Challenge #01682-D221: Mind the GapsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  last year


A purpose isn't much of a comfort when there's no satisfaction to be found in it. -- RecklessPrudence

Some people have a grand purpose. They save the universe. They save lives. They even save Time. Most of them save the day. Then there's the people who don't save anyone. Their purpose... my purpose... is to fill the little gaps.

My name is Binraise, and I'm a third-level Administration Clerk.

It's my job to read profiles and recommend courses of action that could help people. But not in the big ways, like extra Time or a new vessel could do. I don't change lives. I'm part of the safety net. I'm society's... 'spak filla', to use one of Ambassador Shayde's idiosyncratic and apt metaphors. I make sure that people don't fall through the cracks unless they actively go burrowing for them. Which leads me to discuss the case of Mother Kyerr.

We would eventually learn that her name is Lin Carisdotter, but at the time she was another nameless, undocumented transient in the Labyrinth. One who had boarded the station days ago and bypassed the station's usual hazard checks.

I was her case manager. All I had to go on was a few minutes of airlock footage and glimpses on security cameras. And then she went into the access vents and vanished. I watched the Medik files for any outbreaks, but she seemed to be healthy. She was also very young and very pregnant. I had JOATs in the immigration districts scouring the tunnels for her. Trying to get any gossip about a newcomer with or about to have a baby.

Amalgam Station is huge. There's areas where people don't believe that they're living inside a station. People who've never known anything more than their immediate neighbourhood. There are access tunnels and empty spaces that have been that way since before the Galactic Alliance formed. No-one has been able to completely map it, because it is always changing. And there are some areas that, frankly, it's dangerous to go into.

The JOATs raised some Time for her, and I held it in escrow until she was found.

The scut section of Recycling saw a very pregnant and small woman handling the non-toxic line, but by the time anyone could investigate, she was gone. She never visited the same Recycling section twice, the footage was unreliable. We had biometrics, but that just fit her description. We couldn't confirm it was her and, worse, she had a great fear of any cameras and avoided them.

And then there was the horrifying week in which all trace of her vanished completely. There was a newborn, hours old, left inside a peach crate at Veet Station 41118. She'd stolen a towel to wrap the baby in, from the Left Fin Ritz Rest, but there was no matching footage of her on the hotel cams. Laundry Services, another transient-friendly work arena, didn't have cameras on anything more than their entrances and exits.

Again, nothing more than a biometric match.

Since the baby was temporarily logged as Peaches Kyerr, my unknown transient got retroactively named Mother Kyerr. I had secretly named her Misi. Because she was missing.

Another host of JOATs adopted Peaches and invested in a fund for her, but I was worried about Mother Kyerr. Humans a deathworlders. Even giving birth can kill them.

It was not me who found her, but she was found. She wanted to keep her daughter, so the funds for Mother Kyerr and Peaches Kyerr were pooled into the renamed Carinsdotter fund. I could finally do my job and make sure that she had a family abode and a community of support.

I love the happy endings.

Most of the time? I just get yelled at. If I get any notice at all.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Moonb007]

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