by Joseph H. Ficor -
Shouhei exited the shuttle. Sheba’s orbital spaceport, Carlston’s Cove, handled all incoming and outgoing traffic. Most of the station’s space was devoted to shipping the precious ore mined from Sheba to Avenir and Eclectia. The upper levels of the station housed exact copies of the luxurious staterooms of Avenir. Here, the masters of Sheba relished in the wealth that the broken world brought them.
Shouhei mentally prepared himself for a life of policing the mining settlements on the surface. He had not told his parents about his assignment to Sheba. Fear and humiliation restrained him. His folks were so proud that he had been accepted into the Enforcers. It was a rare chance to leave the dust of Adagio for a better life. Sheba was not a better life.
The Enforcer at the custom checkpoint smiled when he saw Shouhei. He looked for a moment at the crisp new uniform of the “shiny.”
“Welcome to the dump of the system,” he said with that irritating smile. “You must have pulled someone’s chain the wrong way to be sent here.”
Shouhei said nothing. He gave the cynic his ID card.
Cynic inserted the card into a slot in his terminal.
The cynic’s smile melted into a scowl as he read the screen.
He pulled the card from the computer and thrust it and a station map at Shouhei.
“Follow the map to Upper Level Six.”
“What?” Shouhei just stood dumbfounded. I’m not going to the surface? Why?
“Upper Level Six, Shiny!” Cynic shouted.
Shouhei’s confusion blazed like the exposed interior of the world below.
Cynic clarified, “You’ve been assigned to Governor Bokkasa’s personal security detachment. Now move along! Next!”
Shouhei moved along.