Maxwell stepped out of the elevator and was abruptly met by two sleekly armoured Defence – Operational - Security (DOS) Agents. An intimidating sight indeed, their faces hidden behind what they called the ‘Blue-Screen-of-Death’, the mirrored blue-tinted visors, set in slim line black helmets. Both DOS Agents stood a full foot taller than Maxwell, and each had twice his volume. They wore body black armour, contoured to their body, made from high shine ceramic plates, emphasizing the Agents ample musculature. Each Agent armed with Pacifier Baton and a side arm. Maxwell nearly collided with them, face-level, into biceps and polished pectoral’s. During Maxwell’s moment of open mouth embarrassment DOS Agent One ran a Facial-RecTest and mID scan.
‘Oh, excuse me, Gent’s,’ said Maxwell a little red in the face.
‘Zed two three five five two, you are hereby placed under arrest on suspicion of corporate espionage.’
‘No, I’m off to Level 2, Personnel and Security, actually; signing and updating my mID chip. I’m being promoted.’
It was part of the company’s Career Advancement Program (CAP) that his contract would be renegotiated after ten years. Upon renewing his contract he would enter Grade 2 Employment and receive full rights to his accumulated shares. He had been fastidiously investing at the 8 percent grade-1 employee rate. He had his nice apartment, small, but homely, in a very single man type of way. He had some friends at work; his online friends; his computers, but he had made sacrifices to maintain his payments. His life had been dull and lonely at times, but there would be a pay-off, and at this time, that’s where he was off to, with a song in his heart, to claim that pay-off. Today was a good day, the first day of the rest of his life. So this was just wrong.
‘We will escort you to the holding cells and formally process you into corporate custody. Your rights are listed in the Employee Handbook. If you do not have access to the handbook a copy can be supplied for a nominal fee.’
Maxwell’s face was locked in a comic, painful, manic grin, ‘no, I’m sorry, but that’s a mistake.’ He shook his head, ‘no, no, no… I’m just off to personnel - if you don’t mind.’ and considering the situation he did something a little silly: he stepped back into the elevator and mashed several floor buttons. Before the doors closed, and in one swift, ballet like movement, DOS Agent Two put Maxwell face down on the floor of the elevator. Maxwell’s arm now bent out at an unto-here impossible angle, leaving him stunned and completely incapacitated as the doors closed in on his face.
He sat in the stainless steel chair in the centre of the cell, the walls closing in on him. His hands were cuffed in front to the steel table, so tight they had turned blue and purple. His cheap clothes stuck to him like wet plastic bin bags. It had been at least two hours, he guessed. To keep from panic he tried deep breathing, then meditation, but the fumes in the cell made his stomach turn. It was the throat closing smell of the sterilizer used, he felt it in his eyes and tasted it on the back of his tongue. Furthermore, the room was so hideously featureless it left his mind trapped in all this discomfort. It was green, hospital green, sick people green, made of plastic, and perfectly clean. The room actively conspired against him, made him sweat, made him breathe irregularly, made his muscles ache, made him look guilty. The only feature was a fluorescent light, caged on the ceiling. It hummed, and it popped as the static discharged, and then it flickered.
‘Maxwell Clark?’ said an impatient female voice.
‘Huh?’ choked Maxwell, his mouth dry.
‘m.I.D. Zed two three five five two, m.A.I.T., correct?’
‘Wait! I need to talk to someone… this is some mistake… I don’t know what you think I’ve done but you have to believe I didn’t do it.’
She continued, unmoved, bored even. ‘Respond, is this correct?’
‘YES, that’s me, but I…’
‘You have been charged with multiple counts of corporate espionage.’
He was dehydrated. He was desperate for water, he couldn’t think.
‘I am obliged to remind you that you are being assessed on a points scale, points will be awarded and deducted after assessment of each response over the next few hours. Being uncooperative will earn you demerit points. If your score at the end of the interview is below the Threshold of Innocence you will be found guilty. Each category of offence has its own scale. Is all of that clear?
‘NO! Threshold of innocence? Categories? I’ve never… found guilty? What about representation, I get a lawyer. I haven’t had time to think about any of this. Don’t I get time? ‘
‘That is incorrect.’
‘No, it’s my right, I remember seeing it on DV, you know, all that “you have the right to remain quiet, to an attorney and if you can’t get one, we give you one”… I remember it.’
‘You are not being tried in a civilian criminal court, Zed two three five five two. This is the Private Sector Code of Justice. It is your responsibility to know and understand your rights while under contract, as is stated in the Employee Handbook you received upon employment, in twenty two-fifteen.’
Pressure was building behind Maxwell’s eyes.
‘You are charged with two counts of corporate espionage, four hundred and twenty two counts of copyright infringement and one count of grand larceny.’
He was about to faint.
‘The charges are as follows: Category one: Count one: the copy and removal of restricted data from secure premises, each count carrying a maximum term of ten years. To view the evidence against you say “list”.’
‘TEN YEARS? I can’t go to prison, I have… I have a doctor’s appointment,’ after a long pause, holding his breathe, he caved in and cried ‘list’.
‘What’s this here, on the 20th March 210? Exchanging Secure Data/Restricted Technical Specification with Competitor Institutions… THAT WAS A CONFERENCE! I was sent to it BY MetaSoft.’
You were recorded by hotel security relaying restricted information as described in MetaSoft Security of Advancement Act 2130. To review the footage, say “review”.’
‘I know what I said,’
‘Count Two: the copy and removal of restricted data from secure premises, each count carrying a maximum term of ten years.’
‘Category Two: Counts two to four hundred and twenty two: Copyright violations totalling the sum of fifty eight thousand credits, each count carrying a maximum term of two years. For a complete list of violations, say “list”.’
Saying ‘list’, a holo-screen appeared for Maxwell, he scrolled down the highly detailed account of his accused transgressions, noting the huge amount of pornography. He wanted to die.
‘Category Three: Count one: the theft of company property totalling twenty thousand credits. For a detailed inventory, say list.’
‘I didn’t steal them… everyone does it. I mean it’s not stealing.’
‘Having heard the charges against you, how do you plead?’
‘Very well,’ she said, and by her tone he could see her eyes roll. ‘We will now examine the evidence against you regarding category one count one…’
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