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JL Dani Atarah & Indi Hawk | "Break a Dani" Pt2

Posted on 241708.27 @ 7:30pm by Rear Admiral Indi Hawk

Mission: Non-Plot Log

They were standing in the nothingness again. Not white, not black. The child near the steel enforced door. Neither sitting on the floor nor suspended in the air. Nothing. Two doors. One wooden and one steel enforced. One child, small, battered and crying. And them. Two shadow copies as their own bodies were sitting in their chairs, Alyn keeping a close eye on them.

Dani blinked, momentarily confused at the radical change of scenery. For a second, she was trying hard to feel the chair under her, unsure if she could anymore, swallowing back an overwhelming sense of panic. She did not like her mind tampered with. Not even a little.

"Right," she muttered, hearing herself as if in a dream, feeling even more disoriented, and looked around her tentatively. "This is Indi's mind?" She coughed, cleared her throat, and stabled herself against nothing. "I kind of expected a row of brigs or something." Humor was always her way of coping; this was no exception. If anything, it was the goddamn rule.

Alyn started to nod. "Yes, this is Indi's mind an-"

She was interrupted as the child jumped to its feet and ran over to Dani. "Dani! You came! You have to help me! Please! This place is evil!" it looked up at Dani with tear stricken eyes. Reaching as high as it could, the child wrapped its arms tightly around Dani's legs. "Don't leave me! Take me with you!"

"Hello," Dani muttered looking down at her feet, barely managing to hide her instinct to recoil - more in surprise than anything else. She blinked and then bent down, looking at the child carefully, her heart melting. Whatever suspicion or alarm she's had through this experience was shoved to the back in the face of one distressed youth.

"I'm here," she smiled to the small form in front of her, holding her confusion at bay, "I'll keep you safe." She hoped she was right on that one; as far as she knew from her favorite collection of 20st century movies, this was the moment they all realize this was the stupidest promise ever as they get chomped down by a horrifying clown with sharp teeth and a truly hideous collection of bloody balloons.

Alyn was surprised by this development. She didn't believe for a second that the woman sitting in front of her was related to Indi and yet the Admiral seemed to recognize her. To trust her. Perhaps they would get somewhere after all. She motioned slowly, carefully, unwilling to alarm the child, from Dani to the steel enforced door and back to the child. The meaning was clear: were they to save Indi, they'd have to pry open the door and step through it with the child.

Dani glanced, the confusion returning as she looked at the door. Such an odd sight, a locked door in the middle of nowhere, metallic and heavy over nothing at all. She nodded thoughtfully and returned her gaze to the child, her smile returning slowly, wrapping her fingers around the child's palm, rising slowly, and pointed at the door. "Let's go, Indi. Time you got out of here, so I can tell you all about what a cute little child you make." She smirked, blanketing her confusion and fear with humor, as usual, walking towards the door.

"I've watched enough old movies to know that this door," she pointed with her free arm, her expression once again cautious and sarcastic, "does not have a free car behind it. Maybe you should open it while we stand to the side." She wasn't about to be the movie-idiot who's so callously rushing towards an obviously stupid location, everyone else just yells at the TV in frustration while she gets impaled with the first prop the movie maker found in the studio.

The child shook its head, more and more quickly. More and more violent from side to side. It clung tighter to Dani, making it hard for Dani to move.

At this point, Alyn found it was time to step in. "It has to be done," she spoke very softly to Dani, hoping the child wouldn't pay her attention. "But be careful. You have to be very careful. What I'm sensing behind that door, is..." she trailed off, looking for a way to best describe it and coming up short. "..evil. Her wife confirmed as much."

Dani sighed, pulling the child closer by instinct, but her eyes narrowing at the doctor. "Are you fuc--" she bit her tongue, took a breath, and grunted. "Are you serious? You're sensing horrible evil behind the door that you want me to open and go through with a child?" She hissed those final words out, as if what was happening was the stupidest plan she's ever heard of. "It's the stupidest plan I've ever heard of." She stared at the woman, dismayed.

"By all intents and purposes," Alyn whispered urgently. "This is not a child. This is an Admiral. Head of Quadrant Security. She can manage," she added, pretty sure she got that title correct. She'd never been much of a fan of Starfleet.

Dani looked down at the small form at her feet. "It doesn't look like an Admiral..." she looked at the Doctor with doubt, then grunted. "Fine," she muttered, bringing the tiny version of Indi closer to her, squeezing the child's form to her body in what she hoped was reassurance as she walked towards the door carefully. "This is like a 1980s horror movie plot. A bad one." She glared at the doctor and sighed, reaching to open the door.

The child did everything it could to hold Dani back. Of course, there was no real way for it to halt Dani's progress towards the door. It changed tactic, looking up at the woman with big, fearful eyes. "Don't do this, please. Dani, please don't do this. I don't want to see it. Please, don't open that door. Please!" it started crying, burrying its head against Dani's leg and started sobbing with a vengeance.

Dani paused, looking at the doctor with utter dismay. Admiral or not, she couldn't possibly bring herself to do this to a child who was so clearly utterly terrified. She bit her lip, as if forcing herself to snap out of her own illogical thinking, and grunted, cursing in foreign languages the kid would hopefully not understand, before crouching next to the form, smiling gently.

"Look, uh," she shrugged, and smirked, hiding her distress, "Admiral. Indi. I know you're scared, but we really need to get out of here. Okay? I'm here, and we'll go out together." You can keep me safe, she thought, humor was apparently the way her internal thoughts were coping. Good to know. She hugged the child tightly for a second, and then lifted them up to her arms, surprised at how light it all felt, and then reminding herself she wasn't actually carrying anything at all. She wasn't actually here. This wasn't really a child. This wasn't really a door.

She shook her head before she could get any dizzier, and turned back to the door and reached to open it. "Just hold on. We're coming out."

Time seemed to stand still. It happened quickly, and yet it didn't happen at all. As the door opened, a rush of air blew through it, forcing them all to take a step back. The sheer force made it obvious that the door had been forcefully closed, keeping its energy at bay.

Not anymore.

Its power release, the air picked up even more speed, twirled, reached tornado level and blasted through the nothingness to slam into the wooden door on the other side. It encompassed the door, continued its onslaught. For however much longer, that was impossible to tell.

At the steel door however, a strange sense of quiet returned. The child slowly untangled from how she was holding onto Dani's neck for dear life and peered around the corner to the mindscape behind.

"Can we go now?" it asked, looking straight at Dani. Their eyes locking. Huge fearful children eyes, locking with the former Starfleet Engineer. It touched Alyn deeply. She usually managed to steer clear of emotional involvement. Very difficult in this case.

As they stepped through the door, Indi's true self took in a sharp, deep breath. Slowly, every so slowly, she opened her eyes.

Alyn took a moment to carefully return Dani to her own body. The headache would be there with a vengeance, but she'd get her some painkillers. Only then did she return to her own. After another few moments, she opened her eyes and looked at the both of them.

Dani blinked, disoriented, the shift being back in a chair rocking her consciousness around like a rag doll in a hurricane. She startled, grabbing around her for a moment as if fearing she just dropped the child in her lap, and then settling, realizing where she was, and grabbing the arm rests instead with a death grip.

"What... what happened?" She looked at the doctor, worry in her eyes. "You said the door is dangerous, you said there's something behind it, and..." she blinked, confused and dismayed and distressed, and the promised headache creeping in, unhelpfully. "What the hell just happened?"

With a small smile of relief, Alyn let Dani ramble for a moment. It wasn't unusual what had happened here. If only she could make that clear to her. She made an attempt, anyway. "There was danger behind that door. Danger to Indi and danger to others. But as the child was Indi, and you managed to calm the child, you quieted her mind. Not all of it, there's still much anger and evil and stress directed towards that other door. I'm sure I'll have my work cut out for me, but you did what you had to do. You did what only a true friend could do," she finished, for the first time dropping the family charade.

Dani just stared for a moment, trying to make sense of it all, the headache intensifying. She rubbed her eyes, still feeling the ghost of a child in her arms, the remnants of desperate fingers clutching her collar. She took a breath and turned, looking at Indi, finally noticing her open eyes.

"Geez," she managed. This was not what she imagined this day to become. "No offense there, aunty, but you need some vacation." She smiled through her stress and tension, her lips stretching, but her eyes full of concern. "You okay?" this time, she wasn't really expecting a textbook answer.

Indi tried to comprehend what was going on. One moment she was- no, she wasn't about to go there. The next she was here. There were some vague.. memories? impressions? thoughts?.. of something happening in between, but she couldn't put her finger to it. When she heard somebody talking in her direction, she figured she was the one being addressed. She couldn't remember being anyone's aunt though. Slowly turning her head towards the sound, she saw Dani and a frown creased her head. "Dani? Is that you? What are you doing here?" she asked, her voice sounding weak to her own ears. Where was 'here' anyway?

"That's what I've been asking," Dani gave the doctor an accusing look, but there wasn't any malice in it. Her eyes, finally, twinkled with her smile.

"You were... somewhere." She managed, not quite finding the right words, not entirely sure she could, quite possibly ever, formulate the right words for what just happened. Her head started pounding, and she blinked, rubbing her eyes. "At least I think that was you. You were a little," she opened her eyes and gestured, the smile, following her lightening mood and relief, turning lopsided. "Younger."

That made utterly no sense to Indi. Glancing around to take in her surroundings, she realized she was in a hospital. Thinking back to what could have led to her being here, she groaned softly as she recalled what had happened after Dani and she split ways. "Oh no," she breathed, closing her eyes once more. "Why are you here? Why isn't Cin here?" she asked the one question that came from being hit with the truth.

"Don't ask me, Admiral, I just came by to see if you're alright." Dani shrugged, a gesture that made her head hurt more; she cringed, and gave the doctor a pained look. "Hey, you don't happen to have something for this headache," she rubbed her eyes again, gently, even the slight pressure on her skin sent her pain receptors into a frenzy. "My head is killing me." She glanced at Indi, narrowing her watering eyes, "this is normal for you? It's terrible."

Dani was still making absolutely no sense to Indi. So as Alyn approached the other woman and hissed a hypospray empty against her neck, she tried to catch up on things. Her mind reeled to catch up with what it had lost. There was something, just out of her reach. Dani was there. So was the other woman sitting in the chair by the window. She'd made quite a mess of this situation. "I'm sorry, Dani. I'm so sorry," she blurted, averting her eyes to look at the empty wall.

Dani sighed as the medicine went in, the effects numbing the pounding in her head almost immediately, though not completely. Her eyes, at least, stopped watering. "No worries, Indi," she looked at the woman, smiling gently, her smartass aura tempered. "I'm just glad you're okay."

Indi nodded quietly. There was a lot of mending to be done. First of all herself. Then Cin. Then.. whatever else she'd managed to break. She forced herself to look back at Dani, ignoring the other woman in the room. "Thank you, Dani. Seriously, thank you," she spoke with a very small smile.

Dani's smile filled her face; relief flooded her bloodstream, pushing away the stress and fear. She was happy to see her friend alive and well, even if she wasn't entirely sure what exactly happened, or how. She nodded, getting up from her seat, supporting her balance by grabbing the edge of the chair. "I'm really happy you're okay, Indi, really, you got me worried there for a while, but, you know," she walked towards the door, still rubbing her temples, "let's not do that--" she gestured with a smirk, her finger moving between her head and Indi's, "ever again," she shook her head as she walked out; making sense of this will take a while. If she could ever make sense of this at all.


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


RAdm Indi Hawk
Alpha Quadrant Security


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