Flash Fiction: The Star Attraction.

space-galaxy-1401467040F0sBy Carol Browne

In this quadrant of the Milky Way busy trade routes and shipping lanes converge and no planet sees more traffic than this one.
Here on Genevra, battleships from the Maldorgian Empire dock alongside pleasure cruisers from Earth and merchant vessels from every planet in the galaxy. They gather here to barter, sell their wares, trade in arms, spices, precious gems and ores. Art is bought and sold here. So are slaves. Every kind of drug is available.

Starship crews hope to replenish their stores on Genevra and take time out for some interesting shore leave. Merchants congregate in the local taverns where they spin yarns about dodging comets, skating around black holes, and outrunning pirates from the Orion Nebula. It was worth it all, they say, to reach the best markets for their wares.

No better markets than here on Genevra. There’s nothing you can’t buy or sell. No matter how rare the commodity, if it can be bought and you have sufficient credits, you can find it on Genevra, the place where all the shipping lanes converge.

I look out of my top-floor window. I have a comprehensive view of all the comings and goings on the square below, where the market place is seething with commercial activity. I shall stand here, watching and waiting. That’s all I ever need to do. I don’t advertise and yet I never lack for customers.

I can see the merchants, the tourists, the vendors that come from every solar system in the galaxy—and beyond. Visitors from as far afield as Andromeda. So many races, species, life forms, all milling about on the square below me. I am inured now to this diversity of life. There’s nothing I can’t handle.

Millions of credits will change hands before the moons set over the mountains, and many of them will be surrendered here later in what its patrons call The House on Glimmer Street.

This house is famous throughout the quadrant. Call it a brothel if you will, but it is a very exclusive one. You’ll need an abundance of credits if you desire to spend an hour beneath its roof. At The House on Glimmer Street you can have anything you want. And if it’s me you want, that’s going to cost you the most of all. The house prides itself on being able to cater for all tastes, to fulfil every fantasy, and I’m its star attraction. There’s nobody here like me.

Captured by slavers and sold here, I quickly earned enough to buy my freedom, thanks to my special talent, but by then a huge asteroid had collided with Medea, my home planet. Medea is now a lifeless rock, so I can never go back. This place is as good as any other to one who has lost all hope of home.

So I stand and watch the wealthy merchants on the square below and I wonder how many will climb the stairs to this room later, feverish to fulfil their innermost desires. How many will have earned enough credits to buy an hour of my time?

They trade in rare and wonderful commodities but they all know there’s nothing on Genevra rarer or more wonderful than me. They know as the sole survivor of Medea, the last of a race of shapeshifters, I can be anything they want me to be.

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