From the e-book Other Worlds Writing Prompts by James Mascia
Strange worlds –1. Your characters live in a world where brain scans accurately detect lies and convictions are made instantaneously.
She sat in the small cell waiting for the Brain Star to come, the laser bars taunting her in the meantime with a view of freedom so close but so far away. She heard her stomach give a loud rumble. She looked around the bare cell wondering where people went after this. No one had come back to talk about it, but from what she had heard the Brain Stars were never wrong and could detect a lie and would mete out your punishment right then and there.
There were no people around her. Perhaps in the neighboring cells but she couldn’t hear anything. She knew the laser bars were impenetrable. She threw the apple core from her basic lunch at them and watched it disappear with a sizzle into nothing. All the food was finger food so she had no implements like forks or spoons to do anything with. The plate was a paper like material that crumbled into nothing within 30 minutes. Her uniform was also extremely basic. A bright yellow jumpsuit, no belt or accessories allowed. They took no chances in here. No guards to bribe just machines cruising around in the metal hallway. Always watching but never directly interacting.
“Come on. Let’s just get this over with. I know I’m on a camera somewhere and I know someone has to be watching this somewhere. Just scan me and send me wherever people go. The waiting is intolerable. If this is really fool proof, why don’t you just go around scanning people going about their lives why wait until we are starving and desperate to torture us? Please, someone say something!”
What she wouldn’t give to hear another human voice. Even the robots here said nothing. She could hear a whir and a hiss of movement but they never spoke to her. Finally one of the robots she saw zoom by stopped its blue light swiveling toward her cell. It hovered there bobbing slightly. A couple more showed up doing the same. Finally she watched as a larger bot approached slowly steadily rolling on treads. Could this be the infamous Brain Star? It had a large cup coming out of its chest area. She saw flashing blue lights inside the cup which was about the size of her now shaved head. That was the first thing they did was strip her of her clothes and shave her head, and give her a cold shower with robots scrubbing her body red and raw. She shivered at the memory. She felt the light stubble on her head which felt prickly against her palms.
The two smaller bots approached the laser panel with the large one between them. The lasers flickered off for a second but both little bots trained laser guns on her person blue lens whirring as they adjusted their aim. The large robot entered her cell clamped onto her arms tightly. She squirmed and kicked, eyes rolling back in fear shouting obscenities yelling “Please, anyone out there? I was alive, I was here! I don’t want to die alone! God forgive me. I was hungry, is that such a crime?”
The robots said nothing. The large one clamped the cup like device onto her head while it held her still in an ever tightening grip. Soon she stopped resisting and slumped against the bot. It flashed images from her brain scan on an internal camera. It saw a little girl running in a meadow; it then saw a teenager stealing a candy bar from a store.
It saw a young woman take a baseball bat to a food store at night, with the intent to steal. Saw her hurriedly eating the bread out of the bag while robots surrounded her, coming closer. She swung the bat at the bots, destroying a few while more kept coming, some of them getting back up a little worse for wear. Finally one of them stunned her with a jolt.
The bot saw images of her getting cleaned and head shaved, saw her placed in the cell and laser bars activated. Saw all the images of her ranting and raging about the solitude and lack of words.
There were so many people jammed together in the world now that hunger had reached a crisis so it was thought more humane by the leader to put the extra populace to sleep much like what was done with cats and dogs in the twenty-first century. It was for the good of all of course. The needle entered her head from the cup putting the girl to sleep forever. The robot saved the memories like one does the minutes of a meeting.
The leader would review the materials later if he liked, but most likely this case wouldn’t merit much interest. It was too common. The robot without passion filed away the scans out of duty, the beauty and tragedy of life lost senselessly not noticed or truly experienced.