Human Nature

“You’ve got five minutes,” said the guard before he closed the hatch and locked it shut. Easton was alone with Briony Corland, the Capricornus Killer. The room was tiny, like a cross section of a hyperloop car with two seats facing each other in front of opposing hatchways, separated by a nearly invisible screen of plastiphene. She sat calmly watching him, looking bored but calculating. She had pale skin and pale lips, but her eyes were bright and clear, lucid.

“Why don’t you start by sitting down?” she said. Her voice was even and smooth.

Easton sat down. “Thanks for agreeing to meet with me. But may I ask why? There’s a line of journalists from here to Earth who want to interview you.”

Corland smacked her lips. “I picked you because you’re the only one I’ve never heard of. No harm in talking to a nobody.” She held his gaze. Her expression wasn’t cold; it was too empty to be cold. “So who the hell are you? Some startup rage-caster trying to land a sponsor?”

“Actually I’m writing a book about the social implications of—”

“Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t really give a fuck. Do you have any other questions, or was that it? I’ve got places to be.”

Places to be. She was twelve hours from her state execution. Her legal options were exhausted, and there wouldn’t be a stay. They were going to space her—a better way to go than what most of her victims got.

“I’ve only got one question. I want to hear your side. Why did you kill all those people?”

She moved to cross her arms in front of her chest but the restraints wouldn’t let her bring her hands together, so she rested them on her orange-jumpsuited thighs and slouched back. “No.”

“No? No what?”

“No please. That’s not your question. It’s a disguise. You know why I did the things I did. What you’re really trying to figure out is why everyone else out there isn’t killing each other. Why you haven’t done it yet. You want to know what invisible barrier keeps everyone else from going over that edge.” She kicked the plastiphene screen. “You know it’s in our nature, and you can’t figure out why everyone is acting so unnaturally. But give it time, you’ll be surprised. This time tomorrow I’ll be gone, sure, but so will everyone else on this station. Were you planning on sticking around long?”

The hatch clanged and the guard swung it open. “Time’s up.”

Corland winked. “I’ll be seein’ you,” she said, and Easton was led away.

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