Re: The Show Must Go Off

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Herr D

The Show Must Go Off–part fifteen

It settled down after that eighth day. My picture, wearing my comasuit covered with dried blood, was all over the net. The story I managed to get circulated was that ‘The Shade,’ a gifted sociopathic serial killer and born leader was having me earn him a living. I was one of at least ten people that you didn’t dare kill–or you were given the choice: die horribly or earn him money till you got killed on your own. It was perfect for intrigue. The Shade and five other scary guys had gone missing six and a half standard Earth years before. To make everyone nervous, I explained that only The Shade knew who his other nine chosen were. Some of THEM might not know who they were paying for protection. I had killed a pirate, and that pirate had been one of his. As a kink in the story, I was circulating the rumor that I was a nut who killed people who agreed to violence with his bare hands for religious reasons. Suddenly no one was interested in fighting me for any reason at all. My umbrella of safety apparently extended to my underlings, as well.
First Upclose, and then Crunch, became part of my entourage. I basically insured their loyalty by telling them I didn’t want or need them. Crunch and Upclose shacked up and began paying me the original demands I made of her. Only slightly behind. I didn’t ask them how because I didn’t want to know. Crunch was also good for some heavy lifting out in Jenko’s mine. Jenko was happy with the results, but very skeptical about what was going on in general: “you be careful, now, Q.” I could tell he knew I was lying about The Shade–baffled me to no end. But some people you just can’t fool, right?
Gibb’s mystery unfolded quickly enough. His dad had been one of the original miners. He’d come here voluntarily. Not a criminal, he was just antisocial. Gibb had never met his dad and one day cut a deal. For twenty years’ income payable to his sister–only living relative, Gibb would lie his way into conviction and the Beltmines instead of a VERY rich murderer. Reportedly his sister got the money, Gibb faced trial, shipped out, and got major tragedy. His dad died while he was en route.
Gibb was fantastic as a worker in a machine shop and not bad as a technician. I paid for his training on contract. Gibb owed me five percent of his pay for five years on regular schedule for the training, five percent for five years for his freedom, and free maintenance for anything he could fix in a timely manner in his off-hours for myself and Jenko. What Gibb never figured out was that I planted a SpyApp in his I.D. chip. I constantly got updates for security password changes, maintenance access–people were right to trust him–I think he would have turned me in and let me kill him for it.