Dakka eased the throttle back on his ship Bumble Bee as he navigated the swamp. He brought her in for a landing with a soft squelch as she sank a foot or so into the mud. "Sorry, B," Dakka said, giving the ship's console a pat, "I know you hate the mud almost as much as I do, but a job's a job. Though why anyone would want to live out here in the middle of this dump is beyond me. Open the upper hatch, B, I'm gonna fly over there. No way I'm getting more mud on my feet than necessary."
The small ship had a hatch on the roof just big enough for one small person to exit out of. Dakka, thankfully, was smaller than most. He clicked the straps of his rocket pack into place over his chest and it burst to life with the smell of burning fuel. "Nothing like the smell of incendiaries in the morning, huh, B?" Dakka asked as he flew through the hatch and out into the planet's humid atmosphere.
His client's cabin wasn't hard to spot. It was the only sign of any civilization on the planet, though it only barely qualified as civilized. Dakka landed carefully on the doormat, though like most of the planet's surface, it was coated in several inches of mud. He sighed and knocked on the door. "Delivery!" he said cheerfully.
"Who is it?" came a gruff voice from inside. Dakka could also hear the distinctive hiss of a proton pistol preparing to fire.
"It's Dakka, the guy who sold you that gun you're holding. I've got the new one you ordered?" Dakka shouted through the door.
There was a pause, then there was the sound of someone unlocking several deadbolts and locks on the other side of the door. Finally, it opened a crack. "You got the Tesla?" the man inside whispered.
"Yeah, I got the Tesla, see?" Dakka pulled the blue and silver blaster from his bag. "I've never fired one myself, but I've been assured they pack a wallop."
"How much?" the man asked.
"We agreed on fifty."
"No, no, too much," the man said with a shake of his head. "Government's looking for those. I get caught with it and they'll haul me off to jail again."
"If you get caught with it?" Dakka asked incredulously, "You live in a swamp! You're the only person on this planet, and the government hasn't visited in years! I'm the one who had to smuggle it half way across the galaxy and go through multiple government checkpoints just to get it here!"
"How about twenty?"
Dakka flipped a switch on the blaster and it began emitting a soft blue light that the man could plainly see from inside. "How about the fifty we agreed on and I don't test it out on you?" Dakka asked.
"Alright! Alright, fine, you'll get fifty. Just give me a minute, and shut that thing down! You'll run the battery."
"It stays on until I get my money. Besides, I like the way it glows. I haven't had one that did that before."
There was the sound of shuffling inside the cabin before the communicator pinged in Dakka's ear. "Transfer successful, amount paid in full" the soft voice of his ship's AI informed him.
"Thanks, B," Dakka replied to the communicator. "As for you, here." Dakka flipped the switch back on the blaster and the blue glow faded out. He slipped it into the crack of the doorway and barely had his hand out of the way before the door closed shut, the man taking the gun with him inside.
"Pleasure doing business with you!" Dakka shouted sarcastically at the closed door before firing up his rocket pack again and flying back the short distance to his ship.
"That's it, B," Dakka said as he flew back inside the hatch to his ship. "No more crazies in swamps. From now on we only deal with crazies who live on dry planets. It'll take forever to get this stupid mud off either one of us."
The hatch above his head slid closed and Dakka put away his rocket pack. He stared at the mud caked on his feet and sighed. "At least we got paid. Where to next?"
"Your next shipment is due at Cape Canaveral," the ship's smooth voice answered promptly.
"Cape Canaveral? Did you hear it was voted the galaxy's newest capital? Security is gonna be all over me there. Guess it's time to grease a few palms of my favorite government, huh?"
"You're also running low on fuel," the ship added.
"Yeah, yeah, quit bellyaching. Just get us out of this stupid swamp and we'll go get us both some fuel."
"Setting a course for Cape Canaveral," the ship intoned.
Dakka sat back in his seat at the console with a rag, trying to get mud off his feet. "Earth, here we come," he said to himself. "Hope you're just as welcoming as you were the last time I was there."art by Sound and CORE
overlay edit, profile and story by Faber