> Seth Underwood Stories: Marian Butler’s Unconscious Crime

Marian Butler’s Unconscious Crime


Marian Butler was an administrative secretary in the Gliese 685-b Colony of 26 Draconis. A colony erected by the Binney Corporation specializing in large-scale industrial material processing. It was 46 light years away from Earth and servicing the outer sectors. Marian worked under Phoebe Long, one of twelve Sub-Directors for the colony. As an administrative secretary, it filled her life with managing the day-to-day activities for Ind. Long.

Marian came from a non-corporate controlled station less than one light year away called GI 685. The station was nothing more than a heavy grav-line node and storage lot orbiting a red dwarf. It was a democratic and independent station after the original corporation went bankrupt 70 years ago, leaving the workers stranded. Marian ended up at the 26 Draconis colony to pay her debt contract for her retraining education. She was trained in cargo logistics, but the station residents of GI 685 voted to accept a business acquisition, and she lost her job because of cost downsizing.

Marian was a young 30 something. Unattached. Spoke three different local dialects. She wasn’t your typical cool and collective administrative secretary. Nor was she like most of the colonist who were quiet workaholics. She could be snarky and impetuous. Marian spoke her mind. As an administrative secretary for a Sub-Director, she got more perks, like an additional clothing allowance.

Except today, Marian’s life had been turned upside down. The colony android police busted into her cabin while she was taking one of her twice weekly rationed showers. They handcuffed her and paraded her naked in front of a bunch of horrified onlookers as she was loaded into a police transport.

The spikey pink with green highlights haired woman had never been so humiliated in her life. That was until they processed her as a criminal, naked with other criminals in the holding pen. Those with her were attempting to make obscene gestures at her while being handcuffed. Clearly, they were people from the more deviant parts of the colony she never visited. She realized the artificial justice system the colony used had no sense of decency. It wasn’t until they gave her a puke green prison jumper, removed her handcuffs, and put into a stark white cell with a single chair; she felt close to normal.

“Criminal 84678 dash 4…”

“I have a name.”

“Excuse me?”

“I have a name.”

“In here you are Criminal 84678 dash 4.”

“So outside of here, I’m Marian Butler?”

“It has yet to be determined if I will release you.”

“When will it be determined?”

“If you will let me continue, the outcome of your trial right now will determine if you’ll be released.”

Marian rocked back and forth in her chair as she sat in the stark white room.

“Criminal 84678 dash 4, please keep your chair on the floor during this trial.”

Marian stopped rocking back and forth and picked her nose. Followed by her flicking the finger she had in her nose to the wall in front of her.

“Criminal 84678 dash 4, you are being accused of three incidences of unconscious malicious acts. Two counts of ethnic hate speech, and one count of ethnic hate inspired murder. How do you plea?”

“I suppose not guilty since I don’t recall murdering anyone.”

“Do you wish to reconsider your plea? With a guilty plea, I could consider a plea bargain.”

“What would I get?”

“Two months off your sentence.”

“Oooo, two months off. No thanks.”

“Very well. We recorded these three incidents from your mind last week and they involve your supervisor, Phoebe Long.”

“That’s an invasion of my privacy rights!”

“Not under the Gliese 685-b Colony of 26 Draconis Charter established by the Binney Corporation.”

“I despise my debt contract forcing me here.”

“Please keep your comments to yourself so I can complete this on time.”

Marian stuck her tongue out in protest.

A projected vid screen expanded ten feet up from Marian and played out three recorded scenes in complete silence. “The recordings show twice you are yelling ethnic slurs at your superior, and then murdering zir with a stylus by repeatedly jabbing it into zir eyes, ears and neck.”

“How do you know I was yelling anything? The vid was silent?”

“Speech recognition interpreted the slur words from your mouth and facial features.”

“I don’t recall thinking about any of this.”

“These thoughts occurred in your sub-conscious mind as a reaction to the following.”

The projection changed, showing Marian being asked by Phoebe to get zir a cup of coffee, and Marian going to the break room, retrieving the cup of coffee, and bringing it back to her supervisor.

“This is about a cup of coffee?”

“Yes. This action triggered the associated sub-conscious malicious thoughts.”

“Sure, I don’t like bringing Ind. Long zir coffee, but I’m not going to freak out over it and murder zir.”

“You are admitting a dislike concerning the action of brining Ind. Long zir coffee?”

“I guess so.”

“Thank you. That’s all I needed to show absolute guilt for this crime. As the Artificial Judgement System of Gliese 685-b Colony of 26 Draconis, and in accordance with Section 26 of the Binney Corporation Charter for this colony, I hereby find guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, Marian Butler for the willful unconscious malicious acts of two counts of ethnic hate speech, and one count of ethnic hate inspired murder against Phoebe Long. I hereby sentence Marian Butler to two years of suspended isolation with unconscious reprograming. Bailiff, please remove Criminal 84678 dash 4 from the trial room and take her to prison for processing.”

A door slit opened along the wall behind Marian and a shiny metallic six-foot tall android came out. Marian got up, ran and collapsed into a ball at a corner. The android walked to her and grabbed her shoulders and lifted the five foot four tall Marian up from the floor.

“Fuck! Put me down! You’re hurting me!”

The android shifted how it carried Marian to carry her by the waist and walked through the door slit. It continued to walk with uncaring purpose down the white hallway. Turning as required.

Marian kept thrashing her arms and legs to get the android to release her. All the while screaming obscenities. None of the other androids and small wheeled robots in the hallway paid any attention to her.

Entering through another door slit, the metal android dropped Marian onto a padded table and left. Automatically five alumni-plasti straps crossed her from right to left restrainer her. Marian kept yelling obscenities as she shook her head back and forth. From the ceiling, a robotic set of arms descended and began a series of tasks. It cut up and removed her clothing, gave her shots, and attached sensors. Once completed, the arms retracted upwards as it re-entered the ceiling. The padded table moved through the brightly lit room. Rotated her and flipped her vertical then inserted her in between the lid and base of a standard cryogenic suspension pod.

Marian was still yelling obscenities the whole time as the pod was sealed and flooded with cryogenic suspension gases. Freezing her in mid-scream. Two arms came down from the lid and clamped to her temples. Lights on the pod showed it was now active, and Marian had begun her two-year sentence of unconscious reprograming.


Ethnic crimes- The term "ethnic" this far in Rosella’s future no longer holds the same meaning as it does today. Ethnicity has been expanded and combined with older words such as race and gender. It has become a universal word to represent a group of people identified by some aspect.

Image- prison safety fence, by nicolagiordano, Source pixabay (processed via Adobe Spark)

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