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A deal goes down

Posted on Sat Apr 13th, 2013 @ 2:01pm by Jeffrey Tambleton & Phikic Suze

Mission: Part of the Team
Location: Tambleton's quarters

Tambleton handed Suze a statuette. It was carved out of some long dead animal’s bones. That it was long dead was attested to by the yellowing of the bone. The statuette gave off a pungent aroma of the funeral spices with which the body it had accompanied into the tomb had been encased.

It was of what closely resembled an Earth lion though the incisors were much longer. In that respect, it was more like the extinct sabre toothed tiger. It was rearing up on its hind legs, it’s front claws extended.

Undoubtedly it had been placed in the sarcophagus to protect the deceased in his journey to the afterlife. The detail on the carving was exquisite. The fur looked real and the eyes intent on its prey. The incisors looked sharp enough to puncture skin; the claws too looked lethal. Any demon coming up against it would certainly have cause for second thoughts.

Suze sipped her coffee. It was good coffee, she'd give Tam that. Reluctantly she put it down and picked up the artifact. She thought it beautiful and in her hands it felt so light as if it were made of air.

Tambleton looked on in horror as Suze raised the statuette above her head. It looked for all the world that she was about to smash it to the floor. Good gods! he thought. Don't tell me she thinks there's a map to hidden treasure in it?

She continued to hold the statuette on high then Tambleton noticed she was holding it to the light. She turned it this way and that as if testing its translucency. Yes, that was it. He wasn't sure if she actually knew what she was doing or if this was just for show but, either way, Tambleton had to acknowledge she'd done her homework.

It was the finest 'ivory' she had ever seen. She had tried so many times to replicate the stuff but could never get the right texture or colour. She knew that there was something missing and the computer couldn't tell her what it was, it was unknown.

She had collected a number of these artifacts in the hope that there would come along just one piece that was slightly different than the others that would give her a clue as to the missing link. For now it would just sit with the others in her lab on Moonfleet. Should keep Tam busy for a while.

"Its a good replicated piece, Tam" she told him as she wrapped it up and placed it in her bag. "Let me know when you get some more."

"More?" Tambleton said. "Do you think I make the stuff? Pieces like this don't grow on trees, you know."

"Ah Tam, you can pretend to call yourself an Archaeologist only I know differently. How embarrassed you were to put a skull together from some ancient bone fragments you found, but then its turns out its not a skull but just an old dried out potato."

"Yeah, yeah," Tambleton replied. He was remembering how wearisome Suze could be at times. He'd had to suffer her supposed humour all the way out to the Star Empire and back. Tiresome didn't even begin to describe it.

"Ah, the young," sighed Suze "I cannot teach him, the boy has no patience."

Suze turned round to face Tam. A small smirk appeared on her lips. "Oh wait. Wasn't she your last girl friend? From what I remember your Patience almost got us all killed a while back on some godforsaken hole-in-the-wall planet. Or was it a station?"

Here we go again, Tambleton thought. “It was neither and, if you recall, Patience saved your butt. Yes, she drew fire at an awkward moment but she also distracted those guards while you got away.” Yes, it had been awkward. For some unknown reason, she’d stood up and tried to talk to the guards; tried to persuade them to put down their weapons. Their reaction had been as predictable as it had been quick. They fired. “Enough of that. Are you going to pay for that piece or not? If not, I’ll have it back, thanks. I know plenty of other buyers appreciate quality scrimshaw when they see it.”

More like grim-shaw thought Suze but enough was enough. She'd taken her daily bite out of him and there was always tomorrow.

Suze passed over the money. "Its more than its worth, Tam. Let me know when you find some more. Be seeing you."


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