Author : Connor Harbison

The old man watched red-orange dust rise from the trail. Perks of living up on this promontory, only one way to come in. He filled his pipe again and leaned back in the rocking chair. The visitor would be here soon enough.

The visitor dismounted his hoverbike and strode up to the porch. He pulled off the rebreather and pushed the goggles away from his eyes before addressing the old man.

“Are you Packard?”

“Might be. Who’s asking?”

“I represent the board of Maxicorp United.”

“Hm.” Packard recognized the logo, though back in is day the company didn’t have the scratch to send someone all the way out here. Part of the reason he’d picked this planet.

“Yes, it seems there was an irregularity when you abruptly left the company. Twenty years ago, it says. A sizable chunk of money disappeared right around the time you quit.”

“Do I look like I have a ‘sizable chunk of money’ to you?”

“Well, no, not really. But our intelligence division tracked you down to this planet. Your homestead is the only one I found on this continent.”

“Intelligence division? Lordy, my old bosses have been busy. You seem like a nice kid, so I won’t waste your time.” The visitor’s face lit up.

“So you’ll tell me what happened to the money? I can file the report right away and…”

“There’s no money left, son.”

“I don’t understand. What did you do with it?”

“Look around you. I made a ‘sizable’ real estate purchase.”

“This planet?”

“Now you’re catching on. Reminded me of Mars, where I grew up. Plus it was far away from the likes of you. At least it used to be.”

“Maxicorp United will have to repossess this planet, in addition to anything else you may have purchased with the stolen funds.”


“I’m sorry, what? If you don’t surrender any property that rightfully belongs to Maxicorp United, we will be forced to take drastic measures.”

“Hm.” Packard was getting tired. He wasn’t young like he used to be. This visitor was boring him. Packard slowly reached into his pocket and clicked a button on a remote. Seconds later there was only a pile of ash where the visitor had stood.

A flock of battle drones rose around the house, waiting for their next instructions. Real estate wasn’t the only thing Packard had bought. He looked forward to the next visit from the company.

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