Level 4 – Cell Block

Dana veered through the hallways on level 4, holding a brown paper bag and a small folder, daring anyone to try and stop her as she headed toward the holding cells. She had wanted to see Ryan immediately after the demon attack but her father had ordered everyone to their quarters to get some rest, she would have resisted more if she hadn't been so exhausted. By the time she had gotten up the next morning Ryan had already been moved to a cell.

Her father hadn't said much about his meeting with Ryan; apparently there wasn't much to say. 'He won't talk to anyone,' he had said. What he meant was Ryan wouldn't talk to him. He didn't want Dana to even try because she had apparently turned to a porcelain doll since her last encounter with her brother and would break at the first spoken word. She fumed. She knew her last encounter with her brother had scared her father but did he think she was so weak that she couldn't handle seeing him now?

She rounded a corner and saw a guard who had been sitting in a chair seconds before but was now startled to his feet by her appearance. "I'm here to see my brother," she said, continuing toward the observation room door but the guard quickly stepped in front of her.

"I'm sorry Ms. Mitchell but Capt. Mitchell ordered that no one was to see the prisoner."

Dana raised her eyebrows at the guard and frowned. "My father ordered you to stop me from seeing my brother?" she asked, disbelieving.

The guard looked unsure now. Being a ranger, she far outranked him and he knew it. Mentioning the fact that his Captain was her father and the prisoner was her brother clearly shook his resolve.

"I'm going to visit my brother," she said grasping the door handle behind him, "Go ahead and report that to the Captain, maybe he'll have me escorted to my room." She quickly turned the handle, jerked the door open, making the guard move to the side, and stepped into a small dark room, closing the door behind her.

Almost the whole left wall looked like a glass window. Dana knew that it wasn't glass though. The holding cells were built in case they needed to keep a demon in there. The "glass" was actually made of material similar to the zord armor.

Looking into the cell she saw Ryan sitting on his knees in the middle of the room, facing away from her. The room was simple and empty. Bed, toilet, sink. They were either built into the wall or, in the case of the bed, a big rectangle jutting out from the wall and the floor. Nothing to use for a weapon. A tray of food lay untouched beside him and even that was all finger foods. No utensils. Sighing she opened a slot in the wall, tossed the bag in and slammed it shut hoping to get his attention.

He didn't flinch but a few seconds later he looked back at her. Something crossed his face but was quickly replaced by indifference. "I didn't expect you to come and see me."

"Why not? You're my brother."

His eyes shifted slightly down. They lingered for only a second then he looked away. Unconsciously she touched her throat. The bruises were almost gone but that was only because of her ranger powers. He had almost crushed her trachea. Almost, she reminded herself. He hadn't been able to go through with it.

She lowered her hand and changed the subject. "I brought you something to eat and don't say you're not hungry because they told me about your completely empty stomach."

To this Ryan turned around on his knees completely, "Did they?"

"Ryan, Father won't let you starve yourself. If you continue to refuse to eat then he's just going to have you strapped back to a medical bed with an IV in your arm. Do you really want to end up back there?"

Ryan looked down at the tray of food suspiciously.

"You don't even have to eat that," she offered, pointing at the little hatch on his side. "I brought you something."

Still frowning, he got up, walked over to the wall and pulled the bag out of the compartment. "What is it?" he asked as he returned to his spot and pulled something wrapped in napkins out.

Dana smiled, "The best meatball sub you'll ever eat."

Ryan still looked doubtful but he cautiously pulled back the wrapping and took a bite. His eyes grew wide and he began coughing but he quickly swallowed the mouthful.

Dana looked thoughtfully at him. "You really haven't eaten all these years, have you?"

Ryan ignored her and took another bite.

"How is that possible?"

He looked at her as he swallowed. "You really want to know?"

She nodded, "And unlike Father I won't take silence for an answer. I can sit here all day every day. Beside my Ranger duties you're on the top of my list."

Ryan frowned in response. "You're not going to leave me alone until we talk?"

"I'm very persistent."

He seemed to contemplate her words for a moment then he set the sub down and leaned back on his knees. "The first thing I learned in the tomb was how to gather energy through meditation. That's what I have been doing all these years instead of eating."

Dana gave him a doubtful look. "That doesn't make any sense."

"It would if you would let me finish."

Dana raised her eyebrows but remained silent. A smile played at the corner of her mouth.

"The spell used to keep the demons from getting out of the tomb was self sustaining. Any power or energy they used in there only reinforced it and was recycled back into the tomb. Each day I would expend energy only to get it back through sleep and meditation. It's not as effective out here, I've realized. Energy isn't contained out here like in the tomb."

"So every day you've been out of the tomb you've been getting weaker and it didn't occur to anyone that you might just need something to eat?"

"I kept my growing weakness to myself. And if you recall, I haven't eaten anything for the last fourteen years so, no, it didn't cross my mind."

"If you were getting weaker does that mean the demons are getting weaker as well?"

Ryan smirked at her, "It's not going to be that easy for you. No, outside the tomb some of the demons still meditate but like many other beings they survive by feeding on human emotions like fear, panic, and hopelessness. Did you really think that they were at their full power? They're still re-energizing from their time in the tomb."

Dana quietly mulled over this new information. This was news to her. Did her father and Ms. Fairweather know about this?

"Don't waste your time trying to find a way to use this to your advantage. With each attack there is fresh fear and panic for them to feed on. They'll continue to get stronger and stronger as this war goes on, while your hopelessness grows."

Dana felt a chill got through her, not because of what he was telling her but because he believed it and seemed to be gloating.

"Finally starting to realize what you're up against?" She had expected him to continue smirking at her, but his face, mainly his eyes, had changed as he spoke, and now held an emotion she couldn't quite place.

"It doesn't matter how powerful they are, we aren't going to let them take the city."

"Why not? It was theirs' to begin with."

"Sure, thousands of years ago when they were in power. They terrorized the world and kept the humans as slaves. If you haven't noticed, things have changed. There are a lot more humans now and we're not just going to give up and let them rule over us." She heard a quiet snort as Ryan shoot his head. She didn't like being laughed at. "You make it sound like all they want is Mariner Bay and we're being the bad guys for not giving it back. You know better than any of us what they're like. Do you think they'll stop at one city? One section of land?"

He remained silent.

"I thought so. Mariner Bay would be their foothold into this world, a point of command from where to take the rest of the world." Dana felt a wave of sadness and frustration as she continued. "And you plan to be with them don't you? Fighting us. Why? What exactly are you to them? Are you a general like Loki and Vypra?"

Ryan straightened his back, "I'm the highest rank a human has ever become."

Dana crossed her arms, "So not a general."

His eyes narrowed. "I'm not strong enough to be a general. Without the Titanium powers they can easily defeat me. Maybe. If I still had the powers…" He got a distant look in his eyes.

Instinctively Dana wanted to feel sorry for him but her anger was quickly building. "Then what are you? Why are you so willing to help them destroy us?"

"I owe my loyalty to them. Diabolico saved me. He raised me, taught me to fight. Everything I have I owe to him."

"Yeah," she agreed, "you are incredibly loyal to them. And realizing how hard it would be for you to fight against your own kind they must, in turn, show you the respect that you deserve."

Ryan paused, surprised by the turn in their conversation, "Yes."

"And exactly how much is that?"

Ryan began to get defensive, "Enough."

"Enough for who?"

He tilted his head slightly as he continued to stare at her, refusing to look away, "For a human."

Dana couldn't help it; her emotions were beginning to seep into her words. "But you've been with them almost your entire life. You must be like one big happyfamily by now."

Ryan's expression darkened. "Be careful what you're saying."

"So that's a 'no' as well."

"I'm a human," he said, pronouncing 'human' like it was a disease, "I don't deserve the respect that they do give me."

There it was. He wasn't trying to convince himself. He said it like it was a fact. Like she was a fool for not thinking the same way. He had been taught that he not only deserved everything done to him but that he should be thankful. To despise who he was and leap at their command. Dana felt her stomach turn as she finally realized what her brother was. "You're a slave."

She wasn't able to blink before the bottom of his fist slammed into the surface between them. She knew he couldn't break through but his speed and sheer force made her take a step back. He wasn't trying to hit her. It was a show of anger more than anything else.

"I warned you to be careful what you say."

"Or what?" She was surprised by how hard she was pushing him. She hadn't meant to talk to him about any of this and she wouldn't normally act this way but she had finally had enough. She hated the demons for what they had done to her brother and he needed to realize what they were.

"You won't be able to keep me in here forever," he threatened.

"And then you'll what, come after me?" Her voice softened. "Will you actually kill me this time?"

The anger drained from his face. His eyes once again fell to her neck and he quickly looked away as he stepped back from the wall. Right then she knew. He wouldn't, maybe even couldn't, fight her again.

"Ryan, they've treated you like nothing, made you think that any attention from them is a privilege. That's how they think. Humans have always been their slaves. They wouldn't know how else to treat you."

"Leave." He was still facing away from her but his voice was low and threatening.

Her resolve wavered but she continued, "Ryan, I didn't…"

He turned toward her. "Now."

Guilt pressed down on her heart as she saw his eyes. They were covered in anger but beneath that, she could see a heavy pain. Feeling that she had definitely worn out any welcome she might have had to begin with she began to slowing move toward the door and as she did so, remembered the small folder she had brought with her. She mentally kicked herself. Her rash words made it impossible to give it to him now. Feeling a sad regret she looked at him. "I still want to come back and see you," she said, as he once again turned away. She opened the door but turned back before walking out. "I love you, Ryan," she said quietly, then closed the door behind her.