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by Ms. Sundstrom

         I had to do it. I knew it was wrong but it had to be done. I slid up on the ship and realized that it was too late that I had paid the wrong person. The doors locked behind me. It was not an air pressurized compartment. Very shortly we would be out in space and I would be suffering from oxygen starvation as it was only a solids storage compartment. Wait! Wait! What is that over there on the other side of that door? Oh good it's some livestock. Surely they will feed them air.
        The ship started moving out. I was sitting amongst the animals and all of a sudden it got very cold and did not stop getting cold. How could this be? Some of these animals were pets and people had paid full shipping costs for the animals. I had to find a way to increase the temperature or it would kill me.
        They had been traveling for awhile and the energy monitor shipmate noted that energy was being consumed at a faster rate than was capable of keeping the ship going for the entire trip. He brought it to the attention of the ships captain.
        "Well check where the energy drain is and stop it we cannot afford to get stuck out in space in this bucket of bolts and nuts." was the captains reply.
        The energy conservation shipmate searched all the computer deck energy monitors and found where the drain was. The animal cabin was way above the minimum required amount to keep them in hibernation until they reached their destination.
        He walked into the compartment to reset the temperature gauge as it did not seem to work from the computer system as every time he turned it down it would turn itself back up. Must be a worm or a short or something. Have to bring my repair tools.
        He walked in turned around and heard a noise. He pulled up the monitors and saw a young girl in the corner hiding. He said quietly, "Do you know what the penalty for stowing away is? I can see you and you have been discovered. You can be sold out to a slave ship for whatever they want to do with you."
        Mimi stood up and pleaded, "Please don't turn me in I just want to join the space academy where I have been accepted and given a scholarship. Once I get there and graduate I can pay for full passage. I just did not have the money right now."
        The energy conservation shipmate thought it over. There never was anything wrong with making some extra money which was so difficult to find out here. No one wanted to be on earth because all those who had any power or leadership had abandoned earth. Earth now was pretty chaotic and pretty much an anarchy with war lords and so forth running the earth trying to make it off before the end of the Sun's life. It was coming just as it had been predicted since the last great wars.
         Having a potential ships officer indebted especially economically and evidence of breaking laws to get to such a place would be worth quite a bit in the long run. The objective was to keep her hidden. His wife and children could use the extra money on the outer realm mining areas. Squatters rights never made it as well as some extra money to buy protection with. The problem being that he had to place her where it would not bring suspicion.
        So far he had made a great many friends this way and never been discovered by the commander. In fact he had actually started to make arrangements to select out the stowaways on his ship for his own benefit in the long run after catching a few. This is how he got his wife and married her in the first place because she was so desperate to get off of earth. She was prettier than he could buy out here or buy from earth and she just happened to pick his ship to stow away on. So he made sure he provided well for her. All he had to do was to make sure that the energy stores were always bare bones so he could afford to hide someone minimally and pack extra food for the trips and keep all his other weight to a minimum.
         He talked to her quietly after turning off the recording information centers. She agreed to the arrangement. He took her computerized image, her finger prints, and a DNA pattern then stored it in the system he carried with him just for black mailing in the future if his needs and demands were not met.
         Mimi was just turning 14, the minimum acceptable age for militarized protection space training had no idea just what she was signing up for with that agreement for the rest of her life. She just looked at him naively innocent and smiled as he led her down into the small compartment he had fixed below his cabin. If things got bad enough and he got lonely enough he could use her for other purposes. But the advantages he had recieved from letting a young cadet who was traveling illegally back and forth during the academy years on his ship who had recieved a great deal of rank was just too good to take a chance of alienating this young lady. The objective was to educate her the best he could during the trip such that she would have the advantages she needed to survive in space, be seen as worthwhile, get rank and advantages that would help him with acquiring the better things in space. So far he had acquired mining rights along with being placed in the protective belts with his connections.
         All is fair in life space and survival. After all that is how he got out here and he did not have it that good. He had been caught stowing away and been sold as a slave to the system where he got no income until he worked out his indenture - which kept escalating until he made some friends in the right places this way. Why would he want to do to another young person what he had been subjected to. It was unjust unfair and had taught him what life was all about in space. No one cared about anyone else and you had to watch your back especially if someone was thinking about more dinner in the slave ships sometimes. It could be that bad.
         After all he had not sold his soul had he? He was preparing a better life for them than the space system had for him. What if he profited in the process like they did off of all those they could force to work for them for free by the laws they created?
         The man in charge of the punishment systems basically owned everyone who had been enslaved unjustly for way too long. He began to think of all he had been subjected to in the process. He began screening everyone there for their standards and values. He eventually picked through all of them. He had begun his long term black market system of transport because the Space System Commander Mimi had agreed to let him have free reign as he had been very just with her over all. After all he had created and given her the chance to advance to be a part of the system. And what choice did Mimi have if she was exposed she would be ruined.

1999 Round Persons' Enterprises

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