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"Our pharmacy, Under Pharm., wanders through the depths of the Galaxy. We deal in all things far and wide, from aphrodisiacs for boys and girls to psycho-stimulants. We'll treat anything you got. I represent the pharmacy, and personally am quite a health-nut, so I can't really understand how druggies think. However, I am also a professional. We take credit and will prepare anything you want. We only accept requests by message capsule, though. I have absolutely no confidence in electronics. Printed material, too. All requests must be hand-written. Oh yes, and if your handwriting is sloppy we will also deny your request. I'm not one of those archeologists that live for deciphering old texts. We will send notice when we get rare drugs in and we can handle bulk orders as well."

"Hmm, so this is it..."
     Steve LeBroc took his eyes off the free-floating video camera and sank into the comfortable side of his personal seat.
"No one is going to believe that PR video! We should be more honest!"
     Mercia Vantemeltz, Steve's partner, just finished checking the cruise system and turned around to comment on the vid. Mercia is a beautiful woman with an attractive face and clear head covered with blond hair, but her temper is extremely short. With her thin arms and legs and slightly boney frame, she complements Steve's slightly round and soft form and personality quite well.
"Ahh, you're thinking about that odd bit, huh?"
"...Freakin' aye, women's intuition can be a pain in the butt," Steve thought to himself as he turned his eyes from vastness of space outside the front window and waived his hand casually.
"OK, OK, we'll re-record the ending."
"Are you even listening to me?"
< Notification. Message capsule received. >
     Phi Irie, the AI that single-handedly controls Steve's ship, Licorice, chimed to let them know a new request had just come in. A holographic image with a message capsule appeared and there stood a small, slim, gentle, baby-faced girl...much to Steve's liking, it seemed.
"Phi, can you make sure this is the real deal this time? We're already not doing too hot financially. If this is just another faker, I'll stuff a virus in that sweet little mouth of yours."
     Phi made a crying face, curled up her hands, and put them over her mouth. Phi's holographic image is set up to be 20% translucent so you can tell the difference between her and a real human, but she is such a realistic AI that she acts as if you could touch her at any moment.
"Don't be so grumpy, Mer. That wasn't Phi's fault."
< Th-th-this time is for real. It's from the head of the Malrock Company, Mr. Betnen. I reran the DNA check three times to make sure it. >
     The Galactic Era that came at the end of the Christian Era saw a vast increase in the failings of computer security and electronic transfers. For this reason the DNA comparison capsule was invented and the old postal system was resurrected from the aches of a dead society. To confirm the DNA of a person, fresh blood is needed, so the likelihood of counterfitting DNA is highly improbably. The capsules are also devised in such a way that any tampering with the capsule in transit can be easily traced and results in the burning of the capsule's contents.
"Mr. Betnen again, huh? He's an odd one, he is. Oh well, we can't afford to pass this on up."
"You know what they say, 'Near is my Shirt, but Nearer is my Skin.' Heh, it seems he has had enough of that frigid border planet of his..."
     Mercia let out a deep sigh, put her face in her hands, and cast down her eyes.

< All systems green. The ship is ready to go to the 9th planet of the Exedra System, Tiebarm...Oh, MerMer, don't look away. Please prepare for wormgate travel. >
"Don't call me MerMer! How many times do I have to tell you!"
< Well then, Vice-President Mercia... >
"There are only two of us, it sounds dumb if you call me that!...Freakin' aye, has Steve been at your programming again?
     In the cockpit, Steve fell over laughing watching the two of them bicker.

Written by trv.

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