A Few Things Ill Considered

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor

Chapter 98 Table of Contents Chapter 100

Chapter 99

The Third Day, March 22, 2061

I had two classes Tuesday morning and was not able to watch the trial as it happened. I got back to my office in the early afternoon and, again in the privacy of my office, settled in to watch. The trial was not being broadcast. I checked a news portal and learned the trial was over. I went searching for an archive.

Jon was not in the court. They used a video link up. An old fashioned flat screen monitor showing Jon sat on the desk beside the young lawyer. There was sound only when they turned it on. The trial proceeded quickly.

Four witnesses were called — an executive from Carillon named Lee Jones, Jack Connor, an engineer named Bockvar Hamdi and an unnamed ConSec representative.

The executive from Carillon described the communications setup — two transmitters, one on each side of the world, Zurich and Canberra, each with a backup station. Ottawa was Zurich’s backup.

Jack Connor described how he made the actual substitutions, inserting the data that Jon gave him and deleting the previous.

The engineer, Hamdi, explained what the modified data fields did. How the sunshields were moved and shaded; what the probable effect would be on earth.

Next they called the representative from ConSec. He was asked to describe Jon’s apartment. In the course of answering he said, “The suite itself was remarkably clear of microbugs. I can only assume that the defendant had access to a scanner, although we never found one.”

“How then did you come by the records we are about to see?” the prosecutor asked.

“The defendant’s brother came to visit him and he had a healthy crop of surveillants due to another investigation.”

“I see and was there any significant information revealed through the brother’s coverage?”

“Yes, sir.”

“May we see that.”

The microbug recordings had been converted to hologram. Suddenly Jon’s living room popped up, half-sized, in the open area betwen the judge and the lawyer’s desks. Half sized holograms of Jon and myself spoke.

“Why would the eco-cops be after you?” my hologram asked.

“What did she tell you?”

“Enough.”

“Freeze,” called the judge. “Why is the brother represented by the same image?”

“They are identical twins, your honour,” explained the agent.

“Oh.” He took a moment to digest that. “Proceed.”

Jon stood at the window, peering out anxiously. “They have two transmitters. On this side of the world, the primary is in Zurich and the backup in a small town just north of here. They communicate through the Ottawa office. About six months ago, they sent an update through the secondary transmitter cause the primary was down for repairs.”

“When I saw that update, I realized I had all I needed to send my own updates. Suzanne worked with me. And Connor at the transmitter, though he was doing it just to get into Suzie’s pants.”

“Okay, I think that is enough,” said the prosecutor.

The hologram shut off.

Jon’s face on the monitor was unchanging.

“Who is this Suzanne the defendant mentioned?”

“We’re not entirely sure, sir. She seems to have disappeared.”

“I see.”

The prosecutor turned to the defense lawyer and said, “Your witness.”

The young lawyer didn’t have any questions.

The agent left the courtroom and the prosecutor addressed the judge. “Your honour, I think we have established the defendant’s guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. The prosecution rests.”

The judge nodded and said, “Mr. Lippschitz, you may proceed with the defense.”

The young lawyer stood and said, “Your honour, we intend to show that this woman” — a hologram of Suzanne emerging from the bedroom wearing only bra and panties sprang from his padd — “manipulated and coerced the defendant into taking the actions he did.”

He went on for ten or fifteen minutes in this vein and then rested his case. I was surprised he didn’t call any witnesses. His cross examination of prosecution witnesses had been minimal.

The prosecution and defense summarized their cases.

In the course of his summation, the prosecutor said, “Your honour, the defense would have us believe that the accused is a victim of coercion and manipulation by the mysterious Suzanne. However, we have it from the defendant’s own mouth that in fact Suzanne helped him and manipulated Jack Connor. It is entirely possible that the beautiful Suzanne was the person being manipulated in this whole affair.”

The judge recessed for twenty minutes, came back and sentenced Jon to life in prison. It was over just like that.


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information, see
A Gentle Introduction.

If you want a copy, see
The Deal.

Last modified July 1, 2014