For the Children

This was an entry in the Pod and Planet Fiction Contest, in the Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden category. All contest entries can be found here.

Choose the first steps on the journey to impose justice with your eyes on the long term, not the immediate impact. Pride and fury will only lead down a path of unintended consequences.

– Former Federation President Aidonis Elabon


PUBLIC LAW 100.12, “SOPHIE’S LAW”
ENROLLED SENATE BILL 625
The people of the Gallente Federation enact:

Sec. 1. (1) Criminal sexual deviants as defined by federal criminal code shall hereby be defined as “Critical Offenders”
(2) Critical Offenders may be given additional mandatory sentencing beyond standard guidelines.

***

Senate Bureau, Villore, Essence, Gallente Federation, YC 104

“Elise Degeau died because we – each of us, failed to act.”

Senator Dars Rienne paused for dramatic effect. He turned instinctively to the best angle for the cameras to catch the part of his immaculately-coiffed hair, strong jawline and the Gallente Federation pin on the lapel of his suit.

“In particular, your government failed to prevent this crime. For more than a century, we have had the means to prevent it, but have not done so. The man who committed this atrocity had been convicted before, but we believed him to be reformed. He held this poor child for three days. There was time for him to be found and caught, had we simply had the courage to have done what we know in our hearts is right.”

“I submit to you that we can no longer ignore our duty. We can no longer have victims like Elise Degeau. When someone is guilty of a first-degree sexual offense, we cannot trust that they will ever be “reformed”. We must constantly be able to verify their location, to best enable our law enforcement personnel to prevent another tragedy like this one.”

Rienne paused again, his eyes flashing angrily.

“That is why tomorrow morning, I will file a new bill. Elise’s Law will provide our police with the ability to track these critical offenders. To ensure that they cannot escape justice. To ensure that an atrocity like this will never occur again.”

Looking directly into the camera, in a quieter voice, Rienne said, “I call on President Foiritan to sign and execute this law as soon as possible. For the children of the Federation.”

***

PUBLIC LAW 104.46, “ELISE’S LAW”
ENROLLED SENATE BILL 4257
The people of the Gallente Federation enact:

Sec. 1. Violators defined as Critical Offenders under PL100.12 will be subject to tracking.
Sec. 2. Critical Offenders may have their right to trial suspended for up to five years.
Sec. 3. Selection and administration of tracking program, as well as oversight and ensurance of compliance will be managed by the Federal Intelligence Office.

***

Poteque Biotech Research Center, Reset, Metropolis, Minmatar Republic, YC 105

The three sat around a lab table, speaking in quiet voices.

“I’m not sure I’m comfortable with all of this, honestly,” said the woman with the dark hair, pulled back in a severely tight bun. Grevor Atolas was the most junior of the three, but also the most outspoken. “I mean, sex offenders are obviously a blight and need to be kept away from kids, but this implant they want us to make … it could be used for a lot of things we never intend or know they might use it to do.”

The woman across the table, Steine Bourynes, could have been Atolas’ older sister to judge by facial features. She spoke with more confidence than her co-worker. “The bottom line is that these creatures need to be dealt with. Honestly I’m not sure why they are ever let out, but if they are, I want to know they won’t get away with anything. We need to build it to ensure that children stay safe. We can’t worry about what happens beyond that or we could what-if this thing forever and never get done.”

The only man at the table, Prollenget Audodart, looked the part of the strange iconoclast typical to some of the Federation worlds. His dreadlocked hair was dyed a light brown, the roots showing dark. He wore a mustache that he had not bothered to dye to match the hair, giving him a look that anyone outside the Federation would think odd. He appeared neither scientist nor security staffer, but was in fact both. “In the end, it doesn’t matter much, really. We got a direct order from the President’s office. If we don’t do it, they’ll simply find someone else who will. I think we all know we’re the best group in the Federation to do it.”

He put a small box on the table and opened it. Inside was an implant, but not one of empire design – clearly this was some sort of modified pirate model. He opened the shell delicately, exposing the internal circuitry, and passed it around the table.

“What is this thing?” Bourynes asked. “It looks vaguely Amarrian, but that can’t be right.” She pointed at a small component. “This, for instance, is a Caldari chip.”

Audodart nodded. “It’s a Sansha implant. This one was removed from the skull of one of their agents, what they call a “True Citizen”. Not the mind-controlled zombies you hear about, but the whack jobs who have chosen to join them of their own accord. Based on everything we can determine, its primary function is tracking location and recording data on activities. Exactly what we want for the Critical Offender implant. It’s our job to reverse engineer it and come up with a way to duplicate the effect but avoid the danger of using actual Sansha technology.”

Atolas shuddered. “I don’t even like the thought of basing our work on theirs. It leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Like the FIO wants our own citizens to be slaves.”

Bourynes looked genuinely taken aback. “This is the Federation, not Amarr. Or some den of crazies. That can’t happen here.”

“Fine. Let’s … let’s just get on with it.”

***

FUNCTIONAL OVERVIEW, POTEQUE PPO-1 “COMPANION” IMPLANT

It is with pride that Poteque Pharmaceuticals makes the “Companion” available to the Federal Intelligence Office to better protect the children of our great Gallente Federation. These implants have been tested in every way we can conceive, and have passed all tests with flying colors.

The “Companion” will track the offender at enormous distances – in fact, many light years. It was tested for signal successfully between systems three full regions apart. In addition, it stores realtime data in a storage buffer that can record up to a full standard week of events. We believe that this will aid not only in the capture, but prosecution of these criminals.

Further, per the design specifications, we have built a remote anti-personnel capability into the “Companion” for law enforcement use in the case that timely apprehension does not or cannot occur.

TECHNICAL NOTES

Due to scheduling and confidentiality constraints, not all components are of Poteque design and manufacture. Key component design and manufacture data:

  • Reading and recording components, as well as the core board and circuitry are based on a modification of the Poteque “Consul” PPD-2 implant.
  • Tracking componentry is designed and manufactured by Zainou Biotech, from the Zainou “Gypsy” KPB-75.
  • Interfaces between the two systems, as well as direct interfaces to the brain, are of Poteque manufacture but are based on captured Sansha technology, reproduced within exacting tolerances. Testing showed that any deviance from these tolerances meant that the device would either not work, or would only work within a 10 Km area from the antenna. The integration circuitry is similar to that of the Slave Delta, but the brain connectivity and transmission components have only been seen on the “True Citizen” implant that served as the original model.
  • Target disablement function is also copied from the “True Citizen” implant.
  • Anti-tampering function is designed and built by Eifyr & Co. and incorporates some Brutor Tribe components.

***

Federal Intelligence Office Testing Facilities, Oursulaert, Essence, Gallente Federation, YC107

“We have him locked.”

“Data feed status?”

“Active. Looks like she’s there, and alive. Local forces are en route, ETA 4 minutes.”

“Aggression indicators are rising. He’s moving to her end of the house.”

“Enable emergency measures. Wait for my mark.”

“He’s with her now. How long?”

“Still 2 minutes out.”

“She’s screaming.”

“Mark.”

***

Valimor, Seyllin I, Essence, Gallente Federation, Minutes later

Officer Motus Vierre hurried through the entrance of the ramshackle home as his partners pulled back the iron ram from the shattered door.

Hysterical crying from the back room. “Police are in the house! This is an arrest!” He lifted his blaster pistol to the ready position as he spun into the back bedroom.

The girl was huddled in the corner, shaking.

The man, a slovenly creature coated in the dust from the mines, sat quietly on the bed, unmoving. His eyes stared vacantly at the wall, and a slow trail of drool ran from the corner of his mouth.

The offender gave no resistance as he was handcuffed and walked out of the home. He seemed unable to comprehend, much less answer, any of the questions that were asked of him. Only incoherent sounds came from his mouth, nothing resembling language.

When Vierre called back to HQ, the sergeant said this behavior was expected, and not to tamper with the tiny red LED light visible gleaming through the perp’s hairline.

***

Sharuveil II, Sinq Laison, Gallente Federation, YC109

“Careful, doc.”

The doctor nodded almost imperceptibly. “The implant is actually quite easy to get to. Are you experiencing any pain?”

“No.”

“What kind is it?”

“I don’t actually know. They put it in me one night against my will.”

“You did sign the waiver.”

A sigh. “Yes doc, I understand you can’t be sure of side effects of removal. But I want the damn thing out. I swear people are tracking me and it’s making me paranoid. I’m having horrible dreams that I think are due to that damn thing.”

“OK, I think I have it.”

There was a horrible cracking noise followed by a sound like a shotgun hitting a ripe cantaloupe as the back of the patient’s head exploded, blowing blood, brains and metal fragments across the back wall of the room.

The doctor yelled and leapt back from the sagging corpse in the chair as the door opened behind him. Two men in black uniforms stood in the doorway. The taller one said simply, “Come with us please, doctor.”

***

Sharuveil II, Sinq Laison, Gallente Federation, Several hours later

It’s always amazing to me how much longer Intaki last.”

“Yeah. I think we can pretty definitively say that he didn’t know what he was working with. Or the perp’s history.”

“It’s not like the Companion is that common.”

“No. Why did this guy have one, anyhow?”

“Not sure. He’s not in the sex offender registry, but he is in the Critical Offender registry. I don’t get it.”

“Some things it’s better not to know. Or ask.” He shrugged. “Maybe it’s not just about the children any more.”

“I’ll have someone leave the good doctor in a conspicuous place. Hopefully other docs will start to ask questions before they operate.”

“I’ll report back to Renyn.”

***

LADISTIER (The Scope), YC111 – On the heels of President Foiritan’s announcement that he intends to nationalize the arms industry, his office has further announced reclassifications of criminal penalties for those who are known dissidents and supporters of the enemy in order to ensure wartime security. The Office of the President released a brief statement saying that “Due to recent treasonous actions, operations have been unacceptably damaged, leading to the fall of Luminaire VII as well as compromises of key leaders. This order, supported by the legal precedents of the Hueromont War Powers Act, Order 81042 and the imminent threat of invasion, will ensure that the Federation is able to maximize military effectiveness and protect the Gallente people.”

***

EXECUTIVE ORDER 81043 [PUBLIC]
(YC111) CRITICAL OFFENDERS

Sec. 1. (1) Pursuant to the Hueromont War Powers Act, changes to current law shall be enacted by executive order.

Sec. 6. (2) During wartime, as provided by the Hueromont War Powers Act, right of Habeas Corpus may be revoked as deemed necessary by the Federation government.

Sec. 14. (6) Critical Offender definition under PL100.12 will be amended to include enemies of the Federation and those determined to be at risk of treasonous activity.

***

EXECUTIVE ORDER S255 [TOP SECRET]
(YC112) CRITICAL OFFENDERS

Pursuant to Executive Order 81043, the Federal Intelligence Office shall be empowered to use the definition of “at risk of treasonous activity” in preventive fashion as the Director shall deem necessary. Further, determination of start date of trial right limitation is to be counted from the date of indictment for acts.

Jacus Roden
President

***

Federal Intelligence Office Logistic Support, Renyn, Essence, Gallente Federation, YC 112

“We’ve got as many of the usual suspects covered as we’re going to get, sir.”

“What results so far?”

“We have lobotomized 45 for cause, plus caught and tried 13 co-conspirators in those cases. Another 103 have been confirmed dead in attempted removal process. As far as we are aware, none have gone missing or been successfully removed.”

“What do we do next?”

“Well, that’s a difficult call, sir. How do you ensure that today’s youth don’t grow up to be tomorrow’s terrorists and Caldari sympathizers?”

***

LUMINAIRE (The Scope), YC113 – In the wake of the discovery of the body of 10-year-old Liara Pateaux this week, public alarm has escalated further due to a new report today. The Federal Intelligence Office is reporting a 10th kidnapping in the last four weeks in Caille, as well as potentially related crimes in Ladistier and Villore. Officials are baffled and no one has been able to explain why this sudden wave of child kidnappings has occured.

The FIO has released a brief statement. “We are extremely concerned about the recent crimes against children across the Federation, and are putting all of our resources into resolving the issue. In response to questions relative to sex offenders, we can confirm that none of the known offenders are unaccounted-for, and thus they are not initial suspects in these cases. However, we will count nothing off the table until the investigations are concluded.”

“Further, we have appealed to the Senate to find ways to leverage modern technology to ensure that Gallente parents can always find and protect their children.”

***

Caille, Gallente Prime, Luminaire, Essence, Gallente Federation, Present Day

Ceelya Pasyte rocked quietly in her hospital room, baby asleep in her arms. There was a quiet knock at the door.

“Come in.”

The doctor entered, closing the door gently behind him.

“Mrs. Pasyte, all of the initial tests have come back and everything looks good. Due to new regulations, I’ve been instructed to give you an option for a government-paid augmentation for little Jean.”

Ceelya raised an eyebrow. “Why would he need anything like that?”

“It includes a tracker that you can monitor from home to help find him if he gets lost. Since it is embedded, it will always be with him. He can be found immediately by you or the police.”

“And this is free?”

“The government covers the cost of the implant and insertion.”

“Is it safe?”

“The Companion implant is based on technology that has been around for more than 100 years. Capsuleers use implants like these all the time. It’s amazingly useful stuff.”

She smiled. “That would be so helpful. I was busy watching a holo once last year and my daughter wandered off – I was so concerned when I couldn’t find her! She had gone down the street and was fine, luckily. But what peace of mind this will give me!”

The doctor nodded. “I’ll get it set up.” He left, closing the door quietly behind him.

Ceelya rocked quietly, smiling as she touched the baby’s face. “Some day, you’ll grow up to be mommy’s little capsuleer.”

***

Somewhere in Stain, Present Day

“Pardon the interruption.”

“Not at all. Come in, Citizen. What news do you have?”

“The Gallente implant numbers have begun growing rapidly.”

“I hope now that you see the benefits of having faith, and patience.”

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4 Responses to For the Children

  1. Drackarn says:

    Sometimes, tin-foil hats are a must 🙂

    Excellent read!

  2. Mme. Thalys says:

    Very nice.
    I was reading and thinking “A a nice story about how something intended for one purpose becomes twisted by war-mongering control freaks.” and then came the thing about the abductions, and then the last two lines.

    Didn’t see that one coming!

    Scary.

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