by Simon Haynes
After delays and last-minute setbacks, the first colony ship leaves planet Earth for a distant star. Join the crew as they discover all is not as it seems...
The flight deck was spacious, with a wide console across the forward end, a large screen and, incongruously, an aluminium table with four chairs.
'Where's the umbrella?' said Greg Roth, as he stared at the furniture.
Erin ignored him, and addressed the computer. 'Give me a news feed,' she said.
The screen flickered into life, showing an outside view of the ship against a backdrop of stars. A talking head appeared, inside an oval in the corner of the screen.
'This is it, ladies and gentlemen, your last sight of the Glory before it leaves. This is a historical moment without parallel, a moment which opens the book on the Human conquest of space!'
The commentator paused for breath as the rectangular grey slab vanished in a glare of white light. 'And there she goes, departing on a journey of a hundred years! Don't forget, folks, you can book your place right now. Just press the Order button on your remote. Please note, those under eighteen years will need permission from ...'
'Turn it off,' called Erin.
The viewscreen cleared.
'What the hell was that?' asked Roth. He looked around the control room. 'We haven't gone anywhere.'
'They prepared that earlier. Our launch window clashed with a major sports event so they mocked something up.'
Loss Leader is a 9,000 word short story originally published in Andromeda Spaceways issue #3
"... pure science fiction and, just between ourselves, an entirely evil tale, suggesting a far more likely approach to Earth colonizing the universe than I have seen in a long time." ASIF
"... a tale of space colonization as executed with corporate corruption (the kind you probably, sadly know firsthand), written with a dawning, chilling, believable cynicism." ASIF
- Bowman Press, July 2012
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