Dani and Amy: Chapter Three

Dani Hernandez groggily waking up in a hospital room, handcuffed to the bed.
Huh? What the-

Chapter Three

Sensation returned only in fits and starts.

Dani became aware of being seated— no, not seated, reclining— on something soft, but not terribly comfortable. The sharp smell of disinfectants mingled with the sort of artificial tang of pure oxygen and scrubbed air.

What’s more, she was dry. Fuzz clouded her memory, but she was quite certain she and Amy had crashed into the bay at top speed. ‘Dry’ was not a state she should be occupying just now. How much time had passed? Clearly more than just a bit.

Keeping her eyes closed, she wiggled her toes. All ten responded, bringing with them the feeling of a blanket, and a disturbing lack of pants.

She moved onto her left hand, all fingers answered promptly, verifying that someone had indeed changed her out of her clothes and swapped them for something that fell to about the middle of Dani’s thigh. A hospital gown? That would track with the smells.

She began checking her right hand and heard a distinctive clink of metal. Her eyes flew open and her right hand jerked back… only to be brought up short by the handcuffs securing her to a hospital bed.

The room was spare, antiseptic and boring, like any patient room in any major hospital, but to her right was a large window showing a slice streets and buildings Dani recognized. Okay, that was good. It meant that she wasn’t locked up in some Geddon Corp. black site. 

But wait, what about Amy?

As if on cue, a soft “Dee?” wafted from beyond the curtain to her left. Amy’s voice. Relief flooded Dani at the word, followed by a jolt of trepidation. Amy only called her that when they were in trouble.

Dani snorted. She was handcuffed to a bed in a hospital. after she helped her friend escape agents of Dani’s own employer, who wanted Amy for unknown transgressions. Of course they were in bloody trouble.

“Yah?” she said, just as softly.

“You all right?”

Dani sighed. “For some definitions. Nothing hurts. You?”

“Nothing physical,” Amy said. “But my baby’s in the bay, Dee. I loved that bike. Someone’s gonna pay.”

She decided not to comment, after all it was Amy who’d gotten them into this fur ball in the first place. 

After a moment, Amy seemed to get herself back under control. “But that’s future us’s problem. We’ve got a big one right now.”

“What?” Dani asked.

“While you were out cold, someone came by and took our biometrics. Fingerprints, retina scans, the works. Figure we’ve got at best twenty minutes before our friends from the cafe find us.”

Dani curled into as best a ball as she could with one arm chained to the bed rail. This is nothing but a brief respite on the short road to the ruin of her life. Once Geddon Corp knew she was still alive, it wouldn’t take them long to dispatch someone to to put a bullet between her and Amy’s eyes. Twenty minutes was optimistic.

“Well,” Amy said, irritation lacing the word, “is there or not?”

Dani shook her head to clear it. “Sorry, what?”

Amy let out a sigh and a small scream of frustration at the same time. “Is there a phone, or a tablet or something over there? I got nothing on my side.”

She surveyed the room, about to reply there wasn’t, when a beefy man in scrubs and a scowl came in. “Good, you’re awake.” He produced a small device connected to a fabric cuff. “Gotta take you’re vitals. Won’t be but a minute.”

Dani nodded and extended her left arm. 

He proceed to check her blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation, and her pupil response. “No signs of concussion,” he noted tot he air and turned to move the curtain separating Dani and Amy’s beds aside.

As he did so, Dani noticed a rectangular bulge in one of his pockets, and the corner of a smartphone sticking out. 

Grabbing the handcuff in her right hand to prevent it clinking against the bed rail, she leaned over and deftly plucked the phone out as the man was busy checking Amy over.

As he shuffled out of the room muttering to himself, Dani showed Ami her prize. “Now what?”

“Hang on,” Amy replied, not taking her eyes from the device. “I’m brute forcing my way in.”

Dani quirked an eyebrow. “You’ve got an internal cyberlink? I thought you were against that sort of bodymod?”

The phone bleeped, and the screen flashed once before it’s main menu appeared.

Amy visibly relaxed, but kept her gaze in the middle distance as her focus shifted from reality to cyberspace. “Yeah, well, you’re not the only person who crossed too many lines.”

Dani frowned. Was Amy alluding to her recent past? How much did she know?

The moments stretched. “You’re awfully quiet,” Amy said.

“So are you,” Dani shot back. This morning, she was a valued agent of one of the most dangerous corporate dirty tricks squads in the world, now she was on the run for her life from her coworkers. Plus almost dying in the bay, and now her best friend from college was a super hacker who maybe knew all her deepest and darkest. It was kind of a lot.

“I,” Amy said deliberately, “am getting us out of this.”

“How?” Dani demanded. “How on earth are you getting us out of this?”

She wiggled her eyebrows. “Faith, Dee. Faith. Any minute now, some poor hospital security goon is gonna come through that door, uncuff you, and offer you his car. Just go with it.”

Dani’s brows furrowed. “Wha-?”

But the door to their room swung open and a young man with a military hair cut and an industrial-grade polyester uniform that was ten year older than he was entered.

“Ma’am,” he said quickly going to Dani’s bed and undoing her cuffs. “Terribly sorry for the confusion, Ma’am. I have been instructed to release the witness into your custody and facilitate your egress from the hospital, immediately.”

Before Dani could even speak, the man thrust a bundle of clothing at her. “I’m afraid the clothing you were wearing isn’t in a state to wear. But these should fit.” He blushed. “They’re from lost and found, I’m afraid.” He nodded to Amy, “But there’s kit in there for her too. Here,” he pressed a vehicle key into her hand, “blue S-4000, in spot 416, right by the parking garage elevator.”

She took the key in numb hands. “Thanks-”

“She’s mine, Ma’am. The car I mean.” The kid winced. “Still making payments on her. Please be careful with her?”

“Like she were my own,” Dani said, and glanced meaningfully down at the provided clothes, the guard, and the door.

“Oh! Right,” the kid uncuffed Amy and left, but Dani could see the back of his head through the door’s window. He’d assumed a guard post just outside.

Dani selected clothing for herself and stepped over to Amy. “What is going on?” she asked in a whisper.

Amy smirked. “I’m a witness in a federal case, running from the bad guys. You’re the marshal charged with protecting me.”

“How did-?”

Amy interrupted her by wiggling her fingers right under Dani’s nose. “Mag-ic. Let’s hurry.”

They got changed and emerged from the room in borrowed clothing. Dani wore jeans, boots and a Neo Galveston Rangers t-shirt. Amy had gone for sandals, shorts and a tanktop that said in tiny print “If you’re reading this, you owe me dinner”.

The guard kid led them over to an elevator and through the warren of hallways and yet more elevators until they reached the parking garage, and the then the fourth floor.

He ran a hand lovingly over the car’s roof before turning to Dani and offering her his sidearm. “You might need this, Ma’am.”

She didn’t argue. “Right, thanks. Give me your number, and I’ll tell you where to recover your car.”

Three minutes later, they drove sedately out onto the street. Their donated getaway vehicle had power and oomph to spare, but it was also clearly a street racer, and the last thing they wanted was to raise more eyebrows.

“Okay,” Dani said. “Where to?”

“Do you trust me?” Amy asked, suddenly more reticent than she had been since this all began.

“That’s a loaded question,” Dani replied. 

“It’s also the most important thing I’ll ever ask you,”Amy said. “So answer it.”

Dani bit her lip. Several dark years lay between them, but when Dani needed her, Amy was there. 

“I do,” she said at last.

“Good,” Amy rattled off an address. “Safehouse. Friends are there. We should swap cars before we go.”

“Friends,” Dani blinked. “Who?”

Amy’s smile was both mysterious and annoying. “You’ll see.”