The lines were longer than expected. It took a while to dock with the geosynchronous auction house, where robotic transports shuttled bidders to the main deck. The inner wall of the doughnut-shaped vessel displayed flashes of upcoming items; the outer gave the occupants a view of incoming ships.

Hun-Rey appreciated the attention to detail provided by the auctioneers. Disposable holo-vids of the major pieces, organic foods, and many intoxicating beverages -- the house expected to pull in big numbers.

Most of the elite stopped by, pumping each other for inside information. Hun-Rey greeted each one, and divulged misinformation with a smile. He was a professional, a bidder with clairvoyance and charm.

A small bell tolled three times, and the auction began.

"Today we have a rarity. One certified dead world, with many antiquities intact. We will start with item one, a tubular underwater vehicle with all sixteen nuclear weapons unfired..."

This flash fiction appeared in the March 2008 edition of AlienSkin Magazine

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