The first thing Dana sees when she opens her eyes is a blank bland ceiling made of concrete from which yellow lights spot her vision. They’re so bright she can’t help but squint. Though, she soon forgets about the pain they have brought up to this point when it dawns on her she isn’t alone in this place which is unfamiliar to her.
Alarm fills her chest. She tries to bolt upright only for an old familiar face to appear and demand, “Stay down. You are in no fit state.”
“Sanjiv.” Dana can’t quite believe she is looking up at the face of her old friend. This has to be a dream she reasons. Still, if it is a dream why does he look so much older than the last time she saw him, how she holds him in her memories. Possibilities land in her head. None of them fit and so ultimately Dana Marcello concludes this has to be real. A smile appears across her lips as a result.
“Yeah it’s me.” Sanjiv doesn’t sound happy to see her and pulls back just as he runs his fingers through heavily faded and grey hair. Still, a full head but not at all the deep black it was the last time they were together in the same room. To top it off he has deep wrinkles around his eyes, what some term worry lines, and bags under them. By the looks of things the bags are a more recent and potentially temporary addition.
Dana attempts to move, to sit up, slowly so that she might be afforded a better view of her old friend and former colleague.
“Still refusing to listen I see.” Sanjiv’s voice is bitter, angry. She can’t say she blames him but forgets all about his tone because recent events come flooding back to her. Sanjiv sees the look on her face. He knows it well. He’s seen it many a time before and knows Dana’ll want answers.
“Before you start, no I wasn’t tracking you or hoping to get in contact with you Dana. I was simply tying up loose ends.” Sanjiv pauses to let his words sink in. Whether they do or not matters little to him and so when he is satisfied he continues. “I got your message. Nice pack of lies.”
Dana goes to speak but Sanjiv cuts her off with a raised hand. It’s his way of saying that it’s his time to speak and hers to listen. It doesn’t usually make a blind bit of difference but on this occasion works in Sanjiv’s favour.
In part that is because Dana doesn’t feel as though any sound will come out even if she makes the effort to try and speak. That worries her, though she keeps her fear hidden. Sanjiv doesn’t need to know.
“Then you turn up here. I’m guessing you’re tracking me. Not that it matters. I was going to be gone in the morning. But you stumbled into town and got yourself ambushed. Just as well I was around. Those attackers were mercs. Not very good ones but heavily armed all the same. And with your detail dead…”
Sanjiv sees Dana’s face drop. In that moment he feels more than a little guilty for so bluntly dropping such news in her lap. Even so, he pushes ahead with his filling in of the blanks.
“…you weren’t going to be long for this world either. Thankfully, for you, it looks like you escaped largely unharmed, save for a few scratches and some heavy bruising. And before you ask, yes this is where my number lands. Now, I’ve done my bit how about you tell me the truth. I think you owe me that much, don’t you?”
With the invitation offered and Dana having tried, and found that her voice is still very much intact, inform Sanjiv is precisely what the director does.
She fills in everything that led her to leaving that message. No detail is left out and as she talks Sanjiv’s face changes from steely doubt all the way through to abject wonder inflected shock.