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Another day, another sale

By Katherine HansonPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
Photo by Mikhail Nilov from

Jules landed on her feet, hauling her bag behind her as she exited the shoot. Keeping her mask in place, she beelined for the nearest decontamination station. She entered her identification code on the provided tablet and waited while her information was processed. Swiping quickly through the verification process, she huffed out a breath when the doors in front of her finally opened. She entered the first station and shifted from foot to foot repeatedly as she was blasted with the initial cleansing mist, watching as it coalesced and drained through the floor. “You would think they would have fixed the timing on these older models by now...didn’t the newest rep say they were going to be upgrading the stations at this port until new models could be installed? Eh, whatever.” Jules shrugged and shook her head, following the automated instructions to proceed to the next stage. When she was through the final stage, she snorted out a laugh as she waved at the appraiser on the other side of the wall. “Heya, Clay, didn’t know you were working Sector 7’s port this week. How’s the family?”

“Hey, if it isn’t Jules – thought you were still on probation after that mixed-up sale a few weeks ago. Glad to see they let you off early. The family’s fine – Rosa's looking forward to her birthday celebration next month. Can you believe she’s going to be five already?” Clay asked, as he smiled and shook his head.

“Five already? Time flies. Yeah, that was a mess! How was I supposed to know the dang thing had a family claim out for it when it didn’t show on the scan?” Jules rolled her eyes as Clay chuckled. “Man, heart-shaped lockets are so ridiculously common, it should have been an easy sale, you know? Apparently, the inscription paired with the photograph were noted in the family’s records – a great-great-great-grandma or something like that.” She dropped her bag in the provided bin as soon as the vacuum-sealed door opened. She shrugged as she watched the bin’s door close. “Oh well, all’s well that ends well, I guess. Admin lifted the temporary ban after I had them scan it again and proved the claim didn’t show up.” She huffed and gestured toward the bag now displayed on the table in front of Clay. “Anyway, I’ve got a haul for you to scan – a few trinkets, some odd metal parts, the usual. Fingers crossed some of this is worth something. I need a new filter for my mask soon and I’m a little short on credits.”

“Already? Didn’t you just replace the filter last month?” Clay’s brows dipped low over his eyes as he glanced at you, pausing briefly in slipping his arms into the sleeves that allowed him access to the table, the clear casing surrounding the table keeping him safe from any remaining contaminants as he performed appraisals. He resumed his task of opening the provided bag and beginning to remove the items within it as he waited for her response.

“Yeah, I did. I thought the filter might be faulty, but surface scans indicated increased viral contamination due to the frequency of windstorms up there lately. Just my luck, huh?” She shifted, fidgeting with the fastenings of her cuffs. “Sounds like they might have to rush production on the newer filters if the levels continue to increase. I may have to jet further out to pull in more scraps if they do – I heard the new models are going to be twice the cost of the existing ones, which is frustrating. I mean, you would think they would make it affordable for us scrappers, right? It’s not like we want to go top-side to scrounge for metal trinkets only of use to families Tier 3 and above and to the Resources Division.”

“Mm, yeah. I hear you – it's an unfair racket for sure. I can keep an ear out for openings in the Appraiser’s Division, if you’d like? I know a few folks looking to retire within the next year or so, so if you are interested, I could put in a good word for you.” He winked at her as he placed the objects she’d brought on the belt for the computer to scan and process.

“I mean, if you think I’d have a shot, that would be great. I’m from a Tier 16 family, though – not often those below 13 can get a job with as an appraiser, no?”

“Not often, no, but not unheard of either. Stop by for Rosa’s birthday party a week from tomorrow and bring your resume. I’ll make sure it gets to the right person – can't hurt to at least try, right?” Clay tapped the tablet in front of him, noting the scan results as the third item finished processing, and then flicking through to a different screen and sending a message with the party details to her account.

“That’s really cool of you, bud, thanks! I really appreciate it. Any ideas on what I should bring for Rosa? Don’t wanna show up empty-handed, you know.”

Clay laughed as he recorded the results of the next scan. “Sure, sure. I’ll send you a list of what she likes later today. Honestly, if you brought some of those treats you sent me at the last holiday, I think she’d be thrilled.”

Jules snorted, “She’d be thrilled or you would be?”

“Eh, both?” Clay winked at her. “Almost done here – looks like a few of these match requests from Resources, so I can send those over for you and credit your account. One has a claim, so the reward will be sent once the family collects it. The others are yours to sell, though they aren’t worth much based on current appraisal. Anything else I can help you with today?”

“Nah, thanks though! Can you send the ones able to be sold over to Jasper? I’m meeting with him tomorrow anyway, so we can we work out a sale price then.”

“Yeah, sure, no problem. He’s still on the approved list of resellers. I’ll get these sorted and delivered by close of business. It’s been great chatting with you again, Jules – take care of yourself, okay? With your filter failing faster, maybe take fewer trips topside if you can.”

“Thanks Clay. I would, but credits are credits, you know? Don’t worry too much about me, I know to monitor my filter limits.” Jules smiled and waved at him as the door to her right slid open. “Thanks again! See you soon.”

Sci Fi

About the Creator

Katherine Hanson

Hello! I blog about my mental health journey at For creative endeavors, I tend to focus on fantasy and occasional dabbling in poetry.

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