As if in answer, the call box crackles to life. “Yes, can I help you?” asks a solicitous voice. Oh gods, they’re not even aware it’s happened?
Dimmel rattles off the ID number printed on the wall. “—on the Wards, it’s stopped and the lights are off.” There’s a long, long pause.
“Are you still there?” he snaps.
“Yes, sir, that’s very unfortunate, but, ahh—there are a number of Keepers doing maintenance in the shaft. They appear to have activated the emergency stop remotely.”
“Well, un-activate it!”
“Ah, that’s the problem, sir. There’s a lag hardwired into the emergency stop. It won’t reactivate for several hours.”
“Hours?! Why the hell would you schedule that kind of maintenance in the middle of the day?”
“We, ah, didn’t. The Keepers decided—”
“Is this station run by the Council or a bunch of bugs!?”
“I’m sorry, sir, but C-Sec is doing all it can the fix your elevator—”
“You mean nothing?”
“—if there is an emergency the red button may be used to contact a Citadel Security operator directly thank you.” The operator finishes in a rush and the box goes silent.
“Why, you useless—!” Dimmel slams his hand next to the box, then spins on his heel and kicks the wall. “I can’t believe I started paying taxes for this!”
This can’t be happening. This kind of shit only happens in predictable tv shows when the writers have obviously run out of ideas. Srikit rubs his neck, sore from all the pointless standing around he’s been through today. The fucker on the other side of the elevator just won’t stop making noise and it’s seriously getting on his nerves, as if they weren’t strained enough yet.
“Just shut the fuck up already.” Srikit forces the words through his teeth, digging his nails into his own palms. He’s not going to start screaming like this idiot with no self-control. He’s not going to punch the idiot either. He’ll stay calm and assess the severity of this situation. He inhales, and grabs the stranger’s shoulder in order to get his attention.
“You got any food?”
Dimmel scowls. Maybe the stranger hadn’t meant for him to hear that, but he doesn’t take kindly to being told off by a great useless lump. “Well, excuse me for being unhappy about being trapped in a closet for half a day because C-Sec doesn’t have the spine to interrupt their precious bugs.” Still, he should probably stop letting his temper get the better of him.
When the man grabs his shoulder, Dimmel expects something grave to come out of his mouth, like “I’m having a heart attack” or “This elevator has no air circulation”. Instead—“Food? You’re worried about food? You certainly won’t be starving to death any time soon. Where would I even be carrying any? You see a Fishdog Food Factory bag anywhere?”
He steps away, activating his omni-tool. “There’s not even any extranet signal in here. Unbelievable…you heard the operator. All we can do is wait,” he spits. He eyes the floor speculatively, then shudders in disgust, decisively planting himself against the wall and crossing his arms. His fingers drum out an agitated beat.
“Yeah, I do think food is more important than your fucking work e-mail or whatever! You have some fucked up priorities yourself.” Srikit turns around and returns to what he considers his wall, having decided that paying attention to this guy was a waste of energy.
Gravity pulls him into a sitting position. His head finds his knees, and his eyes close. It’s the first time in years he has been without a job, and apparently he’s spending all this precious free time by running pointless errands and being stuck in an elevator with some loud neurotic. He quickly forgets he was supposed to be ignoring the other man.
“You’re just like my old boss.” he mumbles into his knees.