Hiring Notice - Chapter 1

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Hiring Notice

by BrowcoatWhit

Libraries: Misc TV Shows, Sci-Fi

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Any spacer desperate enough for the job will find the Jin Dui's hiring notice at the Gravity Well saloon in Yankton, on the planet of Deadwood in the Blue Cluster...

Hiring Notice

Mature content for adult language

The Adventures of the Jin Dui (Original Characters/Firefly Universe)
A stage setting for everything Jin Dui...
(any resemblance to HBO's Deadwood is entirely intentional!)
(more Jin Dui materials at our ship's website)

March 17, 2514
Port of Yankton, Deadwood
Blue Sun Cluster

The muleskinner ordered a shot of backwoods turkey as she fished the slip of paper from her pocket.  Bernard served up the whiskey rye before taking the slip from her, having suffered the sharp side of this sewer-mouthed drover’s tongue before.  The sooner she had her drink and took herself back out the door, the happier the saloon-keeper would be.

The message written was on thick cream paper, far too fine for its method of delivery.  It had been double-folded and was damp from who-knew-how-many days in the muleskinner’s rain-soaked coat.  Bernard scowled as he opened it.  The writing was hand-print in ink, the script self-consciously large and blocky, as though the writer doubted the literacy of those who might read it.

“SHIP HIRING FOR ALL CREW POSITIONS:  experienced spacers only.  Open interviews, New Hope dock, next Friday the 17th, from 0700 until all positions filled.”

Bernard grunted in surprise, and had the read it again to be sure.  “The camp has a ship dock now, does it?” he said.  "Which of them bosses owns it?  Van Hooven?  Or Darius?”

“How the fuck would I know?” The muleskinner retorted, putting down her glass with the clear intention of seeing it refilled.  “Ain’t no business of mine, whichever of them slimy cocksuckers is pissing the farthest from week to week.  No business of yours, neither.”

Bernard scowled, the message still held up in his left hand in question, while he went ahead and poured with his right.  “Who’s paying you to see this posted?”

“Cocksucker down at the Dove,” the muleskinner said, before sucking down the whiskey in one desperate swallow.  “Post it at the Gravity Well in Yankton, he says.  Anyone who’s worth hiring will find it there.”

Van Hooven, then.  Bernard had a healthy respect for his fellow barkeep, even though he had never set foot in the mining camp of New Hope himself, and would not want to step through the door of the Lonesome Dove should he ever have the misfortune of finding himself there.  Still -- the proprietor of the Dove had a reputation as a savvy businessman and a cunning enough operator. Word was, he practically owned that entire unincorporated town of desperate and dissolute souls.  New Hope might be a dangerous place to make your living, but Van Hooven was canny enough to be one of the few who were thriving in that cesspool.

For two years after the end of the Unification War, the New Hope Re-Education Camp had warehoused the riff and the raff the Alliance couldn’t otherwise decide how to process.  When the POW camp had finally closed its doors, those who had had the means made it as far as the shuttle docks of Yankton for a ticket off world.  Those without the means simply drifted downstream to what became the New Hope mining camp, a tent city which had sprouted overnight like fungus on a corpse.  There was copper to be dug in the Hopespring Mines, and rumors a-plenty of gold in the high hills and back country beyond.  But from the first-hand accounts over drinks at his bar, from exhausted men and women who had escaped the place -- most of what Bernard heard about was the dirt, squalor, and misery to be found back in the New Hope mining camp.  You might make a living there -- but just as likely, you might get your throat cut for the pennies in your pocket.

“Not many spacers in these parts who aren’t already meeting a boarding call,” Bernard said to the muleskinner, still fishing for more of the story.  If Van Hooven was involved, there was certainly more to the story to be had.

The muleskinner shrugged eloquently.  “Everyone who’s looking for anything in Yankton comes through the doors of the Gravity Well,” she said. “And if some sorry sod of a spacer is stuck at this port and needs a job bad enough to deal with the devil, then, well -- they’ll find their way back to New Hope, won’t they?  Now go ahead and post that notice, you limber-dicked cocksucker, and then pour me another drink ‘for I die of thirst.”

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