Vrei examined the bed by the window. It was clearly crooked, one of its four metal legs broken and another one cracked.
An unforeseen emergency in the district that Vrei had no idea how to fix, and it wasn’t even lunch yet.
“This is just great,” she said, crouching on the floor to examine the damage.
Ebie was slumped on her desk, forehead resting on piles of paperwork, when the door to her office slid open. She looked up to see Len, finally returned, carrying a steaming cup in each hand.
She forced her spine to unbend and her body to settle itself upright in the chair. The trip to 942, the long walk in the sun, the stress of trying to not get caught, made the day feel a thousand times longer. She wasn’t usually this exhausted so early in the evening, even the week before Transfer Day. At least the bright, artificial lights in the Compound made falling asleep on her desk more difficult.
Claudia couldn’t tell how long it had been since she’d dropped her bags on the floor of her new accommodations. She only knew her shuttle had landed during daylight—the heat had pressed down on her like a steel crate—but it was now dark outside.
She looked around her new quarters again. There was a sofa, a bizarre painting on the wall, and a doorway leading, presumably, to her bedroom. Bare and empty, just like her purpose for being in this useless place. She took another swig from the bottle, already half empty. The drink was smooth, sliding down her throat like thick honey. They used to brew it in field hospitals during the War—a mixture of cheap drugs and rough liquor. Claudia had managed to procure a few bottles, before boarding the transport. No sense in saving it—she’d likely be stuck on this rock for the rest of her life. Didn’t matter if the good stuff lasted her two weeks or two months.
Not that she was complaining. It wasn’t complaining, stating the obvious. Just like those bastards at her court martial—just stating the obvious. She took another swig.