Don’t Fuck with Fairy
Incident Interview Transcript
Subject: Jotna Farthing, Human*, Nexus Station, Assurance Transport Solutions – Courier
Location: HQ, Crystal Quarter, Fey
Pop always said don’t fuck with fairy.
“Excuse me? Can you explain that?”
Pop was always free with his pearls of wisdom:
Better ya ask forgiveness than permission.
Take yer tools home with ya. Might not be a job there in the mornin’.
Whatcha need is connections, all those assholes with money, they got there with connections.
If someone tries t’fuck with you, beat ‘em down. That way they don’ come back at cha.
And the most useful,
Don’t fuck with Fairy. Ya stay the hell away from those tricksy bitches.
It’s how he would sum up what I call his IKnewaGuy tales. He worked the ships and talked shit while I ran a relay race with tools.
“Courier is not the family business?”
Courier is never a family business. Nah, I used to park a storage crate next to the tool chest and sit with my comp in one hand reading and half listening to Pop’s tales, my other hand rested on his tools, ready to deliver.
I kept him organized, insisted on a system, but everyday after lessons, I came to the dock to find my system fucked beyond recognition, and everyday I put it all back in order.
Ya stay outta the engine, he kept telling me, poking me with his oversized, filthy finger. I’m not trappin’ you into some scuzzy spaceport the resta ya life, not passing this shite onto t’ ya’s. You’re gonna do betta.
The poke to my collarbone always came at betta. Most of my shirts had a discolored dot on the front. I did stay out of the engine, though. Stuck with organization and delivery. Come to think of it, I guess I was bound for this illustrious career at an early age, but I’m sure this isn’t what Pop meant by betta. Rather than one spaceport, I’m living in all of them.
Suits me though – minimalist lifestyle, free travel. The corporation offers plenty of perks, too: generous death and dismemberment benefits, free berthing in every port, free uniforms, unlimited tech and data usage, and my prime requisite for employment: time to read. Ninety-five percent of my job involves free time. Of course, the other one percent can be ugly, like today, but the perks – damn!
“Ms. Farthing, I really need to hear about the incident on Fey. If you could please begin with how you obtained the book, that would probably help us out. I’m sure you want to clear this up and avoid any more … trouble for yourself.”
Yeah, well, first you need to know that I was never even supposed to be there, on Fey. Pop told me not to fuck with Fairy, and if anyone had reason to believe that, it was Pop. Those fuckers had him killed, you know. He dealt with them and, boom.
I certainly wouldn’t have…
“Excuse me, can you explain boom?”
Boom means boom. The explosion took out all of Dock Ten Forty-Three, a Solar Class ship, and my pop. It would have taken me out as well, but I was finishing final exams.
Anyway, Kealy was assigned the book. He went to the package inspection with the shipper; he put his bioscan on the seal. Corporate had to reroute the whole damn thing when Kealy died. I was just coming from the Largo job when they called me in to replace him. I had to meet with the shipper and do a new bioseal.
They know I don’t like to deal with Fairies, but they threatened to pull my licence for a month if I didn’t take the job. Assholes. There were others on Nexus who could have taken it. Hell, two couriers arrived before I even got back from Largo.
And Largo was a pain in the ass, let me tell you, a whole damn planet is full of religious fanatics. In my first ten minutes there, I got ticketed for wearing a left glove! I was just taking the damn things off and forgot to take the left one off first! Guy comes up to me and hisses in my face then screams something about the devil’s hand! There are over twenty thousand laws …
“Can you please go back to Mr. Kealy? How did he die, and who was the shipper?”
Well, you know you’ll have to talk to the corporation about the shipper, but I can tell you that Kealy died of some kind of allergic reaction. Really fucked up too. We’re tested for reactions to just about anything, given vaccinations for every damn bug that’s been discovered. No way Kealy should have encountered something between the shipper and Nexus Port that he’d react to. It was foul: boils all over his face and hands, his eyeballs were leaking.
Bonan comes up to me in the mess on Nexus yelling, Kealy’s heart ripped open in medical!
I don’t think he was too upset about it since Kealy named him as beneficiary. Lots of us do that. No family back home, don’t want the corporation to weasel out of paying. Hell, I signed my benefits to Jones. Messy way to go, though. You’ll have to deal with the corporation to get the info on that one.
“Yes, the corporation. We’re working on that. So, who was the shipper? And please describe the book.”
Nice try. I met the shipper. The shipper put his bio on the seal; I put mine and I left Nexus Station and booked some hold space on a cargo ship to Fey, The Intrepid, real bucket of bolts that one. I could hear slippage in the FTL every time they switched in and out. Sounds like it hasn’t been aligned in ages. Captain’s probably a cheap bastard. Not a bad lot for a crew though. There were five of us couriers booked in the hold. They gave us cots and let us eat in the mess. Real decent. Still kept the hold cold as hell, but that’s par.
Nothing like hopping a cruiser, though. I caught a cruiser to Philadel once and ended up with a suite, a fucking suite! I couldn’t leave it, of course, but hell, who needs to go out when you have wall screen and room service. I had shrimp and steak three nights in a row, not even synth! Real. Fucking. Cow.
“Real cow. Great. Let’s go to where you exited the Intrepid.”
Fey was the second to last stop for The Intrepid before she headed back to Nexus. Only Jones was left bunking in the hold with me. Wonky one, Jones. She has all these plans and shit, like a courier has what you’d call, upward mobility. She’s always talking about saving up to open a little shop on some craphole ag planet I’ve never even heard of. Wants to knit specialty goat hair sweaters, I shit you not. There is so much wrong with that story, I don’t know where to begin.
The universe doesn’t work that way. Some fuckers are born with options, the rest of us just crawl around the bottom eating scraps. We got a decent deal as couriers. Jones is setting herself up for a heartache, just like Pop did. He tried to reach for something more and ended up shredded meat.
“What happened on Fey?”
Yeah, Fey. I cleared customs with my courier credentials. The recipient sent a transport and it dropped me off near the edge of the Crystal Quarter. I went in for the delivery, recipient and I broke the seals. When she opened the book, all hell broke loose and I called you guys in.
“Ms. Farthing, you are being purposely vague. If you don’t cooperate with us, we can’t help you. It will be bad for you.”
Help me? How is that you think I need help? I’m just the fucking courier. I did my due diligence. The item was scanned for explosives, poisons, and biohazard before it was sealed. The recipient agreed to delivery from the sender. The corporation has licences for private transport. How the fuck is any of this my fault? That thing stayed sealed until the moment the fairy bitch opened it and …
“Ms. Farthing, are you a xenophobe? Do you have ties with any of the organizations promoting racial purity?”
You must be shitting me. Fairies are the xenophobes. I’ve got no issues with races. Ask Jones, she’s half-human, doesn’t even know what the hell her father was. Looks good on her though, and she can smell things, ya know. Like she knows when some roach coach in port is trying to pad the chicken burger with some rat scraps. I started paying attention and learned to do it myself. We used to guess the contents of each other’s packages. Couldn’t reveal the answer, but I could tell by her face when I got it right. Good egg, Jones. She’s never going to get her damn goat shop though and I don’t have the heart to crush her dreams. I just do the ol’ smile and nod when she tells me about it.
Pop didn’t raise a fucking xenophobe. Even though he could pass, he would never turn on his own like that.
Pop was first gen full-human. His dad was still considered half. I mean, he was a huge, hulking mother-fucker, but he looked like huge, hulking, human mother-fucker. He changed his name and went to Nexus station to get a fresh start when he young. Started off working for a corporation before he saved up enough to get his own dock space. He said he bought his freedom one tool at a time, thought it was such a big deal getting out from under a corporation.
Always made such a fuss about me getting something planetside. Wanted me to be a doctor or professor … he had a new career picked out for me every time my exam results came in, had all this big talk about university. I really bought into that shit before he got himself killed. If there was any money set aside, some asshole banker must have figured out how to hide it; I didn’t get shit.
After the explosion, I decided, fuck it. I’m just going to get a steady paycheck and stay the hell out of trouble. Pop wouldn’t tolerate any of that xenophobic shit. He loved his family. Named me after his uncle … it’s good thing couriers go by last names.
Besides, it’s those fairy fucks that are all obsessed with purity. When I arrived at the recipient’s place, the doorman actually held his hankie up to his nose as if I were a turd holding a package. Snotty fuck, I mean I know I’m no rose after four days in a cargo hold, but I keep myself pretty tidy. Even if I am a little stale, only an asshole would act like that. The bitch recipient, hell, she wouldn’t even touch the bio seal after I did. The butler sanitized it so she could scan. I’ve never been treated …
“Stop. Walk me through the events.”
Yeah. That asshole doorman, or butler, or whatever, sprayed a sanitizer on the seal after I scanned and then she did hers. The case opened and there was a book inside, real old school shit, all cracked leather and gold lettering with a fancy, little note on top. Shocked me to see honest-to-goodness, leather and paper. I would have loved to read it. It even smelled cool, like grass or herbs … I don’t know, like time.
Not my business though. Once the recipient has the package open, I’m gone, and I sure as fuck wanted gone and away from those assholes. I was half out the room when she started choking and spewing blood.
Privacy. That’s the corporation motto. We mind our own business, deliver and get out, no chit-chat with the recipient, no gossip about customers or packages. The corporation has some harsh fucking penalties for talking shop.
“This isn’t gossip, Ms. Farthing. This is an investigation. The woman you left ‘spewing blood’ was a respected member of council. She was an ally and her death may destroy several important treaties. Treaties that could make life a lot easier for people like you and your father. Right now, you are our only suspect and our penalties for murder certainly outweigh any sanctions your corporation can impose on you.”
You’re a sneaky fuck aren’t you? Can’t do your job, so you try to pin it on a courier? Shouldn’t you be focused on the sender, or do you honestly believe that I magically booby-trapped some book I’d never even laid eyes on before the bitch opened it? How the hell could I open the seal without the sender or recipient’s bio and why the fuck would I care to?
“You seem to have some strong motivations to attack a fairy. You claim they killed your father. We would love to focus on the sender as well, if you will kindly give us that information.”
Talk to corporate, it’s above my pay grade. Besides, I didn’t go to the original package sealing. After Kealy did a melt-down, the shipper came to Nexus and corporate erased the seals so I could replace Kealy. Sounds to me like some nasty shit between the shipper and the fairy bitch. She’s the dumbass who agreed to receive his package. That’s some internal bullshit.”
“By internal, you mean that the sender was fairy as well?”
“Ms. Farthing, you are undoubtedly aware that it was illegal for you to bio-seal a package you had not personally inspected?”
You need to talk to corporate. They should have sent me some representation.
“I’m not sure I see why they would. It sounds like they have a perfect opportunity to leave the responsibility for this on you: an illegal reseal on a package, the uninvestigated death of another courier. Perhaps they think that you helped get Kealy out of the way so you could avenge your father’s death?”
Fuck you. I would never do that to Kealy. He was an ass, but I sure as hell wouldn’t sell out another courier. As far as Pop goes, I have no reason to think that fairy bitch was behind it. Even you said she was some diplomat or something. I doubt she had shit to do with the banks.
“You believe the banks killed your father?”
He must have been in over his head with those assholes. Probably trying to get the money to send me to university.
“If you hadn’t used the money to go to university yet, why would the bank need to kill him? Even if the money was gone, how would destroying his business help them when they could have repossessed his collateral?
Ms. Farthing, why do you believe the fairies killed your father?”
You have no fucking idea how shit works, do you? You really think someone like my pop could have walked into the Nexus branch and filled out some docs for a loan? There is The Bank, and then there are the banks. Same sleazy fucks in charge though. Who knows what the hell Pop put down for the money.
He was just so fucking obsessed with getting me off Nexus. It was like the family was on some bullshit journey to legitimacy and I was supposed to be the culmination of it – respectable race, doctor, or lawyer, or something, living on a cozy, temperate world, popping out the next generation of Farthings. I’m not saying it’s a bad dream, I could have gone for that crap. I loved school and all, but hell. The universe just doesn’t work that way.
“Who did he borrow money from?”
How the fuck should I know? Besides, everyone knows it’s all the same assholes. Fairies control all the money. Pop would never have involved me in that shit. You know it had to be sketchy. His whole shop and tools wouldn’t even have paid for my room and board at University, much less tuition. Whatever he had to do for the that much money, it had to be big, and he wouldn’t have involved me.
After Pop died, I just wanted to stay the hell out of it. I’ve got a steady job, time to read, everything I need. I had nothing to do with this fairy bitch or any of the bullshit she must have gotten into. Fairies are ruthless assholes. You should have seen the way she went, coughing blood, gasping for air, clawing at her eyes and throat. That shit was personal; someone wanted her to suffer.
“Something personal with the sender?”
He was a smarmy asswipe. Used an alias on the note. From Oberon to his Willful Titania. I snorted when I saw that. Not professional and all, but hell, fairies using Earth lit for their aliases? That’s irony. Bitch probably didn’t think I got the reference. People think couriers are dumb fucks, like we work a low-wage job because we are too stupid to get better. I could have done just about anything, if I had the money and connections.
Kealy was smart too. He did a couple of years at university before his folks died. Bank tried to pin the debt on him, but his name was nowhere on the docs. Hope that means Bonan really gets the life insurance. That stupid fuck has a wife and a baby on Nexus, the dumbass. Actually, he may have another family tucked away on Mercer V. That’s the word around, anyway.
“Tell me more about the note. How did she react?”
Like I said, I don’t think she expected me to get the reference, or maybe she was pissed that I read the note since I’m not really supposed to notice the content of a package any more than to confirm it’s intact and undamaged – you know, in case the recipient tries to make a claim. But she just kind of looked at me all horrified. Her hands were shaking as she picked up the note. Then she dropped it and went for the book. She looked like she was going to cry when she picked up the book. Ran her hands over the cover. I took that as my cue to leave.
I was almost out of there when she started choking. When I turned around she was losing her shit, the book was open on the ground, and that butler fuck was calm as you please, looking at me like I should do something. That’s why I had to call emergency. He wasn’t doing shit. Have you checked him out, yet? The old butler did it routine?
“Not to worry, we aren’t dismissing any suspects at this point. Even the cliché ones.”
Yeah, well I’d bet he has some fucking representation.
“Did you ever leave the package unattended? On Nexus? On the Intrepid with Jones? On the way to the recipient?”
Hell, no. We never lose physical contact with the package. That’s the rule, break and end up in fucking lock up. No one screws with the corporation on this. Hell, I’d even turn Jones in for that shit, and she’s all I have. The whole point of couriers is the security of the package.
“Ms. Farthing, if your father warned you about fairy, it was obviously before he died. What dealings did he have with the banks that would lead him to feel that way?”
How would I know that shit? Do you think my pop would have had me serving tea to the sleazy fucks? It was all straight and narrow that I saw. I wasn’t even allowed to hang out in commerce section when I was growing up. It was school, Pop’s shop, and supervised activities for me. You think after all that care, Pop would have invited me to meet the kind of shitheads who would axe some poor sap as easily as they blow their fucking nose? Pop didn’t track my every fucking move just to let me get in with that kind of shit.
“What about your mother?”
Died when I was born. Pop didn’t talk much about it, just said she was gone.
“By the look of you, she would likely have been of pure blood, human?. You must have seen pictures of her.”
Pop never showed me any and I never found any in his data storage. If he had anything, it would have been offline, probably went in the explosion. It wasn’t something he liked to talk about. Honestly, I kind of thought that she was alive somewhere and had just taken off after I was born. I figured that was why Pop never wanted to talk about it. He was there for me every day of my life, so I sure as hell wasn’t going to go looking for some bitch who left us.
“Perhaps she was fairy? That might explain your father’s anger and involvement with them.”
Yeah, right. Pop bagged some fairy chick with his roguish, good looks and managed to keep her around long enough to have me. Like that wouldn’t have been the talk on Nexus for about a hundred years. Fairies won’t even sit next lesser folk in space port and you think one decided to hop in bed with my half-human pop. He would have either been a legend or dead for that deed.
“He is dead.”
“So, you scanned the seal on the package, then the recipient, Ms. Danan, scanned her bio. Was there anything unusual about the way the package opened? Any unusual smells or sounds? Think about this. Replay it in your mind.”
A pause, maybe. It seemed to take longer than usual. Like the locks went one at a time instead of both at once … thunk-thunk, but I’m not sure. I was pretty pissed at my shitty treatment.
The smell was just that sanitizer. After the package opened, I already told you about the smell of the book.
Aren’t you examining the package and the book? You should know what the hell came out of that book better than me.
“We did. Before this conversation started. The sanitizer was just that, sanitizer.”
And the grass or herbal smell?
“Pressed flowers. Inside the book. What does that mean to you?”
Nothing. Only flowers I’ve ever seen was a dozen earth roses I delivered to a dude on Meisser. The book didn’t smell like those though.