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It was a slow news week and somehow a report about poor standards of safety on Cruithne made it to the top of almost every major news stream. Others focused on the marriage of some half-baked musician to his daughter’s genetically engineered goat. The report made for dry reading, but it raised some alarming points of concern and the tabloids were unfailing in their efforts to sensationalize.

“CATASTROPHE IMMINENT ON CRUITHNE”

“DEEP X MINING INC CONDEMNED OVER CRUITHNE EMPLOYEE SAFETY SCANDAL”

“CRUITHNE OR AGAINST ME?”

When Johnny Starthrust’s marriage ended in divorce after only a week – as had been widely predicted – the dangers of space-mining became the prime topic of debate, and soon everybody was talking about Cruithne.

The general public had known little to nothing about Cruithne before the story broke. It was one of many small solar system bodies being mined, and while it wasn’t the smallest, it was certainly the least interesting. There were many misconceptions about the near Earth object. It had been called Earth’s second moon, but it wasn’t. A popular news article had described it as ‘a five mile wide iceberg of rich mineral wealth’, but it was actually five kilometres in diameter and the iceberg analogy was misleading in the grossest sense of the word.

The general public knew even less about the mining practices employed at Cruithne, Eunomia, Fortuna, Nereus, and other major space-mining rigs, but newsworthy is opinion-worthy, and suddenly everybody claimed to be an expert.

Channel Flame News launched their own investigation. They interviewed anonymous employees of the damned company and the widow of a miner whose drill-pod – it was claimed – had not been properly maintained.

Space-mining had always been a dangerous business, but thanks to poor management and a lax attitude to procedural safety inspections, Cruithne was a powder-keg.

Was it coincidence that disaster finally struck in that same month, just as the spotlight had been so intensely focused on Cruithne?


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