Wednesday, February 16, 2011
INNER CITY - A Novel - Chapter One
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The seven year old looked out of place as he sat alone, orphaned in the cold, open space. His parents, Leona and Jonathan Carrus were behind the imposing doors fighting for their lives. The city’s authorities had charged them with being financially unfit to raise a child and they were struggling to convince the Judge they could reverse their business fortunes.
“I don’t understand why I’m looking at all this technical data,” the holographic image of the Judge said, his frustration towards the speed of the trial starting to show.
All city officials were holographs. Officials of every kind within the city worked in plush, secure buildings well away from those they had to pass judgment or enforce rules upon. Their holographs were the new government public relation conduits, projected out amongst the population and supported on the ground by minimum wage employees and automated systems that enacted their decisions.
The holograms were projected onto a clear, reactive, computer encoded silicon substance that linked and mirrored every move the corresponding official made. In this way the three dimensional form and image of all officials, including Leona and Jonathan’s Lawyer, oversaw their duties.
“We are demonstrating, Your Honour,” their lawyer argued, “the potential for a breakthrough. Every person in this city carries a crystal containing their personal scan, every person. That’s almost ninety million potential clients.”
The Judge was losing patience.
“We are dealing with a very simple question of wealth. The defendants are no longer earning enough or hold assets that meet the requirements of parenthood and their son is not yet nine years old, so he’s eligible for reassignment. Is there anything else I should be considering?”
The Judge’s duty was a grave one, but his decision was delivered for the good of the community. Within this city the average life expectancy was one hundred and forty years and the longer lives led to overcrowding. New lives were at a premium. Each child had to be carefully assigned to those best suited to provide and raise a new citizen of the city to the standards demanded. Millions of couples were working towards a child of their own and their businesses were flourishing, not going backwards.
While the Judge knew the pain his decision would cause in the short term, he remained convinced he was doing the right thing by all those who lived within this city’s walls.
“Callen Carrus is to be taken from his parents and reassigned immediately to a new eligible couple who meet the financial requirements to raise a child.” The hammer fell. The decision was final.
Leona wept uncontrollably. Tears streamed down her face. Jonathan sat beside her. For the first time in his life he did nothing to comfort his wife when she needed comfort. They had lost their son. When they were granted the right to have Callen their business was going from success to success and their luck held out through the citizen’s genetic program. They were both young and proved genetically appropriate to be given permission, through the invitro process, to donate egg and sperm as the biological parents of their own child. In this modern world it was akin to winning the lottery and both Leona and Jonathan felt truly blessed.
How had it all gone so horribly wrong so quickly? Here they were, less than a decade later, listening to a judge destroy their lives and take away their child. They had lost their family.
A guard came and stood behind Leona and Jonathan as the Judge looked to them.
“Your son is to be escorted from this building. You are to have no further contact with him and no record of his existence with you is to remain. If you try to contact the boy in any way, you will be charged and face a sentence of fifteen years incarcerated public service. Do you understand?”
Leona sobbed and nodded. Jonathan hardly moved.
“Yes”, he said without ever taking his eyes off the Judge. They had no choice but to accept that Callen was no longer their son.