Saturday, March 17, 3304



Archimedes Zarch was staring at the numbers which were projected above his gold and ivory desk. Actually, he was staring through the numbers, as he knew very well what they meant: his fortune had been evaporated almost completely, due to the drop in prices of bauxite. What was worse than that, he had also lost his reputation by not being able to pay his depts to the Duval family in time. And his rivals were aware of that. So, damage control was in order.

Financially, he might survive. Once he could restore his reputation, he still had enough contacts in the Empire, especially his wife's family, to get through. That is, if she would not decide to leave him. And that was the problem. Well, one of his household slaves was. She was pregnant, and chances were quite high that Archimedes Zarch was the father of the child. It was the worst of times to have to deal with a bastard kid, so he had to act quickly.

A short firm knock on the door, Archimedes Zarch recognized the sound: only his trusted secretary could knock like that. He waved to the door, which opened with a barely audible hissing sound.

"Sir, mister Sharp has arrived."
"Send him in!"

A bony man, dressed in what was fashionable to wear over a spacesuit this season, entered the room. Mister Sharp was obviously sharp in everything.
"My dear Archimedes! What can I do for you today?"
"Ha, Sharp! I have some slaves to sell." Archimedes Zarch knew that Sharp liked to come to the point as early as possible, without much ado.
"You mean the tribal woman?" Sharp loved to immediately make clear that he was, as always, well informed. "She will be hard to sell. In her condition, she'll be more of a cost than an asset."

The tribal woman. Kayohko-Nq, or that was at least what he could make up from her incomprehensible language. She was not only beautiful, she was also wild. Or was that merely something in his imagination? No, she definitely had something savage about her. Something he had been unable to resist. Something which was a problem now.

"Well, it actually are two tribal women. Her sister is, let's say, undamaged. She is younger, early twenties, and strong. You'll get a high price for her."
"I see. Let me not waste your time, and talk money. I'll pay you 8000 credits for the younger one, provided she is indeed as you say. And you'll pay me 13000 to get rid of the other one."
"Hmmm... OK, but promise me you'll not just space her. Drop her somewhere outside of the Empire, sell her on some anarchy planet or whatever." Sharp might not, but Archimedes Zarch had morals: he just had to, now that his reputation had been damaged.
"Will do. Here, I brought a bottle of Teveriian Evil Juice along. 3265, an excellent year. Let's have a drink on the deal."



* Certificate of Birth * Riedquat Voluntary Population Registration Co-operative *

Date: 3255-02-05

Name: Old Boar (placeholder, to be changed at adoption)
Gender: Male
Weight: 3.18 kg

Father: unknown.
Mother: Kayohko-Nq (presumably, correct spelling unknown), deceased during or after giving birth, age: mid to late twenties, belonging to unknown tribe.

Place of Birth: Witchspace, jumping to Riedquat (hyperspace start point is not known), in a slave cargo container on board of Krait class spaceship "Old Boar", property of Cmdr Michelangelo Sharp (Empire citizen, fugitive).

Other relatives: Loimnau (presumably), aunt, speaking unknown tribal language, sold as slave on black market to unidentified party.

Declared and witnessed by: Riedquat Spaceport, sub-controller Ellen Tokawa and ship loading worker James E. Röhe.

Issued by: T. L. Lintman, Riedquat Voluntary Population Registration Co-operative.

[Signatures: T. I. Lindermann, Ellen Tokawa, J. Eric Rôhe]

[Seal of which authenticity cannot be determined]

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