The Artist stood in the lineup of other workers waiting for their pay. They had gotten used to seeing her here, but more importantly the guards had. To them she was just another down-on-her-luck resident of the Arc hoping for the big payoff.
Of course the reality was very different. She still had her guns under her suit, as well as her knives. Of course with the suit on she couldn’t get to them, but that would be a moot point soon enough.
To accelerate things she stepped out of line, and marched over to the guard.
“I want my pay now. I’ve been waiting in this line long enough. I want my pay!”
The guard glared at her through his facemask and motioned towards the line with his gun.
“I’d get back in line before someone takes your spot lady. Then you’ll have to wait even longer in the line”
“No! You people have been stealing from me enough! You dock my wages, pay me nothing, steal what little I can make from the prospecting, you take everything! You probably rig the scanners to show up blank so that we don’t get the extra cash but you guys still get the mineral rich asteroids!”
She had turned her mic up to max, and she could tell that others were starting to get stirred up by her words.
“Yah! Do you people really think that you can do this to us time and time again! You pay us nothing, and charge us more for working here than we earn! You take everything from us! This is not fair! Not fair at all!”
The people behind her were stirring now. The guard began to say something, but she cut him off.
“I’ve had enough!” she shoved him, positioning herself perfectly to grab his gun when he aimed it at her.
Which he did. She pushed it far enough to the side and up that when he shot the bullets went just shy of the crowd.
“He’s trying to shoot us!” She cried as she smashed her fist forwards into the side of his suit, the miniature welder that she had scavenged quickly tearing a hole in the material.
His eyes bulged as the air rushed out and his hands went for his sides, but it was too late. She slashed the suit a second time to make sure that he would die, then grabbed his gun and fired it at the next nearest guard.
The other guards, hearing gunshots, opened fire on the crowd of angry miners, starting a panic. Exactly what she had hoped for.
As the miners rushed the guards she spun the rifle around and shot another two before throwing it to another miner. He roared with glee before being shot three times, and dropping dead.
In the growing chaos she slipped away and ran down a side corridor. She had scouted the area before, so she knew where she was going.
She turned another corner, and ran smack into a guard. Her eyes widened as she brought up the rifle, but the Artist was already moving. She anchored one arm through a strut, and swung her legs up into the guard’s faceplate. With a crack the heavy metal treads shattered the steel, and the guard fell back, her face bloating from decompression. The Artist grabbed her gun and swung it to shoot the guard behind her.
As she came back to her feet, her spin completed, she continued down the corridor towards the commanders shuttle.
Sure enough, it was being loaded with his supplies and effects. No commander wanted to risk staying aboard during a riot; the guards would take control again, but they might get hurt in the process. No, it was best not to risk it.
And of course, nobody as rich as the commander of one of the mighty strip miners would have anything less than a state-of-the-art top-of-the-line model for their shuttle. No, they needed every commodity that their pay could buy so as to try and compete with the other commanders.
The Artist shot the three guards, then the deck captain. The people doing the loading she ignored. They looked at her for a moment before going back to their loading. It was safer to ignore those who ignored you in this world.
The Artist smiled smugly as she stepped over the corpses and boarded the shuttle. The plan had gone off without a hitch, and now she would be able to track down Lian wherever the liar went.
The ship was as beautiful as she had expected. Wood panelling on the trim, real leather seats, and padded cushions. Of course, that was not in the cockpit; the pilot needed to be focused on flying.
But the rest of the ship was beautiful. The passenger cabin was entirely modular; it could, if the button panel was any guide, change to be a kitchen, a bedroom, an entertaining suite, or a bar.
The Artist didn’t stop to gawk at the living cabin. After checking to make sure that there was nobody in it she closed the outside hatch, and prepped the ship for take off.A minute later and she was flying out into the cold of deepspace, her suit’s helmet thrown back. She was free.