I walked into the small mining town while the sun was still high in the Martian sky. The main street was bustling with activity. I shot one flare up in the air to get everybody’s attention. The locals around stopped in their tracks and looked at me with a rather comical look of surprise. I was probably the first human from a Earth they had seen in 20 years.
“Who are you?” said a small hunched woman.
“I come from Earth to collect your taxes,” I said while holding a certificate of authority from the Ministry of Colony Outreach and Treasury. I was certain they wouldn’t recognize it but it looked rather official.
“We declare independence!” cried a drunk man. Two or three weak voices joined in agreement.
I looked around at the hundred or so colonists while holding the certificate in one hand and the gun in the other. I pointed at the drunk guy and shot him dead.
“This is not a negotiation!” I shouted. “Do I look like a politician?”
A puddle of blood grew around the dead body. Everybody on the street rushed to empty their pockets at my feet. In just a couple of minutes I had a foot tall pile of gold nuggets.
The young Martian colonies are the worst, let me tell you. In the 10 years I’ve been collecting taxes it’s always the same with these new towns. The miners always get infected with gold fever and forget their food and energy come from Earth.
Luckily for me it rarely took more than one dead local to make everybody understand that taxes, like death, are not optional.