Trade Relations in the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster

by on December 11, 2015 :: 0 comments

Reid was optimistic. The latest sales forecast located his zone in improved prosperity. Other leading economic indicators, too, looked rosy. There was a sharp increase in building permits in his region. As well, the dollar exchange rate had climbed, and unemployment claims had dropped. Whereas Reid wasn’t yet ready to invite Deidra to sample Champaign in his apartment, he was feeling fly.

What’s more, Tony had been noising off about possible trade partners in another galaxy. Reid was neither a speculative fiction fan nor a connoisseur of astrophysics, but it had been engraved on his profit-hungry heart that new markets were what “the journey” was all about. Only the fiercest beat the competition.

Reid called Abalina McMann, a friend of his from UCLA, to discuss the possibility that giant sentient lobsters lived in Jupiter’s clouds and that an outworlder culture reigned over the whole of the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster. Although Abalina, who focused on phonon mediated microwave kinetic inductance detectors, as part of UC Berkeley’s team, tittered at Reid’s malformed ideas, she suggested they meet for drinks, naming San Francisco’s Terroir as their destination.

Albina had read about Reid’s divorce in their alumni magazine. All she said, though, was she was eager to try organic wines. After “neutrino oscillation,” “Old River Vintners’ cabernet sauvignon” was one of the sexiest phrases in her mental filing cabinet.

“Cosmic ray spectrum.”

“Oh, stop!”

“Gamma radiation.”

“You know how to quick-fire a girl.”

“I thought that was the Adastra N’Oak Chardonnay talking.”

“Not sure. Didn’t we have a flight of eight?”

“I mostly sniffed. I prefer Anderson Valley Brewing and Russian River’s offerings.”


“Active galactic nucleus.”

“You’re changing the subject.”

“I’m wooing you, as is your pleasure, but I’m running out of cute words.”

“You want me for my legs.”

“Actually, I want your brain.”

“You’re good.”

“I know.”

“Are we going to hook up?”

“Not likely. I have to make a presentation to a new technology incubator tomorrow, at eight.”

“You’re honest. You’re still cute, too. I didn’t need Tablas Creek Vinyard’s rose’ to notice.”

“So is there intelligent life on or around Jupiter?”

“Of course not. You still watching X-Files reruns?”

“Of course not.”

“We could go for a quickie at my place. It’s close to here.”

“Rain check. Is there intelligent life in the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster?”

“That partial Einstein ring? Maybe. Might cost you a hickey or two to find out.”

“What happened to scientists being ‘staid and boring?’”

“What happen to businessmen having no scruples?”

“I guess we didn’t read the right books…were too busy with coursework. You and me, both cum laude.”

“I was magna. Why do you know about Chwolson rings? Sure, financial forecasting, stocks, bonds, municipal growth, but since when did you grasp deformations of light in galaxies far, far away?”

“I was summa. Anything tied to potential profits interests me.”

“But not a quickie? Did you leave Shelley because you’re gay?”

“She left me. Her new love was in her Apocalyptic Endings Narrative class. Actually, I was egregia, but told no one.”

“You sexy thing. I still adore your eyes.”

“And my new beer gut? Do you know anyone who looks at extraterrestrial possibilities in luminous red galaxies?”

“I AM impressed. You didn’t scribble on your shirt cuffs, did you?”

“Madame Professor, I did not. I’ll give you one per cent of my profits for your help.”

“No matter how you dice up ‘zero,’ it’s still ‘nothing.’”

“You’re playing me. You know something.”

“As a matter of fact…”


“I wish. There are prizes for rare discoveries. I’d love to be promoted to Full Professor. Egregia?! That’s extraordinary.”

“Deidra says so, too.”


“Untenured minion of Shelley’s. Revenge served sweet.”

“Not as tasty as Pleasure Party Pink Moscato Rose.”

“That’s not organic. Chateau Diana was not on our list.”

“So sue me. This flask holds grape ambrosure.”

“Then why did we meet here?”

“It’s close to my apartment and ‘organic wine’ sounds sophisticated.”

“I really just wanted data.”


“Rebound stuff.”

“Any chance her last name’s ‘Wolf?’”

“As a matter of fact…”

“Wowser! She wrote the Horseshoe Cluster Trilogy and won a Nebula for it.”

“Okay, as per aliens…”

“She put that idea into your head. Speculative fiction writers are like prophets.”

“Actually, it was Tony.”

“Lucca? Business dude?”

“The one and only.”

“He was your calculus partner.”

“You noticed?”

“I noticed a lot about you. You and Tony ‘re still connected?”

“He took a Ph.D. from the Anderson School with a specialty in land economics.”

“No kidding.”

“Strange bird. All that mojo and he only wanted to sit with me at Business Research.”

“Sniff this. Almost better than the Moscato Rose’.”

“Thanks, but I’ve had enough for two dates.”

“This a date? Sushi’s warmer.”

“I plan to ‘pay’ for all of the data you give me.”

“Sheesh. My freezer is full. How did Tony get his insights?”

“Don’t know. Not from ladies.”

“I’ll bet it was Brotsky. He swings both ways.”

“M-sigma relation with bulge luminosity.”

“You’re sweet talking me, again.”

“Trying. I think you know something. I think your whole department knows something.”



“My apartment’s only four blocks north. I can still walk.”

“Let’s find out.”

A few months later, Reid Waters quit his position at The Business Research Bureau. His last submitted record was a transcript of an interview with Dr. Laura Whitfield, a women intent on “meeting” Jupiter’s “sentient” life. The only other available datum on Waters is a bank statement showing that he liquefied his assets.

Some industry insiders claim Waters pursued trade relations with the proprietors of the Horseshoe Galaxy Cluster. Others believe he created a landing pad for alien technology. Still others say he died of liver poisoning from sampling too much organic wine.

No one links him to Dr. Abalina McMann’s newborn twins. No one mentions UC-Berkeley’s Physics Department’s ongoing funding problem or points out that Tony Lucca took over all of Reid Water’s accounts.

editors note:

We mean what we say. We know what we’re talking about when we know what we’re talking about. That’s all true until our mouths speak for our brains. – tyler malone

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