My name is James Kendal and I have been a thief all my life. I am very good at what I do which is why I have never been caught. I am also skilled in a mixed martial art so can more than take care of myself. The two men following me did not stand out which was unusual. I decided to confront them privately and turned in at the alley.
What happened next did surprise me. Between one moment and the next a dozen space force commandoes appeared with rifles pointed at me. I held still since they could not prove anything. One man in civilian clothes walk through them and stopped in front of me, "hello James, we have been watching you."
I smiled, "you do not have anything."
He smiled, "I do not need to have anything. If I wanted you in prison we have several that would never ask why."
I looked around carefully before looking at him, "what do you want?"
He grinned, "your skills."
I grinned, "you want me to steal something?"
He snorted, "we want you to go to Carthy to ply your trade. While there we want you to pass certain ... information back to us."
I snorted, Carthy was a rogue world full of pirates and thieves, "why?"
He smiled, "because you are very good and will not get caught. Think of all the credits you could steal from the pirates."
There was that, I turned as I thought about it. I finally turned back, "my price is colony credits for me and any mate or mates for Paradise."
He nodded and held out a small data chip, "study it and destroy it. Those will be your contacts to pass information and what we want to know."
I nodded, "I keep everything I steal."
He nodded again before gesturing. The commandoes turned and left and he looked at me, "change your mind and back out and..."
That tempted me but the idea had already taken hold, "do you have a way in?"
He turned and started walking, "try the armed merchant ship Hard Way."
I pulled my float case after me as I left the ship and headed into the large dirty city. There was no custom or immigration station here. A check before I left the ship had given me a place to go where I could stay for a few days. The first thing I bought was a new weapon.
I slipped into the vent quietly and moved in until I reached the central shaft. I used applied pressure to go down the three floors until I was standing. I bent and pushed on the screen by my feet and it fell out. It had taken me a day to locate a target and scout it. Another to check and clear the vent, including hanging upside down to remove the screws on the vent screen.
I wiggled out of the vent and into the small closet. I stood and turned to put the small listening device against the door. I finally put it away and opened the door and stepped into the room. I smiled when I saw the guillotine above the other door and moved to the large standing safe.
One of the first things I had learned here was they did not trust the banks and most people kept everything in chits or credit sheets or pads. It took a minute using a decripter and a voice descrambler before I opened the safe. I pulled out the slip bags I had brought and started filling them. I slipped out the way I had come and used a piece of string to close the vent screen.
This was one of the planet's largest merchants. He bought stolen ships and sold them on other planets after changing their papers. I slipped down the side of the building using spider thread and then walked into the night after touching it with a heater. I used alleys and small dark streets to cross to the area by the port entrance.
There was a small but very strong building that was brightly lit. I walked up to the automated teller and entered my account number. I hit deposit and chit before dumping the first slip bag full of credit chits into the deposit box. I closed it and let them spill into the automated counter before opening the box again and dumping the next bag.
The last bag I hit the screen for pad or sheets before dumping it in. I hit total after closing the box and waited until it flashed the total amount. I closed my account screen after withdrawing a maga pad. The only thing worse than a pirate or thief here was one of the nobles. They were a vicious, arrogant lot prone to violent tempers and little sense.
My home was in the huge building complex known as the warren. Over the decades since it had been built it had sunk and the first two floor were now underground. That did not matter much since it was ten kilometer by ten and had thirty floors. Most of the building was factories or huge textile mills and the bottom two floors underground had been abandoned.
I walked through the door and headed down the wide stairs, ignoring the lifts. I slipped my thermal glasses on since all the lights had gone out or been broken years ago. I worked my way through the dark, silent halls until I reached my door. When I walked into the huge room it brightened and the AI spoke, "good evening master."
I smiled as I walked towards the area where my kitchen was, "good evening Simon. Did we have any visitors?"
"No, everything has been quiet."
I nodded as I pulled out a bottle of water and turned, "listen to the news blurts Simon."
"Anything in particular?"
I smiled, "try robberies."
"There has been several reported highjackings and eight muggings as well as four armed robberies."
I nodded as I went to sit on the long comfortable couch I had found in an abandoned area under a furniture factory. Simon made a throat clearing sound, "a new slave is up for sale. She is the unregistered daughter of the current city prince."
I smiled, "do you have a holo and her stats?"
The holograph appeared in front of me to show a girl sixteen years old with long flowing blue hair. I smiled at her stats, "open sale?"
I leaned back, "perhaps I could buy her to keep you company."
Simon sighed, "I do not need company."
I closed my eyes, "everyone should have company Simon."
I woke to Simon beeping an alarm at me, "a new report of a robbery just came in. They found it when they opened their office."
I grinned as I stood to stretch, "how long before the prince's auction?"
I headed towards the fresher, "is it in the slave auction house?"
I stopped and thought, "is she being sold under cash only or credit?"
"She is listed as cash only but the rest are open for credit."
I showered and dressed before heading out. I made sure no one was around as I slipped through the underground halls. I left the building through a hidden door beside a textile mill and walked through the morning streets filled with merchants calling back and forth and people rushing around.
The slave auction house was by the starport. I walked in and past the door guard who sneered and refused to acknowledge me until I pulled my laser and put it between his eyes, "I would like a buyer's card."
He licked his lips and glanced past me towards the other guard. I smiled, "he can try but I will kill you before he pulls the blaster."
He slowly reached to the side and brought back a buyer's card. I took it and smiled again, "ignore me again and I will kill you."
I holstered the laser and walked into the auction pens. I sat in an area to one side with my back to a wall and leaned back to wait. I watched as nobles entered the pens and sat around the front area and gossiped to one another. Several wealthy merchants sat by them as if being close would rub some of the nobility off on them.
Finally the prince arrived and as if that was a signal the auction master walked out. The first girl out was the prince's daughter and I could tell she was terrified. I waited as the minor nobles laughed and offered bids with a few merchants. I finally leaned forward, "one million."
It went silent as everyone looked at me and another noble sneered, "two."
I nodded and waited as the auction master sold her. The noble waved, "charge my account."
I stood, "she is offered for cash only."
He smiled, "that does not apply to me scum."
I smiled as I pulled my weapon and shot him through the head. Bodyguards were suddenly pulling weapons but I had already holstered mine as I looked at the prince, "you set the terms your highness."
He actually grinned and waved his guards back, "so I did."
I walked down to the auction stage, "the last valid bid is one million."
I pulled the mega credit pad and tossed it, "the last bid was mine."
He licked his lips before glancing at the prince and nodding. I helped the girl off the stage as he pushed her towards me and moved back to my seat. I sat and pulled her down beside me and waited. The next girl was stunning with long golden hair and a lovely body. The nobles stood and started to leave and the auction master almost panicked.
I held up my hand, "ten thousand."
His eyes lit up and he looked at the others who were following the nobles out. He looked at me and I shrugged, "well?"
He sighed, "I need a bid of twenty thousand or the sale will be voided."
I thought about it and nodded, "okay, twenty thousand."
He nodded and I gestured to other girl to stay as I moved down to the stage again, "it said the rest of your lots could be bought with credit?"
He smiled, "yes."
I held out my comp and after setting it, he touched his to mine before checking and pushing the girl to me. He sighed and looked at the empty seats, "I only have a couple more, a young woman and a small boy."
I looked at him, "related?"
He shrugged, "yes."
I turned and looked around before looking at him, "how much for both?"
.... There is more of this story ...