~Captain Picard to Data, "Pen Pals"
Chief Engineer Dumaka "Rudy" Rudo tapped the door chime to Commodore Data's Briefing Room and waited, nodding a smile to the Enterprise-G's second officer, Lt. Commander Asil, where she sat at her bridge station.
The slender Vulcan acknowledged the tall, dark-skinned human by raising her left eyebrow ever so slightly.
Rudy almost laughed. One of these days, he would catch her smiling back, he knew he would. Even Vulcans couldn't keep up such a stern expression all the time.
"Enter," the commodore's voice called.
Rudy strode through the sliding doors into the commodore's office and turned his grin on his commanding officer.
"Good morning, sir," he said, handing Data a slim padd. "I have the report you wanted. These are all the holodeck programs that haven't been accessed in over a year. With your approval, they'll be wiped as part of the ship-wide computer tune-up."
Data quickly scanned his amber eyes over the surprisingly long list.
"It probably shouldn't, but it always amazes me how much memory these programs take up," the android observed, handing the padd back to the engineer.
"They're huge, all right, and getting bigger all the time," Rudy agreed. "But, they're also infinitely more sophisticated than the old style RPGs, so I'm not complaining."
"I don't know," Data said, smiling slightly as he leaned back in his chair. "There is something to be said for a straightforward mystery, or a simple ocean view…"
"Yeah, but I can get an ocean view planetside," Rudy said. "When I'm in the holodeck, I want something I can't get out in the real world. The kind of gaming experience you can only find in that special realm where imagination meets technology. You know what I mean, sir?"
"Indeed," Data said. "And, I believe it is that active imagination of yours that makes you such a good engineer. Continue with the tune-up, Commander. I'd like all maintenance done before we begin our mapping survey of this globular cluster."
"Aye, sir," Rudy said cheerily, and headed back out the door.
Data started to return to his work, when a stray thought stopped him cold. Talking about old-style holodeck programs had triggered a memory...a cluster of memories...he hadn't accessed for nearly five decades.
Memories of a very special program he had designed, back during his first year aboard the Enterprise-D…