The Many

by Callista Dalmore

“All rise.  The SCC court, Osmon chapter, is now in session.  Honourable Judge Mitthran Osbowe, presiding.” said the heavily armed bailiff.

The courtroom was full, to capacity.  Someone coughed.  Camera drones re-positioned themselves silently.  All waited.

“You may be seated.” said the judge.

Hushed swishing filled the room as the assembly took their seats.  Holograms of those wealthy and influential enough to afford them including most of CONCORD’s Inner Circle Members, did so as well.    

“I have asked that today’s proceedings be hypercast live as it seems as though most of New Eden will have an interest in what transpires here today,” he continued. A murmur and a collective nodding of heads spread through the crowd.

The courtroom was not CONCORD standard, hadn’t been since the early days of the trial.  Today the court had been moved to Auditorium 9 so as to accommodate the crowd as well as the defendant. Defendants.
“Case number YC116-0xFFA500, ‘The Citizends of New Eden vs. Gene Eric SB0001, Gene Eric SB0002, Gene Eric SB0003…”

“You may skip ahead, good man,” interrupted the judge.

“Ahem, yes, thank you your honor.  Gene Eric SB0001 through Gene Eric SB0035, sequentially, and Mr. Daryll I. Multi30X, the 3rd, Esquire.”

The crowd turned to look at the row upon row of identically dressed and identically groomed people sitting behind the defendant’s desk.  At that desk sat two additional figures,  one dressed and groomed as the others, the other, not.

“It is my understanding that the jury has reached a decision?” said the judge turning now to the almost completely holographic jury.  A single member was physically present, albeit inside a polyphasic personal bubble shield.  She now stood, slowly and deliberately as if ready to duck at the merest disturbance.  Casting furtive glances at the assembled crowd but clearly avoiding the cool and steady gaze of the 36 pairs of eyes staring holes through her, she stammered, “Y-y-yeh, yes we h-have, your honor.”

Anxious anticipation filled the room.  The trial had been a long and exhausting affair.  Three judges had been replaced.  One, facing bribery charges, another disappeared (investigation ongoing) and the third had excused themselves for ‘conflict of interest’ (investigation also ongoing).  There had been an equally alarming turn over in jurors as each one leaving or excused had done so a midst a flurry of rumors regarding how they too had been compromised in one way or another.

The Scope had been having their best season, ever.

The prosecution had laid out their case admirably nonetheless.  After a series of “no-show” witnesses and experts, a few finally managed to make the stand and give their testimony.  Memorable characters such as the Gallentean clone expert (“It seems that the Gene Encapsulated Remote Quantum Entanglement System, when used with susceptible genomes, quantum coupling is enabled within the cerebral cortex at a massive level”) and the Minmatar civil rights professor, (“They are not merely slaves, they are completely and utterly controlled by THAT MAN!”) and the Thukker Tribe hauler captain (“yes, for the thousandth time, they launched their bombs at EXACTLY the same time”).

The defense team, on the other hand, seemed to be playing the game much more “off the field than on” as one reporter (still missing) had coined the term early in the proceedings.  It was clear, even early on, that isk was no object.  Air time was bought not by the minute or hour but by purchasing the news companies outright.  A full length feature holo had been made “Locutus against the Volorites” where the “brave and selfless Locutus team” linked up using a GERQES system to form a super entity to destroy “the enemy”.  There was also the “documentary” of how a local mining company, facing hard times due to unfair competitive advantages of the well connected mega corporations, had been able revitalized by using the GERQES system for ice mining.  And of course, there were the bribes, the disappearances, the beatings.

“And, what is your decision?” asked the judge.

“On the charges of ‘Unlawfully binding sentient being’s will to one’s own’ we find the defendant…guilty as charged.  We recommend that the GERQES system as all others producing similar results be forever banned.” stated the juror.

The color drained out of Daryll’s face and then fuming rage smoldered in his eyes.  Thirty five other pairs of eyes smoldered equally behind him.  Suddenly, as one, he and all the Gene Erics, jumped out of their seats exactly at the same time.  All turned, exactly at the same time. And rushed the jury box, screaming in unison, tears running down their cheeks, “you’ll pay for this you bitch, you and your whole family! You and all of fucking CONCORD!  I’ll fucking kill you all, just you wait! I pay my licenses, I pay my taxes, I make you money, I..”

He, they, only had time to take two steps when the security guard pushed a button and the 36  ceiling mounted stun turrets opened fire.

All exactly at the same time.


Pod and Planet Fiction Contest YC116 Entry 
Category: Other Things Just Make You Swear and Curse

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