Even in space, some neighbourhoods are better than others.
A neighbourhood, called a drift because, well, it drifts in space, might appear anywhere a stable wormhole is found. The stream of guaranteed interstellar traffic brings out innkeepers, traders, quantum-drive mechanics and the usual hangers-on at any port town: smugglers, gamblers, good-time girls. Agglomerate Drifts are the flotsam of the galaxy in both building materials and population, aggregating wherever there’s a potential profit and eaten away over time by corruption, meteorites and solar storms. Conglomerate drifts, on the other hand, are created by mega-corps as tidy flotillas of model ships, not all the same model but with every line and sail – and citizen – purpose-built for the locale.
Working security on a Conglomerate-built drift is like being a traffic warden in any gated community: you spend your days petting the dogs and smiling at the nice ladies (Pyretia has some very nice ladies). So it was unusual to hear one morning of a body bobbing against a tony porthole high up on Canton C-7. A human body, not some stray hunk of celestial rock from the asteroid belt.
See that's the other thing with working security. A rent-a-cop's just one step up from janitor, and it's left to me to keep the place looking neat and dispose of the garbage.
* * *
"How're you doing, Mrs. Munkin?" She's a particularly nice resident of the drift, and not too stuck up to shoot the proverbial with the staff. Especially since her husband left her. Security gets to know these things.
"Same old, same old," she told me and smiled those pearly whites of hers.
"Hey little fella," I said, kneeling down to pat her little terrier. "I got something here for you..."
"Oh my, wherever did you get that? You're always so nice to my little Rocky," she said. "Not like..."
"No worries, Mrs. M. I love this little fella." And if all goes according to plan, Rocky won't be the only one getting a big, meaty bone today...
Opening: Jeb.....Continuation: Anon.