Vesper's Check (Short Story)

in Scholar and Scribe3 months ago (edited)

The World Building Community, put out a Prompt today, which is a little bit different than their usual prompts; in this, we are given the opening line of a story, and I feel it would be a cool one to carry on.

Vesper Edris was pretty sure that if they weren't the best smuggler in the universe, they were a close second, and this latest job only reinforced that opinion.

There is the opening line ^ if you feel a sudden surge of creative inspiration hitting you, then hop onto it and get writing!


Vesper Edris was pretty sure that if they weren't the best smuggler in the universe, they were a close second, and this latest job only reinforced that opinion.

Left in the cockpit of his ship, 'Star Hopper' with his knees weak from the dissipating rush of fear, panic, and excitement. "It's just a routine run, you've done this a thousand times before." He could still hear the voice of his client, Harlen Malik - the grimy ex-pirate, turned politician, who still dabbled in The Underworld, primarily the black market. Buying, selling, trading, and cutting deals was Harlen's business. Vesper knew he was basically a delivery boy in the larger operation. Just the way he liked it; the silent associate, who got his pay for not asking questions. Like, "Hey, what am I collecting this time?" That wasn't Vesper's business. Although, when he first started working for Harlen, he made one thing very clear. "If I hear one of these crates talking to me, I'll be dropping it off to the next habited planet, money or not. I don't ship living cargo." He can still see that famous Harlen smirk. "A smuggler with morals. You wouldn't have got along with some of my old comrades. If I may ask though, what about animals?" "No, living, cargo." the laugh came easy to Harlen after that.

"Okay, okay, no living cargo. Don't worry, it won't be. There's good money in shipping, as well as harvesting. But, I prefer a less morally bankrupt trade. So don't worry, no living cargo." Harlen shook his hand on that point, but it didn't exactly mean much. "Anyway, you do right by me, and I'll do right by you. I have to say though, I've never trusted politicians." "Hah! Neither do I, they're all a bunch of slimy degenerates. Oh, the circles I'm in now, they're worse than some of the Death's Head boys I used to run with. It's definitely not a career for someone with a weak stomach."

Over the years, Harlen had certainly done right by him. The money was always on time; sometimes, it was earlier than expected, and there were always little bonuses here and there depending on his mood.

The ship's navigation computer was set, and on course for Jex. The pickup had been on a border planet called Kah-Vita, and the security leaving the planet was tougher than it usually was. They're actually trying to civilize the place. Vesper knew now. I'd better let him know when I get back. I don't want that to happen again.

It was the first time in years he had been docked, and at that, the first time he'd been docked by local law enforcement. When he was first signaled, he assumed it was one of Skabba 'One Eyes' Crew. Either them, or some other lot of opportunistic pricks. But, no. The Vanguard. Some group being paid for by the government to run some spot checks and lay down the law.

"We've been placed in charge of the air space of Kah-Vita. As such, routine spot checks are required by all ships leaving the planet." The voice came in strong, with a patronising tone that almost made Vesper's skin crawl. At that moment, he could have just made a jump and been done with it. Although, it wouldn't have been worth the attention. "Okay, I'm open to a check." He replied suspiciously.

It was only when the three armed guards boarded that he started to sweat. Did I lock down the hatches? Was the only question on his mind. Recalling recent trips where he didn't seal the hidden compartments and even somewhere he didn't even bother to hide the goods.

Two of the men went for a sweep of the small ship, while the other stayed with him. He started by asking questions. "What's your business here? What do you do for a living? How long have you been flying?" Simple enough questions, which almost instantly stumped him. Vesper managed to talk his way through the questions, referring to himself as a location scout for an upcoming industry that deals in pop-up homes. He liked the name he came up with on the spot, 'Drop and Squat'

The interest the guard showed in the idea made Vesper think he may start the business up himself when he feels like hanging up his wings.

"Yep, all clear." One of the men finally said, after finishing their sweep, which made the awkward small talk about homelessness feel a lot more easygoing; they continued to speak for a few minutes about the situations in all the worlds of Free Space and the fact that Vesper's company will be making a real difference in the galaxy - the man even patted him on the back as he was seeing them out.

"Did I do that?" He asked out loud as he leaned against the closed door. "I'm a genius." He started to laugh, a sick and panic-riddled laugh.

He was able to keep his cool; was able to hide his anxiety; the fear was bottled up behind a web of lies about some housing business. Vesper thought on his feet and slid right under the radar of the guards; as any good smuggler should. Within a few minutes, he was free to continue his journey and finish the delivery.

I had a lot of fun writing this story, and I love this kind of a prompt where someone starts the story and you continue it on. I don't know if this is what WorldBuilder would have intended, but that's the fun of these kinds of projects.

I hope you enjoyed it and if you did like this, and think it could be fun, maybe consider joining in!


Very cool spin on the prompt! I actually in writing it viewed Vesper as a female, and was pretty sure things weren't going to go her way, LOL 😂

Glad to see your version of him did have an easy time of it! (Relatively speaking, for the life of a smuggler)

Thinking about it, I think it would have been better if it was written from the perspective of a woman. Hmm, it might be worth going back to with that different idea in mind.

Also, if I was to go back, I think I beef out the conversation with Vesper and the guard, and really play around with the tension a bit. Leaving them sweating and wondering if they locked everything away.

Nevertheless, it was a fun prompt and got mind spinning!


The fun of a Flash fiction freewrite is that it's always okay to get to the end and be like "well that could be improved!". My next Starforged blog has been delayed for basically that same reason... I finish and then read it and go "wait, this could be less trash" 😂 hopefully tomorrow it gets actually released. 3 rewrites is my max ahaha

Ahh yeah man, you're better off having a limit on the amount of editing and changes you make. Sometimes over thinking things can ruin it, or undo things that could have been great. I find that with video editing all the time, where I end up looking at a rough cut and saying "Hmm, actually, I prefer that last scene."

Looking forward to the new chapter, I'l be out tomorrow, we've got a gig and then Paddies Day will take its hold haha, but I'll read it on Saturday, or Sunday depending on the head !LOLZ

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Hahaha, I have to keep the head for Saturday night because we have another gig, buuuut in saying that, the "quiet nights" are typically the wilder ones.