Creative Writing

Mutiny on the Escape Ship

An onboard account of the billionaires’ thwarted getaway.

On our fifth day aboard the escape ship the balance of power shifted. As we coursed through the solar system fleeing a home planet on the verge of collapse, a rift formed between the Principal Investors and the vessel’s crew. It started with the Koch brothers’ nursemaids, a cadre of sturdy-looking matrons tasked with attending to the decrepit billionaires. I noticed the women hanging around the rec room at all hours—time was meaningless to us now—watching videos and cooking delicious-smelling comfort foods in the mess hall. I asked the one who seemed to be their leader, a stone-faced Trinidadian named Lettie, what was up.

“Mr. David can wipe his own ass. We’re not working for them no more.”

The next group to defect was the Coors family retinue. You could tell it was a long time coming; the Coors’ behavior was intolerable even by the peculiar standards of a ship full of ultra-wealthy heirs. After them came the Waltons’ people, then the Mellons. Soon the rec room was full of idle workers singing karaoke, playing backgammon and telling stories.

It was nothing personal. We just realized the bosses’ billions have no value in the vast expanse of space. There was no secret socialist plot, no “subversive elements” among us. It was a spontaneous collective insight triggered by the boundless immensity of the universe, which has a way of putting things in perspective. Plus a lot of the billionaires were total dicks.

There were security and surveillance measures in place to maintain order on the ship—even a brig—but none of the Principal Investors knew how to work the equipment. As Waste Management Engineer I can tell you that many of them didn’t even know how to take a proper zero-gravity shit. The crew calmly ignored their increasingly paranoid orders.

Negotiations with the billionaires moved swiftly. There was no violence, although several members of the Sackler family—the inventors of OxyContin—had to be physically restrained for their own safety. After weighing their options—sharing their obscene, amassed fortunes or being abandoned on a cosmic wayside outside the solar system—the Principal Investors folded. They agreed to transfer the bulk of their wealth to an escrow account to be divided evenly among the remaining inhabitants of Earth, back there huddling in the Inhabitable Regions.

After we confirmed the funds had been transferred via secure SatLink, we monitored the jubilant transmissions from back home and reevaluated our mission. Turns out not even capitalism can survive the vacuum of space. We could’ve saved everyone a lot of trouble if we’d realized this sooner—both as a crew and as a species. Regardless, we know now. We turned the ship around.