The following is said to be a partial transcript of a conversation with Mad Meg, Space Pirate Captain of the Wailing Reach...
"The Voldraddi don't like you to do things. They want you to simmer down and do nothing. In return for doing nothing, they give you a little something. Just enough to keep your soul in your skin, see? And you'd better be happy with that. Hunker down and be happy and don't make any fuss. Be happy doing nothing. People who do something...make their own clothes, grow their own veggies, paint their own pictures...well, they tend to get shot at a lot by the P.D.F. You don't want that, so you do nothing.
It's like...if you've got something they didn't give you, they figure you must have stolen it from them, somehow, and they want it back. They want it back even though it were never theirs to begin with, and they didn't know or care anything about it before they saw you had it. They'll kill you for that. Stealing from them. That's the one thing they'll kill you for every time. So you don't do things and you don't make things...you don't ever try to make anything better. But I always knew there was something good about doing things. Had to be, or the Voldraddi wouldn't be doing them. They have all the nice things. And busy, busy all the time, doing things. I used to sit on the roof at night with my brothers and we'd watch the little silver ships jump up into the sky from the Voldraddi palaces, and watch them coming down again, all the lights and the sounds from them palaces. And I'd think, what a lot of somethings them big dogs know how to do! And I'd say to me brothers, "If only I could, I'd do so MANY things!" And they'd laugh at me, of course, why wouldn't they?
But I never would have done anything if it hadn't been for The Clown...oh he's a nasty old fucker...I ain't saying he ain't. But he was one as knew how to do things. We had an old show box that somebody got...must have been from one of the Clown's boys. Oh, it was quick death for you if the P.D.F.s ever caught you with that. But we didn't get caught. You'd keep it in a safe place, and just watch and wait...sometimes you'd have to wait a long time...but if you waited long enough...(why wouldn't you wait? What else did you have to do?)... the box would light up and the Clown would be on there. And he'd talk and talk about doing all kinds of things...All the THINGS he could do! And he'd tell you how! He'd say go here and wait for this, or take that and put it with this and now you've got a...whatever! Didn't matter what it was, at first, it was just the doing that was grand!
And he never got caught! Vols and P.D.F.'s used to hunt up and down the neighborhoods day and night, lights and guns...they'd shoot a bunch of folks just to let 'em know they were mad The Clown was out there doing things. "Sons of this and that, you'd hear 'em screaming! Wait til we get our hands on ya!" Ha ha ha! But they never did. He's still out there...doing things.
Me? Oh, well...you know...just watching the clown on the box I learned a lot about how to do things. I was coming of age around then and learning what boys like, too. I guess that's how it started, ha ha! Glad it's not like that now, I can tell you, but that's how it started. I'd do a thing for them they liked and they'd do some things for me. Pretty soon, I had a lot of things kept secret, that they'd all got for me, and after that I didn't have to give it up no more. I traded things for other things. I had boys running all over the neighborhoods doing things for me. That was one of the first things I learned from the clown. Best way to do lots of things is, don't do your own things, get others to do your things for you, you just sit there and plan it all out in your head. If the P.D.F.s had ever got their hands on me they'd have put my lights out slow and screamy. They didn't. Clown found me, though. That started a whole lot of things happening, like when you kick one piece outten an old wall an the whole thing comes down? Yeah, like that.
I worked for The Clown for a long time, and did I ever learn! Nasty old bastard, but he treated me pretty good. Fancied me, I know that. Yuck. Ha ha! But I got quick and smart runnin' n' gunnin' for him. 'Fore you'd know it, I was running things over a pretty big spread of neighborhoods! I had boys doing things for me, I'd never even met 'em face to face! When Spider Ricta got clipped by the Dead Men, Clown asked me to take over one of his little ships making trips back and forth to Geminion Prime and around the moons and that! Well, you can guess how quick I jumped at that! Ha ha!
"Fancy me, I'd say to the Clown, half a little speck of nothing from the land where they shoot you for trying to do things, and here I'm in a silver ship, swimming up in the stars just like them rich Voldraddi ladies do, doing so many things, runnin' guns and juice and gettin' scrappy way up there where you look back and Geminion Secundus is just a little green cat's eye, like the little green balls they'd give the kids to play with way back when, when we were so little and didn't know nothing about how to do things!"
And the old clown would laugh through them brown broken teeth of his and scratch his gross old self.
"Din't have to sittle fer they little green balls now, do ye, girl? he'd say. You kin hilp yerself ta all they got!! Just reach out there in it's all rite inder yer glove. Take it, girl! Take it!"
"Oh, and I took some, I'll have you know...but you know that, don't ye? That's why yer're here. Once I got up here where I never had to look at Secundus 'cept as a little green ball behind glass, well, I never wanted to come down. I wanted a ship of my own, so I went and got one. This sleek little runner, fine thing, ain't she? Took her in ambush one day, she was full of rich ladies and gents from the white palaces on Prime, up here for a cruise, they got sleepy and sluggy and we were on 'em fore they knew it. Took her in a twinkling, I did, and I didn't lose one of my boys.
Talked to some of 'em, those Voldraddi big dogs, before I did the big thing. Or I tried to. I wanted 'em to know...know about me...know that I was there, I guess. That I had always been there, that I had been a little girl once, taking their little balls and bags of nothing, letting 'em cut me heart out in exchange, letting 'em kill me 'fore I was even dead. That it was me, Meg, talking to 'em, see? And that they had to listen and to know me, and to learn. I guess that's what I wanted. But they couldn't understand me, and I couldn't understand them. It wasn't the words; we had a lot of the same words, it was that the things in their heads are different. All the things we knew how to do were different. I guess, to them, I might as well have been some Ork or something.
So I did the big thing! I flushed 'em all out the airlock into space. Watched their faces as they tumbled out. Thought I'd feel good. I didn't. I mean I did feel good, but not about flushing 'em. All the good I felt come from the knowin' that I had this sleek little racer under my boots. I had my own ship now, and damn the clown. Oh, I still get on with him all right. But I won't work for him no more. I'll work with him, but I won't work for him...
...I do all my own things now.