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45 - Something Fishy - **

While on Moissan, I stumbled upon a strange radio signal, and having followed it, I am a little richer and a whole lot wiser. In the end, I decided to stay away from there for a while. I prefer places which focus on life and living, rather than death and dying. The latter are not on my agenda.
When I say richer, it is not in credits. I far outspent the meager compensation that was provided by a very strange source, but I learned, and I actually felt the same feelings someone else was experiencing. All the cash and bonds in the galaxy couldn't equal that.
Well . . . . No, never mind.
I also learned that the galaxy can be a bit more dangerous than any of us would like to believe, and I needed to distance myself from the place where I made such a gruesome discovery. My friend on Taungoo had told me to keep out of other people's business. Perhaps that would have been the smarter thing to do. For now, I just need to be somewhere else.
I found my way to Paris Spatiale, a place I had never been. The markets here, although somewhat subdued by the heavy military presence, were a bit more of what I had expected after Nouveau Limoges and Cirque de Centauri, So were the music and culture.
I discovered something there which I had thought was impossible. An animal. Not a robot or a mechanical toy, a real animal, and no, it is not a rat or a cockroach, although the hotel attendant did say something about roaches ("Don the roach" I think he said, and the outfit worn by the violinist in the lobby did seem to have wings hanging down like a cockroach).
This animal, this live animal, is called a goldfish. It is alive!! It lives in water!! It propels itself around, wiggles in wavelike motions and makes little air bubbles. It has eyes, a mouth and strange appendages. It appears to have a natural armor of some sort. Accompanying it was a small supply of flakes it seems to like eating. Its water gets dirty quickly, but water filtration is such a basic issue. I keep it in a safe place, where I can always find it and be assured of its well-being.
I wonder now about the murals at Kobenhavn. Could there be some truth to them? I may have to reconsider Ser Shadow's tales of fancy. Right about now, I think I'm ready to believe most anything.
Could this be the sort of thing they put in fish soup on Taungoo? I wonder how big it will get. Now I will have to make a larger home for it.
My employers are furious. Their customer was very disappointed. I am guessing whoever it was paid a tidy sum for this marvelous little creature. Now it has discreetly vanished. I told them it fell, the container broke and a rat scurried away with something wiggly and fluttery while a station drone rushed to reclaim the spilled water.
Whether or not they believed me, they sure weren't happy.
Last time I remember them being this upset was when I sneaked some of the fruit out of a case I was delivering for them. I never tasted anything so wonderful as that. I think they called them peaches.
I didn't think they would let me live that time. At least they were content with retrieving the chunk of wood from inside it. I wonder if that had anything to do with the production process.
Now, they won't even talk to me at all.
Perhaps I should relinquish this treasure as well . . .
No, I now have a goldfish, and I will never give it up. It is my goldfish. It needs a name, something fitting for such a precious thing. Hey, that has a ring to it, . . . Precious, yes, why not? My Precious. I suppose that will just have to do.
I was so lost in wonder as I reached the port to assume my proper duties that I picked up the wrong assignment. Instead of updating a ship's star map, I found all eyes on me as a segment of hull plating swung from a crane, striking several things, including me.
I vaguely remember saying something about my Precious as they hauled me off to sick bay. They seemed quite concerned.


  1. Congratulations on finding such an unusual friend in this world!

    As for your (and mine) employers, it does seem they have pretty short memory of "failures" like this one. I can't shrug off a strange feeling that they are actually treating their own assignments as... a game of a sort? Something that we consider a question of life and death they would just mark as "success" or "fail" in their CORETECHS and move on as nothing ever happened...

    I can't tell whether this feeling makes me MORE or LESS comfortable dealing with them - but I still don't expect your action would have any short- to mid-term consequences. They would probably just "forget" about it in 10 segments. As for the long-term consequences - I don't know. And I try not to think about it.

  2. Dotsent, Thank you for that advice. I went back to them and came away with another goldfish. I had walked through a factory area and had stripes of oil on my armor, and someone referred to me as Maurice, taking Junior for a walk.
    I have no clue as to the reference, but Junior would be a good name for my second goldfish, so it is.
    It never would have happened without you.

  3. I was going to suggest Livingston, but perhaps Precious is a more fitting name for a creature of gold.

  4. In addition to that, "My Livingston" just doesn't quite flow like "My Precious."