Tori woke up like a pot left to boil over, lurching up and gasping from a nightmare immediately forgotten. Her eyes were hot and dry and crusted firmly shut from the dew drops she used last night. The high was second-to-none, but you always paid for it in the morning. She picked the goop from her lashes and opened her eyes to an unfamiliar apartment. It was dim and the lights appeared to be red-tinged backups, but it was hard to tell; dew drops always left you seeing red.
She slipped out from the covers and found her clothes in a loose pile on the floor. Her socks were still on her feet, and her shoes were absent. The bedroom was cramped and cluttered. She dressed hastily and made for the door. A bra hung on the handle. It wasn’t hers.
Just then the door flew open, and in its place was a pale man with a pointy chinstrap beard that made his head look like a piece of candy corn. He wore only a long sleeveless tee that made him look like a sack of potatoes and a shit-eating grin. “Hey,” he said with animation, “Tori, right?”
“You up for another go?”
“Coming down pretty hard, actually. Have you seen my shoes?”
The little potato man’s face softened and then twisted into a smirk. “You don’t remember, huh?” He chuckled. “You traded ’em for some lab-strength red eye with some chick at Black Sky.”
“I was at the club last night?”
“Hell, that was just the first stop. You were on a tear.”
Tori shook her head but the cobwebs were as good as welded in place. “Well, I’m just gonna head out, so…”
He stepped aside and she made it halfway to the exit before he said, “You know it’s a blackout, right?”
Shit! The red lighting. The giant cylindrical station in Jovian orbit underwent regular rolling blackouts. She could never keep the schedule straight. The trams would be offline for maintenance. “What district is this?”
He crossed his arms and sucked his teeth. “Mayflower.”
“Mayflower?!” She was clear across the station. Walking was out of the question. She made no attempt to hide her disappointment—exaggerated it in fact.
“Could be worse,” he said, but he didn’t offer an example.
She lamented her shoes; they were brand new, and as expensive as they looked. She hoped there was more dew left over. He must have read her mind, because he disappeared into the bedroom only to return with a dropper bottle. She took it posessively and tilted her head back. Fuck it, she thought, let’s ride this thing ’til we wreck it.