This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Every jail is fully of them; people who didn’t do the crime. Prisoner 12092A was no different; he hadn’t done the crime and that was the truth. At least he hadn’t done the crime he was convicted of and, in a way, in a swings and roundabout way, he deserved the time for all the crimes he’d gotten away with so he just got on with getting on with it.
Admittedly, since the Crawford reform of the late 2100s, time was far less a task with each cell more like a 5-star resort suite offering every modern luxury and convenience. Cyber travel was allowed, holographic representation acceptable and, except for the solitary confinement of it all, and that was only something he experienced when outside of the cyber paradigm, he could go where he wanted and experience whatever he desired.
All that said, prisoner 12092A should have just hunkered down and did the five years.
He had no way of knowing whether others did just that because, once locked into his unit, there was no other real human interaction so he just didn’t know. For all he knew he may have been the only prisoner in the world and, after a while, after only so many cyber trips to exotic places and holographic interaction with others in these spaces, his mind started to turn to escape.
If he had have been a little more analytical he may have reasoned that this was just that part of his psyche that led him do what he did; the journey from rebellious teen through rambunctious thrill seeker to world class cyber thief. The very thought of others penning him in was just not acceptable in any way and it had taken all of his remarkable skills to be where he was at that moment.
He assumed that his every cyber moment was being watched. He knew he’d be doing it if he was in their position so he’d had to find every back alleyway in every dark and dingy corner of the cyber world to get the tools he’d need.
As he played with systems, as he visited the places he’d visited and experienced the various activities he’d experienced, he’d played the systems like some huge cathedral organ and he’d played them like a grand master. Every picosecond of his time was spent hiding his tracks and wending his way through the various electronic curtains that had been woven around his persona. He’d been well prepared of course and had scattered electronic passports all through cyber space during his career, passports that acted like pre-paid phone cards, letting him skip and jump whilst appearing to be there whilst here and back again before anyone would even know. He slowly built the knowledge he needed to know about the Eltron 34TD Portal Locking system.
It was common knowledge that these facilities were completely automated and had never experienced any escape. In fact, the total reliability was what led to the redesign of incarceration at the end of the 22st century and the aforementioned reforms.
The Eltron system was infallible.
He’d had to be very careful and had kept his searching to just the door locking system, it was just too dangerous to extend the terms of reference beyond that and it had taken him over 2 years of constant ducking and weaving to have the tools he needed to deactivate it and tonight, as the world slept and his cyber footprints were being watched as he traipsed around as he’d done every night since he’d gotten there, he’d break the lock and be out.
He wished he knew more, the layout of the facility, its location, the best forms of egress from here and ingress back into society but, with a wry smile, he considered that the devil may well be damned, he was a thrill seeker no doubt and this was thrilling.
He’d written the electronic key in lines of code scrawled and saved on nondescript drink coasters in outback pubs in Australia, in the dust on dirty basement windows in the backstreets of Bombay, on rocks with charcoal on the walls of a cave overlooking the Mojave and many other places all over the world and all through the past two years. All these elements, insignificant by themselves, when linked and run through a pre-processor would create a program so cleverly hidden that even running it guaranteed its self-destruction the moment the door lock activated and, equally cleverly, rendered the lock inoperable with the door in the fully open position.
What did he have to loose, if he opened the door and could go no further so be it; how bad could a few more years added to his sentence be. Better to hang as a sheep than a goat anyway.
He placed the Dornier clips over his temples and laid back in the immersion lounge. The lights dropped to a faint soft blue glow and he was there. In the room that he’d keep hidden during the past two years. In the artist loft with the Eiffel Tower framed gently to the left of the night sky. He picked up the paintbrush and wrote one word on the pristine canvas in Vermilion “RUN”.
Around the cyber world all the disparate lines and symbols so lovingly and artfully crafted flew together and within milliseconds executed and destroyed themselves, so much cyber ash in the wind.
In front of him, directly across the room, was the door. It’s indicator lights blinked from red through orange to green and pulled back into the wall.
Immediately he was sucked out of the couch as a wailing scream filled the room and he flew from the pod. Just before his body exploded, the victim of rapid depressurization, he had the ghost of a thought of just how beautify the Earth looked; in the distance.
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