“I’ve got to hand it to you,” Spied’jjer Merdokk said, clapping Gornack on the shoulder, “when you set out to deconstruct something, you don’t stop until the damn thing’s deconstructed.”
They looked out over the debris-scattered white emptiness for a companionable moment. The merchandise, no longer a blue-black leviathan of metal and composite, was arranged in a long, tidy caravan awaiting the command to synchronously activate relative fields and accelerate away to places Gornack didn’t want to know about.
“I’ve made notes in the schematic document,” he said, thumbing up the pertinent pages, “it should be easy enough for a team of mechanics to put back together. Or if you can’t find anybody who’ll keep quiet, I suppose I could-”
“No need. I can get it assembled without a problem. It was getting it effectively taken apart that was causing me trouble. And on a deadline, too,” the Spider grinned cheerfully and patted Gornack again. “And now,” he went on, “comes the big issue.”
“Whether you leave without paying me, and I tell the police that you tricked me into deconstructing and packaging the Golden Sphere for you to fly away with, never to be seen again, and I spend time on the Prison Planet as accessory to Grand High Larceny.”
Merdokk grinned appreciatively. “You’ve thought this through.”
“It’s quiet out there,” Gornack replied.