It wasn’t so much a punishment as the chance to start again. It’s not something all convicts get offered and the offer itself is fleeting, a once in a lifetime take it or leave it with no questioning or explanations allowed. The judge, presiding from his glass screen, lays out the choice and a man dies or a man lives by his decision.
I chose life. I chose to join the generation ship as a conscript, to be sent out into the galaxy and build a new world for mankind. Five years, bounding through nothing but the occasional hydrogen atom and only the friction of the CMBR to slow us down.
A thousand years would pass to the families and friends and children and grandchildren and on and on who we had known on Earth. I would do my time, serve my sentence and the greatest punishment of all is that I would not recognise humanity when I saw it again.
Prompt originally posted by Garabaduck on reddit and received 22 upvotes.