Recouping Losses

"What the hell do you mean that I'm only getting paid 75%?"

Wilanto Gilshine visibly winced as the irate woman before him screamed in his face. He shrank down slightly as her dark, flushed face came uncomfortably close to his, despite his being a good three centimeters taller than the woman. He watched to make sure that she was not about to pull out the blaster at her side.

"N-now, Alyssa, " he began. He swallowed nervously before continuing, hoping that his voice was sounding stronger than his buckling legs. "You remember the contract you signed."

"Yes," she said through gritted teeth. "And you know that I made the trip in the required two days. I coulda made it in a day, if I'd pushed The Burden's engines harder. But you told me that two days would be sufficient to get everything here ready."

'Here' was Peria, a planet for the super-wealthy, whose whims were known for setting trends galaxy-wide. It had been one of those whims that had been the basis of Alyssa's most recent delivery.

"Well, yes," Wilanto said weakly. "But if you'll remember one of the clauses was that the full price was dependent on the demand remaining high."

"It was two bloody days between when you ordered it and delivery! You're telling me they changed their minds that suddenly?"

Wilanto cleared his throat. "As it turns out, the husband was completely unaware that his wife was allergic to Thraxian roe when he requested it. Now, if you'll stop making a scene..."

Alyssa looked around the spaceport landing bay where her Ghtroc 720 freighter, The Bantha's Burden, sat, its temperature sensitive cargo sitting in its cargo bay. Though she was certain that everyone within earshot had been looking at the pair argue, not a single individual met her eyes, most likely hoping to evade the anger of the woman known as 'Lady Mania' for her quick temper. A temper that was likely to be raised when agreed-upon deals went sour, such as this one.

She smiled in a way that certainly did not reassure Wilanto. "I don't see anyone looking," she stated sweetly. "And given that no one is looking, no one is gonna witness when I blast a hole in your cheating face."

"Wait! Wait!" Wilanto wasn't sure if she was kidding about shooting him, but damned if he was going to take the risk. "I've been looking for a new buyer since I was informed just before you landed!"

"So you get two finder's fees, while I get either 75% of what was promised or, if I'm lucky, break even on the original price?" Both Alyssa's hands went to her waist, and Wilanto flinched involuntarily when one of them sat right in easy reach of her gun. Narrowing her eyes slightly, she added "The only reason I'm not going to put a hole in you -for the moment, mind you- is that my father would be angry that I killed an old friend of his family."

Right now, I'll take any benefit that keeps me alive, he thought glumly. "Look, Alyssa, the cooling unit on the roe should keep things fine for another two days. Give me that long to get you a new buyer and, hopefully, better pricing. I'll even cover the tab on your docking fees while you wait!"

Alyssa's gave Wilanto a piercing look and remained silent. Wilanto did his best to stay upright while she assessed the value of his offer. When she finally leaned back, his knees nearly buckled in relief.

Oddly, her smile was genuine, rather than forced, which confused him. That was followed up by a quick hug that left his head spinning in greater bewilderment.

"You are a dear, Wilanto," she said warmly. Then her visage became slightly harder. "You've got those two days. After that..." She shrugged. "I'll think of something. Most likely unpleasant for you."

Wilanto shakily released the breath he had been unconsciously holding. "Thanks for the vote of confidence," he said dryly.

"Oh for goodness' sake, you didn't honestly buy that 'Blast a hold in your cheating face' threat, did you?"

"Frankly, yes, I did. You've got the reputation for not making idle threats."

"Ahh, but the trick, Wilanto, is knowing which threats to fully carry out and which ones to leave people guessing about whether they will be carried out."

For some reason, he found that reassurance far from reassuring.

"Now, I'll go secure the cargo for the wait, and you get started looking for that buyer." She gave him a startlingly light, even playful, couple of slaps on one cheek. "I'll see about getting a room somewhere nearby after that and let you know where I'm staying." She blew him a kiss. "See you later!" Alyssa said as she sauntered back to The Burden.

And she wonders where she got the nickname 'Lady Mania', he mused, and shook his head wearily as he went to make calls.

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