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The Coup

An IT professional with a love for history and science. Max Schau enjoys how science fiction can be used to demonstrate how even as we advance to the stars our human nature remains firmly planted in our past.

I watched them as they wept quietly in the airlock, their fate for having aligned with the wrong side, waiting for the harsh metallic clang of the outer door cycling open and the hiss of life escaping.
Me? I was on the right side.
The coup had been brewing for weeks, right under the nose of the orbital station governor. He'd been too busy enlarging his personal crypto-accounts and sampling the local delights of the underside of the station to notice what was happening.
My position as head of station security meant that I had expectations of privilege and my own cut to count, something that the governor had started to forget lately. When I was approached it didn't take much to convince me, I would be a key member of the coup with all the benefits that would bring. Without me it would be impossible to bypass the station security AI, the conspirators would be vaporized the instant the governor realized what was happening.
A few security system changes, some rescheduling of the more loyal security officers and we were ready. The governor followed a predictable routine, we grabbed him as he stumbled drunkenly down a sub-level corridor and hauled him screaming to the nearest airlock, the look of disbelief is probably still frozen on his face.
The rest of the cleanup was over in a few hours. I handed control of the AI over to our new leader and set about rounding up his list of undesirables. They were a mix of old regime cronies and several people I had thought were supporters of the new. We herded them down to the cargo level so we could space them in batches.
And this batch is the last to go, after them the station will continue its orbit under new law.
The crack of the door seal was like a rifle shot, the air flowed out and screams went with it. And as I felt the cold burn of space and my own saliva boiling on my tongue, I wondered why I was on this side of the airlock, when I had been on the right side.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, July 14th, 2020
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