Holle was running errands at Central.
She paused to look up at the overwhelmingly monolithic face of Archibald Hurston, shining inanimately against the cold black marble that surrounded it.
Holle had grown up with this dramatically sombre aesthetic. It was so familiar it was strangely home like.
Safe within the confines of the Lorville family zones that only the super-wealthy experienced, these corporate elites maintained their insular existence, surrounded by money & focused on money, their offspring were reared, schooled & trained for their future roles in family businesses & leadership.
Just one last stop & Holle could leave for the gathering. As she tried to maintain a sober pace in fitting with the Lorville ambience, she could not think of any of her friends, colleagues or business associates here who would appreciate her desire to go to a DSC Crew Gathering.
Her mother would have understood if she had still been alive. It was her mother's sister - Holle's auntie - Eri, that encouraged her double life. It was Eri who had taken her along to her first Crew Gathering in her late teens & it was Eri who since then, had always let Holle know when another gathering had been called - & Holle had always tried her best to get to it.
For this gathering, Eri had even gone as far as to arrange a lift for her to get there, Holle just had to get to ArcCorp to connect with it, she checked the name of the person she was meeting up with again…' that was it...Taden'.
Impatient to leave the business district, Holle was frustratingly short on time as usual.
Unable to find the person to whom she was supposed to deliver the documents that she held rolled in her hand - her errand had failed. Not for the first time she questioned why the company insisted on documents anyway & not data transfer like everyone else in the damned city.
'Well. they will just have to have to wait until I return,' She decided impulsively.
Steeling herself, she crammed the docs into the gathering to-go bag she had been carrying all day & picked up her pace to the train station. It was out of character for her to abandon an errand & as her footsteps echoed through the cavernous platform she hoped there wouldn't be any repercussions.
If Holle hadn't been who she was her bag would have most probably been searched at least once on her way, instead, she received only discreet nods of acceptance from the security guards, each of which recognised her not only for her semi VIP status but from the intense training regime she shared with the elite security every week.
Unlike many of her ilk, Holle had downright refused a bodyguard, insisting she relied on her own ability to defend & protect herself & others if need be. She took her defence training very seriously & it had earned her recognition & respect.
As the train headed for Teasa spaceport, Holle watched the dirty bones of Hurston's train route smoulder past.
Always somewhere of natural beauty, gatherings were a breath of fresh air for Holle. There, amongst people, most of which didn't give a crap about money & certainly wouldn't trample on any living thing to get it - it couldn't be or feel further from her everyday life situation on this drained & beasted planet.
At these gatherings, away from Lorville's immurement, life took on a rhythm & perspective Holle enjoyed, she didn't feel quite so stupid-crazy to fantasise about discovering a jumpoint, disappearing through it and closing it for good behind her, in fact, it felt like a real & exciting possibility.
But here, in the thick of this planet's prevailing Industrial fog, it felt nothing of the sort, escape was a fantasy. She was who she was - where she was, trapped in subservience to the fall-out of Hurston's ideals & she couldn't see this changing.
Plus her father, who seemed so alone since her mother had died, surely needed her, she was the only connection with something outside of his Corporate responsibility that he had, even if he was too busy to see her. She wished she could bring him to a gathering, he could do with a break & they could do with some time together.
Holle had voiced this idea to her Aunt. Eri however, had strongly discouraged her, stressing how, as much as he would likely enjoy it, the importance of Holle's father maintaining his current reputation was as important as maintaining Holle's own, perhaps even more so at present.
ArcCorp sucked in from the distance as her QT pulled her ship to a halt.
Holle took a few timely moments to skirt the city core & surf the outskirts to enjoy the glow of sundown.
Sure at times like this, it looked almost inspiring, but she knew that beneath its sun gilded surfaces & tourist facade, ArcCorp was much like Lorville; full of commercial exploits, wannabes & a growing workforce resigned to slave for a system they ultimately wanted to escape from - could they not see the irony?
Blinded by the hypocrisy of her own judgements and the sun reflecting in her eyes, Holle squinted, veered her ship & called in - to land at Area 18 ATC.