Celeste: The Purchase

The buyer sat quietly under his identity cloak. His attention was focused on the forms in front of him.

“This one was created for space station hull work. The chassis is standard but the outer layer was created by lonely crewmembers.” The seller had a smooth, soothing voice. He shifted subtly under his identity cloak.

Too obvious, the buyer thought. Too blatantly lethal. Her silvery curves held an amazing array of industrial tools under seamless silver skin.

“She never saw active duty. The nanotech revolution of 3078 made her obsolete two hours after her manufacture.”

The buyer nodded in appreciation and with a flick of his hand moved to the next offering.

The next was made of dull grey metal. She had the face of a queen, torso and arms of a dancer. Instead of legs she had eight segmented tentacles streaming out from her hips.

Mmm, thought the buyer. There’s quite a few possibilities with that one.

“This one was salvaged from a failed Medusa cult colony. She sat exposed to the surface elements of Archimedes Three for over two centuries. She is registered as a historical item and all future owners must maintain her in her present condition. We have, however, been quite careful with all decontamination routines and she is prepared for immediate social contact.”

She’s too distinct, the buyer thought regretfully as he noticed her hair was thin cables with tiny connectors at the ends. She would attract too much attention. He flicked his hand.

“This is one of the first models in the Companion series.” The seller’s voice was still smooth, but he shifted under his identity cloak.

She was an almost perfect copy of a human. A line ran down her forehead, along the side of her nose and gently back towards her ear. Most of her face had delicate, pale skin, but the smaller portion had a transparent surface covering thousands of tiny circuits. Wavy blonde hair fell past her shoulders.

Probably retired from a deep void pleasure cruiser, thought the buyer. She’s seen a lot of hard use and won’t have the features I need. He flicked his hand.

“This one is from an estate sale. Her original owner was a colonist who had an unfortunate first encounter. His heirs decided to dispose of all sentimental belongings.”

Part of her skin was a rich brown and part was metallic bronze. The buyer was not able to tell where the skin stopped and the metal began. Very elegant, the buyer thought. She was petite with hair a shade darker than her bronze.

Legitimate colonists rarely had fatal first encounters with new species anymore, but a smuggler operating in an uncharted area might. Or, unfortunate first encounter may be a euphemism for some other type of death not spoken of in polite company.

Had she been used as a mule? Did she have secret cavities waiting to be explored? Her security and sensory functions must have been enhanced. She was new enough her neural system would accept organic modules. She might have interesting trace memories.

She was just what he was looking for.

“I want this one.” The buyer’s voice was low and rough.

This story inspired by fembotcentral.com.


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