The Legendary Tales of Notch Johnston

‘Office of Foreign Affairs and Alien Encounters’

Paatay left the hold of the the garbage scow with out a glance back he knew on sight what that thing was and if they pissed it off he might not have time to send the message before the carnage started. He swerved between the lug legs and straight armed a door. An involuntary squeal of relief squeezed out as he ran past some beings. He cared not one bit for there lives his standing orders on this subject were clear. And he didn’t stop until the door of his office was locked behind him. His job meant his office had a subspace uplink in his desk. He dove upon the desk and slid off the far side scrambling for grip on the smooth surface. then attacked the key pad.

[angel]

jump jump jump {moon896:4573;4587@452:197}

paatay turned and looked at the garbage scow in time to see dan-no hobbleing across the tarmac with nothing chasing him. He placed a lock down on the ship by remote wondering how long that would hold. From the storys he had heard that won’t be long at all. and nothing on mudball was any kind of match for that thing.

‘Please Angel hurry this can go so bad so fast.’ His mind remembered the happy times long ago when he first started working for Angel and events long past when times were tough and hungry, they had made honest and at times desperate deals to stay in business. Throughout it all angel held firm on her resolution to stay honest and not to cheat clients, not to cut corners. Those days with just Angel and her sixty odd beings that she had gathered under her wings were tough. Food was cold,the lights flickered and the air was lousy. And after years of struggle they were failing and his Angel’s sick depressed pallor drove Paa-tay to risk it all, on a treasure map of all things and Angel, far more desperate then she had let on, had sent her crazy cyborg friend Jak Jak to find if economic salvation could be found around blue dwarf stars. He returned with his ship bent and twisted so badly the crew was unable to repair it and so they had stuck it on the outside of the spacestation with glue so it could be seen from the bar windows.

After a while some outsiders showed up at a remote outpost with a photo of the bent and twisted ship Jak Jak had piloted and a pile of money.

Angel was called and her and Jak Jak ruined another ship to meet them. Outsiders …beings born between the stars, they ventured everywhere in search of starseeds and trading in information. Those who messed around and tried to defraud or steal from them in some way could suffer a supernova for there trouble, even if the outsiders had to supply there own star for the occasion. But honesty had been the foundation of there market share for millions of years. They never broke a deal.

Angel herself was there not just to make a sale but to make friends and hopefully to open an account for her government. Every taxpayer in her district loved her and would vote to have her executed if she dropped the ball on this. She had sent jak jak after the starseeds that where beyond the outsiders reach in gravitational fields to dangerous for the giant delicate ships they used. The info to find them alone had cost almost everything she had. These starseeds were far too valuable to even study and she had no real idea what they were but they were there carefully packed as per instructions. Ten in all, so much hinged on how much they placed the value at, using a value about which she knew absolutely nothing. So much rested on the outcome that if this deal failed she would never recover.

The screen flicked and then data showed and flowed. Six of the ten were not “ripe” yet, three were no good at all for some reason.

That left one viable starseed. Just one to show for all that effort and money. Then she focused on the numbers.

She was stunned, the bad seeds had “cost compensation” the red numbers next to them were roughly reflecting her cost out of pocket for there recovery.

The seeds that were not ripe had “replant harvest pending” in blue letters next to numbers that added up to “I’m rich”.

But on top in flashing gold letters was the word “Seed” and that was it, no numbers. She looked though the helmet across ten feet of hard vacuum at the cat o’ nine tails whip of an outsider before her.

“Is there a problem sir” her finger indicating the gold letters.

The outsider did not move at all but the speaker in her helmet said “this is the first sucsessful birthing on this ship since we crossed over a million years ago. The doctor is quite nervous and is making multiple checks on everything. But it appears you saved this ship the debt of buying new crew members. But it will take a decade or more to place a set value on the new crewmembers.”

Angel was stunned beyond words. Outsiders never gave information for free and they never make small talk.

“Because of your short life span and the amount of money involved we have opened a credit/debit account in your name.”

“Are you charging me for this information”.

“Yes”.

“How much credit do I have”she asked.

“The sum is in flux but we are afraid it’s more then you can spend given your natural lifespan”

“I’m an ambassador/senator with the local government”she stated dryly.

There was a very long pause.

“Congratulation” finally. “We have few resources in this region of space our source says you are a war hero and a salvage expert.”

” And word has it you bought the claim on this region because it was all you could afford after the collision lawsuit without hocking your ship to the the drive mounts. Well your new here and” angel said “you need better spies”she produced a business card “I use these guys, tell them ‘Angel’ sent you.

There was a very long pause and the outsiders tails waved in agation then a very measured “you are very well informed”.

“The business card I gave you” she pointed to the card on the table. “They are a very old and respected security firm and have massive databanks with files even on outsiders. Its owned by a business partner of mine. I run a salvage, repair and maintenance operation as you know what you may not realize is that its a giant spacestation in free orbit in deep space out on the rim. Anyway I figured that while I was here. I would invite you to stop by and use the facilities anytime you felt a need cause the sight of one of these ships at my station. Priceless in P.R..”

“we doubt your engineers could help us with our problems.”the tails of the alien whip stroked the desk”they are unique to our ship, it is unique, one of a kind.”

“All outsider ships are one of a kind and how many engineers do you know who would pass up the change to look at a ship like this.”she leaned back in the seat “besides my engineers are all union members if you used them you would have to pay them.”she paused a moment then pushed on “yours is the only fully functional ship in its class currently in operation anywhere on this arm, the spacestation was in fact constructed under contract by your predecessors for the now defunct Allied Planets Conservancy. The Alpha carrage is intact and lovenly maintained by my crews in hopes of seeing any outsider ships. That and the fact that your honesty is legend in this arm of the galaxy.”she added almost as an after thought.”My government also wishes to open account with you if you don’t mind.”

“We would prefer more collateral on government accounts as they tend to be high risk and your government is currently in a war,a war that is currently in stalemate due to attrition and we do not possess the cloning technology to amend this problem.”a slight pause.”unless you wish to co-sigh”

“You could help in other ways”

“How”?

That deal saved the company’s life but angel almost fired paatays ass for that breach in confidentes and never let him near her money ever again.

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