Somewhere in a smoke filled room, under flashing red strobes…
Floating weightlessly by herself, Niina could scarcely be bothered to think of the ragged and worn recliner beneath her. She couldn’t be bothered to think of the tattered bed sheet that covered it or even how the little wisps of smoke lazily drifted between the rusted steel rafters above her head or how the DJ had just flubbed that last transition.
It was a far cry here from what many would consider and appropriate bar for someone of her stature or “her kind” to be seen in. She giggled, nearly floating off the couch entirely and gliding across the floor to the front desk.
No. No wait. She was at the front desk. Somehow she had gotten up and found herself here. No matter. Barman, the coals on my pipe are a’burning down quite a bit, mind topping me off there please, and change the flavor on the pipe to something menthol? Wait, she didn’t think that she definitely said that. Oh well, the man behind the desk smiled graciously all the same, happy to oblige. She had been their best customer that evening and they were keen to keep her in their good graces. This place would be demolished soon, ripped appart and paved over for newer more illustrious accommodations once the starport finished its renovations. Soon they’d have to move, and it’d pay to have a friendly high roller in their good graces once they started up again with a fresh coat of paint and a chance for a whole new identity. He eagerly got to work preparing a new bowl, but gravity was already pulling Niina away, tugging her to the far wall even as the other patrons lounged perfectly in place none the wiser. Where was this force taking her? The bathroom, apparently.
It was a single occupancy shitter, practically a closet. Nothing at all like the frou-frou capsuleer bars or Gallente night clubs with their damned bathroom attendants expecting a tip for handing you a towel. She hated that ■■■■, just like she hated the uppity occupants she’d share them with getting sloppy-drunk all over the counters taking up the sink or pulling her aside for how “brave” she was for what she was wearing. ■■■■ 'em. Those weren’t her people, and certainly not “her kind.” She reached behind her neck, brushing her fingers down her spine past the collar of her leather blouse. No plugs.
Baselining wasn’t uncommon on Jita 4-4, but most staff knew enough these days how to seperate a capsuleer out from most. Niina though had no reason to cover her neck, taking off her blouse and tying it under her tank-top and stretching her shoulder blades over the sink. To anyone else here she was just a high roller. A well dressed high roller with an impressive amount of augs, granted, but certainly not a capsuleer. She grinned manically, the cybernetics fracturing her face in a broken cheshire smirk. No capsuleer here sir, just a gal with a cyber fetish dumb with her money enjoying a night alone with the rest of the working class. Granted, if they knew what she really was they’d have wished she were a capsuleer and be much less eager to have her as a client. If, that is, they even knew what a “warclone” was. Few did these days, other than hushed whispers of hulking armor clad raiders terrorizing the people of the Heath and haunting the nightmares of anyone that dared cross them.
She laughed, imposter syndrome hitting her in full force as she dug through her blouse pockets to pull out a small black vial and unscrew the cap to take another hit.
Cool. We’re cool.
She wiped her nose, stowing the Mindflood away and gliding back out into the room where her newly set shisha was waiting for her. She gave a smug curtsy to the man setting it up, crashing on the seat beside it as he left her to her thoughts.
Capsuleer bars. Pfft. What a concept. No. In her heart and mind she was a working class girl, and these were her people even if they didn’t realize it yet. The union representative would be here soon, then they could start working towards building that world. Hopefully he wasn’t a hardass or a buzzkill, that’d really be a downer. She reached up, extending her arms and moving her hands in witchy circles stretching her chest to the rhythm in the room. This place reminded her of Club Mamushi in Venal, her old stomping ground from her… old life.
Aw ■■■■ here comes the spiral. Was she just spinning her tires? Was she cut out for plays like this, or was she still the same scared slave girl in that Guristas bar that she built herself up out of? She forced the thought down like she always did, therapists be damned. Some thoughts you can’t let internalize. Some memories are best kept at arm’s length. We’re all our own ships, assail on the astral sea constantly being rebuild bit by bit plank by plank as we get hammered by the waves that surround us. None of us were the same as when we left port. Some of us couldn’t even be called the same ship. We’ve all been rebuilt, beam by beam atom by atom into who we are now. It paid to remember the woman that sacrificed so much to build the ship, but that person was long dead now.
Gods know how long she sat their, smoking down her bowl. Spiraling and unspiraling. Winding and unwinding to the music. Spinning and going nowhere. Thankfully, she seemed to be sobering up by the time she found herself shaking hands with a big bastard of a Civire man grinning down at her like a slaver hound. Aksesu Kitagawa stood at least two meters tall, with muscles to spare from years of loading equipment from ship to ship and keeping commerce flowing through the heart of the Caldari State.
Gods and spirits those forearms, Niina thought gripping his hand tightly, you could pull down a lot down with those. Or prop a lot up. Not much of a looker him, sure, scarred from head to toe with knicks and bruises and calluses but he had a rugged look about him that a proper union man should instead of those Deteis sycophant boardroom prettyboys humping the corporate ladder praying for daddy megacorp to send a hot sliver of frothy capital down their throats. No, this was man that worked for a living and never thanked the boss for their well-earned paycheck. If anyone in the bar had to pick out the warclone between them, they would have picked him.
“Saisa, Kitagawa-haan. Glad you could meet me here tonight. Please take a seat and pull up a pipe. We have a lot to talk about, you and me. I assume you move a lot of freight as a teamster? Tell me, have you noticed a lot of clone tanks coming through here recently?”
A Propaganda Poster Confiscated in Landfall City by Spacelane Patrol