Kayla held her eye in front of the retinal scanner and after a brief pause a blue light rapidly zig-zagged across her eye. The door opened with a feint swooshing sound as the door seals loosened.
“What a day!” she said out loud as she walked through the door which swooshed again and sealed itself shut. At 6ft tall in heels Kayla was statuesque in appearance her svelte curves providing a perfect frame for her dress which although short was still within regulations covering the designated areas likely to offend the native populace. Removing her dress she tossed it into the automat garment cleaner and slumped into the chair reaching down to loosen the clasps on her anti-grav high heels before kicking them off to the side. “A thousand light years away from home and they still can’t make heels that don’t leave you feeling like you’ve been walking on tip toes” she said with a sigh of relief.
“I need a drink” she called to the apartment’s dispenser unit, her throat dry from the long days of heat and recycled oxygen. “Your usual miss?” replied the unit in its synthesized feminine voice. “Yes please, water… chilled”. A few moments later a tall glass appeared filled with water just as she had requested, the sides of the glass glistening with condensation from the cool liquid. Taking a sip and a moment to savour the taste she said “that’s so good!” and then set the glass down on the floor beside her.
Suddenly there was a feint whine as the two holoprojectors fired up and launched the main portal interface hovering in front of her just within arms reach. The message “Incoming Transmission” hung in mid air flashing demanding her attention. She touched “Accept” and then a face appeared and began to speak.
“Hello Kayla I trust you are well..?” said the woman on screen.
“Yes I am fine Miss DuCosta, I take it this isn’t a social call..?” she replied quizzically. Miss DuCosta a middle aged woman with her dark brown hair had signs of being recently coloured as there were some flecks of grey. Her lined brow furrowed in concentration.
“I’m afraid not” Miss DuCosta said “I have a need of someone with your talents, I understand that you’re just completed an assignment recently?”
“Yes that’s correct. I’m taking some time out” Kayla replied.
“I’m sorry to have to have to do this but you’re the only person who can handle an assignment of this kind…”
“It’s that special an assignment?” Kayla remarked. The old girl must be serious if she’s asking me for something like this she thought to herself.
“It is my dear and you’re the only one I can rely on to carry it out!”
“Ok” Kayla said slowly, considering what may be involved. “I’m interested but first I need the details before we negotiate the fee”
“You’re a shrewd woman Kayla, I’ll transmit the details over a secure carrier call me when you’re ready to talk” Miss DuCosta said before ending the transmission.
Kayla reached out to the interface and touched the accept secure transmission option and opened the file. She paused for a moment to look over the contents and the subject matter in question. “Well this is very interesting” she thought to herself.
The file related to an incoming shipment of Zantinium crystals, extremely rare and incredibly difficult to mine safely. Their properties were well known, they could effectively boost a persons thought processes a thousand fold endowing them with what was known as clear mind a state of consciousness where every possibility could be explored in a flicker of a neuron with amazing clarity.
The region of space where these crystals could be found was in the nearby radiation field of a neutron star which for humans and most alien races would have deadly effects as their DNA would be randomly destroyed by the neutrinos passing through the bodies of the miners. The mining of the crystals was typically used as a death sentence for violent criminals as their labour and eventual cellular degeneration and death was considered an ultimate deterrent.
Kayla’s slender fingers moved across the portal and begun initiation of a secure carrier connection back to Miss DuCosta, moments later Miss DuCosta’s face appeared on the screen.
“Thank you for the opportunity of this assignment” Kayla spoke with gratitude. While there was no need as she was the one providing the service she felt that she should show some courtesy to her client.
“I knew you would be interested, it is a rare opportunity one too good to pass up on!” replied Miss DuCosta.
“Now the fee… I want five million Kelmaks plus twenty-five percent cut on the transaction” Kayla’s voice exuded confidence with business like precision. Miss DuCosta’s face looked slightly startled about the sum involved and challenged her.
“Fifteen percent is my final offer, or the assignment is off!” Miss DuCosta spoke forcefully hoping to get Kayla to back down on her fee. Moments passed which seemed like an eternity before she got a reply.
“Ok then five million Kelmaks plus fifteen percent it is! I’ll start planning right away not a moment to lose!”
“Oh that’s good to hear my dear, you really do know how to drive a bargain!” replied Miss DuCosta with a sound of relief in her voice. “I’ll look forward to your preliminary report and I’ll arrange for your fee to be forwarded to your usual account…” she added before breaking off the transmission.
Kayla reclined back into her seat and thought to herself “not bad for a few minutes work!” but another thought crossed her mind, it wasn’t about how she would acquire the crystals that piqued her curiosity but what was Miss DuCosta’s interest in them…