-1 Five Things True Danziger Was Never Meant to See
…True screamed as the world around her went crazy. Explosions racketed the ship, sending the young girl careening into the nearest wall. She cried out more in surprise than pain, and continued down the corridor, eyes wide, searching for her father. She ducked sparks as the panels nearest her short circuited.
"Daddy! Daddy, where you? Help me!" True cried out at the top of her lungs.
The floor shifted beneath her, and True tumbled down, hitting her knees hard and bringing tears to her eyes.
"Daddy," she sobbed before she felt sparks rain down on her. With a cry, she scrambled out of the way and crawled into an empty crate.
"True!" Danziger called as he suddenly rounded the corner "True-Girl."
"Daddy!" True half-crawled out of her hiding place.
John ran down the corridor in True's direction. "There you are True-Girl," the relief at finding her in both his voice and his expression. "Shh…" He scooped his daughter up in his arms. "Shh… True, it's all right, Daddy's here. You're going to be all right; we're going to be all right." He brushed his fingertips gently along True's face, gathering the tears from her lashes.
"Daddy, what's happening?"
"I don't know True-Girl, but we have to get out of here."
Danziger ran down the corridor, carrying True cradled against him. Eventually, they reached an escape pod, and John carefully set his daughter down. He tried to open the hatch.
"Hold on True-Girl, we're getting out of here."
But when the hatch wouldn't budge, John looked into the escape pod. Whatever he saw, suddenly had him swearing.
"Hey, there are people here, damn it! Hey!"
A deep vacuum sound echoed through the hull in front of them, prompting another swear from True's father, "Shanking bastard!"
He continued to swear for a moment before suddenly reaching down to scoop True back up.
"It's okay, True-Girl. We'll just find another pod."
Danziger ran down more corridors, ducking sparks from the corridor panels. He turned one last corner and saw Walman waving him on.
"Come on, Danziger! Come on!"
John scrambled into the pod and settled his daughter into a seat before he buckled himself in next to her.
"It's going to be okay, True-Girl," he reassured her as the pod broke free of the doomed ship…
…True shuffled alongside Uly and the others as they trudged through the dusky landscape of G-889.
"Are we ever going to stop?" True asked her friend wearily.
"I like walking," Uly replied.
The young girl just gave the boy a sour look and said nothing as she continued to march forward. After a few more feet, True sighed. "I'm not even supposed to be here," she groused.
"You think the Stations were better?" Uly asked in clear disbelief.
"Dad was going to get me a kitten. I real-life cat, not the synth kind. And I was going to have my own room. And…" she looked over to her friend. "You wouldn't get it."
"I like it here," Uly insisted.
"Whatever," the young girl sighed.
Suddenly True felt something wet strike her arm. She looked around in surprise. Another drop, and she looked up, startled. When yet another droplet hit her, she screamed, and suddenly everyone was panicking, ducking under cover.
"Rain!" Magus cried, her warning taken up by the other adults.
"True-Girl!" Danziger called, his voice urgent and rough.
"Get under cover!" Devon directed over the din of frantic voices.
True ducked under the cover of the transrover, huddling against her father and watching in horror as the storm hit.
"It's okay, True. It's okay," he replied, sounding like he was trying to reassure himself as much as his daughter.
Unexpectedly, Dr. Heller, was saying, "It's okay; it's okay; it's clean." Julia read the data from her Diaglove.
"Julia, are you sure?" Devon asked.
Dr. Heller reached out with her gloved hand again. "It's safe," she assured the group. "There are no poisons. It's safe." She grinned brightly. "It's clean water; real rain."
She stepped out into the storm confidently, smiling as the rain began to soak her.
"Dad?" True asked, looking up to her father for permission.
With a small nod of okay, Danziger let his daughter step out into the gentle rain shower.
"Look, Daddy," she giggled and watched as other members of the Advance joined her and Dr. Heller. She laughed and began to twirl, spreading her arms out wide.
"It's raining!" she giggled before grabbing Uly's hands and spinning in circles with her friend.
"Still like the Stations better?" he teased.
True gave her friend a look. "I guess not, but I still want a cat," she replied with a grin before tilting her head back with a laugh to catch the rain on her tongue…
…True stood silent and unnoticed in the doorway of the practically ancient downed ship, hidden by deep shadows. The only real illumination, came from the soft blue glow of the cryo-chamber against the wall. And in that sad cerulean light, True's father sat, head bowed.
"Devon," True heard her father say in a rough voice. "Devon… we have…"
The young girl could practically feel the ache of her father's voice in her bones.
"Oh God, Devon, we have to move on. I don't want to, but the others are right, we have to get moving."
True heard the ragged hitch in her father's voice.
"They keep saying that you would want it; that you would want us to get to New Pacifica on time for the colony ship. And they're right, I know they're right, but… oh God, Devon, I don't want to leave you."
True watched as her father finally lifted his face, looking to Devon's still form in the cryo-chamber.
"Damn," he swore softly. "Looks like that crazy Elder was right, Adair."
John reached his trembling hand out and lay it on the cool surface of the cryo-chamber, and True was surprised to see tears on her father's face. She couldn't remember ever seeing her father cry, even during the times that he had been hurt. Somehow, it changed the shape of the world to see her father cry. And then, when she heard her father's voice suddenly break into a sob, True knew that the change was forever…
…True idly swung her legs from the rough branch. Around her, the white fluff of cottonwood-like blossoms surrounded her like a warm cloud, and everything seemed a bit fuzzy. True felt a languid sort of contentment suffuse her limbs and she closed her eyes, letting the lazy morning light tickle her eyelids.
Suddenly, she heard voices from below. True looked down from her perch, trying to peer at the forest floor through the haze of white. She squinted, trying to make out the two adult figures below her as they approached her tree and abruptly stopped beneath it. She could just make out the timbre of the voices, letting her know it was someone from the Advance.
The man pressed the woman back into the trunk of the tree, murmuring something before bending to her. Ever curious, True decided that she would never figure out who it was or what was going on from her branch. So slowly she shifted, sliding herself down to a lower branch. Once there, she lay herself on her belly, trying once more to look through the fluffy white blossoms.
The man said something more, and though True couldn't quite make out the words, she could tell that the voice was her father's. She listened harder.
"Devon," True finally caught a word drifting up to her. She peered harder, realizing that her father was talking with the Advance's leader. Still unable to see through the thick cover of blossoms, True risked pushing aside some of the thinner branches around her. She looked again, finally able to see what was going on below.
"John," Devon was saying in a strange sort of sigh. And True's father made a deep kind of growl as he reached for Devon's hands. Once he had her wrists, he held them above her head with one of his own larger hands.
True tilted her own head and held the branches back as far as she dared, trying to understand just what her dad was doing with Devon. They didn't seem like they were really arguing, but, the young girl couldn't quite figure out why her father's voice sounded so strange and deep.
"Oh God, Devon," John said in that strange, rough voice.
True still couldn't see what her father was doing with his free hand, but suddenly, he kissed Devon, and his daughter's eyes went wide. And when he started to trail the kiss down lower, True had the sudden shocking realization that her dad and Devon were most definitely not arguing.
The young girl let the branches block her view and she tried very hard to not hear what was going on below her. Of course, now that she had figured out that something very adult was happening, she couldn't seem to quite block the sounds. The sheer embarrassed horror of it all, made True want to shout and shake the branches, anything to make her dad and Devon stop. But she knew she couldn't; there was no way she could let her dad know that she had seen even what little she had already seen.
But as the oblivious pair below her continued, True slowly felt a surprising curiosity as well as an aching embarrassment. Giving in, she dared herself to take a quick glance below. That one glance was enough to send the unnoticed girl scrambling as quickly and quietly as she could upwards. She climbed as high as she possibly could; high enough that she couldn't see anything if she tried, and high enough that nothing but the wind through the branches reached her ears. She wedged herself securely into a fork in the thickest of the branches, trying to not think about how much of an unknown individual her father had quite suddenly become and no longer the 'Daddy' she had always seen before…
…"So True-Girl, what do you think?" John asked his daughter as they stood before the newly constructed house. It was a simple structure built to ancient plans that Yale had found in his historical records.
"Does this mean…" True hesitated over the question. "Does this mean we really are staying?"
Danziger looked to his daughter. "Is that so bad, True-Girl?"
She shrugged, then after a moment replied, "Do I have my own room?"
"A nice, big one, all to yourself," her dad assured her.
True looked over to where Devon and Uly stood. "Are you going to marry, Devon?"
Her dad gave her a thoughtful look before asking, "Would that be so bad?"
"You didn't marry mom," the girl answered.
"Not because I didn't love her, True-Girl, and not because I didn't want to."
"Do you love, Devon?"
John himself looked over to where Devon was standing, then back to his daughter. "Yes," he answered his daughter simply.
"So she and Uly are going to live here too?"
"That's the plan."
"But I still get my own room?"
"You still get your own room," True's dad confirmed.
True was silent a moment as she stared at the stone and wood structure in front of her, the house that her dad said that they would be staying in, even after the ship came.
"I still want a cat."
Her dad laughed, gathering True up in a bear hug…