By staying out on the fringes Jown was able to charge fuel and food and make his was to Liberty space.
He stayed far out from the core and found a small corporation, "Value Materials". On the record they traded in refined metals, common and exotic. They brought in ore from mining stations on big bulk transports, refined it into many grades and then sold it to manufacturers. He couldn't compete with the bulk carriers bringing in the ore, or with them on large delivery contracts, but there was plenty of work delivering small loads. The trick was to stay away from the inner systems where the police were plentiful, and away from the large corporations that had a contract on him, and hardest of all the bounty hunters looking to make a buck out of his hide. He had to be very selective on what he took, which didn't make him any points with the dispatchers.
It would normally have taken several years to pay his bills, but a break finally came. The head dispatcher caught him in the bar one night and pulled him into a back room.
Gramps "So you're in pretty deep, wanted by the police and have a corp contract on your head."
Jown "Yeah, that's not secret. You knew that when I showed up. Why do you want the bounty?"
Gramps "Nope, just seems it's going to take an awful long time to get the bills paid, what with not taking any of the inner system runs."
Jown "It's not worth the risk. I could get caught in there too easily."
Gramps "Well I've heard the reason you're so slow on your runs is you're very cautious."
Jown "I make my deliveries on time. How I go about it is my business."
Gramps "Ok Ok I'm not here to bust your chops on it. In fact I like it. We have some folks who are just too carefree on some of their deliveries. We have some that are ... special, and they don't treat them with the proper respect, if you get my drift."
Jown got his drift just fine. "Well I know you won't want me prying, special stuff and all, but I'm already in trouble with the police. What kind of special stuff is it?"
Gramps "It's munitions."
Jown "There's nothing wrong with that."
Gramps "It's not what it is that make it special, it's who we sell it too."
Jown had been a little slow on that one. He should have figured that out on his own. "Pirates huh."
Gramps "The clan we sell to like to be called "Liberators", and since we don't deliver to them in the inner systems, for the same reasons you don't go there, I thought that perhaps you would like some of these more lucrative runs."
Jown "Gramps, I certainly need the money, and I wouldn't mind it, but I would have to be sure they didn't bear a grudge against me for some reason or another. I've done my share of bounty hunting on police contracts."
Gramps "I didn’t live this long in this business without making sure everything was ok first. They've already ok'd you, but with some reservations. They'll keep a close eye on you and won't let you deliver to any of their bases. You'll swap to ships."
Something popped into his head "Why do you need me? Why don't they just come here and get it themselves?"
Gramps "Rules Jown, rules. We don't want to be seen with them here. The feds check up on us without notice. No, we won't let them come here just like they won't let you go to their bases. So you've got some good paying work, if your scruples aren't too high."
Jown couldn't afford scruples and began his first run the next day.
Posted by strailon Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 00:00:00 UTC