Chapter Three

My cityship is still heading towards this system, and my courier ship is orbiting above the planet, where these aliens can see it.

Lucky me, I get to be the “ground guy”. I have to deal with these rustics face-to-face. I get to confirm that these people really are living in the hell-hole our simulators project.

They actually walk on dirt, and love doing so! My skin cringes every time I step out of a vehicle. There are so many hazards to watch out for on any dirt world. The natives deal with them out-of-hand; I have to blunder through each and every one.

As I approached this world, it became clear early on that colonists would be my big-ticket trade item on this world. The human population here is large and the life span is short. This planet is churning out people at a fantastic rate, and, as may be expected on such a world, their manufactured and cultural goods will be of interest only to artifact collectors on other worlds. But the people … the people … an average life span of only eighty years! With some decent unrest, we can fill our holds with mercenaries and farmers in a year, and spend the next ten colonizing. This run could give me, us, enough riches to split the ship. I would become a Ship Father. All this, and more, provided this situation ripens as well as it looks it might.

My ship day is over, time to report. Back in my ground ship, I beam a secure video to the cityship.

I begin formally. “Planetary Administrator Jax reporting to Councilmeister Loran and other Council members.”

Then I relax, smile widely, and say, “I may be optimistic in putting it this way, Councilor Loran, but if I were you I’d be dusting off cryobators and plans for a space barge. This world is as ripe as our simulators predicted.”

Then I say evenly, “However, there is a hiccup. These people are virgins to interstellar trade. They have no inventory stockpiled, none of any kind.”

I end the video; that’s all they need to know for now. I strap down, and depart this godforsaken place for a return to the cityship.

I’ll be back, but I’ll cherish every moment I’m gone.