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Justice (standard:Flash, 993 words)
Author: Victor D. LopezAdded: Jun 15 2013Views/Reads: 1062/665Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This is a very short science fiction story that takes place in the not too distant future. The setting is a courtroom in which judgment is about to be rendered for a man accused of committing the only remaining capital offense of a unified earth.
 



Time:  The all too near future 

Place:  A courtroom 

Setting: Final sentencing for the last remaining capital offense on the
books of an apparently kinder, gentler more just world where equality 
is no longer a mere aspiration. _____________________________ 

The prisoner stared impassively into the camera. The bright lights
causing beads of sweat to form above his eyes and forcing him to 
squint, his perspiration-soaked thinning hair flattened unflatteringly 
against his forehead. No sound could be heard other than the faint hum 
of the air conditioning whose airflow was directed from the high 
ceiling above the high seats of the three judge panel, towards the 
three judged, keeping their immediate area comfortably cool. The camera 
trained on them remained a respectful distance away, and no harsh 
lights illuminated their somber countenances. 

All three judges stared at the camera showing no emotion, their hands
folded in front of them on the surface of their capacious bench on top 
of three equal, neat stacks of paper piled before each judge. 
Everywhere on earth citizens watched the unfolding drama over the 
neural net that provided a fully immersive experience indistinguishable 
from reality, effectively placing every citizen of earth in the 
courtroom as the Chief Judge began to speak in a deep, resonant, clear 
voice. 

“The evidence against you has been examined. This tribunal finds you
guilty of the charges against you by a unanimous vote. Have you 
anything you would like to add before we pass sentence?” 

The camera changed back to the prisoner. The lights brighten around him
and the heat rises perceptibly, adding fresh fuel to the trickle of 
sweat flowing down his flushed face, causing a bead of sweat to form at 
the end of his nose that he cannot swat away because his wrists are 
restrained by metal bands at the armrests of his chair, outside the 
viewing range of the camera which has a tight zoom on his face. “I am 
guilty of no crime,” the prisoner spoke in a low voice full of palpable 
weariness and resignation. 

“You are guilty of the most heinous of crimes,” the Chief Judge
contradicted. That is not open to debate. This is your final chance to 
make what amends you may to those whom you have harmed through your 
selfish, deviant act. It will have no effect on the sentencing by this 
Court.” 

“But I have done nothing wrong,” the man emphatically repeated, the
perspiration rolling down his neck deepening the growing ring of sweat 
absorbed by his bright orange jumper, staining a dark collar of 
moisture around his neck. 

“Silence!” the Chief Judge hissed. “The record will show that the
prisoner is unrepentant. This Court finds that the prisoner willfully, 
maliciously and without justification removed his neural connector with 
the purpose and effect of disconnecting himself from the Net. We 
further find that the motivating factor for this egregious, willful and 
repugnant crime was the attempt to abandon the Common Consciousness and 
establish his individuality separate and apart from the Communal Mind. 
We further find that the subject is in full possession of his legal 
faculties and capable of understanding the criminal nature of his acts, 
and, perhaps most tragically, that he fails to see the enormity of his 
crime.” The Chief Justice faltered slightly, delivering the final words 
of the Courts sentence with a slight tremor in his voice. After 
stopping a moment to compose himself as his learned colleagues looked 
on impassively, he continued. “It is, therefore, the judgment of this 
Court that you will forever remain disconnected from the nets from this 
day forward.” 

Upon hearing the Judge's words the prisoner's eyes opened wider,
attempting to digest their import. Could it be? Could he finally be 
allowed the freedom to regain his humanity? The unalienable right to be 
an individual for the first time in his life? The opportunity to live 
in a world in which he could have original thoughts, genuine emotions, 
and the chance to be different from everyone else? The judge's words 
nearly made him faint with relief and unbridled joy, allowing him for 


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