She woke, as she always did, wondering if she had dreamt.

The cot creaked under her weight until she climbed to her feet, eager to give the metal frame a better rest than she got. Outside, the churning engines of the factory had already begun for the day, marking the regular noise of conversation and work nearby with the undercurrent of its low rumble. Sounds gleefully reverberated off the piles that filled the area around town. All of it was junk, though some was more junk than others.

Grabbing her gear, she ducked out of the small enclosure tucked against one of the piles. A plastene tarp anchored by the jagged edges of some building, the rebar and duracrete facade forming the rear wall of her makeshift abode. The junk piled in on the other two sides, leaving her a tiny alcove for the cot. No one would steal her things during the day, there were little hovels like this all around the junk piles, though most others were decorated with pictures or pinnings from flimsi-mags.

"Hey Blondie," chirped the little boy sitting on a pile across from her. It wasn't her name, Jido just said it 'suited' her. Whatever that meant. Today Jido wore a helmet that left only his mouth and chin exposed, his fingers dancing over the jury-rigged control system he had put together for the droid hovering above them. His unseen eyes watched through the droid's one working holocam, which surveyed the area around them.

"What's the biz today, Jido?" she asked him. Other beings joked that Jido had his head in the clouds but his ear to the ground. All she knew was that the handy youngling seemed to always know what was going on around them.

"Big special on duralumin today. Not the armor stuff, think cooking pots, or safety boots." He tipped back the helmet and eyed her pair of boots, laced almost all the way up to her knees. "Maybe those fasteners, if you're lucky."

"Bet your droid has some," she smirked at the boy and started past him, jumping up to swat at the crippled droid. Her hand passed through air, her giggles drifting back to him.

"Leave Mara alone!" The droid zoomed away from her at Jido's command, but she saw a grin on the boy's face when she glanced back his way. The droid had been little more than a shell and a bad motivator when the boy found it, nursing it back into working condition part by salvaged part. Mara's flight systems still required Jido to manually control them and it didn't even have much in the way of a personality matrix anymore. Still, she knew the droid was next to kin to the boy, he would be hard pressed to give her up even if it meant going hungry.

She donned her open helmet and fastened the straps under her chin, then hefted the bag over her shoulder. She stuck her hands in her pockets as she made her way into the junk field, making a mental note to bring something back for him. Jido could spend the whole day tinkering and not notice until it was too dark. As it was, even she could spend the whole day in the junk piles and barely make enough to feed herself.

It went like this every day. Most of the beings who weren't employed at the factory —and most would have preferred its higher wages and steady work— scrounged around the piles. They were huge at first, taller than the light pole at the center of town. Each pile was stacked with rusted metals, decaying fabrics, and broken plastics waiting to be sorted out among those things that could be reused or repaired, sent to the factory as scrap, or simply forever discarded.

Discarded, that's what she was.

She couldn't remember how she got to the junk world. Nor did anyone around here remember seeing her before that first day. Her life began on one of those piles, waking up in a sea of junk. No one understood how she wasn't crushed and never before had anyone heard of a being getting caught in the junk deliveries. There was no family or friends to claim her, and the Kyber Khans running the factory simply laughed when she asked them if they knew who she was.

A being with no past, with no purpose, with no identity.

Just junk, like the rest of them on Altier.