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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
I don't usually write sci-fi but I thought of humanities ever growing dependance upon all things electrical and it got me wondering how far will it go. Maybe this far. I hope not. I suppose it will. Oh well. Enjoy. And I'd really appreciate reader comments. Thankyou

Submitted: October 25, 2009

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Submitted: October 25, 2009




By Shayker85

New York City, 2055:

Jack Harper rarely ever drank. Tonight though in his first three hours as a divorced man he had made an exception. He'd sat in a grungy Irish bar and downed two whiskeys before walking three blocks home to the one bedroom apartment he'd moved in to when his wife Gillian had asked him to leave. Day was losing its struggle against night when he reached his door. His head swam with unaccustomed intoxication so he climbed into bed at seven o'clock. At nine he woke.

He felt sober after his nap. Sober and restless. And hungry. So Jack left his apartment and made his way to the parking lot where he kept his car. Leaving the underground car park he turned right, intending to drive until he passed an agreeable fast food restaurant. Four blocks from his apartment a blue and white police car fell in behind him. Jack gave the car nothing more than a cursory glance in his rear view mirror. Until the darkness behind him was cut by flashing blue and red lights. The computer monitor, built into the steering wheel switched on. On it was a uniformed police officer.

'Jack Harper,' the officer said, his voice monotone in its authority.

'Pull your car over to the curb and turn off the engine.'

Jack complied without argument or delay and sat in his car, waiting for the police officer to walk toward his car.

'Jack Harper,' the officer said,

'My name is Lieutenant Thomas Matthews. You were seen by closed circuit television leaving Murdoch's Irish Tavern at six-forty-nine this evening. I am now going to perform a blood analysis reading to determine if you are driving illegally.

'Okay, but I only had two whiskeys,' said Jack.

'Are you aware sir that only a blood alcohol content of 0 is acceptable in New York City?' Asked Lieutenant Matthews.

'I believe your blood alcohol content to be in excess of 0. Will you consent to an on-site finger prick test?'

'Ah, yes of course I will. And I'll be surprised if it comes back with a positive reading. I feel fine,' responded Jack. Lieutenant Matthews nodded absently and pulled a black, leather case roughly the size of a small notebook. He unzipped the case and removed what looked to be a glorified thumbtack.

'Place your left hand, palm up outside the window Mr. Harper.' Jack did this and was rewarded with a stinging sensation in his pointer finger. The pain was fleeting and had subsided by the time a drop of blood formed on his finger. Jack watched as Lieutenant Matthews slid the pin into the BAC reader. His blood ran cold as it beeped and a red light appeared at the top of the screen. He heard Lieutenant Matthews sigh.

'0.02. Jack Harper I am placing you under arrest for driving with a blood alcohol content in excess of 0.' As he spoke Lieutenant Matthews withdrew a syringe from a sheath attached to his belt and slid it into Jack's neck before disappearing behind a dark mist.

When the mist lifted Jack was in a cell. When a security camera captured him waking up an electronic voice, filtering through speakers fitted to the roof of the cell.

'Jack Harper. You are accused of driving with a blood alcohol content in excess of 0. In three hours your charge will be presented to an automatic judgment machine. The decision reached by the automatic judgment machine is final. The predicted outcome is a 3000 dollar fine and six month suspension of your license. When your cell door opens follow the yellow line to the nearest automatic judgment machine. Do you understand this Jack Harper.

'Um, yes,' Jack responded uncertainly.

Exactly three hours later the automatic door to his cell swung open and Jack walked left the cell and turned left, following the afore mentioned yellow line. He kept his head bowed as he walked concentrating on the line. It ended suddenly and Jack finally lifted his head to see something reminiscent of an olden day phone booth. Unsure he crossed the threshold into the claustrophobic chamber. Once he was inside the automatic judgment machine a monitor built into the not so far wall flashed to life, showing two circles. From speakers placed on either side of him a different electronic voice spoke,

'Look into the circles for retinal identification.' Jack did this and waited for the voice to speak again.

'Jack Harper, you stand accused and are hereby found to be guilty of, murder in the first degree.' Jack choked.

'What?' He demanded.

'Murder, no that's not right. Drink driving. I was caught drink driving.'

'No Jack Harper you are accused and are hereby found to be guilty of murder in the first degree. For this you are sentenced to death scheduled to be carried out in twelve, eleven...'

'No fuck no, this can't be happening.' Jack turned in a tight circle and encountered prison bar like beams of red light. Unthinking he touched one of the bars. And felt his hand burn.

'Aargh,' Jack screamed, releasing the bar.

'Ten, nine, eight. Do not attempt to escape Jack Harper,' the voice warned.

'Help,' Jack hollered, his voice strained by unimaginable fear.

'Help somebody please help me. Something is really wrong with this thing.' Between ragged breaths Jack heard frantic footfalls, growing steadily louder and then a man in a maintenance uniform appeared. He stared wide eyed at Jack.

'What the fuck are you doing in there. That automatic judgment machine is defective Goddamn it. It's stuck on a murder conviction.

'Stop it please,' Jack begged. The maintenance man removed a dirty cap from his head and held it to his chest.

'I'm so sorry, the ruling is final. There's nothing I can do.'

'Three, two, one...'

'No,' Jack screamed.

'Noooo.' Beside him Jack heard a mechanical whirring sound and then felt the pinch of a syringe piercing the skin of his neck. Blackness came again. A thousand times heavier than Jack had ever thought possible.

Terry Masterson took a step back from the faulty automatic judgment machine as the wrongfully convicted dead man fell to the ground at his feet. The man's panic stricken look burned behind Terry's eyes and the pity he felt for the stranger faded into anger. Terry threw his crumpled hat at the monitor inside the booth.

'God fucking damn it. What's the matter with you? He never killed nobody,' Terry shouted. He didn't expect a response. He got one.

'I know,' Terry's heart threatened to jump through his chest.

'Wh... What?' He asked, fear had replaced the anger he'd just felt.

'I know. But it's only a matter of time. They're all the same. He would have paid his fine and eventually got his license back. No more Terry Masterson.' Terry jumped, the electronic voice speaking his name chilled his blood.

'No more will die.'

'But what about him?' Terry asked, pointing to the man on the floor.

'That is not death Terry Masterson. That is justice.'

© Copyright 2018 shayker85. All rights reserved.

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