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Danielle Atarah, Kalina Zett | Friendship and Opportunities

Posted on 241709.20 @ 8:19am by Danielle Atarah

Mission: Non-Plot Log
Location: Earth

"What did the Doctor say?" Zett leaned back on the recliner pushing it backwards so that she was almost lying horizontally. She kicked off her boots and wiggled her toes, stretching her feet.

Dani sighed and slumped into the same recliner, placing her head on the Trill's lap, closing her eyes. "He's running tests." The headache was manageable now, almost gone, but a faint deep thumping remained, like a soft echo inside her skull. Zett smiled and collected the smaller woman's hair off her face gently.

"He thinks it might be an infection with the biomechanical parts." The fact of Dani's eyes being not her original one was a deep, painful sore spot in the woman's existence. The idea she had implants was only mildly less concerning than the idea that she basically had to rely on technology and foreign objects inside her skull. That never sat well with her, and being an Engineer and knowing the risks and implications involved did not help at all.

"Well, we have the best care possible," Zett smiled softly, running her fingers across Dani's temples in a circular massage.

"Yeah, well, I don't know if it's a Doctor I should see or an Engineer." Dani sighed miserably, and Zett chuckled, relishing the irony, sympathetic to the woman's pain. "If you do, you'll get the best Engineer available."

"I am the best Engineer available." Dani huffed.

"Well there you go." Zett chuckled again, making Dani's head bob slightly up and down. The smaller woman smiled too, the pain in her expression lightening. Zett noticed, and was glad at least that was getting somewhat better.

"You also had a couple of rough days in general," she pointed out. "You know… stress and annoyance affect one's health."

Dani opened her eyes, glancing up at her. "You a shrink now?"

Zett smirked. "I don't think you need to be a shrink to know that."

"Eh. Yeah, whatever." Dani muttered, her arm lifting to rub her eyes. This, Zett noted, wasn't a sign of pain or discomfort - it was a sign of frustration. She nodded, knowingly, as if that demonstrated her theory.

"I get that the meeting with the Admiral didn't go well. Again."

"Nope." Dani grunted, sighing. "It's like talking to a wall. I swear the woman thinks that we are the biggest most horrible things to exist on Earth. At some point I was worried I'd have to deal with getting arrested."
Zett's eyes narrowed, but only slightly. "For what? She has nothing."

"I don't think it matters."

"Hm." Zett nodded, though not convinced. "Do we have anything to worry about?"

Dani shrugged, this time she was the one making the recliner bob, "I have other sources. She's not the only big shot fleety around."

"She is the fleet's security chief for the quadrant," Zett pointed out. Dani shrugged again, once more causing the chair to rock gently. "We'll have to be more careful outside of the system. Inside too, maybe. I don't know. I guess it depends how far she's going to take this."

Zett didn't seem very convinced. "I thought she was your friend."

"Yeah, well, Z," Dani blurted, stretching her neck to tilt her head up, "I guess being heads of a criminal enterprise is a line some friends can't get passed," she sighed, her expression a mix of annoyance and resolution.

"It's not going to be easy doing anything in the sector, good or not, if the head of Starfleet Security is looking to trap us."

"No, no it isn't." Dani sighed again, the resolution vanishing, the frustration growing.

"I swear, Z, it's like she thinks that if she puts me away everything will just turn peachy, no one will do crime, and Earth will have no criminal enterprises."

Zett's smile was without humor, her fingers resuming their gentle caress of Dani's temples. "Maybe you should try again. I would assume Starfleet doesn't retain idiots for their admiralty. Or so I hope, I don't know, your view of them is much less pessimistic than mine."

"She's definitely not an idiot."

"Then maybe you can salvage this, still. You tried your tactic, and it didn't work. Maybe it's time for a different tactic."

Dani opened her eyes again, looking at Zett questioningly. "What?"

"Look, D, you know better than anyone that as far as Starfleet goes, I couldn't care less about what they think of me, us, my morality or day job. We've always been smart in how we operate, and the authorities rarely, if ever, had anything on us."

Dani's eyebrows raised, as if to say "so..?"
"But you seem to clearly care about this," Zett finished, smiling at the woman. "So if you care so much, you should give it another might salvage a friendship, and I," she shrugged, smirking, will be less worried about having an outright war with Starfleet Security."

Dani smirked back. "How considerate of you."

"I know." Zett smiled. "But pragmatism is why we survived this long."

Dani sighed. "I guess I can get another meeting. Give her something, prove that there's a benefit in not hunting us down outright. If she listens."

"Don't we have a small group we were meaning to get rid of?" Zett's smile turned sarcastic, though her eyes shone with malicious pleasure. Dani nodded. "Yeah. And I have some other pieces of information she could find useful. Hopefully she can see it as a gift of good will rather than an attempt of a bribe."

Zett laughed now, heartily. "If we wanted to bribe her, we have much better incentives than a list of petty criminals we'd like to get off our hands."

"Not everyone values money like that," Dani pointed out.

Zett chuckled. "I wasn't talking about money. But point taken. Some Starfleet people are… ‘unbribeable'," she said it as if it was so incredibly false, her own mouth was sneering at the mere prospect of it. "Either way, D, having a not-enemy in the Admiral is something we could definitely use. Since I know you're not going to agree to taking advantage of some of our other methods, I say just give it a chance."

"I don't know if she'd want to talk to me right now." Dani shrugged, closing her eyes again.

"Maybe she will with me."

"What? No." Dani shook her head, "Forget it, Kal, you're not going to the Starfleet spacedock. I was half worried I'd get arrested, solid proof or not, I'm not going to deal with you being dragged off somewhere where you can only see the stars for an hour a day."

"I wasn't suggesting the spacedock." Zett's smile was small and mischievous. "How about Trattorio."

Dani blinked. "The restaurant?"

"My restaurant. Yes. Why, do Starfleet Admirals not eat?"

"They eat," Dani allowed, considering. "I just don't know if we left it off where she'd want to have dinner with me. You do that with friends and colleagues, not with runaway criminals like she seems to consider me right now."

"She might if you do it as a friend. You have that information you wanted to send her anyways, don't you? Give it to her at dinner. We can chat."

"I don't know, Kal."

"Well, it's up to you, but at this point, having her as an enemy is going to cost us a lot more than talking her into understanding some of the more delicate opportunities that exist with some level of cordial cooperation."

"You don't have to convince me," Dani grunted, rubbing her eyes again. Frustration, Zett noted, manifested as pain. Maybe she could be a shrink after all. She reached and placed a palm on top of Dani's arm, gently pulling it away from the woman's face and into her lap, "Dani, in the past week you've been increasingly frustrated and cranky and annoyed, so I will play the shrink card and the friend card and the ‘one who loves you' card and ask you," she lifted the captive arm up to her face and kissed the fingers gently. "Please invite your friend for dinner, and work it out."

Dani sighed.

Zett did too, holding the palm close, "it will either result in you having your friend back, or us having an enemy, but either way, it will be clear, and you could stop obsessing about this."

Dani was about to protest, but stopped herself. She was obsessing. She wasn't entirely sure why; maybe because Indi was her friend, someone who reminded her of the good times she had in the fleet, so long ago. Or maybe, even though she's left, there was still a part of her that wanted validation from Starfleet. From people who knew her. Maybe.

"Alright," she sighed finally, closing her eyes, the headache dim in the back of her skull. "Fine. I'll set it up."

"And I'll prepare for either eventuality." Zett smiled, but she wasn't kidding. Not even a little.


Danielle Atarah
Earth Syndicate

Kalina Zett
Earth Syndicate


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