Markus sighed into the night.
The mud from the recent rainfall made the incline of the hill difficult to negotiate, and the shack that he approached was little more than an unimpressive black silhouette against a purple sky. “Really? This trash-heap?” Markus thought to himself with uncertainty. Well, these were the coordinates, and there had been no other signs of civilized life over the last mile or so. His boots clomped in the mud as he reached the top of the hill, and he turned his wrist-torch on high to search for the door. Finding it, he knocked, and waited.
The eyeslot slid open with a rough thud, and the sound of metal scraping metal filled Markus’s ears. Yellow light flooded out through the eyeslot from inside the shack, and a pair of weathered, wary eyes gazed out at him.
“What?” an old voice barked sharply from behind the metal door.
“I’m here on business,” Markus answered. “I heard that you had–”
Flood lights suddenly lit up all around him, illuminating the entrance way in bright white light. The telltale sound of servos firing up preceded a robotic turret fixing its aim at him from above the door, ready to prevent an unwanted visitor from intruding.
“…tech,” Markus finished, staring cautiously at the barrel.
The grizzled eyes studied him warily from behind the slot, searching him up and down. “You Clean?” the old man questioned.
Markus lifted his forearm and pulled his sleeve back, revealing multiple red needle marks on his skin along the vein-line. “Had my Fix an hour ago,” he promised.
The old eyes studied Markus’s forearm for a moment, and then softened slightly. “Well, you got Creds, right? I don’t deal in salvage or barter.”
Markus lowered his arm and relaxed his stance. “Sir, I’ve got enough Creds to buy us both a new lifetime,” he boasted with a smile, “and if your tech is really what I’ve heard it is, then that’s precisely what I mean to do.”
This is Distant Earth.