No one is tending the counter when Imogen and Lilly enter Remí’s Rapid Repairs. Farther back in the shop, an older black man works at a piece of equipment. Given all the sparks flying from his welding, it is probably a good thing he has so little hair remaining on his balding head. Imogen taps the old-fashioned bell on the counter to draw his attention, but it is as broken as everything else in the place. She pulls out her wrench and bangs on it with that. “Leo said you might be able to help me,” Imogen says loudly, pitching her voice over the noise of the work.
That toaster in the consulate had a name? Lilly marvels. She does not remember that AI thing introducing itself as Leo, but she was a bit distracted by the sweet power armor on the marine at the door.
Half under a vehicle component, Remí bangs his head into it as the summons startles him. He gives himself a shove with one foot and the low-lying dolly he is on rolls all the way out. “Ugh! Jeez!” he moans, holding his head. “What? Leo sent you?” He does not have the thick accent Imogen does, but hers is pretty localized to Umoja itself. He might come from one of the other planets in the protectorate.
The mechanic eyes the white-skinned blonde and the muscle backing her up. “Look, Leo owes me money, not the other way around. Okay?” he says.
That is news to Imogen, but she plays it cool. “Good news for you: I’ll be seeing him really soon, so I might be able to pick that up for you.”
“And who might you be?”
“I’m family,” Imogen says, “so I have some sway with Leo that you don’t.”
Remí keeps an eye on the taller woman. “And you brought your… bodyguard along, just because?”
“Have you been outside your shop?”
“Fair enough,” Remí acknowledges. The exostation can be pretty rough sometimes.
“There’re some things I need done so I can get down to the planet to see Leo,” Imogen tells him.
“Yeah, and there’s some money I need from Leo if I’m going to help out any of his kin,” he fires back.
“I’ve got money of my own.”
“Well, good, I’ll take that too, but…”
Imogen and Remí proceed to haggle back and forth about how he can help with the needed services. The two options are getting a security service to look after Saffron while they take a shuttle down or evaluating and fixing up the science vessel so it can make the trip. For the first option, Remí provides some recommendations, but they are not ringing endorsements. Shipjackers Anonymous is the cheapest, but none of the security services are very effective. Most people who end up at the exostation are here because they did not know they needed the environmental certification, which makes them marks ripe for cons. Remí cannot say for sure that there are direct links between the security services and chopshops, but his own ship went missing when it was entrusted to Gold Star Security.
Given that their ship is a science vessel, Remí thinks there is a pretty good chance it can be fixed up, assuming it is in good condition to begin with. Aside from the prices he quotes for parts and labor, the environmental certificate itself runs a hundred credits. Imogen’s psionic read on Remí is that he really is driven by money, which is a shame, as that is a resource she does not have much of. His prices are inflated beyond reason, and Imogen takes him to task for this.
“You’re stuck on this exostation, scraping to get by. Your business is never going to grow to anything capable of pulling in the kind of income you want in this location, doing this kind of work. Particularly not if you continue to repel potential customers with your unreasonable prices.” Imogen brandishes her wrench—demonstrably, not threateningly—and continues, “You’re not talking to an idiot. I know how to fix ships, too. Your business sense is for crap if you think you can just tell people these ridiculous prices. I’m willing to pay you at reasonable rates for helping me get what I need.”
Remí looks around his shop, sullen. “Yeah, I probably won’t get very far here,” he says resignedly. He sounds used to getting pushed around, which might be why Leo did not bother to pay him. “But what am I going to do, really? Fine, fine, I’ll take a look at your ship. There’s probably just some air filters we need to update.” He quotes a far more reasonable price and adds, “Might be able to do it for even cheaper if your friend is a good scrounger. If you can pitch in with the repairs like you claim you can, and if your friend can dig up some of the components we might need to go in it, we can make it pass certification. It is a science vessel, after all.”
“Are there places on this station with piles of old parts that people can just rummage through?” Imogen asks, somewhat incredulous.
“Well, you know, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and the law around here is pretty weak. As long as you’re not touching the consulate, they don’t mess with you. And as long as you’re not touching the life support system. If there’s a piece of junk lying around—and there’s plenty of that—sure, have at. Most of it is not in any kind of good shape, but if you know how to dig, you might find something.”
“I’m not a thief,” Lilly declares.
“But you’ve got sharp eyes,” Imogen tells her.
“And it’s salvage,” Remí says. “Salvage.”