Author : Sad Sama

Paul Manning, Elderly Opportunist, flashes the crygel of information in front of Julian. Julian, in all his tweed glory, cracks a smile and lowers his expensive sunglasses. “Excellent. And this is all 123 reality sequences that you promised?”

Paul nods, sipping his drink as their boat drifts just off the coastline. Setting it down he clears his throat and speaks, “Yes. You get 123 reality sequences of the world’s most heinous criminals, provided you can pay.”

Julian leans back, reaching into his coat pocket and produces a currency card. He flips it over and it lands with a small splash in Paul’s drink. Paul would have frowned but the card contained enough credit for him to retire on. He hands the crygel over to Julian who scrutinizes the rose-colored matrix in his palm.

He looks over his glasses at Paul, “Just so we’re clear, I have ten and a quarter years worth of dreams here, yes?”

“Not dreams.” replies Paul picking the card out of his drink. “Reality Sequences. Since federal legislation was passed to outlaw Capital Punishment, a new method of containment was needed for felons facing life. We’ve run out of adequately maintained containment facilities that met both humane laws and security requirements. We couldn’t put them in stasis, because they consider that inhumane. Can’t pack them into prisons because even maximum-security prisons still have flaws where they might escape or leaks where these criminals can send out information to orchestrate crime syndicates. Even if a prison did meet the standards, these scumbags would be sucking in taxpayer’s money. It’s like stealing after they’ve been caught.”

Julian opens a small case and squirrels away the crygel while Paul sips his drink. “So instead you folks put them to sleep to live in their own reality eh?”

Paul nods, “We just hook their brain into a computer simulation of a duplicate reality where they can live out their lives however they want to. All the while they’re just living in a human-sized container stacked efficiently in a compound. We record the realities they live in, but any record older than a year gets erased to conserve the system’s memory.”

“So, provided I wait a year, I can use these handy dandy recordings to sell to all the morbid people that want to know what it’s like to live inside a serial killer’s or a rapist’s mind?”

Paul nods. “Yes. Once the prison officials erase their copy of the recordings, there won’t be a trail for them to follow back to me or to you.”

“Excellent.” Julian leans his head forward, just for a moment in thought. “So, Paul, you’re profiting off of the crimes and careers of 123 of the world’s greatest criminals.”

Paul nods again, but hesitantly.

Cracking a smile Julian looks up, “In other words, they committed the crimes, but you’re the one that gets the profits?”

Paul’s expression hints at a little bit of horror.

Julian grins. “I love it. So what does that make you?”

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