I've put a preview of Chapter 7 after the break.
The door opened, like a slow castle gate being drawn in. This asteroid they were on was clearly a prison, and what lay beneath the surface was the grand mystery.
The matter of sending convicts off planet was not a new one. On Earth, sending prisoners to the moon became a regular activity fairly quickly after the moon tourism began. In order to bring the cost to their customers down, many space tourism companies brokered deals with the government to transport prisoners to the moon in exchange for a sizable amount of money. The private guests were never any the wiser, until a malfunction let loose a prisoner once... and he killed the all the guests and crew.
This event allowed the space tourism industry to form true space imprisonment services. The government still needed to ship high profile convicts off planet, but regulations said that the prisoners could not travel with citizens. As such, the fees for space imprisonment sky-rocketed, and fueled the growth of space-related business. The space imprisonment research went largely unchecked because the cargo was, in fact, people that were needed to be gotten rid of.
Eventually, as the moon was populated by normal citizens, the prisoners needed to be moved off planet again. And so, even before the 3000s, prisoners were being shipped to asteroids where convict cities were developed. Living on a floating asteroid, in a man-made city of convicts, would be enough tension to drive any prisoner insane. They were constantly monitored, but it was all done remotely. If something went wrong in a convict city, it would take years to travel to the asteroid in the early days.
It was clear that something had gone wrong here.
Jabin was the first to puke. He was a researcher. He wasn’t some grand space cowboy, travelling the open sectors. This was the furthest he’d ever been away from home; as far as he knew convict cities were a myth. Opening the door to go beneath the surface, three long decayed bodies fell out, one touching Jabin. His puke covered the corpse.