It turns out that 20 million doesn’t go as far as you might think when it comes to running your own ship. Still, it was more than enough to completely kit the Overnight Millionaire out to its top spec. Top spec thrusters and FSD give the girl some serious legs; and a high grade scoop means it can go for literally days. I haven’t touched the hull, more armor would only slow her down and she’s never going to be a serious fighter. In any major fight her biggest strength will be her speed and I don’t want anything getting in the way of that.

All of that put a serious dent in the money I got from the Crom Silver Boys. Not to say that I’m poor by any stretch of the imagination – money is certainly not an immediate requirement for me. Which means that I’m free to pursue other goals.

To that end I set course for Kube-McDowell City in Opilla. According to Gia’s contacts in the Federal Security Service it was the last known abode of one Dexter Vex, a man whom I’d very much like to meet!

Opila 1

Of course it was never going to be that easy.

I arrived at the station late in the evening, local time. Like a lot of the agricultural stations I’ve visited the station itself used the same time schedule as the capital on the planet it orbited, rather than the more common Galactic Standard Time. I guess it makes sense when your economy is based on crop production, but it’s a pain in the arse for anyone who happens to be visiting. Actually, that’s not fair; one of the things I’ve discovered over the last couple of months is that, despite being the galactic standard, only independent pilots actually use GST. Well them, the military, the fuzz, and other assorted weirdos.

Either way, when I arrived it was late, and there was no one around. I tried searching for Dexter Vex in the station directory but (of course) there was no mention of him. I wasn’t surprised; I knew he’d moved on and that the official record would be unhelpful. Still, it had been worth a try.

Next step was to go to his old apartment. It was in one of the habitation rings so I had the joy of riding one of the centrifugal lifts up the main supporting arm, using the force of the stations rotation to propel me towards the outer rings. It would have been more entertaining if you could see out of the capsule, but alas. At the other end I hailed a cab to take me to around the ring to Vex’ old building. That was more impressive. Compared to seeing the station from the outside, seeing it above you through the glass ceiling of the habitation ring is a truly impressive sight. One that made me feel even smaller than I usually do.


The person who’d taken ownership of Vex’s apartment – an older woman – was utterly distraught that she couldn’t help me. Her exact words I believe were:

“How the fuck would I know? Piss off! Don’t you know what time it is?”

I know. I could could tell she would have liked to be more helpful if she could.

Dispirited I headed back down and hailed another cab. The driver was the same one who had dropped me off in the first place, a young guy with bleach blond hair and a carefree attitude. He hadn’t even had time to pick up a new fair before he received my hail. He looked at me.

“Where do you want to go, dude?”

I didn’t even have to pause to think of an answer.

“Where’s the swankiest bar around here?”

He looked at me, taking in the scuffed leather vest, multicolored dreads and tattooed arms. He shrugged, obviously deciding that if I didn’t get in it would just mean another fair for him.

“You should try Pablo’s Lounge,” he said. “Best cocktails on the station I’m told.”

“Great, let’s do it.”

My credit balance at this point was healthy enough that I figured I could probably buy my way if they turned out to pricks about a dress code – but as it turned out that wasn’t necessary.

The cabbie dropped me off at the gate and watched me as I walked past the queue and up to the door man. He looked me up and down but, to his credit, managed not to sneer.

“Can I help you, madam?” he enquired, in a voice that even the Shrew’s butler would have been proud to call his own.

I shrugged. “I was hoping to get a drink,” I said, trying to act like there was no reason why he wouldn’t let me in.

He smiled in an irritatingly condescending manner. “I’m afraid, madam,” he said, putting a slightly sarcastic stress on the ‘madam’, “that this is a rather exclusive establishment. We admit only members and their guests.”

“How much will this ‘exclusivity’ cost me, my good man?” I asked, using a tone of voice that perfectly matched his.

“Permanent membership is by invitation only I’m afraid, madam” He replied, clearly enjoying himself now.

“Yes, but everything has a price,” I said, looking him in the eye. I lowered my voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “What’s yours?”

“I am afraid, ‘madam’, that no amount of money will convince me to let ‘you’ into this club.”

I decided to leave. The guy was clearly getting annoyed now, and he obviously wasn’t going to let me in. I was just turning around when I remembered why I was in this station in the first place. I turned back.

“Before I go,” I asked, “do you happen to know the name Dexter Vex?”

The effect on the doorman was fascinating to watch. At first he looked skeptical. Then – as he realised that it was a serious question, he looked confused, and curious. Finally with an apprehensive look over his shoulder, he asked:

“How do you know Dexter Vex?”

I was slightly nonplussed by this. “I don’t,” I replied. “At least – not anymore. But he was a very good friend of my father’s. I’ve been trying to find him for a while now but he’s a hard man to track down.”

“What’s your name?”

“Tanith Low,” I told him, now thoroughly confused.

The doorman looked at me for longer than I was entirely comfortable with. He seemed to come to some decision.

“Wait here,” he told me, and went inside the club.

He was gone for a good ten minutes, by which point my cab had left and the other patrons in the queue were staring at me.

When he returned he was accompanied by a tall and stunningly beautiful red-haired woman wearing high leather boots and a white dress cut too high to be indecent, yet slightly too low to be suitable in polite company. She frowned at me, an expression which highlighted how expressive her eyes were.

“How do you know Dexter Vex?” she asked, in a voice like warm honey.

I was already bored of answering that question so I may have been a little curt when I said, “Your lackey here…” – this elicited an indignant splutter from the doorman – “…already asked me that. Vex is a friend of my family; I met him many years ago after he killed the men who murdered my father.”

Here the woman smiled – in itself a treat to watch.

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to be more specific dear. Vex has killed a lot of people. Who was your father?”

I shrugged. “Samuel Low.”

She instantly relaxed, and turned to the doorman.

“Heathcliffe dear, this young lady is with me.”

Without even waiting for an answer she took me by the arm and led me into the club.



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