Challenge #01554-D093: A Rovin' HeartsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  2 years ago

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"Scrounger" Noun, a person or being who collects discarded objects and turns them into (a) ready cash. (b) something useful - often re-purposed. -- Knitnan

Tolerance is a wonderful thing, and more of it happens on the relatively lawless edges of society than it does in the lawful middles. Law likes to build a bubble around itself and eliminate everything that exists outside of it. But edges... edges are where interesting things happen. Sometimes, it's a plummet into destruction, but other times... you get interesting flights into strange new areas of potential.

And it's the edge stations where Humans could interact with Galactic Citizens before they were accepted into Galactic Society as mostly harmless. Such as Peripatetic Matthew, a wanderer who may or may not have begun the Loyal Order of Hitchhikers, but definitely gleaned rides to a Spacer's next survivable stop along the Edge Territories. Matthew would bring a small amount of cargo to stow into odd places and introduced quite a large number of freighter captains to the concept of luggage tetris.

But that wasn't all that Peripatetic Matthew did.

When pressed to list his trade, he would input 'Scrounger'. And then loftily explain that Scrounging was entirely different than Scavenging. Scavenging was taking that which nobody else apparently wanted and selling it to someone who did. Scrounging was purchasing something relatively unwanted in one place and selling it to someone who valued it at a much greater amount. Scrounging involved seeing potential in gimcrackery, baubles, and gaudy things that were sold, as he put it, for pennies, and then shifting them somewhere else for pounds.

He was never an official JOAT, but claimed he knew enough jiggery-pokery to get by. He knew enough common Edge Languages to make himself understood, and passed through the rest of the language barrier with mimicry and pantomime. And, very rarely, holding up trade-ables and pointing at things: the intergalactic signal for "I want to buy that one."

And even though his business was evidently profitable, Peripatetic Matthew was never wealthy. He earned enough to stay comfortable and generally gave away the rest to anyone he figured might need something. People all over the Edge Territories could rely on him to always have something useful. Either in his backpack or the wheeled chest that was his constant cargo and occasional bed.

It is conjecture amongst the Archivaas that Peripatetic Matthew is one of the main sources for subsequent humans' knowledge of polite behaviour. No true record exists to confirm or deny this, as record keeping in the Edge Territories was not, and is still not encouraged amongst the savvy business-owner there. What is known is that he sent letters home via human agencies. Where the knowledge spread from there is entirely up to debate.

What is known is that, for every species that has had a confirmed encounter with Peripatetic Matthew, the subsequent human contact has been extremely understanding of their ways.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / grandfailure]

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