Siari’s Bore
Mer Dinévál Countermass Station

“Excuse me, ser. Enforcer Jynne Cerron, Watch Constabulary; my colleague, Pén Cieng, Throat-Grip Defense. I’m afraid we require a word with you.”

The lanect thus addressed started, and turned to look at them with an instant protest.

“I haven’t done anything!”

“Regrettably, ser, you are the subject of a complaint we have received from a citizen-shareholder regarding the theft of certain items from their person four point one minutes previously, supported by supplied lifelog and oversight evidence, which constitutes probable cause for this inquiry per Valentia’s Code. You have the right under the Transparency Act to view this evidence, if you wish…? No?”

“This is outrageous! I had nothing to do with this –”

“I regret that too, ser, but I am afraid that a complaint has been made against you and an inquiry deemed justified by overwatch. You may, of course, file a complaint if you wish. Now, I see that you are carrying an embag. Would you open it for me, please?”

“I don’t consent to a search!”

“We don’t intend to violate your privacy, ser, and no search is called for. You don’t need to empty the bag, and may conceal the opening if you wish. Just unseal it, please.”

The lanect fumbled briefly with the seal on the embag, and simultaneously, a small, electronic voice spoke in distress:

…am being stolen! I am an Aelaviel High Fashions ‘Highfall’ purse in flame red, belonging to Citizen Aríë Harradeln, and I am being stolen! Please return me to my proper owner! Repeat: I am being…

“Thank you. Unfortunately, the stolen property has now confirmed that it is in your possession. You are under arrest by the Watch Constabulary. You have the right to give a full and complete accounting of your actions…”

As the lanect took to his heels in flight, grabbing a handguide for the nearest drag, she switched seamlessly to the public announcements channel.

…in answer to our questions. If you feel we have overlooked any information relevant to your case, you have the right to call it to our attention. If you feel we have misunderstood or misconstrued any…

“Why do they always run?” her colleague grumbled. “Ops, give me a two-second kill on autodrag four, Siari’s Bore, frame eleven. Constabular override.”

…of your answers, you have the right to provide further elaboration or explanation. If you are confused by our questions or procedures, we will explain them to you. You may provide evidence against others as part of your answers…

The autodrag slammed to a brief halt, enough to let momentum take over, tossing the fleeing lanect up and over his handguide, breaking his grip on it and sending him hurtling into the air.

…but false accusations will be punished. You have the right to engage an advocate to help you to prepare for trial…

“It makes them feel better, probably,” she replied. The sound of cursing drifted to them from where the lanect drifted helplessly in mid-air. “Briefly, anyway. Tell the courthouse we need a drone pickup to take this guy straight to arraignment. I’ll have the report filed by the time he gets there.”

…but no right to refuse to answer questions before your advocate is available. Do you understand these rights?

3 thoughts on “Pickpocket

  1. The sociological behavioral question that occurs to me is why there is any attempted petite street crime at all. Deterrence is predicated less on the severity of potential punishment, and more on the odds of being caught. 99.99% perfect overwatch should mean zero street crime, with the outside exceptions of someone exhibiting a psychotic break, or someone who is a transiting visitor who’s criminal habits were developed in an area with less effective policing.

    • someone who is a transiting visitor who’s criminal habits were developed in an area with less effective policing

      Got it in one!

      This fic takes place on “Mer Dinévál Countermass Station, Seranth” – i.e., a transit station on the busy tradeworld’s busy tradeworld. Which is to say, one of the best places to find clueless outworlders doing clueless outworlder things like, well, this.

  2. Pingback: Question: Terrorism and Open Societies | The Eldraeverse

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