Into Forever

Summary: Doc/P, AU,

Disclaimer: Star Trek and all its characters are owned by TPTB. But you knew that, didn’t you?

Archiving: Sure, just ask me first.

By Daffnie (trekdimension@yahoo.com)

=/\=

Chief Medical Officer’s Personal Log:

Confusion is my worst enemy. Am I a man, or am I a hologram? I have emotions, thoughts...almost everything that any flesh-and-blood person would have. But I was programmed to have these functions. They’re not really real; I just think they are. So I must be a hologram.

What is my identity? Do holograms have genders, or are we simply here to exist with a specific purpose built in and with nothing to distinguish ourselves? We can be mass produced, like machines, but even without intentional modifications, we each develop unique personalities. I have forged my own personality...so does that make me a man?

End Log

~*~

I reclined in my chair and ordered the computer to play Chanson de Toreador from the opera Carmen. Humming along to the music, I didn’t hear anyone enter the Sickbay, and I never saw him until he was right in front of me. I was startled, but all I did to reveal that was by opening my eyes as I felt someone’s presence near me.

“Yes, Mr. Paris. Can I be of assistance?” I inquired calmly and picking up a padd to look like I was about to go right back to work...actually, I had no such intention, but I felt it necessary not to reveal that.

Tom casually leaned his hip against the edge of the desktop and complained, “The captain ordered me to come here when she found out I had a headache and wouldn't give up the helm. The pain won’t go away, and I’ve tried treating it myself. Nothing seems to help. I’ve been having them for weeks now.”

“Okay,” I smiled and stood up. “Have a seat on one of the biobeds.”

Naturally, he obeyed. I put the padd back down, pulled a medical tricorder from a shelf, and walked over to him. I took the small scanner from the top and methodically passed it over his head. I found nothing drastically wrong...just a little muscle tension.

“Where exactly does it hurt?”

He ran his fingers along the sides of his head, from the temples towards the back of his cranium. “Right in here. It trobs.”

“Ah,” I breathed. “You have a tension headache, Tom. Perfectly normal, considering all the work you’ve been doing lately. Maybe you should consider asking Captain Janeway for later shifts so you can get more sleep.”

I reached for a hypospray and filled it with a mild pain killer. It was something new I had recently discovered in a separate medical database not intigrated into my program. The Bajoran created it (and kept it secret) during the Cardassian Occupation to reduce the suffering among their people, and it worked on just about every ache that was resistant to any other kind of pain reliever.

“This will dull the throbbing," I noted matter-of-factly, "but if you want your headaches to stop completely, I suggest you reduce your stress. Try pacing yourself, and more exercise can do wonders with lowering stress levels.”

He nodded, and I put the hypo to his neck. I placed it back on the cart and turned back to him.

Then without warning, my eyes locked on his. A rush of...desire? lust?...ran through me. I couldn’t shift my gaze away from him, and I sank into the depths of those sky blue irises. He looked so beautiful...so innocent. He seemed to glow. I felt an impulse to reach out and touch his face, his hair, his smooth skin. Thankfully, I was able to control myself. The gaze lasted a few moments longer...too long...before I could force myself to look away. Tom looked at me strangely.

“You okay, Doc?”

“Huh? ...Oh, yes. I’m fine, thank you. Have a nice day, Mr. Paris.”

Mr. Paris. That felt foreign on my lips and sounded hollow in my ears. I've said it several times before, but it never seemed so formal and out of place.

As I stood with a blank stare on the biobed, Tom made a hasty retreat from the Sickbay, muttering something to himself. No doubt about me.

Once I was brought back to reality, I retreated to my office and sank into the chair.

What was that all about? Since when did I feel like that towards Tom? What was wrong with me?

The rest of the day, I couldn’t help but think about him, and I couldn’t figure out exactly what that was that happened earlier. Could it be that I love him? Is that possible? No, it just didn’t seem...natural.

Holograms weren't programmed to love, right? And it followed nature's pattern for men and women to be together so reproduction is possible. So... which one am I? Man. Hologram. But anyone can reproduce these days if they want to...men, included (the process is innovative and very interesting, but extremely complicated). There even have been some homosexual couples on this very ship who have expressed the desire to have a child. I helped one couple not too long ago. I took the genetic material of one woman and implanted it into the other woman's egg. They had a beautiful baby girl three weeks ago.

I felt so confused.