Remi stepped out into the docking bay. It was quiet here. Just a private corner of the station that the UN kept for their vessels. The entire station here on Io was clean, brightly lit, sterile. It didn't feel like somewhere anyone could live. Remi had no job, hardly any credits and no home to go. Ganymede was the last place he would take a transport to. The swelling around his eye had gone down. He knew - and now remembered - the name of the woman who had been deposited with him. Her accent was apparent from Scotland. He had a vague notion that it was near England, but that was as far as his knowledge of earth geography went. His dream of gathering enough dollars to race again suddenly seemed even further away than it had. He cast a glance over his shoulder at the UN marines who guarded the platform. Couldn't even see their expressions through their helmets. Remi adjusted his bag. They had given him a spare change of clothes, a ration pack and some toiletries. Seemed fair given they were responsible for the dome he had lived under being in pieces. “You have anyone to stay with?” he asked, visibly wincing. It didn't seem fair to ask the pregnant woman that, but he was running low on ideas and this looked like the kind of place that wouldn't tolerate rough sleepers. --- Violet considered her their options once they were off the ship, a frown present on her features and her brow crinkled together. Her hand passed through her auburn locks, then she sighed and simply pulled the long tresses back into a knot at the back of her head. It was fortunate that the UN Marines had even given them passage off of Ganymede, but she wasn't sure if their luck was good or bad having arrived on Io. There was someone here that would likely take them in, but she doubted that her new companion would approve. Still, it was better than nothing. “Yeah, I do. Though we might owe them a favor in exchange.” She answered, glancing up at the tall belter with a wry smile. --- We. He hadn't asked with any real hope there was somewhere they could both stay. Remi had mostly been trying to be polite given pregnant she obviously was. Now she'd said that, he didn't have the luxury of turning it down with grace and humility. “A favour mi can live with. Not got much else to pay with right about now,” he replied. The clothes on his back and the bag of UN supplies were all he had now. Once he had another terminal he could get access to his accounts which held just one week of wages. “Know dem well?” he asked. Remi looked awkward as he asked. He gingerly touched the skin below his eye again, wincing at the pain. The swelling had gone down, but it's its place was a kaleidoscope of colours. --- “Well enough, I suppose. I worked a job for her a few months back…” She explained, rubbing at the back of her neck with a small frown on her lips. In truth, she’d hoped to not dredge up the painful memories that were associated with that particular job, but she didn’t see much other choice for the time being. “She runs a clinic on the outskirts of the maindocks.” She added a moment later, fishing her hand terminal out of her jacket pocket and looked it over. “Should nae be too far from here…” After a few moments of searching, she nodded. “Right. Gotta route worked out. Want to stop and grab some food?” She asked, glancing up from the terminal. The marines had given her a food voucher that she would trade in at one of the food vendors here in this part of the docks. --- “Yeah, food,” he agreed. Admittedly, he had eaten better on the UN ship than he has for a few years. Since he had lost his racing ship he had been living hand to mouth. It was a welcome change to not feel a constant, low-key hunger in his gut. “How long you been out in da belt den?” he asked. The pleasant lilt of her accent suggested she had grown up on earth at least. If she had contacts around the rocks then he assumed she had been living out here for a while. He couldn't imagine why. --- Her nose wrinkled slightly at the question, thinking about the best way to answer it. Even without him intending it to, the question was somewhat barbed for the woman. It only brought to attention how out of place she was, no matter where she went. Several moments went by before she answered, though she used the excuse of ducking through the crowds to avoid answering for a short while. “In truth? I dinnae remember a time where I was nae out in da belt.” She answered, glancing up at the tall man with a warm smile. “My parents left Earth when I was very small, I dinnae remember much… just images occasionally.” While she answered him, she led him towards a noodle bar that was at the corner of a T-junction that would take them down to the main docks. “So… spent my life on ships mostly.” --- “Good place to spend a life,” he laughed. “Though you can’t really enjoy any good Gs right now mi guess. Flying remote drones not da same as flying proper.” Remi would - with even the most tenuous conversational link - take the time to bemoan not being able to race any longer. “Guess if you remember green or blue it must have been when you were little. Don’t get much of those colours out here,” he said, with a wide sweep of his slender arm to take in the sea of grey before them. Whilst he had been moved on, he hadn’t left much behind. There was always work in the belt for those who wanted it; it just wasn’t always work that people wanted to do. “What kinda ships you been travelling on?” he asked. --- Violet smiled a little as she stepped up to the noodle bar and ordered two boxes to go for them, then placed the vouchers down on the counter. While she waited for the food, she turned back around to face Remi, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. “Well, I stayed on my parents’ little transport until I was a teenager.” She answered with a small shrug, running a hand through her hair. “Ended up on Callisto for awhile… then started barge hoppin’ from there. I’ve done Ice and Gas haulers, personnel transport, some shadier dealin’s. Had my own little shuttle for awhile but…” Her sentence trailed off for a moment as her thoughts drifted back to the Albatross. She wondered if the shuttle would still be here on Io. When things fell apart, she couldn’t bring herself to keep the ship without Keith or Dieter around… now she found herself aching to see the bright yellow ship again. The arrival of the food interrupted her thoughts and she turned to pick up each box and a set of chop sticks for the both of them. One of each was handed over to Remi and she gestured over to a table that was situated by a viewport that looked over the moon’s landscape. “Want to sit down while we eat?” --- An eyebrow quirked upwards at the mention of shader dealings. Remi reminded himself that he knew barely a thing about Violet, the woman from the taxi. Just because she didn't seem like the sort to be involved with shady smugglers in a handful of minutes of conversation. “Ya, we can sit fo a bit,” he said. “Not dat mi got anywhere else to go right now. Taki,” he added as he took his box from her. Noodles made of mushrooms, mushrooms, protein pieces made of some kind of fungus or mushroom. It did spell good. Really good. “Not been on Io in a long time,” he said, thinking back. “Ganymede supposed to be da garden of da belt. Not sure gonna miss it dat much. Hope people didn't get hurt more though.” Remi was prone to talking too much if anyone gave him the opportunity. He liked to complain, or talk of things that could have been or even to regale with stories of his best racing days. --- She nodded a little, quietly picking at the fungus noodles for a few moments. The flavors were familiar to her, something she'd eaten almost every day of her life -- some processed fungus made to resemble something else. “Not from Ganymede then?” She asked curiously, head tilted slightly to the side. It dawned on her that she didn't know very much about the man that she'd been traveling with for the past few days. --- “Na, born sirish,” he replied. “Needed to get away from dat job. Though if a war is on now…” he gave a wide belter shrug, nearly spilling a noodle on the floor. He leaned over his box and scooped another mouthful in. It was nice not to be feeling that constant, underlying pang of hunger for once. He scratched at his neck with his left hand. Tattooed spread up his neck and into the shaved patch of hair that ran up above his ear. Through the cropped blonde the intricate pattern could be seen until it met the line of longer hair. “Mi a pilot, should get back to flying a real ship.” --- Violet was more forcing herself to eat than feeling any real hunger. Though a small smile touched her expression while she watched the belter scarf down the food in front of him. When he scratched at his neck, it drew her attention to the intricate tattoo that etched its way up along the side of his head. She’d always loved the tattoos that belters donned, but she’d never gotten one of the indepth designs. The only one she had was the one Dieter had given her… She frowned and jabbed at her noodles with her chopsticks for a moment. How long had the crew of the Ablatross been looking for a pilot? Ages. Only for her to stumble across one after everything fell apart? There wasn’t much other way for that to be interpreted as, other than the universe flipping her off. Internally, the woman flipped the bird right back at the proverbial world. “A pilot? I’m a ship mechanic.” She murmured, pulling her attention back to the man in front of her and away from her wandering thoughts. She chuckled a little, shaking her head. “Though, I’m nae a half bad pilot…” --- “Not bad, eh? Was never so gut wid a larger ship. But…” Here it came, as inevitable as the headache after the juice. “...mi did come within two minutes of da razorback's five hundred kay time.” He looked full of pride for about as long as it took to remember their current situation. A food voucher from a stranger, bed for a night and then perhaps a week of wages left. “Not been at much but tug drones though. Were you looking to settle on Ganymede for a while? Bet there plenty of work for a mechanic any port.” There was also plenty of work for pilots. However, after losing his racer he had become accustomed to an almost celebrity status among his followers. He hadn't liked taking orders. Two years with remote drones and barely enough coin to live off had taken him down a peg or two. Or five. --- She paused a moment, then processed what he’d said about the razorback. “Ohhh, you’re a pennant racer then? I’ve nae met one of you before.” She shook her head a little in response to the question. “I’ve never really uh… ‘settled’ in any place for too long.” Her shoulders rose and a hand stretched out, a mixture of an earther and belter shrug. “Ganymede just made sense, given my condition.” She muttered with a small frown, forcing herself to take another small bite of the noodles. Though she gave up on actually finishing the box. She pushed it towards Remi, gesturing towards it. “You can have the rest. I’m nae gonna finish it.” --- “Was.” Violet was moving into dangerous territory where she risked a full blown rant about being priced out of the sport by earthers. For now he kept the urge in check. “You sure?” he asked. He shrugged with his shoulders and slid the box closer. It didn't seem right to finish off the food of a pregnant woman, but he also didn't have the luxury of turning her down. Remi grimaced briefly before deciding to just push on with the question that was plaguing him. “Was, erm, the father on Ganymede?” he said, just stopping himself from pointing at the bump with his chopsticks. --- Violet frowned a little at the question. A massive wave of emotion threatened to overwhelm her and she took a deep breath to keep it from spilling over. The corner of her mouth twitched slightly as she tried to force a smile and failed horribly in doing so. “No, no.” She shook her head a little running a hand through her hair as she took a breath before she continued. “He's just gone.” She chewed at the corner of her mouth for a moment. “Stupid mistake on my part…” Her sentence trailed off and she shook her head. “Sorry.” She mumbled, realizing that she was being awkward. “No, he wasn't on Ganymede. It's just me.” --- The grimace returned in earnest, Remi's back teeth coming together. He had approached that question with the subtlety of a fusion torch. Remi managed to force his expression back to something more neutral. He offered a very nervous smile. “Na, no apology. Mi fault. Actually got more spin on Sirish dan on Ganymede anyway. Here is just as gut,” he said. His knowledge on pregnancy could fit on a stamp, but he was aware that common knowledge was that more gravity was more healthy for mothers. He lowered his eyes and returned to finishing off the noodles. --- She smiled a little more in response to his attempt to be reassuring. He had no way of knowing there were already complications that needed daily treatment, which she hadn't received in more than a week now. If she was lucky the person she was taking them to see would be able to help -- one way or another. While Remi finished the food, Violet idly sipped from the drink and glanced around at the passerby that ambled through the docks. Most avoided turning towards the UN Navy wing, but something caught her eye. It was a nurse that had worked with her doctor back on Ganymede -- the one that had made every attempt to kidnap her. The woman was seated at an imitation coffee bar across the way and was looking down at a tablet and talking, Violet could see her lips moving. She cleared her throat and looked to Remi. “You about ready to go?” She asked warmly with a slight smile. --- “Ya, all done,” he replied. He pushed his chair back quickly and dropped the pots in a recycling box. Nearly everything got reused out here in the belt. Everything but those products they made from the rare heavy elements that existed in abundance. “Sure your friend won't mind me staying over?” he asked again. Remi remained oblivious to what had caught Violet's gaze briefly. He was more concerned that he had been so blunt that she might look for an excuse to shirk his company as soon as possible. --- She followed closely after the Belter as he got up to toss the containers into the recycler. Her eyes kept darting over towards the other woman, and it took her a second to register that Remi had asked her a question. “Friend? Oh, yeah. She's all about helping belters. Dinnae worry about it.” She muttered, tensing up when the nurse looked up and made direct eye contact with her. She hadn't idly looked around, she'd know exactly where to look. A sense of dread twisted it's way into Violet's gut. “Shit … I may have a problem.” She mumbled, not wanting to include Remi into that qualification just yet. She wouldn't blame him in the least of he bolted once he figured out there was trouble. --- He really hoped this wasn't going to be someone who thought of belters as charity cases. Remi wasn't given much of a chance to think about that when the tone of her voice yanked at his attention. “What's wrong?” he asked quietly. Despite lowering his voice there was no subtlety in the way he turned his head, looking for the trouble. --- Violet looked up at Remi a he started to glance around. She frowned and shook her head. “See that woman in the pink sweater, sitting in the coffee shop to our left?” She asked. “She works for the doctor on Ganymede that you got in a fight with.” She added a moment later, tugging on Remi’s arm to pull her along with him. Sure enough, the woman got out of her seat and was starting to move towards them though she seemed to be keeping her distance for now. --- His eyes widened a little. He had been blind drunk and had hit his face on the edge of a bar hard, but he still vaguely recalled the anger in that taxi. Nurses and doctors weren't supposed to abduct their patients. He felt a ball of hot rage rise up from his chest to settle at the back of his throat. “Let's get out of her sight den,” he suggested. He doubted the nurse was going to stop them on her own, but she probably had her terminal out already. “Towards docks and market?” he suggested. There were only a few thousand residents of this station; it wasn't going to be easy to lose someone. A tunnel or a train might be easiest to lose her if they couldn't hide in a crowd. --- She’d been expecting the belter to either want to help her or run, but she hadn’t expected to see the rage that crossed his features. It was… surprising to see him so angry about what had happened. “The market, yeah. We might be able to lose her… and I ken that Wren will nae take kindly to earther’s tryin’ to cause trouble on her turf. C’mon.” She said, grabbed Remi’s hand and pulling him forward. With one hand gripping Remi’s and the other gripping the strap of the small bag that she carried, Violet picked up the pace and almost jogged through the thin crowds. The nurse that followed along behind them was certainly on the terminal, but she couldn’t chase after them without being overly obvious. --- “Her turf?” His tone made it clear that the question was rhetorical, one that he needed to consider for himself. Was this earther some hardcore OPA? That…would have actually been quite cool. Had those doctors been spies in disguise? Remi looked over his shoulder a little too obviously, but she must have known that they had seen her. The woman was looking up and down between them and her terminal. Her lips were moving. “She's talkin’ to someone,” he confirmed. They passed through a pair of heavy doors into another section of the station. There were more people here with shops around the edge of the dome and stalls in the open space. With a gentle tug her urged her to circle around a stall to try and change direction and get out of sight. “Lift down,” he pointed out ahead of them. --- Remi's guidance was much appreciated and she ducked around the stall as he tugged her along after him. Fear knotted itself deep in her gut as the man mentioned that the nurse was talking to someone on her terminal. She hurried towards the lift, nearly jogging to keep up with Remi's naturally long gate, as his legs were considerably longer than her own. “She's following us…” she murmured, the concern evident in the tone of her voice when she saw the woman step into the market and glance around, trying to find the pair that had ducked off in another direction. “Fuck… why is she following us…” --- “Err, kinda hoping you would have had a bit of an idea?” Remi asked. There was only a hint of the French accent carried out into the belt by the community that had migrated out here. Catching the colours of a sports match on a holographic in a bar he was reminded that if he could get to his accounts there were some winnings. Couldn't even remember how much. “The whole taxi bit is a bit…blurry.” A group came out of the life and Remi was rather rude in forcing a path through them, pulling Vi along behind himself. “When you said dis was her turf…?” --- She quickly smacked the button to close to lift doors behind them as they got inside the small metal box. The woman in the market caught sight of them inside the lift, but she was too far away to reach them in time. Violet tilted her head back a little as she leaned against the wall, breathing a bit heavier than she should.have been. She felt ill and sweat beaded on her forehead. She glanced around the empty lift a moment as they descended further into the station. “The woman we're going to see… she runs an OPA faction here on the station… though, not the crazy terrorist sect.” --- “You know da leader of da local OPA?” he asked rhetorically. One eyebrow quirked upwards along with one corner of his lips. Violet had just become significantly more interesting. Remi had seen their kind around the belt. They seemed to be everywhere now, pushing away it amalgamating the local gangs. Had always been slightly disappointed that no one had approached him to fly one of their smuggling ships. He had been a winning - or at least frequently top five - pinnacle racer. Remi managed to stop thinking about that long enough to notice how Violet was breathing. She probably didn't want a chase through the streets. “Where we gotta go?” he asked. The station wasn't as large as a major colony but it was still easy enough to hide in the layers of habitat.