konstantya: (data-ooohgurl)
[personal profile] konstantya
Title: Uncanny
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Genre: Drama, angst.
Characters/pairings: A dark sort of Lore/Troi.
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 3,104
Summary: Was it only because she was used to Data, that she wasn't put off by his inorganic nature? Or was it perhaps because of his inhuman qualities, because his mannerisms and speech were so formal as to render him more machine than man? ("Descent"-fic.)

Warnings: While there is no actual sexual assault (aside from Lore maybe sort of copping a feel?), there is most definitely the threat of sexual assault. Just so you know.



- Uncanny -



It wasn't long after Data took Geordi away that they got another visit in the form of a Borg. It stopped in front of the drone that stood guard, silently communicating with it, and Troi had just enough time to exchange an apprehensive glance with Picard before the force field in front of them fizzled out. Cautiously, they both took a step back. Geordi wasn't dead, she could tell that much, but as far as his mental state went, it was difficult to say. Had Data already decided he needed a new test subject? Was that what this was all about?

The Borg stepped into the cell and began walking straight towards her. Troi backed up again, trying to gauge the space between it and the wall. If she moved quickly enough, she just might be able to dodge it—but there was still the other drone in the hall, still Picard standing vulnerable and defenseless next to her, and if one of them had to be sacrificed… Well, better the ship's counselor, she grimly reasoned, than the ship's captain.

"Wait," Picard practically ordered, as the Borg grabbed her and started hauling her out of the cell, "take me." Authority was ringing in his voice, but anxiety was spiking in his mind. Troi tried to ignore the emotion, lest it give rise to her own fears about what was to come. She needed to stay calm, needed to stay focused—

"The One wishes to see the female," was all the Borg said, reinstating the force field, and any attempt at tranquility quickly fled, a sea of worry and confusion left in its wake.

Lore? Wanted to see her? Good God, whatever for?

She didn't have much time to mull over the possibilities. Implacably, the Borg escorted her down the hall, then down two more, through a door and into a control room of some sort. There was a chair in the middle of the floor—simple, straight-backed—and the drone forced her down into it. Lore stood on the other side of the room, working at a console, and didn't even bother to look over.

"Kordus," he said. "Thank you. You may leave now." Despite herself, Troi had to marvel at his tone. So mild, so mannered, and such utter lies.

Obediently, the drone let go of her, turned, and left, and somehow that was even worse. Even worse to be left alone with Data's brother than it was to have a Borg for an audience. Troi swallowed. The sound of the door sliding shut behind her might as well have been the bang of a judge's gavel, sentencing her to death.

For a moment, there was silence. A dreadful silence, broken only by the noises of Lore's fingers as he tapped away at the console. Despite how he'd apparently summoned her there, specifically, it seemed he couldn't even be bothered with her presence, and for an instant, she considered bolting for the door. It was an insane idea—just because he appeared to be ignoring her didn't mean he actually was, and even supposing she made it out of the room, a Borg would still be there, standing guard in the corridor—so it was perhaps just as well that the android chose that moment to finally turn and look over at her.

Or perhaps not, because having those sly, synthetic eyes on her made her feel like a fly pinned to a board. Troi found she'd stopped breathing, and forced herself to start again—slow, steady lungfuls. No matter what the reason for his bringing her there, one thing was certain: She couldn't afford to panic.

He sauntered over to her, picking up another chair on the way (so easily, with just one hand, as if it weighed no more than a feather), and settled it directly in front of her. And then he lowered himself into it with a grace that was just as deadly as it was lazy—one ankle draped over the opposite knee, one elbow propped up on an armrest, his entire frame slouching slightly to the side. So human. Too human.

Troi, for her part, sat with her knees together, her hands in her lap, and her back as straight as a board, trying to not let on how nervous she was. Trying to think of options that might see her through this encounter, if not back to true safety. Were he biological, seduction would have been one. Not an option she would have relished, but an option nonetheless. But as it was, considering Lore's blatant disgust with and disregard for humans (humanoid life in general), it seemed highly unlikely that he would have any interest in something as organic as sex.

Right?

"Counselor Deanna Troi," he drawled, finally breaking the silence. He seemed to savor each syllable, his voice slinking over the sounds, and she didn't think her name and title had ever sounded so dirty. He smiled, and almost as if he had read her thoughts, said, "You're wondering why I requested your presence."

She considered giving him the silent treatment, but if she were to gain an advantage, or even just glean some useful information from him, dialogue would unfortunately be necessary. To guide a conversation, one first needed a conversation, after all. Troi breathed, thinking back to how the Borg, Kordus, had dragged her there, and stiffly said, "I wouldn't exactly call it a 'request.' "

His smile stretched into a full grin, white teeth flashing. The expression looked so natural—the way his cheeks pulled back, the way the corners of his eyes crinkled—and for some reason, that only served to throw his artificiality into even sharper relief. Was it only because she was used to Data, that she wasn't put off by his inorganic nature? Or was it perhaps because of his inhuman qualities, because his mannerisms and speech were so formal as to render him more machine than man?

Surreptitiously, she rubbed her arm a little where the Borg had grabbed her, more to see what the android's reaction would be than because she was actually in pain. Immediately, his yellow eyes flicked down, catching the movement.

"Did he hurt you?" He sounded distinctly more curious than concerned, and before she could answer, he went on. "They are such single-minded things. No subtlety at all," he said, with an idle gesture of his hand and a look of genuine disappointment. "I suppose that's something I'll have to work on."

Curiosity—or maybe fear—got the better of her, and after a beat she practically blurted out the question. "Why did you have me brought here?"

"Perhaps I just wanted the pleasure of your company," he said, and under different circumstances, she might have laughed. As it was, all she could do was watch him warily, as if she was some mouse and the cat in front of her had just invited her to tea.

"You'll have to excuse me," she said lowly, "but I find that very difficult to believe."

Lore shifted his legs and leaned forward slightly. Not enough to invade her personal space, exactly, but enough to make her want to scrape her chair back all the same. She wasn't restrained in any way, but it occurred to her that she might as well have been, his body language was making her feel so trapped.

"Why?" he asked. Again, that look of curiosity. Not quite innocent, but so oddly sincere. And consequently, so utterly insincere. "Why shouldn't I want the pleasure of your company? After all, I've heard so very much about you, Counselor. I always thought it was such a shame that I missed you, the last time I was on the Enterprise."

The last time he tried to destroy the Enterprise, was more like it. She'd been away at a conference at the time, and had come back to a full briefing on the incident and an increased feeling of uneasiness whenever someone happened to pass Data in the halls. It had taken almost a month for the ship's emotional state to return to normal. She could see why, now that she had finally met the person who had been the cause of all of it.

Two could play the body language game, she decided. Whether it was madness or desperation that put the idea in her head, she wasn't sure, but she too shifted, crossing her legs as if to feign…not quite relaxation, but bravery, at least. "Well," she said, attempting to adopt the brisk, business-like tone she used during her sessions, "you have me now. Is there anything you'd care to talk about?" Her foot was almost touching his leg, and she tried very hard to not think of other possible meanings of the word 'have.'

Lore smiled, then—that smug, vaguely eerie, and entirely predatory smile of his—and stood. Slowly, he started to circle behind her. "It must be so frustrating for you," he said, with mock sympathy, "to not be able to sense me the way you can everyone else."

The change in topics—along with his sudden change in position—succeeded in throwing her off. Troi swallowed, resisting the urge to whip her head around, to keep him in her line of sight, and instead kept her gaze locked forward, concentrating on the way his boots clicked methodically against the floor. "You're not the only being Betazoids are incapable of reading."

"Oh, yes, yes, of course," he said, and she could just imagine the flippant wave of his hand. "Ferengi, Dopterians, a handful of others. But I would have to imagine that they're quite a bit different from an android."

Yes, they were. Because while she couldn't read the emotions of those species—just like full Betazoids couldn't read their thoughts—she could still sense them, their mental presence. With Lore it was just…blank. Emptiness. She remembered the way Tam Elbrun had spun around in shock, even fear, upon meeting Data. At the time, she'd found it almost amusing, the way he couldn't sense her android friend; now, however, she found that psychic void distinctly more sinister. She'd never given much thought to the philosophical questions that Data's existence raised, but with Lore…

Were there really such things as souls? And if so, was this what it felt like when a person didn't have one?

"Yes," she finally said, daring honesty, "they are."

She waited for him to say something more, but he didn't. He just kept pacing slowly behind her, from one corner of her eye to the other, back and forth, until it felt as if her pulse was keeping time with his feet, two beats for every one step. A part of her had to wonder if he couldn't hear the pound of her heart and wasn't doing it on purpose.

She didn't want to be the first to break, but the silence was maddening. And conversation, she reminded herself. Keep him talking. So she tried again: "Why did you have me brought here?"

He paused directly behind her, settling his hands on her shoulders—his touch deceptively gentle, unnervingly warm—and it took all of her self-control to not jump at the contact. "Oh, my dear Counselor Troi," he said. And then he bent down, and when he spoke again, his voice was low, little more than whisper, and far, far too close to her ear for anything even resembling comfort. "Do you really want to know?"

It was too much. Instinct took over and she tried to wrench herself away, but before she could even stand (before she could even start to stand, it seemed), he had pushed her back down, almost hard enough to knock the wind out of her. Dr. Soong had had artist's hands, surgeon's hands—large, long-fingered things—and as such, his android sons had the same. One of them was splayed flat against her chest, pinning her in place, and his thumb, she realized, was resting right against the hollow of her throat, as if he was just waiting for the perfect moment to constrict her airflow. As for his other fingers—

Oh, God, as for his other fingers—

They were pressing callously into the top of her breast. The tip of his pinky, she noted, with a certain amount of horror, was actually poised directly over her nipple, and she wasn't nearly naïve enough to believe that such precision could be the result of pure accident.

"Dear, sweet Deanna," he murmured, his lips brushing the shell of her ear. She jerked her head away from that mouth, her last meager means of escape, but he caught her chin with his other hand and forced it back. Her heart was fluttering wildly underneath his palm, like some bird trying to break free from a cage, and her breathing had turned loud, harsh, frantic. Cold sweat had begun to break out along her hairline. She was scared, she was so scared she was starting to feel downright dizzy.

"You're trembling so violently," Lore observed. Softly. Mildly. Like a lover's caress, and digging her fingers into her thighs was all she could do to keep from whimpering. "Are you really so afraid of me?"

Yes. God, yes. Was she ever. She had accepted the possibility—the sheer probability—of death, but she had never dared to think… That had been the one small mercy of this entire situation, the one saving grace that she had clung to for consolation—that no matter how heinous and amoral Lore might be, at least he wouldn't… He was a machine, he hated humans, thought all organic life was inferior, so he shouldn't have been interested in…he shouldn't have been interested in…

His fingers slid along her jaw, stroking in a ghastly parody of intimacy, and she shut her eyes, actually hoping he would kill her. Would just snap her neck right then and there and be done with her, because this was too much, too cruel, and she wasn't sure how much longer she could last. Despite all her training, all her previous experiences, the word 'please' was welling up in her throat, heavy and helpless on the back of her tongue. Please stop, please don't do this, and she didn't want to say the words because she knew he wouldn't listen. Not only wouldn't listen, but would doubtlessly reap some sadistic pleasure simply by hearing them in the first place, and she refused to give him the satisfaction. Refused refused refused, but she was just one little humanoid after all, just one fragile little empath, and he could stand behind her for hours, for days, just delicately holding her until she crumbled.

Cold. So cold. And his touch, so hot. She was shivering. He was burning. She was drowning, and she couldn't think, couldn't breathe, couldn't—

And then his hand slid down to her bicep, and he hauled her to her feet. Troi blinked, almost stumbling on shaky legs, and would have fallen right into him if not for his hold on her arm. She dared to raise her eyes to his, and Lore smirked down at her, positively triumphant. And then he dragged her to the door and practically threw her into the arms of the Borg dutifully standing watch in the hallway. There was relief at that—swift, fierce relief—and for a brief moment, Troi had to wonder at her own reactions. To think, she was honestly relieved to be back in the clutches of a Borg.

"Take her back to the cell," Lore ordered. Without so much as a word, the drone started doing just that, and Troi almost couldn't believe her good fortune. The feeling was short-lived, however, because halfway down the hall, Lore raised his voice to call out to her—one last little parting shot before she disappeared from his sight:

"Maybe, Counselor, I'll send for you later." And his ensuing laughter sounded like ice.

The trek back to the cell was a blur. It was only when the Borg was pushing her over the threshold, only when Captain Picard took her by the arms to steady her, that she started to feel in control of herself again. Her breath, she discovered, was still coming in shallow gasps.

"Counselor," Picard said. "Are you all right? Did he hurt you?" Despite the steady words, concern was arcing out from him like a blade. But even as sharp and piercing as the feeling was to her psyche, it was still somehow better than the black blankness that Lore had been. She swallowed, letting the familiar sensation of another mind ground and soothe her. His touch—flesh and bone instead of bioplast and metal—felt like a warm blanket.

"No," she managed, ignoring the first question to instead focus on the second. It was easier to answer, easier to talk about. "No, he didn't." To be fair, it was true. His grip had admittedly been firm at times, but never hard enough to genuinely hurt. At most, she'd have a bruise on her arm from when he pulled her to her feet.

Picard's brow furrowed. "What did he want?"

And that was the sixty-four thousand credit question, wasn't it? Troi lowered herself down onto the cell's strange little outcropping of stairs—the closest thing to a chair their makeshift prison appeared to have—and let herself revel in the android's physical absence. After a minute, she had managed to regain most of her composure, and proceeded to go back over what had just transpired between the two of them. Went back over what she knew and the psychological profile she had tried to compile—almost six years ago, now—after watching the Enterprise's security recordings.

"Just to intimidate me, I think," she finally said, and Picard frowned.

Troi put a hand to the back of her neck, attempting to rub some of the tension out of it, recalling the way his fingers had stroked her skin and the way his lips had brushed her ear, and had to suppress a shudder. God, she hoped he was just trying to intimidate her. Hoped his actions toward her were just a show, just like the one he was putting on for the Borg, all pomp and circumstance, charisma and fear and seduction.

And she hoped that if, by some miracle, they managed to get out of this alive, and managed to return Data to his usual, benign self, that she'd be able to look him in the eye without feeling his brother's voice dripping slowly down her spine.




-----

A/N: So this was somewhat inspired by the novelization of "Descent." Basically, there's this scene in it that kind of hints at Lore/Troi, and while it's very mustache-twirly and OOC in my opinion, it did kind of get me thinking. Because while I can't see Lore honestly being into sex (I mean, eww, how organic), I can see him using the idea of it as a means of intimidation, or else just as a way to fuck with people. Which is how this fic came about. Why does he want Troi to think that he's maybe kind of interested in assaulting/raping her? Why the fuck not, man? It's Lore. Like, I'm pretty sure he does this sort of stuff just for shits and giggles.

In other news, hooray for fanwank (to answer the question of why Marina Sirtis was nowhere to be seen in "Datalore"), and yeah, in case it wasn't obvious, I go with the idea that Betazoids can't read androids, emotion chip or not. Because really, that just makes so much more sense to me. (I might be willing to give Lal a pass, as not even Data really knew how she worked, but you'll have to get back to me on that.)

All other fics can be found here.

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