There was a waiting list nowadays. Time was you could walk right in, get fixed up and be back in time for rations, but that was before the Cull. From being one of only a few clinics dotted throughout the station, now Delta was one of dozens trying to keep up with all the nasty new ways people managed to hurt each other.
Alice took a load off, sitting down on a stool and slipping her feet out of two-inch heels. She told the fan to activate, then swore and hit the small button on the side of it when nothing happened. It was habit more than anything, the pitiful breeze doing little to chase away the sticky heat. Place used to be air-conditioned, now the cooling units had been repurposed, ripped off the walls and strung up next to the batch of newly installed Biotanks. She peeled the hair back from her forehead, using the moisture to stick it behind her ears.
The man on the slab behind her breathed in softly and snorted. Dreaming, she supposed. A lot of the newer inhibitors negated REM, but his model looked old, worn on the edges where the tech met skin. His left arm was attached to a repair unit across the room. No coin to pay for an upgrade, so he’d have to make do. He was lucky she’d even let him in.
It was the eyes, old and grey and soft looking. Like her uncle’s before he’d boarded for the Old World and never come back. He’d shrugged when she’d asked how he’d managed to detach the shoulder joint, she’d ignored the laser burns on his hands. Could be he was a mechanic come up from the bowels of the station after an accident. Maybe a father defending his family’s patch in the slums over on Z Deck. Probably just another fighter trying to win in the pits. It didn’t matter really, but she turned to watch him and wondered what the make-believe world inside his head looked like. From his peaceful expression, she thought it must have been nice.
Then the fan died and the lights flickered as a tank across the room signalled its patient was done, so Alice turned away and put her shoes back on.