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 Escape By Mind
George H. Lafferty

A disturbing story, set in the future.

(Not for the fainthearted)

 Suitable for people aged 15 and over


The Adjutant General, Vice Governor Blythe, should not have been in our home. He had no reason to follow my mother home from the city-market, where she had been shopping. He had no reason to use his authority to gain entrance to a private home. He had no right to use his position to further his intent to seduce a woman. He sure did not have the right to commit rape. He had no right to brutally beat and forcibly rape my mother.

I know two wrongs do not make a right, so I know I had no right to take his life in vengeance for what he had done. I shouldn't have killed him. I guess I was temporarily insane. I went off the deep end and did a terrible thing. I know what I did was wrong and
I know I made it look even worse the way I did it. You have to understand I was out of my mind over what he had done to my mother.

I caught him leaving the house, I could hear my mother screaming and crying inside the house. I went to her first, of course, but I was quick enough to catch him before he could make it back to the governor's mansion. I dragged him out of his land cruiser at the gate where even he had to stop. I beat him unconscious, the guard shack is automated with no live guards to help him and I had him and was gone before troops could respond. I was not even trying to disguise myself; I didn't care about anything but revenge at the time.
I dragged him to my cruiser and hauled him to the underground levels of the city works department. I forced him clear down into the re-assimilation unit. To put it bluntly,
I dragged him to the cess-pool and then I splashed water on his face until he woke up.
I killed him by drowning him in liquefied human waste.

All right, I know I was wrong but he deserved it for what he had done to my mother, and I ask you, do three wrongs make a right?

The governor acted as judge, due to the circumstances, as he put it. He tried me as a traitor and murderer because it was "an assassination" of a government official.

Tomorrow I will turn twenty-one years old, on the empire prison planet, Thetus One, serving life without parole. My sentence is more or less one hundred fifty four years, as the average life span is now considered to be one hundred seventy five years. It could be even more, of course. I will still be given any long life treatments, as they become available. This means my lifetime could be extended, to last even longer, all in prison of course.

I have no recourse; I must find a way to escape the inescapable. A prison on a small planet, where only those are sent who are never to return. A planet visited only when new prisoners are arriving, or in retaliation raids from space, in heavily guarded and armed spacecraft. A planet with no space craft of it's own and where all ships of space are interdicted. A planet surrounded at a great enough distance, with warning buoys; as to keep all ships away. This is a prison where even the administrative personnel are prisoners.

The closest thing to release a prisoner can attain here, is to be confirmed via Comm link from the guard stations in orbit, as a trustee administrator. Otherwise it is serve the rest of your life in prison, whether at hard labor or in perpetual boredom, is your own choice. At least working can earn the few luxuries available, where refusing brings only boredom. There is no coercion to work, and not many rewards for doing so. There is no physical punishment for not working, just no benefits at all. No loaner books, no stereotank time, no music disks, no nothing.

Food is served three times a day, with all the vitamins and necessities for a healthy diet and all the taste of bland porridge. This meal is served whether or not you choose to work. Your assigned bunk space/locker (without locks, of course) are yours and a minimum linen exchange and hygiene articles allotment are yours, also without working.

Your time is yours to do with pretty much as you please, with no where to go and nothing to do for the rest of your life. Any attempt to improve the planet with such things as homemade liquor, meeting houses, of any kind, from churches to bawdy houses is forbidden. The latter are destroyed from space, with casualties of no concern to the space guard stations in orbit.

The trustees take care of the rest and any rioting or major disobedience to the trustees results in raids by heavily armed punishment squads from the orbiting guard stations.

In case you haven't already figured it out, the whole place is sound bugged and camera bugged in certain areas. Destroying the bugs results in another lightning fast raid by heavily armed guards from the orbiting stations.

Stories have it that a group of prisoners actually mobbed and overran a guard squad by sheer numbers and got their weapons and ship. The ship was destroyed from space and an entire military attack force landed planet wide, to recover the weapons and the guards were just written off as casualties. The landing party and the space station monitor's know each other personally and the code has to be given in front of cabin wide cameras in the ship or it will not answer controls and blast back into space. The whole punitive landing operation is always watched from the stations in space. The prisoners who boarded the shuttle never had a chance of raising ship. The whole idea is to make this an escape proof prison, anyone silly enough to try to take a bribe, winds up down here with us if caught and I have never heard of anyone not being caught.

Be all this as it may, I intend to find a way, I must escape, physically or through death,
I cannot stand the thought of spending the rest of my life in this living hell.

I admit I have seriously considered it, suicide is not the way for me though, as I still want to live. I must find a way out of here, a way to get out alive and undiscovered.

Thetus is unlike most regular prisons. There are no separate facilities for women here and no attempt is made to keep them separate either. Cohabitation is much as on the free planets. If you can win a woman's affection, you can live with her. There are even prisoner preachers who will marry you. It makes no difference as to legality as no one ever leaves here anyway. Children have been born here, and here they will die.

There is one famous author here. A child raised with nothing but time to study and learn, he started writing stories. His work was sent, via Comm, to the stations overhead and since it was not actually a sentenced prisoner, it was forwarded to Almach IV where it was accepted by a large publishing house. After that many more were to follow and the author is quite well known.

No monies are ever allowed to be paid on this planet, of course, so essentially, he writes his stories for free. He has been allowed, however, to select various charities on several different planets and certain amounts have been paid to these charities.

It was this co-habitation which brought on my worst troubles since arriving here. One of the women prisoners is a young gal named Julie. I noticed her one day when she was in the dining hall at the same time I was. She is very pretty, being about five feet four in height and around a hundred and ten pounds, with auburn hair and brown flecked green eyes. She has one of those peaches and cream complexions I had heard of but never paid much attention to, until I saw Julie. I guess you could say it was love at first sight and she seemed to notice me as well. She gave me one of those enigmatic smiles a guy never really knows how to take.

After that, I looked for her every time I got the chance and before long we were speaking and not long after were friends. It was a mutual feeling and we were falling in love, I guess, only we had a rather large problem. His name is Hugo, no less, and he is just short of a giant, as far as I am concerned. Hugo stands about six feet four inches and weighs out at about two hundred forty pounds. He is an ex prize fighter turned collector for the wrong kind of people. His collecting got a little rough, fatally so, which is how he wound up here in the first place, and it looks as though my scalp is what he wants to collect next.

Me, I am a whopping five feet ten and a hundred seventy. I have never taken any serious training for self-defense, much less, fighting. Sure, I killed vice governor asshole but that was different, he was wrong and he knew it so he was scared. I was so angry I wasn't even in my right mind. Believe me it is a lot different from deliberately taking on the Hulk.

I have tried to reason with him but he thinks he has to have Julie for himself and she has nothing to say about it, much less my having anything to say.

"Look," I told him, "we have few enough privileges here and the right to make up our own mind is one of the precious few." "That's right, squirt" he agreed, "only that just means I have the right to choose Julie, my minds made up, end of story." "What about her, you should give her the opportunity to make up her own mind," I said. To which he replied, "I would rather drink turpentine and piss on a brushfire."

"This is not getting us anywhere," I said, "there has to be some way I can make you understand. Julie wants to be with me and I want to be with Julie." "Too bad for you," he said, "I am going to be with Julie and if I catch you anywhere near her, you are going to be dead."

Well, this planet is not a very large one, there is no means of modern transportation, in fact it is restricted to foot travel. Therefore, there is no place we could go, where he could not follow. All he would have to do is ask about us and no one would dare lie to him.

This left me with either fighting him, sheer suicide in my humble opinion, or plotting his murder. I have no large qualms about the latter. It is a

question of means rather than motive. This boy is large, strong, and no dummy and is mean clear through. Opportunity is going to have a lot to do with this as well. Punishment for the crime, if it is one here, is non-existent as dog eat dog is a way of life here rather than a euphemism. Wait just a minute here, what in hells name am I thinking of anyway. Here I am making all these plans, how to murder Hugo, shacking up with Julie, for obvious reasons, and none of it is even a start on how to break the hell out of here. I can't stay here for the rest of my life, not even for Julie. I tried to go back to spending all my time thinking about escape. I have read nearly everything I can get my hands on including the fictional works, looking for a clue as to how to escape.

So far the only idea I had come up with, was as far fetched as trying to bribe a guard on one of the stations up there. I would have to offer something I didn't have and for which he would place himself in dire jeopardy of being put down here with me. This crazy idea
I had gotten from a science fiction book I was reading. The hero in this book could teleport himself where ever he wanted to go. If anyone ever figures out how to do this it is going to put places like this one out of business.

As it turned out, to kill or not to kill, to fight or not to fight, was a decision I did not have to make after all, Hugo made it for me.Hugo was waiting for me in the shower room two days later and he had the same idea, basically. Why wait for me to cause trouble, or for Julie to run off with me. Just kill me and get me out of his hair. Hugo didn't need a weapon and caught by surprise, I didn't have one. I mean I am not used to even having to think about a weapon I can take in the shower with me.

Hugo jumped me by surprise and I am here to tell you, wet and naked is not the best way to defend yourself. I was hoping Hugo just intended to rough me up some to scare me off but no such luck. He made it obvious he intended to beat me to death. I felt a hell of a blow on my head, then it seemed the whole world exploded inside my head. It felt like a lightning bolt had somehow struck through my left eye. A blinding light and pain engulfed me and I remember thinking, this is what it is like to die.

I was back with the body of the vice governor, I could smell the shit I had drowned him in. I opened my eyes to find myself lying naked in a field with my face only inches from what appeared to be a pile of horse shit. There is just one problem with this I thought, there are no horses on Thetus.

When I tried to move I couldn't help letting out a little scream. My right arm is broken,
I remembered Hugo breaking it as soon as I tried to push up on it. I managed to work up the juice to try again using my other arm and kind of scooting my legs up till I was able to get to my knees and then my feet. I couldn't see too well yet, until I wiped the blood out of my eyes. I must be bleeding pretty good from where Hugo smashed my head into the shower faucets.

When I could see, I couldn't believe my eyes. Where in the hell am I, I thought out loud, this is not Thetus. The sun is yellow instead of dull orange. The trees, bushes and grass are really green instead of bluish green. The sky is near-earth blue, not dark violet blue.

Hell, that is a farm over there, there aren't any farms on Thetus, none at all. Everything on Thetus is supplied by the Federation. This can't be, was all I could think as the lights seemed to dim and the last thing I remember was landing face first in the pile of horse shit I had missed the first time by inches.

When I awoke this time I was in a bed, a real bed. I mean an old fashioned feather bed. Looking around, I could tell I was in a room of what must have been the farm I had seen when I woke the first time. Had these been more sophisticated or more suspicious people, I probably would have had the proctors swarming all over me, which would have resulted in fingerprint and retina identification and a fast trip back to Thetus. Once there I would probably have had some serious explaining to do on just how I had managed to wind up on Almach IV.

While there are fair sized cities scattered around Almach IV, it is mostly an agricultural planet with simple, peaceful farmers. I managed to give the impression of not being real smart and a partial amnesia victim after being struck by lightning in a storm they had that same morning. I soon managed to get to one of the smaller towns in some borrowed clothes. Before long I had a low paying job and a place to stay. I have started a so far unquestioned new life, with a new ID and name, albeit with a short history.

As soon as I feel safe, I will start gradually working my way up into a good job with a future and a comfortable life.

I can't explain how I got here, though I know I must have teleported in an instant of fear of imminent death. I can't explain why I did it when others seem to just die. I won't even try, all I know is I am free of Thetus.

The End

Copyright 1998 George H. Lafferty



Escape By Mind

by: George H. Lafferty



George, I hope this helps your career. If you should make millions from someone noticing you on the site, don't forget who your friends are!!! Regards Peter.