|Image by Coulter Sunderman CC BY-NC-ND 2.0|
Zen knew that his partner and friend wasn't the talkative type, but there were rumors going around the office and he needed intel. Nixon punched his employees, over-worked them and used language that would make a Neptunian sailor look like a saint. And that was when he was in a good mood. The Federation was denied funds and Nixon had to let people go. Zen was a worry wart which was ironical, given the origins of his name. While he was ruminating over what an asshole their boss was, Hatchet had already started drinking. Zen, in a hurry to catch up with his friend, started choking on the white beverage. Hatchet nodded disapprovingly.
"Forgot your taste capsule I take it? I don't envy you."
The last coffee had been brewed almost twenty years back. Since then, capsules were manufactured that were added to a watery base- they used the drinker's memories of coffee to simulate the taste. Zen now knew two things: that the next generation would never taste coffee because they would have never tasted the real deal and that the "coffee" tasted like diluted white adhesive without the capsule.
"Bob has twenty four hours to pack his things and leave the Federation. And I'm sure more people are going to follow suit if sales don't pick up." said Hatchet.
Zen swallowed hard, but the "coffee" didn't do well to remove the taste of adhesive from his throat. He had barely managed to sell a neural prosthetic arm. With the arm you can lift half a ton of Ultra-Osmium without breaking a sweat. But if there's one thing that hasn't changed over the centuries: people are still testosterone driven dicks when it comes to the price tag. At this rate, he was going to follow in Bob's shameful footsteps.
"Zen could have well been drinking adhesive straight from the bottle. He glared at Hatchet with utter contempt."Perhaps Hatchet was having bad luck too. Hatchet wasn't exactly known for being serious. If taking the piss could have a mascot, it would be him hands down. But he had a glint in his eyes.
"I sold an Opteryx Retinal complex" he said smugly.
Zen could have well been drinking adhesive straight from the bottle. He glared at Hatchet with utter contempt. An Opteryx Retinal Complex! It was one of the priciest objects on the catalogue! It would taken a lot of smooth talking and a lot of money to get that baby sold.
"Congratulations." Zen spluttered awkwardly. Thoughts of Nixon parading Hatchet in front of the office tomorrow came to mind.
Poor Bob. Poor Zen.
Bye Bob. Bye Zen.
Arrivederci, au revoir and sayonara.
"Told him that it allowed the user to see colors more intensely and sharply. Told him to think of seeing the world like a 1620p HD television, only hundreds of times better. Yeah, at first the human thought it was expensive, but when I threw in the surgery and installation for free, he was sold."
Zen looked over the rim of the cup with a look of utter disbelief and disgust.
"You.... sold an Opteryx to a human?"
"Yep. Got the contract signed and all."
"Hatchet! That is for exclusive use by the Martians! A mere human can't endure a Retinal complex! His brain will be fried from the sheer enormity of sensory input. He'll bleed to death from his eyes, for chrissakes!"
"That may be the case, but guess who's not getting fired tomorrow?" said Hatchet, leaving the table. He carelessly dropped a few Defrancs as a tip for the waiter.
What a bastard, thought Zen. But as even this thought registered, it was replaced by a primal, desperate urge to know the perfect sales pitch Hatchet used to convince a man to buy something that would ultimately kill him.