Floating Market (2/3)

Jennis Inurian, captain-owner of the free trader Transfinite Revenue, went through her traditional pre-disembarkation ritual – checking the telltale lights on her emergency pack and the collar of the skinsuit she wore under her spacer’s leathers, adjusting her trader’s signet to best show the Confraternity seal, and testing the charge on her pocket pistol. (While the Market Peace was an ancient custom, it wasn’t a guarantee.) This done, she glanced over her shoulder at her would-be assistants.

“All right, ‘prentices. You all know the market rules by now. These are my rules. Don’t trade anything on the Revenue’s account, buy or sell, without checking with me first. Don’t even suggest that it might be possible until you check back with me. You can buy and sell on your own account, but for Covalan’s sake, don’t sell anything unless you know exactly what it is and it’s nailed down in the contract. Whatever you buy, I get to review before it comes on board, and if you bought something internal, that means I get to review you before you come back on board. If you want to be careful about it, page me and I’ll take a look at it for you.”

The outer airlock door rolled back, and she inhaled deeply, catching the rich, spicy scent of myriad species and goods crammed into too few hab modules with too little organized air reprocessing. It smelt promising enough. A glance up and around the circumference of this first module showed a decent spread of goods, anyway: synthetic rations, starship parts, new skills for old…

Gold girders, gold ballast, gold trusses, gold frames. That’s cute. Should sell nicely to the barely-out-of-the-well crowd.

…wreckyard pickings, salvaged prototypes, used bodies…

A fourth stable isotope of hydrogen? Yeah, kid, and your wormhole has three ends.

…nanoferns, pleasant memories, protected-planet artifacts…

And the linobir are selling softwar exploits and security consultancy out of the same temp. Subtle as ever, but, hell, doing good business at both ends.

…zombie goo, dark ice, vengeance fish…

“Genuine Primordial Pathogens: Experience infectious disease for the first time, the way your ancestors did!”

…bond salvage, influence lottery, little hats…

Greenjack servitors, of course. Crude learning systems crammed into cheap mass-market bioshells. Delightful. Just the thing if you like a side order of photosynthetic ooze with your helping of incompetent minions.

…war salvage, knock-off geasa, lots of mixed jetsam…

Cháldar-vendors offering a special deal on vengeance. Suitable for serving at any temperature you like, with a choice of mixers. Perhaps not. Or bottled enlightenment? Now that’s just crass.

…exotic pets, energy weapons, cheese…

Is that really a collection of amusingly-shaped asteroids? If I turn my head and squint, it looks like… Moving on.

…unknowable brooches, cleaning roaches, authentic forgeries…

127 bits of tangle, destination unknown? Someone’s getting their brain eaten today. However many “guaranteed efficacious prayers” they buy next door.

…bottled solar plasma, mood-of-the-day drugs, reputation laundry…

“Forbidden Memes”? The kind that thought-police and godgrovellers take a dislike to, or the kind that eat you alive and spit you back out as heggie-swarmchow?

Ah, he’s letting the customers sample the wares. The first kind, then.

…but nothing too out of the ordinary.

“This is a good place for your first taste of the floating trade, gentlesophs. It may seem mundane compared to the stories, but be thorough. Hidden gems are what this business is about. If you need me, page me; I’ll be up-spine, looking through the exotica. Those of you who do well here will be joining me there on future shifts. Now get to it, and deal well!”

3 thoughts on “Floating Market (2/3)

  1. Pingback: Trope-a-Day: Bazaar of the Bizarre | The Eldraeverse

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