Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Type of Short Story: Novelette
Summary: Book 1 of the Uxel Herum Saga
To any Imperium official that asked, Uxel was a simple fruit merchant. She makes enough to make her business appear legitimate, nothing more. The real money was in selling weapons and information.
She encounters an intriguing stranger in the marketplace. One Uxel hopes will be interested in making a lucrative trade. But this stranger is not all he seems and the deal he offers Uxel has nothing to do with money but a chance to become a powerful tuner.
Uxel was taken aback. No one had ever bothered to ask her this question before. She considered lying but something told her that this human would know if she did. "My family died when I was just a hatchling. I lived most of my life scraping to get by. I sell fruit as a cover. Most of my money comes from selling arms and information to the Rebellion. It's easy work for me since up until recently I was often overlooked by the Imperium authorities. What I crave most is respect. That is the one thing money cannot buy. I want others to look at me and not see a lowly merchant from an inferior race."
"To earn respect, you must respect yourself."
Uxel fell into silence as she digested this and they continued walking until they came to a metallic door imbedded in the rock.
"This is my home. You are welcome to stay here with me for the time being and, if you prefer, I can arrange for you to have your own quarters since training will take quite a bit of time. And I think you are wrong, Uxel."
"You do not come from an inferior race. You come from a race that has lost its sense of purpose. There's a difference. I think that you have the potential to become one of the greatest tuners the galaxy has ever seen."