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Mercenary Salvage Company

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Countries then worlds no longer kept large standing armies. They preferred to hire mercenaries, spending their citizens�� money rather than their citizens’ lives. Governments found it more cost-effective to keep their populations working, continuing to pay taxes rather than dying on some battlefield. War became a business. As in times of old, owning a mercenary company became a way for the ordinary man to become wealthy . . . if he survived.
Dad and I own the Cain Salvage Company. Some call us carrion living off the carcass of war. Buzzards picking the bones of the war machines left behind on cold battlefields. I suppose that’s one way to look at it, but they still bought our salvage.
No one is immune to the effects of war. Except maybe the rich or corrupt, who are often are the same people. Liquid fuel is expensive and hard to get, so local farmers contracted us to salvage a nuclear-pellet-powered electric vehicle that would run for years before needing to be refueled. It was a good deal; rather than cash, we’d receive a percentage of the farmer’s crops for ten years to sell or eat as we needed.
Nowhere is completely safe, especially around the battlefield, cold or not. I felt the proof as I wiped the sweat from my face, starting the wound to bleed again. I’d already been blown up once today and didn’t feel like repeating it again.
Dad called that ���gallows humor.” I started to smile, but my smile faded remembering the fresh grave not twenty feet away. I had sealed dad’s body in a body bag and buried him.
I’d wanted to cry, but I’d had no tears left. In the last five years, I’d buried my mother, then my sister, and now my father. This war had taken all my tears. You’d think an eighteen-year-old would have had more. This was supposed to be an easy salvage job, but in the business of war, nothing is ever easy.
I knew I’d have to fight through hyenas, people who steal and scavenge from other people, to fulfill the contract with the farmers. I looked over the battlefield and saw in my mind’s eye a vision of my future. I would start a mercenary salvage company. I had no problem killing hyenas or anyone else who got in my way. This battlefield had left me weapons, ammunition, and equipment to get the job done with plenty left over to start my company.

Genre: Science Fiction

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