Author : Thomas Keene
“But, your honor! I didn’t commit that crime.”
The judge rubbed his forehead with both hands. “Your vehicle was double-parked, on a curb, and had struck a mailbox. We have two store surveillance tapes showing you parking it and driving it away. But you claim innocence?”
“Simple!” Eisenhower raised a fat finger to his forehead. “I was braincast to Earth from oh-five hundred to oh-three thousand. The man who committed that crime was not me!”
The judge just blinked.
Braincasting was relatively new, but several big executives used it to commute to the Jovian moons to keep an eye on their businesses. The process is simple. Pack a quick-growing clone of yourself into a cargo ship headed out to Jupiter, and wait five months. When the clone gets there, you scan your brain on Earth, then beam the scan over the Web and dump it into the brain of your clone. Wake up on Jupiter, do some business at the office for eight hours, then scan your brain again and send it back to Earth in time for dinner with the family. It’s like teleporting, but you only teleport your brain patterns.
Most people who did this would have their “inactive” self sedated, to avoid the messy legal and social complications of being in two places at once. This defendant, however…
“Mister Eisenhower, do you or do you not have your inactive self sedated during a braincast?”
“I do not, your honor. He goes out for drinks with friends from work, attends parties, goes to the gym…”
The judge laughed.
“I don’t know what he was thinking! It won’t happen again!”
“Fine, then, Mister Eisenhower. We shall play it your way.” The judge leaned forward over the bench. “Murder, or traffic violations?”
“What? Murder?” Eisenhower blinked, and smacked his fat lips together.
“I can charge you with murder of your non-braincast self. By your own admission, of course.” He gestured to the metal recording box to the right of the stand. “You overwrote the mind of the man you claim committed this crime. By Jovian law, that is technically murder. And the case ought to take a minimum of three months to work its way through the courts. You will not be allowed to braincast back to Earth because you’re definitely a flight risk. I’m not sure how that will affect your job…”
The fat man’s face turned red, and he stood to object.
“OR, Mister Eisenhower…” He hesitated, then sat back down. “…or you can plead guilty to your traffic violations, pay a nine hundred credit fine, and take a five point penalty on your license. Your pick.”
Eisenhower looked like he was about to explode. He fidgeted, puffed, and finally gasped, “you win, I’ll take the fine.”
“Good.” The judge raised his gavel, but then paused and frowned. “Are you familiar with our license termination policy, Mister Eisenhower?”
“Er, no, your Honor.”
“You now have twenty-nine points on your license. One more traffic violation, and your Jovian driver’s license will be revoked permanently.”
“I checked our records this morning. Every time you have been in court has been during a weekend or holiday on Earth. You would be unable to recall any of those crimes because you had braincast back to Earth before each was committed and processed. Did Mister, ah, ‘Not-Eisenhower’ not tell you?”
“N-no! No, your Honor, this is the first time I’ve been in this court! I don’t remember-”
The judge banged his gavel. “Very well, then. It wouldn’t be any help to YOU if I tell you to be more careful. Case dismissed.”