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The latter was easy, really. He'd stood at a techno's back while he was keying the code into the door's keypad and he remembered the sequence for later use. Of course he told no one else; that would be stupid, giving away secrets without a trade. And no one had offered him a trade valuable enough to share the code, and with every day that passed, those numbers became more valuable to him.

That was why he always came here alone, to this dingy and oil-stained part of Ring 2, Section C. Not smart, and with smugglers and filchers about, not safe at all, and something his grandma would sure clobber him over the head for, if she knew, which she didn't.

One quick look over his shoulder--no one in the grey metal corridor--and he punched in the numbers.

Click--hiss. The door slid aside in a silent whisper and Ari slipped into the large space beyond, dressed in an orange overall whose sleeves hid his hands, and whose shoulder pads covered his too-skinny shoulders.

The air bit into his face, empty and cold, sterile with white efficiency, whining tools and snaking hoses and the controlled shouts of techno-crew at work. So unlike the warren that was his home.

He peered at the dockside walkways, past the grey shapes of several transport vessels, past the bundles of feeder cables leading from dockside to the ships, to the openings of offices and storage rooms. Even there, the organised purpose of unloading crew and the meetings between pilots and dockside technos spelled order.

And order meant orders, funnily enough, and that meant someone giving them, someone from Tier 1, fair-skinned and tall, an Enforcer perhaps.

Ari already had more run-ins with Enforcers than he should have, been sent to scrub the recycling station floor for more times than he cared to remember. Today, he didn't see any green uniforms, so he continued on, crossed the floor behind a ship and clambered up the walkway.

To the technicians whose first attention was on the bowels of the ships, he was nothing but a cargo-boy, come on some errand for my employers or for the mine. Techno crew were Tier 1, with names like Robertson, Kessler and Landau, and looked like they were all brothers, tall, white and god-like. They behaved like that, too; they called the Tier 2 workers the 'native population' or 'Indians' and herded them like sheep. Ari looked like one of those sheep; that was his strength.

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