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Nikki Harlow

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Nikki Harlow last won the day on November 25

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  1. "What about Aegis Division?" I asked as Nathan and I walked into the storage room where we kept the two forklifts - one working, and one for parts - and assorted other pieces of machinery. The emergency lighting wasn’t quite up to snuff, so I got out the tiny, super-bright flashlight I’d taken to carrying ever since the ship’s electronics got fried. "I think it's probably too soon for them," Nathan answered. "Only fairly recently, I was shooting at them. Plus I don't know whether or not Captain Maxwell hires people with active international warrants. And to be honest, I'm not sure if you
  2. I parked at the end of the cargo ramp leading to the bay that held the cattle; I’d signed a contract to deliver the hogs to the Bacon-o-Rama and left them the “sample” I’d brought with me, but I still had the bull and two heifers in the trailer. I got out of the truck, and then noticed Nathan coming toward me, carrying an umbrella and wearing a soaking wet jumpsuit. “Hi, thanks for coming out,” I said. “Looks like you hit some weather?” “You could say that,” Nathan said. “One sec.” I opened up the passenger door and rummaged through the junk back there, looking for a towel.
  3. After coming to an agreement with Billy of Billy’s Bacon-o-Rama, I loaded the bull back into the trailer and Steve and I headed back into town. Steve held a plastic zipper bag with a BIOHAZARD label, which contained his phone. He was talking excitedly about the medication which had assisted with the device’s return, and the legal difficulties it had faced because of its’ unfortunate name and branding. “So after losing the class-action suit and having to pay a bunch of money to fix everyone’s destroyed guts and bathrooms, Turbo Lax changed the name from Turbo Lax BM to Turbo Lax Bull Movem
  4. I ushered the cows back into the trailer and latched the door, while Jonny Ray took a drag on the cigarette he’d just lit. “You can be expecting a call from my son-in-law Dean mighty soon, I think, assuming if-” “AAAAAAAAaaaaaauahauhAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHG” a scream rang out across the farmer’s market. “It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Jonny Ray” I said hurriedly. “Sorry to cut this short, but I think I’m pretty sure that’s Steve.” “That’s him, alright,” Jonny Ray drawled as I sprinted toward the source of the sound near the center of the market. I found Steve in the Fast n’ Fu
  5. The Chocolate Farm turned out to be a farm stand selling various chocolate-and-dairy products out of ice-filled coolers. A young woman wearing overalls, a tiara, and a “Dairy Princess” sash ran the cash register, while a man with a cowboy hat and greying hair milked one of the four brown-spotted cows hitched behind the stand, apparently demonstrating the process for the two young children watching him. “This is where Jonny Ray Outlaw works?” I asked. “Sure is,” said Steve. Then he jumped and waved his arms. “Jonny Ray, Jonny Ray, I brought my Business Associate to meet you!”
  6. Steve must have had an awful lot of “business things” to prepare; I’d been waiting for fifteen minutes or so, and I was starting to worry that a cop might come by and see my truck and trailer full of animals parked across three “compact cars only” parking spaces. It wasn’t quite obvious how to get to Steve’s office, but there was only one obvious entrance at the front of the building, so I went in to look around. The front hall was a smallish space, with grey walls and a vinyl “tile” floor that was trying very hard to look like marble but not quite hitting the mark. To the right was a gla
  7. James, Colleen and I put the dividers up inside the livestock trailer and herded a pair of cows into one side and four pigs into the other. Colleen unhitched the trailer from the forklift (which we’d ‘upgraded’ with a towing ball through one of its’ lifting tines) and locked it down on the back of my old pickup truck. I keyed the address on Steve’s holographic business card into the GPS, and drove down the loading dock and toward his law office. The pickup truck puttered down the road, accentuating every seam and bump with a jarring bounce. The potholes near my high school had destroyed h
  8. My meeting with Nathan wasn’t until the end of the day, so I had several hours to kill. The next level of Laser Catgirls 2 was calling my name, but the business had to come first; the longer it took to find a buyer for the cargo, the more animal feed and waste removal we’d have to pay for. So instead, I called up another member of the boarding party, who’d mentioned - or rather, bragged about - his many business connections on this world. I dialed 753-174-88-2DXe-354-511, triple-checked the absurdly long number against the business card, and hit dial. A rap song played instead of a dial t
  9. The Crayven Corporation was downright strange. All I needed was some way to contact an associate of theirs, and after calling via ship-to-ship to ask I’d spent hours being bounced around between different employees with strange titles like “Sergeant of Human Resources” and “Business Relations Private”, many of whom seemed oddly uncomfortable when I told them who I was trying to reach. Then, at the spaceport I intercepted one of the paralegals who I recognized from my meeting with Drake, and they said that a different person might be able to pass along a message, and that I shouldn’t tell
  10. I watched Steve go racing out of the med bay, waving his medal around while his buckle-less belt, obnoxiously red coattails, and stray bits of medical tape fluttered in the breeze behind him. Our gathering looked at least 50% more ordinary after his departure. “General Kauffman,” I said, following the others’ lead in referring to the CEO by what seemed to be a military rank, ”how should we handle the import permits and other papers for the livestock? I have all the paperwork, but it has the folks chasing us listed as the owners, and I don’t want that to cause legal trouble for either of u
  11. We heard some shouting coming from the other end of the med bay, and then some old timey rock music that started in roughly the same place as the shouting, then came barreling toward us singing “and bad mistakes, I’ve made a few…” The music player pinged off the curtain rod, sailed through the air and landed on the end of Bridget’s bed. “What the?!” she shouted and instinctively flailed, knocking it to the floor. “Share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve,” the player sang as I picked it up and switched it off. It was one of those wearable microtape cassette players that scene teens
  12. I pushed aside the curtain surrounding Bridget’s hospital bed. She looked a bit green, with her eyes half-closed and a splint on one arm. She didn’t seem to notice me come in. I lightly knocked on the wall, since there was no door. “Bridget, it’s Nikki. How are you doing?” Bridget picked her head up and blinked in an exaggerated sort of way, like she was trying to remember how seeing worked. “Oh… hey,” she said sleepily. “Pirates got you too?” I glanced around at the perfectly clean, un-pirate-like room and shiny new medical equipment. “I guess you must’ve missed a lot. These folks o
  13. "-and it turns out our passengers really were keeping a kidnapped CEO in our cargo bay. The fake cruise ship - actually called Mendacius, apparently - is waiting to receive him and the rest of the boarding party. Do you think you can dock cargo bay two with their adapter?" "I see them deploying it now - it looks like a match for our airlock," Gretchen said over the com channel. "Do you expect any trouble from our passengers? The computer says there's not much left of that baby's interior lock, but I could try to figure something out." "The, uh, gentlemen from the other ship have the
  14. The CEO looked like he'd been tossed around by some giant barn cat, but talked like he was negotiating in the boardroom. "I'm terribly sorry about the inconvenience and financial hardship this incident has undoubtedly inflicted on you. I'm sure that the Crayven Corporation can come to an equitable arrangement with you to make you whole again. Have we any unfinished business here?" "Thank you, that's very appreciated," I said. "I'm sure you didn't intend to get kidnapped on my ship, but our margins are pretty thin - cleaning up after surprise visits from merc squads isn't in the budget."
  15. "Well, fuck," I muttered. The James who led the boarding party raised an eyebrow. "Problem?" "It's locked. Won't be for long, though." I angled the padd so that no one but me could see the screen, and entered my administrator password. "I should be able to override anyone else on this ship." The system accepted my password. I went back to the door controls and tapped the buttons to unlock and open the door. My screen indicated that it was open. The actual door remained closed. "Okay, we do have a problem." "It's not my fault this time, I swear!" the James who frequently
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