Excerpt: Outcasts: Beginnings

“Remalin!”

Rem groaned and rolled over, grabbing his video phone from the nightstand before his boss, Zero, could give himself an aneurysm with all his yelling. He’d only barely gotten to bed, his body ached from the lack of rest, and he felt the first edge of a pounding headache coming on. Rem really didn’t need to be yelled at on top of it. “I’m awake. What?”

Zero looked annoyed with even having to wait a few seconds for him to wake up. It wasn’t even four AM. “A contract has come up and I’m giving you first dibs.”

Rem wished Zero had just skipped over him entirely. It would have saved them both the trouble. “I literally just got back. Less than five hours ago. And you want me to take on another client? Zero, seriously, no.”

He was about to hang up on Zero when he spoke again. “Not even for a million credits and a chance to see what’s at the edge of the universe?”

Now he had Rem’s attention. He quickly sat up and pulled the sheet around his waist. He was a whore, but that didn’t mean his boss could get a free peek. “No one pays that much. What kind of a contract are they looking for?”

Zero smiled at him. He probably thought he had Rem cornered, but even though Rem was interested, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t turn Zero down the second the contract felt off. “Cargo runners will pay that much, especially if you’re to be theirs for a month and they’re paying for your silence. It’s only a ship of four. They’ll be passing by your station tomorrow and they’d be coming right back that way in thirty days on their return to Trillian Prime. Think about it. A million credits and all you’d have to do is keep four aliens entertained for a month. You’d even get your own quarters.”

Rem’s hesitation was wearing down. He’d done more for a lot less, and it wasn’t like he had any long-term commitments on the station that he couldn’t be away from for a month. “What are these aliens into? You know I’m not doing anything that permanently harms me.” Though, with how good medicine was, that wasn’t saying a whole lot.

“Pretty sure they just want to fuck someone when they get bored of trailing around space. They need to pick up a cargo way out there and they’ve got a few stops to make before and on their way back. If you’re delayed at all, they said you’d get paid five thousand credits for each day they have you over thirty, to be paid automatically into your account.”

It was a good deal, and he knew many of the other whores Zero employed wouldn’t want it for one reason or another. Most of them had families or jobs outside of what they did for Zero, but Rem wasn’t like that. “I’ll take it. Tell them to meet me on the second shuttle level. I’ll be dressed and ready to go tomorrow morning.”

Zero smiled, showing his yellow fangs. “Good. You get half now, half when they drop you back off. That doesn’t include the daily charge if they run behind. That’s a separate contract. I’ll send you the contracts and you can sign with your fingerprint as usual.”

Rem nodded and turned the video off. He’d look at the contracts later, when he’d had some more sleep. For now he just wanted to rest and catch up a bit on his time on the station before he was scheduled to ship out again.

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