All the data had been fed into the central terminal behind the judge’s tribunal: millions of text documents, thousands of audio files, hundreds of still images and dozens of video files. All this data was processed by the Central Justice Terminal and reviewed by the three panel members of the tribunal. The senior tribunal stood up and said: “After careful consideration in the case of the Central Justice System vs. Albert Rodriguez,” the tribunal officer said gravely, “you are pronounced privileged,” he added. “Albert Rodriguez, do you wish to make a a statement?” the junior tribunal asked. The defendant had been staring at the floor during the final part of the proceedings. He looked up when he heard this question and replied, “No.” “For the anti-social behavior of terminating the life of another villager you are awarded the privilege of being recycled,” the junior tribunal said.
Justice was lightning swift and bat blind in the Global Village of 2213. The process leading up to the first stages of recyclement took three business days and there was absolutely no chance for appeal. The Village Masters had decided long ago that imprisonment was an antiquated concept that was a drain on the economic structure of the social network. Albert Rodriguez was scheduled to be used for medical experiments—this was the award he’d be receiving—a chance to give something back to the Global Village. The day of the recycling came sooner than Albert expected and one morning he found himself in a lower floor of the hospital being led down a long hallway. He was brought into a room and strapped down to a metal table that had a drain under his head. Without warning, a lab technician dressed in a full protective suit, stepped forward. The technician drew an automatic pistol from a holster attached to the suit; shoved the barrel up Albert’s left nostril and squeezed the trigger. The sound of the pistol being fired reverberated off the walls of the laboratory, a door opened and a woman dressed in scrubs and a white lab coat walked over and looked at the corpse of Albert Rodriguez. “Shit,” she said, “it looks like the impedance chip isn’t functional yet,” she added just as the door opened and the three members of the tribunal entered the room. “How much longer before the initial firing mechanism is interrupted successfully?” The senior tribunal member asked. “I notified the engineering department immediately and they are on the board.” “We can’t proceed to the full control stage until we control the initial firing stage.” “I’m well aware of that.”