Outbound from Deadwood: – silk , gems, processed foodstuffs, medical raw materials
We’re heading over to St Alban’s next. Gotta lead on some fine ice wines.’
’Not a good luck place for us, sir.’
‘Nowhere is. Our contact is Tracy Smith’s pa. His vineyard had a real good crop the year after we brought Tracy home, but he can’t move it. He distilled some of it too. Says the brandy is real good. Eight years in the cask. We can buy all we want or take the lot on consignment. ‘
‘Brandy or moonshine, sir?’
‘He made his own grapes into his own wine and his own wine into his own brandy.’
’So no papers, then. Sir.’
‘We won’t get the price we would with certs. But we won’t be paying what we would with cert, neither. We can do a taste test, too.’
“Kaylee will like that.’
‘Reckon she’s recovered from that apple cider she tried on Dyton.’
‘Doc should test it for wood alcohol, too.’
‘Fair point. that would be some useful paperwork.’
’So cash or consignment?’
‘I’m aiming to sell it all on Hera, but I ain’t got a buyer.’
‘I’ll ask Perse if he knows anyone.’
Perseus Alleyne was unable to help. His employers did not deal in beverages, which were too bulky for the value. He did pass the names of some hoteliers and restauranteurs, but told Mal to keep the company name out of it.

’The Company can’t afford he deal in black market goods. We’d all be fired if that got out.’
‘I’m your sub, Perse. You’re the only one the Company can fire. An this is grey market only. The drink is the real thing just lackin in the paper department. Real eight year old St Albans icewine, bargain prices.’
Perse sighed. ‘Just keep my name out of it.’

A small man bounced up to Serenity’s entry, opening the door unannounced and letting in half a blizzard.
‘ 谁离开他妈的开门?’ shouted Mal. scrambling down the companionway, pistol drawn. Jayne and Zoe were on the catwalk, guns aimed.
‘Hi, sis?’ said Theseus Alleyne. His hands came down as he heard safeties being snapped shut. ‘Should I have made an appointment?’
‘Sorry, 小弟, We had a problem a few yeas back and we normally have all the doors locked.’

Theseus had a peripatetic business, moving form one world to another, one community to another, turning vats of fats and vegetable oils from abattoirs and restaurants into bio-diesel fuel, an important product in a Verse with no petroleum. He had met the crew of Serenity by accident on Lazarus off Heinlein but their paths had not crossed since then.

By setting up a table in the partially empty cargo bay, Serenity was able to accommodate Theseus, his wife and twins, to dinner that evening.
The Alleyne children were pleased to meet their barely remembered cousin and all the children were glad of new playmates.
Arrangements were made for all the children to gather at a petting zoo near the shipyards the next day, a suggestion from River who had been anxious to go ever since she learned of its existence.
Over many cups of tea, the adults exchanged news, gossip, and tales of their adventures.
Mal was very taken with Zoe’s younger brother. When they had met briefly before, he had been distracted by caring up legal matters related to the disappearance of a passenger, a homesteader who, it was discovered during the voyage, had impregnated his pre-teen daughter.
In this more relaxed atmosphere, he found Theseus’ frank manner and entrepreneurial spirit much to his liking.
‘The farming planets are best for buying stock to make bio-diesel, but they also make their own, so not much market. The biggest market is the terraforming companies. We do a regular run, but we’re always looking for new markets.’
‘You may find New Canaan needs more biofuel than usual. They had a nasty earthquake that played merry hob with their own plants. And destroyed a lot of crops.’
‘Was the central plant hurt?’
‘Hard to tell. The ‘casts didn’t have much info near in and when we left the system it was old news. A quake on a terraformin planet? It’s not news, it’s Tuesday, reckon,’ said Zoe.
Mal grunted. ‘Our main cargo here is from Perse. You been in touch with him?’
‘Not really. Not my favourite brother.I was the youngest and always the smallest kid. Good thing I had a big sis to protect me.’
‘It was running your mouth that mostly got you into trouble,小弟.’
‘Zoe protected me. Girls get their growth sooner’n boys, so she was bigger than our big brothers at the time. She slapped them into place.’ Theseus grinned. ‘Remember the  time I talked Perse and Sock into a spacewalk just before we went into atmo?’
‘At lest they had enough sense to untether before they got a fiery death.’
‘They was some mad when Daddy had get a shuttle to pick ‘em up after he figured out where they was.’
‘Daddy was madder. You hadda hide in the vents until Daddy cooled down.’
‘I wasn’t hiding, I was stuck.’
‘Unless you figured a way to use the jakes from the vents, you was hidin.’
‘I admit it, I have never  been a brave man.’
‘My daddy says a smart man knows enough not to get into spots where bravery is necessary.’ Theseus’ son added.
‘Yer daddy ain’t a fool , ‘ said Mal.’ ‘Verse’d be a safer place if’n more followed that advice.
The entire crew stared at their captain. ‘What?’

Theseus had a few suggestions for disposal of the icewine and offered to call ahead to assure the potential customers of Serenity’s bone fides. He scoffed politely at a finder’s fee, but Zoe and her sister in law,more aware of the costs of raising children, quietly made and arrangement for half of one percent of the final price.


About femmefan1946

Retired professional writer and editor. Nominated for an Aurora Award for work on CAN-CON 2014, which concentrates on introducing new and aspiring writers and artists to agents, editors and publishers.
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