– by MadMuppet
My stuff is packed and the shuttle is here to move us to our new home. I will miss this place, but not the work. No more grass bug bites either. Momma says they don’t live in the area we are going to.
Daddy is smiling again, but I can tell he is still embarrassed with how it all happened…
Huh? Oh you didn’t hear? Yeah, we are moving to a new home by the city…
Yes we can afford it! See those three grave markers over there? Just shut up a minute and I’ll tell you the whole thing.
Four days ago a shuttle landed in the field, its thrusters burned down two weeks of feed hay for the cattle. Oh was Daddy mad at that one! He grabbed his rifle right off the mantle and marched right up to the ship.
That night at dinner Daddy said that the devil himself, with horns, tattoos, and scars came out of that ship and started to raise his hand and speak. But before it could so much as mutter a minor oath Daddy killed him.
The body tumbled down the ramp and hit the ground like a pile of wet dish towels. Daddy buried him under the first grave marker you see…
No! CONCORD doesn’t care about that kind of thing way out here and you know it. Even the town Marshall said it was in self defense of livelihood. Now let me finish alright?
Three nights ago, while I was setting the table, another shuttle landed next to the first one and this time it damaged the water well with its landing leg. Daddy stomped out of the house again with the rifle and stood at the bottom of the landing ramp.
When the hatch opened a head popped out from the corner and yelled “OW! Don’t do tha…” BLAM! Daddy is a good shot. The body fell out and hit the ground with a sickening wet thump.
We ran out to see what the devil himself looked like, but without a head it just looked like one of the Marshall’s hangings gone wrong, again. One strange thing, well at the time it was strange, was all the wires and computer parts that we sticking out of the neck wounds.
Daddy buried him under the second grave marker. The local scrap man came and took the two shuttles. Daddy said the money would buy him a new wheeled hauler truck for market this fall.
Two days ago a third shuttle landed in the field where the first two had landed. Daddy was waiting for them this time though, he said ‘he had a feeling this would happen again’ and was sitting on the lot fence oiling the rifle stock.
The hatch opened on this one and when Daddy saw that face again he fired and the mirror he hit exploded in to a million pieces. The head popped out from around the corner and said “HA! You missed! Now listen friend, you and I have got off on the wrong foot and I would like to…” BLAM! Whack! Thud! Daddy has a double-barreled rifle.
The third body went under the third grave marker you see there and Daddy…
Yes, I was getting to that. Yeah that burnt out shuttle in the field was Daddy’s way of saying ‘Don’t come back.’ That and the scrap man didn’t have anyplace to park a third one yet anyhow.
Last night at supper time a frigate, yes a real warship, landed back in the field over in the dry spot there. One cannon turned and pointed at the house. A second cannon pointed at the barn. The third cannon pointed nervously at some nearby bushes.
A voice boomed from the ship. “Sir! I will pay you one thousand isk if you will please not kill me again! Would you please come out of the house so that we can talk?”
“Always during dinner!” Daddy grumbled. He pushed back from the table and stomped out of the house towards the ship, not even bothering to grab his rifle this time.
The cannon threatening the bushes whipped around and drew a bead on Daddy. It was scary for few seconds and then everything went quiet.
“What do you want?!”, yelled Daddy.
“Just to talk.” boomed the ship. “Oh, and not to get shot again please, my implants are very expensive.”
“I’m not going to talk to a ship, you moron. Get out here and do this face to face or I’m going back to my dinner.”
“Sir, with all due respect, that is what I have been trying to do for the last three days but you keep removing my face before we have a chance to interface about a busin…”
“Interface? Son, what in the heavens are you going on about? You wanna talk or not?”
The cannons on the ship turned away and a landing ramp dropped from the ship.
Daddy just stood there.
A hatch opened and a trembling mirror popped out and scanned the area nervously.
Daddy put his hands on his hips and tapped his boot in the dirt.
A twitchy, tall, skinny, Minmatar inched down the ramp. I think if a dustbladder frog had croaked just then the guy would have exploded on his own from fright. After what seemed like all night the strange man walked over to Daddy and dropped a small bag at his feet.
Daddy starred at the man for a good ten seconds before he picked up the bag. The credit chip inside it flashed one thousand isk. Pocketing the card Daddy said, “Alright stranger, you have my attention.” Daddy had already thought of names for the two cattle he was going to buy with it.
Breathing again, the strange man explained, “Sir, as you may or may not be aware, CONCORD has begun permitting the use of planets under its protection for the import and export of their natural resources. To that end I wish to propose a mutual busin…”
“You want to propose?” Daddy snarled.
Sighing heavily the man started again, “Sir, I want to buy your farm so I can set up a factory on it.”
“Why should I move away from my home? I have fields! I have fifty head of cattle! I have a family! And you come down here and want to just take it all from me!?! I don’t think you could put a price on what I do here!” barked Daddy.
Checking to make sure his head was still attached the man then produced another credit chip and handed it to Daddy. Daddy looked at it, and froze.
He looked at the barn. He looked at the house. He looked at all of us gathered on the porch. He looked at the land around him. It was his land, with its thin struggling plants, the sickly cattle that seemed to sway in the wind. He knew his dinner was getting cold.
He looked back at that credit chip. Daddy started to say, “I don’t know stranger. I have been here a long time and…”
The man handed Daddy two more chips, both just like the last
Daddy swallowed and continued, “As I was saying, I think I can have the family packed by morning, but I need to find a place to live.”
“I will have a shuttle here in the morning with a moving crew. There is a nice large house, 450 kilometers from here, just off the Eletar River that is already paid for and we will transfer the deed to you in the morning.”
Daddy shook the man’s hand and that was it.
So, I’m going to go now, I’ll write to you once we’re settled. Oh, one thing the man told us not to bother ever coming back since once the factory and the extractors are built nothing will look the same and he says a biomass refining station can be kind of smelly. How bad can it be?