22: Foray, Disguise, Welcome, Aid, Exit

07:07 Sat 23 Sep 2006
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I made it onto Brivik, through the spaceport, without incident. Free. On a planet. Real air. Real gravity.

I found a quiet spot and connected to the local systems. I composed what was essentially a blackmail threat to Ranir. I knew plenty of his dirty secrets, and at the least would be able to get him to meet the disguised me—which was all I wanted.

Four hours later I was inside his office telling him who I was.
“You bastard! How could you let it go so many years, everyone thinking you’re dead? Have you plotting against the Board the whole time? Is that why there’s a reward?”

I shook my head. “I’ve been alive, but not plotting. I’ve been stuck in deep space all these years.”
“On your ship?”
“Yes, until someone picked me up. The details are unimportant. I’m back, the Board wants me dead, and I thought you would help.”

He looked down. “I don’t know, Truder… it’s not like it was. Sturl is really strong. Rumor has it that even Theo is a little cowed. I can’t go all-out against the Board.”
“I just need some low-key help, Rani. Rebuilding, networking, that kind of thing. If I make to a stable Partner-level spot, then it’s just the same old grind. But I have to get there.”
“I’ll do what I can.”

All according to plan, until I was back in line at the spaceport and saw that they were DNA-testing everyone.

(250 words)

The above is part of a series of microfiction pieces.

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