A courier delivers hope for a decimated world.
“Weatherby,” the deep voice reverberated over the speaker.
“That’s me!” Abigail pushed her way through the alien crowd, a hulking Veezlix meeting her at the counter.
“You must be a trainee,” he remarked, running his fingers along a broken tusk. “Where ya’ from, kid?”
“Earth!” she replied proudly, her confidence unshakeable.
“Never heard of it.” He lurched around toward the conveyor, picking her package from the waiting basket.
“Because we’re new,” Abigail beamed. “Only 6 months in the Union.”
“Great,” the Veezlix snorted, setting it upon the counter, wrapped in brown paper and twine. “Immediate delivery to the Embassy Spire. Got your docs? You know the protocol?”
“Yup. Fastest route, hand delivery, to the addressee only,” Abigail confirmed. Then, tucking the package away, she saluted and took off in a run.
“And don’t drop it!” The Veezlix rolled his eyes. “Rookies.”
Abigail hit the platforms at the top of the tower, facing the fantastic sights and sounds of the sprawling metropolis – Artem-Suul, Capital of the Galactic Union. Goggles snuggly in place, she bolted right for the edge, leaping over the side.
Her rocket pack engaged in freefall and Abigail blasted away, soaring into the city. She loved the thrill of the flight, the suns on her face and wind in her hair, but a sudden alert brought her to an unfortunate stop at an otherwise invisible barrier only her lenses could see.
“Code clearance?” a voice announced in her communicator and Abigail tapped her goggles. “Confirmed. Welcome to the Embassy Spire.”
Launching through the breach into the compound, she set down gently within a beautiful, pristine courtyard, her gaze drifting skyward to the shimmering golden tower, its tip lost in the clouds. “Wow.”
She was greeted in the lobby by a waiting automaton. “May I help you?” it asked.
“I have a package for…” she pulled the box from her pouch, squinting at the alien letters. “…Rokuun.”
“Ozeron Ambassador Rokuun. Floor 312. Though he’s not exactly in a mood for visitors.”
“Good to know. Thanks!”
Abigail stepped from the lift into an empty hall lined with beautiful paintings spaced by finely carved statues. There even stood a priceless suit of armor, if such a thing could be carved from flowing water. At the end, she stopped before a pair of lofty polished doors and simply knocked.
There was a crash, followed by, “Is someone there? What is it?”
“Delivery, sir,” Abigail said.
“Yes, yes. Enter.”
Inside, the Ozeron Ambassador was ashen, slumped into a couch and gazing at the skyline. “Just leave it and go.”
“With the rest of them, those empty condolences.” He motioned to a corner stacked with bouquets from around the galaxy.
“Um, I don’t think…”
“And that’s why you only deliver packages,” he quipped.
“Sorry,” she brushed off the insult, “this requires your imprint.”
“Fine,” Rokuun pushed himself up, stout legs adapting. Sadly disheveled, it was as if he’d not slept for days.
“Are you okay?”
“Good question.” He’d been drinking heavily. “How would you feel if your entire civilization was completely obliterated?” He stumbled forward, still holding his glass.
“Just press here,” she instructed, pointing to a small icon on top.
Immediately, the package shuddered, drifting out of Abigail’s hands toward Rokuun and transforming into a polished crystal sphere.
“Is this some kind of trick?” he stammered.
An image materialized before them, a figure not unlike the Ambassador. “Greetings Rokuun,” it said. “I hope this package finds you well.”
He dropped his glass.
“Encoded within this orb is the complete legacy of Ozeron, our history and culture, along with the genetic profiles for over one million of us, our memories and personality algorithms likewise encoded.”
“Impossible,” the Ambassador gawked, suddenly sober.
“You are hereby directed, to proceed to the Gensynth facility on Artem-Suul to oversee our immediate reconstitution. Alas, there is still hope.” Then, the image disappeared.
“What…what does it mean?” Abigail asked.
“It means I have a new message for you to deliver!” He frantically pulled a credit stick from his desk. “Head to Gensynth right away! These creds should do. Tell them to prime their stacks and spare no expense! I’ll be there within the hour! Oh, and sorry about what I said before. Anyways, what’s your customary tip?”
“We’re not allowed to say. Whatever you feel it’s worth, I suppose,” she smiled.
“Done.” He didn’t even hesitate.
Twenty percent of the value of a civilization – it was largest tip she, or any other courier for that matter, had ever received.