Dreamer (Part 1)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
When perfect virtual reality is created, what laws must be put in place to govern it?

Submitted: June 02, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 02, 2016







Officer Jonathan Stride sat at the back of the courtroom, listening to the proceedings with minimal interest. The irony of his situation briefly occurred to him. Outside the courthouse were reporters from every news station and a very large sea of people, all trying their best to be the first to hear any new developments from the very trial he was watching. And here he was, wishing he hadn’t been selected as a witness.

“Edward Yaltz, the state of New York charges you with possession of child pornography and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. How do you plead?” the judge asked.

Edward replied, with a hint of defiance, “Not guilty,” and sat down.

The judge continued, “Members of the jury please give your attention to the opening statement from the State.”

The Prosecution stood and began, “Members of the jury, I am Finnigan Terrance, and I am here today to remove a vile and disgusting pedophile from our great society. Four days ago, Mr. Yaltz was discovered to be using the recently invented Dreamer virtual reality device to simulate the vile and abhorrent act of sexual contact with a child 14 years of age. Child pornography has long been outlawed in this country because we value protecting our children. I ask you all, in the name of every mother and father in the world, punish such a disgusting act as befits it.” The jury stirred, some of them uncomfortably, others, with a subdued anger. The judge waited briefly for the jury to settle and called for the defense’s opening statement.

“Members of the jury, I am Jacob Durham, and my purpose for being here today is to prevent this young man from being wrongfully imprisoned. I ask that you set all previous thoughts about this case aside for a moment," he paused briefly, "To begin, as per the Supreme Court decision on the 2002 trial Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition, pornography which is completely fictitious in nature cannot be prosecuted as ‘child pornography’ as no actual child is harmed. This includes computer generated images. The program which Mr. Yaltz used in the Dreamer simulation is completely fictitious, and therefore is not prosecutable as ‘child pornography’. We do not convict people for any acts they commit in their dreams and thoughts for the same reason we should not convict for any acts committed in virtual reality. Many times before people have attempted to censor works which presented ideas that they deemed unsuitable. The Board of Education v. Pico Supreme Court decision made is very clear that censoring disagreeable ideas violates our 1st amendment right. It is your duty as members of a United States court trial jury to convict only when the law would convict, regardless of your own moral beliefs. Thank you.”

The jury stirred again, this time with significantly different reactions than the first time. Jonathan himself was impressed by the lawyer. He had taken the side of the Devil, at least in the general public’s opinion, and taken it with conviction. Jonathan personally did not care enough to have a pre-formulated bias, in fact, he particularly disliked being selected as a witness when all he did was arrest the defendant.

Jonathan left the courtroom and found an empty room to sit in while he waited for everyone else to leave and hopefully draw off the news reporters so he could go home in peace. He closed his eyes and leaned back, grateful that he had the rest of the day off, on account of being called into a trial. After perhaps thirty minutes Jonathan heard footsteps coming down the hall towards him with significant speed. The door behind Jonathan opened and he heard someone walk to the other side of the table and sit down in a chair. He knew who it was, but he pretended to be asleep all the same.

“You snore when you are actually asleep,” William Rand reminded him.

Jonathan sat up and looked at William, “Fair enough. I presume there is something you want to say to me.”

“Yes. More officers had to be called in to control the riot outside; Senator Trent has pushed for anti-Dreamer legislation; and I’m being called into Seattle to help prosecute a guy who was arrested for simulating mass murder with a Dreamer,” William said as he pulled out a box of cigarettes, removing one and twirling it in his hand.

“If Terrance was unable to get a guilty verdict on a child pornography case on the basis that no real people were harmed, what makes you think anyone would be successful with a murder trial?” said Jonathan.

“Fortunately, my name won’t officially be connected to the trial,” William stood up and pushed in his chair, “I’m flying out tomorrow morning. Barbeque with the lads when I return?”

Jonathan leaned back and closed his eyes again, “Sure.”

President Trent was on the television screen again, giving his usual speech about the evils of virtual reality. The frequency of his speeches had gone up recently; Jonathan figured it was to ensure another anti-VR president was elected to succeed him in the upcoming election.

Jonathan was leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed. Being a “dreamer”, as was the colloquial term, had always been a slow job. However, the desk phone began ringing, so Jonathan sat up and answered, “New York municipal court, virtual reality division.”

A woman answered, “Hello? I think my neighbor is using a Dreamer. I was driving home from delivering some personal belongings to the family of one of my nursing home clients and saw him enter a shady lookin’ establishment in the Bronx, but he lives and works in Queens. That was three days ago, and today again I saw him go into that same building.”

Jonathan grabbed his pen and paper, “What is your neighbor’s name and the address of the establishment?” The woman answered and Jonathan took note. “Did you see him entering at the same time both times?”

“Yes, at 6:15pm,” she replied.

Jonathan thanked her and hung up. He then called the “dream catcher” division of the New York Police Department and gave them the details. “Now to wait,” he thought as he leaned back and closed his eyes.

Jonathan opened the door and stepped into the interrogation room. A large Russian man was sitting in the suspect chair and already glaring at him. Jonathan immediately noticed the large snake which was tattoo on his entire arm. Jonathan calmly sat down, opened his laptop, and plugged in the hard drive from the Dreamer device which had been illegally used by the man sitting in front of him. “Good afternoon, Mr. Vladimir. I assume you know why you are here.”


“You have quite the history. Eight suspected murders as a hitman for the Russian mafia, five suspected robberies, and you were finally arrested when you gunned down an Irish mob boss on the street in plain view of the public. However, that was 15 years ago and you haven’t had a recorded incident with the law since,” Jonathan paused, “Unsanctioned use of a Dreamer device has been illegal for the past 7 years. The punishment is a minimum fine of $5,000 and prison time up to 5 years, depending on what you were using it for. So let’s see what that was, shall we?” Jonathan turned to the computer screen.

“I will tell you exactly what I was using it for.” A young girl, no older than 5, appeared on the screen. She wore a white summer dress with a pattern of yellow flowers on the bottom and was running through a field of flowers. She paused briefly to pick a small pink flower and ran towards the screen. A large hand reached forward from the screen and carefully accepted the delicate flower. A large snake was tattooed on the arm the hand was connected to. “I was reliving the last memory of my daughter before that Irishman murdered her.”



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