He does not know why he has been given these instructions. He did not bother to ask. He may not be Starfleet's puppet anymore, but now he is Lore's. He has no choice. And so he carries out his orders with the same lack of questioning as he did when he was aboard the Enterprise.
He enters the detention chamber, pointing his phaser at the prisoners.
Captain Picard turns to look at him, regarding him almost sadly. His gaze then returns to Geordi. "You're killing him," he tells Data, his voice low. "He won't survive another session."
Data looks at Geordi. He does not appear well—he is nearly unconscious, and Data hears a few delerious moans escape from his lips, barely audible.
"I did not come for him," Data states, his eyes lingering on Geordi for another moment. He forces himself to look at the captain. "I came for you."
Captain Picard seems surprised, but he comes with Data willingly.
"Data, it's not too late," he mentions, as they are walking. "If you remove the fibers, then Geordi might yet recover."
"That would not be possible," Data replies.
"Why? Because Lore tells you so?"
That makes him angry. Picard still does not understand. "It is for the greater good," he argues, trying as hard to convince himself as he is his former captain.
"Good?" the captain repeats. "Data, isn't 'good' and 'bad'—right and wrong—a function of your ethical program?"
Data blinks. His ethical program?
He remembers now. It was malfunctioning, back when Crosis was talking to him in the brig on the Enterprise. He never fixed it… But it is functioning now.
"That is correct," he replies.
"And what does that program tell you about what you're doing to Geordi? About what you and Lore are doing to the Borg?" Captain Picard asks, the insistence and emotion rising in his voice. "It tells you that these things are wrong. Doesn't it, Data? So how can actions that are wrong lead to a greater good?"
Data is not certain now. Can they not? His mind automatically works on the problem for a second or so, running possibilities through his ethical program:
[Humans would say that "two wrongs don't make a right." Killing is wrong. But humans used to administer capital punishment to murderers. They do not do so anymore, perhaps because killing is wrong. Now they simply imprison murderers. But freedom is good. It is wrong to take away someone's freedom. But if they do nothing, that person could hurt or kill people. Does that make humans responsible for that person's actions, because they did not attempt to stop him? If they do nothing, they are indirectly hindering the victims' rights and freedom. The right to live. Freedom from fear. Perhaps it is ethical to imprison criminals. Or perhaps it is hypocritical. Humans are sometimes hypocritical. Humans are fallible. Perhaps they should be destroyed, to serve the greater good. But killing is wrong…]
Data shakes his head once, and cuts off the distracting train of thought. "You are attempting to confuse me," he accuses, angry.
"No, you're not confused, Data," the captain insists. "You're sensing the truth. Your ethical program is fighting the negative emotions that Lore is sending you."
Data thinks about this, distracted again. But then his brother walks into the room, followed by a large group of Borg drones.
"Ah, Captain," he greets, his voice dramatic and mockingly cheerful. "Thank you so much for joining us. You are going to assist me in a most important ceremony."
Data looks at him, confused.
"It's time to put aside all doubts, Brother," Lore says to him. "It's time to close the door on the past, and commit yourself to the great work that lies ahead of us. I need to know I can count on you.
"As proof, I want you to kill Picard."
Data's gaze shifts from his brother to his captain.
Picard's eyes are strangely calm—he is nervous, certainly, but not as much as he should be. He is going to die. Data is going to kill him. Whether it is right or not, he wants to feel emotions; he would give everything to keep feeling emotions. Even negative emotions are better than nothing…
Data raises his phaser.
Captain Picard's shoulders fall, just slightly. Like he is disappointed. Data tries to get angry. Why should he be expected to follow the ideology and expectations of this inferior being standing before him?
But as he looks into the captain's eyes, which for some reason are even calmer now, he feels nothing.
Wrong, his ethical program tells him.
It is not intrusive. It is not making the decision for him. But he chooses to listen this time, and lowers his phaser, slowly.
"No," he says. "That would be wrong."
He looks to his brother. Lore seems genuinely frustrated—disappointed, even.
"I didn't think you'd be able to do it," he says. His eyes are sparkling with fury, but there is a smile on his face. "You've spent too many years among humans."
"Hold him!" Crosis shouts suddenly, and two drones grab onto Data's arms.
Lore turns to his followers. "I've asked many sacrifices of you. Sacrifices I knew were necessary, in order to build a better future. I want you to know that I ask no more of you than I am prepared to give myself." He takes a phaser from one of the guards as he speaks, and walks back to a position a few meters away from his brother.
"I am willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all," he declares, his eyes locking with Data's. "My own, dear brother."
Data is speechless. Lore lied to him after all. He said he wanted Data there, that he needed him, even. And yet he merely shrugs now, points the phaser at him, and smiles, like it is easy.
It is over, then. Data will not have to exist without emotions after all. He will die angry. But he will not die angry at his friends, or any other human—
He will die angry at Lore.
"NO!" a voice suddenly shouts, and a Borg drone jumps between the androids. (It is Hugh, Data later realizes, who had gone into hiding but was found by Commander Riker and Lieutenant Worf.)
The scene quickly degenerates into chaos. The Borg begin to fight each other, arguing and firing their weapons. Data has to defend himself against one that lunges for him. He throws the drone aside, and looks around for his brother.
Lore looks angry, as he takes in the scene that is unfolding before him. Data sees him scowl and duck into the hallway that leads to the laboratory.
Data follows him.