Terese Mörtvik

Oblivion: A short short sci-fi story
They didn't call it a junkyard for nothing. Rusted metal, barbed wires and electronic ones so wrapped up in eachother you could hook up any two ends to a car battery and light up the whole thing like deadly christmas lights. Something like that. I only needed one small frikkin part though, to get myself off this godforsaken planet.

Roloman coil was expensive, but every once in a while some idiot would toss it away along with other odds and ends, not useful for the everyday business on a farming slash mining slash whorehouse of a planet like this. The trick would be getting it past the seller's eyes. Might be they were the suspicious kind, wont to check out a part on the interweb, just to make sure they skinned their customers all proper like. I had a plan though. I always did. All right, fine, it was a half-assed hail mary, but what are you gonna do? At worst I'd end up where I was likely to end up anyway, if I stayed too long in this place and my credits ran out. Maybe earlier, if we managed to run into the wrong crowd.

The surveillance drone dogged my every step, but it was a slow thing, and probably half blind, with most of its sensors fried from the heat. I spied my bounty under a pile of rubble, might be broken, and might be whole. If there was a single thread of life left in it Con would have to coax it to life. Now for something to counter it with. I scanned the surrounding piles. That horus coil might do the trick. It shouldn’t be too expensive. Sure, I could get it at most any hardware store, but not if I wanted a bargain. I snatched it up, made sure I looked at it for a long time, then kept going. I rooted through the piles, looked at a few couplings, a battered old music box. I palmed the coil I was really after while scrutinizing the music box closely.

“It’s a thing o’ beauty, innit?”

My heartbeat skyrocketed as the drone radio crackled behind me. I zoomed up and around, over my shoulder, hovering close to the item I was holding.

“I’d make a bargain of it, just for you.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I should really only get the horos coil. My boyfriend said I should try and get one cheap here. Says I don’t need the fastest bike in town anyway.”

“Sure, sure,” the drone said. “I always give a fair price.”
My hand was starting to cramp, and I tried not to grit my teeth.
“Does it work?” I asked.
“Bring it up front and we’ll have a look.”
The drone buzzed off, and I quickly moved the coil into my sleeve, twisting it tightly around my wrist. It bit into my skin, but never mind that. I twisted the other coil, the decoy, around my hand, making sure one end snaked up my sleeve as well.
The seller took great care in explaining the music box to me, and put an outrageous price on it, considering the ballerina was missing, but I nodded and smiled, with the appropriate amount of hesitation. Finally, we struck a deal, it was steeper than I would have liked, but certainly nowhere near as expensive as a rolomon coil would have cost me anywhere in the worlds. I made sure to clutch the music box with the same hand that had the coils, so that when the drone scanned me for any extra metal, all it really registered was that I had metal exactly were it was expected. It’s not like it was an x-ray machine after all. I bowed out of sealing the deal with a kiss by referring to my oh-so-jealous boyfriend, and finally I was off.

Meeting up with Con at the docks, he only gave a cursory glance at my music box before we headed inside.

“Missing our childhood, are we?” he asked as soon as the door sealed behind us.

“I got the goods,” I said. “Never you mind my childhood.”

I hauled out the coil and held it up like a badge of honor.

“And we even have money left for provisions. Not a lot of provisions. But enough. If we sleep most of the way.”

Con whooped with joy and gabbed the coil.

“My sweet dame, I shall make you the queen of our magnetic core. You radiant, brilliant, wonderful, piece of junk!”

“Well done, Jody,” I muttered. “Knew you’d pull through for us Jody. You’re a radiant, brilliant, wonderful, star! Jody!” I rather raised my tone at that last part.

“Yeah, yeah, Jo, well done. Great, well…” he was halfway down the corridor already.

I rolled my eyes and went to change my outfit, and my eyecolor, and my haircolor, before I headed out again. Oblivion would soon be a distant speck of dust as we sailed closer to the colonies and the promises that waited there. Just a few hours more.