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Smitheemas 31

3rd Day of Smitheemas: Escape From DS-3

On the Third Day of Smitheemas, my true love gave to me: three retro futures, two naughty mittens, and a tie of a brain-searing hue.

Purchased from a grocery store liquidating its stock of rental movies back in the days when those words made sense together, Escape From DS-3 harkens back to an even earlier time. A time when the future consisted of men wearing lots of eyeliner and bright jumpsuits. A time when furniture was geometric, minimalist, and orange.

Andy (Jackson Bostwick) is a Secret Agent for The Network. One of The Network's shadowy overlords has him framed for conspiracy. He is hauled before a tribunal in his shiny silver jumpsuit and heavy black eyeliner, and sentenced to life in prison on Detention Satellite 3. He protests his innocence, and is hauled away to a matte painting of a futuristic turkey drumstick spaceship: DS-3!

Andy is quickly processed into DS-3, and learns that, as an innovative way of keeping the movie's budget down riot-prevention mechanism, each inmate only socializes regularly within his "pod" of four inmates. Andy's implanted with a tracker so that the guards always know his whereabouts. They can also use it to cause pain. Or nausea. Or anxiety. Or.... In a higher-budget movie, the implant is all that would have been necessary for crowd control.

Andy exchanges his silver jumpsuit for a convict's orange jumpsuit, and his prison tenure truly begins.

Andy is shown around by one of his pod-mates, Mac (Bubba Smith). Mac tells him about the routine, which includes an hour of gym time, an hour of rec room, periodic computer privileges, and biweekly visits from Pen Pals. Pen Pals are creepy female robots with retro-futuristic geisha makeup that will do whatever the convict wants for thirty minutes. They have their own circuits which temporarily disable the CCTV that spies on the inmates ... and the world's loudest servos. Which is odder, that the warden is concerned about the prisoner's privacy during sex, or that the Pen Pal's eyeblinking servos are much louder than her walking servos?

Andy immediately sets about learning the limitations of the security system, and drafting a plan to escape DS-3. He takes sculpture as a Prison Elective, and coaxes important security information from his guard / teacher. He conspires to get a member of his pod (the chemist) off happy drugs. He arranges to have light music pumped into the rec room so that he can conspire with his pod-mates while doing rhythmic exercises (like martial arts kata crossed with retro-futuristic jazzercise). He gets in fights with his pod-mates whenever the guards start to get suspicious. When his Pen Pal shows up, he asks her to lie face-down and not notice anything that he does to her (so he can take a peek under her hood and get the details of her CCTV bypass chip).

When the inmates finally make their break for freedom, they use bits of Andy's sculpture as throwing stars. They steal the spaceship transporting prisoner artwork to Earth for display and sale, then head off to the (never-previously-mentioned) Outlaw Colony of Altair, where they can wait for the sequel run smuggling operations with their stolen Network ship in order to raise cash and send for their families.

What's that? Instead of ineffectually pursuing the prisoners, why didn't the guards just zap them all with pain/nausea/tension/anxiety/fatigue/ennui/etc as they were escaping? Look over there, it's DS-3! We see that matte painting of DS-3 a lot. A Lot. It must have been expensive.