“That’s a lot of human organs,” remarked the pirate trader surveying the rows upon rows of boxes piled up in the colony warehouse.
“Yeah,” sighed York, the middle aged medical assistant turned medical butcher, “It’s a vicious cycle, all this.”
The pirate trader lifted an eyebrow over his bionic eye. He was no stranger in the trade of slaves and valuable bits of them, “Cycle? What do ye mean?”
“Well, you see all this product, as you know, is worth a fortune,” York gestured to the contents of the warehouse.
“Aye,” agreed the pirate.
“Thing with a fortune is, people of ill intentions often try to steal it. So, we had to put in a state of the art turret system.” York pointed at the dozens of red robotic eyes staring at them over their attached gun barrels.
The pirate trader had noticed them on his way in and knew he should be on his best behavior.
York continued dispassionately, “The bodies of raiders were piling up and it seemed such a waste to bury fresh organs. We sell the body parts which increases our wealth, which in turn brings more bandits. A cycle.”
“If ye have so much trouble with bandits, why don’t ya take yer money and go to one of them fancy glitter worlds?” the pirate trader was intrigued.
“We would, but we spend most of our money on turret upgrades and repairs. Also, there’s the problem of the pigs.”
“The what now?”
“The pigs,” York put up his hand to placate more questions, “The volume of organs coming through here was overwhelming our residents. So, some enterprising people started training the pigs to haul and sort the organs. Turns out pigs are exceptional at determining a spleen from a liver or even a left kidney from a right, simply by the smell. This allowed us triple our throughput. Trouble is pigs are gluttonous creatures and there wasn’t enough food for both them and us, so we started feeding them the scraps.”
“The scraps… from the raiders?” the pirate trader caught himself snarling with disgust.
York shrugged, “It was the only way. But now the pigs have a taste for people. If we tried to shut down operations now, the ravenous monsters outnumber us now and would devour everyone before we could load the first colonist onto the ship. So, we’re stuck.”
“Huh. Well, uh… I’m all loaded up. Here’s yer payment, ” the pirate trader handed a stack of silver bars to York. “And I’m off.” He wasted no time jumping into the cockpit of his craft, powered up, and blasted back off into the serenity of space. He’d been to some of the seediest parts of the galaxy and traded with some of the worst people in quest for profit, but he didn’t care how cheap the merchandise was he’d never be going back to Pork Hill.
— This story was inspired by a play-through of the video game Rimworld.
About a year later, York was summoned to a peace talk with a group of raiders. The talks were a huge success. Land rights were agreed to and the bandits awarded the colony with a large boon of silver. York’s spirits were uncharacteristically high as he mad the long journey home.
After this, the details are sketchy, as no living witness could speak to what happened. York was an avowed pacifist. He would not use violence in anyway, even to defend himself. In retrospect, it was foolish to let him go to the peace talks on his own, but it was generally agreed that he could make his way to the talks with more stealth and less trouble this way. The search party found York’s body, bled to death from tiny little scratches all over his body. They also found he had run in circles for what must have been hours. Finally, they found small foot prints around the body. It was understood that York had been doggedly chased and killed by a rabid chinchilla.
One interesting thing they did not find on York’s body, the silver payment from the raiders. Nothing could be proven as to the raiders’ involvement, but the raids continued the following season anyway and so did the organ harvest.
When York’s favored pig heard of his passing, it wandered sadly around the colony until it starved to death. Both were mourned at least a week by York’s wife.
Alas, poor York.