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   Chapter 5 No.5

Prey World - Citizen 1-564398B-278843 By Alexander Merow Characters: 5371

Updated: 2018-07-06 12:01

But he never became noticeable again. He always stuck to the rules until this day; in the kindergarten, the elementary school and everywhere else. Since his fifth year of life, he had always been a good boy. No, he was not noticeable at all. And of course he was no human being with ?subliminal aggressions". Sometimes in his thoughts or dreams, he beat up a superior or an administrative coworker, but this was a secret and Frank had never talked about his thought crimes. He was just "normal", as he meant.

Apart from this, it was also the first time that the otherwise perfectly inconspicuous plattenbau-inhabitant Frank Kohlhaas had come in contact with an ?automated trial". The citizen had already heard about this, once in the news, since it had been introduced by the World Government three years ago. But the young man could not imagine, what this strange process really was. But why should a decent person like Frank think about such things? He had never become culpable and had nothing to do with criminality.

Therefore, the accused had not the foggiest notion, what waited for him now and so he wasn`t too much concerned about this citation.

It was probably nothing but a pure formality, circumstances, which could be clarified. Frank had not hurt anybody and therefore he also could not be condemned. The young man had already lost his job, because of the so called "disturbation of peace at the workplace". There was no reason to be worried, thought Kohlhaas.

Now the unemployed man absently hit the button ?Voice Presentation" so that the message was slowly read out by a computer-animated woman`s voice. This was also a novelty. The administration had introduced the "Voice Presentation" some years ago, because more and more citizens of Berlin were illiterate, above all, the younger generation. So an important official message had always to be available in read out form.

The rest of this day wasn`t very spectacular and the "automated trail" was already tomorrow. ?Then I will have a reason to rise", said Frank to himself and grinned cynically. Shortly afterwards, Kohlhaas tried to call his father to ask him for some money, but he didn`t reach anybody during the whole day. Nevertheless, there was some more liquor in the kitchen. Frank decided to get royally drunk once again, and fell asleep at midnight. He almost forgot to set his alarm-clock…

Automated Trial

Although it was August, this morning was very cold and dark. Frank`s neck hurt and he had another headache from last night`s drunkenness. The local juridical complex was over one hour foot march distant from his apartment block, but the citizen thought, that it could be a good

idea to go and get some, more or less, fresh air. In addition, he could fight the aftereffects of his hangover.

He hastily gulped down some toast, swallowed the dissolvable coffee and examined the label on the plastic can of the coffee powder.

?Globe Food" was written on it and Frank could see a world ball. Above the globe was a pyramid with an eye on its top. At the bottom of the picture was the slogan: ?Food for the people!"

?Amusing symbol!", murmured Frank into his three-day beard.

He had never noticed this logo before, although he only bought his food in the cheap ?Globe Food" supermarkets, which dominated Berlin. Then the thought left his head again, as fast as it had come.

The unusual cold weather let Frank shiver. A draft of fresh air blew through the dark stairway and temporary flushed away even the smell of bad eggs. In front of him, a neighbor walked down to the exit and Frank considered if he had seen the face of this man ever before.

The man said something sounding like "Hello!", but Kohlhaas wasn`t sure. The accused slowly walked forward and was still dizzy. He briefly looked at the playground in the yard and beheld some children who were screaming with shrill voices in an incomprehensible language. Was it Turkish? Or Arabic?

When the clock indicated 7.43, he could already recognize the outlines of the juridical complex from the distance. It was a large red building with hundreds of windows and over 30 floors. Dozens of court cells were in front of it, one of them was waiting for him. The chambers, in which people could get their "automated trial", were made of a gray metal and about four meters wide, as Frank guessed from his distant view.

Three other citizens already stood before them, between them were some police officers. Slowly he became nervous. Perhaps this hearing was nevertheless more unpleasantly, than he had imagined at first.

Now it was necessary to pass an electrical gate, which was protected by a doorman in a small, brown house. The official gave Frank a sign to come nearer.

?Come here!", he called.

The young man ran forward and positioned himself in front of the entrance of the guardroom.

?Scanchip!", said the doorman, holding a laser scanner in his hand. Wordlessly he pulled the Scanchip out of Frank`s hand, without looking at him, and said after a short ?beep" of his code reader: ?Court cell 4/211! Hurry up! It is nearly 8.00 o'clock! If you come too late, it will be just more expensive for you!"

Frank`s heart started to pound faster. Fearfully, he started to search the court cells, in order to find his number. The other accused examined him with some brief looks.

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