Author: David C. Nutt

I’ve been stationed on earth for some 15 cycles- that’s 150 years earth time. Oh, I’m not the only one. There are others. Naturalists, sociologists, cultural studies, and resource assessment. There are exactly 21,532 Citizens of the Confederation Empire on earth now, all of us naturally indistinguishable from the natives. We track them all, even those who are in utero. A few have inserted themselves into the native culture, pair bonded with the natives, and will probably stay till they expire, no doubt adding to the reservoir of myths of the planet.

Of all the folk on this orb the resource assessment division must have it the hardest. Earth sitting on all this Adria crystal (the natives call it quartz,) and not allowed to touch any of it except for scientific purposes. I have a huge chunk of it on my desk that if I were allowed to take it back home with me, it would destabilize my sector’s economy. Which brings me to my reason for being on Earth. Law enforcement. My job is to crush the dreams of all the would-be entrepreneurs seeking to get rich quick by lifting a few ounces or so and taking it back to their home worlds. It is such a temptation even the purest of our academics fall prey to the fever now and then. Why just a few crystals, ones that could casually be dropped in a pants cuff could comfortably fund their research for decades. It is a powerful temptation. One my predecessor fell victim to.

Soon my tour of duty will be up. Unlike my predecessor, I will not even attempt to take any Adria off planet. Oh, I’m sure I could do it… after all I am head of security and since I had the Emperor’s niece arrested as smuggler, my integrity quotient is off the chart. Unfortunately, while integrity will get me admired, it won’t feed me and I have made some powerful enemies. I may live a safe, respectable pauper’s life on the inner planets, or a short but very comfortable life on the outer planets…until the Emperors brother (father to the afore mentioned smuggler niece) and his assassins find me and kill me.

But if I stay here, as an ex-pat, I can live a life of luxury. In my office I have quite the collection of tribal votives from my home world. They are carved from a common rock amalgam from my home world we call “s’krithe.” The 20 or so, six inch statues which line one of my walls are quite kitschy by themselves. However, when grouped together they are quite an avant-garde collection. My colleagues think I have the collection because I am homesick. That’s not why I have the collection; I have the collection because s’krithe is what the indigenous call “rare earth.” My collection of votives is worth billions of their gold.

Although I am well into my three hundreds, I present to the locals as a female of late twenties or early thirties. I already have property on three of their continents and a secret lair in the middle of one of their harshest deserts. I have come to love their coffee, their pastry, and seafood. I have had several lovers since my time here. I will always be an exotic to them and always a patriot to the Confederation Empire. After all, I am well situated and safer here than anywhere else in the known universe. Besides, I have a great retirement plan.