Carratia was the fourth planet from the sun in the Samish solar system. The nights here were too cold. The days, from when the sun rose until it set, were too hot. The atmosphere was too thin. And the indigenous population was too cranky, dishonest, and overbearing.
A Carratian prison was much like a medieval Earth dungeon, but without the pleasant company of the king’s guards, the fine food offered by the dungeon keepers, and the shackles. The complex was damp, with stone floors and stone walls built by the indebted and incarcerated, at the hand of the empirical government. It had 267 cells, each with a 10-foot-high ceiling, and a small opening at the top of the outside wall; for half an hour, it allowed a sliver of light to taunt each occupant. On her first night there, Linsora discovered a hole in the floor that connected to an underground river where a monstrous creature lived. It seemed to consume biological waste—and prisoners, should they become desperate enough to attempt an escape.
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