the smuggler’s bible

Pluto Vespasianus

When they call back, he bluffs. They are inclined, they assure him, not only to entertain his arguments, but to see things from his point of view. Up to a point.

He realizes that something has changed while his attention was elsewhere. They, also, are bluffing—and paying little attention to his own efforts. He ceases to exert himself.

As things wind down, the comms tablet pips gently. A marquee scrolls across the screen. One shot and they wasted it on small-timers like us. That’s factions for you. And then: Come get me. I think I landed in a tree.