“Mr. Reese,” Flynn intoned with all the warmth of vacuum, “explain it to me again. How is it that we are unable to trade cargo in the Consortium?”
“You flaring listened to a flaring liar, that’s how.” Ann didn’t bother to mask the contempt from her voice. She sat at her console forward of Flynn, plotting the entry path to the moon’s atmosphere. Her dark hair hung in loose curls to her shoulders. Since there was no expectation of combat, she hadn’t bothered to braid it or put it up.
Flynn swung his eyes over to Reese, who didn’t look put off by Flynn’s question or Ann’s comment. Physically, Reese was unremarkable, a little older than Flynn and with more grey in his brown hair, but Flynn didn’t put much stock in that as an indicator of anything. Ann’s comment was not an insult, just a statement of fact. Reese was an accomplished liar.
“Well, Captain, it has to do with the guild structure in the Consortium. In order to perform legal trade, one must be part of the proper guild overseeing that particular trade. For instance, there are guilds for textiles, weapons, industrial equipment, medicine—”
“Skip ahead,” Flynn warned.
“Ah, yes. Well, guild membership is vital in order to perform trade.”
“Before we set out for Consortium space you assured me you had the ability to trade here.”
“I did. My identity in the Consortium was never compromised. I am a member in good standing of the textiles guild. Or rather, I was. I fear my membership is in arrears. I was not aware that my former organization had not maintained the membership. Until I might pay my guild dues, I will be unable to secure my certifications to perform any kind of trade.”
“And so we’re stuck pulling stringing ferry jobs to get by,” Ann grumbled.
“How much more?” Flynn asked.
“The dues themselves are four thousand guilders, but the associated fines and the necessary, ahem, administration fees, bring the total to fifteen thousand guilders.” Reese said.
“Administration fees?” Flynn asked.
“Bribes!” Ann yelled, whirling on Reese. “Flaring corrupt Connies want a payout for everything.” She turned back to her console.