8: Scavenger, Ship, Grave, Race, Payment

12:34 Sat 09 Sep 2006. Updated: 13:54 09 Sep 2006
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Looks Good on Paper was still Shara Clavell’s ship.

For nine days. Unless she found something in this asteroid field. She had been there a week, poring over scan after scan of low-metal readings.

She punched the viewport to clear her head. She had nine days. The nearest bank was eight days away. She didn’t have time to try elsewhere. This was it.

Rock. All rock, as far as the sensors could see. Dense rock, so each chunk had to be scanned from relatively close by. This gave Shara hope. She might still stumble on ore that couldn’t be scanned from afar.

Or on something like what lit up her readings now. Pure metal, not ore, it was a ship.

Pirates? Another scavenger? But it was dark and spinning in an uncontrolled way. Shara flushed with adrenaline and streaked towards it.

Half a ship. Wires and cable and jagged edges sprang out one side. No markings. No match on the model from the computer. But she could see that this half had the drives in it. That meant money.

She was outside minutes later, already calculating how much time she needed to get to Doroba with it. She had it sealed and secured in under four hours, ignoring the bodies inside.

After maximum burn, she warped out. Eight days later she hit Doroba. She ignored traffic control, accepting the fine, and found a buyer for the salvage while negotiating banking protocols.

Shara made payment with fifteen minutes to spare.

(250 words)

The above is part of a series of microfiction pieces.

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