My neck itches.  This neck-brace is really starting to annoy me.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  It’s been annoying
me for the past...well, I’m not quite sure.  All I know is that I’ve been here for an awfully long time...or at least it
seems like an awfully long time.  As I said, I have no way of knowing.  Everything is random here, but it’s
constant sameness.  It drives you crazy with sanity.  That may sound strange, but that’s the situation.  They teach
us about it in schools.  If we didn’t know what happens to convicted criminals, it wouldn’t serve as a deterrent.  
But this whole system hardly has to do with deterrence—that’s just what they tell the bleeding hearts back on
Earth.  It’s really purely for revenge—eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.  Goddammit, my neck itches!  The only
reason they put this on is to keep us from killing ourselves.  They know that if the will is strong enough, people can
kill themselves merely by snapping their own neck.  These neck-braces prevent that from happening.  And it’s not
like there’s anything else in this cell a person could use to commit suicide—it’s made of a special material that
bounces but never breaks.  It’s like rubber, so you can’t kill yourself by whacking your head against it, but
nobody has a chance of breaking through it.  If you did manage to break through it, you would be greeted with the
sweet embrace of death—the vacuum of space would flood into the solitary confinement capsule and you’d be
dead in an instant.  But alas, breaking through is impossible.  The strongest prisoners have managed to push their
arms so far through the material that when they inevitably lose strength and the material snaps back, it shatters the
bones of their arm.  If that happens to you, you’re in for some rough times, because it’s not like the medical unit is
gonna give you any pain relievers.  As long as you’re not in mortal danger, the automated medical unit of the
confinement capsule remains still and lifeless.  But if there’s a chance that you’re about to die, it will do everything
in its power to keep you alive to live out your punishment.  Many people back on Earth have serious debates as
to whether people like me deserve this punishment, but there’s really no chance to ever having the Earth Council
dispose of the program.  It’s all remnants of the Conservative Backlash that happened centuries ago.  Ironically, it
all began with the most liberal decision ever made—the legalisation of marijuana.  Shortly after all of the nations of
Earth united, the Council decided to legalise marijuana, and set off a chain reaction that lead to the eventual
extermination of all the Feelers.  It’s a long story, and usually takes about two years worth of Third Millennium
history class to have a good grasp on the entire situation, but by the time every nation united after the discovery of
Extra-Terrestrial life, sociologists divided humans into two types of people: the Feelers and the Floaters.  At first,
it didn’t seem as though there was any reason the two groups couldn’t live in harmony.  After all, as long as
neither interfered with the other, everything was fine.  The Floaters would go through their lives following the paths
set out for them, getting an education and taking on a career—while the Feelers would just do their own thing,
which usually consisted of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.  The only conflict between the Feelers and Floaters had
been the fact that all the Floaters had made the Feelers’ lifestyle illegal.  When the Earth Council legalised
marijuana, it seemed as though there would be no further reason for conflict between the Feelers and Floaters.  
What they overlooked was the severe power that a psychological addiction to marijuana could produce.  I should
know; I smoked marijuana almost every day until the time of my crime.  It just becomes a way of life, but after
awhile, it simply stops working.  Usually, when you develop a tolerance, they tell you to take a break until
smoking will get you high again, but these “periods of sobriety” are hell for anyone who is used to being fucked
up.  I couldn’t stand it.  I had to turn to other drugs, just as the Earth Council had done all those centuries ago
when they legalised all consciousness-altering drugs.  It was the only solution.  The Feelers were turning to those
drugs anyway due to the tendency of marijuana to stop working, and the Floaters were arresting them.  It was
20th century America all over again—just a completely fucked up society.  It was thought that legalising all
substances would put a stop to the Feeler/Floater conflict once and for all, but once again, they overlooked
something.  I can tell you from experience that if you do enough drugs, nothing else becomes important.  That’s
why Feelers remain that way throughout their lives.  
Nobody who does drugs ever stops.  The only reason people
ever stop doing drugs is if they’re illegal, and they don’t want to end up in prison.  However, that doesn’t mean
people who don’t do drugs never
start.  Once they were legal, many Floaters actually tried experimenting—there
was no harm as they saw it.  And once they were hooked, they were hooked.  Within half a century,
unemployment rates were at an all-time high, the economy was crumbling, and currency itself was starting to be
rejected as a means of currency.  Nobody would accept any payment unless it came in the form of food, drugs, or
sexual favours.  As this was happening, the devout Floaters knew what had to be done, so they started a Morality
Campaign that began with the de-legalisation of all substances, and assimilation of
all Feelers into society.  I don’t
even like to think about the horror that this brought on.  The Morality Campaign was just about the most
endeavour done by humankind in its history.  Feelers everywhere refused to conform and be assimilated, but since
they were almost always peace-loving, they put up no fight as the armies of Floaters destroyed them by any
means necessary, from machine gun-fire to toxic gas poisoning to simple trapping and burning.  It was like a mix
between the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, and the desecration of Native American culture by the original
white colonists in the Americas.  That was the crossroads.  I think about it all the time.  There’s really nothing else
to do here but think.  I suppose that’s the point—to think about what I did.  Well, I can honestly say that not a
moment goes by in which I
don’t think about that.  And it’s not just, “what did I do to deserve this?”  This is,
without a doubt, the worst punishment that could ever be inflicted upon anyone.  Actually, my sentence isn’t as
bad as those who get sentenced to death.  I merely have to live out the rest of my life in this tiny egg-shaped
capsule.  Those people have to await death in their capsules, a death that could come at any time, in one of any
horrible forms, but I don’t like to think about that.  I think about my own situation most of all.  How long have I
been thinking?  As I said, it’s impossible to tell.  Everything here is done randomly.  Even the trajectories of our
orbits change randomly.  There are millions of capsules just like mine orbiting this god-forsaken planet, millions of
kilometres from home, each occupied by one man or woman sentenced to lifelong damnation.  That’s just what
this is—Hell for the living.  There is no belief in the afterlife, so humans feel it’s their duty to deal out justice the
way a Supreme deity would.  And they certainly have the money.  They were lucky enough to find a species of
extra-terrestrials who live on a planet desperately short on the natural resource of iron.  Can you believe that?  
Iron!  It’s like oxygen to them, and Earth has it to spare.  So the extra-terrestrials trade iron for platinum, gold,
silver, diamonds, and other shiny rocks that humans deem extremely valuable for whatever reason.  This makes
such a harsh system of punishment possible.  If it meant more tax-money, the humans would be up in arms.  But
the Earth Council funds this program completely from extra-terrestrial money.  They justify its worth by saying it’s
a deterrent, and they are keeping law and order.  Those of us who have been suffering its punishment for god-
knows how long would care to say differently.  It has nothing to do with deterrence—it’s just sadistic.  The
people who serve on the Earth Council got there for one reason—they’re power hungry bastards.  They rose to
their positions by feeding on the blood of others, and it gives them orgasms to think about how badly prisoners
like me are suffering.  Oh, but we can rest assured that they sleep well at night.  After all, we deserve it.  And
what is it we deserve?  Tiny capsules shaped like eggs, made of a rubbery, transparent material, out of which the
only sight besides millions of stars is the planet we’re all perpetually orbiting.  The accursed 7th planet from the
sun.  God, how I hate Uranus.  But how perfect it is for them.  This gas giant is not only the least colourful planet
in the solar system—but it spins on its axis at a 90° angle, so its rings seem to go vertically around the planet.  
Which means that we lucky prisoners will occasionally pass right through the rings and get bombarded with all the
chunks of rock and ice that they’re composed of.  Of course, the material absorbs enough of the impact to keep it
from being fatal, but it hurts like a motherfucker.  Picture being stoned to death, only with a hundred stones per
second hitting practically every part of your body, but not being nearly enough to kill you.  It’s just pure pain, and
the medical unit isn’t gonna do a damn thing about it unless you’re dying.  It wouldn’t be so bad if we knew when
these bombardments were coming, but our trajectories are constantly changing.  Sometimes, we’ll go through the
rings twice in what seems like a very short period of time.  Sometimes, what seems like a very long period of time
will go by before it happens again.  Of course, you can never be sure how long a particular period of time is.  
There are no clocks, and there is nothing that happens on a fixed schedule.  Even feeding is done randomly—they
keep you alive by dropping down a snorkel-like apparatus from the top of the capsule where the controlled space
probe sits.  You can suck the nutrients from the snorkel for as long as it’s down there.  They come in the form of a
tasteless pudding-like substance.  It’s not disgusting, because that might provoke more anti-eating protests, but it
doesn’t taste good by any stretch of the imagination.  The anti-eating protests are what stupid and/or desperate
prisoners do to try to end their lives.  They simply don’t suck from the snorkel when it’s lowered for them.  Some
try to shove the snorkel down their throats and gag on it.  But against any form of suicide, there are countless fail-
safes.  The most common is the removal of breathable air.  The capsule itself measures brain-waves, and if a
prisoner even contemplates suicide, the flow of oxygen is cut off and the person immediately starts to suffocate
until they pass out, at which point the oxygen is replenished, the medical unit comes down to inject a serum into
the unconscious body, and the prisoner is revived, only to find that they are now suffering from a migraine and
severe nausea that can last for any duration—minutes, days, years.  Everything is done randomly.  If a person
refuses to eat, the same system is invoked, only the serum contains nutrients to substitute for what the food
substance would have provided orally.  Sometimes, when the food snorkel is not dropped for a particularly long
time, and the prisoner is at risk of dying of starvation, the oxygen will be cut off and the serum will be injected
anyway.  Sometimes, the oxygen will be cut off and the migraine and nausea serum will be given for no reason at
all.  That has happened to me several times already.  My mind has been conditioned not to contemplate suicide,
but now my oxygen is cut off even if I’m not contemplating killing myself.  I’ll wake up with a horrible migraine,
and then I’ll vomit all over myself.  All of this is done to give the prisoners our first abnormal psychological
condition on the road to insanity—learned helplessness.  Once we realise that we are not in control of
even our own punishments, we’ll be one step closer to losing our minds, which is of course the goal of this entire
form of punishment.  They want us to go insane and live inside our tortured minds, separated from all humanity
with no hope of salvation until old age finally rids us of our lives, and frees us from the prison of life.  Nobody
knows how long it takes for an average prisoner to go insane.  They teach us that it depends on the mind.  Some
last for years.  Some go after only a few hours.  But
nobody ever lives to the age of their death and holds onto
sanity.  That has never happened, just as it has never happened that anyone has escaped.  There is no way for
people to escape on their own.  And even if I had a friend on the outside that could try to bust be out, they
wouldn’t be able to find me.  Prisoners in confinement cells such as mine have no names
or numbers.  Nothing to
identify one capsule from the other.  The spaceships that come by to refill the food and oxygen do so randomly.  
There is no system keeping track of how much food or oxygen is left in any particular capsule.  When there is a
dire emergency, a homing signal is sent out and the refilling ships go to those capsules before anything else, but
nobody knows who is in which capsule, who committed what crime, nothing.  When a prisoner dies, the capsule
self-destructs.  The victim’s families, or even the families of the prisoners are never informed as to when their party
of interest has died.  As far as anyone is concerned, once you are sentenced, you are dead.  Even if you are later
cleared of the crime, no attempt is made to free you, because there would be no way to do so.  You are just a
body in a capsule—nobody is keeping track of your identity, and there are millions of capsules.  It would be like
throwing a stick into an ocean, then setting sail years later in search of that same stick.  

My mind just went blank...what was I thinking about?  How long has it been blank?  I can’t tell.  But all I can say
is that this must be frustrating for those falsely accused.  I was not falsely accused.  I committed the crime for
which I am serving my sentence.  I’ve had enough time to think about it.  I’ve repented time and time again, and
not an instant goes by that I don’t regret what I did.  I raped a woman.  I raped the woman I Loved.  It was a
horrible thing to do, but I wasn’t right in the head.  Not that my sexual frustration was a legitimate excuse, but it is
the truth.  I’d loved this girl for years, but she would never return the feeling.  She would never even talk to me,
which was especially frustrating because we lived in the same house.  We hadn’t always been brother and sister.  
Originally, she just lived across the street, and our families were friends.  I was in Love with her since grade
school.  Then one day, her parents died in a tragic accident, and she came to live with us.  Of all the people in the
world, she was adopted by
my parents.  It was awful.  At first, I thought it would be great having the girl I loved
living under my roof—but it was torture.  The psychological torture was almost as bad as
this is.  To have the
object of all your desires so close—but she was afraid of me.  She stayed away from me.  She didn’t even talk to
me in school.  My adopted sister, and most people didn’t have a clue we knew each other.  Then, when we were
both in high school, when I was 18 and she was 16, I lost it.  She came home and walked right by me, and I
completely lost control of my emotions, and all the pent up frustration of her avoiding me just exploded, and I
raped her right then and there.  As I was doing it, my parents walked in, and were so horrified that they called the
police, completely forgetting what the penalty was for rape.  It was the worst experience of my life, but for her I’m
sure it must have been worse.  I don’t know where she is now—if she has forgiven me, or whether she’s
capable.  We never even spoke after I was charged, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison.  The entire
process took one afternoon.  I was on my way to Uranus by the time I would usually be eating dinner.  I never
saw her or my parents again.  God only knows how long ago that was.  I can only judge by how old I look to
myself, I would imagine I’m anywhere between 18 and 30.  So it could have happened as long as 12 years ago,
or as early as last week.  I really can’t tell.  I have memories of a few things that have happened to me in the
capsule, but it’s only bits and pieces, and because nothing ever happens in the capsule that never happens again,
my thoughts on solitary confinement are usually based not on what
has happened, but on what happens.  They
aren’t so much memories as they are an understanding of what life is.  They do that for a reason, of course.  
Memories are reserved purely for thinking about what we have done.  If we could forget all that, and reserve
some of our reminiscing for events that have gone on since our imprisonment, it would be much easier to accept
our situation, and dissociate who we
are with the horrible people that we were when we committed those crimes.  
All I know is that my neck itches, and the stench of vomit from the last time I puked is all too potent.  Oh, they
clean out the capsules.  Randomly, of course.  You can piss and shit whenever you want, but you’re going to have
to sit in it until the next time the top opens up, flushes all the waste out and soaks the capsule in water.  The water
is either freezing cold or scalding hot, so even though they’re keeping you alive by improving your hygiene, you
can’t enjoy it.  And it’s done randomly, so you never know whether the next cleaning will come moments later, or
weeks later.  You can be sitting in a puddle of your own shit up to your neck before the next cleaning occurs.  The
capsule just won’t let it suffocate you.  At least you get used to the smell after awhile, and you don’t have too
much waste because you don’t have much to take in.  They just make sure you’re never comfortable.  I
remember I used to have a nice waterbed.  That was comfort.  But they design these things so that no position
you could possibly put yourself in will ever be comfortable.  Once you get a cramp from one position, you switch
to another until you get a cramp somewhere else.  But that’s only if the gravity is on.  They turn off the internal spin
randomly, and you float for a random duration, which only means it’s gonna hurt like hell whenever the gravity
comes back on.  Also, floating makes you sick, and in weightlessness, your waste floats around you and has a
tendency to go up your nose or into your mouth whenever you inhale.  When they turn the gravity back on, it
aches, regardless of how long you’ve been in weightlessness.  Meanwhile, there’s not much to do but look at the
stars, and you only get to do that half the time.  The material is naturally transparent, but it can also turn opaque,
which it does on random occasions, for random durations.  During those times, you can see nothing, and those are
the times you’re most worried about losing your mind.  There is no sense of motion, no sense of time, no sense of
your own existence other than what you feel, which is usually sheer terror, knowing that at any time your capsule
might pass through the rings of Uranus, and you
don’t want that to happen when you can’t see it.  Complete
absence of anything to see causes hallucinations.  It has the same effect as when you trip on acid (an offence
which today is also punishable by life in solitary) only it’s psychologically impossible to have a “good trip”.  If you
start tripping during the period of blindness, and your capsule starts getting hit by the chunks of rock and ice in
Uranus’s rings, it’s quite likely that you’re going to “bug out” and you may never get your mind back again.  And
from the time you lose your mind to the time you die, you’re no longer in a solitary confinement capsule—you’re
in Hell, or at least as close as your living mind will take you.  I know it’ll happen to me.  All I can do is hold off for
as long as possible.  Then again, it’s not like I have any control in the matter.  When I go insane is completely
random, and once I do, I suppose justice will finally be served for my horrible crime.  I don’t feel sorry for
myself.  I feel sorry for the poor woman I raped.  I can still see her beautiful face in my mind, despite its
distortions in my perception.  I Loved her so much...why did I have to go and do such a horrible thing to her?  
She didn’t deserve it at all.  I can only take comfort in the fact that at least I’m being punished for it.  I just really
wish I could die.  But that doesn’t mean I wish I had received the death penalty—only people who take the lives
of others are given the death penalty, and I’m extremely thankful I wasn’t given that.  

Shit, did I just fall asleep, or draw another blank?  I don’t know, but it seems like for a while the death penalty has
been on my mind.  I must have been thinking about it before I blanked out.  The death penalty is essentially the
same as the penalty us lifers have, only with a very important psychological difference: while we await our
inevitable descent to insanity, they await their inevitable death, which—like our insanity—can come at any random
time.  To torture them, they give them a choice in their death.  As they float in their capsules, they are constantly
staring at a console of four buttons, each calling for a different method of execution.  They get to choose how they
die, but each method is so horrible that any sane human mind would never be able to choose and inevitably seal
their fate.  Once they choose their execution method, they can be assured that their death will take place exactly
as they have called for it, but they can never know when it will come.  It can come the instant after they choose, or
decades after...they don’t know.  But they
do know that if they don’t choose their own execution method, it will
be chosen randomly, and given to them at any random time, whether they’ve been in the capsule only a day or for
most of their lives.  It’s a psychological torture I could barely imagine, especially because they tell us in school the
four choices they have.  The first is having millions of tiny microscopic organisms released into their cell and eat
them alive.  The organisms crawl into every orifice and make you violently ill as they slowly devour you over the
course of several days, usually eating out your eyes first.  The second death is drowning, as your chamber is filled
with to the brim with water, leaving no room to breath.  The chamber fills very slowly, over a period of what might
be days.  You can try to end it early by drowning yourself when there is a little water, but you will always come up
for air—it’s involuntary.  So you are forced to continue gasping for that final breathe until not one square
centimetre of oxygen is left, and you are in a capsule completely filled with water, and there’s no way out until you
die.  The third way to die is for the internal spin to accelerate to a point where the G is too heavy for your body to
handle.  You are pressed up against the wall as it very slowly accelerates faster and faster, pressing you harder
and harder until you get crushed and flattened like a pancake by the gravity.  This too takes several days to be
finished.  Finally, the last of your wonderful choices should you be so lucky as to receive the death penalty is lethal
injection—but not the very humane kind they used to give.  The capsule is drained of oxygen until you pass out,
then the medical kit injects a serum into you that basically causes the worst symptoms of every deadly illness
known to man.  Over the course of several days, as your head throbs with the most intense migraine you can
imagine, you may start coughing up your internal organs, losing body parts, having intense full-body spasms in
which you can thrust your body parts with force enough to break your own bones...I don’t even like to think
about it.  If you are sentenced to death, you know that you are going to die one of those ways, and if you don’t
choose, any of those deaths can come upon you at any time.  Living in constant fear.  Knowing that I don’t have
to deal with any of that is the only thing I’m thankful for.  But it’s still hard to be thankful for anything with this sort
of torture, especially now that they’ve passed new bills to make these sentences even worse.  

It’s horrible.  I almost completely lost it just thinking about it for...however long that was.  They do things just for
pure torture.  For instance, you may think that despite the horrible punishment, you can at least pleasure yourself
whenever you want—well, that’s not quite true.  First of all, they castrate all men, and give female circumcisions to
all the women.  This way, neither gender can physically pleasure themselves.  However, this doesn’t prevent the
mind from thinking sexual thoughts.  It just prevents you from satisfying them.  But you could still just use your
imagination, right?  Not quite.  If they can measure brain waves to know when you’re contemplating suicide, they
can measure them to know when you are thinking sexual thoughts.  And if they can change the transparent
material of the capsule walls to opaque black, they can also project images onto them.  All it took for those noble
thinkers on the Earth Council who designed this system was to put two and two together.  So whenever you are
thinking pleasurable thoughts, an image will be projected on the side of the capsule, something either horrifically
full of gore, or just sexually disgusting.  The result is that during the moment of what would be an orgasm if it were
possible to feel sexual pleasure, you will be forced to look at an image such as a person half-eaten by spiders, or
a clump of shit hanging out of an obese person’s bare ass.  This causes you to associate any sexual feeling with a
feeling of disgust, so after awhile, your mind trains itself to stop thinking about these things, leaving more room to
spend contemplating your horrible crime.

I’ve been contemplating my crime for...I have no idea.  All I know is that my capsule just went black at some
point during my last train of thought, although I can’t remember what I was thinking about.  Probably about my
adopted sister, and I how I brutally raped her.  God, I hate myself.  Jesus, it’s dark in here.  She was so beautiful,
though.  I can almost see her face in my mind right now...except it’s screaming in pain from what I’m doing to
her.  How could I be such a horrible person?  I just wanted her to Love me...and now I think I’m gonna be sick.  
I just puked.  God, it smells, and my neck itches so much.  Wait, what was that?  Was that a rock hitting the
capsule?  Am I heading into the rings?  Shit, it’s so dark.  I think I see something.  Ow...fuck!  That hurt...and
here it comes.  I’m being bombarded.  I’m out of my own body now.  Spiders are crawling all over me.  They’re
eating me.  I’m the woman being raped now.  I’m fucking me.  I am being devoured by spiders.  But I brought
them on.  I shouldn’t have raped her.  Am I going insane?  No, that’s just wishful thinking.  Then it would be
over...ow!  Fuck, this hurts!  Fuck, there’s another.  Fuck fuck fuck!!!  I’m puking more.  Holy shit!  Fuck fuck
fuck fuck fuck ow!!!  Holy shit.  More puke!  More spiders.  I’m being raped.  This is what it’s like!  I
understand now!  I’m cured!  No, I’m not.  I’m horrible...fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!  This fucking hurts!  Fuck!  I
want to die!  I’m cured, let me die!  No, I’m not.  Is the darkness going?  No, that’s just spiders.  Because I’m
being raped, and shit on.  Fuck fuck ouch!!!  Uranus’s rings.  Is that food?  I think I’m being cleaned.

How long has it been since I was in the rings?  I’m still here!!!  Fuck fuck ouch!!!  Let me die!  Hello, Satan.  My
neck itches.  The stench is killing me.  I’ve got a horrible cramp.  I raped myself.  She is me, and I raped her.  I
raped myself.  Now I understand.  I’ve entered her mind.  This is what it’s like.  I give up.  The pain is eternal.  It’
s useless to hope for death.  

Time doesn’t exist here, because it’s all done randomly.  I will never die.  No fear but fear of life.  That could be
worse.  Fuck fuck ouch!!!!  I’m in the rings again, or am I just still there?  Fuck.  That’s what it’s about.  It’s
about fuck.  

And I’m not ever going anywhere.  I’m being raped by myself.  

This will never end.  

Fuck this hurts.  

I deserve.  

Infinite Time Justice
Kem Stone - February 2002