Ascension II: Deal

“So, Tic-Tac-Tony’s,” Ishikawa mused, revolving his glass. “A game, and a pretty easy one.”

“Not this game,” Shwartz said. “People come here because they’re looking for something. Or because they’ve got something to offer.”

“What sort of something?”

“Any goods or services you can imagine. Look, a guy over there is doing brain surgery right on his table.”

Ishikawa looked, and quickly took a drink. “Spaceships?” he said queasily.

Shwartz held up a finger; a waiter appeared. “Anybody selling or leasing ships?”

The waiter nodded discreetly toward a corner booth. “Another?”

“Sure.” With glasses in each hand, they joined a heavyset man with a unibrow and grease under his nails at the corner booth. “We’re looking for a ship that’s about 100 meters long and has a Type 7 docking port. Got anything?”

“An unusual port,” the dealer said. “But you’re in luck; one just came in. I’m sorry to tell you it’s only a jumpgate tender. And…”

“We’ll take it,” Ishikawa said.

“…And it’s alien,” he finished.

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