|Justice (standard:Flash, 993 words)|
|Author: Victor D. Lopez||Added: Jun 15 2013||Views/Reads: 1265/804||Story 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 Click here to read the rest of this story (36 more lines)
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