The debris continued to fall from orbit, but the work had to be done. The bridge looked fine, majestic in the dark. But it was an illusion. It could collapse any minute. And it was our only way out.
The crews arrived, ready to get started. It wasn’t the ideal location for the temporary bridges, but there weren’t many ideal locations left. People were going to have to get out, escape. And these bridges meant life.
I cannot believe the world we live in. Here I am, Prisoner Number 451-1138, convicted of biohacking malpractice, and my job is to fabricate biomods for export to support the government’s revenue. Biomods, by the way, that would land you in here if you sold them in this country. But you can in others, and they have an incredible profit margin. Apparently this is okay.
I guess I just picked the wrong market. Next time, once I’m out.
The Crucible was ready, the legendary, almost mythical forge used to create the armour and weapons of a bygone age. Now it would make the base material for our next generation of weapons. Instead of swords and chainmail, it would be starships and reactive armour.
We had the materials, sourced from asteroids, not from our home world. And now the final piece, the ancient tool for our modern future.
Mant looked at the box. His box. It had his name. It had his designation: Middle Nire Number 19. Mini’s had a tough job. Working the Nire was hard enough. The middle shift was the hardest. The heat, the extra atmospheric pressure.
And now he was going to see how long he had to continue to serve. The box monitored all. Press the button, see your fate. How long before you expired. Not everyone pushed the button. His finger hovered, he was unsure. Did he really want to know?
“Thank you, Kerry Croc, Bayou Journal. Senator, you’ve been quoted describing something as ‘cold blooded’. Don’t you find that just a bit speciesist? Are you saying that some are uncaring just because they aren’t endothermic?”
The Senator cleared his theropodian throat. “Look, I have scales, you have scales, but, um, well that statement was taken out of context.”
“Sir, the entire statement was ‘that’s cold blooded’.”
I had them. They were a tool to be wielded, an instrument to be played. Not an audience, but acolytes, followers, believers. They would do anything for me. Anything. With them I could control the planet, the system. They needed only a nudge, a push. And push I will. This time, they would transform themselves, at my behest.
“And all this is available for pre-order starting today, implants begin Friday.”
They cheered. I knew lines were already forming here, the moon, Europa…
It’s not a life, it’s just living. Each time something stops working or is too damaged, we get another so-called ‘upgrade’. I’m tired. At some point it needs to end, but they won’t let it. The audience demands their show and there hasn’t been a new competitor in a century.
I’m tired, but I’m up next. I sigh, rise, and my new legs carry me to the arena. How much damage would finally end it all?