Part two in the Rainbow series:
Sonorous hadn’t always been her name. She’d given it to herself during high school, before then she had been called Aaren Roy. A resident of the Dvorovoi Corporate City, she was more fortunate enough to have avoided the slums though she could hardly be called well off. Run by the corporation, her school was the company paying lip-service to their promise that anyone could move up in the world with hard work and dedication. In reality it was well known those things only did any good if you had family who could set you up with a corporate job. The result of this truth was that hardly any of the kids ever even bother showing up. The schools themselves understand this fact and acted as a community centre for kids below employment age. They provided a place where kids would meet and hang out as well as basic amenities like library and computers, but even those were usually completely empty.
Bookish and ungainly, Aaren wasn’t the most popular kid but nevertheless she had a group she spent most of her days with who were something like friends. Like-minded tech-heads and network ninjas with basic tech and hacking knowledge picked up from their parents and older siblings. When not hanging out getting drunk or high the four of them would loot tips and alley bins to search for salvageable tech to either tinker with or sell.
Most of them had parents who had been transferred to Dvorovoi. Only Qasim had been born and raised here, his local knowledge and thus sole access to contraband and fences made him the de facto leader of the group. It had his idea to raid the trash disposal tip, somehow that was always important to Aaren when she looked back on that time.
“Hey, Jeong-Suk!” Aaren shouted, waving down at the girl below her amid the trash, “Come have a look at this, I don’t recognise the make.”
Aaren carefully inspects the drone while she waits. The damage is significant, covering enough of the external area to make its intended purpose difficult to discern. The material was of good quality, what was left of it. She couldn’t tell exactly what had caused the structural damage, but it was likely that the internals were largely salvageable.
The crunching of metal and plastic behind her announced Jeong-Suk’s approach. Leading with a korean curse word Aaren didn’t know, she continues “That thing’s messed up, looks like it was in an explosion.”
“Do you recognise it?”
“Nope,” she admits, Aaren can smell her perfume as Jeong-Suk leans over her shoulder for a better look. The pleasant smell a welcome relief from the reek of garbage, “Though it’s hard to tell with it all melted to shit like that. We bring it back to the shop and open it up it’ll probably be fairly obvious.”
Aaren nods and moves over to the other side of the drone so the pair can reach it easily. Heavier than it looks, they struggle at first to lift it struggling to get it to their the salvage pile where Maria is separating wheat from the chaff. Springing to her feet at the sight of the drone, her eyes widen with interest as she discards the piece she was holding to the refuse pile.
“What is that?” she asks as she rushes over to help.
“Don’t know,” Jeong-Suk answers, “Aaren found it up on the second level. With all the damage, it could be anything until we open it up.”
“I can’t wait,” Maria says, with a greedy stare.
“Now we’ve got everything we’ll be able to carry for today. Could go get Qasim to help us move this stuff, please Aaren?” Jeong-Suk asks sweetly, batting her eyes cutely sitting down on the drone with dramatic exhaustion. With a shrug, Aaren heads off looking for Qasim. The boy would usually sneak off up to the fourth level to smoke when they went salvaging. It would be more frustrating if he wasn’t completely useless at hunting anyway.
The tip was a massive multi-level dump, with access between layers connected with dozens of elevators. The various layers collected trash from different sections of Dvorovoi with the lower levels collecting the rubbish from higher up in the city. Because a lot of stuff got thrown away by accident access to the levels two and lower was restricted. However Aaren had figured out a neat little trick that allowed her to bypass the second level lock with the tablet computer Maria had built her from salvage. Stepping out of the lift on the fourth level the faint sounds of voices reaches her from somewhere nearby.
“Spread out, move quickly and arrest anyone you find. Don’t worry about explanations we’ll sort that out later if we have to, for now just make sure not let anyone escape who might have seen it.”
Dvorovoi security, Aaren realises with a start. This is bad, Maria and Jeong-Suk were still down on the second level. If they got caught all four of them would be in big trouble. Peering quickly around the corner she counts only five security officers. Dashing back into the lift she races back to the second floor, mentally willing the override program to run faster this time.
Blindly running across the trash she reaches Maria and Jeong-Suk before the security. Panting heavily, she gasps out a warning, “We gotta hide. Security are coming. Five of them, arresting anyone they find.”
No stranger to dodging the law the trio scatter and conceal themselves amongst the rubbish. The security sweep is fast and lazy, in and out in less than twenty minutes. When they emerge from their hiding places, the drone is gone.
The misfortune elicits a torrent of staccato profanity from Maria, kicking and stomping on the left over salvage in her anger before being held back by the other two.
“I can’t believe this, first actually good thing we find here and it’s gone all because Qasim is too fucking lazy to help us,” she fumes.
“It’s not all bad,” Jeong-Suk grins smugly, “I grabbed the drones memory before we ran off, I bet it’ll fetch us a nice price.”