Somebody was going to have to be left behind... and who it would be was perfectly obvious....
"That," nodded Lansing, "is it."
* * * * *
The four prison officials looked at each other. Halloran and Court sat quiet; Goldsmid slowly dropped his eyes to the ground and his lips moved. Slade scratched his chin.
"Going to Mars, hey?" he asked abruptly.
"That's our destination."
The doctor chuckled. "Comic-book stuff," he chortled.
"No, it isn't," Halloran said. "We've been expecting something like this for a long time. Haven't we?"
"Indeed we have," Goldsmid said. "Expecting, but not quite believing."
Halloran looked thoughtfully at the physicist. "Dr. Lansing, these ships of yours ... they're pretty big, I take it?"
"Not as big as we like. They never are. But they'll do. Why?"
"I should remind you that we have well over two thousand inmates here."
"Inmates!" barked the general. "Who the devil said anything about your inmates? Think we'll take a lot of convicts to Mars! Populate it with killers, thieves--"