Himari was a rather short woman, but when it came to the workshop she was a giant. Years of heavy lifting and long hours left her with a strong frame, calloused hands, and hair the color of steel. Golden yellow diamonds spread out across her shoulders, standing out against her brown skin.
"Look alive, get on your goggles, all of you! I know some of you have mechanical eyes, but that won't stop them from breaking if you're not careful!" She called out as an aerial craft touched down on the workshop's landing pad. "Let's see what they need!"
Her people, human and android alike, quickly went to work as they all rushed out onto the landing pad. The workshop crew was a mishmash of color - hand-dyed fabric, alloy, and paint - not a uniform among them.
She took pride in that.
As she started to step out onto the platform, the diamond tattoo on her arm began to pulse with light, and a bell tone sounded in the shop.
Someone was at the door.
"I'll catch up," she called out, pausing for only a moment as she was heading inside, "and be careful!"
The workshop was a wide and towering space, big enough to haul in any aerial craft that needed to hide from security. And yet...it was home, in every little space that they could, her people made it their own. With a few taps to the diamond tattoo on her arm, the monitor beside the inner door lit up.
"Entry camera," Himari ordered, stopping at the control for the door. "Let's see who it is."
She raised a brow as the camera view came online.
D'Anna, and she wasn't alone.
With a small chuckle and a smile, she slid the door open with a simple turn of the switch.
"D'Anna." She barked with a laugh, practically yanking the taller woman in through the door. "It's been months since your last visit, you should drop by more often!"
"I've been a bit busy," D'Anna sighed, a slight smile on her face.
She looked past her side to Rosi and the mechs behind her, "right..."
She sighed and waved them all in the door, "come on, come on. We're in the middle of a drop."
She closed the door behind them as they made it inside, waving towards the back. There were plenty of moving parts in here, and she'd sure as hell keep any of them from getting caught in them.
"I'm sure you remember where to go," she said with a smile.
D'Anna smiled back, polite but warm as the others followed her, "you haven't moved that mech table have you? Some of these people could use it."
"Closer to the commons up in the loft, keep folks company while they're getting patched up," she ran to meet a young android from her crew. His eyes shined from behind the goggles as they looked at her, his cybernetics much more...visible than D'Anna's. "Alright, what do we have to work with?"
"Something's up with their atmo-drivers, I gave them a look, and I think there's a short in a couple of the coils," he explained as the two of them made their way back to the landing pad.
She pulled the clip off her safety belt, locking it onto the magnetic rail that ran the length of the platform with a single, practiced swing, "let's check out those coils then!"
They had seventy minutes to finish their work, and maybe finish up another before they had to pack it in.
And still, the clock ticked down.
"Another raid hit?" D'Anna's voice was soft as she leaned against one of the shop's support beams, watching everyone work in the bay below.
"It...was a close one," Himari sighed, looking out to her crew - her family - as they quickly got the craft in the air, and back on its descent down to the landing docks at the bottom of the shaft.
A bell tone sounded outside with 30 minutes still left on the clock, a voice crackling out that sector security was inbound. Her people were ready, rushing back in before the platform started to retract, and the doors closed. It had been far too close.
"You moved the path, I wanted to check in."
"Heh, you almost sound worried about us."
D'Anna bit her cheek as she looked back at Rosi and the others chatting with some of the crew coming up from below, "because I am, ma'am."
"So formal!" Himari wrinkled her nose, her Japanese a harsh but welcome huff as she elbowed the other woman, "don't you go calling me ma'am, I'm not that old just yet."
D'Anna didn't answer immediately,
hands fidgeting in her lap,
gold standing out against the red in the sunlight that came through the bay windows.
She still remembered that scared young woman that came to her door, clutching a scrap of paper with her yellow diamond on it. It was years ago, and still it felt like only a short time for her. She swore she sounded like a grandmother in her own head sometimes.
"Can you...take them in?"
She couldn't help but roll her eyes at the young android.
she knew that all too well.
"Have I ever said I can't in the past? If I really couldn't do this, I'd be down there playing boss on the landing dock with the rest of them. I'm up here, and I may take lead but I'm just another part of this little crew of ours."
She sighed, shoulders sagging as she watched Rosi get patched up on the mech table, "I know."
She looked Rosi over as some of the crew patched them up, eyes lingering on the ionization burns and tow cable damage on their plating, "shock and haul, hmm?"
"...yeah, yeah I think so."
She frowned as she clenched her fists, "rotten little thing, using an arc gun like that. It's supposed to be a welder, a-a cutter! Not some damn stun gun."
"Well," Himari grunted as she rose to her feet, old joints complaining as usual, "let's see what we can do for them."
It was good to see D'Anna smile at her again.
Himari nudged her as they walked together, looking up at the much taller woman with a smile to match hers, "so, what's the job this time?"
"Really?" She raised a brow as she looked at her, golden eyes glancing up with a soft chuckle, "search and rescue."
She cracked her knuckles as she came over to the mech table, gently shooing the others to the side, "let me have a look at them."
Himari sighed as she closely examined the damage, the young android from before handing her a pair of scanning goggles, "and the ko nashi that you had to rescue them from?"
Rosi's eyes flickered on for a moment as they looked between the two of them, "I...believe I saw him tied to a table."
"Ha ha! Serves him right!" Himari cackled, "now, I'm going to need you to shut down for a bit so I can check your circuits."
Rosi's eyes adjusted and adjusted again as they looked from Himari to D'Anna with a silent question.
"You're in good hands," D'Anna soothed with a smile she rarely showed anyone. "Himari here is the lead mechanic."
"The medic too, don't pretend I don't see that split knuckle of yours." Himari raised a brow as she looked at her through the goggles, "I swear you need to be more careful with those fists of yours."
"Well ma'am it was either my fists, or getting shocked." She deadpanned.
"I'm sorry what?"
Rosi looked back and forth between them before promptly shutting off their eyes again, "I'm shutting down now..."
Himari frowned as she looked D'Anna over, all while the young android wouldn't look her in the eye.
They fought the whole time, and the whole time it was just the same routine that she wished they could change. D'Anna never wanted to talk about it, not really. And for the moment she tried to focus on bandaging her hand…
But there were far more scars than she was comfortable with,
more than she saw last time she was here.
Her blood boiled in the silence, one that she hated.
"I know it's dangerous," D'Anna said, soft-spoken as ever. "But...it's the job."
It didn't have to be, Himari knew she knew that.
"You know the crew here misses you."
"Ma'am, please don't start…"
"Will you listen!" Himari sighed and rubbed at her brow, "I-I worry about you, okay? This is dangerous work you're doing."
D'Anna frowned as her voice grew louder, harsher, "and this job is safe, Himari? What would happen if sector security found us here?"
She ignored how Himari frowned up at her, freehand curling into a fist as she continued, "what if they weren't in a good mood? How is this any safer than what I do?"
Himari took a deep breath, biting back so many arguments they'd had before as she closed her eyes. She wouldn't shout, not this time.
Slowly D'Anna relaxed, letting her shoulders sag as she looked down at the floor. She hated this silence too.
"I will...always be grateful for my time here, 'Mari," D'Anna said, laying a hand over hers as she met her gaze. "But I've got work of my own."
"Oro...kana…why you stick your neck out like this, I'll never know," she sighed, shaking her head. "Your friend's plating should be repaired soon."
D'Anna gave a bow and a polite, but small smile as she spoke, "thank you, for everything you've done for me."
"You're welcome," Himari sighed, looking down at her bandaged hand, "I don't mind helping the people you bring here...I just wish you could be safer."
"I know, 'Mari, I know…"
The quiet was the part of this routine she hated most.
But in some ways, they needed it, if only for a few moments.
She knitted her brow as she worked through her thoughts, taking a slow breath before she started again, "where to next for you? Where's...home for your friend?"
"Family in the upper towers district," D'Anna gave her hand a few testing flexes, her joints barely humming at the movement.
She laced her fingers together in thought, raising a brow as she looked D'Anna in the eye, "how you make getting in and out of there look so easy, I'll never know."
"I've...got friends in a few places."
"Hmm," Himari broke into a small chuckle, "so do I, you know."
Before either of them could continue, they heard a soft tone as Rosi came over to them, looking good as new.
"Apologies," Rosi said, their eyes refocusing as they looked between the two women, "I just wanted to know when we would be going. I...don't wish to keep Cole waiting."
"Well then," Himari grunted as she got up, her joints complaining the whole way as she rose to her feet, "you two have had a long night, and I think the others are settling in just fine."
Rosi couldn't really smile, but there was something in the way their eyes shined that made Himari smile back at them. She'd had plenty of time to get used to reading those little expressions in these mechanical eyes, the way some of her crew would have a bounce in their step when they were happy, or bear the full weight of metal bodies when they were down.
She knew D'Anna saw it too from the look on her face as she went to Rosi's side.
"I'll meet you at the door," D'Anna said with a reassuring smile, squeezing their hand.
Rosi tilted their head for a moment, looking at her bandaged hand before quickly nodding and heading off, "of course."
Himari just kept smiling as she joined her at her side, laying a gentle hand on her arm.
"You've been up all night," she sighed, looking up at D'Anna as she chuckled. "Not exactly a recipe for a good night's sleep."
"I know, I know," she sighed, giving her a small, apologetic smile.
"You should come by again soon, if only for a meal. I meant it when I said the crew misses you."
D'Anna looked down at her for a moment before giving a firm nod, "I'll try."
She lightly punched her arm, giving a nod in Rosi's direction, "go on now, you've got a job to finish."
"Yes ma'am." D'Anna said with a growing smile as she headed off, ignoring the indignant shout that followed after her.