Author : Sheldon Kent

Stepping out into the street, Stan looked up and closed his eyes as he felt the warm rays of the sun fall upon his face. It’s not as hot here as it is back on Earth, but he liked it that way. It had been nine months since he first arrived on Coson, and it was beginning to feel like home. Though the gravity made his body feel slightly heavier.

However, people on Coson were still prejudiced, they didn’t like his kind. He thought, perhaps, that coming to a different planet would change the way people perceived him. To his dismay, he was wrong. But they weren’t half as bad as the people on Earth.

He played with the name tag that he had been given, glancing briefly at the barcode on the back of his left hand, both of which told people that he was a ‘clone’, a worker, someone’s servant sent to fulfil a task. The thought of it brought a lump to his throat, people could be so hurtful, even if it was simply by the way they looked at him. Little did they know that the barcode and the chip in his brain, limiting his lifespan, would be removed granting him full independence, should his trip to Coson prove a success.

Making his way home to his apartment, he decided to stop for some coffee, a celebratory drink that he had promised himself when he had completed his work. The coffee on Coson, it was said, tasted like no other. The locals had been producing their own coffee beans for at least a hundred years now, and was one of the most sought after beverages in the universe.

It took him a while to drink it. He savoured every moment, as this was his first step on the road to independence, he was going to make it last. He sat outside in the sun, watching people as they passed by, dreaming of what he might do once he was a free man.

He arrived home a little later than usual, taking time to let the feeling of freedom fill him up, till he was almost bursting with excitement. Opening his door, he was welcomed by a man sitting in his chair, he recognized the face straight away.

“Sir, what are you doing here? I was about to send the last piece of my research to you tonight,” said Stan, trying not to sound too alarmed after having been faced with an unexpected visitor in his home.

“It’s ok,” said the man, “I have been more than happy with your work, you have done a marvellous job.”

“Then what do I owe the pleasure, sir?”

“Well, here’s the thing, I was expecting you to be home two hours ago, so that I could spend some more time with you.”

“More time?” said Stan, he did not like the sound of that. He could feel his heart beating through his chest.

“Yes, see, the thing is, I have run out of money, I can’t afford to grant your independence,” said the man, without the slightest tone of regret, “You have exactly two minutes to live.”

Panic filled Stan’s body as he walked towards the window of his apartment. Lost for words he stared out into the city, knowing that this would be the last thing that he would see.

A sharp pain tore through his body, and then he slumped onto the floor.

The man, not caring for the body, took some time to look out of the window, then left.


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