⚒️ Everybody Hates a Tourist

A newcomer in the mining influencer industry kicks into gear

⚒️ Everybody Hates a Tourist

by Joel Glover

The micro-asteroid passed like a tennis ball struck by her mother’s weak backhand, tumbling topspin past Danae. She reached out and tapped it back into the cluster she was collecting. It clung to its fellows like a kitten in a litter. A kitten that could potentially contain platinum.

Her plasma drill burned a cool, clear white; as white as her suit. The tailors had asked if she was sure that she did not want something more colourful, but she had been sure. White had been good enough for Hawa Khan, so it would be good enough for her. Of course, she’d also followed in her heroine’s footsteps by having the milliner craft her a bespoke helmet. The red horsehair crest had challenged him; the need for it to stay stiff in freefall resolved only by the application of some very expensive polymers. The gilded edges around the visor had cost more than she had made in her first month mining. But you had to spend money to make money, and nobody was going to follow an influencer who didn’t stand out from the crowd. She had already registered several domain names and trademarks, for when she made her first big strike.

She cut with the plasma drill’s flame, licking useless rock away in puffs of carbonised gases. Here was the use for the sculpture degree her father had derided. She tried to tell him sculpture was in their blood, but he was only interested in shipping and insurance. Mummy said he had a three track mind, but that was better than most men could manage.

Metal veins stood out in the interior of the rock she was carving. Too dull to be platinum, sadly, but it could be any other number of useful elements. Profitable elements. She tapped the conductive tip of her douser on the metal, and watched the readout. Worthless.

She banged her fist on the side of her sled in disgust. Another wasted day. She wanted to scream, but settled for kicking the sled with her heavily booted foot. Something gave, and an entire ski came loose, pieces shooting off at all angles like bullets fired by the Baltic pirates in her favourite reality shows. Danae ducked the largest piece, the ski itself, a black carbon machete aiming to take her head. Her turn spun her in place and made her watch as the rest of the pieces hit the nearest miner to her. Screws, washers, and bolts traveling at high velocity. Terminal velocity. One tore through his suit at thigh height. 

It bounced off the sled he was pushing, its broad hexagonal head dragging frozen blood and splinters of bone back towards her. 

The fabric of her suit was stiff enough to repel the shards at low speed. Its slick surface catching the icy blood and melting it, freckling her with crimson.

She couldn’t hear him screaming. The zeros were on a different comms channel to the independent prospectors. She could see he was though, his mouth yawning, terrified, before his helmet filled with blood and spit. 

She remembered stepping on a tube of strawberry flavoured toothpaste when she was little, how the top had popped off and pink goo had squirted out across the tiles of the floor. His power cell must have been struck by a smaller shard, or else something in the pressurisation unit had been. Because now his everything spewed through the centimetre wide hole the screw had made, coiling like frozen yogurt in the cold void.

This wasn’t how she had pictured things going. Not at all.

Joel’s grimdark novels "The Path of Pain and Ruin" and “Paths to Empires’ Ends” are available on Amazon, as is his fantasy novel “The Thirteenth Prince” and a collaborative project “Literary Footnotes”. Follow him on @booksafterbed on the website formerly known as Twitter for links to his other short work.