It was something of a locked room mystery. A planetoid like Gabor V is like a locked room, a small sphere that supports no life other than visiting miners, with no way on or off other than the mining camp platform. How could four men have disappeared without trace in such a place?
I was sent there to give me a break from covering the Aristocrat Wars in West London, my editor thought I was cracking up, and he was right. Bounding along the low gravity surface of Gabor V, alone for the first time in six years, I felt a joy I had forgotten existed in the six years I'd been embedded with the Loyalist troops. Below me precious stones of all kinds glittered in the brilliant light of the three local suns, even through my protective visor a carpet of treasure reflected back up at me. I was free to film myself with as many jewels as I desired, I had no hope of taking any home with me, Gabor V really was a locked room. It looked like being a fun and interesting assignment, and a different perspective on the petty wealth and petty wars of Earth.
One stone jumped out at me, brighter than the rest, I picked it up. Immediately, without thinking, I activated the camera on my suit, began recording my thoughts. This stream of nonsense was beamed to my ship, to be edited at leisure later.
"My high school physics tells me that this stone is impossible. It's like a small solar system, a glowing star in the middle of the stone, approximately twenty tiny sparks of light bouncing around the edges, glittering crazily. Where is the energy coming from? This isn't possible . . . I feel like I'm being hypnotised by the lights . . . I nearly said I feel like I'm being drawn into it, I read too much science fiction as a kid."
Then I was drawn into it.
Suddenly I was compressed to nothing but a point of light, inside a tiny stone. I somehow knew that I was there until my energy ran out, that I could end it quickly by falling into the sun at the heart of the stone, or deny that malicious sun the use of my energy by flying around the edges of the stone for as long as I could. I could tell that's what all the other points of light around me were doing. I wondered how long it took?
A locked room mystery solved, a new life form discovered, what a story! The story of a lifetime, the story of a career. I didn't know if the few minutes of recording I'd taken would be found in time, if a way to release me and my fellow prisoners would be found in time. It took ten days. Ten days in limbo in exchange for fame and fortune. It wasn't worth it. In my mind I'm still inside that stone, nothing but a point of light. Perhaps I received a little too much perspective on that assignment.