Lillian Cavaletti stood behind the faux wood counter of her shop, blinking at the two suns, Ilos and Ama, streaming in through the tall permaglass windows. She scratched beneath the itchy waistband of her work pants. The cloud of fine sand which rose from the fabric smelled like Sanshay, making her sneeze. Should have changed back into her store clothes. But there hadn’t been time.
She hadn’t expected to drive out of town to pick up the new shipment, but the suppliers had been shorthanded. And she needed to move things. Right now there was no one except her to cover the shop. So there it was.
Her bracelet alarm beeped, reminding her to take a nalo. She opened a small charm on the bracelet and popped the last pill into her mouth. She needed to remember to refill it. Lillian swallowed, washing the nalo down with Paradisian tea. The floral taste covered the bitterness of the antidote. How much longer could she take the antidote before the side effects got too bad. For most people it was ten years, give or take a year. She’d been on Paradiso for nine.
The door opened, bells tingling as the heat of outside flooded in. An off-worlder by his clothes and pale skin. Except he was alone, which made her immediately suspicious.
“Good day,” she said.