The radio crackled, a young man’s voice coming through soft, but clear.
‘An Aurora? A Mustang? Maybe your daddy was ‘rich’ and he bought you a shiny 300 series, or a small Hull, an A or B, or a Freelancer.
I got my first Connie when I was 12 you know. A Phoenix. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to fly it myself, but I wrecked my Archimedes my first time out. Pa bought me 20 more, just so I could get used to them.
At 16 he bought me a solid-gold 890 Jump. Solid gold. Only 111 were made. I got number 3.
Of course, I moved up from ships almost immediately. Pa gave me a small loan. By 18 I was buying settlements. Buying and selling people’s lives. Oh, sure, the slave trade is ‘illegal’, but trust me,I’m rich enough to find ways around that.
I ignore that rule, just like I ignore all other rules.
That’s who I am. Do you know who I am? That is who I am.
I own entire planets. My name… my name is synonymous across twelve systems, a literal synonym. It means ‘wealth’. People just say my name, and they know I’m rich. They know I’m big. They know I’m important. They know me.
Look at you. No-one knows you. You don’t matter. You’re not big, or important, or special. You’re nothing.’
The man’s words started to speed up, a sense of panic emerging as his tongue started to stumble.
‘But I… I can make you something. I can make you big! You give me a chance, you listen to me, and you can have it. You can have whatever you want. You want money? Power? Ships? Women? I can give you all of that. I can give you anything.’
I don’t relent. It’s not even a therapy session at this point. There’s no conversation that I need to have, nothing I need to get off my chest. There is no catharsis, no healing, no freedom to be had here.
This one… this one I’m not doing for me.
I’m doing it for everyone.
Sometimes a bug just has to be crushed.
The man’s radio starts to break up as the claw on my Reclaimer continues to squeeze, cracking the cockpit of his 85X. He keeps talking, he must be wearing a flightsuit, but my grip, the grip of justice, it is inexorable. He can do nothing but plead.
‘Please! I… I can give you anything! Just tell me what you want! I… I can… I… Tru-‘
The radio cuts out with a squelch. It’s over.
He’s gone, and the Verse is better for it.
Now if only someone would do the same to me.