JUPITER A Dance With the Devil

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Chloe Emerson, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

    Messages:
    346
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    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.
     
  2. Remi Lièvremont

    Messages:
    190
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    She opened her eyes to meet Remi's concerned gaze, smiling a little. The woman took a deep breath to steady herself, tucking her hair behind her ear. “Yeah… I did a job for her not too long ago.”


    The woman looked to the display that showed which level they were on.


    She pointed to another smaller market a few levels down, nodding a bit. “There's a way in between the levels there. Which is where her clinic is at. Hopefully, those people dinnae know about it…”


    Her eyes turned back to Remi, running a hand through her hair. “I dinnae feel so good…”


    ---


    A flash of panic set his heart racing. Remi was distinctly out of his depth here. His life had needed a shake-up - he had been talking everyone as much without acting on it for months - but he had no idea what to do now.


    “Right. We can stop, hide inna shop and get some water or something? Or should we get to this place out of sight first? Anything I can do to help?”


    He chewed on the inside of his cheek as he tended to do when nervous. The lift came to a stop, industrial doors shuddering as they opened. At least no one was waiting for them.


    ---


    “We can make it… best place for me is a clinic, I think.” She said lowly, reaching out to grip Remi's arm as she leaned against him for support.


    She felt clammy if he touched her, and it was unsettling how quickly her health was deteriorating. For days now, she'd been feeling worse and worse, but the fear of being caught seemed to have triggered something. Days of high stress would have been bad for her even if she wasn't a high risk pregnancy, but given her condition, she was amazed this hadn't happened sooner.


    She fumbled with her hand terminal, forwarding the directions to Remi. “Here … in case we get separated or something.”


    ---


    The panic took a firm hold, icy fingers clawing up his back. This was a very different fear to that he was accustomed to. In the tight turns where the stress threatened to buckle the ship it was an exhilarating terror. This was an uncomfortable feeling, one that made him feel nauseated when he heard the tone of her voice.


    “Na going away,” he said firmly. It sounded more confident than he felt. She leaned some of her weight against him as he took the entire terminal from her instead. They didn't have far to walk, turning down a dark corridor. The terminal showed that they had to turn off into a side door and take stairs up the the level between.


    “Need to call to say you're coming?” he asked. Didn't want to get shot for knocking on an OPA door.


    ---


    “Probably a good idea.” She said softly, reaching over to take the terminal back from him.


    She frowned, dialing up a number that she'd hoped to never have to use again.


    It rang three times before a woman answered the call. “Wren speaking.” The woman's voice was low and her accent clearly Belter, but she was surprisingly well spoken.


    “It's Violet Mackenzie… I'm back on Io and…” She started to say, but she was cut off.


    “Oh thank the stars, you made it off Ganymede.” The Belter woman replied.


    “Aye… yeah. Can I come to the clinic?” Violet asked weakly.


    There was a pause on the other end of the line, concern evident in the tone of the voice that was used. “Of course.”


    ---


    Remi breathed a little easier. The person on the other end of the line had sounded genuinely concerned. Not like a hardened terrorist. Not that, upon reflection, he imagined he could recognise a hardened terrorist by the tone of their voice.


    They stopped at a door recessed into the metal corridor. A layer of tarnish almost seemed to blend it in. It wasn't the kind of door once expected to be opened for you, but that was exactly what happened as he raised a fist to knock.


    Violets grip was tighter around his arm, but she seemed to shift some of her weight to stand straight as it slid open.



    A taller belter woman stood in the doorway after it opened. She had dark hair that was braided into loose dreadlocks. Her eyes were stern and the start of Crow's feet creased the corner of her gaze. The woman swept her attention over Violet, though she hesitated when she saw Remi. She raised a brow then looked back to Violet.

    “Come in, both of you.” She said in her low, husky voice and stepped aside to let them in.

    Violet managed a weak smile and nodded reassuringly to Remi. She pulled on the belter's arm to encourage him to follow her.

    Inside, was a small waiting room. The door hissed shut behind them and the woman grabbed Violet's chin with one hand. A small flashlight was produced and flicked between Violet's eyes.

    The Belter woman frowned deeply. “You're running a fever.” She turned her piercing gaze to Remi. “And who are you, kopeng?”

    ---

    “Mi? Na one,” he said a little too quickly. Beneath the panicked concern was a note of sadness. The admission of a young man who recounted his glory days and boasted of his prowess at the helm because the last few years had deflated his confidence and self esteem.

    “We ran into each other on Ganymede,” he clarified. He didn't pay much attention to the inquiry, leaning to peer at what instruments Wren seemed to have.

    “Just wanted to make sure Vi was alright,” he murmured, awkwardly shuffling his feet.

    ---

    The belter woman made a disapproving sound in her throat, shaking her head. “Don’t be ridiculous, we’re all somebody.” She retorted, then turned her attention back to Violet with a concerned expression.

    Taking a breath the tall woman put a hand against Violet’s back and led the ailing woman through a door, nodding for Remi to follow them.

    Violet looked over her shoulder to the blonde racer and she managed a reassuring smile. “I’m fine, I promise.”

    The back room of the clinic was also fairly small. There were only a few medical beds that lined the walls, with one auto-doc on the far side. Wren guided Violet over to one of the beds and gestured for her to lay down.

    “You two look shaken. Is everything alright?” Wren asked, looking between Violet and Remi as she walked to a cabinet to find the a few medical tools that she would need to look Violet over.

    ---

    Remi gave a curt nod and offered a half-hearted smile of encouragement to Violet. This was a strange place to have hidden away. He presumed it was more typically used for patching up belta freedom fighters.

    “Violet was being pushed around by some fuckers pretending to be doctors on Ganymede. One of dem was up a few levels and followed us.”

    Remi had that strange sensation where it seemed like events were floating past him. As if he was moving through a dream. None of this felt quite right. He wasn't sure how far away to stand from the bed, what was proper. Didn't really know her all that well, but didn't seem like she deserved any of this.

    ---

    Wren looked between them a second time, frowning. “Your doctors did… what?” She asked, focusing her attention on Violet.

    The earther glanced down at her hands in her lap, biting at her bottom lip. She risked a quick glance up to Remi. So far, she hadn’t told him about the complications of her pregnancy; but after the two of them had traveled together so far, and he’d gone out of his way to help her, she reasoned that he deserved to know.

    “There’s… a problem with the baby.” She said softly, taking her eyes off of Remi and looked to Wren.

    The belter woman frowned, crossing her arms over her chest, waiting for Violet to explain further without uttering a word while she listened.

    Violet anxiously clasped her hands together, biting her bottom lip. “I did nae think anything of it when the clinic reached out to me through the doctor that you recommended, Wren. They were supposed to be specialists for the anomaly. But… just before the fighting broke out, they tried to move me. The chaos on Ganymede started… early, I think. It’s how Remi found me.”

    Wren frowned all the more. “You said they were specialists? In what way?”

    “There were injections that were needed for the baby to develop correctly… I was supposed to have them every couple days but… it’s been weeks now.” Violet admitted weakly, glancing to Remi.

    ----

    Remi felt his stomach drop a little. His eyes dropped to the round bump that tugged at the clothes Violet was wearing. He didn’t know her that well at all. The room they were in was testament to that. Yet she had seemed nice. She didn’t deserve this.

    He met her gaze and tried to muster a weak smile.

    “Dey were a bit… fighty… for doctors?” he said. “Mi na tink dey usual try an abduct patients?”

    He wasn’t sure how Wren was going to react to this, but he didn’t suspect she was going to be pleased.

    “Did they say gonna head to Io?” he asked Violet.

    ---

    A dark expression passed over Wren’s features at the information that was being given. She pulled the stethoscope from around her neck and placed the tips in her ears, holding the diaphragm against Violet’s belly after she tugged up her shirt slightly. There was a deep frown etched onto the woman’s lips as she closed her eyes. After a few moments, she pulled the eartips out and let the device hang around her neck while she shook her head.

    “We’ll need to run some tests… see what I can find. But… this is a trauma clinic, I can’t promise that I can fix what’s wrong…” Wren said softly.

    Violet looked up to Remi as the man lingered nearby and she reached out to him with a sad smile on her lips. “No… they did nae say where they were tryin’ to take me. Just to a ‘better’ facility, with the proper equipment. They did nae tell me why… or what for.”

    Wren moved away, to the other side of the room to grab a syringe and a few vials to draw blood, all the while listening carefully to what Violet was saying. “There had several reports of missing people since Ganymede… quite a few sick children went missing from my understanding. Their bodies haven’t been recovered… but there are parents saying that their child was taken.”

    ---

    Remi fidgeted on the spot. He felt deeply uncomfortable at the notion of children going missing. It could have been unrelated to the medical staff trying to abduct Violet. He wasn't sure if that made it better though. The alternative was more common, but just as sickening.

    “Mi sure you both be fine,” he said to Violet, even though he had absolutely no basis for that certainty at all. He placed his hand on the edge of the bed next to her. Remi felt protective, even if he knew nothing about her, Violet seemed awfully alone out here.

    Other than the OPA sect she'd just made contact with, he reminded himself.

    That feeling turned to something else. It curled up on itself until it became a condensed fury. His expression suddenly became hard as he looked towards Wren.

    “We could always ask the nurse what dey were doing.”
     
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  3. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

    Messages:
    346
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Wren met Remi's gaze, a knowing look in her eye and a subtle smirk at the corner of her lips. She liked the way the man thought. It was the Belter way of life out here. If you threatened the safety of others or the station , there would be no mercy for you. She looked back down to Violet, tying a large rubber band around the woman's arm just above her elbow. For a few moments, the OPA leader was deathly silent as she slipped the needle into Violet's arm and started to fill a vial of blood.


    “That we most certainly could.” Her low voice was dangerous, making it quite obvious that Wren was not one to be crossed.


    Violet leaned her head back against the pillow and sighed softly, closing her eyes. It was… strange to see two people so upset over her. Her mind drifted a bit, remembering what it'd been like when she nearly died. All those people who had saved her… had now abandoned her. How long would it be before Remi left? Before Wren decided she wanted nothing to do with an earther outcast? The world faded briefly into darkness.


    A finger snapped in front of her face. Wren leaning over her with a concerned frown. “Pashang she passed out.”


    The Belter looked to Remi, nodding towards Violet's arm as she pulled the needle back out and placed a cotton swab over it. “Hold this down for me.”


    ---


    “Sure,” he said quietly. His expression had been hard, but faced with Wren's determined words he was reminded that she was part of an organisation of hardened freedom fighters and that he was a failed racing pilot.


    If that hadn't eroded his anger, Violet slipping from consciousness would have done. That uncomfortable fear that kept creeping around his gut was back. He placed a thumb over the cotton wool and kept it held down. He placed his other hand on her shoulder.


    “Come on,” he whispered. “Was just a needle, eh?”


    Her chest rose and fell slowly, but he turned towards Wren with an expression full of concern.


    ---


    “She'll be alright.” Wren offered him a reassuring nod as she came back with a glass of water and a plastic wrap of cookies. The snack and drink we're placed on a table next to Remi, and then she moved to wrap a piece of adhesive gauze around the cotton to keep it in place. The woman seemed surprisingly calm considering a sick pregnant woman just passed out on the bed in front of her.


    “You were onto something though… perhaps it's best she stay unconscious for a bit, sasa ke?” The Belter murmured, turning to face Remi. She was tall enough to meet him eye to eye.


    “Tell me about this nurse. What she looked like, where you saw her. Anything you can, beratna.”


    ---


    Remi wasn't going to turn down more food when he had a chance to eat. Medical clinic cookies would do just fine. Water was even more precious.


    Some of that grim determination had left him now. The Belter before him probably saw an abduction as part of their day to day life as an OPA enforcer.


    Her station.


    “Mousy brown hair, down to about here. She was followin’ us from the cafe by dock seven. I don't really know…oh guess she woulda come in on a ship from Ganymede last two days.”


    “Will she? Be alright?” he asked, looking down at Violet. She looked quite peaceful now.


    ---


    Already, the OPA woman had a terminal in hand and she was typing away on the clear screen. Her eyes flicked up to Remi while she sent the message, relaying the needed information to her network. It wouldn’t be long before someone found the woman they were looking for on the feed, but she needed to make sure that they had the right person before they moved in to grab her.


    Remi’s concern for Violet was surprising, but touching. Wren was not so fanatical that she considered all Inyas monsters or as lesser beings -- they were all human, but she knew the belters deserved better. That’s what kept her moving forward, striving to achieve that even footing for the Belt.

    Violet had already proven to be invested in that same desire. She may have been born on Earth, but as far as Wren was concerned, the woman was a belter at heart.



    Her expression was grim as she looked back up to Remi. “To wanya da truth?” She asked, her tone and grammar sliding into proper belter creole. “Mi na sasa. All milowda can do is hope.”


    She tucked the terminal into her back pocket and sighed, moving around to the other side of the bed so that she could start a IV on the unconscious woman. “Once we know what’s wrong… we can make a plan, but we need that nurse.”


    ---


    That nausea returned, twisting his guts up all tight and painful. He knew that his was absolutely useless right now. No good for anything but knowing roughly what one person might look like.


    When did the medical staff all turn out to be terrifying?


    “Want mi go wid some of yours?” he asked. “Make sure dey don't put wrong woman in a bag?”


    He probably should have waited for her to tell him what to do, but some of that determination had returned. There wasn't much he could do but he wanted to feel like he was doing something.


    ---


    Wren looked him over a moment once she’d finished hooking Violet up to a saline drip, clearly appraising the man. Whatever she saw, seemed to satisfy her. “You’ve a gut heart, kid. Amash, are to sure to wanya go?”


    She asked with a raised brow, stepping around the bed so that she was standing just in front of him. Her long, tattoo covered arms crossed over her chest as her dark eyes bored down into his gaze.


    Her terminal chimed softly in her pocket and she pulled it back out, looking over the message with a frown on her lips. “Mmm. Take a look.” She said, turning the device around as she stepped closer to his side so that he could properly see the clip of recorded footage.


    It was a clip from the dock security cameras. He’d see him and Violet moving through the ground with the nurse following along behind by several meters. She pointed at the woman with her pinky finger. “This inya. That her?”


    ---


    It took all his will to stand his ground. Despite the fact that he wasn't being threatened in the slightest he felt like he wanted to shirk away from that gaze.


    “Dat was quick. Ya, dat her,” he replied quickly. It took no more than a cursory glance to pick her out.


    Her station. Access to the security feed at a station supposedly held by the UN. Remi looked down at Violet. She had barely stirred as the IV was slid under her skin.


    “Know where she is now?” he asked, squaring his shoulders. It seemed that he was going to get involved in this.


    ---


    “It will take some time for milowda to trace her, but now that dey sasa im face?” She snapped her fingers with a predatory smirk, then waved a hand. A quick message was typed into the terminal as she walked over to a device on the counter, on the other side of the room with the vial of blood.


    “Dey needed to make sure that was her.” She explained a bit further, sliding the vial into the machine and clicked it on.


    “If the inyas are willing to do this to one of their own… imagine what they’d do to us beltalowda, beratna?” She clicked her tongue, shaking her head. “Eros was just da start. And dey will do it again.”


    ---


    Remi had seen an article on the way Earth and Mars had covered the Eros incident. Each side had always counted the number of their own people - a small fraction of Eros’ inhabitants - that were presumed lost. It was as if the belters who had died were unimportant. No one even knew where Eros had gone.


    They didn't know what someone had done to Violet. If they had even done anything at all. His medical knowledge extended as far as applying a sticky plaster.


    If it hadn't been something bad then the nurse would have approached them directly. She would have apologised for the mix of on Ganymede. Instead she had tailed them and called for help.


    Was that because she had been afraid of Remi? What if it all was a mix-up and Violet was just sick because.


    “Mi wanya know what she has to say.”


    ---


    She glanced over to the unconscious Violet, then looked back to Remi. Belters were a passionate people, it made sense that the man had come to care so much for the woman in such a short period of time. There was a fire in Remi, though it seemed as though the flames had been squelched by something. Nevertheless, she could see those smoldering embers sparking back to life.


    It reminded her of someone, although that man no longer existed in the world. He’d been consumed by a rage even she couldn’t calm and she’d lost him.


    “Mmm. You and me both.”


    The machine whirred quietly as it processed the blood sample, filling the silence that had fallen over the small clinic.


    Wren nodded and typed another message into her terminal. Her words shifted back to her well spoken mannerisms. “And we’re going to find out. If she knows what you look like, it may be best if you aren’t there when they grab her. But. You can come with me when I go to ask her a few questions.”


    ---


    Remi hadn't thought of that. Wouldn't have, not even with two years to think about it. Planning an abduction wasn't something he was prepared for.


    “I'll come. There were a few of em in a taxi with her,” he explained. “Not exactly fighters. I'm not either and they couldn't get rid of me when plastered.”


    It definitely invited questions as to how the two of them had crossed paths. Remi gave a little thought as to how he could temper the embarrassment on the matter. Perhaps a small tweak to the story that he heard her cry and came to help. Not that he had tried to get a lift in the taxi, stumbling away from his illegal slingshot racing betting blind drunk.


    No one needed to know that the yellow and green marks under his eye were from the corner of a bar.


    “Whats'at doing?” he asked of the whirring machine.


    ---


    The statement most certainly piqued Wren's interest. Her right brow rose, one that looked as though a nasty scar had only recently healed that cut through it. The side of her head was also in the process of growing out after being shaved and if Remi looked close enough he'd be able to see the web of scars where her skull had been all but stitched back together. Though she voiced her question before he could raise any.


    “In a taxi while plastered? Sounds like an interesting story.” The woman mused, then shifted her dark gaze over to the whirring machine.


    “It's running several hundred blood tests. It's not the most up-to-date piece of tech… but it's what we have. I hear that on Earth and Mars they just need to scan a drop of blood for a second or two and it'll tell 'em exactly what's wrong. We na so lucky, us beltalowda.”


    ---


    It was impossible to miss the way the scar tugged at her brow as she arched her eyebrow.


    Was she a medic and also a bare knuckle fighter?


    A flutter of nerves had to be stilled. He had walked, stumbled and fallen into something dangerous. A plucky underdog racer. No one he knew, nothing he knew was going to be particularly useful.


    Head down, find out what was wrong with Violet. Find a way to head somewhere with work, maybe Ceres.


    “Luckier dan milowda are wid okwa,” he said with a shrug. Times had been hard since the Canterbury was destroyed, though they were starting to get the water supplier closer to what it had been.


    “It ah short story. Machine saying anything yet?”


    ---


    She turned back to the machine, frowning down at it as it willing the piece of technology to work faster. A few minutes later, there was a soft click that was shortly followed by a chime. A screen lit up on the side of the machine and Wren bent down to look it over more closely.


    “Well. That doesn't make any sense.” She muttered under her breath, flicking the results to her terminal so she didn't have to read them while hunched over.


    Her tongue clicked quietly, scrolling up and down the text with her brow knitted tightly together. She knew that Remi wasn't a medical professional, so he wouldn't know what he was looking at even if she read the results back to him.


    “Essentially… her body’s natural white blood cell count has been reduced. Dramatically. Along with this weird antibody and hormones having been introduced that I don't recognize.” She started to dabble closer to medical speech in her explanation and she had to rein herself back in.


    “I'll need to run more tests, but it looks like someone was adjusting her hormone levels intentionally.” She curled her hand over her mouth, tapping her index finger against her lips in thought. “When she left for Ganymede, her levels should have improved…” she muttered, more to herself than actually to the other Belter.


    “Has she been showing any other weird symptoms while on Ganymede? Extreme fatigue? Muscle cramps? Fainting spells?” She asked, clearly thinking that he'd been with Violet for longer than he had been.


    ---


    “Mi na really know,” he replied, feeling helpless. “She na been feeling gut since Ganymede. Got hot and shaky and weak.”


    If she didn't know what was the cause behind what was happening to Violet then who would?


    The nurse would. Or at least someone she knew. Remi took a shallow breath. The dark twisting things in his gut finally stopped moving. He had been vacillating between extremes but Remi settled on determination to take action.


    “Any sign of da nurse?” he asked, hands balled into fists at his sides.


    ---


    She noticed the man's fists curled at his side and the determination that glinted in his eyes. He was angry, that much was plain as day.


    A hand passed over her terminal, switching screens effortlessly. “She went on the lift after the two of you from looks of things, though she got off on the wrong level.” Her dark eyes flicked to meet his gaze.


    “Dey will have her soon. My men here will watch Violet. To wanya come wit mi?” She asked him, a knowing smirking on her lips. There was little doubt in her mind that he would say no.


    ---


    He looked down at Violet. She still looked peaceful. She hadn't done anything to deserve this. At least he assumed so. It was becoming rapidly apparent that he view very little about what was happening around him.


    “Ya, mi coming,” he spoke through the back of his teeth. The ‘nurse’ had followed them. That was enough to make up his mind.




    He followed the OPA cell leader through a dark passage. The station had plenty of maintenance corridors that ran between the levels or alongside the power, air and water systems. Places where the UN probably didn't send their patrols.


    “She better have answers.”


    ---


    Wren led him through the labyrinth of the stations underbelly, the world that belters thrive in but the inyas rarely ventured in to.


    This was her world.


    A tall man, even by belter standards, loomed outside of a doorway with a rifle held loosely in his grasp. He turned his gaze towards Remi and Wren as they approached and he tensed slightly when he caught sight of his boss. He turned and quickly opened the door for the pair without a word.


    Inside, there was another pair. A man and a woman. The woman was tied to a chair with a light shining down in her face, while the man lingered in the shadows with his back to the door. His arms were folded over his chest. There was a black bag draped over the woman’s head, though Remi would likely recognize the clothes that she was wearing.


    As Wren and Remi walk further into the room, the man stepped forward and yanked the hood off of the woman’s head. Her mousy brown hair was matted to her face from the tears and she looked around the room, squinting against the bright light, panic in her eyes.


    It was the nurse.


    Wren looked to the blonde man at her side. “Dis im?” She asked, gesturing to the woman, speaking in pure belter creole.


    ---


    Remi had been a long way from guns his entire life. On Ganymede he has seen the power wielded by the marines from the inner worlds. Their power armour had seemed impenetrable until one of them had been struck by an explosive round. In an instant the suit had become a cloud of shrapnel and blood.


    He gave the guard a sideways glance and found he was being watched back with outright suspicion.


    The scene ahead didn't bolster his resolve either. As the pathetic creature was revealed Remi forced himself to imagine Violet dying on that medical table along with her unborn child. His eyes narrowed.


    “Oh yes,” he said very clearly.


    ---


    The nurse looked to Remi when he spoke and her eyes widened somewhat when she recognized him. “Oh God… it’s you.” She whispered, shaking her head quickly back and forth in a panic. She struggled against the restraints that were tied around her wrists, cursing unintelligibly.


    Wren’s head cocked slightly to the side, much like a predatory bird’s would as it zeroed in on its prey. The belter woman stepped forward and slowly crouched down in front of the mouse. “Allow me to be blunt, little girl.” She said in a low growl, elbows resting on her knees. “You are in a precarious situation and the only thing keeping me from throwing you out an airlock in five separate pieces is the information…” She tapped the woman’s forehead for emphasis. “Inside this thin, fragile, little skull of yours.”


    The bound woman flinched when Wren touched her, shying away from her hand and whimpered pitifully. “I don’t know who you are or… or what you want! But I didn’t do anything wrong! I swear!”

    Wren’s face contorted with disgust, pushing herself back up to her full height, towering over the woman. Her attention turned back to Remi. “You wanted answers, beratna?”
     
  4. Remi Lièvremont

    Messages:
    190
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Now he felt physically sick. Remi kept reminding himself that he had asked - almost demanded - to be here.

    Yet he was still the rabbit caught in the open by that hawkish gaze. He hadn't expected anyone to be asking questions of him just yet.

    Help her. Screamed a part of his soul when he looked at the bedraggled nurse. Help Violet, whispered a much calmer voice. That second one made the hairs on his own neck stand on end.

    He turned from Wren to the nurse. He dropped onto his haunches to lower himself to eye level.

    “Please. What were you doing to her? Why did you have her in that taxi?” he asked. He followed a path between those two voices, but knew the situation was well outside of his control now.

    ---

    The tone in Remi’s voice pulled at Wren’s attention. She recognized it for what it was. He was not hardened to this way of life. The hatred, frustrations, and pain had not yet settled onto his heart. Today would probably change that.

    She probably should have left the man at the clinic with Violet. Though.. She could use his uncertainty.

    The nurse blinked at Remi as he knelt down in front of her, hesitating as her mind tried to rapidly process the best answer to give. Her gaze flickered between Wren and the silent man that lurked in the shadows.

    With a snap of her fingers and a quick gestured, Wren dismissed the guard, knowing that he would only intimidate the woman into silence. Sometimes, you needed to coax answers out, instead of beating them loose. For now, she paced behind the chair, her boots thudding softly against the metal floor with every step she took. She leaned down over the captured woman’s shoulder and spoke in a low tone. “Answer him. Or we do this my way.”

    A quiet whimper escaped the nurse and she shook her head a few times, looking back down to Remi.

    “W-we didn’t know she had… anybody. All I know… is that Dr. Cardinale wanted to move her here…with Dr. Strickland.” She stammered, shaking her head again. “We’re doctors… I uh... “ She licked her lips nervously. “We just wanted to help.”

    ---

    Remi pursed his lips. He could feel Wren looming over them both.

    “Please,” he said softly. “If you want to help, she is in trouble now. I don't want to see her get worse. I don't even want to see to thrown out an airlock.”

    Remi hoped it sounded convincing. Or at least more convincing than the nurse. If the lie had been that obvious to him he imagined it had been painfully so to the OPA interrogators.

    He wasn't even sure if it was true or not. Her attempts to cover herself with such thin lies seemed to feed that darker side of himself. It remained silent but he could feel it waiting.

    “Take her to the medical ward. That's where we wanted to take her. Safely and…”

    Remi closed his eyes and lowered his chin. When he opened them he looked up at Wren.

    Make her talk, that dark voice whispered to her through his eyes.

    ---

    Wren moved with startling speed.

    She grabbed at the hair on the top of the woman’s head, yanking painfully back until she cried out sharply. The chair tilted back slightly, teetering on the edge as the OPA leader balanced her by the grip in her hair.

    “I’ve had enough of inya lies to last me a lifetime. And I know the stench of bullshit when I smell it pouring out of your lips.” She snarled, twisting her grasp in the hair to accentuate her point. “You inyalowda meddle. That’s all you ever do. Now. Tell. Me. What. You. Were. Doing.” Each word was punctuated by Wren walking her index and middle finger down the length of the nurse’s arms. “Or I start breaking fingers.”

    “No! Wait! I swear, I swear….”

    “Tch.” Wren scoffed, dropping her hold on the woman’s hair and letting her fall backwards onto the ground, hands still bound behind her back. There was a loud crack as the back of the chair landed on the nurse’s wrist. “You already said you went after her because she was alone. Why.”

    “Gah!” The woman cried out sharply, whimpering once more as her weight was still resting on the now broken wrist. “Th-the pregnancy was… a … a viable… a viable c-candidate for a study that Dr. Strickland and Cardinale were working on.”

    A magboot came to rest on top of the nurse’s chest as Wren leaned over her, pressing her weight down on torso. “What kind of study?”

    ---

    If anyone looked closely they would see that Remi's eyes were open. Open, but looking at anything but Wren and the nurse.

    You made this happen. It had to happen.

    He couldn't disagree with that. Perhaps that was his own failing. A lack of imagination to see beyond the obvious route ahead. He had always been good at picking the easiest path.

    The nurse starting to spill the truth didn't even feel like vindication.

    “Making the human race better!” she spat. “Ensuring our survival.”

    “What was she given? Why is she ill?” Remi asked, standing back up.

    The first question seemed to harden the nurse's expression. Something she truly didn't want to reveal. She fell silent.

    Remi didn't dare give Wren an order. He met her gaze again, mentally bracing against what might come next.

    ---

    Wren pulled her boot off of the nurse’s torso and swiftly kicked her squarely in the ribs. The woman howled in pain, spitting slightly as the breath was knocked from her lungs. Without much consideration given to the woman’s injuries, Wren hauled the woman back upright on the chair, pacing around to the front of her.

    “Answer the question, paxoníseki.” She growled, grabbing the nurse by the jaw and forcing her to look up at Remi. “What did you give her?”

    The nurse hesitated again. In order to encourage her to speak, Wren reached behind the woman and grabbed her broken wrist, squeezing fiercely. “Tell me what you gave her, and I’ll give you some morphine.”

    “Mmngh!” She screamed, jerking against Wren’s grasp on her arm. “A-A series of in-injections to… to alter the.. The development of the… the fetus! Stop it!”

    The answer startled Wren so much that she yanked her hand back and she stepped away from the woman. There was a rage in her eyes, but she was struggling to understand the concept that the earthers would do something so grotesque.

    ---

    Remi took a step back as well. His eyes and lips seemed to tell two conflicting stories. His feet seemed to want to regain the lost ground. That would have needed some kind of decision to be made.

    “Change the fetus…” he murmured to himself. His brows knitted together as he tried to muddle through that possibility.

    His anger took longer to galvanise than Wren's. He had never hit a woman before and he nearly did.

    “And what is happening to her now? Why isn't she well?” the words were hissed through clenched teeth.

    ---

    The nurse panted for breath after she’d been released trying to recover from the agony of her broken wrist. It was already swelling up considerably.

    “I.. I don’t know exactly.. I’m not Dr. Cardinale.” She gasped, weakly looking between the two belters. “She’s long overdue for… for her last injection.”

    Wren stepped forward and grabbed the nurse by the throat, pushing her into the back of the chair.

    The nurse actually laughed, a glint of madness in her eyes.

    “It’ll… all be a waste. All of it… unless we take her back. She carries the best chance we have. Months of work will be lost if you let that pregnancy fail. Without us, it will.”

    ---

    Remi took that step closer, standing just behind Wren's shoulder. He looked down at the nurse, her cheeks flushed and hair matted to her face.

    “Where is Doctor Cardinale?” he asked. His top lip curled up into a snarl. Violet didn't deserve this. She didn't deserve to be lied to and lose her child for someone else's sick experiment.

    People died in the belt of all kinds of things all the time. He'd just laughed at the slingshot pilot he'd voted against dying out in space. This was small, it was personal, it was devious.

    This time he knew he might strike her himself if she refused to answer.

    ---

    The nurse didn’t respond to the question, once again falling into silence for a short while. She licked her lips, looking to Wren and then to Remi.

    “They’ll know someone grabbed me. How long until they come looking?” She countered. “Let me take her back. We can save her and the baby.”

    Her eyes shifted to Remi, assuming that he was the father since he was the one that had been with her when they got off the ship in the docks. “Isn’t that what you want? To save the baby. To save her? The OPA can’t fix her, we can.”

    Wren relinquished her hold on the woman’s throat and moved over to a table in the far corner, silently taking a syringe and filling it from an unlabeled vial. For now, she let Remi handle the woman’s retort.

    “Keep in mind, beratna. Those inyas are the ones that did this to her in the first place.” She said quietly, looking over her shoulder at him.

    ---

    Remi didn't even hear Wren's words. There was a crack as he struck the woman cross the jaw with the back of his hand.

    He wasn't accustomed to hitting people. It hurt. He didn't care.

    “She is not going back to be your experiment,” he growled. He barely recognised the tone of his voice. They would take the baby from Violet. It made him feel sick. He wouldn't allow it.

    “Who and what exactly can save them?”

    ---

    The nurse cried out sharply at the strike, her head snapping to the side. Her hair fell into her face as she looked down, breathing heavily.

    Wren returned, looming in the darkness, just out of the ring of light cast off by the lamp.

    “Doctor Cardinale can save them both…” She growled out through clenched teeth, in obvious pain. “But… you don’t have what would be needed to administer care. Or the equipment to incubate it.”

    The OPA woman stepped into the light, jabbing the nurse in the arm with the needle and giving her an injection. “Ow! What was that?”

    “You’ll see soon enough.” The woman retorted, stepping away again to toss the syringe into the recycler bin.

    ---

    Remi didn't know what it was either. He took a step back again. He rubbed the sore knuckles across the back of his hand. The woman's face was red where he had struck her.

    He felt ashamed of himself, but still wouldn't be deterred. The nurse's expression slowly changed, relief flooding her features.

    What had been in the syringe either numbed the pain or made it so that the nurse didn't care about it.

    “Doctor Cardinale is here?” Remi asked.

    “Yes, but our main lab isn't.”

    “Do you have enough equipment here to help here? Somewhere on the station?”

    “Oh, fuck off.”

    ---

    Wren paced over behind Remi, leaning close to his ear to murmur softly to him. “We need to find the Doctor…”

    The nurses head rolled back into the chair, blinking a little as she stared up at the ceiling. “You almost ruined everything… and now you’ve given us the chance to fix it. We’re doing god’s work, saving humanity.” She murmured.

    The OPA woman looked down at the nurse, shaking her head with a frown. “If you want to save this… experiment, you’ll need to tell us where to take her.”

    ---

    The nurse's eyes rolled anls her head lolled between the two of them. Remi wondered just how large a dose she had been given.

    “God's work…” she mumbled, blinking her eyes and trying to refocus on Remi.

    “Ya, God's work…where do we take her?”

    “Unit twelve, dock seven,” she said quietly. “Cardinale will know...will know how to continue the work…”

    Remi stepped back and crossed his arms over his chest. A unit in the docks? That made sense when he thought about it. A container could be picked up by almost any ship coming through and could hold a mobile lab.

    “Are there other patients here?” he asked, voice lightly trembling.

    ---

    The woman weakly licked her lips and then smacked them slightly, as if she was thirsty. It looked as though she was close to actually passing out.

    “Like her? No… no. The others all died.” She mumbled again, shaking her head. “The children are... with Strickland.” She added, gesturing with her hands still tied behind her back.

    Wren's brow furrowed and she stepped closer.

    “What children?”

    “The children.” Was the whispered reply, a smirk on her lips. “He'll take her to them.”

    Wren looked back at Remi, wondering if he knew what she was on about.

    ---

    Revelations kept coming that made him feel physically sick.

    The others all died

    Remi couldn't relate to what it was like to be a parent, but couldn't bear to imagine Violet's grief. The nurse had just placed a slim chance of survival for the unborn child even if they managed to obtain their unwilling help.

    He caught Wren's gaze and shook his head slowly. “No ever talked about children. I won't… I won't let them have her back to become their experiment.”

    It was clear that he was telling Wren this and not the nurse. It was an almost desperate plea. That offer wasn't good enough. They needed these scientists and their equipment.

    ---

    Wren stepped over him keeping her voice low, as she held his gaze. Surprisingly, there was sympathy in her dark eyes. A hand reached out and came to gently rest on his shoulder.

    “We have three options. One, we find the unit at the docks and raid it. Hopefully not killing this doctor in the process and praying there's the proper equipment there to treat her. Two, we do the best we can to save her at my clinic. Or three, we risk a trap and send her with them. I'm not a fan of any of those but… if you have a better option… I'm all ears.”

    Behind them, the nurse laughed in a low tone. “The work will continue…” she mumbled.

    ---

    “One or two,” he said without hesitation. “Not three, not with Violet. Though...it’s up to her really,” he said. It wasn’t his place to decide for her, he had absolutely no right at all.

    Neither did he have any knowledge or expertise to tell Wren how to martial her troops. Remi unfurled his hands and looked down at the floor. He didn’t know if they were even willing to risk such an overt move to try and help her.

    “What do you think?”

    ---

    Remi's natural protectiveness of Violet endeared him to Wren. She understood that sentiment far too well. Her fingers squeezed his shoulder in an attempt to reassure him and she gave a small nod.

    Milowda gonya take da lab den.” She said softly, a sternness in her expression.

    “Violet helped saved my daughter once. The least I can do is try to do the same for her.” She added, pulling her hand back from him.

    Her attention drifted back to the nurse. “Is there a code or an access key to the lab? We're going to need it if we're going to take her there.”

    The nurse's eyes fluttered open, unfocused. “My terminal. Or just… have her wave at the camera.” She chuckled flatly. “That'd get them to open up.”

    ---

    “If it’s a container unit, we could always carry it away,” Remi suggested quietly. He wasn’t sure if he’d just said something incredibly stupid.

    “Those things are in the docks so they can be transported right? We could just get a tug in there and carry it to another dock.”

    That assumed they had the doors shut and vacuum sealed of course. But he imagined it would be rather motivational to open the doors when deposited in another place. If her people had a freighter they could even crack it open there.

    ---

    Wren turned her attention back to Remi and she smirked devilishly. There was a spark in her dark eyes, as if she'd approved of Remi's line of thinking.

    “I have a ship we could use for it, but I'll need to find an available pilot, that'll be some tricky maneuvering.” She muttered, fishing into her pocket for her hand terminal.

    They had the information they needed from the nurse. She wouldn't be if anymore use and Wren certainly wasn't just going to let the woman go. Her mind was already ticking through a checklist of how to dispose of the woman.

    ---

    “I can fly,” he suggested. His anger had carried him through a situation he had no right to be involved with. Yet now there was something he had proudly boasted of many times he put himself forward tentatively.

    “I've been doing remote drones for the last few years but I used to race.”

    They were very different skills and in truth the tug work was more suited to the task ahead than his ability to hand extreme Gs.

    ---

    There was a pause as Wren considered Remi’s offer, then she gave a single nod. He wanted to be involved and so far he had proven himself to be surprisingly adept. “Alright then.”

    Without a word spoken to the nurse, she walked back to the table and filled another syringe. She approached the mumbling woman from behind, then looked up at Remi. She hesitated. This man was not OPA and he was not a hardened criminal. His heart was in protecting Violet, not the gruesome truth of the underworld.

    She nodded with her chin towards the door behind him. “Probably best for you to step outside, beratna.” Her voice was soft, but clear. The man had the choice to stay if he wanted, but she was giving him an out if he chose to take it. Not everyone she met needed to be dragged down into the muck with her.

    ---

    His Adams apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. Some of the colour drained from his face when he realised what came next. Remi gave a sharp nod and turned for the door.

    Don't look back he told himself. Yet he still did. Saw the nurse trying to blink away the drugs she have been given. Saw Wren raising the new syringe.

    He moved through the door quickly, knowing that the person he had pointed out was quietly dying behind him. Remi leaned his back against the wall. It was cold, but he needed its support as a wave of dizziness washed over him.

    He breathed slowly and thought about what was ahead of him, not what was behind him.

    ---

    Wren had never taken pleasure in this aspect of her work. In fact, she hated it. She wanted to help the Belt and take care of those she could, but with that responsibility came hard decisions. Alric would have just shot the woman in the face or perhaps tortured her more. Her nose wrinkled slightly at the thought as she pulled the needle free from the woman’s arm.

    At least she’d given the nurse a clean and painless death. Which was more than what she deserved, after everything she’d done.

    Her tongue clicked softly and she moved to toss out the last syringe as well. She wouldn’t let herself become a ruthless monster, but she would do what was necessary.

    A few minutes later, after she confirmed that the woman was dead, she walked out of the room. Remi was still waiting outside, with her two guards that lingered nearby. She waved one over and murmured quietly in his ear.

    The man gave a curt nod and then gestured for the other one to follow him inside.

    Taking a deep, somewhat ragged breath, Wren turned to the remaining belter and she inclined her head to him. “You did well in there, but… are you sure you want to continue down this path?”

    ---

    Remi took a deep breath in through his nose and stood on his own two feet. He decided to say what he wanted to say quickly before he lost his bottle.

    “Dis na mi volunteering for da cause, sasa ke? Just mi wanya help right now. I see na way ahead odda than dis.”

    Remi had once had a cult following of fans. He'd felt as if he was on top of the world when he had been racing. Pulling drones around Ganymede had felt like the absolute opposite.
    He told himself that this wasn't so he could feel useful and appreciated again, but because of
    the horrors inflicted on an innocent girl and her unborn child. He hoped that was the case anyway.

    ---

    Wren smirked back at him, holding up her hands innocently.

    “Soyá, dis fa Violet. Na da cause.” She answered with a more reassuring smile. Her right hand shifted, tapping her three index fingers against her chest as she watched him.

    Anyone with half a brain could see how driven the man was, the determination that sparked in his eyes when he spoke. Though Wren wondered what gave him that fire, what had given him that drive to help. Then again, she reasoned, some people were just born that way.

    After a brief moment, she gestured behind him and indicated that they should start walking with a nod of her head.

    “Come. Deya work ta do.”
     
    Chloe Emerson likes this.
  5. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

    Messages:
    346
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    I am taking part in a heist. An actual heist.


    Remi kept talking himself that because he liked the way it sounded. It removed himself for the unpleasant business back with the nurse as well as the appearance of the ship he had been provided with.


    It did respond and that was important. His old racer had been a robust looking belt vessel, but it had still looked like a powerful machine. This ship was old. He hoped that meant reliable.


    A smile broke onto his face as he very gently worked the controls to find a stable orbit to bring him into position on time.


    The plan was fairly simple. The team on the ground would either abduct the doctor or lock him in his container lab. They would probably be arriving soon.


    The container went through the airlock and carried by the chains onto the landing pad, tagged with a transponder. He would have to come in quickly as soon as he got the signal to carry it away. One portable lab and one doctor stolen. Assuming that the nurse had used her last breath to lie through her teeth to them.


    “I'm ready,” he called. He hoped this was what they needed for Violet.


    ---


    To absolutely no one’s surprise, the people inside the lab did not immediately open up when three rough belters started banging on the door. In fact, they did the exact opposite of that and bolted everything tight while pretending that they weren’t actually inside.


    After a few minutes of lazily banging on the door, one of the men turned away and made a call over his radio. “Oye, Bosmang. Imalowda na wanya do dis da easy way. Mi pensa imalowda wanya go fa a ride.” His voice was a garble of a thick Ceres accent, difficult to understand through the mic.


    Chloe leaned forward with a smirk on her lips. “Milowda happy ta oblige imalowda.”


    Her dark eyes flicked over to Remi as he maneuvered the bulky ship into place. “Take ‘em away. Sounds like they’re buttoned up tight.”


    ---


    “Understood.”


    Picked up a container. Same job he had every day of the week now. That or guiding in a large ship. It had never set his heart racing like this before.


    He didn't even touch the main drive, coming in teakettle. The transponder guided him towards the right container. Automated systems enquired as to whether he had a scheduled pick up. He ignored them. It was hard to describe the vessel as graceful, but it's movements were precise.


    “Such a clever doctor. Abducting children fo science. Did na see mi coming. Drunk kid falling inna taxi and ruining plans. Definitely didn't see this one coming fucker.” Remi continued his little diatribe as the nose of the ship dipped.


    Thrusters were fired in precise bursts until he was over the container. He didn't even wait until it was carried by the docking systems out to be handled by the space mechs. He picked it up on the move, hoping something non-vital had fallen on the doctor hard enough to hurt.


    “Mi clear, coming about to pick you all up,” Remi said. There was both amusement and satisfaction in his voice. He guided the shop around to find a docking tower. Two beltas in the hold in space suits were already guarding the container, but it was time to make this a full party. They would cut them out if necessary with lasers.


    ---



    Chloe lightly patted Remi’s shoulder, a silent acknowledgement of a job well done. She was exceptionally proud of the man’s ability to put his money where his mouth was. He was a skilled pilot, for sure. She reached over to the nav computer and pinged one of the reserved docking tower for belter shipments that were coming and going into the station.


    The dock controls had been Alric’s job, once. With him gone, much of that responsibility had fallen onto her and what remained of Prometheus. Still, at least they had control for now. The war with Mars having distracted the UN from rounding up the rest of the OPA factions for a short while.


    “I’m going to say hello, while you get us docked.” She said in a low voice, pushing herself out of the seat next to him. “That tower on your map is ours, put us down there, fodagut.”


    With that, the tall woman made her way down to the cargo hold, waiting for the ship to dock so that she could step inside without a suit on.


    ---


    Remi tapped at the controls until one of the screens showed the camera in the cargo hold. Nothing much was happening. The container had been pulled up into the bowels of the ship, but the area was still depressurised.


    Made it hard to have a conversation. It seemed unlikely that the trapped medical staff would have a radio. He knew that, in fact. From the moment he had picked them up the ship was monitoring for any comms and in particular a distress beacon. Nothing. Silence from the metal box.


    Thrusters hissed as he eased them into docking clamps. The ship was held firm and a seal was made around the port bay doors. Remi started the docking hold repressurising.


    “Ya,” he said to no one, hand sliding off the controls. “Feels gut.”


    ---


    Once the cargo bay had pressurized the door slid open with a dull thud and then Wren stepped into the bay. Her mag boots thudded against the metal floor as she moved over to the guards that had taken up position near the crate that had been stolen.


    Her arms folded over her chest, a stern frown on her lips as she looked the red metal exterior over. “Alright. Let’s get them out.” She growled, nodding a head towards the container.


    Violet had been brought along, moved into the small ship’s compact medical bay and secured the the bed. If the doctor agreed to help, she would be easily available. If not, the remains of the lab would be close by for the OPA to peruse.


    There was a soft pop and a cutting torch was ignited. The belter man moved over and started to cut open the door. Sparks flew across the cargo bay, bright lights flashing, and a horrific grinding noise rang out moments before the door collapsed outward as he yanked it open.


    Inside, the container was in utter disarray. The lights and power had been cut once Remi had yanked the unit out of its holding. A table was turned over, various bits of equipment scattered about, and on the far side of the space was the now infamous doctor. His glasses were cracked and a bit of blood dribbled down from his cheek where he’d smacked his head against the corner of a metal shelf. There was another woman inside as well, wearing business attire, pinned beneath the table that had been overturned.


    “Get them out.” She growled out darkly.

    Moving as a unit, the two guards ducked inside and uncerimoniously grabbed both the doctor and his companion, dragging both of them out into the main cargo bay. Both of the prisoners protested profusely, but lacked any real fight. They were forced onto their knees in front of Wren, who smirked down at them.


    “Well then. What have we here.” She taunted them.


    ----


    It looked like an execution. Remi tried to recall the doctor's face from the taxi, but that entire sequence of events was a blur now. The woman wearing a torn suit carried the most defiance in her eyes as she looked up at Wren.


    He tried to approach carefully to not disturb what was transpiring, but that wasn't easy in mag boots. He clomped over to one side, crossed his slender arms over his chest and observed.


    “When the authorities hear of this there will be no place in this system that any of you can hide your faces,” the woman snarled. She seemed remarkably unphased by the situation.


    Control, Remi realised, she was used to being in control. It hadn't yet sunk in that it wasn't the case any more.


    ---


    Typical Inya. Wren thought to herself as she looked down at the woman in front of her. No concept of anything but herself and her influence over the world around her. It likely never even occurred to the kneeling woman that belters were even capable of such things. The same kind of people that had tried to take Sparrow. That had taken Alric. If there was one thing Wren hated in the world, it was people like her.


    Instead of giving the defiant woman the recognition she demanded, Wren ignored her entirely and turned her dark gaze to the doctor who was considerably more docile. He was the one Wren wanted anyways.


    The two suited up guards moved to flank Wren with the rifles held loosely in their grasp, though they weren't pointed at the pair on the ground, yet. From his position on the floor, the doctor looked miniscule and rather pathetic, hardly the monster that Wren had imagined. She didn't bother trying to hide her disdain with the man's appearance.


    “You must be Cardinale.” She said in a low growl.


    It took the doctor a moment before he gave a meek nod of his head, pale wispy hair flopping on the top of his head. While he companion was bold and defiant, he most certainly was not.


    ---


    “Where are we?” the woman asked, clearly annoyed at being ignored. “You don't have to do this. Our employers would negotiate our release for a significant amount of money.”


    Remi raised one eyebrow. If she kept on then this wasn't going to go well for her. Mentally he braced for what she might receive for continuing to interrupt.


    Of course it was about money. Always was with them. Regardless of how true it was, Remi would gripe to anyone that listened about rich earth kids getting to race and excluding anyone without significant sponsorship. With enough money the major corporations of the system had more power than the UN council. He wondered which one would turn out to be behind this.


    ---


    The doctor glanced briefly to the woman next to him. “Be quiet, Henrietta, you're only going to make this worse…” He started to say, but one of the men next to Wren stepped forward and slammed the butt of his rifle into the side of the indignant woman's head. She cried out sharply as she was knocked completely to the floor from the force of the blow, clutching at her head as she looked up at the man and then to Wren in complete shock.


    “Da bosmang no wanya inyalowda cash, pashangwala.” He growled, voice distorted by the modulator in his helmet.


    “I have… what did you even say to me? Do you have any idea who I am?! Who I work for?!” She shouted, outraged that someone had dared to hit her.


    The man started to raise his rifle again to strike her, but Cardinale held out his hands. “No, please! Just, just tell us what you want! We can work something out. If it's not money, then what?”


    Wren held a hand out to the side, gesturing for the man to stand down. “At least one of you is useful. A woman has come into my custody. Someone that you know quite well, I imagine. She told me of your experiments.”


    His eyes widened a little and Henrietta's gaze narrowed after being silenced. She glowered up at Wren, who she could at least understand. “You're the ones who took Kacie? Where is she? If you return her with both of us, we can guarantee a handsome fee. She's under a nondisclosure agreement to not discuss any of our work.”


    “Do I look like I care about your Inya contracts?” Wren countered, sliding her dark eyes over to Henrietta.


    “Be quiet, Henrietta.” Cardinale growled again, clutching at the woman's hands as he looked up at Wren. “You know of my work? Then you must understand how essential it is that it continue…”


    Wren looked to Remi over her shoulder. “What do you say to that, beratna?” She asked him, her tone making it clear that she doubted Remi would agree to anything of the kind.
     
  6. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

    Messages:
    143
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    "Stop that, Mr. Jasnakoff. You're making me blush," Keith said mockingly, to no one in particular. On the terminal situated in front of him, Boris Jasnakoff was slyly unzipping the dress of Tonight's Mistress and let it slide off her body. Of course, the two had no idea they were being watched. But Keith was not a voyeur -- the mark would have his privacy, for now.

    Jasnakoff was the entire reason Keith found himself on Titan, so he could at least thank the old man for that much. Never in his life had he seen such luxury, such wealth, such... excess. Keith tried to make the most of it, especially as it was not on his dime, but the Belter felt tremendously out of place. Titan might be part of the Belt, but unmistakably an Inner resort.

    His boss, Chloe Emerson, had tasked him with the covert operation to observe Jasnakoff. Turns out the businessman was not satisfied with simply purchasing the products she sold through Io Medical, so he took to rebranding them and reselling them at a markup to wealthier Inners instead of distributing them to settlements across the Belt, as intended.

    Keith's primary task was to identify Jasnakoff's business partners, the ones who would ultimately move the products back to Earth and Mars. He was then to contact them anonymously and offer them a lucrative contract to buy directly from Io Medical, effectively cutting Jasnakoff out of the exchange. It would not solve the shortage of supplies in the Belt, but it was the start of the retribution the man was to receive.

    Keith had accomplished that part of his mission over the last few weeks, and now moved on to the latter half of retribution: blackmail. Undermining Jasnakoff would be a temporary setback. It was within Keith's particular skillset to destroy the man's reputation, and thus, threaten his ability to do business indefinitely.

    Mrs. Jasnakoff would be most upset to learn about the black dress laying at the feet of the naked woman her husband currently embraced. And that certainly was not the only skeleton in his closet that Keith dug up.

    Leaning back in his chair, Keith kicked his feet up to rest on the desk he was seated at. Pulling his hand terminal from a pocket, he directed his attention to it instead. More news on the crisis at Ganymede from the news outlets and little else.

    Yes, the first reports of a skirmish between the UNN and MCRN in orbit surprised him as much as anyone, and the subsequent falling of the mirrors and devastation of the moon even more so. It was where he was born and grew up. But beyond that, he had little attachment to the place. Once the initial shock wore off, the only concern he had left was that of Violet -- it was the last place he knew her to be.

    She was a part of his "family" that Keith had come to collect. Violet, his sister. Sparrow, his lover. Chloe, his mentor. Tyson, his father-figure. All whom were not related and came from every corner of the Sol system. It was a strange series of events that brought them all together, to put it lightly, but it gave Keith cause to shape up his life.

    He had been angry and afraid for as long as he could recall. His strict upbringing was meant to shelter him, but it released him into a brutal human existence unprepared. His education was meant to be a boon, but it ostracized him from many of his fellow Belters. His descent into drugs and alcohol was meant to ease his anxiety, but it caused an even worse dependency. He was numb to his parent's disownment. He was resentful of Dieter for abandoning Violet. He was hateful towards those who had left Sparrow in her battered state when he first laid eyes on her. He was jealous and disgusted by people like Boris Jasnakoff.

    Chloe had been key in his recovery. Not only through an extensive detox process, but also in emulating her behavior. She was an extremely intelligent, compassionate individual, but her personality covered a carefully contained fire that would flare into rage when it was applicable. Keith was starting to learn how to make his anger and fear work on his terms. It was proving to be a liberating, if not morally questionable, experience. He missed her just as he missed all of his family. He wanted to be done with this and go home.

    ----------------------------------

    His hand terminal chimed, rousing Keith awake. He had dozed off, and a message from Tyson awaited him.

    >The sun sets over Mars.

    Keith sighed. Leave it to the Martian. Tyson had flown him to Titan from Io, and was living out of his ship, the Lola, until Keith's work was complete. He also acted as a point of contact between Keith and Chloe, just as an added layer of caution. Tyson's message meant that Chloe was recalling him. It was too soon. Something was wrong.

    Looking at the terminal's screen, he saw Jasnakoff asleep in his bed, alone. "Well. Taki for sending her away, kopeng."

    Keith got to his feet, stretching his limbs as he did so. What he had collected on Jasnakoff thus far was damaging, but hardly enough to bury the man. He knew Chloe would want to pull the trigger; it was his job to supply the bullets. Unfortunately, there was some wrench in the gears that was now invoking Plan B. Keith quickly packed up the terminal with the rest of his personal effects, a pistol among them. He would be the one pulling the trigger now.

    ----------------------------------

    At one point, Jasnakoff's dead eyes and the pair of bullet holes he now wore on his chest might have disturbed Keith. But in the moment Keith entered the man's room, he was Keith's parents. He was Dieter's absence. He was the thugs that beat Sparrow. He was the hangovers and withdrawals. He was the exploitation of the Inners. He was the shame of the past, the strain of the present, and the uncertainty of the future.

    He was all of those things, and now he was dead, and Keith was vindicated.

    Keith stopped in front of the Lola, keying the entry code on her access panel. Tyson was strapping into the pilot's crash couch when he entered. The Martian had a solemn look on his face when he looked over his shoulder. "Oye."

    "Oye, pampa. Tell me on the way."

    Tyson nodded. "We're goin' home."
     
    #6 Antumbralite, Mar 6, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  7. Remi Lièvremont

    Messages:
    190
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    His eyes widened for a moment. He had been watched the scene with an almost out of body detachment. Like watching a scene play out on a show, imagining that it wasn't something he was involved with. That the woman's split, bleeding brow wasn't something he had been a part of.

    Remi narrowed his eyes and took a step closer. He could remember all the interviews he'd done after his racing, never feeling a hint of concern that his words might be misinterpreted. There had never been lives on the line. He had felt young and invincible. He didn't feel invincible now. He had a very clear image of his own mortality.

    “Mi think dat what is essential is dat you make sure dat mother and baby are healthy. You undo whatever is hurting them. Or else.”

    Or else? He asked himself. Too late now. All he could do was stand tall and glare down at the doctor.

    ---

    Cardinale blinked several times, pushing his glasses further up his nose with the side of his index finger. He hadn't even noticed Remi until he spoke up.

    “My God. It's you!” The previously meek doctor exclaimed and jumped his feet, pointing a shaking finger at the Belter. The men next to Wren bristled at the sudden movement. “Mother and Child…” He repeated stumbling over the still kneeling Henrietta to get to Remi, clutching at the man's jacket.

    “Has she miscarried? Is she here? Where is she? Do you have any idea the damage you could have --” The doctor was brusquely hauled back several feet and slung to the floor by one of the guards.

    Wren frowned slightly, watching Henrietta as the woman slowly stood up. “Is it true? Is Violet here?” There was a spark in the woman's eyes, though it was far from benign.

    ---

    “She's na here,” Remi almost spat at here. The rage was a malevolent, dark thing that twisted around deep in his gut. He felt a warmth rise up to the back of his throat.

    He hadn't expected excitement at the news. He could have dealt with almost anything else.

    “Neither of them are. What damage did you do!?” he demanded, taking a step forwards. When he tilted his head forwards blonde locks fell over his eyes and had to be combed back with his fingers.

    “And can it be undone?” he growled.

    ---

    The doctor was busy pushing himself back onto his feet, his glasses having in skittering across the metal floor. He fumbled to pick them up, hands shaking slightly though more from excitement than fear now. “W-well where is she? It's imperative that we find her. There is so much to be done. If the pregnancy hasn't terminated yet, there's still a chance!” He mumbled rapidly under his breath, fingers twitching as if he was try to quickly do math in his head.

    It was Henrietta's turn to be the more level headed of the pair, noticing the way that Remi's demeanor shifted. Her pale hazel eyes narrowed slightly and she bent down to help Cardinale back up.

    “We… thought you were dead.” She explained to him, shaking her head as she steadied the still muttering doctor. “Do you know where she is, if she's not here?”

    “No, no, no. Can't be undone. Won't be undone. Must move forward. Onward. Evolve. We could save it. All my work. Onward.” Cardinale continued to muttered, rubbing at his broken glasses with his dirty shirt.

    Wren was in something akin to shock at the doctor's reaction. It wasn't normal, it was manic. What had Violet gotten herself caught up in?

    Henrietta seemed to realize that Wren was not one to lend her a sympathetic ear, so she focused her attentions on Remi, automatically assuming that this man was the child's father given how everything had played out. “We want to help her and your baby, just as much as you do. Everything we've done was for the betterment of them both. Please. She'll need our help if she's not well… they baby will die without it.”

    ---

    His stomach lurched as the word terminated. Remi felt his breathing change. He took short, sharp breaths. He swept his tongue over suddenly dry lips.

    He looked to the doctor. He had slipped on his glasses, adjusted them further up the bridge of his nose and blinked rapidly. The woman offered him a smile and turned her palm towards him.

    Never trust the earther who smiles and makes offers. Every belter knew as much. Remi swallowed hard and turned away from her.

    He turned towards Wren. He took a step closer. Close enough to whisper.

    “Separate them?” he suggested with a hissed whisper. “Let's talk to the doctor alone.”

    ---

    Wren looked up at Remi then she gave a small nod of her head. Her attention shifted over to the man who had struck Henrietta earlier. “Take her to one of the crew rooms and lock her inside. As far as I can tell, she’s not much use to us. Don’t let her out until I say so.” She instructed curtly.

    The guard grunted and moved to grab Henrietta by her right upper arm, dragging her away from the doctor. She jerked against the man’s grasp, struggling. “No! You can’t just lock me up!”

    “I can, as this is my ship. And I will do as I damn well please, girl. You’re lucky I’m not tossing you out an air lock, yet. Enjoy the free air while you can.” Wren snapped back at her, voice terse with derision.

    Henrietta’s eyes widened all the more and she looked to Remi. “I can help save her, I swear it. This lab doesn’t have all the medical equipment necessary, please!”

    “We’ll see about that.” Wren said, waving a hand to dismiss the guard as he dragged the still protesting woman away and to the lift that would lead up to the next level.

    The doctor stood in front of Remi and the guard, hands wringing themselves worriedly against his chest. “If you don’t have Violet… why kidnap us? I have important work to do. Cannot be undone. Most move onward. Forward. So much to do…”

    ---

    “I want you to save Violet and her child and then she can be free,” Remi said slowly and clearly. With the doctor's state he didn't want to leave any room for confusion. Yet the man just stared back at him as if he hadn't spoken.

    “Can't let her go. She's important. The most viable.”

    Remi looked down at his mag-boots. Was it shock? Had he caught his head during the pickup? He wasn't privy to the reports from the Thoth attack. The scientists the OPA had picked up with complete emotional detachment. Some had completely ignored the violent around them, others had attacked armoured men with forks.

    At least, Remi through to himself, the man wasn't lying. The one who had been taken away would have lied through her teeth to save her own skin.

    “Can you complete your work if you're dead?” he asked suddenly.

    “No.”

    “If you don't help her,” Remi said, voice starting to tremble. “You will die. You will never complete your work. You have other patients. Help Violet and you can go back to them.”

    It was a terrible lie, but the doctor didn't seem to be in a state to recognise it.

    ---

    “Oh… well. That would be most unfortunate.” Cardinale muttered to himself, frowning. He nodded a few more times, drumming his fingers against his lips in thought. “I’ll need a replacement. Someone just as viable. Perhaps Strickland has someone with him… he has the children. They’re too old. Won’t work. Need to develop with the serum. Onward. I can help Violet and work. Yes. Yes. Continuing the work helps Violet.” He looked up at Remi, grinning as if he understood.

    Wren’s brow knitted together slightly at the doctor’s rambling.

    “What… exactly are you trying to do with Violet?” She asked, frowning.

    He waved a hand dismissively at the question, which caused Wren to raise an eyebrow and a smirk touched her lips. It seemed the man was quite happy to talk about his work.

    “Not doing anything to Violet. Doing something with her.” He corrected, as if that should have been completely obvious. “No, no, no. She’s the ideal vessel. A catalyst.” His hands moved rapidly, gesturing in wild arcs, fingers fluttering in excitement.

    ---

    When Remi had struck the man in the taxi with Violet it had been a drunken reflex. The man had thrown his weight at Remi and he had lashed out in turn.

    Remi didn't hit the doctor. He was struggling to keep the urge in check. Never had he felt the urge to strike someone quite like this. The muscles in his jaw flexed as he bit down on his back teeth.

    “Can the baby be saved. Have a normal life?” his top lip curled back into a snarl as he finished asking the question. Remi even took a step away from the man, sliding his hands into his pockets.

    This time he would watch. He wanted to see these two die. Remi felt a sting of shock as that thought came to him. His eyes darted towards Wren, wild and full of uncertainty.

    ---

    Cardinale blinked in obvious confusion at Remi’s question, dropping his hands down to his side. He looked at the belter with a puzzled expression. “Do you not understand? The baby is our salvation. It doesn’t need saving! It will be the pinnacle of human perfection! A perfect unity between us and the unknown. It’s our best chance to understand what it is. How it functions. Why would you ever want the baby to be normal of all things?”

    The idea of undoing his work seemed entirely foreign to the doctor, as if he couldn’t grasp as to why someone would want to do such a thing.

    Wren’s frown deepened after the doctor finished his rambling, turning her gaze to meet Remi’s as the man looked at her. She’d never come across someone like this before… or a situation this unusual. She wasn’t sure how to react to it. One step at a time. She thought dully to herself.

    It was a good thing her counterpart in running Io wasn’t here… he would have killed the doctor already.

    “What. Does that mean exactly?” She growled.

    ---

    “The children are too old. They won't bond properly with it. Hard to shape what they become, keep control. But if we prepare before birth then it should work.”

    “Bond with what?” Remi demanded, losing his patience. In that moment he didn't even fear Wren's ire for speaking out of turn.

    “The alien substance of course. The Phoebe molecule.”

    Remi opened his mouth and then abruptly closed it. He rocked back onto his heels.

    Shit. This was all for nothing. The man was mad. He'd lost it. Perhaps they were questioning the wrong person. The doctors grasp on reality was clearly fragile.

    Hadn't Phoebe been destroyed? The thought leapt out at him from his memories. Nuked out of existence for no reason at all. Remi managed to turn even more pale.

    ---

    “The Phoebe molecule?” Wren asked, brow furrowed all the more with concern. She licked her lips, stepped forward, and grabbed the doctor by the collar, yanking him up onto the balls of his feet so that he could look her directly in the eye.

    “What do you mean alien substance? And why in the fucking hell would you try to bond that to a child?” Her voice was tight, anger flashing in her dark eyes.

    Cardinale held up his hands defensively as Wren grabbed him, trying to placate her wrath before she lashed out at him.

    “Now you’re starting to see. It was intended to wipe us out, but now? Now we can mold it to our whims. We just have to learn. Whatever threw it at us, we have to figure this out, before they try again. Think of the possibilities if we can harness this potential.” He stammered, putting his hands gently on Wren’s wrist.

    “Just let me work. It will all be worth it. Strickland thinks he can use the children, but it won’t work. They’re too old. Already formed. There’s a chance to make this work. Let me finish.”

    ---

    “Not with her.” Remi said sharply. He didn't have the mental agility to process everything that was being explained but he latched onto that. He shouldn't have spoken up. Not while her wrath was still taking shape. One of the guards even took a half step towards Remi. The racer didn't even see the movement.

    “You make sure she can have that child - no more experiments - and you can go back to your work. There are other children.”

    Even though he was lying that last sentence brought bile creeping up the back of his throat. He had been haunted by a mental image of the nurse slowly sagging as life left her. The vision of this monster drifting out of an airlock was more than welcome.

    ---

    The doctor frowned at Remi’s growled words, looking between him and Wren. “It’s too late to turn back now. Only forward. Only onward. Where is she? I must get back to work. The work is all that matters. Without the molecule, the fetus won’t survive, pointless. Useless. Nothing. But… we could start again? Have to find Violet… or another viable host. Difficult. Time consuming.” He spoke rapidly, almost incoherently as he tried to grapple with the idea of not being allowed to continue to work.

    Wren snarled, kicking the doctor’s feet out from under him in a swift motion and then slammed him down onto the metal floor, knocking the air out of his lungs to finally shut him up.

    He lay on his back, gaping like a fish plucked out of water.

    A blade was produced from inside her boot and she held it in front of the doctor’s face. “Let me make this… painfully clear. The only work left to be done with Violet, is making sure she survives whatever pashang thing you’ve done to her. If you don’t comply with that… I am going to start hacking off your fingers. One by one. And then I'm going to start spacing your equipment. Destroying your notes. Everything.”

    Cardinale’s eyes went wide at the very clear threat to his work.

    “Do we have an understanding?” She growled again.

    He nodded quickly, still unable to speak.

    Wren’s eyes looked up to Remi who still lingered nearby, keeping the doctor pinned to the floor with a knee against his chest. Her expression was pained but pensive, trying to think of a way out of the situation in which they’d found themselves. The knife lightly tapped against her other thigh in thought.

    “We need to talk. Privately.” She said to the racer, a frown on her lips.

    ---

    Remi wasn’t convinced that the man understood. It was some progress at least. He wondered what the woman in the suit would have to say for herself. He imagined she would continue to swap between making offers and spitting out threats, desperate to try and establish control. No one was going to listen to her here.

    Remi followed into step behind Wren, being led away from the docking bay.

    “Gonna space him when done right?” he asked when they were out of earshot. Some of the adrenaline was starting to drain away. He kept his hands tucked into his pockets to avoid her seeing how they started to tremble. He was out of his depth, but he didn’t want her to see below the surface, see the maelstrom of conflicting feelings.

    ---

    “Soya.” She answered, though her voice was rather absent, still distracted by her thoughts as they stepped into the side corridor. The door shut behind them and she ran a hand over her braided locks, scowling.

    “I think… we may need to consider the very real possibility that he may have done irrevocable damage to Violet's baby.” She finally said, her voice quiet and flat.

    Shaking her head, she turned her gaze to meet Remi's. “And I want to force him to take us to wherever this Strickland fuck is. If this turns out to be real… and they're doing this shit to kids, I have to do something.”

    “These people are monsters. I can't let them run amuck in then Belt. If the inners don't want to do anything about this, because they're too busy pointing fingers at each other… Then I will.”

    ---

    Remi nodded slowly. Inside his own head the situation was far more complicated. He was paddling hard beneath the surface. That same thought had been there when listening to the doctors, yet he had been desperate to try and get them to agree to save Violet and her unborn child.

    His head slumped forwards, long blonde hairs sweeping across his brow.

    “Ya,” he agree quietly. He wanted to stop feeling like this. The stress that seemed to be trying to force its way out of his skull through his eye sockets. He wanted to go back to feeling normal. He needed a drink.

    “I could fly you in all quiet if it’s on Io,” he offered.

    ---

    “Mmm. If you're up for that, then I won't turn down help. We can leave Violet at the clinic and let her recover… after whatever happens here. We'll do everything we can to save her.” She said reassuringly, patting his shoulder.

    “That said… do you want to give him access to her at all? I'm not sure I trust him anywhere near her…” she said softly, a frown on her lips.

    A hand rubbed at the back of her neck and she sighed. “First, let me do some proper scans on her. See what the actual condition is of the baby and we can go from there. There's an autodoc in the medical bay.”

    She gestured to him. “I need you to figure out where Strickland is. Can you do that?”

    ---

    “I don't trust him,” Remi confirmed with a shake of his head. He wasn't sure why he was being asked. “If...you could run tests. See what the doctor thinks.”

    The maelstrom seemed to settle down before being swallowed up. Remi was left with a hollow centre. He couldn't shake the suspicion that they would leave Violet to a horrible fate.

    “Maybe something in the lab. If anyone would know it would be da other one,” he reasoned. Perhaps she would give it up, but it wouldn't be easy.

    Remi stopped putting on the brave face. It was exhausting. Suddenly he looked young, fragile and out of his depth.

    ---

    Wren was not an idiot, nor was so oblivious to a person's expression. Remi was overwhelmed, floundering in the chaos, and he was hurting. Taking him with her to deal with the nurse had likely been a mistake, or at least, making it clear that the nurse was killed had been. He wasn't prepared for that kind of thing to weigh on his consciousness.

    A comforting hand touched the young belter's chin and then she stepped closer to give him a gentle embrace. She may have been OPA, but she wasn't heartless. Her first and foremost concern was always the well-being of her people.

    “Actually. I could use some help in the medbay with Violet. Why don't you come with me? You look like you could use a break.” She murmured quietly.
     
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  8. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    In all the chaos this was perhaps the last thing he had expected. Besides perhaps the mention of alien molecule, but Remi's mental self defence mechanisms had compartmentalised that statement for now.


    Taking a handful of shirt he gave her a brief squeeze back, letting out a long breath as he stepped away. Remi gave a slow nod, letting his eyebrows form an exaggerated expression of relief.


    “Ya, wanya know how she doing,” Remi replied.


    They walked back towards what functioned as a small medical unit on the Albatross. They would need to transfer her back somewhere if they were going to leave for another surface base.


    “Do you, like, run the OPA out here?” he asked. His voice dropped to a comical whisper when he said the name of the organisation.


    ---


    A small smirk touched Wren's features at the question, opening the door to the medbay and letting Remi duck inside first.


    “Depends on where you mean by 'out here’. I used to run a relatively small faction… but I've recently had to take a much larger organization under my wing. Io is under my purview, if that's what you were asking.” She answered him honestly, shutting the door behind him.


    Violet was still unconscious, her right arm slipped through the white ring of the autodoc. Her vitals were on display on a screen next to the bed. Wren knew what the numbers and charts meant, none of it looked promising.


    Then unconscious woman's auburn hair was slick at the roots and clung to her pallid skin. She looked very ill, indeed.


    Wren moved to tap on the autodoc display, frowning as she read over the information. “It's like her immune system is just… shutting down.” She muttered, shaking her head.


    Without the proper equipment, there was no real way for Chloe to tell exactly what was happening. Violet's body was failing her, but she didn't know why and as such… she didn't know how to treat the problem. She didn't say anything of this out loud to Remi. The boy was worried enough as it was.


    Her dark gaze turn to Remi's and she offered a reassuring smile. “Let me go see what I can find in that lab and from that woman. You can stay here as long as you need. It might help her to see a familiar face if she wakes up.”


    ---
     
  9. Remi Lièvremont

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    Remi didn't think his face would be all that familiar. They hadn't known each other for long. His face had been unfamiliar to himself for the first few days they had known each other. Even though the yellow-green bruising was there at least his head was the right shape again now.

    Wren seemed to be trusting to tell him that she did run the operation. Part of him wondered if that was because she was just going to airlock him at the end of this. Even if Violet hadn't looked so pale he wouldn't have seriously entertained that thought.

    He gave Wren a nod and stood over Violet. They had given her something experimental, something that had broken her immune system. It wouldn't have occurred to him that they might have deliberately suppressed the immune system of mother, and therefore child, ahead of introducing the protomolecule.

    "Violet?" he asked softly when she stirred. He placed his hand on her left shoulder for just a moment before deciding to take it back.
     
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  10. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    432
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    Once Remi had situated himself by the bed, Chloe left not long after. There was too much work to be done in too short a time for her to linger in any place for too long. She ducked out of the room without a word, leaving Remi along with Violet for the time being.


    Violet's eyes briefly fluttered opened, winced at the harsh light of the medical bay and then closed again. Instinctively, she tried to raise her right arm to shield her face from the light, but it was held in place by the auto-doc which beeped angrily at her when she tried to move. A little confused as to what was going on, or where she'd ended up, Violet numbly lifted her left arm instead and let the forearm rest against her brow. There was someone in the room with her, vaguely familiar.

    At first, she thought it might have been Keith, given the man's height and build. But the blonde hair quickly caused her to reassess her initial thought. No, it was Remi. The belter that had escaped Ganymede with her. His face was less swollen and bruising around his eye looked considerably better, though it was difficult for Violet to make out too many details.

    She offered a weak smile, realizing that he'd said her name. Her head lolled to the side on her shoulders to look up at him, arm still resting on her forehead to fend off the bothersome lights.

    "Remi?" She mumbled weakly, her voice sounded frail.
     
  11. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

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    Chloe's first concern was the lab.

    The woman locked in a compartment wasn't going anywhere, and they could deal with this Strickland character after she'd figured out a way to restore Violet's failing health.

    Her boots thudded dully against the metal floor as she stalked back to the cargo bay, the beads that were woven into her hair clicked softly together with every step, giving her cadence a distinct sound. She idly toyed with a silver band that was wrapped around the top of her ear, thinking about the best place to begin her search. Her specialty was trauma care, not prenatal; and especially not conditions that had been intentionally induced on a pregnant woman.

    Much like Remi, she was out of her depth. She was just better at hiding the fact. A skill that came with experience.

    Doctor Cardinale was still huddled on the floor in front of the guard she'd left him with. She snapped her fingers and pointed up, indicating she wanted the man on his feet. When he didn't stand up quickly enough, the guard reached down and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, hauling him upright.

    The doctor grunted and then shuffled over to Chloe. "The father is not with you?" He asked, seeming somewhat more hopeful that Chloe wouldn't immediately shut him down as much as Remi had.

    Chloe didn't bother to correct him.

    "I'm interested in the process that you used." Chloe explained, stepping into the portable lab and started to look around.

    After a moment of hesitation, the doctor hurried after her and scrambled inside, tripping over the bottom lip of the hole that had been cut through the door. "It's a medical and scientific marvel, really. Years of research and study, trial and error. Violet was the first subject to carry the fetus for so long, and without succumbing to the modification process herself. A perfect candidate, truly."

    "This modification process... What did it entail?"

    Cardinale huffed at Chloe, though he seemed pleased that she didn't shut him down. He moved over to a computer that was mounted to the wall and tapped the screen, clapping his hands excitedly when it flickered to life. "Ah, yes! You cannot bond a normal human host and the molecule. We've tried this extensively, and the molecule always takes over. However, if you alter the hosts immune system, suppress it and modify the genetic makeup, we've shown promise of a proper bond taking root. Unfortunately, our initial trials did not make it into the second trimester..." He muttered, shaking his head.

    Chloe's expression darkened, but she held her tongue. She needed this information, she reminded herself.

    The doctor swiped his hand to the side to clear the screen and then pulled up Violet's file. "We achieve this alteration by also suppressing the mother's immune system. It's a delicate balance. Starting with weekly injections and gradually increasing to daily. Violet had reached the daily level... But we were separated before we could begin. And now she's two weeks behind the initial introduction of the molecule..." He tutted, frustrated.

    Chloe saw something on the readouts that concerned her and she swatted the doctor's hands away from the screen, scrolling backwards. Her eyes darted over the information, frowning all the more. "These... Levels aren't sustainable. When were these results taken?"

    "Three weeks ago. Without her medications, it's unlikely she or the fetus will survive much longer... Which is why it is imperative that we find her. Another week and the fetus will have developed too far for the optimum bonding phase." He explained.

    Chloe's stomach sank and she felt like she was going to be ill.

    "And these ultrasounds are from the same time?"

    "Yes, yes. You can see how much we've impacted development here and here." He pointed out the the different dark forms of the ultrasound.

    Chloe may not have been a prenatal physician, but she knew what a fetus should look like at this stage in a pregnancy... What was on the screen was not it.
     
  12. Remi Lièvremont

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    190
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    "Ya, is mi," he said. He took a knee so that he was at her eye level instead of forcing her to look up at the lights.

    "You're in a medical...room..." Remi looked around briefly. It would have been a stretch to call it a facility. "On a ship called Albatross. You've... You've not been well.

    "But we found dat doctor and we are gonya get answers!" he declared boldly, trying a smile. That emptiness was still there. He wasn't sure what was going to get rid of it. It seemed as if it would swallow everything he felt.
     
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  13. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    432
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    Violet blinked for a moment at Remi's face when he said that she was on the Albatross. It was not where she'd planned on waking up.

    "The Alby?" She couldn't help but give a weak chuckle at the situation.

    Her tongue passed over her lips as she turned her head to better look at the Belter. He looked shaken, as if he'd seen something horrific. Violet recognized the expression, the dull look in his eyes. She reached over to him with her free hand, frowning slightly.

    "Are you okay?" She asked, her voice soft but concerned.
     
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  14. Tyson Lehliri

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    13
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    Antumbralite
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    It had been a day since Tyson and Keith left Titan. The Belter was currently napping in the single bunk on board the Lola; they needed to alternate their sleep schedules accordingly. Keith had been very quiet since Tyson relayed Chloe's message -- that Violet had returned from Ganymede and there were complications with her pregnancy. Brooding washed over Keith when he heard the news. Tyson guessed the younger man was torturing himself, trying to fill in the blanks of the vague message with speculation to pass the time.

    Tyson did not know Violet that well. She seemed like a lovely person, but they did not have much interaction between the time she arrived on Io and left for Ganymede. However, he knew that Keith's history with her ran much deeper. Tyson offered his support; whatever the Belter needed from him. Tyson liked Keith. They did not have much in common, but they had struck up a decent friendship since meeting. Perhaps Keith reminded him of his own daughter back on Mars. Perhaps he could be more of a presence this time around.

    There was a chime from the pilot's dashboard that snapped Tyson away from his train of thought. The scopes reported an all-clear, notifying him that the Lola was clear to maintain course. It would be the better part of a week before they made it to Io, at best. Tyson wished they could have stayed on Titan a bit longer. There really was no other place like it, at least, out of the places he had been. Thankfully, he stocked up on luxury provisions while they were there, spending a little too much of his reserves for the occasion. Reminding himself of his current indulgence, he reached for the bulb of Scottish whiskey floating near his head. Not much else to do.

    Tyson dialed up the comm display, taking a sip from the bulb. Prepping a tightbeam to Chloe, he cleared his throat and began recording.

    "Chloe. We're en route, about a week out. Hang in there. See you soon." He raised the bulb in a toasting gesture and sent the message on its way.

    Tyson closed his eyes after another sip of the whiskey. It was damn good.
     
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  15. Remi Lièvremont

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    "Alby? You've been here before then." Remi tried to hold his head a little higher. He would not have minded her seeing him starting to crumble in the situation under other circumstances. It wasn't as if he had ever claimed to be a hardened terrorist. He was worried that she would assume he was fretting over hear health. He was fretting too, but she didn't need to see it.

    "Ya, mi gut," he said, wrapping his long fingers around the offered hand. "Your friends helped grab the doctor. Man seems to be really losing it. Wren is gonya run tests, see what dey can do."
     
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  16. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    She smiled back at him, nodding her head a little when he asked if she'd been on the ship before. Her head dropped back down onto the pillow and she closed her eyes for a few moments.

    "Aye, she used to belong to me, technically. Left her here when I went to Ganymede. Could nae afford the dockin' fees there for that long." She explained, giving a wistful sigh.

    A frown touched her lips as she processed the last part of what Remi had said to her. "So... Something is wrong then..."

    She bit her bottom lip, then slowly exhaled. "It'll be alright... Wren's a good doctor, from what I've seen."
     
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  17. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    "On approach. Stand by."

    Tyson's voice came from the inter-ship comms, causing Keith's eyes to snap open. He was strapped into the crash couch in the Lola's bunk, floating lightly against the restraints. He had lost all track of time, spending most of the trip from Titan asleep.

    It was impossible to not feel helpless, knowing that Violet was likely suffering, and he was an immense distance away. Being unconscious was the only solution Keith was able to come up with. Now they were home, and he realized as he frantically removed his restraints just how stir-crazy he had become.

    Keith allowed himself to float once he retrieved his mag boots, slowly spinning as he put them on. Once he heard their click and felt himself secured to the deck, he made his way to the cockpit.

    Tyson had finished up with the traffic controllers and cut the comms as Keith stopped in the doorway, bracing his arms against the frame. Lola's exterior cameras gave them a few angels of the bland, rocky surface of Io, broken up only by the presence of the station on its surface.

    "Home sweet home," Tyson remarked, turning back to look at Keith. His face was a mix of concern and the kind, jolly expression that was Tyson's default. Keith appreciated that about the man: his comforting presence. He would give Tyson plenty of jabs regarding his age, even though he barely doubled Keith's own and was still not even considered middle-aged by Martian standards. Truth was, Keith enjoyed his company, and felt guilty that he basically ignored him since they left Titan.

    "I'm okay," Keith answered before Tyson could ask. "Just... worried."

    It felt hypocritical, feeling concern for someone after ending the existence of another. Keith wondered if he would ever get used to it. Some people may be able to categorize their work in a black-and-white fashion, but Keith saw far too much of the gray area. He lived in it.

    Tyson gave a curt nod, staring for a moment longer before turning his attention back to the landing. "Well, normally I'd holler at you to help me unload, but you should get to Violet's side. I'll take care of it. Braking burn in five."

    Keith gave a faint smile to Tyson's back. "Taki."

    ----------------------------

    Docking with the station was routine and uneventful. After parting ways with Tyson, Keith hurried through the familiar tunnels. When Chloe sent word that Violet was moved to the Albatross, it almost prompted a laugh. On the way to its berth, he sent a rushed message to Sparrow from his hand terminal.

    > Just landed. Going to see Violet. I miss you.

    Chances are, she already knew. Not much, if anything, happened on the station that she and Chloe were not aware of.

    Keith felt dirty. The Lola did not have a shower in the head, as she was not intended for long hauls. He felt the grease in his hair when he ran a hand through and was sure he had an odor to match. Keith doubted Violet would care.

    When he entered the Alby's berth and clambered inside, he dropped the cumbersome duffel he carried and called for Violet. When Keith found her, a man he had never seen before was with her. Or... had he? The face was slightly familiar.

    His eyes wandered to Violet. As he noticed the changes to her body and her sickly look, he reminded himself that they had not seen one another or spoken in months. It occurred to Keith then that Violet might not be terribly happy about the fact.

    So, there he stood, looking like a disheveled idiot with a lopsided grin. "Oye, sesata."
     
  18. Chloe Emerson

    Chloe Emerson "Wren"

    Messages:
    346
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    "What happens if Violet doesn't receive those injections and if the baby misses the.. bonding phase?" Chloe asked, tearing her eyes away from the display that the two of them were reading over. Pretending as though she was genuinely interested in the outcome nauseated her, having to act like it was the experiment she was concerned about, not the patient herself.

    The doctor frowned a little, then waved both hands up and down as if physically weighing the options. "In theory, her immune system will recover. Albeit, rather slowly, I imagine. It's entirely possible that her body will reject the fetus at this stage... given the uh... atypical formation and growth. Which would be unfortunate. Would set the entire study back by.. nearly a year. If we're able to recover Violet though... we could always try again."

    "And if the fetus misses the bonding phase?" She asked, pressing him for the second part of the question she'd asked.

    "Oh." He waved a hand dismissively, as if not interested in the subject. "It's not as if it'd be viable at that point. We'd have to start again. Too risky to try to bond it too late in the pregnancy, it'd probably kill Violet, who I'd need for a second trial."

    Bile rose in Chloe's throat as the doctor prattled on. If Remi had been here, she reasoned that the man likely would have struck the doctor. So would have Alric, well, actually Alric would have beaten the man to death by now. She thought wryly to herself, another stab of heartache. She took a breath, then started to swipe across the information on the display, sending the data and research directly to her terminal.

    "Then we'd best find her... for the second trial." She lied through her teeth.

    The doctor's eyes lit up with both excitement and clear disdain at having to start over. "Yes. Yes! I can start preparations right away. This lab doesn't have the faculties that I'll require..."

    "No. But Strickland might... yes?" She asked, her voice low.

    Cardinale nodded, pointing towards Chloe with a wide, manic grin. "Indeed! Will you help me continue my work? Help me find Violet?"

    "I'll do you one better." Chloe said darkly, pocketing the terminal as she wiped the data from his computer with a few taps of her fingers. "I already know where she is. Where is Strickland... and I'll have her sent there?"

    "He's here on Io, but... not at the station. An abandoned mining facility that's been retrofitted. Henriette has the landing codes that we'll need to dock." He explained, nodding once more, taking Chloe's hands in his. She tensed up and struggled to keep her composure. "Thank you. Bless you. The work must continue."

    She forced a waning smile, nodding silently as she pulled her hands free from his. "I'll speak with Henrietta and have the guard take you to a room for you to ... to rest."

    Outside the portable lab, Chloe quietly explained to the remaining guard to take the doctor to another room and lock him inside as well. While she was speaking with him, he informed her that Antumbralite had returned and was now on board. It was the first bit of good news she'd heard all day.

    The suited belter then silently escorted the mumbled Cardinale to the lift to take him to the improvised cell.

    With a heavy sigh, Chloe turned to make her way back towards the medical bay.
     
  19. Remi Lièvremont

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    "Ya..." he said sadly to Violet. "Do na know exactly what dey were trying to do. Not helping you. But Wren will make it right. Got their stuff too."

    He heard someone calling her name. It wasn't Wren this time, but a male voice. When the shadow of a belter appeared in the doorway he assumed it was one of the OPA enforcers.

    Instead the dark haired man at the door grinned and called to her in a familiar manner. A friend of hers. That was what she needed now. He wasn't her friend and he couldn't even substitute that with being the kind of person who knew the right things to say in a crisis.

    Remi offered the man a small nod and stood back away from the bed.
     
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  20. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    Violet frowned a little when Remi moved away from the bed, though her eyes slowly drifted over to the doorway at the sound of a familiar voice. A strange flurry of emotion fluttered in her stomach when she saw Keith's silhouette standing there. She was happy to see him, of course; but she couldn't shake that nagging voice in the back of her head that he'd chosen the OPA over everything else. Her face contorted slightly as her mind and heart wrestled each other for which emotion should win out.

    But eventually, she decided that she'd had enough heartache.

    She smiled back at him, weakly trying to sit up on the bed. "Keith? I was nae expectin' to see you here."

    Immediately, she gestured back to Remi who lingered nearby, not wanting her companion to feel isolated or cut out. "Remi, this is..." She had to pause, taking a deep breath as she clutched at the blanket, a wave of nausea passing over her. "This is Keith... an old friend of mine." She murmured a moment later.

    "Keith... this is Remi. The lad that got me off Ganymede in one piece." She explained, gesturing to the blonde belter with a strained smile, it was quite obvious had sick she was.
     

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