Drabble: Wildcatter Blues by Gary Cuba

by specklit

I’d finally struck it rich in Beta Aurigae! One of my wildcatter land­probes had detected rare ytchurium ore on a nearby asteroid. I landed, barely able to contain my excitement.

My heart sank: a Kra’al ship was already there. Luckily, they said they didn’t consider ytchurium to be very valuable. They’d reassign their prior land claim to me in exchange for five kilos of antimatter fuelstock. A hefty price­ — but small compared to the claim’s huge potential.

After the Kra’al left, I couldn’t find any ytchurium except for the tiny bit they had obviously planted in my probe’s sampler scoop.

Author’s note: Everybody hates to be suckered, and yet it happens to us again and again. T’was ever thus, and t’will ever be.


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