" one of them spat.
"We're the last surviving relatives of the Omicron Theta colonists."
Lore looked surprised. "I didn't know there were any."
"No, we're not all dead. My brother and I are-"
"I DON'T CARE!!" Lore yelled. "It makes no difference now! I regretted killing the colonists and the others and I know there's no justification for what I did, despite the fact that they treated me like dirt - But I will not regret killing the both of you." Lore shook his head. "It was me you wanted. Why did you have to hurt Rachel .... and kill my friends? They had nothing to do with what I did. They were so young ... so innocent..."
"We know they didn't have anything to do with what you did...We wanted you to suffer... The way we have..."
"Suffer! I've suffered more than you can ever imagine. And can you imagine how much their families will suffer? Did you think of that?"
The two men had to admit that they did not, but it was too late for apologies now.
"My only regret," Lore said, "is that you will feel no pain in your deaths ... The pain you gave myself and my friends ... Killing them makes you no better than I was." Lore pointed the business and of the phaser at them. They tensed as Lore prepared himself to fire. At that moment, Data burst into the brig.
Lore turned. "Don't try and stop me, Data. They deserve it."
"That may be so, Lore, but-"
Data had no good answer. Lore turned his attention back to the murderers and began to press down on the trigger.
"Don't do it, Lore!"
Lore fired, but missed on purpose. He threw down the phaser and glared at them. "Even I have a heart."
That said, Lore turned on his heel and left the two murderers counting their blessings and wondering if they hadn't misjudged the android. They were also left in shame. A shame that would live with them forever.
* * *
Lore looked at Rachel's helpless unconscious body in sickbay. Her exterior wounds had been repaired.
"I'm sorry..." he said, softly.
The Nurse came to him and comforted him. Lore paused for a long while.
"Will she live?" Lore asked, not knowing if he wanted an answer.
"I don't know. The wounds were severe. She might not..."
A tear rolled down Lore's cheek. Rachel had been so kind to him. They had spent a lot of good, friendly times together and now all that would be lost.
I should've killed those bastards ...
Lore met Noona in the corridor.
"Not good... I hope she makes it. Are you all right?"
She nodded. "I think so...still a little shaky, but okay."
Lore hugged her gently. "I'm so sorry..."
"It's not your fault, Lore. Please do not blame yourself on my account."
* * *
A few days later ....
Lore was still getting over the horrible experience and still saddened about the loss of his friends, but today was his graduation. He tried to put his grief behind him. Lore graduated with extremely high grades
"A thing I don't understand, Lore," Data said, "Where did all those commendations come from?"
Lore smiled and looked innocent.
"Ahh. I see, well, Brother Dear .... You're free to go."
"Free to go? Go where?"
"Anywhere you want. The choice I gave you was to join Starfleet Academy. Now that you've done that and graduated, you're free to go."
Lore hesitated, then saw someone approaching him, slowly.
He ran to her, then saw that she was still extremely weak. She almost fell, but Lore gently caught her and supported her. He kissed her gently.
"Are you all right?!"
"The nurse says I'll live....but she'll probably kill me if I don't get back to Sickbay soon."
Lore smiled, then Rachel started to cry, remembering her frightening experience. "I tried to fight back, but they ... I so much wanted to tell the others that you were innocent, but..." Rachel sobbed.
"It's all right" Lore calmed gently. "The bastards have been caught .... I'm sorry, Rachel. It's my fault."
She shook her head.
"They wanted me, not you. I'm sorry you suffered."
"Don't blame yourself, Lore. They were just pig headed morons."
Lore smiled. "That they were."
Data walked to them and handed Rachel her graduation diploma.
"Thank you, sir."
Riker walked towards them.
"Well, congratulations, Lore. I honestly didn't think you were gonna make it."
Lore smiled and raised his eyebrows. "You shouldn't've underestimated me, Riker."
"Data, at first I resented joining Starfleet, but I'm glad I did now. Thank you."
Data smiled. "So, what are you going to do now?"
Lore looked at his brother. Data had been a pain in the past, but they understood each other fairly well now. And he had been rather strict with him at the Academy, but Lore realised it was for his own good. And he and Riker had got on like electricity and water most of the time, and although Lore wouldn't admit it, he found himself actually liking the guy - well, sort of.
Should he leave? Where would he go? He had friends here, and a special friend. Rachel. He gently kissed her, then turned to his brother.
"Well, Lore," Data smiled, "I thought you'd be out of here like a shot."
Lore smiled. "I always thought that too, but with your permission, Admiral," he looked at Rachel and smiled, "Rachel and I have discussed it and we'd like to become teachers at the Academy and so you have to put up with me for while longer..."
Data, Lore and Rachel smiled.
THE END ???
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