The Heart of Mediocrity (1)

“No-no-no-no-no,” Arúaz Váriz Xinak Laníc Kúran viKoriaz said, hsis heads moving in some agitation.  “Absolutely not, never.  We and our crew cannot be paid enough to take you to Vonis Prime, no.   The kalatri do not like visitors of our kind, no-no-no.  Cause us/us/ours too much trouble, risk, damage.  Cannot pay us/us enough to make that voyage worthwhile.”  Hse peered at the suited figure through the hydrocarbon fog.  “Why do you want to charter a múrast ship anyway, oxygen-breather?  Our icehull has no cabins suited for your air and warmth, and the months to Vonis are a long time to stay in a suit.  Besides, the kalatri would only be more suspicious.  No-no, no answers, not our business.  We and ours will not take you.”

“It is a matter of my cargo, not myself.”  The suited figure tossed a cryp-token into the negotiating area.  “This, for the charter rate to Vonis.  This much again,” as a second token joined the first, “for your trouble, as well as,” a third joined them, “this more, for no further questions.  And as much again, and the cost of repairing any damage, when we return.”

viKoriaz stared at the tokens, counting; nearly four times the going rate for the charter lay in front of hsem already.  “With no further questions, how can we/we be sure we/we will ever return to see that pay?”

“Be sure?  You cannot.  But I assure you that I do not plan to throw my own life away on some foolish plan.  I am merely… in need of fast transportation, and yours is the only ship for charter in Fínar space right now.”

viKoriaz’s minds argued inwardly for a moment, before hse curled back into his oil-bath and took possession of the cryp with a tongue-flick.  “It seems we/we can be paid enough after all, oxygen-breather.  We/we/ours can be ready to depart from midwatch tomorrow.  The Consensus of Múrethch.  Bay 171-RR.”

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