***Written for 2014 Pod and Planet Fiction Contest

***Based on a true story

Scrawled on rumpled note: Wrangled up an Orca.  Favorite Haunt Bar & Bistro, 9:00 PM.  Find Chella Ranier.  Intimidating brunette.  Can’t miss her.

SoTragic enters the establishment, spies his contact leaning in shadow at the far end of the bar, whispers: Intimidating indeed.


SoTragic, extending right hand drink: I’m told we have business to conduct.

Chella Ranier, accepting drink, sliding contract down bar with other hand: Yes we do.

SoTragic, approving contract with DNA thumbprint: So completes the transaction.

Chella Ranier, jiggling ice in drink: You’re not going to inspect the merchandise?

SoTragic, sipping left hand drink, returns unexamined contract: Carting out to Rens 6-8 in person displays good faith on your part.  Only reasonable I reciprocate by accepting the contract proffered.  Where be the brokers of this terribly important exchange?

Chella Ranier, sipping her drink: There, window table, still picking at dessert and haggling detail.

SoTragic: Perky looking duo.  Shall we eavesdrop?

Chella Ranier: Let’s.


DireNecessity, shaking finger scoldingly: You’ll sell me the Orca at market value plus unreasonable mark-up and you’ll feel smug about it because that’s what civilized capitalists do.

Sugar Kyle, squinting crossly: Watch who you brand ‘civilized’ Hi-Seccer.

DireNecessity: While I resemble that label, know that I have murdered pilots for less flippancy.


Chella Ranier: Appears haggle has escalated, I hear murder talk.

SoTragic: Shall we intervene?

Chella Ranier: Let’s.


Chella Ranier, approaching table, places the contract before Sugar Kyle while SoTragic, standing on the other side, rests a loyal no drink hand on DireNecessity’s shoulder.

DireNecessity: Pater!  I see you’ve met Chella.  Allow me to introduce Sugar Kyle, lowsec pirate, interstellar politician, former Orca owner.  Sugar Kyle, I present SoTragic, gray haired family patriarch, logistics wizard, Orca pilot.

Sugar Kyle nods greeting to SoTragic, pushes contract across table: Dire, as you can see the sale is complete.  Market value 700 million plus .01 ISK markup.

DireNecessity: That’s definitely an unreasonable markup.  So we’re literally arguing over a penny?

Sugar Kyle: Yes Dire, yes we are.  While we can stipulate the contract include ‘unreasonable markup’, you alone don’t get to define what the term means.


SoTragic, early next day, watching DireNecessity nurse morning coffee: Don’t you look chipper.

DireNecessity, smiling impishly: Just slipped an extra 100 mill directly into Sugar’s wallet.

SoTragic: Well you showed her.

DireNecessity: I certainly did.  No one unreasonably undercharges me.


Chella Ranier, that afternoon, departing Rens: New boat?

Sugar Kyle: Phobos.  Full fit.

Chella Ranier: Has he a name?

Sugar Kyle, smirking: Dire’s Conceit.