->"Civility requires that I say '[[BlatantLies I hope, when all is said and done, that I won't be forced to execute you on the spot]].'"
-->- '''Commodore Hu Mavis'''

Grif Vindh has just managed to pull off the crime of the millennium. He's stolen a shipment of anagathics[[labelnote:*]]Drugs that greatly slow the aging process[[/labelnote]] from Ur Voys -- [[TheEmpire The Empire of the Radiant Throne]]'s most secure facility -- and smuggled it out under the very noses of The Radiant Throne's [[{{Telepathy}} Swords]]. This one job has has earned him more than enough money to retire. Not that he wants to retire, mind you. He'd rather put that money into getting the very latest equipment for his ship.

It's a good thing, too. [[TheFederation The Alliance of Free Worlds]] has heard of his little adventure, and as it happens, they also want to steal something from The Radiant Throne -- something that is currently stashed in Ur Voys. And since they've been unsuccessful in stealing it themselves, they decide to blackmail Grif and crew to break in to Ur Voys ''again'' and get it for them.

The only problem is, [[MilesGloriosus Grif might not have told the whole truth about the first break-in]]...

[[https://www.eviscerati.org/fiction/pay-me-bug/novel Read it here]].
!!Provides examples of:

* AffablyEvil: Commodore Mavis.
* AllNationsAreSuperpowers: There's [[TheFederation The Alliance of Free Worlds]], [[TheEmpire The Empire of the Radiant Throne]], and a collection of small "Free Trade [[RoyalMess Baronies]]" that only remain independent through economic power. That's it.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: "Of course, all that comfort comes at a pretty hefty price. Ruled by [[{{Telepathy}} telepathic]] [[ChurchMilitant religious]] [[KnightTemplar zealots]], immediate execution for daring to say anything that might be construed as treasonous... church on Sundays...."
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: The [[TheEmpire Radiant Throne]] believes that {{Telepathy}} is a gift from God, and comes with a mandate to rule over non-telepaths.
* AsteroidThicket: Surrounds Tyrelos Station. It's a lot sparser than most examples of this trope, and [[JustifiedTrope justified]] by being the remains of a recently (in astronomic terms) destroyed moon, but still there.
* BadGuyBar: Dyorbid's. Which leads to...
* BarBrawl: Some time in the past, some [[{{Cyborg}} cyborg]] [[WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture slavers]] tried to [[MadeASlave kidnap Grif's nephew]]. Grif objected, rather strenuously, causing some damage to their ship. They catch up to Grif in the above BadGuyBar, and, well...
* TheBattlestar: "Battlecarrier" class ships.
* TheCaper: The main plot of the story.
* CasualDangerDialog: Shows up every now and then.
* ChurchMilitant: The Empire of the Radiant Throne is solidly theocratic, and completely authoritarian.
* CoolStarship: Grif's ship, the ''Fool's Errand''.
* CurbStompBattle: TheMutiny mentioned below is an example. Final score: [[spoiler:Grif and crew]] eleven, [[spoiler:Velis and squad]] zero.
* {{Cyborg}}: The above-mentioned slavers.
* DeadpanSnarker: Grif Vindh.
-->"Hello Morgan," Velis said. "You look well."\\
"Velis," Morgan said. That was all he could manage; he abruptly turned in his seat and devoted his attention to his station.\\
"[[ItsTheBestWhateverEver This is going to be the ]]''[[ItsTheBestWhateverEver best trip ever]]''," Grif muttered.
* DeflectorShields: Part and parcel for the [[SpaceOpera setting]]. Unusually for this trope, they're described as blocking all energy, including visible light and sensors, in ''both'' directions. Fortunately, there are systems that automate the process of dropping a single segment of the shield, firing through it, and bringing it back up. Also, a big part of [[StandardStarshipScuffle space combat]] is deciding, moment to moment, which shield segments to have down (for visibility), which to have up (for protection), and which to "pulse" on and off (for a little of both).
* EmbarrassingOldPhoto: Grif finds some of Doma doing [[NoodleIncident something]] on Grenaris.
* TheEmpire: The Empire of the Radiant Throne.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: When The Viceroy wants to destroy every Maximilian class ship on Varkav, because they believe one of them is the ''Fool's Errand'', Mavis talks him out of it.
* TheFederation: Despite its name, The Alliance of Free Worlds is closer to being TheFederation than being TheAlliance.
* FellOffTheBackOfATruck: [[spoiler:The anagathics Grif "stole" from Ur Voys]] ''literally'' fell off the back of a truck. Of course, this truck was in the process of crashing and bursting into flames, so it makes sense that stuff would be falling off of it.
* FutureImperfect: Most of the people who grew up on Earth like to ''claim'' that Earth is the original homeworld of humanity, but nobody takes them seriously.
* GrievousBottleyHarm: A more realistic example than most. The bottle doesn't break, despite being swung with a human's full strength. It also does some serious damage to the target.
* GrievousHarmWithABody: ''Each'' of Ktk's three tails are strong enough to pick up a full-grown human. That's right -- Ktk can [[DualWield triple wield]] ''people''.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: There's some kind of coup in progress against Baron Minerva Tyrelos. Whoever is responsible gets nervous about the fact that Grif has figured out about [[spoiler:Baron Tylaris' assassination]], so they try to have Grif handed over to The Throne. We never find out who's behind it, what their ultimate plan is, or whether the Baron's plan to [[spoiler:have her brother publicly take the blame]] ever worked.
* IKnowYoureWatchingMe: The Viceroy manages to pull this on the heroes, who are using [[EverythingIsOnline his own security cameras]] to spy on him.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: Grif, routinely.
* InfractionDistraction: Grif sacrifices their cargo of fine Varkavian whiskey to keep Mavis from looking closer, and maybe finding the anagathics. Of course, since none of the crew know about the anagathics, they all think he's gone crazy for doing this, until the big reveal.
* InWhichATropeIsDescribed: Every chapter.
* IsThisThingStillOn: Doma, the communications technician ([[{{Nepotism}} and Grif's nephew]]), manages to accidentally broadcast the crew's impromptu strategy session to the ship they were running from at the time.
* ItIsDehumanizing: Ktk, the titular "bug," insists that everyone call it "it," [[AvertedTrope because that's just the logical thing to call a hermaphrodite]].
* JustLikeUs: The Alliance covert infiltration team gets a dose of this during the mission. It's also heavily implied that they've infiltrated the Radiant Throne before, so [[FridgeLogic they really should have already known]].
* MacGuffin: The artifact.
* MadLibsCatchphrase: Grif likes to take a word or phrase he just said, and... "clarify" it by adding "and by ''X'', I mean ''Y''," where "Y" is a short rant that includes "X."
-->'''Grif''': Pure evil ... molded into the form of my dear [[SiblingYinYang sister]]. And by "dear" I mean "dear God, run away!"
* MarsNeedsWomen: [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in [[https://www.eviscerati.org/fiction/pay-me-bug/novel/pay-me-bug-chapter-15 Chapter 15]].
-->"It's about time [[BadGuyBar Dyorbid]] actually hired an attractive waitress," Morgan said. Grif laughed.\\
"Well, hold on," Grif said, "let's be fair. The Murdec who worked here a few months back was very attractive... to other Murdecs."
* MilesGloriosus: Grif may have exaggerated the story of his break-in to Ur Voys a little bit.
* TheMutiny: [[spoiler:Velis Enge]] organizes one against Grif. [[spoiler:It... doesn't go so well for her and her team.]]
* NamesTheSame: Very nearly, the Tylaris and Tyrelos Baronies. The fact that they are the richest and poorest (respectively) of the baronies is commented on in-universe.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The Viceroy. That's not a title, that's his [[SpellMyNameWithAThe legal name]], which he chose himself upon becoming a Sword.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: A little one, during the escape from [[spoiler:the hospital on Tyrelos Station]].
-->"Well I can't hold these guys off much longer." Grif tried to peer over the lip of the stairwell without exposing himself. "Sooner or later they'll realize it's just one pistol..."\\
From below someone shouted "It's just one pistol!"\\
"[[ClusterFBomb Damn it all to]] ''[[ClusterFBomb hell]]''," Grif muttered.\\
Amys rolled her eyes. "Nice work."
* TheNicknamer: Ggrlsha have a tradition of nicknaming everyone they know. It's supposed to be an attempt to know the essence of another's soul.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: It's specifically mentioned that, while every known race can get drunk, the intoxicating substance varies from species to species. So, when you're getting drunk with other species, you need to be careful not to grab a bottle of something lethal to you. Carumjack is specifically mentioned as a popular beverage that's toxic to humans, but Morgan can't get enough of the stuff, so they're either drastically overselling its lethality or Morgan's [[AcquiredPoisonImmunity built up a tolerance]].
* NoGravityForYou:
** Part of the standard procedure for repelling boarders aboard the ''Fool's Errand'' is to turn the gravity on and off according to a prearranged schedule. Since any boarders wouldn't know the schedule, they would be unprepared for the sudden shifts in gravity. In addition, individual crew can have the bridge change the gravity in their specific section as an additional weapon.
** Because the ''Fool's Errand'' uses older gravity technology, they can't have the artificial gravity on while they're [[FasterThanLightTravel in tach]]. Well, technically they ''can'', but it would be dangerous to do so.
* NoodleIncident: Just what happened between Grif and Velis on Kinnar?
* OhCrap: "[[https://www.eviscerati.org/fiction/pay-me-bug/novel/pay-me-bug-chapter-01 Holy hell, that's a Battlecarrier]]!"
* OneNationUnderCopyright: According to the [[AllThereInTheManual Foldspace Guide]], the Free Trade Baronies started off as this. With the passage of time, they've evolved into standard governments, but most still have some of the trappings of their corporate past. For instance, most have powerful "executives" that that can, if need be, vote the baron out of office.
* OvertRendezvous: Getting [[spoiler:Meaghan Sythe]] out of [[spoiler:Ur Voys]] requires a meeting in a bar. Unfortunately, someone remembers seeing her there, which allows Mavis' agents to connect [[TheHeist the break in]] with the ''Fool's Errand'', and sets up the [[StandardStarshipScuffle climactic battle]].
* PantsPositiveSafety: As Grif is breaking out of the aforementioned [[spoiler:hospital]], he has to steal some clothes and a pistol. He doesn't have the chance to steal a holster.
* PermaStubble: Grif is described as having "a fine layer of stubble that never quite coaxed itself into a beard."
* PsychicNosebleed: One of the dangers of having your mind read by a Sword.
* PunctuationShaker: Ktk's full name is "[[UpToEleven Ktkt'tkkt'kktt'tkkk'tktk'ttkt'tkkk'kktt'kktk'tk]]."
* RoyalMess: The Free Trade "Baronies" are actually independent states.
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: [[StandardStarshipScuffle Space combat]] occurs at basically point-blank range. At one point, one of the characters laments that their ship is too large to fit underneath the larger ship's shields, since that would have given them a free shot at her [[TractorBeam gravlock]].
* SharedUniverse: Known informally as "The Foldspace Universe."
* SiblingYinYang: Grif Vindh is a smuggler, thief, and general ne'er do well. His sister, Velis Enge, is a high ranking officer in an Alliance black ops division (and is, not incidentally, the leader of the team that's blackmailing Grif).
* SideBet: [[TitleDrop The title of the work]] is a reference to Cyrus and Ktk's [[RunningGag continual bets with each other]] about the outcome of the mission, how long it will be until they wind up in trouble in this particular port[[note]]Neither one of them being brave enough to put money on "never".[[/note]], whether they will [[BreadEggsMilkSquick survive their current screwup]], etc. Every other member of the crew will bet with each other at the drop of a hat, but Cyrus and Ktk are the most frequent offenders.
* StarfishAliens: Ktk is described as a 2.5 meter hermaphroditic centipede with three prehensile tails.
* StarfishLanguage: "Bugtalk" is "a binary language that starts with the total sum of all knowledge and drills down through it until it isolates the specific thought or concept the bug is trying to say." This is emphasized in the story by the fact that Ktk is never quoted directly.
* {{Technopath}}: An (extremely rare) ability of certain very strong telepaths.
* {{Telepathy}}: All the [[TheEmpire Radiant Throne]]'s Swords are telepaths. Grif winds up hiring a telepath of his own.
* TimeForPlanB: [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in [[https://www.eviscerati.org/fiction/pay-me-bug/novel/pay-me-bug-chapter-35 Chapter 35]], where it is mentioned that they hope Plan A works, because Grif's Plan B's tend to suck.
* TitleDrop: Ktk and Cyrus will bet on anything and everything. When Cyrus wins...
* TractorBeam: Called a "gravlock."
* TheUnpronounceable: Again, Ktk's full name. Even the ''abbreviation'' of its name can be hard to pronounce. [[InformedAbility We are told]] that its species' name and home world's name are even worse.
* TwoShotsFromBehindTheBar: It should come as no surprise that Dyorbid, as the proprietor of a BadGuyBar, keeps a plasma rifle handy. It's just as useful for {{bar brawl}}s as it is for [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking people who ask to run a tab]].
* {{Vibroweapon}}: Amys' weapon of choice.
* WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture: We never see any actual slaves, but there are slavers, which would [[CaptainObvious tend to imply the existence of slaves]].
* WhatDidIDoLastNight: Grif and crew have a huge celebration with several of the other crews in port. They all get so smashed, the next morning, they can't remember what happened[[note]]except for [[BizarreAlienBiology Ktk]], but it won't say anything, since it's too embarrassed[[/note]]. This isn't the first such party, either: They've had to institute [[CapitalLettersAreMagic The List]], a [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin computer record]] of everyone's possessions that they had entered the party with, bets that were made, and the winners and losers of those bets.
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: A telepath's power can drive them insane if they aren't trained to handle it early enough. The Radiant Throne's Swords are continually referred to as insane, but it's more that they're [[{{Telepathy}} telepathic]] [[KnightTemplar knight templar]] [[ChurchMilitant church militants]].