A Modern Pygmalion

by John Hall

Captain Jean-Luc Picard had a bad feeling about what Wesley Crusher was requesting, but he could not see any valid reason for withholding his permission. "Let me check that I understand you correctly, Ensign," he said. "Using what you have learnt from studying Lt Commander Data, with his permission of course, you would like to create your own android?"

"Yes, Sir."

"That's an enormous undertaking, even for someone of your considerable ability. You do realise that the chances of the end result being the equal of Data must be very small?"

"I believe that I can produce a very capable android that will be an asset to the Enterprise, Sir. And even if the end result should turn out not to be a total success, I should learn a great deal from the project."

"Well, you have my permission. Good luck with it. But before you go, there's one more thing I ought to mention. I said 'create your own android'. But if you are successful, then it - he - won't belong to you or indeed to anyone. I can't allow a sentient android to be someone's property. That would amount to slavery. You do understand that?"

"Yes, I do. Thank you for letting me go ahead, Sir."

As he went out, Wesley wondered whether he should have mentioned that he was planning to build a female android, having convinced himself that this would represent rather more of a challenge than merely duplicating Data's body. The Captain had evidently assumed that the android would be male. Still, what could it matter? It would only amount to a cosmetic difference. Given an android brain without an emotion chip, the body's gender should have no effect on the personality. Now there was a thought, though. Should he attempt to make his creation different from and arguably superior to Data by designing and incorporating an emotion chip? That would be quite a coup. He decided that he would attempt it, for all that it would be the hardest part of the entire project.


After three months of intensive work that took up all of Wesley's free time, the android was complete. All the essential data that she would need had been downloaded into her memory, and she was ready to be activated.

She looked as pretty as a picture dressed in the clothes that Wesley had had the replicator produce for her. For the first time he wondered whether he could have had a second, subconscious, motive for producing a female rather than a male android. But it was too late to worry about that now.

With butterflies in his stomach, he pressed the Activate button. Her eyes opened, and she sat up. "Hello, Wesley," she said in her attractive voice, having matched his appearance with the data in her memory. "Thank you for creating me." She sounded quite self-possessed, he thought.

"Hello. Welcome to life on the Enterprise. What would you like to be called? I thought that 'Eve' might be appropriate, although I suppose it's a bit obvious."

"'Eve' will be fine, Wesley. So, are you going to give me the guided tour and introduce me to everyone now?"

"Of course. I'll show you your own cabin first. It's not far from here."


The first couple of weeks of Eve's life went very well. She made the acquaintance of most of the crew, who were all impressed by her intelligence and vivacity.

It didn't take long for Wesley to realise that he had fallen in love with his creation. It was she who made the first move, though, inviting him back to her cabin one "evening" and taking his virginity. "At least there's no need to worry about birth control," she said afterwards. "The one thing that I can't do is get pregnant."

Over the next few days, Wesley found it hard to keep a grin off his face. He was besotted with Eve, and had never been so happy.

But it was not long before the first warning sign manifested itself. "I think that the Captain wants to have me deactivated," Eve told Wesley one "morning".

"Why should he want that? He's very impressed with you, just like everyone else. And it was he who gave me permission to go ahead in the first place."

"It's the way he looks at me. I think that I make him feel uncomfortable."

Wesley naturally pooh-poohed that at first, but Eve persisted, and after a few days he came to feel that perhaps she might be right after all. There was something about the way that Captain Picard looked at her. He was almost sure of it. Perhaps he ought to speak to him about it? But what could he say? "I don't like the way that you're looking at my girlfriend" would not be likely to go over very well.


A day or two later, Eve told Wesley: "I think that the Captain has been talking to Commander Riker about me. He's started looking strangely at me as well. I don't think that I've got very long. I'm going to steal one of the shuttles and escape. Will you come with me?"

If he hadn't been quite so besotted with Eve, and become so infected by her own paranoia, Wesley would have known at once that this was a very bad idea. They were at least a week's journey by shuttle from the nearest habitable planet. Yes, the shuttle would have plenty of supplies and air for two people for that long, and enough fuel, but it wasn't intended to be used for journeys of such length and an awful lot could go wrong. But looking into her wide blue eyes, he found himself saying: "Of course I'll come with you."

Stealing the shuttle proved to be surprisingly easy. There was little security. After all, why would anybody want to steal a shuttle? Some cunning reprogramming of the Enterprise's automated systems had ensured that their departure would not be noticed until someone physically entered the shuttle bay and saw that the craft was missing. With any luck, that would give them at least twenty-four hours start, which should be more than enough.


It was only a few hours after leaving the Enterprise that they made a horrifying discovery. Someone had removed an essential component of the navigation system, presumably for maintenance. They therefore had no way of finding their way to their intended destination, nor indeed to anywhere else. In the ordinary way, anyone wanting to use a shuttle would have been warned not to take this particular one, of course, but they had bypassed the normal procedures.

"You blame me, don't you?" Eve said. "I can see it in your eyes." Her face had an unreadable expression on it, one that Wesley hadn't seen before and didn't like at all.

"Of course not," he said. "But we'll have to call the Enterprise and ask them to pick us up. They can find us by homing on the radio signal."

"No," Eve said, in a tone that brooked no argument. "If they picked us up, the first thing that they would do is deactivate me."

Wesley found that his love for Eve had now become mixed with fear. The next time that he went to sleep, might she see to it that he didn't wake up, to ensure that he would not call the Enterprise? She might even not wait till then, as he had created her to be much stronger than he was.

In spite of that, he realised that he still loved her, however irrational that might be. What a mess he was in, emotionally as much as in his physical situation! He recalled a line from an old song that he had once heard, which seemed to sum up his situation with eerie prescience. We're paranoid lovers lost in space, he thought.

Basket Case

Warren Zevon and Carl Hiaasen

      My baby is a basket case
      A bipolar mama in leather and lace
      Face like an angel-she's a perfect waste
      My baby is a basket case
      Dracula's daughter, Calamity Jane
      Smoke on the water, water on the brain
      She's pretty as a picture-and totally crazed
      My baby is a basket case
      She's gonna make a madman outta me
      She's gonna make a madman outta me
      She's manic-depressive and schizoid, too
      The friskiest psycho that I ever knew
      We're paranoid lovers lost in space
      My baby is a basket case
      My baby's gonna celebrate
      I'm being dragged through the nuthouse gates
      Got my straitjacket on and I'm taking her place
      My baby is a basket case
      She finally made a madman outta me
      She finally made a madman outta me
      My baby made a madman outta me
      She finally made a madman outta me
  1. The story either takes place earlier than Data's creation of his "daughter" Lal, or else in an AU where this did not occur, since in the light of her sad fate Wesley would have been unlikely to be given permission to go ahead. The story also occurs prior to the discovery of the emotion chip created for Data by Dr Noonien.
  2. I felt that the chosen line of the lyric made a strong ending. What happened to Wesley and Eve after that? Well, that is left to the imagination of the reader.