It is 124 years in the future.
Chapter 1 - The Court Scene
Kenneth Douglas was brought into the courtroom from the side door. He was clasped in handcuffs. He had never even seen the inside of a courtroom before this and he found the experience a little unnerving. "Geez," he thought, "I can't understand how they found out I did it. No way the police knew how to catch me. Who could possibly have tracked me? I should have stopped at 20, maybe. Where the hell is my lawyer?"
Ken's father, Bill, was in court to see his son likely go to jail. Like the rest of the Douglas family, Ken didn't like where humanity was headed. The difference was he wanted to do something about it. Bill knew his son would make a public statement, a publicly-viewed act, somehow and somewhere with his incredible cyber skills. He did. Unknown to less than three or four of his closest friends, Ken was indeed the Boston Hackmaster, whose lavish pro-retro pranks hit the news on a regular basis. He was a hero to some and hated by others. Bios loved him; Cybers didn't. All agreed the Hackmaster had a good deal of skill to do what he did while evading the police and security forces everywhere. Bill knew that a guilty plea or verdict could mean not only several years of jail, but also that his son's bio-enhancement privileges could be denied forever, effectively shortening his life significantly. If you chose a life of crime, you would not be allowed a long life. The judge could not help seeing the creativity and humor in it all. "No one has been able hack into anyone's data skins until you did this, young man," said the judge. "It's too bad to waste your talent. Unfortunately for you, the sentencing guidelines call for too harsh a term. You're a talented, misguided kid, but my hands are tied on this."
"If only there were another option I had," thought the judge, "but I'm just not aware of anything else I can do."
"Mr. Douglas, you are accused of twenty-one counts of breaking into the personal, governmental, or company data notes and modifying them to suit your humor", said the judge.
The judge had read over the police report. Douglas had hacked into the augmented realities of persons, buildings, landmarks, a retail store, a couple restaurants, a sports team, a city greeting post, and a church. The kid didn't just scrawl filthy words onto data notes which described these persons, places or things as they viewed them in reality. No, thought the judge, he wanted to tarnish the use of data skins in general.
"I'm choosing not to read these out loud, but they are part of your criminal record," said the judge.
The judge read the file to himself and found it amusing, despite its criminality. The young man wrote about Wanda Sykes that "…her closest friends believed she held a patent for weaponized halitosis and also farts in her sleep."
His notes on the Boston Museum of Natural History said, "It is currently occupied by 28 employees and 254 visitors, no fewer than six of whom have erections. Please take special note of the crowd forming around a sex act taking place on the second floor."
The judge was pretty sure he knew the restaurant whose augmented reality had been modified to read, "The chef of this lowest-rated establishment broke up with his boyfriend and suffers from depression for which he is overly self-medicated. The restaurant treats its customers like its own family, four members of whom are currently incarcerated for various crimes in Walpole State Prison. The state Health Inspector vomited profusely here yesterday after swallowing something he later described only as 'squishy' and is under treatment at a local hospital for terminal diarrhea."
The judge read another to himself which caused him to smirk. The data skin hacked into was 'America's Most Beloved Ball Park' (where Beloved was crossed out to read Oldest) which read "Faithful fans are taking turns this season holding up the walls of 223 year old Fenway Park while the $2 billion Red Sox pitching staff drank themselves out of the playoffs for the 124th consecutive year."
"How do you plead, Mr. Douglas?"