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JL Dani Atarah & Indi Hawk | "Break a Dani" Pt1

Posted on 241708.27 @ 7:29pm by Rear Admiral Indi Hawk & Danielle Atarah

Mission: Non-Plot Log

Dani hated hospitals more than she hated brigs; at least brigs didn't usually smell like antiseptic and disease, and rarely had so many solemn faces in there. Brigs were happier places than hospitals; that said something.

And yet, here she was, walking around one, trying to ignore the noises and people and smells on her way to her destination, skipping completely the nurses' station or the doctors. She knew where she was going. Like any other place she visited, the blueprints of this one were prefetched, examined, and etched in her mind.

She turned a corner and spotted the room she was going for. A young doctor passed by, giving her a quizzical look. She gave him the most charming smile in her arsenal and kept going. He blinked, gave her a tentative smile, as if his mouth wasn't entirely sure how far to stretch itself, and moved on. Mistake, she realized. She should have given him a sad confused smile. They were more used to those.

She shrugged, shaking her head to herself, and walked into the room, looking at the shape lying on the bed.

"I keep forgetting how hospital-prone Starfleeties are," she muttered, not unkindly, and sighed, picking up the medical file attached to the bed. She wasn't family, but there was a time where she wasn't that far from being considered one, as much as one gets family serving together for a while, and when the news came that the head of Alpha Quadrant security was in the hospital, Dani knew she had to check it out. Her sources were too vague in giving her an actual answer about the cause of this unexpected event, and she was too concerned - a mix of both personal concern to her friend and professional concern to the future of the operations she knew she was going to have some sort of an ally in - to let it go.

So, here she was, checking up on a friend, pretending it was business, reading a medical file she had no idea how to interpret.

"When I surprised you with that meeting, I didn't actually think the shock would get you that bad," she muttered, smiling through concern. The medical file said nothing useful, and she sighed.

Indi was laying peacefully. After the earlier excitement and her rapidly rising heartbeat and blood pressure, she had stabilised once more. It was as if she was actually sleeping, her hands resting comfortably above the sheets. Then again, for those who knew her well, it would be apparent that it was far from a normal situation. She never slept this peacefully.

At the moment that Dani was putting the file down, the door opened and Alyn entered - lost in thought. She was reading a padd and was obviously not expecting anyone to be in here. When she noticed Dani, she smiled slightly, and nodded towards Indi. "Are you and the Admiral family?" she asked kindly.

"Niece," Dani said, not missing a beat, this time remembering to add a measure of concern and distress into the smile on her face. "I came as soon as I've heard. Is she alright?"

Alyn frowned, but knew better than to ask more. In fact, if this woman cared enough to visit Indi here in the hospital, she might actually become a life savior. Quite literally. "She's not, actually," she therefore continued without missing a beat. "In fact, since you're family, I daresay I need your help to save her life."

Dani stared, the expression on her face momentarily wavering. Usually, when one asks "is [x] alright" one expects one of two potential answers: the optimistic and happiness-inducing 'yes, she'll be fine,' and the more worrying but comforting, 'we are doing everything we can.' One rarely expects, however, to have their questions answered with "I need your help to save her life."

"Heh," came out of Dani's mouth, then, blinking, her smile faded. It wasn't often that Danielle Atarah was left speechless, but when it happened, it was spectacular. "What?"

Quickly pushing forward, Alyn motioned for the both of them to round the bed and step to Indi's side. "We're not sure what happened. All I'm sure about, is that she's currently trapped inside her own mind. I spoke to her wife, and she gave me permission to try and unlock some of those traps. I can't do it alone though. Well, I could try, but I'd rather be accompanied by someone who knows her. Someone she might listen to. Would you be willing?"

Dani continued to stare at the doctor, digesting. This was definitely not what she was expecting when she came by to check up on her friend. She wasn't entirely sure she understood what, exactly, she was being asked.

"Uh," she blinked again, her eyes narrowing, her brain attempting to make sense of all of this. Did she underestimate this doctor when she claimed familial relationship? Was this doctor yanking her chain now? She was not entirely sure.

"You... want me to help you... talk to her?" This whole thing made no sense. Indi was just fine when they've met, less than a day ago, and now she's ... what? 'locked' inside her own mind? Dani was getting fairly concerned about what the hell it was that Indi was involved with. And increasingly concerned about getting herself into the middle of it without knowing the details.

Alyn could understand the other woman's anxiety. It was quite something she was asking. She motioned to the two chairs next to the window and sat down herself, putting one leg across the other and folding her hands over her knee. In her career, she'd tried to explain what would happen a couple of times already. The problem was that the patient decided - more so than anyone else - what would happen and what it would look like. Luckily, in this case, she'd already examined the patient.

"I need you to enter her mind with me. I'm going to create a 'shadow copy' - for want of a better word - for the both of us. I'm going to be guiding us inside her mindscape. Now, I've been in there about an hour ago, and it's not looking pretty. Before I go on, I have to make sure I can count on you. That she can count on you."

Dani laughed, she couldn't help it, a short burst of astonishment that came out in the form of weird tense laughter. This was definitely not what she was planning on, or what she expected. She looked at the Doctor for a moment longer, then at Indi, thinking. In general, she did not appreciate anything and anyone getting to mess around with what she considered was her best feature - her mind. On top of the danger of doing something weird in there, which Dani was fairly sure could happen any time you play around or near anywhere brain-related, there was also the more concrete and tangible matter of reading her thoughts.

She did not need anyone reading her thoughts right now, definitely not in the vicinity of security or starfleet personnel or... well... anyone, really.

"I don't think I understand what you mean, Doctor." She finally managed, giving the doctor an appraising, suspicious, look. "guiding us inside the mindscape" was something Dani thought only existed in computer games. "Or what it means for... my..." she tried, really, to not sound selfish, avoiding having to look at Indi's lying form for this question, "my mind. Or... you know. Whatever." This was whack, she decided. Last time she goes visiting someone unannouced. Next time, she's asking for the full medical record and its full diagnosis and interpretation before she even thinks about being a good friend.

A better reaction than she'd come to hope for. Alyn smiled slightly. "Your mind is going to be perfectly alright. I'm not going to deny that things might get tricky, and that there might be some residual headache. If it will save your cousin's life however, I would think it's worth it. The longer she's lost within her own mind, the less chance she'll ever recover from this comatose situation. Right now, she's a child. A battered child in her own mind. I've been there. I've seen it. You need to guide the child back to where it belongs. Through the door."

"Aunt," Dani corrected absently, not even thinking about it. If there was one thing she was extremely good at, even in times of stress, was keeping her story straight. She thought for a moment, trying to make a decision, looking at Indi's form on the bed. She looked peaceful, but that could be deceiving, Dani knew. She needed someone's help, and, it seemed, there was no other someone than her. She knew the woman, but did she know her that well anymore to be able to help coax her out of whatever state she was in? And can she risk it right now, with Zett being in such a precarious position with the syndicate, and the state of affairs so delicate?

She sighed, knowing the answer without having to rationalize it. Of course she'll risk it. It's what she does, isn't it? How did Zett put it? 'You go on a fool's errand to save one of your friends'. She does, though. It's what she does. And, she surmised, feeling utterly crappy about even considering this a reason, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get the head of security for the alpha quadrant to owe her a favor. 'Jesus, Zett, you're influencing me too much,' she thought, sighing.

"Fine." She walked over to the chair, tentatively sitting in it. "What do you want me to do?"

"Close your eyes," Alyn spoke softly. "Try to relax."

It took a few moments as Alyn cleared her own mind, built a buffer around Dani's and took a breath to focus her concentration of what was to come.

Dani scoffed; 'Try to relax'... Right. She took a breath, leaning back in the chair, and, still suspicious and guarded, closed her eyes, waiting.

Seconds, or maybe minutes, time was irrelevant, had passed when Alyn relaxed the tight hold she'd been keeping on both Dani's mind and her own. "Open your eyes," she said softly.


To be continued...


Danielle Atarah
Privateer, Finally a Grownup
Leader of a nameless Earth Syndicate


RAdm Indi Hawk
Alpha Quadrant Security


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