Monday, May 11, 2015

Story Seed - Black Market

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"If you can't find it there, you can't find it anywhere," his contact had told him. Puvik hoped that the weasly little bastard wasn't cheating him; thirty thousand credits for coordinates to this market was a truly absurd sum. Whoever owned this rock was making a pretty penny. Entrance had cost him ten thousand more and Puvik knew that the vendors typically owed their host ten to fifteen percent of their sales.

Standing in a hollowed out cavern that may once have been part of some manufactory, or possibly a refinery, he lost count of the stalls and vendors. He estimated that there were over a thousand humans and aliens in here, buying, selling, and trading in all manner of illicit and flat-out illegal goods. He sighed and started walking, sliding between and through the gaps in the crowd. He let the crowd itself dictate his course, drifting among the seedy flotsam and jetsam of the galaxy, his eyes peeled for anybody dealing in Venthic tech.

It took an hour to get a hit, and three more to find one why had anything more than broken Planck rifles and discharged Hawking batteries. He was deep in the bowels of the asteroid now. Far farther below the surface than he had expected this place to extend. The alien, a member of a species he'd never seen previously, kept a shop in a fully formed building; Puvik hoped that meant the proprietor was successful. "I'm looking for a quark computational cell. A functioning one, I don't need some broken souvenir."

The alien's head bobbed in what Puvik hoped was a nod. Its reply filtered direct into Puvik's mind, an image, clear and precise of a Venthic quarkic computer. It was followed by the image of two creatures exchanging some sort of goods, and then another where one gave a parcel in return for a currency tube.

"I can pay," Puvik said, understanding the interrogative. He reached into his jacket and produced a tube of glass capped on either end with magnetic couplers. Inside a shimmering substance that seemed unsure if it was liquid or gas. A mental image entered his mind and he stepped back, shocked at the proposed amount. "I don't have that much," he said. "I only have six hundred thousand."

The creature appeared to study him for a moment before more images came to him. The alien wanted to know what use Puvik had for a quark computational cell. "I'm going to break into the Sagittarius A Dyson object," the spacer replied. More images, carrying a sense of astonished and baffled curiosity. The creature wanted to know how Puvik intended to interface the device; Venthic technology was centuries past the capabilities of any of the civilizations of the galaxy. "What is it worth to you to know?" he asked, leaning toward the creature.