1,000 Year Punishment
Jules listened to the guilty verdict, eyes fixed on the scratched old black metal cube that was the Sentencing Machine. His lawyer, seated next to him, was playing a video game on his visor. For 20 long minutes the Machine read all the charges and the procedure under which Jules had been tried.
“Due to the heinous nature of your crimes and your absolute lack of regret,” the Sentencing Machine said, “this court has no other option than to impose the highest punishment allowed by the Circuit of Capitalization. You have been sentenced to–” the machine paused to make some calculations, “1,000 years of forced labor in the mines of Bookham asteroid.”
Jules couldn’t believe his ears. 1,000 years! He looked at his lawyer, still distracted playing. “You have to do something,” Jules exclaimed. “I can’t be sentenced to 1,000 years, that is absurd.”
The lawyer shut the visor off abruptly and turned to Jules with with an obvious look of annoyance. “You can file for a extension to file for a petition of consideration for re-evaluation. Your chances of getting the extension accepted are one in 5,098. The chances of a petition being approved are one in 1,988,945.” The lawyer responded. “Would you like me to proceed with the application in your name? If so that’ll be $560,000. This is not a service provided by the Robot State.”
“There has to be something we can do. I can’t pay $560,000, and I can’t be sentenced to 1,000 years of forced labor!”
“Mr. Zvsky, even as your lawyer I am repulsed by you. What you call recycling is nothing but cold blooded murder. You have been found guilty of the destruction of your pocket watch. You acted with premeditation and haven’t shown signs of remorse. You sir,” the robot said getting up and pointing a metallic finger at Jules, “are one of the most despicable humans I have ever met. I am glad your kind is near extinction. Have a good day, sir!”