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Paint a picture of a small crowd of 30 people. Each holds a camera and notepad, their press badges glistening in the fluorescent light of the spotless white room. A two way mirror separates them from the light blue examination room holding a disheveled man with a clean shaven face. His dark brown eyes were red with lack of sleep, and his slouch in the chair he was shackled to show the emotions of a man defeated. His teeth were stained yellow for years of life in the slums as a boy, and his odd smirk seemed to put the two guards standing on either side of him on edge. Bald by his own choice, his arms reveal deep scars from his past sins, and his orange jumpsuit gave him the appearance of any other prisoner in this prison. But this was no ordinary prisoner, it was prisoner number 837.
837 was convicted July 9th, 2035, on one account of first degree murder. This wasn’t an uncommon crime, 837, like many other convicts, had gone into the drug dealing business and, to get even with a former partner, snick into his house and cut the man’s throat. 837 was a common criminal. His punishment however, wasn’t. 837 was sentenced to death, and with a law enacted in 2012, since there had been a witness- the partner’s wife had seen the crime while hiding in the bathroom- 837 spent the maximum 3 week waiting period on death row. It was now July 30th, and at exactly 12 noon, the entire world would witness the dawn of a new age of man.
At 11:45, a short, portly man wearing a blue lab coat that clashed with his burgundy tie, stepped into 837’s examination room, followed by two aides carrying what seemed to be a large guitar case. One of the aides also carried a laptop satchel, which he paced on a table in the far right of the room. The short man pushed his wire framed glasses higher up the bridge of his nose, cleared his throat, and turned on the microphone pinned to his lapel.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began, his voice filled with self- confidence and bravado, “Today the world has come to see what will truly be the ultimate test of justice, for the first time in 5 years, the death penalty will be served to purge the world of the filth and scum of this world at bay. Prisoner 837 will serve as an example to all criminals in the New World that we will not tolerate their kind!”
“Doctor Adlorian,” a pimpled journalist from CNN timidly asked, “With the still going on about the constitutionalism of the death penalty, isn’t it unwise to call this disgraceful act “justice?” As a doctor, you took a sacred oath to protect life. Isn’t this a hypocritical act? Do you spit in the face of God with this statement of a “New World?”
“Ms. Sanderson, these are all excellent question, but I am sure that if you had waited until the question and answer period, all of these would have been answered before hand.” A low pitched chuckle rose from the group of seasoned reporters. This wasn’t the first time Rebecca Sanderson had spoken out of term, and it wouldn’t be the last. An annoyed smirk grew across her face, and the good doctor continued on.
“Imagine,” he said, “If we could end the debate of the right to end a life using something so universally implemented in today’s age that even NASA had utilized it to solve problems in their programs. Imagine having producing a product that would make human interaction with the sentenced prisoner as obsolete as the accused. This is a reality that we can attain, today, right now, in front of our own eyes. Today is the day we remove human nature from the death penalty. Since the dawn of civilization, the only thing holding us back from capital punishment as a way of controlling the masses of unclean scum was morals. For some unfathomable reason, we somehow evolved with a sense of morality and compassion. Now is the time where “morals” becomes unnecessary. Now is the time of Hal.
A, murmur went through the crowd of intrepid reporters, until one Rebecca Sanderson chose to talk out of turn again.
“What in the God is a Hal?”
At that very moment the words left the Rebecca’s mouth, the two aides simultaneously undid the four latches on the oddly shaped case. What the pulled out it however, was even odder. Dr. Adlorian walked over to the laptop Satchel and instead of a laptop, pulled out a large lithium battery, the newest design by the Slavic Research lab that had given him Hal. It stood approximately 3 feet tall, plated in a bright orange hue that almost matched the color of 837’s jumpsuit. It was slender with a long telescopic arm attached to the top of the base. Its small treads gave it the appearance of a Mars rover, and the optic lens at the end of its arm enhanced the illusion even more so. But there was one thing on its arm that was indeed very foreign to any robot the crowd at ever seen. For at the end of the arm…
Was a needle.
“This, my dear, is a Hal. The angel of death of the 21st century. Completely self-maintained, incorruptible, and eternal. This is the new dual core lithium processor station. Its charge will never deplete as long as it can process feedback from Hal’s circuitry. Say hello to the future. Say hello to the solution. A robot has no morals standing in its way, only knowledge, a jury can convict a man if it has enough evidence against him, and Hal can kill a man if he thinks he agrees. Hal is the first in many improvements to society, and for this, I thank him. Imagine, all of our problems solved. Doctors no longer have to be imprisoned for euthanasia, guiltless death can be attained. This is progress. This is the savior of society. This. Is. Science.
The doctor plugged the battery into the back of Hal’s base, and suddenly the optic lens sprang to life with a bright flash of light. As it moved towards 837, the outrage and shock was apparent on his face, and he stared at the mirror, begging the reporters for help. But behind the mirror, everyone was speechless, frozen in place like statues. “May God have mercy on your soul 837.” Adlorian said, a smug smile on his face.
“And may He have none on yours.” The doomed man replied as the cold metal of the needle entered his arm.
“Where were you when humanity died?” Asked Rebecca Sanderson into the CNN news camera. “I was watching the news.”