“Let’s just cool off and talk in a few days, right? I lo—…well, goodbye.”
That slimy son of a bitch almost said I love you. Martin had spoken that lie so many times it was habitual.
If he was in front of her right now she might kill him. He wasn’t, of course, but he would be soon enough. Alisa had been harboring that feeling for days and it hadn’t really receded. She should probably stop replaying the message.
Martin took a job with Xineral, one of the big three asteroid mining corporations, so that they could buy a home. Seemed the only way to afford a home on Earth these days was to leave. It was a four year contract, and then they would both be able to retire; not bad for the price of their late twenties. They’d even put off their wedding to save money. Or at least that’s what she thought at the time. Now she wasn’t so sure.
He was six months in, and Alisa was coming up for her first visit. She was already on Luna for a two-day layover when he sent his message. Don’t come, he’d said. He’d met someone else, and when his contract was up he was going to say in the belt. Permanently.
Alisa got a notification shortly after that gem of a message. Her bank account was empty.
They maintained separate accounts, but had each other’s names added to simplify bill-paying. Martin had taken all her money, but he moved it all into an account she could still access. He was an asshole and an idiot.
Alisa spent her time on Luna setting up a shell company based out of Tycho, where such things were commonplace—she didn’t even have to leave the spaceport—and transferring the money there. The broker helped her convert it into multiple lunar cryptocurrencies and then locked it into He3 futures contracts. Good luck getting your hands on that, buddy.
Now the Fastro transport ship was coming in to dock with the mining outpost, which looked like a dead hedge running down the long axis of the nameless asteroid, a brown and brittle thicket. It was in stark contrast to the asteroid itself. Its brightly colored swirls gleamed in the sunlight like a three kilometer soap bubble as the nano-equipment ate it alive.
That’s what she wanted to do to Martin. She wanted to eat him alive.
Let’s talk in a few days, he’d said.
Well, it’s been a few days, and we’re going to goddamn talk, Alisa thought. You’ve met someone, Martin? Well now I’m going to meet her too.
There was a loud clang as the ship hard docked with the outpost.