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   Chapter 40 No.40

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5013

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02


"Ah. Captain West. I do so look forward to doing business with you. And this must be the lovely Miss"—he picked up a sheet of parchment and glanced at it, adjusting his glasses—"Amanita Graus. I understand the others call you Nita. I trust you'll do me the honor of affording me the same courtesy."

"Of course."

"Splendid. My name is Mr. Ebonwhite. I oversee all matters dealing with our trade and communication with the people of Keystone. We shall begin with the old business. Captain West, here you will find your outstanding balance." He slid a different parchment forward. "I trust you'll find everything in order."

Mack glanced over the figures and nodded. "Here's our manifest. We've got enough to balance and a fair amount more to trade. We'd like to restore our usual assortment of goods."

"Cheerfully done. We've taken the liberty of preparing your order in advance."

"Thank you. We will also require some repairs."

"Ah, yes. Your encounter with the wailers. We will be happy to oblige. And I must express my relief that Nita here was not injured. It simply would not do for the first Calderan to venture forth in over a century to be killed by a few misguided souls. When you are prepared, send your ship down and we will assess the damage and provide you with a quote for the required service. I understand it will be rather extensive."

"Ms. Graus here would like to ask for a particular item."

"Ah, yes. Something medical if I'm not mistaken."

"I… well, yes. My mo

Captain. We are well aware that you were quite diligent in your warnings, and that Nita took great pains to hide her misdeed from you. These extenuating circumstances have been taken into account, and your resulting fine will be quite mild. You will be charged for the parts and labor to replace the offending part, plus a small fee. Nothing beyond what you can easily pay. Nita, on the other hand, will need to wait one full year before we are willing to consider trade with her or, indeed, any Calderan."

"You—but I—by then my mother will almost certainly have perished."

"A fate that would have befallen her had you not ventured forth from your homeland. It is hardly my concern."

"Please! You can't punish her for what I did! I admit I disobeyed your rules, but there was a life on the line."

"If it will ease your conscience, I'll inform you that we wouldn't have sold you the drug even if you'd been willing to respect our customs."

"Why?"

"Because there is no profit in it."

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