Author: Bryan Pastor
The summons had arrived three weeks ago.
“Jury duty, ugh.” Andy moaned.
The summons was simple upper case bold text.
“YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO SERVE AS A JUROR. IT IS YOUR DUTY AS A CITIZEN TO COMPLY, ALL WHO ARE CHOSEN MUST ARRIVE AT THEIR APPOINTED DATE AND TIME, REGARDLESS OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC POSITION.”
Below that in bigger bolder letters was a date and time. May seventh, eight am.
Andy arrived at his date and time to stand in one of several queues inching their way slowly through security. He tried to make polite conversation with the cute little neon in front of him, but she wasn’t having it, he chalked that up to the stack of court docs she carried.
“Papers?” the guard asked. Andy handed them over. The guard glanced at them quickly and handed them back, to a distracted Andy who was watching the girl board an elevator.
“Floor six, scan the back of the form.”
Andy hurried to the elevators; she was gone. Up to floor six, a sterile lobby of glossy grey concrete. A dozen steps from the elevator there was a pulsing red light. He walked over and held up the summons. He thought he saw something embossed on the blank side of the sheet. A door he hadn’t noticed opened on his right. An arrow pulsed on the floor pointing him to the portal.
He followed the hallway for a minute when he came to another door, which opened as he neared it. Sitting at a small desk next to a chair was the neon from downstairs. She smacked her gum and rolled her eyes as Andy entered.
“Sit.” She ordered.
Andy sat in the chair, a standard rig like back in college. The girl took a few minutes to plug him into the deck.
“I am Magistrate Elle Hammons. You have been selected to act as a juror in the trial of Frankie Flameshot (a presumed alias). She began to read the counts, some pretty heavy stuff, it went on for two minutes.
“You are representing the state and are given every tool you need. Mr. Flameshot has one pistol with one shot. We assure you he can’t hurt you with it. The lawyers will begin closing arguments before me starting now. Subdue or kill the defendant.”
Andy bopped into the Ether. He was in a large open space, reminiscent of a gladiator’s arena. There was a pulse and Andy got the gist of what he needed to do, another pulse and he understood the system he was jacked into, inventory management, the like. He finally noticed that he was not alone when he felt the hard tap of a bullet smack against his exoskeleton.
Frankie must have been a repeat customer because he used the time Andy was lollygagging to cross the distance between them. Andy pulled up a submachine gun intending to do this quickly but managed to fumble it. Frankie took the opportunity to ninja-kick Andy, sending him sprawling. The dropped submachine gun was in Frankie’s hand. Any scrambled up, raising a shield. There were several taps and the shield crumbled, them several, harder this time, as his exoskeleton weakened. A few more and Andy was done.
“Objections your honor.” A voice spoke. The assault paused, and Frankie was frozen. It took a moment for Andy to realize he could flip through his inventory. He equipped a new shield and an automatic shotgun. The look on Frankie Flameshot’s face evaporated into panic.
“Overruled.” the magistrate declared after consideration.
A moment later justice was served.