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He looked at the big board again. Millions of faces of mostly men with grimaces, some oddly smirking, flashed across the digital display. Bert Jaunt looked over to his associate Kanika Haverford. Only the two of them oversaw the large database center, owned by the private company DataFind in Dover, Delaware. The building remained vast, but this particular section saw only about 10 employees control the stations. The remaining eight controlled similar posts.
“Doesn’t it just sicken you?” Jaunt asked.
Kanika shook her head in disgust. “Of course.”
The names and ages and addresses appeared below the streaming visages.
“We’ve got to change it,” Jaunt said.
“Innocent before proven guilty. It should be the other way around. I mean look at the priests and preachers, newsmen, the politicians, the executives, the actors, the performers, the musicians, the men and women who we allow into our heads have betrayed us. I mean how long will it take for this madness to stop? These people are sick. I say make it guilty before anything.”
Kanika shook her head and straightened. “Now, that would be the worst thing that we could do. Not every man or woman is a sexual predator. Not everyone is inclined to violate the individual rights of another person. There may be a few million people on that screen, but the vast majority of citizens of America and the world are upstanding, virtuous individuals. There’s no way to determine a man or woman’s status as a criminal if you say that everyone is guilty. That’s a corruption of the law.”
“I’ve understood your words,” Jaunt said, rolling his eyes. Kanika noticed.
“So what if I were to look up your name and profile? Would you be an honest person that never took the innocence of a child or violated a man or woman?”
“That wouldn’t be necessary…” Jaunt said.
“Oh, I think it is.” Kanika quickly whirled around and announced a vocal command for the computer to find Jaunt’s name. Her voice carried like an aria, songlike and resonant. In tenths of a second, Jaunt’s photograph appeared on the board. The caption below his data read, “Sex trafficker and pedophile.”
Kanika quickly rushed to the other side of the small room.
Jaunt’s heart rate quickened and sweat beads appeared on his forehead.
“You’ll regret it. I have the override key. I can go into the system and wipe out my whole profile.”
Kanika raised her hand with the key. “That responsibility transferred over to me last week. Remember?”
Jaunt looked into Kanika’s eyes. “You don’t have the gumption to tell anyone. You’re just like the little kids that were under me. You’re afraid and lost. That’s it. You’re afraid and you can’t deal with the fact that a man can be over you.”
Kanika darted toward the door. She beat Jaunt to it, swiftly opened it, and locked Jaunt in the room by flashing her badge against the room's scanner and selecting override to ensure that it stayed secured.
Kanika ran to her boss’s office. Captain Cornell Bradford allowed Kanika into his room.
“Captain, I’ve just found out that Jaunt is a sexual deviant. I have him locked in the database room,” she said, panting and almost out of breath.
“Easy, easy,” Bradford said. “We’ll just have to call the authorities to have him arrested. I don’t know how we allowed a predator into our midst, but we will deal with this matter with speed.”
Kanika and Bradford marched to the database room. Bradford flashed his badge and unlocked the door. The two of them stopped altogether. By use of his shoelaces, Jaunt had hanged himself in the corner of the data room. Kanika stood with a straight face. Bradford called for the coroner.
“He wanted everyone else to be guilty. His own guilt lead him to this,” Kanika said.