Author : Olivia Black, Featured Author
Eve poked at her bowl of noodles again. She hadn’t been hungry when she’d ordered that food over an hour ago. Now, the broth was cold and the noodles gelatinous.
“Ick,” she sighed under her breath, dropping the chopsticks back into the bowl. The chef glared in her direction, annoyed that she was still there. She rolled her eyes. It wasn’t like the place was packed or anything.
She turned her attention to the crowd passing by outside, their faces ashen in the constant twilight aboard the station. It was late evening and no one was in a hurry. She was searching for a familiar face. Adam said he’d be here over an hour ago. He wasn’t exactly the punctual sort, but this was pushing it, even for him. They did have a rather tight schedule to keep, if she’d understood his plan correctly. Worry began filling the pit in her stomach where those noodles were meant to go. What if something had happened to him?
A flexi printout hit the laminated counter top with a crisp slap, making Eve jump. It was a ticket for the midnight flight to Mars Orbital. She stared at it, then at the woman in the three-piece suit who sat down beside her.
“I’ll have the dumplings,” the woman said to the chef, her red lips stretch into a smile as he acknowledged her order. “Zu makes the best dumplings on the station.” She turned to Eve with the same smile.
Eve shrugged. “I’m new to the station.”
“Yes, that’s right. You used to be a teacher on Baron Station until a month ago, didn’t you, Eve?”
“How did you –“ Eve started to ask, but then clamped her mouth shut.
“Missy Russell, with Station Migration Authority,” she said, producing her holo-badge. “We need to have a chat about your future.”
Eve felt herself go cold. “What about my future?”
“You’re going to have to make a tough decision concerning your brother,” Missy said as Zu placed a basket of steaming dumplings in front of her. “You want?”
Eve shook her head and looked away. She couldn’t possibly eat anything now. Nor did she particularly know what to say, so she waited.
“Half an hour ago, Adam was seen emptying bottles of generic pain relievers and replacing them with exotic pheromone capsules,” Missy explained while she waited for her food to cool. Eve tried her best to keep a neutral expression.
“Pheromone capsules fetch a pretty penny on the black market, but they’re difficult to transport. And it looks like your brother has enough to set you both up for months. Except with his record, he’d never make it off the station with them. You, on the other hand…”
“What about me?” Eve said more belligerently than she’d meant.
“Your brother is counting on your pristine record to get you through station customs without being searched, but that’s not what’s going to happen. The pills will be found and you will be charged with trafficking restricted substances.”
Eve’s eyes widened.
“So my question is: do you love your brother enough to spend five years in cryo storage for him? And ruin all prospects of a career after that?” Missy asked, popping a crispy dumpling in her mouth. “Or would you rather take this one way ticket to Mars and forget this whole thing happened? I hear they’re in desperate need of teachers these days.”
Eve stared wordlessly. How was she supposed to answer that?