Cartels are hard to keep together, but this is a sure fire way to keep one together and to weed out cheaters.
About this creation
Note: Some weapons are from Brickarms.com
Captions are below the photos
In the Kharakian desert, a raider awaits a slave trader to show up so he can sell his latest catch.
It wasn't very windy in the deserts today, which makes it a perfect day to dump some slaves off with the local slave trader.
Cash: (To himself) "What a week. It was a tough start but I did it. I even managed to get two extra slaves to sell off! I can't believe these two were so stupid to not run when I showed up..."
Cash: (To himself) "They're so weak. I hate them. They think being peaceful will get them anywhere in life? If only I could beat some sense into them...I can't though, need them to look good for the trader."
The slaves just stood there looking void of life. They had nothing left going for them. They would probably be doing some hard labor they figured. Only the luckiest get to work as butlers and maids for the Emperors.
It didn't take long for Sam the Slave Trader to show up. His newly armored slave transport was looking very nice as he approached the meeting site.
Sam: (To himself) "The bloody sand is makin' my transport git all dirty! I hope the air filters are working right or else these slaves are gonna have a lot of sand in their larynges!"
Sam examined the slaves for the first time as he drove by them. He noticed one was male and one was female.
Cash looked delighted to see Sam showed up on time. He wanted his money and he wanted to get out of this heat.
Sam pulled up a little farther and parked the transport.
He got out of the vehicle and Cash turned to meet him.
Sam approached Cash
Sam: "Well 'ello theh. Fancy meetin' you out 'ere in the desert."
Cash: "Nice to see you've made it on time. As you can see, these two are a set."
Sam: "Let's 'ave a look then shall we?"
Sam approached the female and looked over her figure. She is still young and could probably produce more offspring which could lead to future slaves. Investing now means saving later!
He checked her throat first. This species is prone viruses that attack the larynx. After that, a hole is created by the virus and the being dies from a lack of oxygen. Because he trades with this type of species frequently, he doesn't want to lose his whole encampment to one infected being. This one looks fine.
He then went on to check her arms. Sam (To himself) "What is her muscle strength? Would she be capable of labor, or should she be used to birth more offspring? It all depends on whether she is fertile or not. Can't check that here though, it will have to be done at the lab if I decide to buy her."
After he evaluated the condition of the female, he moved on to the male. The male didn't seem to have a larynx virus either and his arm strength didn't matter because he would be forced to get stronger if the slaver needed him to be.
Sam: "I'll give you 100k for each of 'em."
Cash: "Hmph! I figured you'd say as much. You do realize this one is a female and she can reproduce! She's worth another 10k, a pretty generous offer if you ask me."
Sam: "Do you want the credits or not? I offered 100k for each!"
Cash: "Well I could just blast her and sell him to you...the decision is yours. You could use a pretty young female like her I bet. Don't see too many around you know. Besides, a female that has been born means you have to wait at least 16 years until they are able to reproduce and that's a long time."
Sam: "You sir, have an excellent point. I shall pay you the extra 10k and be on with it then!"
Cash knew he was right and quickly accepted the credits for the female.
And then he accepted the credits for the male.
Sam: "Alrighty then. Would you be a lad and go open the slave compartments for me while I get these two ready for transport?"
Cash didn't mind doing the man one more favor. After all, this won't be the last time he deals with Sam.
Cash stood back as the compartment started to unfold itself.
Just then a masked figure sprung from inside the compartment!
Cash was shocked and took a step backward.
Cash: "What the...NO! It can't be!"
He took aim at the masked figure.
It was too late though because the masked figure had lunged at Cash!
The two figures crashed to the ground.
The masked figure had a firm grip on Cash's gun so Cash couldn't take a shot at him.
Cash started to wrestle the gun free!
The masked figure, however, started to gag Cash and cut off his breathing.
Cash was able to muster enough strength to shove the masked figure off of him.
All of a sudden, Cash and the masked figure noticed the gun had slipped not too far from their reaches.
Cash rolled over and started to quickly crawl towards the weapon. The masked figure, who happened to be a little faster, decided to get to his feet instead and lifted his leg.
Cash almost had the gun in his hands...
But with one strong sweeping motion the masked figure dealt a kick to Cash's ribs.
The force of the kick knocked Cash right over and knocked the wind out of him. Cash felt like his ribs had been broken.
While the two were fighting, Sam decided to quickly load his slaves into his transport.
He managed to get them both in there, however tight it was.
Again, the beings just looked void of life, slowly awaiting their doom, but slightly intrigued by the turn of events.
Sam pressed the button to close the compartment and quickly ran to start his vehicle.
He quickly opened the door and jumped in.
Sam flipped some switches, checked the slave compartment status quickly and fired up the engine...or at least he had hoped to do that, but the engine let out a sickening whine and didn't start.
Sam: (To himself) "This can't be happening! Why won't it start!?!?!"
Meanwhile the masked figure had been able to get Cash to his feet.
Cash still seemed a little dazed from the blow to the chest.
Before he knew it, Cash was face first in the sand.
The masked figure stood over him establishing his dominance. Cash didn't seem like he was gonna be able to move a whole lot.
The masked figure seemed to have had enough and pulled out his silenced pistol.
Dragging him by the helmet, the masked figure dragged Cash over to the nearby rocks.
He set him down on some rough edges and dropped him there.
Meanwhile Sam was having a miniature freak attack.
Sam: "Start you piece of scrap metal! Why won't you start!?!?!"
In his frustration, Sam slammed his hand down onto his console. In doing so he realized that his slave transport was bugged! He would have to figure out how to reprogram the vessel to start again so that he could escape.
Cash started to squirm his way up the rocks.
The masked figure trained his gun right onto Cash's head once he turned around. Cash started to laugh hysterically.
Cash: "Ahahaha, hehe, aha, heehee, heaaaaaaa...You're an assassin aren't you!?"
Cash: "I knew it! I can tell hahaha!! Why did they send you? hehehe! Do you even know why!?"
Assassin: "You are going above your quota of slaves and undercutting the prices of all the other members of the Kharakian Raiders! A criminal offense."
Cash: "Ahehe, hehe, aaaah, I actually owe Sam these slaves you see. I happened to miss my quota last time and he said it would be okay if I sold them to him. I said that I would give him a lower price because of it."
Assassin: "You lie. Your quota has already been met this month! If you missed your quota last month that is too bad, you just don't get to share in the rewards and other members made up your difference already! Never go over the quota."
Cash: "Yeah but don't you see, I made up for it this month, you know, fair is fa..."
Cash's lifeless body slumped to the ground and the assassin lowered his weapon.
A drop of blood fell out of his helmet onto the desert sand.
The assassin turned and started towards the slave transport as more blood started to spew from Cash's body.
Assassin: "Get out, now!"
Sam: "I beg your pardon!"
Assassin: "Do you want to die too?!"
Sam: "Alright laddy, I see your point."
Assassin: "Shut up and listen!"
Sam decided it was best to keep quiet with this one. He sure didn't have a problem with killing.
Assassin: "You knew better than to try to buy those slaves from Cash!"
Sam: "Listen, sir, I only tried to help Cash by 'elping 'im meet his quota."
Assassin: "You lie just as much as he did. You know what lies get you right!"
Sam: "Ahem, oh course I do chap!"
Assassin: "Now listen closely. Both of us are not going to fit in that slave transport. I sure as hell am not going to ride in the slave compartment again and those aliens will kill you if you do. I am also not going to walk back to the nearest town which means you get to."
Sam swallowed hard and suddenly went cold.
Sam: "I do..."
Sam suddenly broke out into a rage.
Sam: "How the bloody 'ell do you expect me tah waltz through the blasted desert?! The nearest settlement isn't for another..."
The assassin interrupted Sam.
Assassin: "Twelve kilometers. You're right, and you have no choice because I know you don't want the buzzards to get you by staying here. At least you'll get a head start because of Cash's donation."
This quickly put things into perspective for Sam as he muttered quietly to himself.
Sam: "Oh dear, this is just awful."
Assassin: "Here, you are going to need this if you are going to make it to town. It won't get warm so you'll at least have a way to keep cool."
Sam: (sarcastically) "Oh, how kind of you, SIR!"
Sam took the container and looked at it. He knew this would be his only chance of survival out in the desert.
Assassin: "Drink it sparingly. Twelve kilometers may not sound like much, but you don't want to drink it all in the first few kilometers. Try not to start drinking it until you get about a fourth of the way to town. Oh, and before I forget, now would be a good time to start walking. Flightless dragons have been known to feed at night."
So Sam started his trek towards the nearest settlement.
It didn't take long for Sam to turn around, though, and open his big mouth.
Sam: "What about my slaves? I paid for 'em. Aren't I gonna get my money back?"
Assassin: "You can think of your money as a payment to me for not killing you."
With Sam on his way through the desert the assassin deconstructed the bug in the hardware that he had planted earlier and fired up the engines.
It was just then that he realize the slaves were still in the compartment.
The assassin quickly opened the top hatch and started to explain the situation to the slaves.
The aliens listened with intent.
Assassin: "Alright listen up. I'm taking you back to your settlement where you will be free to work on your farms. You are not going to be taken as slaves."
Alien: "I no understand! Why you not keep us as slaves? Why you kill the men and let us go?"
The assassin was quick to explain.
Assassin: "You've been spared for quite some time from being taxed by the Kharakian Raiders, but it is time to pay your dues. You don't have a lot of time left to get your money in order so I'm taking you back to get everything straightened out when we come for your taxes. If you aren't prepared, you'll end up like the guy who took you as slaves."
The assassin was done talking to the former slaves and threw the transport into gear.
Behind him lay Cash's body. Nothing will be left of it after the night is over.
As he was cruising the desert, the assassin noticed something ahead of him.
It was Sam about to unscrew the lid of the container of water.
Sam hopped out of the way of his own transport as it pulled up next to him.
Assassin: "Sam, you've only made it about a kilometer. I'd put that lid back on if I were you. If you don't, I guarantee you won't make it to town alive."
Sam: "But it's hot out and if I just take a little sip now I feel like I could go for quite some time."
Assassin: "You're a dead man Sam! Put the lid back on, I won't tell you again!"
That was because the assassin decided not to waste any more time on Sam.
The assassin sped away from Sam. Sam looked hopeless out there in the desert, but survival will drive a man to great things.
As the assassin sped away he thought about how simple it was to keep a cartel going. All cartel members have a huge incentive to cheat. They get to sell more than the quota and get a ton of money from it even though every unit will be cheaper. There needs to be consequences for cheaters, and the ability to enforce those consequences. If only all cartels worked this way...
The assassin cleared his thoughts and stared dryly into the desert ahead of him.
Well sorry for the long read, but I think it worked out well in one long issue. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I took a lot of pride and joy in making this episode and I think it turned out very well.