Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

The other twenty-nine prisoners of Asteroid Mine 119F stood around me in a tight circle, their faces besieged by both fear and anger.

Henderson, almost sixty, yet fifteen kilos my better and as hard as the rock around us, screamed at me, spit flying.

“Why did you do it Nitro? You bastard, you’ve killed us all!” A chorus of mob agreement accompanied him.

I wiped a glob of Henderson’s spittle from my chin and growled back, “Well who here is dead then? A show of hands boys, who’s all been killed?”

For a moment the men could say nothing. They were shaken from the mighty blast for certain, some even slightly banged up, but it was true that not one prisoner had died in the successful escape from our oppressors that I had just so recently engineered.

Henderson puffed up again, “Yeah? Well Doc says we’re hurtling out of control toward Sirius!”

I stood up from the bench and faced Henderson nearly eye to eye, and with great conviction I began to save my skin. “Yes it’s true, the entire cellblock, still attached to a big piece of 119F is now tumbling away from the asteroid belt.” My voice quavered but the mob was silent for the moment so I went on. “And yes, we are in a decaying orbit that can only end when this entire prison turns into a molten lump as it succumbs to the gravity of the star.” Again there was shouting, I hurried on. “But fellas, do you know how long that will take?”

Doc looked up from the calculations on his handheld, “Actually I have it here boys. It won’t be anytime soon.”

I grew excited. “Yes! Listen to him! This orbit won’t completely decay for another two-hundred years!”

Henderson stepped back and glanced over at Doc’s handheld. “Is that right?”

I didn’t wait for Doc to answer, but instead jumped up onto the bench, adopting it as my soapbox. “Listen boys, we’re free! As free as we’re ever gonna get anyway. Think about it. The guards are all dead now,” I spat in disgust, “and good riddance to those bastards!”

Now I was greeted with noises of approval from the group. Not one of us was missing the stinging bite of their taser-whips. I was on a roll and kept going. “They’re all space debris now and there aint nobody from the colonies who’s gonna come looking for a bunch of condemned bastards like us when there’s obviously been a catastrophic mining accident at the old prison outpost!”

They were really settling down now, I could feel it. Doc looked up from his computer and said, “Actually, hat’s off to you Nitro. Your precision was genius. You managed to separate the cellblock and supply stores in tact, yet completely obliterated the guard pod, impressive indeed.”

“Ah Doc my boy, I had a lot of help from a fissure in old 119F that suited our purposes just dandy. Serves them hacks right for wanting their housing so separate from us rabble!”

Now the murmurs from the crowd were on my side. A voice rang out, “So we’re gonna be okay like this?”

I patted the ventilation system behind me. “This baby will keep things temperate for as long as we all live.” Then I pulled my final surprise from my belt. “But don’t worry fellas, I wouldn’t condemn us to an eternity without conjugal visits!”

They could all see that I held the keycard to the sexbot chamber. A cheer rose up and the mob carried me away on their shoulders chanting my name.


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