Les was a stevedore at the Hylas dockyards, and though she never left the station something of the deepspace rattle infected her tongue. Her hands were heavy and callused, ropy with muscle from wrestling the loads into and out of the waldoes that did the heavy lifting. It wasn’t glamourwork, wasn’t brainwork, just brutal backbreaking labor day in, day out, but it was as close as she could make it to the big ships.

Les had a chippie spinward from the docks where the rotation of the station gave everyone close to their Earth weight, a brainless piece of nothing that had two degrees, one in mathematics and one in sociology, who worked a minor job in the station government. She kept a clean house and massaged Les neck when it was bothering her.

“Why you want to work such a filthy job?” she asked. “You got brains. Why you want to waste yourself on gruntwork?”

“Hush,” said Les. She made her voice high in mockery. “Why you want to ask questions like that all the time?” Her chippie dug her nails into the sides of her neck. Les grunted. “Someday I’ll get out, you’ll see. Someday I’ll go up the well and out into the sunlight. You’ll see. You’ll see.”